Three and only Three

A trip through the wilds go haywire at the presence of a magical lamp.

The largely unexplored, untamed lands of the Northern Rockies include Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.
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Altair Tahir
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Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:10 am

The train rolled into the station on time. The conductor let the horn ring out as he tugged it downward signaling their arrival not only to the patrons on the train but to the workers at the station. As it rolled to a stop and the doors were opened wide so were the opportunities to those who got off here. The west was still wild in places and trains did not travel everywhere yet across the grand expanse. Arrangements for guides could be made in advance but were not always promised. Fortunately for an elf looking to relocate and for a man who picked up that sort of work they had come to a compromise.

As the elf took his leave of the train so did something take a leap into his luggage. One of the bell boys knocked over a few bags the contents spilling. In his rush to place everything back in as well as possible he slipped an small oil lamp into his bag that did not belong there. He would replace the tag on the outside and set it outside of the train as usual. The bell boy was none the wiser but soon enough others would be.
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Amirariah Rasmenn
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Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:50 pm

The sun burned and the air was warm, and Amirariah took a big breath of it all as he stepped off the train and onto the platform.

What a place! This was not his first trip to Colorado, but it was a welcome change every time, since he had to travel through the busy Eastern cities to get there. New York and Boston and all those places were too frenetic, too tightly packed, and too cold for his liking. The West almost reminded him of home in some ways. Particularly the deserts of Nevada and the southern part of Colorado, where the sand dunes weren’t quite tall enough to be the Western Sahara, but they were as close as he was going to get in America.

Indeed, he was en route to southern Colorado now, where a large tract of land awaited him. A savvy negotiator, he had convinced the relevant parties in the state and federal governments to cut the Seraph Corporation a nice acreage of land in the desert. It wasn’t as if anyone had plans for the region, while the Ramadi elves would have no trouble working there. It would be cooler than they were used to, in fact.

Most of his belongings had had to be shipped over water and then carried over land by freight train, so all Ami had was a single burgundy suitcase that contained clothes and other essentials. He collected the bag from the bell boy and then waited on the platform. The man he had retained to escort him to the south was nearby or would arrive shortly. Ami would be easily spotted; he was the only curly-haired, brown-skinned individual who would be stepping foot off the passenger train that day. Much less a curly-haired, brown-skinned elf. And much less one dressed in a snappy suit.

He shuffled off to the side and waited, while giving the occasional greeting to curious passersby.
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Gabriel Santerre
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Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:05 am

Gabriel was running a little behind schedule, which was a state of affairs he detested. And it was small comfort that the lateness was minor, and not really his -- or anyone's -- fault. Horses' hooves sometimes picked up stones, and sometimes those stones badly bruised the softer, fleshy part known as the frog. It was just sheer mischance that such had happened when he was halfway to the train station with the wagon. And, as the former Templar was not a man to work a lame horse, that mischance had forced a return to the livery, where the injured animal had been swapped out for a fresh one.

Fortunately, he'd allowed some extra time in case of delays, so he was almost back to the depot by the time the whistle of the arriving train sounded. Then, of course, had come the necessity of navigating the buckboard through all the other traffic coming to meet the 'iron horse.' On Caramel he could have managed it with ease -- and the big bay courser tethered to the wagon snorted as if to remind him of that fact -- but Mr. Rasmenn had indicated in his communications that he had too much to transport to make that feasible.

Half a block from the station, Gabriel finally abandoned hope of forcing his way into the tangle of drays and heavy coaches there ahead of him. He didn't even particularly want to, as he wasn't sure if he'd be able to make it back out again. Reining back and setting the brake, he hopped down and hitched the cart horse to a convenient post, switching to shanks' mare.

Inside the station, passengers, porters, and other people bustled to and fro, and it took him a moment to spot his client. When he did, he paused for a second, blinking, hand drifting unconsciously toward the hilt of his sword before he caught himself and shifted it away. It had been a very long time, and the man was dressed in what Gabriel took to be a very nice suit, but Rasmenn looked every inch a Saracen. Which didn't necessarily mean that he was, or that it mattered, it was just ... startling.

Giving a little mental shrug, Gabriel strode forward, extending his hand. "Mr. Rasmenn? I'm Gabriel Santerre." After a slight pause, he added, "marHaban."*

* 'greetings' in Arabic
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Amirariah Rasmenn
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Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:29 pm

As far as Amirariah was concerned, the man was on time, which Ami appreciated greatly. For him, being on time was one of the clearest ways to show someone that you valued their time and effort. So he approached Gabriel with a smile, meeting him somewhere around halfway with a hand extended in greeting. Ami was going to respond to Gabriel’s greeting in English, but then the man added a common greeting in Arabic. That was a pleasant surprise, at least for Ami. “MarHaban,” he responded, clearly taken off guard. “Hal tatakallamu alloghah alarabiah?”*

Whether the man spoke Arabic would be quite easily seen by whether he responded to the query in Arabic. Either way, it wasn’t a big deal to Ami; he just liked being able to speak in a tongue that was slightly better known to him. Along that same vein, Gabriel was both right about Ami’s origins and he wasn’t. Up close, it would be easier to see Ami’s pointed ears. The elf clan Ami was from often traded with nearby Arabic peoples, but they all practiced a more elflike spirituality that predated Islam; so depending on Gabriel’s precise definition of “Saracen,” it could go either way.

Ami was oblivious to all that, of course, and it would show in the easy and relaxed way he regarded Gabriel, far more friendly than aloof. “Shall we?” he asked, using English regardless of Gabriel’s response, since they were surrounded by people who would probably be suspicious of a foreign language. “It’s rather crowded here, isn’t it?”

If Gabriel led the way, Ami would follow him back to the cart, carrying his overloaded suitcase with a bit too much ease, and do as Gabriel instructed in order to quickly get their trip under way.


*Do you speak Arabic?
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Gabriel Santerre
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:35 am

Stemming from the Crusader he had once been, Gabriel's definition of Saracen was an imprecise mix of race and religion. To him Saracens were Muslims, but Persians and Turks, though of that faith, were not Saracens. They were predominantly Arabs, but the Kurd known as Salah ad-Din was a Saracen, while Arab Christians such as the Melkites were not. By those lights, Ami was by no means actually a Saracen -- he simply looked like one. The exception was the ears, but never having met an elf before the ex-Templar didn't recognize what they meant.

"'afeala, walakun jiddaan ... alnusyan," Gabriel replied to Ami's question, the odd phrasing and archaic accent that came through on the longer sentence confirming the words. He'd once been fluent enough to carry on a conversation, but was rusty and glad enough to switch back to English to say, "yes, this way."

Ami's comment about the crowds they were navigating through brought a nod of agreement. "It's even worse outside," he said. "I hope you don't mind a short walk, I left the buckboard a little distance away rather than get caught in the traffic. We'll have to collect the shipment you mentioned in your telegram, though. Was it on this train also?"


*"I do, but it is very ... forgotten."
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Amirariah Rasmenn
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Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:28 am

Answering Gabriel’s comment with a nod, Ami decided to spare the man and keep to English. “In that case, I appreciate the effort, sir. It’s pleasant to hear familiar sounds so far from home.” Ami tended to be very pleasant most of the time, so even if he seemed to be too casual toward Gabriel already, it was only because he liked the man. He liked anyone who wasn’t trying to swindle him, and so far, Gabriel seemed to be an upright sort to him.

“A short walk is fine, sir. It sounds as though stopping far away was the better option,” Ami observed. “The shipment is in its own freight car, yes. It’s no trouble; I’ll have some of the bellboys help us move it to the wagon.”

That is exactly what they did, although instead a pair of station hands, both burlier than the bellboys. helped load the items into the buckboard. A short time later, they were on their way, plodding down the road. Fortunately they had made good enough time to beat the rest of the traffic. Gabriel’s idea of not getting tangled in that had been on point; those carriages and coaches were still trying to figure out what was what.

Ami sat next to Gabriel at the driver’s seat, meaning to keep up a bit of conversation as they traveled. “So, from where did you learn your Arabic, Mr. Santerre?” Ami asked, still a bit fascinated by this topic. Gabriel did not look very old to him, so his learning and then unlearning of the language was quite the mystery.

Just behind them, Ami’s suitcase hopped around a bit next to the larger household items, jarred occasionally by the rough road.
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Gabriel Santerre
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Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:28 pm

Gabriel glanced over his shoulder to double-check the items in the buckboard's cargo area. He wasn't a carter by trade, much preferring a saddle to a seat, but he'd picked up enough while escorting wagons to do a competent job of it. He could drive a single or a two-horse team, and he knew the importance of balancing and strapping loads. He also knew that no matter how well secured a load was – and the station hands had done a very professional job – the rattling of the cart might always knock something loose.

He didn’t see anything that concerned him, but that hadn't been his main purpose in looking. His main purpose had been to buy time to think of an answer to Ami's question. While his circumstances meant that he could not afford to always be perfectly honest, he preferred to avoid lying when he could.

"I traveled in Outremer when I was much younger," Gabriel said when he turned back forward again. "But I have not been back for many years and have had no call to speak it otherwise." His words were truthful, albeit somewhat deceptive. "What part are you from?" he asked, hoping to turn the conversation away from himself.
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Amirariah Rasmenn
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:57 pm

At the sound of the term “Outremer,” Ami couldn’t help raising an eyebrow. That was a… rather classical term. Almost antiquated, indeed. He still heard it used occasionally, usually in French, but you generally didn’t use that term without either exposing yourself as an academic or really, really dating yourself. Ami’s suspicions about this old soldier being more than he seemed began to grow, but also, it didn’t matter much to Ami who Gabriel was, as long as he was friendly.

“The Maghreb,” Ami answered, choosing as usual to give a vague response ahead of a more specific one. “Trade city of Larian.” This was the hometown of the Ramadi elves, although they had not been known as elves until very recently. Gabriel’s cognizance of that fact would depend on how much he kept up with world news.

“So then you made your way out to the American West, I take it?” Ami asked, since he was fairly certain Gabriel did not want to talk at length about his past, and Ami was hardly the sort to pressure anyone about anything.
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Gabriel Santerre
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:47 pm

Gabriel nodded in understanding. He'd heard of the area, though he'd never traveled farther east in northern Africa than some forays into Egypt. In his view it was the homeland of the Moors who, despite the derogatory term 'blackamoor' for Negroes, weren't all dark-skinned. He'd even met a few Moors himself, including fighting them alongside the Order of Calatrava when those Knights Militant expelled them from Spain during the Reconquista. The area had been called the Barbary Coast when he'd left Europe, and had apparently still borne that name when the Americans had thrashed the pirate states there some sixty years ago. It had still belonged to the Ottomans then, but that Empire had been shrinking for centuries, so he didn't venture to guess whether they still held it.

"Yes," he said in answer to Ami's question. Having left the outskirts of the town behind, they were traveling through open countryside and he made an expansive gesture toward the scenery they were passing through. The former Templar smiled, "Can you blame -- "

A thump from the cargo area of the buckboard interrupted him and he glanced over his shoulder, quickly realizing what had happened. Ami's bag had been packed toward the front, walled in with larger luggage and boxes so it wouldn't fall out, but the fit wasn't snug and it had tipped over, spilling some of its contents.

Zut," Gabriel swore mildly, drawing back on the reins.
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Altair Tahir
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:35 pm

When the suitcase had been tipped over the contents spilling there would be a new item that had not been there before. An intricate lamp that looked vaguely middle-eastern in design with a top that would open to place oil on the inside. There was dirt in the edges of the scrolls as if it had came from a place of dust. As it settled into the bottom of the carriage there was a thud. It spun on its side the silver glinting in what little light reached it.

Like a stray thought in the minds of those present the moment it landed it let forth a calling. An intense need to touch it, to wipe the dirt off of it, to examine it closer. After all it was beautiful. Intricate and sleek in its design with the appearance of polished silver.
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