Hidden away in an abandoned house of Sakhmet sits a young
Lupess among dust, old rags and a few battered cushions. She is named Jasmine
and she is only ten. Part of a gang of streetwise urchins, the Desert Scarabs.
Now her brother is missing and her friends have left her. She is all alone. Scared
and listening to the roar of monsters outside while people try to flee for their
Sitting here curled up in a ball is all I can
do. My arms tucked tight by my sides. The monsters have overrun the city and
I am too scared to hardly even breathe. I can hear screams and yells as people
try to run away and barricade their homes against the monsters. It makes me
wish my big brother, Tomos, was here; he'd know what to do. And Nabile too.
But they're gone. Disappeared. As if they never existed. Horace and the other
Desert Scarabs have gone up to the palace to tell Princess Amira their news
of how to defeat the monsters and I'm left here. Alone. Scared. On this dusty
floor of an abandoned house ravaged ages ago by the monsters. The tenants are
nowhere to be found. But I dare not think about that. I and the others have
already been attacked once by those monsters. Only just escaping. That's when
he had brought me here. "If anything happened to you Tomos would never forgive
me," Horace had said. "You stay here and keep quiet and if any monsters come,
I had nodded in agreement and whimpered, "What
if anything happens to you, what will I do?"
He had just smiled and hugged me saying, "You're
a Desert Scarab, you'll know what to do."
With that he and the others had leapt down to
the streets and raced off towards the palace. Leaving me here with only a catapult
to comfort me. Holding it close makes me feel as if nothing can hurt me. It
used to be Tomos'. He had given it me when I was six. We had been on the streets
a while by then. Father had been run out of Sakhmet for reasons that I do not
know and Mother had died of an incurable disease when I was two. I remember
Tomos giving me a thumbs up to start distracting the stall keeper as he swiped
a few Tchea fruits for dinner. "Hey, erm, how much are your… ummagines?" I asked
the stall keeper, who was a grumpy old Grrarl.
"More than you could ever afford you little Scarab!"
He grunted at me.
I was just about to give the stall keeper a piece
of my mind when Tomos gave me another thumbs up and waddled around the corner
with his shirt bursting with Tchea fruits. I started to follow when I caught
sight of a timid young Ixi girl, around the same age as Tomos, looking among
the stalls for scraps to eat. She looked as if she hadn't eaten for weeks and
her clothes desperately needed patching up, worse than mine. I called over to
her and waved. She looked at me shocked and shrank quietly to the shadows. I
walked up to her, smiling and whispered, "You looked starved, you want something
She nodded eagerly.
"Good, I'll shoot a few pebbles at the weak point
of the stall and when the canopy comes down it will stir up some confusion and
you grab some grub, okay?"
She nodded again.
I ran over to the stall and while the stall keeper
was busy with a customer. I shot a few pebbles and they missed terribly. "What
was that?" the customer asked, surprised, as splinters rained down from wherever
I had hit.
"Hey how much are these Tchea fruits?" the Ixi
asked running out of the shadows, her voice high with exictment.
"25 neopoints!" the Grrarl grunted at her, looking
upon his fruits.
Suddenly he grabbed her, "YOU LITTLE SNEAK THIEF!"
He growled heatedly in her face. His customer had ran around the corner to get
"I-I never!" she cried, tears on the brim of
I gasped. He had noticed the missing fruits!
"Hey Ugly!" came a familiar voice and a couple of stones whizzed past my head
and struck the stall's frame.
The canopy swung down and hit the horrible Grrarl
in the face. He let go of the Ixi with a surprised, "GAH!"
The Ixi crumpled to the floor.
"Move Jasmine," Tomos whispered into my ear.
"The guards are coming!"
"Help, thieves!" cried the Stall keeper as he
tried to untangle himself from his canopy.
We both grabbed the Ixi by both arms (picking
up a few fruits as we went) and lead her through a maze of alleyways to an old
house that was falling apart in the older regions of Sakhmet. As we hurried
along the alleyways Tomos chucked his catapult at me and said, "Here, you need
to practice your shooting!"
I smiled and carried on running.
When we came to the house I launched myself up
the boards attached to the side of the house that lead to a window on the second
floor. As I finished my climb I turned around to pull in the young Ixi who had
come up behind me. We entered a room strewn with old rags and a few battered
cushions. "Where are we?" the Ixi asked nervously.
"We are at home, sweet, home!" Tomos grinned.
"It's nice…better than the streets anyway." The
"Yup, it sure is," I laughed. "C'mon, I'll give
you the tour!"
I showed her around the house, where to escape
from guards, where a few extra rags were kept and the food store (when we got
some that is). Later on as we ate our hard earned Tchea fruits with relish I
asked the Ixi, "What did you say your name was again?"
"I didn't, it's Nabile!" She smiled, Tchea juice
dripping down her face.
"Well that's a nice name!" Tomos smiled and nothing
more was said until we were going to sleep on our rags (Nabile sharing mine)
where we discussed our 'adventure' today.
"You were really brave today, Nabile, thanks!"
I grinned at her.
"Yeah, you were pretty brave too. I was really
scared when the stall keeper grabbed me!" she replied.
"And then brave young Tomos had to come and save
the day!" laughed Tomos.
"Oh shush!" snapped Nabile, throwing a cushion
I giggled happily. "Oh yeah Tomos, thanks for
"Anything for you little sis," Tomos replied
A few weeks later we met Horace, he was younger
than Tomos but they got on well, always coming home with their shirts full to
bursting with Tchea fruits, and, well, the Desert Scarabs just grew from there,
with Sara and Mark and Abu joining us the year after that. The mark of the Desert
Scarabs we wear on our arm we came across by chance when Tomos was hit with
a branding iron in the shape of a scarabug. It must have really hurt but we
all laugh about it now because all the Desert Scarabs have got one. The mark
of the Scarabs. But that's another story.
I really miss Tomos. Thinking about him makes
me smile a little. The screams outside the window are louder and I can hear
the beating of filthy wings. Jazan has released another, more horrible monster
upon our city. Since Jazan came into our lives there has been nothing but fear.
I hope Princess Amira kicks him out of Sakhmet forever when Horace and the others
tell her what to do about the monsters. I'd better hide under the rags just
in case! Come back soon, Tomos...