Empires Of Faith

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Chapter 21: Buried

6 Sha’baan, 1663

"And that makes nineteen out of twenty," a young Abdur-Rahman Ibn Ali proudly proclaimed as another arrow pierced its target. He stood, wielding the bow in his hand with a grin on his face. The winds blew mildly, stirring up a bit of dust as he and his brother stood out in the field. "I told you that I'm better than you at this, Imran."

"Well I don't spend my time lazing around all day doing nothing," Imran retorted. "I actually do work, so I don't have time to practice as often."

"I don't sit around all day either; I just don't keep you informed about what I do. That's between me Allah."

"I-"

"As-Salaamu Alaikum," Muhammad ibn Sulayman called out, walking into the field in a brown thobe and a black jubbah over it. His turban tail and jubbah blew in the winds behind him as he approached the two from a distance. They smiled and returned the greeting, heading over to meet him.

"What are you doing here?" Abdur-Rahman asked as he shook Muhammad's hand.

"Imran and I are supposed to do some training today. Are you joining us?"

"Nah, I'm going to head inside actually. We were just shooting some arrows."

"Oh. Where's your other clown brother, Nizaam?"

"He's-"

"Let me guess, somewhere with his buddy Asghar? You know, those two spend so much time together you would think they were married."

"Yeah that's very funny," a sarcastic voice said from behind Muhammad. He turned around to see the skinny young Nizaam walking up leading a horse behind him. "And as much time as you spend away from Munirah, you would think you two weren't married. Oh, wait, you aren't."

The smirk on Muhammad's face faded and he gave a straight face before reaching his hand out to shake with Nizaam. "As-Salaamu Alaikum, clown, are you going to train with us?"

"Wa Alaikumus Salaam, and no; I haven't got the time. I'm actually about to help my father with a building behind the house."

"Oh."

"Yeah, Isa was supposed to be helping us, but he's uh....unable right now."

"What? What happened?"

"Don't tell me he's drunk again?" Abdur-Rahman cut in. Muhammad turned around with a raised eyebrow and Imran just gave a look that told him it's best not to get involved. Nizaam replied in the affirmative and Abdur-Rahman sighed. "What is wrong with that man?! Where is he at?"

"He's out front, pouring out his insides."

"I'm going to go have a word with him."

"It's not going to do anything," Nizaam wistfully spoke. "He's going to remain the same no matter what you say; it's hopeless."

Ignoring his eldest brother, Abdur-Rahman headed from the field to his house. He kept himself calm and patient reciting dhikr of Allah. While everyone else tended to view the situation as helpless, Abdur-Rahman always tried to remain optimistic. He wanted to see the good in Isa and help him to be something good. Someone worthy of saving.

"Isa what are you doing?" he asked as he came up to the old man. Isa was lying on his stomach in the dirt, his arms and legs sprawled out to the side.

"I-I'm just down here uh-uh praying," Isa lied. "I was making ruku’." Abdur-Rahman sighed, slapping a palm to his forehead at the obvious lie. "Oh hold up, shh, shhhh.... you can't talk to me while I'm praying," Isa chuckled. Abdur-Rahman groaned and rolled his eyes. Isa rolled over onto his back and looked up at the young teen. "You want to know a secret?"

"What?" Abdur-Rahman asked, crossing his arms.

"Come here." Isa motioned for him to squat. Abdur-Rahman sighed and when Isa refused to speak, he kneeled down by his side. Isa leaned closer until his putrid, hot breath burned into Abdur-Rahman's ear as he began to whisper. "I'm not really praying. Hehehe. Shhh...." Isa fell back flat and stared up at the sky with a dazed look in his eyes and red cheeks. He hiccupped once or twice and smiled as the clouds flew by.

"Come Isa," Abdur-Rahman said impatiently. "Get up before my mother comes and sees you. You know how mad she'll get."

"Aaaah, let her. Your father already made a- a big fuss."

"Really?"

"Oh I couldn't get him to stop flapping his jaw at me. Nazim, er, Nizaam just stood there and let him yell. Sometimes, I think you, you really love me."

"What?"

"You- you, you're the only one who cares. You're the only one who's ever nice to me. The others just get angry at me."

"That's not true Isa; we all care. The others just get upset because you keep on drinking. You're ruining your life and you know the sin for drinking. They- we all get angry at you because you're angering Allah. You're humiliating yourself and causing so much trouble just for a temporary escape from your worries and misery. We all have issues Isa, but drinking them away solves nothing. This is what you need to understand."

"But no one understands-" Isa paused to cough. He sat up again; the hapless look in his eyes had washed away, with weariness and sorrow overcoming him. "They- they don't care. And I don't care. Everything is already messed up; this is the only thing I can be happy with."

"You're wrong. They care. I care. And you should too. And you should know that happiness is in pleasing Allah. Yes, the past happened and it's full of sadness and sorrow. But you don't live your life buried in misery, drinking away your problems and creating more. You sober up and turn to Allah, looking for a brighter future with happiness and such. Always with the best mind. Then you can-"

"You know, you, you're pretty smart. You probably have the biggest brain under that turban. I think it's all that hair you have. Haha, you look like a girl." Abdur-Rahman gave an upset stare and Isa reached up to his chin. "Except for this hair here; you're an ugly girl ya know? But, but you're a smart girl."

"Isa, I'm not a girl," Abdur-Rahman said, smacking his hand away.

"No, no, you're a boy. A good boy. I wish I had a son."

"Isa, you have four sons. In fact, one of them is in town still."

"Aah, that boy is no son of mine. He doesn't even care. And he treats me like rubbish. You're a better son. I'm proud of you as my son."

"He's only harsh because he sees you getting drunk and stirring up trouble and he's trying to be stern and keep you from that. And Isa, I'm not your son."

"Well I wish you were. You're the only one who's kind to me, drunk or not. I-I mean it. You're like a real son to me. I don't know if He'll listen to a drunk like me, but I ask Allah every night to bless you and keep you alive and well."

There was a moment of silence between the two. Abdur-Rahman was filtering out the drunk talk and piecing the sincere speech together. The best thing someone could do for him was make du’ah to Allah, and even in his lowest, most foolish of states, Isa always remembered to make du’ah for him. Despite his flaws, Isa did have some good buried within him. And that was enough for Abdur-Rahman to not want to see him as a helpless case. He knew Isa had it in him to be a good person, someday. Just like Isa knew his du’ah would be seen through in Abdur-Rahman, someday...

"We've almost made it through," one of the soldiers spoke, snatching Abdur-Rahman from his daydream. "Sir, we've almost reached the village. General Isa's goals have been accomplished, Alhamdulillah. We have succeeded over the Kwaadi and will be in the village shortly In Shaa Allah."

"Alhamdulillah," Abdur-Rahman said with a smile on his face. "Alhamdulillah."

Inside he felt a mix of joy and grief, but ultimately his joy overcame. Looking down from the snowy mountains to the village below, he'd only wished General Isa himself had been able to witness it all. The sun above shone down from a clear blue sky, with cool, crisp, and fresh air breezing through. The village was large and spacious, with hills of green grass and numerous blue springs running through. There were numerous huts within village, built of stone and wood. Far out beyond the village was the open sea, sparkling in wondrous beauty. It was all a splendorous sight to behold. This was the prize of battle. Having defeated the Kwaadi at last, the Muslims would now be free to sail the seas and enjoy the benefits of the Black Sea, from the fresh fish and seafood, to the quick access trade routes. This was their victory now...


"Come on now, Shah," Saabr spoke to his younger companion.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Shah replied. "Just let me fix my turban." The two were leaving the small camp the army had set up within the village and were going out to explore. After Abdur-Rahman and Abu Salman had met with the village chiefs, the village was very welcoming of the army. They had decided to hold a festival of sorts in their honor and to celebrate their victory over the Kwaadi. Abdur-Rahman had allowed his men to enjoy the festivities so long as there was no haram involved.

So far, everything had checked out properly. There was no music or haram entertainment. With all of the food being from the sea, they didn't have to worry about haram meat and such. No alcohol was present, even among the Non-Muslims. And there was no intermingling of the genders, in fact, oddly enough there didn't seem to be any women at all present.

Abdur-Rahman permitted his soldiers to partake in the feast, reminding them to give thanks to Allah and that their gratitude should be in prayer and doing good deeds. Thereafter, he resigned to his tent with a few other high ranking officials among his army. Meanwhile, soldiers like Shah and Saabr were setting out to enjoy the merry making.

Shah rewrapped his small black turban and emerged to shake hands with Saabr. "Let's go." The two began on the paved road into the village. All around them were cheerful, smiling people. There was so much chatter from the happy villagers that even if there had been music no one would have been able to hear it. Crowds of people stood outside, eating and drinking various foods and sweets.

The salty sea air was masked over with the smell of sweet dough from all of the pastries and even more so from the scent of roasted fish. Being near the sea, the villagers were prone to cooking a large variety of fish and in numerous ways. Shah was practically drooling just thinking about it all. "In my home country we eat a lot of fish," he told Saabr. "Like almost every meal will have fish sometimes. Fish and rice."

"Is it that good?" Saabr asked.

"It's amazing, I never get tired of it. I just hope these people know how to cook it right."

"Smells pretty appetizing to me."

"Well, we'll see how it is. I have a great sense for this, so let me find us the best fish they've got."

Saabr and Shah made their way through the roads, bumping past all the other soldiers and the welcoming villagers. They stood in long lines of customers at different posts to sample various foods. It had been months since they had eaten fresh food, especially something from the sea. If this was a celebration of their victory, they were going to gorge themselves like never before.

Meanwhile, at the sea port, Abdur-Rahman sat with one of the local sea-merchants. He'd originally come to view the kinds of goods he could purchase, but he couldn't resist enquiring about the man's journeys. The man told tales of various wonders and dangers of the sea, from sharks the size of large ships, to whirlwind hurricanes that would throw ships about the sky like bundles of rope, and even a mysterious island inhabited by savages with beastly features. It was, however, his next statement that really caught Abdur-Rahman's interest.

"On my return across the sea I came across two of the Amir's private ships," the man casually spoke.

"Really?" Abdur-Rahman asked. "Has the Amir left Madinah?"

"No, I think perhaps he's sent them out on some exploration cause of some sort."

"Who were the captains of these ships?"

"On the first I saw one of the Amir's sons, I believe his middle son Ateef. He was heading towards the southern deserts if I'm not mistaken."

"Hm, curious. And what of the other ship?"

"That captain was a man I did not recognize."

"What did he look like?"

"I didn't see much of him actually. He didn't look too old, perhaps even below the age of 30. He had pale skin and a large brown beard that reached up onto his cheeks just below his eyes. He looked to be a man from the far eastern mountains. This is all I remember of him. There were however two other men by his side. A shorter, skinny man, near the same age with brown skin like yours. The ends of is beard stuck out in three points and he had the posture of an old man. He was bickering with the other companion, a taller man of a more reddish shade. He had a bit of acne on his face and a more narrow, black beard. Do these men sound familiar to you?"

"Indeed they do. Undoubtedly that captain is Roshan ibn Ayyub. The bickering two would definitely be my brother Nizaam and his friend Asghar. I wonder what they're doing out in the sea. Last I heard, Roshan was the imam in a masjid somewhere near Madinah."

"Perhaps the Amir sent them out on some purpose in the western lands. Their sailing course seemed for the Spanish lands, perhaps Spain itself."

"Really? That's interesting. Why would they be heading there?"

"I haven’t the slightest clue, but perhaps if it truly interests you, you may go yourself?"

"How? I have no ship, man. And even then, I'm the commander of this army, I cannot abandon them here in this village for personal exploration."

"Why then do you not take them with you? Perhaps you may do away with any remaining enemies in the area for future trading? Or go West and aid your fellow Muslims against their Christian neighbors?”

“Even if we agreed to that, we have no way of doing so. Our army has journeyed here on foot; we have no ships for sailing anywhere.”

"Ah but I know a way in which you may attain all that you need. There is a man, Prerstat Ilve; he has ships, many ships. He always loans them out to people willing to go and explore other lands for goods or join in battles nearby, and their price is only half of whatever they earn therefrom. He needs only to see your army so that he can get a headcount to make sure everyone will be accommodated. Gather your men at the western port in one hour, I will go and summon Prerstat for you."

"Okay In Shaa Allah, this sounds good. I will go and consult with my advisors."

"Okay, I will see you shortly."

Abdur-Rahman turned to go and find his advisors, leaving the man to tend to his business before going to summon Prerstat. It wasn't long before Abdur-Rahman was in his tent, surrounded by elders once again. He held his forehead in his right palm as he listened to the ever mumbling Abu Salman voice his opinion. When Abu Salman had finished, another man rose his voice to speak.

"How can we go and join yet another war effort while our men have yet to rest?" he shouted. "We've lowered our swords but a day and you wish to send us back to fighting already?"

"And we've no permission from the Amir to proceed in any actions," another man chimed in.

"No we do not," Abdur-Rahman agreed. "However, we've heard nothing from the Amir for months. We've sent word to him continuously concerning our status along the way, and even requested reinforcements several times but unfortunately he has not responded to us."

"Are you saying he has forsaken us?" Abu Salman angrily raised his voice. "You should not think badly of our Amir, nor our elders. We-"

"I am not saying that. I'm saying that perhaps he has more important things to tend to and hasn't got the time for communication with us. Similarly, we haven't the time to wait for communication and approvals. These opportunities are short lasting. Just think, if we had waited for reinforcements instead of following General Isa's plans, would we not be dead by now? Ambushed by the enemy or frozen to death. At the very least we would be still camping up in the mountains, running low on supplies and freezing our backsides off."

"Perhaps we should not make any decisions as of yet," a more calm, middle aged man spoke. "What harm could there be in waiting a few days to consider our options? If we decide to join the battle, it would have been a sufficient rest for everyone. If we choose to remain here, we would have time to become fully acquainted with our surroundings. Either way, I think our success is in patience and waiting. We need r-"

"Brother," Abu Salman cut in. "Our success is in striving in the way of Allah! We should-"

"I'm not saying that it's not, I'm-"

"An advisor, and we've heard your advice. But as second in command I disagree and I urge-"

"IT'S A TRAP!" a man shouted as he burst into the tent, falling over before scrambling over in the middle of the circle. Abdur-Rahman and the four other men all looked upon him in astonishment. He was beaten and bloodied, covered in dust and blood. He had a long cut down his arm and a knife in his shoulder. "They are the enemy," he spoke weakly before falling over on his face.

Abdur-Rahman rushed to his side, holding him up and turning him over. "What is this?!"

"I have witnessed with my own eyes and heard with my ears; the villagers are in alliance with-"

"KWAADI!" a shout from outside came. There were shouts and cries from everywhere, a whirlwind of violence ensued. Before anyone inside the tent could make a move, one of the villagers sliced through the tent flaps wielding two sharp blades. The wry smirk on his face made it all clear. Abdur-Rahman quickly pulled the knife from the injured man's arm and leapt to his feet.

"What is the meaning of this?!" he asked as he faced the intruder.

"We were warned of your coming weeks ago," the man spoke. "Did you think our people would be so easily overtaken? You Muslims should have stayed in the mountains! We will defeat you for the glory of the Kwaadi!" The man lunged at Abdur-Rahman, swinging one of his blades down. His initial attack was blocked but he managed to swipe at Abdur-Rahman's side, cutting his unarmored torso.

Abdur-Rahman swung a punch across his face and knocked him to the side. The other men quickly came to his aid, pouncing at the intruder to finish him off with their own weapons. While his men handled the attacker, Abdur-Rahman quickly examined his wound before turning his attention to the ruckus outside. There was fighting everywhere, with the vastly outnumbered Muslim soldiers on the less fortunate end.

Abdur-Rahman rushed back into the tent, seeing the defeated enemy dead and he looked to his advisors. "There is chaos outside; we've been ambushed!"

"Then we must fight," one of the men said, raising up his sword.

"We're completely unprepared and disadvantaged in every way," another man said. "Perhaps a strategic retreat is more appropriate?"

"We cannot flee after coming so far," Abu Salman mumbled.

"We need a decision General," Abdul-Hamid, the middle aged man, spoke with urgency. Abdur-Rahman quickly considered his options, his mind racing as he thought through each possible outcome. "General?!" Abdur-Rahman sighed, his mind was made up.

"Toss me his sword," he said, pointing to the dead man. One sword was pried from his lifeless hands and tossed into the bloody hand of Abdur-Rahman. "Two of you, escort our injured brother here up toward the mountain path, you others will follow me."

The men did as commanded without question. Abdur-Rahman left the tent, followed by Abu Salman and Abdul-Hamid. The other two men helped the injured man to his feet and carried him away. Blades were swinging and men were falling; many of the Muslim soldiers had put their weapons to rest after getting permission to enjoy the festivities. Abdur-Rahman and his company made their way into the scuffles, taking on enemies left and right as they moved.

"Spread out to the three corners," he called to his two companions. "Command the soldiers to retreat to the mountains." The two men nodded in reply and began moving. Abdur-Rahman drove down the center, searching to save any Muslim he could. He caught two villagers beating on one of his soldiers and quickly rushed to his defense. He sliced down the back of the first man and jammed the hilt of his blade into the jaw of the other.

He quickly helped the soldier to his feet before more enemies came in to attack. Abdur-Rahman looked to see that six men had gathered in place of the two he'd just beat away. They all came rushing in but before a single blow was struck there was faint whistling sound before an arrow came flying through. The first shot missed but was immediately followed by three more arrows, all on target. Two of the fighters were taken out, with another injured. A red flash blurred through as the sharp blade of a halberd cut down another villager. One of the remaining villagers quickly turned to block the sword coming down over him but even after successfully doing so he was kicked in the stomach and knocked on his back before the blade was driven through his chest.

Abdur-Rahman looked to see himself surrounded now by his soldiers Shah, Uthman, and Saabr. Uthman quickly moved to take out the final two men while Saabr and Shah moved beside the General. "What's going on?" Saabr shouted over all of the chaos.

"It was an ambush," Abdur-Rahman answered back. "We have to retreat to the mountains."

"Retreat?" Uthman asked, slamming the lifeless body of a defeated enemy on the ground.

"Yes, retreat. We need to clear a path for the soldiers though; many of them are unarmed and as you can see, they are beating defeated with ease."

"These villagers are pretty tough," Shah spoke. "I put 3 arrows into one guy and he still kept coming at me!"

"I don't think these are all just random villagers with weapons," Saabr answered. "They fight like soldiers, and I’m certain that I’ve seen some of them somewhere before."

"They're Kwaadi," Abdur-Rahman clarified. "I wouldn't doubt that they'd been sending men back and forth in preparation. We've no way to win this; gather the troops and let's move back to the mountains."

The five men split up, with Abdur-Rahman continuing down his center path and shouting to his soldiers to retreat. He was immediately caught up in another scuffle. Two armed villagers came at him from different sides. He managed to defend against one of them but was struck down by the other. Knocked on his back, Abdur-Rahman was almost stabbed in the face before he rolled over to his side and swiped his sword at the man's legs. The Kwaadi man yelped loudly as he fell over, the back of his left knee having been cut.

Abdur-Rahman quickly scrambled to his side, taking the blade and stabbing it through the man. He got to his feet and continued about his task, taking no time to catch his breath. "Retreat to the base in the mountains," he shouted to his soldiers. "Retreat to the base in the mountains!" The soldiers began to hear his call and heed his orders. They fought against the villagers as they strove to make their way back towards the mountains. Abdur-Rahman continued on, moving against the direction of his soldiers so that he could see to it that all of his soldiers heard his call.

Aiding in the task were Abu Salman, Abdul-Hamid, Uthman, Saabr, and Shah. All of them, and others whom they'd spread the message to, were fighting among the crowds and calling to their fellow soldiers to make their way to the mountains. On the far left end of town, Abu Salman had reached the furthest limits and was calling out to the Muslims to flee. To his horror, he found that many were unable to. They were completely unresponsive. Their bodies were weak and feeble, their senses gone. He knelt beside the limp body of one soldier and rolled him over only to see that he'd gone pale, with his veins bulging through his skin. His eyes were white and his mouth hung open.

Abu Salman hurriedly moved on to another body, finding him to be in the same state. He checked through several more, seeing them in the same manner. He stroked his white beard curiously before he took note of one familiar sight on all of them. They'd all had food on or around them. "They've been poisoned," he muttered to himself, lying one of the soldiers back down.

"Don't worry old man," a villager spoke as he came up from behind him. "They're not dead. But soon you'll be!"

Across the other side of the village, steel clashed with steel as Abdul-Hamid, now joined by Uthman ibn Sulayman, battled against an overwhelming amount of villagers. They'd managed to hold off the attackers to allow most of the nearby Muslim soldiers to escape. A few remained back with them to defend the retreating soldiers. The crowds swarmed in, wielding various weaponry and tools, attacking from every angle. The soldiers barely had room to move, let alone fight. Still, they struggled against them with determination.

Uthman pushed back a group of four with the ends of his halberd. As those men fell over, he stepped forth to slash down the front of another man. As he completed his own attack, a sword came slicing down his back and he roared in pain. He spun around furiously and swiped at the face of the enemy. Even with another enemy downed, there were still so many more. Abdul-Hamid was at his side, slicing away at various enemies, taking hits and cuts until the blood soaked his boots. He stabbed his sword into one villager and spun around to slash another. A heavy ax fell upon his shoulder, cutting away a deep piece of his arm. He barely had time to grab the stinging flesh before having to raise up his blade to block another attack coming for his head.

Abdul-Hamid managed to block the attack and Uthman came to his aid, driving his halberd through the side of the man. That, however, would prove to be an unfortunate mistake. It was then that the crowd pushed on through until they'd broken his weapon, leaving him wielding only a short wooden pole with a splintered end. Another blow came and he was thrown onto his back, rolling in the dust. Abdul-Hamid soon joined him after a slash to the face and stab in the leg. Uthman quickly rose up and swung his cracked staff down the face of another man. He jammed the back end into a second man's eye and kept pushing until he'd slammed the man into another.

He pulled the short staff out and smacked another man upside the head. He was sliced in the leg but kept on fighting, throwing a punch into one man's jaw before slamming his staff down over his head. He took another blow to the chest and second slice across the leg but fought on. When he recognized one of the Kwaadi soldiers from the mountains, he finally realized everything that was going on. That distracting realization, however, would prove to be his undoing. The soldier taunted him until he found himself charging straight for him.

The two clashed until Uthman got the upper-hand and he drove the short staff down the man's throat to silence him. While the man choked helplessly, two other villagers came charging up. Unable to dislodge his weapon from the soldier's throat, Uthman had to fend off the villagers with his hands. He managed the first few blows but was quickly overwhelmed by the large amount of attackers. Just as Abdul-Hamid had been taken down, Uthman was beaten and cut down to the ground. And yet the two both held smiles on their faces, they were successful. All of their comrades had managed to escape to the mountains.

Near the village entrance where the last of the Muslims were rushing through toward the mountains, Abdur-Rahman was in the back of the group still trying to get his soldiers to safety. He'd just helped a sickened Shah up into the ranks where other soldiers then helped him up the mountain. He was going back for Saabr when a blunt metal object struck him upside the head and knocked him down on his back. His vision blurred temporarily as an overwhelming pang was throbbing in his head. He opened his eyes to see yet another villager standing over him, wielding a broad metal weapon. His hand went up to the gash on his forehead as the blood trickled down, forcing him to close one eye.

The steel came down in a loud swoosh, but in just a second, Abdur-Rahman was saved when a sword stabbed right through the man’s body. He only looked down to the sharp blade jutting from his torso before his eyes fluttered and he fell over limp. Behind him stood an exhausted Saabr, huffing and puffing the cold air. He offered a small smile and quickly gave a hand to help Abdur-Rahman up. "Let's get-" Saabr began before coughing up a little. "Out of here." The poisoned food he and Shah had eaten was really kicking in.

"Right," Abdur-Rahman agreed. The two used one another for assistance as they made their way towards the mountain. The snow crunched beneath their boots, sullied by the blood dripping on it from numerous injured soldiers dragging themselves up the path. There'd been fighting in the lower parts, but once the Muslims had made their way up the hills the enemy ceased their attacks. It was as if they were stopped by some limit or... "It's another trap!" Abdur-Rahman loudly declared.

But his warning came all too late. Way up high, above even the furthest group of Muslim troops, a large group of Kwaadi soldiers lie in wait. When given the signal, they put their plan into action. Several of them in different groups began pushing against the large, snow covered boulders that rested up top. Down below, Abdur-Rahman was able to see it all perfectly, but the troops up near it had their sight hindered by all of the snow and hills directly in front of them.

"What do you mean?" Saabr asked, stopping in his tracks.

"Up at top, there's an ambush! I have to warn the others."

"What? Are you cra-"

"Get to safety, call as many people away as you can! I'm going!" Before Saabr had anymore protesting to do, Abdur-Rahman removed his arm from his shoulder and took off scurrying up the mountain. He shouted to his soldiers to move away. "It's a trap, it's a trap! They're going to storm down on us with an avalanche! Get to safety! It's a trap! It's a trap!"

The soldiers barely had time to react before the trap was sprung. The Kwaadi soldiers up top heaved the enormous boulders down in one mighty push. The mountain shook with a thunderous boom as the boulders and tons of snow began racing down the mountain. Abdur-Rahman and his soldiers stood, minimized by the sheer volume of the avalanche. The snow roared as it plummeted down towards the soldiers, accompanied by the monstrous stones. The nearest soldiers all turned tail to flee but were swiftly swallowed up in the tremendous torrent of snow. The sky became gray and deathly as the tons of snow blocked out the blue light from above.

The Kwaadi stood proud atop the mountain as they watched the snow devour their enemies and the boulders crush those who outran that. Despite not having any power to do anything much, Abdur-Rahman was determined to try saving his soldiers. There was a path with hills and large rocks jutting from the mountain that he believed could with stand the force of the avalanche if anyone hid behind them. Shouting at the top of his lungs, he called out to all of his soldiers to make way towards that path. "TOWARDS THE STONE SPIKES," he shouted, barely audible over the roaring snow. "RUN TOWARDS THE STONE SPIKES! QUICKLY! YOU MUST GET TO SAFETY! TOWARDS THE STONE SPIKES! GO HIDE!"

He ran up the slopes, directing the fleeing troops to safety behind the slopes. The hustle and bustle of retreating soldiers had Abdur-Rahman getting knocked over numerous times, but even against the stampedes, he continuously stood to point his troops to safety. He put concern for himself aside to save as many soldiers as he could. Unfortunately, it was this selflessness that brought about his end. The snow poured down the mountain, engulfing everything in its path. There was no hope to save anyone else. Abdur-Rahman began limping, then racing towards the stone spike path. His injuries were doing him in, but he strove to get to safety before it was too late.

The thundering snow came down in a surge of white powdery doom. Frantically, Abdur-Rahman limped along, trudging towards the spikes. A soldier rushed out to his aid, lifting his arm to his shoulder and helping him to run. The snow was coming in fast, the deafening roar was enough to frighten a man to death. Everything shook with the mighty force of the snow and boulders jumbling downhill. In a moment of trepidation, the soldier stole a glance up towards the snow just seconds away from swallowing them. He lost his footing in the snow and tripped over himself. Abdur-Rahman fell to his side and immediately tried helping him up. He'd barely managed to pick himself up when the avalanche came tearing through. He gave one last desperate push to throw the soldier from the path before being engulfed in the deluge of snow, buried underneath...


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