Batic took Allula’s silence as a sign that she had fallen asleep. It has been a long journey across the desert and a taxing one at that. He had to admire her strength through it all. There was limited water for the journey and they had to leave before the camel could store enough for itself. Through it all she didn’t complain, but she certainly was wondering if they would make it.
Batic was curious of this as well, but he had to accept that if death would come he would face it with his eyes open. The only good news through all this was that the riders had given up the chase, deciding instead to save their water and return home. Batic half expected to see the messenger hawk, but his eyes were down for most of the journey. The sun was merciless and he had the dryness of his through to contemplate.
“How much further do you think we have?” Allula asked him. He was surprised to hear she had woken.
“I don’t know, La,” Batic replied. “I have never been to the coast.”
“That is not what I meant.”
“Ah…more than enough, La.”
“I hope you are right. There are rocks with more moisture than my tongue right now and my throat feels like it is on fire.”
“It won’t be for long.”
Batic was soon proven right when the two felt an unusual coolness in the air. The winds of change were upon them as they began to experience.
“What is that smell?” Allula asked.
“I don’t know what the smell is of exactly, but I believe it comes from the ocean,” Batic replied.
Batic began to push the tired camel to its limits. The speed they gathered wasn’t much, but it saved them any unnecessary time in the desert. As they climbed the last dune both were struck by the beauty of a never ending ocean. The water was a shade of blue that made even the most valuable of the late sultan's jewels see worthless in comparison.
The camel seemed to feel the same desire to reach the coast, but Batic could not allow it just yet. The two needed to decide which direction to move up the ocean and there wasn’t much the desert could offer them in direction. The reason being was that there was a coastal city that they could find port in.
The two sat there, their thirst growing with each passing second in the sun. Eventually, they would break and choose a direction with a flip of a coin, but something else helped them find the right direction.
“Batic, there,” Allula told him.
She followed her finger and soon spotted the distant speck of a bird. It had to have been the messenger hawk the royalty sent to the coastal city. If that was so they now knew where to ride, but any loyalists would expect them immediately. Allula and Batic knew this, but after all that they had been through it was worth a shot.
“The bird is close enough to see which means the city must be closer than we think,” Allula noted. “If we get there soon enough we might slip into the city before all the guards receive the warning.”
“This must be one of those risks you were talking about,” Batic chuckled painfully. “In which case I will take your word for it.”
Batic leaned down and patted the camel.
“It is time to ride, strong one,” Batic told it. “If we make it there will be enough water and food to last you and your future family. Let us ride now to the end of you journey so we may begin ours.”
With those words said Batic pointed the camel in the direction of the hawk and the two began to feel the wind in their hair as they sped towards the coastal city. Allula clung to Batic as best she could in her weakened state and Batic did the same with the camel. Despite Allula’s expectations the journey was longer than hoped.
Still, the city soon came into view and the two admired the beauty of its sandstone walls and buildings. It was truly something special, but the ships docked at its harbour were the most special of all. Intricate ropes held all the sails together and provided both Batic and Allula with so much promise. Both knew full well that they would need to get on one of those ships if they were to escape their country. It was a goal to be achieved if they made it into the city alive.
The camel did not give in and carried its two felons with power. The mad dash wasn’t unnoticed. Some of the residents of the city watched the riders with curiosity. However, there were luckily no guards on duty to react to them at all. It was a fortune bestowed upon by Allula’s luck in taking risks and the camel slowed as they entered the city walls.
“We did it, Batic,” Allula exclaimed in a half-wheeze. “I told you I had a great record with taking risks and pulling through in the end.”
“You did,” Batic nodded. “Now let’s find the nearest well and retire to some hiding place till we recover.”
“There is a whole world to be seen, my friend. I have never been so close to this much freedom.”
“Not many do get this close, La, but we must not celebrate now. I don’t think we can celebrate until we are onboard or in another land.”
“That will soon come to pass, at least, we can try to make it come to pass.”
Allula’s words seemed to strike something within Batic and he believed her. Perhaps killing the sultan was the right thing to do and fortune has bestowed him with the luckiest thief around. Perhaps that was all it was, luck, and soon it would run. Still, he preferred to follow the same attitude as Allula and ready himself for what was to come.
Be sure to follow!