Chapter 26: My Life Before I Knew It.   Posted by Raddek.Group: 0
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 19 posts
Tue 1 Jun 2021
at 17:43
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa’s blood runs cold at first sight of the tent and horses.  Has the Sheik’s bodyguard caught up to her?!

She turns to flee in the opposite direction, but on second thought, remains where she is, and sinks into the brush to look and listen.

Given her dire circumstances, a horse or two would be a priceless treasure! And within that tent, there must surely be food -- perhaps silver, too -- that could aid her in her escape.  Though she knows it is probably wisest to slink off into the wilderness and evade them, she cannot resist the resources that are dangling before her.

She sets down her belongings but for the sword, which she draws forth from the rolled blanket.  And then she advances forward, moving as quietly as she possibly can.  As she goes, it occurs to her that she is about to commit horse thievery -- yet another crime punishable by death.

Well, I’m already a murderer. She thinks wryly to herself.  They can only execute me once.

OOC: Sajaa’s goal is to creep close enough to listen in on any conversation and to observe the men and see if they are outside or return to their tent.  She also wants to get an idea how far from the tents the horses are tied.  She will circle around so the horses are positioned between her and the tents.  She won’t move in yet. I first want to get some better intelligence. Does she recognize the horses as belonging to anyone she knows?  13:39, Today: Sajaa al-Kassem rolled 8 using 3d6 ((2,5,1)).
 GM, 1918 posts
Mon 7 Jun 2021
at 02:45
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa is hungry, near penniless, and desperate.  Though the thought of stealing two horses (and being punished for it on top of her other crimes) is daunting, she knows that in truth, the theft will only hasten the judgement, not make the punishment any worse.  On the other hand, two horses was a near fortune that could not be ignored...  It was worth at least making her way to see if she could make a grab without being detected...

Slowly, surely, Sajaa makes her way around the site, putting the tent on the far side of the horses so that if she made a run for the animals, at least she wouldn't have to go through the men.  Then Sajaa moves herself at a snail's pace forward, keeping herself low and in the cover of the shrub as much as is possible.

After what seems like an hour of slow movement, Sajaa has found the closest perch where she feels comfortable.  She is still some fifty yards from the tents, though the dark indigo of the eastern sky has now given way to brighter hues of orange and blue, and she can now see the site with a little more clarity.  There are two horses, the short Arabs that are most common in these parts, one of them wholly black and the other grey.  Both of them are secured with a rope halter that seems to be tied somewhere in the campsite, though the lines are long enough to give them ample room to feed on the grasses.  For now, the horses are perhaps ten or fifteen yards closer to her than the men are, though it is hard to imagine that the short distance would make it easy to run to them and steal them without some sort of interaction.

As for the men, both are armed with short swords or long knives, both wear light leathers indicative of ronin or mercenaries.

As Sajaa watches the two men shuffle their way around the campsite, she picks up snippets of their conversation, as one man's voice seems markedly louder than the others.

"Wasting our time I tell you...  I bet the bitch is long since dead.  They lost her trail going straight into the badlands.  No road or stream to follow, mark my words, they'll find her dead of exposure out in the wastes."

There is some moment of silence while it seems the other man is talking.

"Ha!"  The first man responds.  "You are right though.  With even the chance of collecting 100 Dinar bounty, it seems foolish not to hunt her down."

OOC:  You are at a range of about 40 yards to the horses and 50 yards to the single tent (which seems to be large enough for two people).  There isn't really any cover between you and the horses, just plains grasses that are just starting to grow at about ankle or shin height.  The dawn is still some 5 minutes away, though the sky is now enough light enough to see clearly by.

For reference, 100 Dinar is 10000 Hilala (base unit copper coin).

If you wish to continue closing distance with the camp/horses, roll again vs. stealth.

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 20 posts
Tue 8 Jun 2021
at 15:53
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa hunkers down in the cover of the scrub brush and eyes the men and horses. It is still quite early in the morning and, judging by the actions of the men, it does not appear they are ready to depart just yet.

Perhaps if she waits a little longer, both men might return to the tent and give her time to steal a horse or two?

She bites her lower lip.

The stretch of ground that lies between her and the horses is open, with nothing more than shin high grass growing on it.  Anyone looking in this direction would spot her immediately.

The horses are tethered perhaps thirty feet from the tents, just a short sprint for the men, should they become alerted to her...

She waits and watches, praying for an opportunity...

OOC: Sajaa will wait for the men to reenter the tent together. Once they're in, she will rise and walk (not sprint) hurriedly to the horses, clucking her lips softly so as to appear friendly to the animals. Her goal is to pet and murmur gently to the horses, cut or untie their ropes, mount one and ride it, leading the second horse with her. If their saddles, bits and bridles are within grabbing distance, she'll grab them, otherwise she'll bareback. If she's spotted well ... we'll cross that bridge when/if we get there...

This message was last edited by the player at 18:43, Tue 08 June.

 GM, 1924 posts
Mon 14 Jun 2021
at 02:38
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Covered only by the short scrub that covers much of the plain, Sajaa waits and watches, moving not an inch to prevent any unintended sightings.  Though she stays, wanting desperately the chance to take the horses... even one of them would be indispensable for journey ahead, and two would mean more money than she had ever seen in her life for her troubles.

The men go back and forth between the horses, the tent, and a small area just beside where they have a few of their things laid out in the open around a pit in the ground - likely where they have set a fire over the night.  The minutes pass on, the men seem to be going from one bit of busy work to the next, eating and organizing their things.  They pass the time talking, though it seems the quieter one is doing most of the talking now, for most of what Sajaa can hear is limited to one or two word answers that she cannot piece to make any sense of without the surrounding context.

The Sun rises behind Sajaa's back, casting a warming glow across her shoulders.  She watches as the two men spread their prayer rugs on the open ground, their back left quarter to Sajaa as they kneel their faces to the ground to pray.

Still Sajaa watches.  They roll up their prayer rugs and stuff them in their packs.  One of the men goes back in the tent.

"Yeah, I'm almost ready."  The loud one says, stepping towards the pit as he hoists his robes up to his waist, a quarter turn from giving Sajaa a show she'd rather not be privy to, even from a distance.  A moment passes and a stream of heavy grey smoke lurches up from the pit before getting caught by the wind and dissipating into nothingness.  "Just need to put together my roll."  He turns his back to Sajaa again, this time heading straight back for open flaps of the tent.

Sajaa's heart nearly stops.  Both men were going...  Both of them were in the tent.

Her heart slamming against her chest like thunder, Sajaa stands up from the scrub and begins walking slowly towards the area where the two horses are tethered, her eyes peeled on the tent flap for any sign of disturbance.


Closer and closer Sajaa creeps.  She hears muffled conversation, though her eyes now are on the black and the grey.  As she draws nearer, the two seem to notice her, shifting their heads up from their feeding as she approaches.  She clicks her lips softly, hoping to gain the horses trust without alerting the men.

OOC:  It is 0630.  The sun has now climbed just over the horizon.  Over to you if you spent the moment of the sunrise praying as did the two men.

For now, both men are in the tent and you are about 5 yards from the grey and about 7 yards from the black.  Neither of the horses are saddled, they just have a halter and 10 yard or so rope that is tied off nearer the tent.  Roll vs. Animal Handling: Equine (default to IQ-5).

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 22 posts
Tue 15 Jun 2021
at 00:07
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa feels extremely vulnerable as she approaches the horses, out in the open...

As she pads through the grass, her eyes remain focused on the tent flap, expecting either of the men to exit any second and spot her…

She calculates how long it might take to cut the horses’ ropes, mount up and ride off, before either of the men appears…

Too long… She decides.

Without breaking stride, Sajaa hurries past both horses and then darts to the side of the tent.  She crouches, saber cocked back over her head, ready to strike the first man who exits the tent unawares…

Murderess and now a thief… A violator of Al-Kabirah. Most heinous of sinners! Sajaa thinks to herself without the slightest twinge of remorse.

I am Sajaa the Brigand!

OOC: I decided to bypass the horses and try a more blood lustful approach…  Goal is to bypass horses, stand to the side of the tent flap that would be most beneficial to strike unawares.  Hopefully the men’s weapons will be unreadied and perhaps their hands full as they pack up for the morning. If the opportunity arises, and it appears the man is unaware of her, she will execute an all out double attack - cutting with her saber - to random body parts adding fatigue for extra effort damage. If the man is aware, she will make a single slash for the man’s weapon arm, with extra effort for extra damage. Her defense will be retreating fencing parry if the man is armed, or aggressive parry to any offending bodypart if he is unarmed (except if its a slam or grapple attempt at which she will retreat dodge.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:29, Wed 16 June.

 GM, 1930 posts
Fri 2 Jul 2021
at 15:54
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa creeps slowly towards the horses, but when the black immediately perks up at her approach, nickering softly with ears bared forward, Sajaa decides that perhaps she should just take out her foes while she still has the advantage of surprise.

Her feet stepping as softly as a light breeze, Sajaa closes the distance to the tent down to ten yards, five.  Then she is alongside the canvas as close as she dares to the entrance lest she be seen from the inside.

Her saber in hand, Sajaa waits.

Inside the tent, the conversation has seemed to die down and there is only the jostle of equipment for several moments.

"God you're slow."  The loud one says with a barking laugh.  "Is this what happens when you get old, you move like a damn cow gone to pasture?"

"If you're lucky enough."  The other man says.  His voice is soft but commanding, and it seems he has little reason to elaborate on his statement.

"You and you're witty words!"  The loud man laughs again.  "They will gain you nothing...
 Bah, I say we circle back to the badlands today, we'll get the jump on finding her if she's..."

The tent flap opens and Sajaa does not hesitate to strike the first thing that steps out.

"Ya lahwy!"  Shouts the loud man's voice.  He has a sleeping roll perched in his hands and Sajaa's preemptive strike cuts both the leather roll and into the flesh of his shoulder, bringing forth a seam of blood.

"Brigand!"  The man shouts as he drops his roll, though Sajaa is already swooping in again, and this time the blade of her sword sinks deeply into the man's arm tearing through leather and flesh and stopping short only as the steel strikes bone!

The man stumbles backwards, falling to his back away from Sajaa as he grips his arm, his eyes bulging as he flails his feet to gain some purchase with the ground!

OOC:  I realize that you are sorely in need of a battle map but I simply don't have the resources right now to make it happen.  So let's just go with one second of action this time so that you'll have the ability to get the big picture before things get too far along.

The first man has fallen down and is laying supine, facing you.  You managed a light blow to the torso and a major wound to his right arm.  The other man is still in the tent, though you cant see him at the moment through the tent flap.

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 23 posts
Fri 2 Jul 2021
at 18:23
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Swiftly and decisively does Sajaa strike, maiming the man’s arm and knocking him down to the dirt.  And then, though she aches to give him one more hack for good measure, she knows the element of surprise is her only advantage, so turns and plunges into the tent, leading with her blood smeared sword to engage the other…

Only vaguely, in the back, dark recesses of her mind, is she aware of the absolute thrill she is getting from spilling the blood of these two -- Aarif's hired killers who will have no compunctions, whatsoever, about doing her in … or probably worse should they have the opportunity, out here in the privacy and anonymity of the wilds.. Only vaguely, does she marvel at how easily it is to continue sinning once she has committed her first…

These thoughts flash through her mind in a millisecond, as she charges into the tent, shrieking like a some Shyatin Demon … with murder in her heart!

OOC: Okay, plan is to let the hurt guy lay there, hopefully with a crippled weapon arm, and hopefully demoralized, then dash into the tent.  If movement up to bad guy #2 will reduce my attack to a wild attack, then I’d prefer to make the attack with a Giant Step to move 2 hexes for a fatigue point without penalty; or if the range is a full move to make it, instead, a Heroic Charge.  If the 2nd man is mentally stunned and has a chance to ‘shake’ his mental stun before I complete my attack, and if you allow this, I would like to spend my Hero Point to force the 2nd man to reroll his IQ roll and pick the worst roll (for him) to shake his mental stun.  My attack will be an Extra Effort +2 damage THRUST targeting his vitals.  If for some reason he survives this and manages to draw his steel and attack, my defense will be a fencing retreat parry, “beat” in hopes of reducing his next parry should I get a chance to attack again.  If I FAIL my first parry, I will convert my defense to an All Out Defense and, should I have a second parry available, will do so, otherwise will do a retreat dodge. If I didn't need to spend my last Hero Point, and still have it. I will spend it defensively, should I fail a defense that will result in my getting hit. Hope I articulated this well enough.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:25, Fri 02 July.

 GM, 1936 posts
Mon 12 Jul 2021
at 16:18
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Rather than keep her attentions on the downed foe, Sajaa pushes her way into the tent like a bolt, thrusting her sword at the first bit of color that dances in front of her eyes, the loose white robes of Muslim men.

In the briefest of moments, Sajaa takes in the older man, his beard the salt and pepper of midlife, his short sword gleaming as it clears the scabbard in the flash of daylight.


Just by the briefest of margins, Sajaa's sword goes wide of its mark and the man rushes back, hacking his own sword in Sajaa's direction.


Steel meets steel as Sajaa smashes the sword to the side and steps back out of the tent flap, just barely catching the blade as she attempts to smash it out of balance for her next attack.  The man seems surprised, but manages to catch himself in a normal guard.

"Get off your ass!"  The older man barks as he pushes makes his way to the side of the tent pole.

"I'm dying!"  The younger, loud man response, still lying on his back, though he is slowly kicking himself away from where Sajaa stands.

<green>OOC:  Sorry for the long period of lag here, I think I may finally be set enough in the new house to start a normalish posting schedule.

As to the hero point, I don't normally allow it to be used to reroll other character's rolls, only to reroll your own.  In this case, it was a moot point since the pregenerated character had combat reflexes and didn't need the IQ roll.  So your foe was ready, and your attack was parried.  Despite all your bonuses, I managed to roll a failure on your retreating parry, and spent your hero point to keep you from taking damage.  Your beat may have been mildly successful, though it doesn't seem to have overwhelmed your foe's defenses.

On the plus side, the first guy you hit seems to have no inclination to rejoin the fight and is merely scooting himself away towards the south.

Rough battle map below.  The older man is still standing in the tent, though he has the flap pushed to the side so you can both see each other.  The second man is prone with his legs in the grid space immediately north of the hex he is depicted in.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:33, Wed 14 July.

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 25 posts
Mon 12 Jul 2021
at 16:53
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Parrying the grizzled man’s ferocious swing sends a shock wave down the length of Sajaa's blade and numbs her weapon arm to the bone!  It does not escape her how close she came to missing the attack and how dead she would have been if she had. She murmurs a prayer of thanks to Allah, but, judging by her opponents quick reflexes and skilled swordplay, Sajaa knows she is up against a veteran warrior and will need God’s help yet some more if she is to see another sunrise…

The instant she bats the man’s blade aside with a steely clang, Sajaa rips her sword in a vicious back-handed swing, starting low, but veering upward at the last second, to exploit the millisecond it will take the man to raise his guard back into position…

”Why die for a dead tyrant?!” Sajaa snarls as she presses her attack…  ”Think of your family, Man!”

OOC: Sajaa will attempt a deceptive cutting attack for (random body part). She will reduce her 16 skill to 14 in hopes of lowering her opponent’s active defense by 1. Hopefully, if that is added to her prior ‘beat’ reduction (if one exists), her attack will make it through. Her defense will be retreating fencing parry (if you allow a +3 for retreating parry) or if you do not, a retreating dodge.  If her first defense fails, (and if you allow this, I don’t have my books on me), she convert her action to an all out defense and execute a retreating dodge.  If she is forced to retreat, she will try to retreat AWAY from the fallen injured man.  She is also glancing about to see if there is a source of fire nearby, the campfire behind her, a nearby lantern, as, if the man retreats further into the tent, she is considering trying to ignite the tent.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:06, Mon 12 July.

 GM, 1942 posts
Wed 14 Jul 2021
at 00:23
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa's thoughts are seeded with doubts as her initial attack fails to produce the effects she is looking for and she nearly fails her own defense.  Yet she cannot stop, she has chosen her fate!

Seeking to sew doubts of her own in the older man, Sajaa jibes him as she sails her sword in, redirecting at the last moment to a higher target on his chest.

As she had hoped, his blocking strike is far too low to be effective and her sword tears at the leathers on his arm, slashing a thin red stripe on his bicep.

Her voice however, seems to be what has the greatest effect on him.

"Ajmal"  He shouts at the top of his voice as he slashes his sword forward again, a blow that Sajaa easily bats aside.

"It's her!  The hundred Dinar is mine if you don't get off your ass!"

The younger man simply moans in response, still kicking himself away from the fight as he cradles his right arm.

OOC:  You landed a light blow across the older man's left arm.  His attack was was parried by you this time without any trouble.  The fire is as depicted on the map, though there aren't any of the sleeping rolls outside the tent and the horses would be just at the Eastern edge of the brown patch.  So, if for instance, you wanted to dip your sword into the fire and flick a coal onto the tent, you would be able to do that with a step and attack maneuver, though it wouldn't fall under a normal sword skill.

Hopefully, this map is a little less onerous.

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 28 posts
Wed 14 Jul 2021
at 01:47
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa manages to draw first blood against the grizzled bounty-hunter, but frowns when he shrugs off the wound as though it were a mere scratch.  Worse, by the glitter in his eyes it is clear that avarice is his motivation and he is unlikely to give up so easily.

”A hundred dinar? HA!”” She laughs mockingly through her veil, even as she is side-stepping away from the low burning fire.  ”Is that all your life is worth?!  I’ve a hundred times that hidden upstream, thanks to my generous late-husband.  And half of it is yours for the black mare and an hour’s head start!”  Even as she speaks the words, it occurs to her that the meek Sajaa of yesterday has been replaced by someone entirely new...

She flicks her blade at the man’s hawkish face, trying to make him flinch.

OOC: Move a step northwest as seen on the map (that is, provided the terrain in the picture is NOT a stone wall, but in fact, the area is open). Execute a FEINT.  Defense will be fencing retreat parry.  NEXT turn, unless circumstances change significantly, her attack will be an Extra Effort THRUST for his vitals.  Defense as before.
 GM, 1945 posts
Thu 15 Jul 2021
at 17:08
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
It is an odd thing how one small change can cause ripple effects through time and space that affect much greater things.  In one second, the wingstroke of a butterfly disturbs air currents, and weeks later through only natural phenomenon it results in a tornado that crushes a small town.

It is such with Sajaa.

Only a week ago she had been a dutiful daughter.  She loved her father hand her family.  She had rejoiced in Allah's will and let it come as it would.  She had been good.

The flap of the butterfly wings, in Sajaa's case had been a simple choice:  She would not be wed to Aarif.  That had led her to slay Aarif in their wedding bed, steal his things, and flee her home. Now, Sajaa was and outcast, a murderer, a thief, and a wanted woman.

A week ago, Daud-al-Sadat had been an aging man with want for little.  Because Sajaa had decided she would not wed Aarif, he would soon be dead.

Daud swats his sword at Sajaa again, a blow which she easily bats away as she retreats another step backwards.  Her own sword comes down in a wide arc, the blow meant to take Daud out of his guard position and Sajaa grins widely as her tactic works.  The man's weapon comes up and well out of position and Sajaa follows the blow up immediately with a vicious thrust straight for the man's chest.

Daud's attempt to return his guard is too little too late and the saber tears straight through the man's ribcage, biting deep between the bones.  The man registers shock as most of his body goes limp, sagging backwards to the ground where he falls just short of the tent opening, his short sword spilling out of his grip.  Sajaa retrieves her own sword back to a guard, the blade tip slicked with a half a foot of bright crimson.  The man coughs, and blood slicks his lips and spills from his wounds.

Several yards away, the other man is still moaning...

OOC:  Sajaa scored a life-threatening injury to the older man's vitals.  He is stunned and supine.  The other man is still rolling around on the ground like a useless lump.  I won't say that the rest of the fight is a completely foregone conclusion, but I don't think you need to post in seconds any more.  Just let me know what you want to do and I'll fast forward until something drastic changes.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:02, Mon 19 July.

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 30 posts
Thu 15 Jul 2021
at 18:44
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
As Sajaa pulls the blade from the old man’s guts and watches him collapse, she steps backwards and shakes her hijab-covered head.

”One hundred dinar.” She says with a sigh, giving a flick of the blade to fling the blood from its tip.

Still wary there may be some fight left in the older man, Sajaa kicks his sword aside and then approaches the younger who is crab-crawling away, hugging a bloody arm to his chest.  Though she has doubts as to the old man’s chances, this younger one, she is sure, could survive this.  He probably has a family back home.  A young wife or two.   Children, even.  Parents - that is if the dying man is not his father -- to support and honor. A long life to live.

Sajaa knows the smart thing to do is to kill them both.  To leave them for the crows and the buzzards.  As long as they live, there is a chance they could do something to thwart her efforts to get away, even if only to tell others what happened and which direction she went.  Or over time, they may decide to come after her again, to avenge their humiliating defeats. It must sting them smartly to have been bested by a woman.

”You.”  Sajaa says, stepping such that she cuts off the younger man’s crawling retreat.  Her voice is cold and far more confident than she is feeling.  ”Where is the nearest river crossing? Speak truthfully and I might allow you to live.”

This message was last edited by the player at 18:50, Thu 15 July.

 GM, 1949 posts
Mon 19 Jul 2021
at 13:16
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Once Daud has been sent to the ground, dead or dying, Sajaa turns her attention towards the younger man.  Ajmal, the old man had called him, had by now pushed his way to a sitting position, though he still held his right arm with his left.  By now his blood had crept all over his stomach and hips, not to mention a widening streak of crimson on dust he had pushed himself through, making it difficult to see where his wound really was.

Sajaa flicked her sword, sending a few drips of blood flying off towards the ground.

"Crossing?"  Ajmal answers her, his voice cracking slightly as he winces with pain.  "We never planned to cross.  I wouldn't know.  There's nothing beyond that river but heathens and unbelievers."
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 31 posts
Mon 19 Jul 2021
at 13:35
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa frowns. Though she originally intended to swim the river anyway, either by herself or by aid of a makeshift raft -- and believes she can do it, even with the horses -- it would have been far easier if there was a bridge or ford she could traverse, instead.

She glances back over to the older man. Will you hurry up and die, already?! She thinks to herself. And then she looks back at the younger.

"Take off your sandals." She commands, taking a menacing step forward and pointing the tip of her blade.

"Do you have a wife, Ajmal? Children? What are their names?"

This message was last edited by the player at 13:38, Mon 19 July.

 GM, 1952 posts
Mon 19 Jul 2021
at 15:00
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Ajmal kicks off his sandals, sending them a few feet towards Sajaa's direction.

"I am not wed."  Ajmal answers Sajaa, finally looking up to meet her gaze as he huddles himself all the tighter into a ball, holding his injured arm against his knees.  "My father is dead and left me nothing.  I have no name and no legacy with which to gain a wife."
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 32 posts
Mon 19 Jul 2021
at 22:35
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
”No wife, no children, no father and no legacy.” Sajaa shakes her head with pity.  She stoops to gather the man’s sandals, her sword still poised at Ajmal’s chest.

”Nothing to swear on so that I spare your life?” She asks.  ”What about Allah?  Do you swear in the Name of God Himself, that you shall never, ever tell anyone that we met?  That you shall lie and say you and the old man were assaulted by bandits?”

She steps over and drops the sandals into the fire, then pokes them further into the embers with her sword to expedite their ignition.

"Swear it and convince me that you are not lying, or I shall run you through without another word."

OOC: How's the old guy doing?

This message was last edited by the player at 10:04, Tue 20 July.

 GM, 1954 posts
Sat 24 Jul 2021
at 14:05
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
"Nothing to swear on so that I spare your life?"

Comprehension dawns in Ajmal's face and he begins to nod his head eagerly through his shock.

"Yes!  Yes, I swear by Allah!  He shall know my promise!  And I swear on the prophet!  Anything you wish!  I swear we were assaulted by bandits!  Foreigners!"

Ajmal watches and holds his still oozing arm as Sajaa walks over to the fire, dropping the sandals in and stirring the coals so that the thick strips of beaten leather catch flame.

Sajaa glances back over at Ajmal, who's face is laced with confusion to mix with his fear.

Sajaa has a distinct impression that Ajmal may be rather slow-minded.

Ajmal notices Sajaa's returned glance and rips his eyes away, staring off into the dirt some half dozen feet to the side as he grips his arm close.

"Anything."  Ajmal repeats, though his voice now is almost hollow, his posture dejected.

Pity is not a thing that comes to Sajaa easily...  Stupid, strong, and prideful men are certainly not the the people who would normally stir it.  However, it is clear to see in Ajmal's case that if he did tell that he and Daud had been bested by her, a single woman, his legacy would not improve.  He probably had nothing to gain by telling the truth.

Sajaa spares a glance for the older man, still lying on the ground, unmoving as a small pool of his own blood grows near where his chest hits the ground.

OOC:  Daud is unconscious, dead, or doing a very good job playing possum.  If you want to get more specifics you can walk over and check him (roll against first aid).  Don't feel obligated to do it just since I suggested it though.  It seems clear that he is not a threat, especially if you keep your distance.
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 33 posts
Sun 25 Jul 2021
at 17:04
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa looks down at the bleeding simpleton groveling in the dirt.  She has nothing to gain by letting the youth live, but, for some reason cannot bring herself to kill him in cold blood.  How can she blame him for joining in the hunt for her -- he a penniless wretch without prospects who is offered a hundred dinar for her head?

”Very well, Ajmal.  You have sworn to Allah Himself and shall burn for all eternity if you break your promise.  Turn over, then.  And place your hands behind your back.  I need you tied while I make my getaway, but I shall also bind your injury so that you do not bleed to death.  If you make any sudden movements, I shall gut you with this sword.”

OOC: If you want to fast forward things, the plan is, keeping an eye on the old guy now and then, will find something from the camp, ie, tent ropes, etc; to securely tie Ajmal’s wrists behind his back.  I will also bind his wounds.  I will then go over to the old man and run him through with the sword to be sure he is dead. My goal, then, is to take all the food and water, wolfing down a quick meal, then scrounge the camp for anything else of value, ie, money, decent weapons, etc.  The remaining weapons I shall fling into the river.  I shall remove the dead man’s shoes, too and burn those in the fire.  Then the plan is to take both horses, riding one and leading one in tandem.  My goal is to collect my other belongings, then ride downstream, yet, once out of sight, will circle around and head upstream in a wide manner to throw him off the direction I am going.  I’m happy to play this out, but if you want to advance the scene feel free.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:35, Mon 26 July.

 GM, 1958 posts
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 15:53
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Ajmal nods furtively as Sajaa gives her direction.  Once she is finished, Ajmal rolls over on his stomach, places his hands behind his back (his right one moving gingerly) as he whimpers slightly.  Finding a handful of chord that is lying atop one of the packs, Sajaa wraps a few tight rounds around his wrists before squaring it off with a simple hitch.

Sajaa also makes an attempt to bind the man's injuries.  Using a bandage from one of the packs, Sajaa wraps the wound a few times... though the cloth quickly bleeds through.  Unsure what else to do, Sajaa ties the bandage off.  She had never really been the best at tending to injuries, Nadeera had always been more skilled than her, learning from mother while Sajaa had been play stick-fighting.

Sajaa stands up, retrieves her sword, and walks over to Daud, who she runs through one more time just to be certain.

"No!"  Ajmal shouts from behind her.  Sajaa turns her head to see Ajmal staring at her, pushing himself up to his knees using his cheek.  "You liar!  You just wanted to tie me so you could kill us both!"

OOC:  You didn't really have anything in your stuff to either bandage or tie up Ajmal, so I figured it made sense for you to do a quick run through the packs before binding him up.  You are 4 hexes away from Ajmal, and facing the other direction.  He has pushed his way to his knees, though his hands are still tied behind his back.  Don't worry about combat rounds, just tell me what you want to do.

Searching the packs - here's the gear you come up with:  (probably not pertinent just yet, but so you can come up with a plan for what you want to take.)

3xBandages (1 used to bandage Ajmal)
12x Traveling Rations
2xWater Skins
1 pt. Oil
2xPersonal Basics
1x2 man tent (erected)
10 yards 90 lbs cord (used to tie up Ajmal)
Fish hooks and line
1xShort sword
1xLong knife
$150 in coin
2xArab horses
2 sets Equestrian gear (bit/bridle, saddle)

Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 34 posts
Tue 27 Jul 2021
at 16:45
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
A wicked light flares in Sajaa's eyes at the youth's words. She turns from the dead body and moves quickly to stand before Ajmal, placing the point of her sword lightly against his throat.

"Call me a liar again!" She hisses, her bosoms rising and falling in scarce suppressed rage.

OOC: Presuming Ajmal doesn't continue to insult Sajaa (at which point she will run him through), and he shuts up, Sajaa will collect the following: 12x Traveling Rations
2x water Skins, 2 blankets, 1 pt. oil, 1x personal basics, 1x hatchet, 1x backpack, remainder of cord (which she'll use to tether the trailing horse), 1 long knife and $150 in coin. She'll throw the shortsword far across into the river. She'll saddle up both animals, load the gear into saddlebags if available, then tether the horses and ride off with them as detailed prior, retrieving her own stashed gear and traveling in a misleading direction to throw Ajmal off.

GM edit for action alignment

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:38, Wed 28 July.

 GM, 1961 posts
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 00:52
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa turns and threatens the man, her sword in hand as she takes a quick step to close the gap but to her surprise Ajmal does not cower again, instead he staggers to his feet and begins to run, despite his bare feet and tied hands.

OOC:  Ajmal managed to get a bit of a jump on you and has already started run.  He doesn't seem to be headed towards the horses, but simply away from you.  You can chase after him, let him go, or do anything else you wish.
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 35 posts
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 11:24
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
So like a stupid fool of a man! Sajaa thinks to herself as she gives a shake of her head and pelts after Ajmal with all speed. There is no way she is going to let the idiot get away if he has a prayer of a chance of foiling her escape. Not now when she is so close to the river and almost across the border.

The sins, the brutality, the cruelty, the criminality, are coming easier and easier for Sajaa in her desperate state. She is growing comfortable with the creature she is becoming... There is a certain, wild sense of freedom she has never before known. It is ... exhilarating!

"As you wish!" She snarls under her breath, murder in her heart...

OOC: Sajaa will sprint after the man. If she can catch up to his flank and he does not turn to face her, she will execute an All Out +4 Telegraphic extra effort slashing attack to his neck.  If he falls, she will continue hacking and stabbing him until he is dead. If he turns to engage her, she will make a regular slashing attack at random body part and her defense will be retreat aggressive parry.

This message was last edited by the player at 11:09, Thu 29 July.

 GM, 1969 posts
Sun 1 Aug 2021
at 20:16
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
Sajaa's nostril's flare as she leaps after Ajmal!  How dare he insult her after she has spared his life!

Her feet pound on the hard dirt as she runs after the man.  She knows she does not have much left...  She is tired, hungry, exhausted...  But she wants this man's blood.  Slowly, Sajaa gains on Ajmal.  She is faster, but barely.  She is a few yards behind... a few feet...

Ajmal looks back, his face contorted in fear as he swaddles his bloodied arm in the other.

Sajaa clenches her jaw as she hurls the last of her energy into her saber, cutting a wide arc across the back of his shoulders and his neck.

Ajmal makes a desperate attempt to save himself... but he never has a chance.

Blood rockets from the wound as Sajaa feels her blade cut clean through the back of his neck, stopping only at the bone.  Ajmal reaches back with an arm as his legs and neck seem to cease to function.  Still moving at top speed, Ajmal collapses to his knees for the briefest of moments before his body surges forward, smashing his face and chest into the hard ground below.

Sajaa takes a moment to slow herself, her chest heaving, her sari covered with blood for the umpteenth time... in a few short days...  But Ajmal does not so much as move.

OOC:  That was a turn of excellent rolling.  You nailed the attack roll and rolled max damage, causing a major wound to Ajmal's neck, who has collapsed due to his cumulative injuries and is unconscious.  You have just gone to half ST/Move/Dodge due to being below 1/3 FP, but it hardly matters at this point.  With both your foes unconscious, your trip across the Makarem is essentially assured, so this is as good a place as any to wrap up the thread.  Feel free to write up a closing post and check the gear you want to take from the previous list.  If you don't add any updates I'll just bring over the equipment that you previously mentioned.
Sajaa al-Kassem
 player, 38 posts
Mon 2 Aug 2021
at 12:34
Chapter 26:  My Life Before I Knew It
It takes only two more hard chops for Sajaa to sever Ajmal’s head from his shoulders.

And then, yet another murder committed, she sinks to the ground on her back and lays there spread-eagled for a long while, staring up into dawn’s sky.  Hot tears spill down the sides of her face.

O Allah, what have I become?!

‘If she be a true Muslim’, so preached the Mullah to Sajaa long ago when she had sought his counsel after misbehaving as a child, ‘A woman can still be admitted to Paradise if she can find a way to atone for her sins.’  But Sajaa knows, to survive the perils that lie ahead of her, she is going to have to commit many more sins in the future and it will be next to impossible to atone for them all.  And, too, she is beginning to seriously doubt if she is a ‘true’ Muslim, at all.  True Muslims are good daughters -- good sisters -- good wives -- good people.

I am none of these things. She thinks, bitterly.

Slowly the sun begins to rise above the eastern horizon warming the chill from the air.  A shadow passes across her face, and Sajaa opens her eyes to see a pair of buzzards circling above her.  It occurs to her she has dozed.  With a groan, she climbs stiffly to her feet and brushes the dust off her robes.  She takes up the sword and limps back to the camp. She rummages through the dead men’s belongings and finds food and tears into it ravenously. She finds coin and camping supplies and tucks them away into the saddlebags.

The sun is well above the horizon by the time she climbs up into the saddle of the black mare, the bay gelding in tandem behind her.

With gentle words and a soft nudge, she gets the horses moving slowly north toward the ribbon of gold that is the Makarem.  Beyond it lies Megalos, the land of the heathens…

Al Nihaya

This message was last edited by the player at 16:52, Mon 02 Aug.