Aruf didn’t have much (Even the character he was named after wasn’t as well known as some of the others) but he was determined that his lowly birth would not stop him from achieving his dreams. Indeed he had studied how the nobility had conducted themselves and often thought of how it would be like to have such a status. While being a noble may never come true, perhaps there was still a way of gaining at least some of that good life through determination and focus.
Always being a wheeler and dealer, he decided that he would buy his way into high society, but first he’d have to amass his wealth. As they say though, you have to spend money to make money. Aruf spent what little money he had to buy goods that will bring a fortune outside of Arabia. He had heard that India might be a good target, he just had to make the journey to reap the profits.
Once he achieved this goal, he would move on to pursue others.
You’ve got two cities you need to visit. Gaya, which is in India and Serendib which is on an island off the coast of India (Sri Lanka). Have an encounter in both cities and remain their for the end of your turn in both and you’ll complete your quest.
You’re currently in Baghdad, presumably you’re heading towards India, though which city you’re heading towards first is up to you.
Current Quest: Merchant
Quests to be completed: Contest for Marriage, The Gourmet
Bargaining & Evaluation
Aruf made his way to Shiraz as the first step of his journey. He really hadn't traveled so far from home before, so he was wary of bandits potentially attacking him in the wilderness the whole time.
Fortunately his journey to the next bit of civilization was uneventful, however he had reached the city at night and it turned out this place had more people who would do him harm than in the wilderness. He encountered a Wicked Thief!
"Baba didn't kill all of us."
You got the following options:
Punish, Aid, Rob, Question, Attack, Abduct or Hire
Like a thief in the night
Aruf’s ability to dazzle the criminal with the potential promise of more riches was actually enough to intrigue the thief long enough for him to listen. Indeed perhaps this proposal might have gone somewhere if the thief wasn’t currently being searched for by the city guards.
“Shit! That’s the guards, get out of here or they’ll chop your hands off too just for speaking with me!” the thief warned and ran off.
Aruf, not wishing to lose any part of his body, heeded the advice of the thief and ran off as well. Fortunately it was dark, so the guards hadn’t even seen him. Still Aruf was annoyed by a ruined opportunity.
Lose 1 Destiny, Gain 1 Story
Not wishing to spend any more time in this city, Aruf left Shiraz immediately the next day to continue his journey.
After some traveling he found himself in a small dirty village near a valley. There was shit everywhere, truly this land was foul.
Before he could proceed however, one of the villagers spoke to him. Aruf tried to move far enough away so as not to be in danger of being touched in any way.
“Hey wait, you’re not going in the valley are you?” the man asked.
“It’s the best way to get to Gaya is it not?” Aruf responded.
“Well yeah it’s the quickest, but it might not be the best. That’s the Valley of Dogs. Why do you think there’s dog shit all over this village?”
“I figured it was human.”
“What? This isn’t one of the big cities where we just shit outside our front door! We shit in that river way over there. Much cleaner!”
“But isn’t that where you get your water?”
Yes, this was truly a foul land.
Aruf dispensed with explaining the concepts of proper hygiene as this peasant wouldn’t get it anyway. Still, a question was in order.
“Why the hell are you just letting dogs shit in your village?”
“We don’t have much choice, there’s a lot of them. I mean A LOT. Any past attempts to hunt them all down have failed and they just retaliated. They all live in that valley, but they travel here to shit. Anyway, go in there if you want stranger, but the dogs rule that area and you know how territorial dogs are. And…uh there might be some other things in there as well.”
“Um, well some people went mad and started living with the dogs, even acting like them.”
“So some of that shit IS human then.”
“Well okay yeah some of it is.”
This picture would be funnier if they were Corgis
Aruf pondered how he wanted to approach this situation.
Choices are Avoid, Pray, Attack, Bargain, Examine, Enter, Seek aid, and Aid
You’re pregnant with what?
Aruf didn’t want to take a longer detour from his destination so he was determined to go through that valley. Still, he wondered if there might not be a way to get something out of this, maybe helping could prove to be lucrative. Gaining a safe and shorter trade route would definitely help in the long run after all.
He just had to be dominant, after all dogs respond well to such things don’t they? As for the mad men, they couldn’t be that bad off could they? Maybe they all just needed someone to convince them to return to civilization.
Having made his decision, Aruf marched into the valley as the man he was speaking to shook his head and made his way to the river to take a shit.
Aruf’s trek through the valley was one of confidence. He saw several dogs in the distance watch over him from various elevated areas, but none of them approached. Perhaps they saw him as an alpha of sorts, or perhaps they just weren’t hungry. In any case, the dogs didn’t bother Aruf.
Further ahead though eventually Aruf encountered a man dressed in tatters and furs. This was undoubtedly one of the mad dog men the villager warned him about, but Aruf was determined to try to reach out to him.
“Hey…” was all Aruf was able to get out before the man interrupted with a series of snarls, growls and a claim that he was pregnant with puppies.
Before Aruf could even question this strangeness, the man was foaming at the mouth and attacked forcing Aruf to cut him down. Fortunately Aruf didn’t get bit as it was obvious this man had rabies.
(Still wasn’t sure what the puppy pregnancy claims were all about though)
For the rest of his journey through the valley Aruf eliminated any more ideas about aiding any of these diseased folks and cautiously avoided any more of them.
Gain 1 Destiny. Gain 1 Story.
Djinni and Drag Queens
At last Aruf had arrived in Gaya which was filled with vile hijras. Mentally ill men who insisted they were women. It was a disturbing condition that was wide spread here. Between this and mad men claiming they were pregnant with puppies, all Aruf could think of is “What the fuck is wrong with India and their fucked up shit?”
Still, these lot had tons of spare money to spend due to cornering the market on fooling all the ignorant peasants that they were somehow magical (along with not having to support a wife) and their money was as good as anyone else’s.
It probably would have been an easy pay day, but unfortunately Gaya seemed to be in the middle of a slave raid lead by a particularly Evil Efreetah.
Don’t let any of these shemales get away! They’ll fetch a good price in Siam and I know a Shogun in Nippon who’ll want some!
On the plus side, the Efreetah had a specific target in mind, on the down side she was now taking away most if not all of Aruf’s potential customers. Also just because she wasn’t necessarily going to enslave Aruf, didn’t mean she wouldn’t still be an asshole in another way. Her men were seemingly looting and killing in between enslaving after all.
Aruf pondered his next move: Grovel, Aid, Avoid, Bargain, Attack, or Trick
Dog Day Afternoon
Aruf's plan was working thanks to the face covered helmet and his willingness to engage in the widescale chaos. The Efreetah's men didn't suspect that he wasn't working with them. Aruf might not have actually done much trading that day, but he certain increased his wealth thanks to all the looting.
Everything was going good (Well at least for him. The people of Gaya were either screaming in chains or gasping their last breaths) until he had the misfortune of running right into the Efreetah on his way out of the city. The large fiery woman looked even meaner this close up.
"Where are you going with all those spoils?" she demanded.
“Uh, I was…I was looking for you to…to give you this! Here you go!” Aruf say and presented some of the loot he’d acquired.
The Efreetah slapped his hands and the loot away.
“I don’t want that shit! I want those slaves! Why the fuck haven’t you got any of those hermies in chains? You just been busy helping yourself to shit? I warned you lot that we weren’t here for all that and to stay focused!”
“Yes, my queen.” Aruf said.
“Queen? You trying to be a smart ass? I’m your Captain!”
Aruf had apparently made a bad judgment in how he should address the Efreetah and now she was not only angry, but suspicious as well.
“Wait a minute, who are you anyway, you don’t look like one of mine. You don’t even smell as bad as one of them either…”
The Efreetah roughly pulled the helmet off of Aruf and now there was no more hiding.
“Hm, you don’t look like one of the degenerates of this city. You a wandering opportunist or maybe just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?”
Before the Efreetah or Aruf could engage any further, one of her men ran up to address her.
“Captain, there you are! The raid has been a success. We’ve completely filled the ship’s hold and then some with a few hundred of the slaves you wanted!” he said.
The Efreetah’s disposition changed to a more positive one as a gleeful smile spread across her face.
“Excellent! Tell the rest of the men to get back aboard the ship. The sooner we’re out of this foul city the better.”
As the Efreetah walked back towards her ship to join the rest of her crew, Aruf gathered up his dropped loot and quickly tried to leave, however he didn’t quite make it before the Efreetah called back to him.
“Oh don’t think I forgot about you, but fortunately for you I’m a good mood and you were only a minor annoyance.”
And with those last words, she whispered an incantation and made a hand gesture.
Aruf suddenly felt a painful change overcome him. By the time it was over, he was howling and noticed in the reflection of one of the items he acquired he’d been transformed into some sort of dog like creature, including a new tail!
“Don’t worry, it shouldn’t last too long. And if it does, well I’m sure you can go live with those freaks in the Valley of Dogs!” the Efreetah laughed.
There was nothing that could be done, Aruf just hoped that the Efreetah was telling the truth that this wouldn’t last long. For now, all he could do is pick up his loot and be on his way.
Gain 1 Destiny. Gain 1 Story. Gain 1 Wealth level. Gain the Beast Form status.
(1 trade city down, 1 more to go)
True to her word, this is only going to last one turn, however you can’t use OR gain the Appearance or Seduction skills while cursed like this. You also can’t pick the Court option if it ever pops up and if you’re ever forced to do so, you’ll automatically gain the Scorned status.
It's just one movement point from Tana to that 2. The path lines just tend to twist a lot with which directions you can go.
The only time traveling by sea makes a bit of a difference is when you're really poor or really rich since how far you can travel on sea won't match how far you can travel by land.
Of course Peng has Seamanship which lets him move on water as if he was richer than he currently is.
You gotta be kidding me
Despite being hampered with this new beast form, Aruf was determined to make it to his next destination. He made his way to Tana where he got a lot of stares, but nobody did anything since this was India and they just assumed he was the offspring of pregnant puppy men.
From Tana, Aruf set sail to Serendib where he planned to make the rest of his fortune. He just hoped it went better than…
“Attention! Zamun’s fleet approaches! We must prepare for inspection!” a sailor exclaimed.
As several more sailors scrambled around, Aruf noticed several large warships approaching at quite a fast speed. Wondering exactly what all this was about, Aruf grabbed one of the sailors and questioned him.
“You don’t know who Zamun is? You been too busy licking yourself dogman?” the sailor said.
“No I don’t know who Zamun is, that’s why I’m asking! And I don’t lick myself!” Aruf said.
“He’s an important noble of the great Efreeti Sultanate! He took over Seredib and now everyone sailing there has to be inspected before they can enter.”
“WHAT?! Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me this?!”
“I mean they’ve ruled the island for quite some time, one would assume anyone that’s traveling there would know something that’s common knowledge.”
Before Aruf could say anything else, another sailor popped up to speak to the other.
“Hey, stop fucking around with the dogman, you wanna get pregnant? Besides, the captain says Zamun himself is on board one of the ships! We better make sure everything is in order, come on!”
Another fucking efreet, great. If he’d known the fiery bastards had been conquering territory in this part of the world, he would have tried his luck selling his shit on the other side of it.
Didn’t take long before Zamun’s massive ships reached the ship Aruf was on and sure enough when the boarding planks lowered a large red being swaggered across it before his own men, all the while giving a disdainful look.
“What a pitifully small ship…is that wet dog I smell? Ugh.”
Even though he felt he was fucked no matter what he did, Aruf pondered his next move: Grovel, Aid, Avoid, Bargain, Attack, or Trick
Lacking any other ideas, Aruf was somehow overcome with the notion that he should lean into the whole dog thing and began to exaggerate canine mannerisms. His hope was perhaps Zamun wouldn’t want to approach him and just focus on inspecting the rest of the ship.
Predictably this plan didn’t work very well and all his chasing his own tail, rolling over and the like just called more attention to Aruf.
Zamun stared at Aruf who attempted the wide eyed puppy dog look in the hopes to gain sympathy. This didn’t work either.
“Hm, looks like my sister Riaza’s work. Should be wearing off by the end of the day. She always was too lenient.” Zamun said.
And with those words Zamun summoned a small swarm of biting insects to bedevil Aruf before claiming the ship looked fine for docking and left without bothering to inspect at all.
The ship eventually made dock in Serendib, where upon Aruf was practically thrown off the ship so his infestation didn’t bother the rest of the crew any longer.
It was a miserable time all around as Aruf constantly swatted insects. It seemed they were endless no matter how many he killed. He half wondered if he’d even be able to sell his goods as everyone seemed to be keeping away from him, however he was lucky enough to encounter an efreet merchant who was not bothered by the insects and was willing to trade with him.
It was done and Aruf had made a fortune, but at what cost?
Lose 1 Destiny. Gain 1 Story. Gain 5 Wealth (Maximum Princely) Gain Accursed Status. Lose Beast Form Status.
And what that means is encounters are generally going to be a bit more difficult for you until you lose the status. You can lose this status a few ways. One way is to get the Blessed status.
The other way is you’ll be giving me a number after resolving an encounter and I’ll roll the dice. If it’s within 1 point away, you lose the status.
Until then, you’re putting up with biting flies, but you’re not a dog man anymore and you’ve completed one quest goal, so yay?
Alright so you're going to have to find a treasure first of all and then return to Baghdad with it to present it to the Sultan.
Then I'll be drawing two random treasure cards which symbolize two other suitors competing for the princess. I'll compare all 3 of them and if your treasure ends up being worth more than the other two, then you win the contest for the Sultan's daughter and you'll be married and you'll also gain Vizer status.
If you don't win, well the contest is over anyway and you still complete the quest.
Mizal - Ma’aruf
Current Quest: Contest for Marriage
Quests to be completed: The Gourmet
Quests completed: Merchant
Third time’s a charm?
Despite the flies, Aruf was now loaded with wealth which meant he could still get most women. The joys of being a penis haver.
However, it would be nice to get one that could do something for him other than in the bedroom and the kitchen. A woman of noble birth could get him into places of power, like the sultan’s palace for example.
He knew rich men were always competing for the sultan’s HAWT daughter, but so far none had impressed him. Aruf was determined to find a treasure that would surely lead to the sultan practically handing over his daughter.
Aruf set sail immediately to find such a treasure.
Why the hell Aruf decided to travel even deeper into Efreet territory at this point can only be guessed, but he eventually arrived in Pan’Pan which was crawling with them. So many in fact it was actually hotter in the city than the actual temperature outside it was.
While he got a lot of sneering looks, and even a few taunting words, none of them actually did anything to him. He assumed they were in such numbers here they didn’t feel the excessive need to assert dominance. Also, the flies were probably helping in this regard since they correctly assumed he’d already been cursed and there wasn’t much point in kicking him while there were other uncursed humans to torment instead.
Still, none of the shops he popped into had anything of note. The efreet might be magical creatures, but most of them were still dealing with average every day items or if they did have any magical treasures, they weren’t selling it to the likes of a mere human, let alone one with flies buzzing around him.
Night began to fall and just as Aruf was going to give up his search and try elsewhere, he began to feel dizzy. Probably from all this excessive heat and minor blood loss from the biting flies. He had to sit down before he fell down.
“Human, here take this. You look like you’re about to pass out.” a voice called out.
Aruf turned around and saw an efreet and the water flask being tossed to him. Aruf caught it and immediately started to drink…and then he wondered midway through if this was a terrible idea. With Aruf's face puffed up with a mouthful of water and look of concern, the efreet laughed.
“No, it’s just water friend. There is no catch or cruel trick involved.”
Well it was really too late to worry about it anyway since Aruf had already swallowed some of the water, he just had to hope the efreet was telling the truth.
As it turned out this particular efreet was not only telling the truth, but somehow not an asshole like most of his race as he began to speak in a friendly manner with Aruf.
A Kindly Efreet, who could have imagined such a thing.
Aruf wondered if maybe this one could help him in his quest (or at least not make things worse)
Grovel, Aid, Avoid, Bargain, Attack or Trick
We got jokes
After a bit of an exchange Aruf learns the efreet’s name is Izalo and asks if he needs any assistance with anything in the hopes of getting a reward.
“Well I can’t think of anything you’d be able to do for me, I don’t have much time to spare anyway since I’m actually off to see my cousin Zamun in Serendib. You may have heard of him, he’s a noble of some standing.” Izalo says.
“Hrm, I believe I’ve heard the name before.” Aruf replied, not elaborating further.
“Anyway, he’s having a party and other nobles will be there telling stories and I just never have anything to add. Normally I wouldn’t even go, but his sister Riaza will be there and I always have a good time with her. I suppose it’s a long shot, but if you know any good stories I’d appreciate it if you told them to me so I could use them at the party.”
Unfortunately for Aruf, most of his best stories involved getting fucked up by Izalo’s family members. He couldn’t use those. He told Izalo the Dog Valley story, but he just shook his head saying such a story would probably not only incur mockery, but get him thrown out the party.
Lacking any other ideas, Aruf told Izalo some jokes that he knew. It wasn’t much and Izalo probably wouldn’t even reuse them, however Izalo still thanked Aruf for trying before taking his leave.
Gain 1 story. You can pick another skill or level up one to Master level.
(Also pick a number, I need to roll to see if you're still cursed)
Current Quest: Contest for Marriage
Bargaining & Evaluation
(And you failed your roll, you're still cursed)
A Prince or a Pauper?
Aruf set sail for Su-Chou. He wasn’t sure if the Efreet conquest had gotten that far north, but he wasn’t about to sail back through the Indian Ocean again.
The voyage was fairly uneventful, wasn’t really until he got close to Su-Chou that something happened. Another vessel approached, but fortunately it wasn’t an efreet fleet this time. It was a raft with a lone person on it who was busily waving and shouting at the ship.
Eventually the ship and the raft got close enough that Aruf could make out what the man looked like. He was disheveled as one would expect someone would be floating on the water in a mere raft. However, this man’s ragged clothing still looked like it was very fancy at one time. If his tattered clothing wasn’t enough to convince anyone that he was of a person of importance, his words attempted the task.
“Praise Allah that you found me! I’ve been lost at sea for I don't know how long! I’m Prince Omar of Alexandria!” he exclaimed.
“You don’t look like a prince.” a sailor retorted.
“I just said I’ve been lost at sea, of course I’m not going to look like regal royalty right now! Can you just assist me back to the mainland?”
“How did you even get all the way out here?” Aruf asked.
“It’s a long story, but let’s just say my sister was involved and I need to get back before her crazy cult spreads beyond Alexandria.”
Aruf and the crew were a bit skeptical about him being a prince, but it wasn’t like the ship wasn’t already heading to a port and helping a fellow Muslim in need was always a good thing so he was taken aboard.
Upon a closer look at him now, a few of the sailors believed he was telling the truth as a few of them had seen the prince before during a stay at Alexandra few years back. The more he spoke, the more he certainly sounded like one. After a bit of discussion he was actually shocked to learn he’s off the coast of Asia as he assumed he was at least somewhere still near Arabia.
“By Allah, I really am lost and so far from home too. I have a great task ahead of me I see. Not just finding my way back to Alexandria, but also stopping my sister. I can only imagine how much she’s poisoned father’s mind by now.” Omar said.
As Prince Omar began to go down a list of what he needs to get done, Aruf realized this might be an opportunity knocking right now what with a prince in his presence.
He pondered what he should do next.
Grovel, Aid, Rob, Avoid, Converse, Attack, Abduct, or Honor
No dice, flyboy
Aruf immediately attempted to make conversation with the prince, stating that perhaps he can help him in his goals. The prince took one look and immediately backed away as soon as one of the flies started buzzing near him.
“Uh no thanks friend, when I get to port I can find assistance there…one with less flies buzzing about as well. You might want to find someone to aid you though.” the prince remarked and backed away to the other side of the ship.
Once again this curse had impeded his opportunities. Aruf sulked while looking off in the ocean’s distance, slapping a few flies the entire time.
Gain 1 Destiny
Da roof, da roof, da roof is on fire
Eventually the ship reached Su-Chou and everyone disembarked which made everyone happy since they were now free of Aruf’s fly infestation. (Except for Aruf of course)
Aruf made his way into the city which seemed to be free of efreet dominion, at least for now.
Still, he didn’t feel very welcome here. These Asian people didn’t seem to like Muslims very much. While a lot of them were speaking in their own language and clearly making jokes at his expense if the laughing and pointing were any indication, he was certain he heard the term “Round eye raghead” badly spoken in his own language on several occasions. It was almost as if they wanted to know just exactly what they thought of him. (There were also a few audible comments about flies, but he was used to that by now)
Not really wishing to put up with any more verbal abuse, Aruf began to make his way out of the city, when all of a sudden a house nearby went up in flames followed by deep laughter… as an efreet came flying out the top of the burning roof.
Aruf shook his head and laughed.
“I hope he burns this whole place to the ground.” Aruf whispered.
However, this particular efreet didn’t bother sticking around and flew off away from the city, leaving just a House Fire behind him.
There were obviously people inside this burning building shouting for help. Aruf pondered his next move.
Pray, Avoid, Wait, Cry Out, Drink, Examine, Travel, Hide
Well that did nothing
Aruf called out for someone to help, but nobody came running to help. Aruf knew damn well some people must know what was going on since the screams from the house were even louder than his shout for help. Not to mention a big ass efreet just flew over the city and the fire was now producing even more smoke.
Maybe they were just slow or there wasn't a reliable source of large amounts of water in the area?
Aruf could wait and see if help actually would arrive or enter the house himself.
Aruf, Aruf, Aruf is on fire (Hah, I got to use that joke!)
Nobody was coming. Aruf came to the conclusion that Asians must not value human life like normal people. Only a single cry for help was now coming from the inferno, the rest of the people must have already perished or fell unconscious from the smoke at best. It sounded like a child, Aruf couldn’t not do anything even if these were a godless people that had shown him no respect. A child is an innocent after all.
Aruf mustered up all his courage and ran into the burning house.
And then was immediately crushed by a falling beam. He felt the heat and pain and then nothing at all as everything went from fiery red to pitch black.
Fortunately for Aruf this was not the end of his tale.
He eventually was soon awakened by a bucket of water being thrown on him. Several in fact. He coughed and struggled to breathe for a moment and opened his eyes to a blurry crowd. His entire body was in pain and he was having a problem getting up. Surprisingly an old man called for a couple of the younger men to assist in carrying Aruf to a nearby house which presumably was the old man’s. There, Aruf was placed on the floor still racked with pain.
“You two can go now, I will take care of the rest.” the old man said, prompting the young men to leave.
The old man went over to a table and began to mix up something. Aruf didn’t know what the hell was going on, he was just trying to endure the pain.
“That was very brave of you to try to save a child, though perhaps foolish. But then you would have gone to your 13 virgin brides right?” the old man said.
“It’s 72 actually, agh.” Aruf corrected.
“Oh. My apologies. I never did keep up on all the specifics of your people’s religion even though I visited your land very long ago. Here, this should help with the burns.” the old man said and began to apply some sort of cream to Aruf’s singed skin.
Aruf began to feel slightly better, but there was still a horrible pain in his leg.
“I’m afraid I can’t heal your broken leg quite as quickly. You really got mangled up, I don’t think it’s ever going to heal quite right, but I’ll do what I can.”
The old man mentions his name is Cheng and he saw the whole thing. When questioned why nobody came to help, Cheng mentions that the man who lived there had been considered an enemy of the government and had been marked for death. To have interfered by saving him would have just invited trouble for the savior. Though he admits that only the man had been targeted, his family was innocent and probably could have been saved with no consequence.
“Then why did nobody save them?!” Aruf asked.
“Fear I would imagine. I mean the average person still isn’t going to go into a burning house. And if you’re asking why I didn’t do anything, I’m a fucking old man. I’m not in any physical condition to go running into burning buildings, I did however, manage to get a crowd to finally put out the flames before the fire burned down our entire neighborhood though and fortunately you hadn’t gotten that far into the house when part of it fell on you, so I managed to get those two fellows that brought you in here to pull you out as well, even though they really didn’t want to. Especially for one of your kind.”
“So did nobody else survive?”
“Afraid not. Still, it was a noble thing that you tried, even if won’t be too acknowledged around here. Well there’s the splint on your leg. That’s about all I can do for you.”
Aruf sat up with some trouble and got up off the floor with even more trouble, though Cheng handed him a strong walking stick to assist him. He shook his head at his situation. It was going to be much harder to get around now.
Though he did notice something, there was a distinct lack of buzzing. The flies! They were gone! He surmised that the fire must have managed to keep them from coming back. The irony is even if it was indirectly an efreet was still the cause of his current injury.
This of course raised another question.
“If this man was an enemy of the government, why the hell did they send an efreet to kill him? Seems a bit overkill doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just send guards to chop his head off?” Aruf asked.
“I dunno. I guess he really pissed someone off up high. Maybe a noble was owed a wish and he wasted it by requesting an overly dramatic method of assassination. Probably sends a message too of if you fuck with the government, we’ll have an efreet burn down your house and your entire family. I know it would give me pause.” Cheng replied.
That’s some twisted logic, but Aruf supposed it made some sense in a certain way. With little more to do here, Aruf thanked Cheng for his help and was on his way.
Aruf hobbled past the charred house as now there were tons of people gathered around all talking about the event. Aruf shook his head and even if he’d have to hop the entire time, he was definitely leaving this place.
Gain 1 Destiny. Gain the Crippled status. Lose the Accursed status.
Unsurprisingly your movement is now less by one point, you also cannot use or gain the Seduction or Appearance skills (Cripples aren’t attractive)
However any story points you gain are doubled because now anything you do is just so amazing. Truly a testament to the triumph of the human will.
You can only lose this status if you get the Blessed status.
Certain encounters can result in getting Blessed.
Den of Villainy
After a leisurely elephant ride, Aruf finally reached Samarkand. While still in Asia, Aruf at least felt more welcome here due to the Muslim influence.
However, this was still the fringes of the lands blessed by Allah. In fact, there probably was a bit more lawlessness here thanks to all the barbaric horse nomad types coming in and out of the place. This didn’t even count all the different religious beliefs other than Islam inhabiting the city. Nobody could agree on anything and fights were always breaking out.
Diversity was truly a terrible thing and Aruf would have to be on his guard for his planned short stay. Still, with all the criminals around, there was a possibility of one of them having a treasure for sale.
Aruf cursed his gimp leg as he travelled through the streets. It wasn’t so much the pain, but rather his appearance. He knew that in a place like this perceived weakness would be preyed upon by all sorts of bad types just waiting to pounce.
And here was one now. Aruf just hoped this ne’er do well was alone, he didn’t think he could take on an entire gang in his condition.
“My name’s Ahmed and it’s nice to see another fellow Muslim in this place. There are far too many of those Asiatic horse fuckers around wouldn’t you say?” the man remarked.
“I wouldn’t say it to their face.” Aruf replied causing the man to laugh.
“Hah! Nor would I my friend! Still I was wondering if you could help out a brother in Allah. I was recently robbed and don’t have the coin to buy the provisions to make the long journey back to Arabia. You look like a man of means, could you help out?”
Aruf looked at Ahmed and already knew there was something wrong about him. He had a dagger on his belt that was still dripping with blood for one thing.
“I dunno, you look more than capable yourself.” Aruf said pointing to the dagger on Ahmed’s side.
Ahmed laughed again.
“Oh. Well I suppose I am. As I said I was robbed recently, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get away without a fight. I managed to cut one of the infidels deeply before his partner ran off with my coin.”
“Hm. Not I don’t trust you, but even if we were in Mecca itself, I’d be wary of anyone coming up to me with a bloody dagger.”
“I understand. Well, what would put your mind at ease that I don’t wish you harm?”
“I don’t think there is a way. I suggest you find someone else to assist you in your attempts of getting out of this place.”
“Wait! I know a man like you doesn’t just stumble into a place like this without purpose. You’ve probably come here seeking something right? I know of a place that has the best opium! Or wait, perhaps you’re seeking a companion to keep you warm at night? Not just any though, perhaps a small one? I know of a place like that here too. Girls AND boys!”
Aruf was now thoroughly disgusted with this Wicked Ne’er Do Well for even bringing up that last one and pondered his next decision.
Talk Softly and Carry a Big Stick
Aruf knew the sort of place he was in and held back his revulsion. This sort of degenerate might actually have information he needs, so he ignored Ahmed’s child molester proposal.
“I’m seeking a valuable treasure to convince the sultan I’m worthy enough to marry his daughter. Something magical hopefully. You know of where I can get something like that?” Aruf asked.
“Ah…I see. I heard about that contest. Yes my friend I can help with that as well, there’s a place here that specifically deals in such items. Some of them even efreeti in design. Of course they don’t just let anyone in.” Ahmed replied.
“But, I’m sure YOU know how to get in right?”
“Of course, but not for free. This place’s location is secret even around here and requires a membership fee you understand. However, if you hand over…”
Aruf put up his hand.
“Gonna stop you right there. No, I am NOT handing any money over to you so you can go running off with it. You take me to the place and then we’ll see about any coin exchanging hands.”
“You wound me my friend…but I understand your mistrust in this place. I’ll tell you what, you stay here and I’ll go see the owner of the place and ask if he’ll allow you to come in. If he says he’s fine with it, then I’ll take you there. You need not produce any coin until then, sound fair?” Ahmed said while slowly nodding his head.
Aruf was quite aware of this cheap sales tactic. Still, since he wasn’t risking anything yet, he agreed, though he was getting more unsure about this plan with each passing minute.
“Very well, I’ll stay here, but be quick about it.” Aruf remarked.
“Very good. I’ll be back soon.” Ahmed said and began to walk off.
Again as Aruf watched Ahmed leave, he didn’t have a good feeling and got the impression this was going to be a set up. Still, he held out hope that it might not be. If he wasn’t currently crippled, he would have followed Ahmed to see where he went, which then gave Aruf an idea.
Aruf quickly looked around and saw a teenage boy standing across the nearby brothel watching the women go in and out of the place.
“Hey you! You want to make some coin?” Aruf said walking up to the teenager.
“Huh? What?! Ugh no! I ain’t no Bacha Boy you fucking pervert!”
“Wha…no! Not that! Look, you like those ladies inside that place don’t you?”
“And I’m betting you don’t have any money for one right?”
“Okay, well I’m offering you some money to help with that and all you have to do is follow someone.”
“Oh. Uh who then?”
Aruf pointed Ahmed out who was thankfully still in sight.
“See that man in the dirty white clothing? I want you to follow him and DON’T get caught being seen, then when you find out where he went, I want you to run back here to me immediately before he gets here. Got it?”
“How much do I get paid?”
“How much is the lady you really want in that place?”
“Uh, I dunno. She’s pretty expensive. I think she’s a hundred dinar.”
“Well you’ll get to do it with her twice if you’re successful. Now get going!”
Aruf watched as the teenager made his way to shadow Ahmed. Eventually the pair of them were out of sight. Aruf stayed put anxiously awaiting for his messenger to arrive. He sort of hoped he hadn’t sent the boy to his doom, because if he got caught, he could imagine that Ahmed wouldn’t hesitate to kill him.
Time passed and then he saw the teenager running towards him. He just hoped he wasn’t running because Ahmed was chasing him.
“Whew! I tried to get back as quick as I could! Where’s the coin?”
“Not so fast, your information first.”
“Oh right. Yeah, that guy was going down a lot of side streets and then eventually he went into a dark alley. I was sort of afraid to follow at that point, but I found a spot to keep hidden. He met up with some big guy with a big club. I saw them talk a bit, but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. They both were laughing at the end of the conversation though. Then it looked like the guy was leaving, so I ran back here.”
Just as he suspected. A set up. A bit disappointing, but what could really be expected in this place. Aruf pulled out a bag of coin and tossed it to the teenager.
“Here you go, have fun.” Aruf remarked dryly.
“Thanks I will!” the teenager replied and quickly ran off to the brothel to spend all of his earned money on some high priced whore.
Aruf had a mind to leave as well, but he promised Ahmed he’d wait for him to return.
More time passes and soon Ahmed arrived with a big smile on his face.
“Ah good you’re still here. I have excellent news friend, the owner has agreed to meet you. Price will be discussed upon arrival, but I’m sure that will be no issue.”
“Sure won’t. Well lead the way…friend.”
Ahmed smiled again at Aruf and turned around saying to just follow him. What Ahmed didn’t expect is a crushing blow to the back of his head.
Ahmed fell to the ground as Aruf beat him where he lay with his walking stick.
“You think I’m some sort of simple minded fool? May Allah curse you to be violated by elephants.” Aruf said.
Nobody stopped Aruf either mainly because things like this aren’t exactly uncommon and everyone in Samarkand likes a good beatdown.
“Yeah! Kick his ass!” some horse nomad shouted while his buddies laughed.
“He got laid out by a cripple, what a loser.” another said.
With Ahmed unconscious, Aruf decided to take his leave of this city. He didn’t get any treasure, but he certainly gained a little respect in this den of villainy.
Gain 2 Destiny. Gain 4 Story, Gain Quick Thinking skill
After he was a safe distance from Samarkand, Aruf unrolled a map and went over where he’d already been and rumors he’d heard during his travels. He wondered if any of them were worth following up on.
The closest place was Bulgars which was on the Euro Asian border. Had a lot of trouble with nomadic horseman raiders, but as far as he knew it was still firmly held by the Christian infidels. He’d heard tales of treasures being there (Either stolen by or retaken from the raiders) but he’d never been there so he didn’t know for sure.
Also in the European continent but happily in Muslim land was Cordoba. Lot of old battles around in that area and a lot of treasures that got lost. Could be worth looking into.
Finally there was a rumor he heard about Timbuktu which was in Africa. While it was certainly an important trading city along trade routes, it was mostly more practical goods that could be found there such as salt or slaves. Rarely does anyone bother with anything unusual and it could potentially be a long trip for nothing.
Not an Efreet, but still an asshole
Aruf made his way toward Bulgars, normally he could have gotten there in a short amount of time, but this gimp leg was once again proving to be a hindrance.
Along the way, he encountered a man in black robes who already had a look of ill intent about him. The man also had glowing red eyes, he probably was a wizard. This wasn’t going to be good.
"Ugh, a cripple."
The man immediately sneered at Aruf and pointed at the ground just in front of him. He then said a single word and a small lightning bolt hit where he was pointing, just missing Aruf.
“Hah! Look at you. Scared. You should be. You are a truly a pathetic worm. Were you born a cripple or were you just so weak that you couldn’t prevent becoming even more of a waste of space? Either way someone should have just finished the job. Your mere existence disgusts me, maybe I should finish the job, though I’m not even sure I want to expend the energy.” the evil wizard said.
Yep, this certainly wasn’t good. Aruf had to choose his next course of action carefully.
Grovel, Aid, Rob, Avoid, Bargain, Attack, Trick or Hire
Hopefully not 12 years
After this bout of groveling the demeanor of the evil wizard didn’t change much. Seeking mercy from someone so obviously mustache twirling evil was probably a bit too much to hope for.
“Ugh, stop your pathetic groveling. What, do you want me to feel sorry for you? This all just proves how WEAK you truly are! In fact, killing you would be doing you a favor, no you obviously deserve your suffering. However, in exchange for my mercy, I’m going to give you the honor of being my SLAVE.”
The wizard gestured a bit and then with a wave of his hand a mark appeared upon Aruf’s face.
“There and now you can start by cleaning out these privy pots!”
The wizard then produced some really disgusting privy pot out of thin air for Aruf to clean. Of course he hadn’t actually provided anything to clean these pots with.
“I have better things to do than have some sorry slave follow me around, hence why I left that magical chain on you. I want these clean by night fall. Don’t worry, you will find them quite used every morning when you wake up. Every day you will do this or I WILL end your pitiful existence after all. When you can pay a suitable sum of money to me, then I MIGHT decide to release you. Until then, you better get to scrubbing.”
“But I have money! I can pay you now!” Aruf remarked.
“Silence fool! Or I’ll make you a mute on top of being a cripple! And I don’t care if you have money, you’re starting from ZERO with me, plus I need to get my money’s worth out of you first.”
With those last words, the wizard left Aruf with vile privy pots to clean.
This was a horrible situation, Aruf almost wished the wizard had killed him.
Gain 1 Destiny. Gain the Enslaved status.
So while enslaved, you can’t gain any Destiny points, which probably isn’t a big deal. However, while also enslaved, you can’t gain any treasure. Your master, in this case the evil wizard will teleport to your location and take it from you immediately, which sucks especially for you given your current quest.
You can buy your freedom and lose this status whenever you get a result that allows you to gain wealth. (You don’t actually gain said wealth, which you’re pretty much maxed out on anyway) So basically, you need to do this before you can ever get any treasure.
In case you’re wondering how this works in the actual board game, one of the players acts as your “master” and what ends up happening is any destiny points and treasures you gain go to him instead until you lose the status.
Aruf made his way back to the hive of scum known as Samarkand, thinking maybe he could make some sort of profit to pay off the wizard before he had to clean out shit pots another day.
When he arrived, he noticed that the city was a little quieter than during his first visit. Less people in the streets for one thing. When he went to the bazaar he found it shockingly empty. There were no merchants or anything. What there was though were indications of violence on a large scale that took place based on the dried blood, broken weapons and a few wrecked stalls.
“Hey cripple, what are you doing? Everyone packed up shop and moved indoors and if you’re smart you’ll do likewise, before you get yourself all fucked up.” someone shouted from a window in a nearby building.
“I’m quite aware of the city’s dangers and the kind of men in it.” Aruf said.
“Yeah, well this one’s different and it ain’t no man.”
Aruf sighed and could only think “Great, another efreet.” until the man from the window clarified.
“Some THING, appeared in the city not long ago and completely ripped shit up. Like A LOT. Most people ran, but as you can see it got some of them. Some tried to fight it, but it killed them too. Even fucked up the Steppe Brothers who didn’t fare too much better against it. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that horse gang ride out scared for their lives before and I can’t say as I blame them.”
“What was it?”
“Dunno. It was fast, strong and meaner than any flaming efreet that’s for sure. Everything was sort of a blur when it happened. As soon as I saw the first few heads get popped off, I ran my ass back inside the house and haven’t come out for awhile now. All I know is it’s still in this city lurking around. Doesn’t seem to be interested in going indoors, but you can hear it snuffling about. In fact if you do and you’re outside, you’re probably already dead.”
And then the sounds of loud snuffling were heard.
“Oh shit!” the man in the window shouted before closing his shutters.
Aruf’s heart sank. This Unknown Beast was around and while he hadn’t seen it yet, he got the impression already that by the time he did, it was going to be the last thing he ever saw.
He had to act fast.
Pray, Study, Capture, Attack, Follow, Aid, Seek Aid, or Hide
Mark of the Beast
Aruf didn’t look behind him he just hobbled as fast as he could to the nearby door. Predictably it didn’t open, neither did the ones nearby either, even when Aruf pounded on them in frustration. If anyone was inside they weren’t opening to the likes of him.
The snuffling grew louder and Aruf still didn’t look back. He just focused on trying to get to safety, and just when he expected to be horribly ripped apart, there was a low window which was open. Aruf practically tumbled into it making his leg pain even worse in the process but he was definitely inside now.
From his prone position it looked like he was in an abandoned dwelling, in fact it looked like it either had been looted or maybe the original inhabitants left in a hurry. Aruf struggled to get up as he heard unnatural growl coming from outside nearby.
Aruf half expected the beast to leap through the window and finish him off but he was still alive. At least he knew it really wouldn’t go inside. It was making some really vicious sounds though.
The odd thing though is Aruf was now standing upright and in front of the window. He still couldn’t see the beast even though he could clearly hear it growling. Was it invisible? The man talking to him earlier didn’t really give a description of it.
A temporary saving of his life wouldn’t do too much good if he couldn’t leave and now learning that it was invisible made things even worse for escape chances, though it was still making noise so the only upside was he knew where it was.
Aruf searched for another potential way out of the home, but there was no back door and the other couple rooms the place did have didn’t have any windows other than the one he just came through.
There didn’t seem to be anything for it except waiting the beast out.
Time passed and Aruf still occasionally heard snuffling and growling outside. He still looked out the window (While staying far away from it) but saw nothing. He squinted in vain hoping maybe that might work, but again he wasn’t seeing anything at all other than the ruined bazaar outside.
Then a thought occurred to him, even if was invisible, wouldn’t it still block the view of whatever was behind it? Of course he didn’t really know HOW invisibility actually worked, so this was just a guess. Still it was enough to question if he’d jumped to the conclusion that it was invisible. The height of the window was low, but not so low that he could see the ground outside from his position.
It was entirely possible this beast was just very low to the ground, maybe like a snake? That didn’t give much hope, but it would be better than it being invisible. Honestly there was one way of finding out. Opening the door and backing away. Sticking his head out the window to look might just get him killed, but it wouldn’t enter inside. The door was the better option of getting a good look at this thing. Maybe he could study it for a weakness or something. Or maybe he was just hoping.
Either way morbid curiosity was getting the better of him and he went for the door. As soon as he did he heard awful noises coming from behind it, as if the beast KNEW he was about to open it.
If Aruf had eaten at all earlier, he probably would have been using one of those shit pots right about now.
Aruf took a deep breath and opened the door…
Not what Aruf was expecting at all.
This beast looked up at him quizzically, but made no noise other than an occasional strange higher pitched sound similar to a dog bark, but this was obviously no dog, it was just a ball of hair.
Aruf questioned if this was even the beast at first. Maybe this was some sort of illusion to lure in prey? Or maybe this was the actual beast and it just looked like this to deceive prey? Though Aruf wondered how such an obviously harmless looking thing could do so much damage. Why it did in the first place or even where it came from were other questions, but less important than how to get out of this alive.
Aruf studied the beast for a good while which occasionally made its little noises and circled in front of the door, but didn’t do much else. Eventually it found a spot to lie down and looked at Aruf every once in awhile, but again nothing else.
Aruf didn’t learn much other than he was still stuck here. There was also this odd compulsion that was developing in Aruf that made him want to pick up the little beast for some reason. It was very difficult to shake this feeling. The longer he looked at it, the more he wanted to go outside…
Aruf quickly shut the door, which was soon followed by that awful noise he heard the beast making earlier. He opened the door again and once again the beast made its high pitched squeaks.
Aruf at this point didn’t know what to make of this situation except it was already near hopeless and the funny thing is he knew of a man in Rome who collected exotic creatures and paid very well for new ones. Aruf thought if he could somehow get out of this AND capture this beast, all his problems would be solved.
And that was all he needed to push himself over the edge.
“Fuck it, go big or go to 72 virgins. I’m ready.” Aruf muttered and stepped outside.
And nothing happened.
Aruf looked down at the beast which looked back at him. Aruf slowly went to pick up the beast.
It was as soft as it looked. Such a curious creature. Aruf still wondered how it could do so much damage. It didn’t seem to do much at all while Aruf had it in his hand other than do a lot of sniffing. Aruf went through his many bags to find something to keep the beast in, while doing so he noticed that the beast sniffed the bag that Aruf was carrying the shit pots in. The beast seemed very fascinated by those.
“Wait, a minute…is THAT what is protecting me?” Aruf said to himself.
Then he started laughing.
Eventually he got out his small cage trap that he had for catching small game and put the beast inside who soon went to sleep. It seemed okay for now and Aruf assumed as long as he smelled at least faintly like shit, he’d be safe. Though given a lot of the smelly citizens of Samarkand, he wasn’t sure why exactly the shit he smelled like differed enough to keep the beast at bay.
He could only guess his shit smelled better than the rest.
Gain 2 Story
If you eventually visit Rome, you can exchange the BEAST for treasure
Having overcome yet another very deadly encounter. Aruf was feeling a little more optimistic about things. Just had to generate enough wealth to pay off this damn wizard and he’d be in the clear.
And given that he just saved Samarkand from total destruction he figured that should be worth a reward of some sort from someone.
Aruf walked back towards the ruined bazaar and saw the man from the window open his shutters.
“Hey! You still live?” he shouted.
“Apparently.” Aruf answered.
“What happened? I heard a bunch of noise like usual and then some odd squeaks and then nothing.”
“I have saved this place from the BEAST, that’s what happened.”
“What? You a wizard or have some sort of powerful magic item?”
“Nope. Just natural charm.”
the man in the window was not buying this story.
“Bullshit. I don’t believe some cripple defeated the beast. I’m guessing you managed to hide and it eventually wandered off like usual.”
“Oh it’s true. I defeated the beast!”
“Your ass bleeds.”
“Hey! What’s going on? Is the beast gone?” somebody shouted from nearby with a crowd of people.
“Yeah and get this, apparently this cripple defeated it with one hand tied behind his back!” the man from the window said.
“I never said I beat it with one hand tied behind my back.” Aruf remarked.
“Might as well have, it would have been just as believable.”
“Wait, he said he killed the beast?”
“I didn’t kill it. I just captured it…”
a roar of laughter emerged from the crowd.
“…I have it in a little cage…”
More laughter ensued, now even more people were coming out from their hiding spots wondering what the laughter is about.
“…it’s right here with me…”
Now they joined in the laughter as well. Some were rolling on the ground in tears.
Aruf was getting pissed at this reaction.
“HEY! I JUST SAVED THIS FUCKING TOWN AND ALL OF YOUR UNGRATEFUL ASSES, YOU LOT SHOULD BE REWARDING ME!” Aruf shouted.
“Or what? You gonna beat us with your walking stick? We’re not all degenerates that can easily be attacked while not looking.” the man from the window shouted.
“Or I’ll unleash the BEAST on you all!”
Another roar of laughter ensued, followed by mockery.
“I’m warning you all. This is going to get really ugly if you don’t stop.” Aruf said.
“Can’t be any uglier than you already look cripple.”
“Last chance to stop it…”
“Fuck you, you’re bluffing.”
“Alright that’s it!”
Aruf went into his bags and grabbed THE BEAST
BEHOLD, THE BEAST!
And the crowd went silent.
Aruf placed the beast on the ground and pushed it a bit as if motioning it to attack the crowd, the beast didn’t do anything. It just walked around Aruf a bit before finding a spot to sit in.
Now the crowd was just more confused than anything else.
“What in Kali’s four tits is that thing?” a man in a turban remarked.
“A ball of hair it looks like.” a fat man in a robe replied.
“Whatever it is, it ain’t the beast, that’s for sure.” a horse nomad said.
“Yeah, I mean I ain’t never really seen the beast, but that can’t be it.” an old man added.
“Hey it’s kind of cute! I want to pet it!” a prostitute exclaimed.
Aruf now was even madder, shouting at the beast to attack and kill, but it still did nothing except look at the crowd or Aruf.
“Well that was a nice joke cripple. Punchline could have done with some work, but thanks for the laughs you did provide.” the man in the window said before closing his shutters again. The crowd at this point started to disperse as well having lost all interest in Aruf and the “performance.”
Aruf couldn’t understand it. This was the beast wasn’t it? He wasn’t crazy, this had to be it! Why was it so docile now? Maybe it wasn’t hungry? Though it sounded like it killed for the fun of it rather than just food.
In any case, Aruf’s time in Samarkand was at an end for now. He wasn’t going to get what he wanted and there was no point in staying if people were just going to laugh and call him a liar. He’d have to find fortune elsewhere.
Aruf picked up the Beast and put him back in his cage before setting off again.