Burning Hyboria - Shifting Shadizar

Ch 1.3 - Lies, Loyalty, and Friends Well-Skewered

Driven by her often inconvenient honesty and beaten-dog loyalty for her master Zar, Uloro realized that she could not deceive him.  She decided she must inform him of the plot to leave not only the Turanese with fake coin, but Zar and the Zarhana Bank as well.  Near equal loyalty to her allies and The Cause also meant she could not inform Zar in secret, so early on the second morning of their journey she informed Tarim and Bashar that she had no choice but to tell Zar of their deeper plot.

Tarim responded first with negotiation.  He spoke of the questionable choice to follow so loyally a master like Zar who shows little love and even less basic human respect to his servants.  He spoke of Szahir, his own master, a man who treats those beneath him well.  Uloro listened respectfully, but informed Tarim she understood and yet still had no choice.  Bashar did his best to arbitrate the debate.  Once Tarim had said his piece and it was clear Uloro could not be swayed with words the climate of the situation turned quickly.  Tarim's blade was drawn, his boot was planted firmly on Uloro's chest, and despite her cat-like reflexes in the blink of an eye his sword was buried deep in her gut.  In a moment of desperation Bashar called out to Prospero to intervene, and like enervating shadow and mist the specter enveloped Tarim, driving him away from Uloro and potentially saving her life.  Tarim was halted, but he was undawnted.  The mission could not be risked, and Uloro had shown herself little more than the beast of burden Zar believed her to be.

By this point the commotion drew the rest of the caravan's attention (just in time to half-see Prospero as he de-materialized).  Bodhan and Andrij approached with Bohdan drawing his sword on Tarim and demanding an explanation.  Zar looked on in disgust at the sight of Uloro so bested, oozing failure as well as blood.  Zar commanded Bohdan to execute Tarim for the crime of property damage, but a proud son of Mihan such as Bodhan would never let a Spandiyadh functionary give him orders.  Zar approached Uloro and drew his knife, his mouth dripping insults and disdain, and he prepared to execute his wounded livestock.  Bashar and Tarim intervened before he could slit her throat, indicating the fight had begun when Tarim was insulting Zar and Uloro would not allow him to continue.  Unconvinced, Zar was at least distracted enough to pass over Uloros throat and instead remove her left ear, a mark of failure for martial slaves in Zamoran culture.

Zar walked away and the situation relaxed somewhat.  Bodhan was satisfied that Tarim was not a complete villain and the altercations was one of insulted pride, so he put away his sword and set one of his men to stand guard over Tarim and Bashar, the eager-to-please-and-impress Emil.  Andrij patched up Uloro enough to stop any bleeding and stabilize the wound, though she would require more skilled hands to truly address her injury.  The party packed up and began their journey once again.

Uloro was placed in a cart as her wound left her unable to walk.  From her place there she called to Bashar when Emil was busy with Tarim and implored him to send Zar to her so she could tell him the truth.  Though loyal to The Cause, Bashar's cultural stance towards women left him deferential and later that day he complied.  Zar, still disgusted, came to speak to Uloro.  She told him the gold was in jeopardy, indicated that some plot involving  a demon would see him without the wealth (a convenient half-truth as the plan was for Bashar to send Prospero to exchange counterfeit coin for real).  Zar deemed Uloro lost to the Purple Lotus pain-killer haze, but none the less his suspicions were raised.  For the rest of the day he paid more attention to the litter carrying the gold.

Through the day's travel, Tarim kep mostly to himself, brooding somewhat over the events with Uloro.  Previously he had sough to help her, to convince her to leave Zar and come to a better master such as Szahir.  Now he could not see her as much better than the dog Zar believed her to be, and could no longer find the care to try to help her.

Hidden to the other caravan members, while Bashar tried to play peace keeper he was none the less suffering the terrible cost of his dabbling with the worlds and beings beyond the vale.  The back of his mind was addled with the chattering of the unknown, like the gnawing and chewing of 10,000 rats.



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