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Playing Folly Then

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1Playing Folly Then Empty Playing Folly Then on 09/12/19, 01:51 am

Zuzu Mansur

Zuzu Mansur
A-Tier
A-Tier
ZUZU MANSUR

The Sun, that brother of the blue Sky, once again took his rightful place on the fading honey-yellow horizon. He let his golden rays cascade onto the world, bringing light upon the vine-covered houses below. Quiet at her desk, that purple-haired woman sat reading within one such house, reading light on one side and jasmine-scented candle on the other. In her hand Zubaidah held a book bound in red leather, cracked and dry with age, the thick volume smelling faintly of pipe tobacco and dust. She read it intently, each page within brittle and liable to snap like sugared almonds every time she turned; the frayed remains of the book’s stitching barely held it together from her constant reading.

    “Whenever the general intends to march through a narrow pass, or to lead his army over mountainous and difficult country, he must send ahead part of his force to occupy the mountain-passes and the defiles, lest the enemy, coming first, make a stand on the summits and prevent the army from crossing. This he should observe even if fearing an attack by the enemy. For naturally it is not advantageous to take the initiative, without also recognising the necessity of taking precautions against injury; nor is it necessary to outstrip the enemy in making an invasion into his country, without taking measures to prevent the enemy from marching against one's own country.

    Hearing the hollow peal of the town’s bell, Zubaidah made a bent mark of her page and closed the dog-eared volume. As much as she enjoyed reading of the varying qualities of leadership and the importance of generals being competent in strategy, she had other issues to attend to. Placing her book in the top drawer of her mahogany desk, she set out for her next issue.

    Under the constant brass bell, Zubaidah walked through alleyways quaint and cobbled. The many houses lining the backstreets were stacked in flats with the same precariousness as when piling stones into cairns. The narrow alleyways wound around to accommodate such unsound architecture, arcing once to the right and next to the left. The pleasant scent of flowers drifting along from the main square faded into the earthy smell of strong alcohol as Zubaidah arrived at one such alleyway populated with a common taberna.

    Her current issue lay within this taberna whose heady stench weighed down the air within. Unlike the bar she had frequented while based in that suburban town round the jasmine groves of Kou, this taberna lacked the high-class refinement she had enjoyed. The oak tables were populated by the off-white of soldiers’ tunics, their dull iron by their feet. They drank chestnut-coloured beer taken from the bartender’s counter, listening only to the music of their rowdy chatter.

    ‘Hey, hey, lady Zubaidah, right? Over ‘ere! You’re lookin’ for us, right?’ She recognised the brash-mouthed countryman with his stubbled cheeks stretched in a friendly smile, his fellow soldiers waving in warm welcome. ‘I’m glad you managed to find us alright. I arranged all your necessary agreements an’ all, so you don’t gotta worry about the meeting with our centurion. Hey, why don’t you join us? You’re like a part of our cohort already - have a drink or two, it’s all on me!'

    Chuckling in good cheer, Zubaidah gladly took him up on that gracious offer, downing the mug of chestnut-coloured beer she was offered by one of the cohort. She was in her native element, no challenge of drink could not be accepted - and it could certainly not be refused when she was gathering their support.
200/200 | word/1000 | 315/315



Last edited by Zuzu Mansur on 03/03/20, 03:27 pm; edited 1 time in total


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