Khadir scoffed, as if this was a joke his sister was telling, "What are you talking about, Mariqah?" he moved away and walked around the study towards the barred window, "Leave Masyaf? Why would we ever do that? You almost had me there, I'll admit."
"Khadir..." Mariqah shook her head, incredulous that her brother was treating the matter so lightly, "I'm not pulling your leg."
"You honestly want me to believe you're being serious?" Khadir asked, scoffing again at the thought.
She stomped up beside him and looked him in the eyes, "Yes."
Khadir's face slowly turned from humoured to cold and angry, "Leave?"
Mariqah held his gaze, not blinking once, but said nothing.
"Have you lost your mind?" he shouted, "We can't leave Masyaf! Where would we go?"
Khadir laughed in derision, moving away from her, "Leave Masyaf to go to Normandy?" he yelled.
"I know how it sounds, Khadir," she tried to reassure him.
"No!" Khadir snapped, "No, you have no idea how it sounds," he put his hands on his hips, "And for what reason sound we flee, hmm? What, Mariqah? Is the sky falling down on Bilaadil Arabi? Because if it's anything short of that-!"
"I have suspicions, Khadir. Suspicions that we are no longer safe here," Mariqah implored.
Khadir huffed, but decided he could at least hear his sister out, "And what has brought these suspicions, hmm?"
Mariqah shut her eyes, knowing that Khadir wouldn't accept her explanation. But she had to try, "Khadir, Callum is dead."
"The pirate?" Khadir snorted, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."
"He was murdered," Mariqah said, blocking his view.
"I still don't see why this is relevant, Mariqah."
"Callum was murdered because he aided me, accommodated my ideas. Allegedly," Mariqah leaned against the desk, "But I... caught wind of a document that stated that there is a heavy bounty on my head. The document was destroyed before I could examine it, so I'm not sure who wants me for such a heavy fee. But with Callum's sudden death... it seems like more than just a-"
"Wait, wait, wait..." Khadir said, raising a hand, "Do you mean to tell me that you left Masyaf and your army to aid filthy, dirty pirates in the West Indies?"
Mariqah sighed, "I'm glad we're focusing."
"And under what circumstances was this vainglorious crusade taken, hmm?" Khadir continued, ignoring her, "You disappear to help marauders and thieves? For what?"
"I did it as a favour to Callum, now will you please-"
"Oh, a favour!" Khadir guffawed, "So, I'm guessing you didn't even manage to bring some gold home?"
"Of course I did, it's being brought here from the port by a man I trust," Mariqah shouted, "Khadir, try to take me seriously!"
"I can't, Mariqah!" Khadir bellowed, "You left your duty! You left your home! You left me! And disappeared without saying a word," Khadir threw sheaf of papers at her, "Not a single letter to your name. And now I hear you went on this mission, gallivanting upon the high seas with those putrid rapists and pillagers? And you want me to listen to what you have to say?" Khadir shook his head, his face turned in a scowl.
Mariqah growled, "We have to leave now," she insisted.
"If you're so eager to leave, then maybe you should never have come back," Khadir snapped, his voice catching as he said so.
Mariqah stared daggers at her brother. She could hardly believe her ears, but she knew that Khadir had been wounded by her disappearance. She sat down in a chair and didn't look at him. Mariqah was angry, enraged, but she knew she didn't have the right to be.
"I fear for your lives more than I fear your anger towards me," she murmured, "So I have to insist that we and the army leave this place and take up residence in Normandy."
Mariqah wasn't looking at him, but she could feel that Khadir was trembling in his rage, "I refuse to leave Masyaf, Mariqah," he said, his voice cold, "You can order your soldiers what you like and go wherever in Hell you please, but I am not leaving this place."
"Then I will send half the army to Normandy with all their possessions," Mariqah decided.
"Good," Khadir grunted, "Your abcense will make me want to kill you less."
"I'm not going," Mariqah said, rising from her seat and opening a heavy ledger upon the desk, "I will choose a leader among them and he shall keep them safe and well."
"What?" Khadir murmured.
Mariqah said nothing and continued looking through the ledger - reading the names of new recruits, the imports of supplies, the wealth accumulated by Norman farming - but though she read the words, none of the information soaked into her brain. She shut the book, and turned to leave - prepared to give her men their marching orders.
"Mariqah..." Khadir called.
"I told you," she said, not looking at him, "I fear for your lives more than I fear your anger for me. How can I save my own skin and leave your's behind, Khadir?"