As the conversation continues, Claudius grows restless. As far as he can tell, ben David is sincere, and there is certainly nothing obviously supernatural in the room. His eye is caught by one of the serving girls, a dark-haired lass with a pleasant shape. He quiely begins to "nudge" her with ideas . . .
In response to Valerius, ben David smiles. [color=red]The Gift? As with most people, I think you will find it an encumberance. And, as with most, reponses vary. It is certainly the case that some you encounter will view you with fear, and even loathing. Those of the desert are simple folk, and though familiar with magic, they are used to seeing it as a threat. There are many dangers in this land - spirits, demons, sorcerers and djinn. Ben David pauses. [color=red]Caution and restraint I think would be wise, though this is true for all when dealing with those who travel the sand.
As for Magic well, here he smiles,[color=red] this is an ancient country. Many civilizations have come and gone, and each had its own traditions, its own powers. Phoenicia, Carthage, Rome, each held power in turn. In my own lifetime, I have seen three powers rise. Even now, the Almohad stir in the desert, and times are turbulent again.
As the map is produced, ben David's eye light with interest. [color=red]Ah, he grunts appreciatively, [color=red]your guide on this journey. The old man's finger traces lines on the map.
[color=red]Here, he notes, [color=red]are we at Sousse. His finger moves north, up the coast, marking villages along the way. Here, he says, [color=red]lies Takrouna. It is an ancient place, a village high atop a pinnacle of rock. They are a strange people there, but not unfriendly. Farther on lies Jeradu, on the hill, a place the Romans dwelled, then Zriba, where the people live set into the cliff. Moving inland, he notes two other places. [color=red]Hammam Zriba, the place of hot water, and Zaghouan of the Pool. Both of these have seen many kinds of men.
From the inland settlements, he moves to two of the ruins marked on the map. [color=red]These places I do not know, he says. [color=red]There are none who live there that I have heard, but they lie no more than a few days travel from the homes of men. From there you could explore these other marked places.
Turning to Sekhemet, he smiles. [color=red]And camels we have, in plenty . . . all your needs will be met. You are my guests until you depart. When do you plan to begin?
[color=blue]I will cook up a map over the next couple of days, and post it when I update the wiki.