The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis. The day would be blistering, and young Captain Mamude knew he would need to make the most of the shade and waters in their brief stop here if he had any hope of getting his prisoners to the Protector before midweek.
Eri Mamude was a competent officer, and he carried on in his family’s long tradition of service and loyalty to the Sultanate. His father had been Chamberlin to the late monarch, and he himself had shown so much promise that he quickly rose to be a Band Leader, or Captain, in the elite Storm Riders. His superiors universally trusted him and saw him as a safe pair of hands. This was especially true to his commander, Ral the Protector.
Mamude was a slight built man, with large expressive eyes, but no one should have mistaken these “gentle” features as signs of weakness. Mamude the Younger as he was often called had the heart of a lion and the stamina of a camel.
The civil war had caught him off guard. His father had been implicated in the assassination of the Sultan, a crime he knew his father would have never committed, and he himself was under suspicion. It was only because of the Protector of the North’s confidence in him that he had not been sent to Prince Yaqub to face the trial, and invariably a torturous death.
Before the full outbreak of war, Ral’s ability to protect him was limited, so his commander thought it expedient to send the young Eri to patrol the deserts. Since the conflict had escalated and having already mastered the patrol routes, Mamude had continued on as an executive officer of the force sent to enforce the Ral’s emergency edict on the limiting of foreign interference in Ralulee affairs.
He now looked at his captives, and found them to be a far cry from the seasoned mercenaries which had been reported to him. All were young, and even the oldest, the raven-haired woman in the Farlandian dress, was no older than thirty in his estimation. They were, however, to be escorted under guard to the Ral for judgement.
First Line Friday: The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis.