Twilight had started to fade in a desert marketplace somewhere in the middle of Egypt as a traveler passed through the the alley surrounded with merchant shops on both sides. Perhaps the time of the day reconciled with his current situation. He covered his black turban with his brown shawl as he sensed the palpable cold breeze flowing through the desert. A large part of his grey beard though still remain uncovered. His ragged black Kurta-Pyjama was daubed with sand as he walked barefoot on the cold, misty surface.
Even at dusk the marketplace was filled with the cacophony of sellers, vendors advertising their products by singing about them at full stretch. The traveler passed by a vendor who sold dates as he sung
“Have a date with destiny as you buy this date
Sweet and fruity, it may alter your fate…”
He sung it over and over in a loop as the traveler made his way past him.. Another carpet vendor dusted off a red, woolen carpet with golden embroidery in the shape of a swan. ” Come one. Come all. Buy this magic carpet and you shall fly like the wind. Come dear visitor. Would like to buy this carpet. The tapestry so beautiful and the fabric so silky. Sit on it and you’d feel as if you’re flying.”
But the traveler paid no heed. There was an apple vendor next. The traveler went up to him and bought the reddest apple he could find. But he didn’t eat it.
He turned into the next alley and found a beggar with an amputated leg in rags. He placed the apple in the bowl in front of him. It was as if he knew where to find the beggar and that the sole purpose of the apple was to find its way to the beggar’s bowl.
“May Allah shower you with blessings”, the old man said to him.
The traveler then moved forward and turned into a dark, deserted alley with no further way. There was nobody in the alley , but one.
“Well hello Gina”, said the traveler as he took the shawl of his head, revealing his mascaraed brown eyes and wrinkly face. “So they’ve sent ‘The Eye’ to summon me.”
Gina stepped forward out of the dark to reveal her olive skinned face and her glittering lilac eyes. Her lush, black hair stretched up to her waist and she wore a silver, Emerald studded chain over her head. She looked no older then a 30 year old woman and the traveler could not help but realize how ravishing she looked in the formal Arabian attire.
“You knew I was going to find you, didn’t you Salem?” said Gina.
“Well perhaps I had to face them sometime.”, he said after some time.
“Oh Salem!”, said Gina, “What have you done? Why would you do such a thing to your own people?”
Salem remained silent.
“To warn the village of the storm? Well, that could’ve been overlooked, but to threaten exposure of the whole of ‘Paradisus’?”
“Oh but I didn’t!”
“No you didn’t because you knew it would be of no avail. You saw something while they interviewed you and you knew. Otherwise you wouldn’t have thought for a moment before putting the whole kingdom in jeopardy.” Gina now looked furious. “Well perhaps you’d like to know whatever little footage they had has been taken care of.”
“I know that.”
“Oh of course you would! You’re ‘The Foreseer’. You know everything, don’t you?” Gina stepped closer to him. ” So tell me little Foreseer, why would you do something like that? I mean storms happen all the time. Then why would you do something so foolish as to threaten the whole community. The Guardianheads are furious. They’re demanding you’re execution. His majesty himself has sent me to fetch you. Why would you do something like that?”
Salem saw the distant sun setting over the horizon. It was getting darker now and the cacophony and chaos of the market had now diminished a bit. He took a deep breath. “It wasn’t just one storm. I saw something.”
“I mean don’t you find it peculiar. Storm in Arab, volcano in Japan, earthquakes in Pakistan. No, they’re not just natural disasters. Its something much more. Something bigger.”
“How can you say that Salem? All the disasters are under Weatherman, and I know you too have a history, but to accuse him of such vile treachery….”
“Oh but it isn’t Weatherman. I mean think about it. Who do you think controls the natural disasters? There is just one who could effectuate the widespread killing of such high amount of people at the same.”
Gina stared at him petrified.
“Do you even know who you’re accusing?”
Salem remained calm.
“Salem, you’re too young. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Salem stood there silently as he saw the sun submerge under the horizon. “The people needed to know.”
“And what would they have done? And perhaps even if what you say is true. What then? What could you do? You’re just a mere Guardian. You’re too weak.”
“Individually, yes. But together, with all the others. I mean, who knows?”
They both stared at each other.
“It is that woman isn’t she?’ said Gina. Salem looked up. “Is she the reason you tried to save the village?”
Salem remained silent.
“Holy Makers!”, said Gina. “You’re in love with her.”
Salem turned around now to face the open end of the alley. A cat wandered it’s way past through it.
“Why Salem? A mere mortal? What did you see in her?”
“You don’t know her.” Salem raised his voice a bit. ” You don’t know her.”
Gina looked at Salem who was now staring at the ground. It was dark now. “Salem. I’ve seen you train under me all your life. You’re like a son to me. Even if the accusations are true, something like this would only result in a rebellion.”
Salem raised his head and spoke in a low distinct voice, “So be it.”
Gina raised her eyebrows and looked at them man standing in front. He was perhaps a few inches shorter than her and looked way too much older. Gina knew the man well enough and trusted his instincts, but this was something beyond her control.
“You know I have to take you with me.” said Gina after a long pause.
“They’ve summoned you to the court where Lord Caliph himself will see to your hearing and the verdict shall be set after that.”
“I know that too.”
The next few words fumbled out of her mouth. “The….The Truthteller will represent them. And considering the truth behind your actions is rebellion, you’d perhaps be deprived of your powers.”
“I may or may not be.”, said Salem as a dry smile passed his lips.
Gina thought about his words for a moment, then raised her arm towards his neck.
“You don’t have to do that” said Salem.
“I know. But perhaps I just need to.” said Gina as she touched her palm over Salem’s neck. A shade of blue glittering light appeared over his neck as he fell unconscious on the ground.
“Sleep dear Foreseer”, she said softly in his ear as she bent over and held his arm.
A gust of wind flew the dry leaves around them as they vanished into the air.