“I am so sorry about your pain,” Laila touched Fatima’s forehead with her warm hands.
Fatima nodded and managed a weak smile.
“I do love him still, but I am happy that he has found love in Aisha’s arms. I wish he knew how terrible of a person she was.”
“Have you told him about what happened between Aisha and Abdul?” Laila asked.
“I intend to tell him once I feel strong.” She answered.
Hearing Fatima’s confession at close range made him feel uneasy. He couldn’t describe the feelings that ran through him. He was excited. Although they weren’t together, a huge part of him still loved and cared about Fatima but he vowed never to let her know.
Umar had made ready to walk away when he heard Laila’s last question. It made him wonder too. What had happened between Aisha and Abdul? What did Fatima intend to share with him after she was healed?
Umar was tempted to march into the room but he restrained himself. Soon, the guards returned with his herbs and belongings. They also came with Iman. These arrivals distracted him from the words he had heard. He moved away from the doorpost towards the servants that rushed in with the herbs and his little cousin.
Iman’s eyes were filled with fear. The girl couldn’t recall the last time that she had been to Abdul’s castle. Something grave had happened, but she couldn’t tell what it was. She rushed into Umar’s arms and buried her head on his chest.
“Everything will be fine,” Umar whispered. He released her and collected the bag that contained the herbs. Together, they moved towards the room where Fatima was. Umar rushed in without knocking, when the sisters saw him, they stopped conversing. It was time for the treatment to begin. They had faith in Umar because he was skilled with herbs and would find a way to speed her healing. But there was just one problem left…
“Should Faiza know about this?” Fatima murmured. Umar had just given her some yellowish leaves to chew. They tasted sweet to the tongue, but bitter in her throat. The herb was a sedative. It would help her sleep soundly while he cleaned her wounds and applied other measures.
Laila could see that her sister was drifting away from consciousness. She leaned closer to Fatima and dropped a kiss on her forehead.
“No, we shouldn’t tell Faiza. It could affect her baby, but I will tell her something else.”
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Aisha had just arrived at home. She noticed something odd about her front door; she noticed a brown scroll. Quickly, she lowered herself to the ground and took it up. She ran her eyes around the environment, hoping that nobody had seen her. She kicked her door open and rushed inside to read it. It was the message from the order, and it required utmost secrecy to read. Aisha closed all her windows and fetched a burning lamp on her dressing table, the lamp burned always to illuminate the house. She fetched a vial from a box where she hid certain things (some belongings of the men that she had mauled in the past). She fetched a vial that contained a licorice of the jewel of Israar. Her hands trembled with excitement as she spread the scroll upon the table. Carefully, she anointed the scroll with the licorice and watched happily as the words of the letter became visible.
At first, she felt her eyes were deceiving her, for the message from the order was not what she had expected. She had served the order in her capacity; she had paid heavily for this kill to be carried out. Aisha’s lips trembled as she read the words. From what she gleaned, the assassin was killed but Fatima’s state was unknown.
“No!” She tossed the scroll on the ground and wailed.
How could they fail her? How could they not succeed? The order had successfully carried out killings in the past; why was her case different? She smelt foul play. Aisha bit her lip and carefully picked up the scroll.
Tears watered her eyes as she read in disappointment. If that lady was alive, her chances to be with Umar would forever be jeopardized.
“I cannot give up now. I am too close to winning his love. I will fight for him no matter what happens.” She wiped her tears and decided that the fight had not ended. She needed to find the moor. She needed to lay her complaint and dissatisfaction with the order for failing her. She also needed to find Fatima, and there were many ways to do this.
Aisha knew she could easily get the information that she needed from Umar, Abdul, Laila or Faiza. As she searched her eyes before the mirror, she decided to find the moor first, and then she would find Abdul. She gritted her teeth as she thought about the man that had ravaged her. Aisha was disgusted at the thought of him, but she would seduce him another time, just to the get the information that she needed.
She was also bothered about Tanko. Her brother had no idea that she was in the order. He had no idea that she had ordered Fatima’s death. She would keep things that way. Tanko sought to control her, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“Fatima, you have taken away my happiness. I will not let you go!” She vowed before the mirror.
After taking a wash and changing her clothes, Aisha rushed out of the house upon a horse. In her hurrying, she had forgotten to repackage the things she had taken out of the box. This was a mistake that would expose her soon.
The moor lived in isolation. He lived in the deepest part of Israar, a place that took knowing of secret bush paths to find. As she rode past the wild vines and bush berry trees, a little cottage became visible. Luckily for her, the man was at home as she could see the light of candles from afar.
“I have come at a good time then.”
Aisha was desperate. She wanted to know the true situation of things. From the tone of the letter, Fatima’s condition was unknown. But she had to find out at all cost. She tied her horse to a tree, adjusted her veil and rushed towards the cottage. She knocked twice before the man opened.
“Lady of rarest beauty, what do I owe this visit?” The moor stepped aside to let her in. He had a feeling that Aisha would pay him a visit as he knew how passionate she was about this matter.
Aisha was not in the mood for flatteries. She had come for a purpose and she wouldn’t leave until she found out the truth.
“Why did you disappoint me? Why did the order fail me?” She barked angrily.
“You need to lower your voice…” The moor tried to calm her. Before her arrival, he had been with another member of the order, and he didn’t want them to meet with each other.
“You don’t get to tell me how to express my anger! Why is Fatima not dead?” Aisha continued to yell. But she quickly paused as she noticed a movement. Her feet felt like jelly. Her tummy rumbled as she noticed the face of the man that stepped out in the shadows.
After dropping Laila off at Abdul’s castle and getting the information that he needed, Tanko had decided to report to the moor first, before leaving for his duty. When the moor announced that someone was coming, Tanko had hidden himself in the man’s old study. But on hearing a familiar voice, he could hide himself no longer. Tanko was shocked to discover that his sister was a member of the order of Israar. He was pained to know that there were many secrets between them. How could they achieve their aim?
“Wh…at are you doing here?” Aisha staggered backwards. Her brother was the last person that she had expected to see. The moor sighed and settled in a chair that was close by. He had wanted to avoid this, but Aisha wouldn’t listen.
“So you are the one that ordered Fatima’s death?” Tanko scoffed. He was appalled by the thought. How could Aisha think of something so despicable? He was not innocent, but he didn’t go around killing people that didn’t matter. He had warned Aisha not to fall in love with Umar because love blinded people’s ambition but she had not listened.
Aisha braced herself up for the fight. She could sense that her brother was judging her for the choices that she had made.
To be continued…