“Why so stereotyped?” said Magus.
“What do you mean?” said Abda. “This is my home. What did you expect it to be like?”
“Not like this!” Magus replied. “I mean look! Almost everyone’s wearing a turban! Why, I wouldn’t put it past this place to be ruled by a sultan!”
“Well who else would you have ruling a country?” said Abda. “A king?”
“Of course!” said Magus.
“Look,” said Abda. “It’s our country and we have the right to live in a cliché. It’s not like the empire’s any better. I mean aqueducts and fire engines? We might as well call them not-currently-ancient Grome!”
“Fine,” responded Magus. “But we better not find any more Middle Eastern stereotypes, or else I leave, no matter what the danger in the Empire is. If I never see another minaret, it will be too soon.”
“What about terrorists?”
“Terrorists too! Blending time periods is almost as annoying as steampunk!”
“Then don’t look in front of you.”
Magus looked in front of him. As expected, there he saw some insurgents attacking one of the garrisons the empire had placed in the cities of its ‘allies’. They were impressive, showing matrix-esque feats of agility, slaughtering the guards with ease. Soon, there was only one left, a kid just barely old enough to join who probably had thought that he would get a medal by the end of the week. He was on his back in the dirt, quickly attempting to scuttle away.
“Please!” he said. “Please don’t kill me! I don’t want to be here, I just got picked up by the draft! I’ve got a family, a life, and I can’t go back to any of those if you kill me pleasenononononono,” he said as he broke down and was reduced to incoherent babbling. The insurgent in the front, a medium sized man garbed head-to-toe in wrapped cloth simply reached down and broke the guard’s neck.
Magus looked on the scene of carnage, obviously shocked. Then, as the insurgents began to disperse into various alleyways he said “We have got to figure out how to join them.”
“It’s not that hard,” said Abda. “This novel is rather linear. Here, watch,” he said, gesturing to a hovel with smoke leaking out from the holes in the roof. “I bet you that if we walked in there we’d find some kind of contact for them.”
Inside the hovel, there were two fires, equally spaced, with an old man in red robes standing in between them. The floor was coated in so many layers of soot it was as black as night, and the walls were a sickly green. The old man looked straight at Magus as if he could peer into his soul, before spreading his hands and saying, “Walk into the waterfall.”
“Dammit,” said Magus. “I have had it up to here with clichés. Tell us where to find the insurgents base or else.”
“Walk into the waterfall,” said the old man.
“Say that one more time and I kill you,” said Magus.
“I know you won’t hurt me,” responded the old man. “So I say unto thee once again: Walk into the fucking waterfall!”
“ARGH! MY BRITTLE, OLD MAN RIBS!”