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Yusuf ibn Fadil

Yusuf ibn Fadil Marwan (ibn Fadil to the polysyllable-challenged) is a gambler, the kind who's perennially living at the outer limits of his creditors' patience. Where he came from before Bral he won't say; no doubt there are other creditors back there, though he's been on the Rock for years. Some people think he's from fabled Zakharah, a sphere where (they say) the streets are often paved with gold, chaotic spirits roam, humans and elves live in harmony, and Fate is the ruling goddess. Others say Zakharah doesn't exist, or if it does it can't be as exciting as all that.

But ibn Fadil exists, and his appearance supports the Zakharah theory: He is half-elven, and after all his time on shadowy Bral he still looks suntanned. His choice of clothing seems to approximate Zakharan styles, consisting as it does of loosely-cut trousers and shirt, a vest, and a sash instead of a belt. On the other hand, all of his clothes are second-hand, faded and worn almost to the point of shabbiness. If he was ever wealthy in the past, he certainly isn't now. The only things of value that he owns are a sword and a knife, both of them plain and functional.

When he's been losing and needs money, he'll get and hold a job for exactly as long as it takes to pay down his debts and a bit more he's been seen moving cargo on the docks, running messages, standing watch over warehouses, and various other temporary jobs. Sometimes this admirable self-control lasts for months, sometimes only for a week. Money flows into and out of his hands like water.

Despite his situation he's retained a certain dignity, and most of the time is a cheerful, talkative fellow. He knows how to use the sword he carries, but would rather talk (or pay up!) than fight. He's reputed to be too honest for his own good, and a reliable employee if you pay him by the week instead of the day.

Ibn Fadil is well-liked by many of Bral's permanent residents; it has not escaped their notice that he stays poor not just because of his gambling, but because he's a soft touch when he's been winning. He is also pitied by some, who believe that eventually he'll get himself too far in debt to climb out again. Of course, others will gladly take bets on when he'll find himself run off the Rock by his creditors.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson