Page 20 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
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22 Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT“So who is our master?” she asked. Her curiosity had finally gained the upper hand. She realized she held some power over Sara, though she didn’t understand why.Sara was instantly ready to oblige.“I’ll tell you everything I know,” she said, her voice quivering strangely. “But you’d better not tell on me. And you have to like me. Do you promise?”“I do.”“You see, all of us belong to Sayyiduna, which means ‘Our Master.’ He’s a very, very powerful man. But what can I tell you ...”“Tell me! Tell me!”“Maybe you’ll never even see him. I and several of the others have been here for a year already, and we haven’t.”“What is this about ‘Our Master’?”“Be patient. I’ll explain everything. Do you know who is first after Allah among the living?”“The caliph.”“Not true. And it’s not the sultan, either. Sayyiduna is first after Allah.”Halima’s eyes widened in a shiver of astonishment. It was as though she were experiencing a tale from the Thousand and One Nights, only now she wasn’t just listening to it, she was in the very midst of it.“You’re saying that none of you has yet seen Sayyiduna?”Sara bent her face right down over Halima’s ear.“Not exactly. One of us knows him well. But no one must ever findout that we’re talking about this.”“I’ll be silent as a tomb. So who’s the one who knows Sayyiduna?” She already had a clear sense who it might be. All she wanted nowwas confirmation.“It’s Miriam,” Sara whispered. “The two of them are close. Butyou’d better not give me away.”“I won’t talk about it with anyone.”“Then it’s all right. You have to like me now that I’ve trusted in youso much.”Curiosity tormented Halima. She asked, “Who was that old womanwe met in front of the house yesterday?”

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