16 — The Alchemist’s Sight

Photo by Mike Sáez on Unsplash

Duali, the city men called the Bronze Petal of the Desert, woke with the song of Sullam’s call to prayer at dawn. Eight days journey to the west, deep in the desert, an unnatural sandstorm howled like the death scream of a greater demon.

In the heart of the storm, a fat, shaven-headed alchemist named Mahmoud turned to his brother and signaled it was time to rest. The wind and whipping sand made it impossible to…