The Chalice and the Vine

The Chalice and the Vine is an epic tale about two star-crossed heroes separated by distance, language, and culture. The young protagonists are inexplicitly drawn towards one another until, when what seems like man’s darkest hour, they are brought together for the first time, fulfilling a prophecy born upon legend.


8. The Escape

The Escape

As the bandits fled the camp with their booty chaos ensued. Members of the caravan were running every which way with torches trying to secure the animals and ascertain the extent of the raid.

Amanitore saw her chance. She had a weapon, now if only she could release her chain she could be free.

Al-Hadi had gotten to his feet as the last rider left, seeming to be a little in shock at what had transpired. “By the gods,” he mumbled as he stared dumbly around. He had moved within arm’s reach of the African slave and had at least temporarily forgotten about the knife she now had.

Amanitore knew she could bring the small man down; she had spied where he had placed the key to her chains in his sarong. It was only a matter of a quick thrust of the knife while she covered any screams with her hand. She hesitated however, all she cared about was getting home, but something held her hand in sway. She had watched the eunuch try to save the young girl, however inept the attempt. He did not have to do that, she considered. Had the two months she endured of captivity and abuse robbed her of all her humanity, she asked herself.

She held the knife at her side but did not strike. “Egyptian?” she said to Al-Hadi.

Al-Hadi was startled to hear her speak and blinked up at her as if he had forgotten she was there. When he saw the knife in her hand he had the good sense to step back however.

“Let me go and I will go after her.” That had not been her plan, and she was not sure why she said it. But she meant it. She knew what fate awaited the girl and would not consign her to that if she could help it.

“What? I can’t do that,” Al-Hadi told her. “Let me think, let me think,” he said out loud as he paced around their small camp. “I can’t be blamed for this,” he reasoned. “What could I have done?”

“The Caravan leader will not care,” Amanitore told him, “do you think he will cover the girl’s price without seeking out retribution on you? You are a fool, half man.” She spat.

“So I let you go too, and that helps me how?” Al-Hadi retorted. “I am no fool Nubian, nor am I stupid. I will not let you go, and you need to give me the knife or it will go bad for you.”

Amanitore cursed him.

Al-hadi cursed her back in her own language.

“The girl tried to save your miserable hide eunuch, did you lose any honor you may have had when they took your manhood.”

“I tried to help her,” he countered.

“And I saved you a knife in the gut,” she said. “A mistake I will not make again, she added.”

“What can I do,” he almost pleaded. “I wish I could help the child but it is imposable.”

“Free me and I will try to help her,” she said evenly.

“My head would not remain on my shoulders until dawn if I lost both of my charges.”

“I will take you with me.”

“Go with you?” He asked. “I’m no warrior,” he said. “Besides, what would I do?”

“You would live and no longer me a slave,” she answered.

Al-Hadi brooded a moment before deciding. He then reached into the waist of his sarong grabbed the key and tossed it to her. “I know I’m going to live to regret this,” he said as he gathered up a couple ewers of water and some food.

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