SETARA’S GENIE (August 17th)
A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?
by Marva Dasef
MuseItUp Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/SetarasGenie
Amazon Buy Link: coming soon
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/psQIC7vnCIU
Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.
As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.
He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.
In Which a Poor Little Rich Girl Seeks Adventure
The nomad chieftain, usually a brave man, cringed on hands and knees before the enormous, shadowy figure towering above him.
“The bargain is a simple one, fool,” the creature rumbled in a deep, menacing voice. “You bring me what I ask, and I will not take what I need from your miserable tribe.”
“I understand, oh Great Demon,” the chieftain replied, his voice muffled by the fact that he had his nose pressed firmly against the cavern’s stone floor.
The demon growled. “What did you say?”
The chieftain raised his eyes and then quickly averted them from the fanged mouth and fiery, glowing eyes. He spoke carefully this time, enunciating each word as though his life depended on it, and he was sure it did. “I understand, Mighty Demon. I will obey.”
“Very well. Your tribe remains safe...as long as you keep your end of the bargain.”
* * * *
Setara tapped the stone-lined pool’s surface and smiled at the rippled reflection of her own face. The pool was like her life, she thought, always placid and clear, the only excitement as brief and trivial as a summer rainstorm. Even a tempest with thunder and lightning would be a pleasant change of pace from her dull existence.
She sighed, a deep sigh only a very young, very romantic girl can muster. Where was her heroic sheik riding a pure white horse? The prince to carry her away? Where was the...the magic?
Yes, that was the word. Her life was utterly and totally without magic.
If only her father let her live in town. Afraid of losing the only thing remaining of his beloved wife, he kept her locked up in the compound. Setara, only fifteen, feared her father would never free her, even when she came of age. Would he even let her marry? Oh, he loved her, she had no doubt. She lacked for nothing in the material sense, but she wanted more.
Setara strolled along the garden path toward the west wall of the compound. She wandered aimlessly, lost in her blue mood until she approached the little niche in the wall she considered her secret place.
As far as she knew, no one but she had found the crumbling opening. When she discovered it, she immediately recognized its importance. A breach in the wall was dangerous. The renegade tribes who lived in the mountains raided the village and sometimes the isolated estates such as her father’s. The raiders only went after the easy prey. They hit hard and fast and then returned swiftly to their mountain aeries.
But the wall had to be impenetrable to be effective. Why did she keep this secret? She wasn’t sure but suspected it had to do with her insufferable boredom. As long as invaders could breach the wall, there was a chance, a tiny chance that something exciting might happen.
Although the opening was very small, she was not a large girl, so she could easily crawl through it. The mortar between the stones on the outer wall had given way and fallen rockery littered the small space directly in front of the breach. The hole itself, about three feet tall by two feet wide on the inside, narrowed through its four-foot depth to a space barely big enough for her shoulders to pass through. She had cleared the brambles on the outside to give her enough room to sit leaned back against the wall.
Never venturing beyond the bramble exit, she could see the valley and the mountains beyond. She came here often to watch the sun setting over the western range. Inside the compound, dusk came a half hour earlier than over the mountains. Setara watched the sun set from within the walls before she crawled through the niche to watch it set a second time.
Sunset neared, and she decided to go through the gap since she had nothing better to do. She noticed how tight the fit had become and hoped she wouldn’t grow much more, or she might not be able to get through at all.
Setara poked her head out of the tunnel when a very large, very strong hand grabbed her hair, pulling her completely out. Too startled to make any sound except a pained squeak, she fainted when a hand clamped over her mouth.