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Rolfin's Orb
Book 10 - Argentina – Tanzanite
Chapter 9


        She filled her mind with thoughts of Burill and when she opened her eyes, she stood in the center of an old town with tall buildings made of dried mud. “This place is interesting. I’m in Yemen. I wonder what city this is. I know one thing,” Fiona said after seeing women walk past and stare at her, “I’d better dress like the locals. She bought herself a hijab, or black robe that covered her from head to toe. She had to turn herself invisible, take one her size and leave the money. The man would not have sold her anything if he’d seen her.

“Well, don’t I feel in place now. I’d hate to wear this every day, but at least it’s comfortable.” Fiona saw a sign. “I’m in San’a. I don’t see any tourists. I guess I’ll just walk around and see what I can see. I wonder if this used to be Burill. It must have because I was thinking Burill. I don’t see any palaces or castles or anything.

As she walked through the town, she took photos, making sure none of the residents saw her. She didn’t want to stand out. “Wow! This is a much bigger city than I thought it might be. So, this is Yemen.” She spoke to herself as she snapped shots of the buildings. “Elspet would have loved this. Look at the buildings with the trim  painted on them. How odd. I’m in the old part of the city. Cool.”

Fiona saw the old wall that surrounded the city. “It is really high. It’s as tall as Mrs. Butler’s oak tree. This place is filled with mosques and minarets. All the buildings are tall with flat roofs. The windows sure are pretty with the carvings around them. I like it here. I wonder if Burill looked this way. I can’t wait to show these photos to Jimmy and the others.”

She was pleased that she was able to use her money in San’a. She purchased some frankincense and myrrh for Elspet and a jambiya, a Yemeni knife for Callum. “What do I buy for you, Mum?” Fiona wandered into the market. She passed by bins holding salt but also bread, spices, raisins, cotton, copper, pottery, silverware, antiques, and a many other items.  “I’ll buy mum some of these spices. She’ll love that.” She bought a bag of zhug, a typical Yemeni spice mixture.  

She took a deep breath. “This place smells like spices. I love that gate.” She wandered over to it. “The Yemen Gate, over 700 years old. Interesting. There is al-Jami’a l-Kabir, the Great Mosque. Wow! It’s one of the oldest in the Muslim world. This place is very exciting. Callum and Elspet would really have loved this.” She took a few more photos and then walked back the way she’d come. She saw an old man sitting with his legs crossed. He looked like he was blind. Fiona walked over to him. “Hello,” she said in Arabic. “Do you know any folklore about an ancient city, Burill, which used to be in this area?”

The man, missing most of his teeth and wearing dirty clothes, took her hand. “You come from far away. You seek knowledge about Burill. I know the legend well. Many centuries ago a city stood here. It had great palaces and the king was a kind, generous man.”

“That’s King Rolfin. I know of him,” Fiona said, unable to control her excitement. She looked around. So this is where Johnny, Jimmy, Jesse and the others lived. I can’t wait to tell them I came here.

The man spoke again. “What you speak is truth. A great evil came to this land and the king had to leave, along with his family and friends. Though he left the people with wealth, the evil one came and destroyed the city. I have something for you. I will give it to you because I know you know the truth.”

“Are you a magician?” Fiona looked at the man’s bent, crippled fingers.

“No. I am not a magician. I am a Wiseman though. I know things. I know that you have good in your heart.”

“What is your name? I am Fiona.”

“You can call me Temani.” He reached into a bowl sitting next to his side. He picked something up and held it in clenched fist. “Open your hand, Fiona.”

She did as instructed. “What is it?”

“It is precious. It has been passed down through the generations since the days of Burill. You see, my ancestor lived in Burill. He escaped and hid in these mountains for many years. After the city was destroyed by the evil one, he came back and lived in the ruins. One day a caravan came by, with many camels loaded with frankincense and myrrh. My ancestor, Qahtan, married one of the man’s daughters and they stayed here, building the city back up over many years. It was a resting place for weary travelers and finally grew once again. Qahtan searched the ruins and found some gems. He saved them. One day he was murdered by a greedy warrior who was on his way to battle. He stole all Qahtan’s jewels but one. Qahtan’s son, Rabi, kept it with him and passed it on to his son, and his son’s son, until today. I had no sons. So I will pass it on to you.” He Temani put the jewel in her hand. Keep it always and give it to your son when you have one. Tell him the story about my ancestor.”

“I will, Temani. Thank you. Can I take a photo of you, for my future son?”

“Yes.”

Fiona stood and took his photo. She took his withered hand in hers and shook it. “I must go. Thank you. I won’t forget you.” Fiona turned and left, not looking back. She thought about Callum and Elspet and found herself standing in front of them at Elspet’s home.


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