Since then 't is centuries; but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses' heads

Were toward eternity.

- Emily Dickinson, Because I could not stop for Death, stanza 5

Act Four: Najib

As the young man with the newly lit eyes stood, the door to Madame Fortuna's vardo opened and Najib stood there.

"Hello again my noble friend. Did you learn what you wanted of Madame Fortuna?

"I suspect there is one more you wish to know of. Isn't there? You wish to know of me. My name is Najib al-Auni bin Mutamin. As I said when you first came to us, I'm from a land far from here. I grew up on a great corsair ship sailing the Great Sea in northern Zakhara. My father was a mate on the ship. I never knew my elven mother. I worked my way up from cabin boy. I learned all the positions on the ship, except for captain and first mate. I enjoyed my life and loved the sea. The ship was my home, the crew my family and friends. This was the only life I knew. And I had many great adventures. But they are for another time.

"What brought me to these lands was a dishonorable act by my captain. He and an Outworlder captain began a bloody feud, ending in my captain ambushing his rival in the darkest early morning hours. The act was without honor. 'Life without honor is meaningless,' a Zakharan proverb.

"The battle lasted into the day. The day was clear and the sun rose high in the sky, as the battle raged. Then a great thick fog rose from the sea. It seemed to follow us, overtaking us and plunging the ships in a thick stifling veil of white. Then it grew dark. But minutes later, when we emerged from the fog, we found ourselves here in the dark nights of the Sea of Sorrows. There was another ship, the Relentless, waiting for us. Our captains sent nine men off to the nearby shore in a dingy, while they fought the Relentless. Our ship was sunk, with all hands. But since being here, I've heard tales of what happens to crews who have fallen to the Relentless.

"Our dingy landed in a land called Lamordia. We began traveling this land trying to find, well a way home, a new home, something. But everywhere we went, we were turned away, or driven out. The people here are very xenophobic, afraid of outsiders. Some died at the hands of these fearful people, some died to other things, the remainder of us have since scattered. I have seen none since. This land holds great horrors.

"After traveling through these lands for a while, I happened upon the Carnival.

"Perhaps I will tell you my whole story, but not today. My act? Most of the time, I'm a barker. I tell the tales of the Troupers. But I'm also a Funambulist, a tightrope walker. I use the Guys, the heavy ropes that help to support poles or high wire rigging.

"I'm new among the Troupers, a First of May, someone new to the carnival. I've only been here a little under a year. Ones like Knick Knack and Gon are Kinkers, experienced performers."

Like all the people of the Corsair Domains, he is independent, strong-willed, and self-reliant. He cherishes his personal freedom, and is proud and adventurous. He is also very friendly and sincere, and enjoys telling tales of his adventures on the Great Sea. He has a million of them. He considers himself an honorable man and would fight anyone who questions it. He is very reliable. Most everyone in the Carnival likes him.

He is a 6' tall half-elven man in his mid-20s with dark tanned skin. He is lean and muscular, being in excellent shape from his years on the Great Sea. He keeps his straight black hair short and has a well-groomed goatee and mustache. Like all corsairs, he favors practical working clothes: a lightweight shirt with billowing sleeves, pantaloons, and supple black boots. Instead of a belt he wears colorful sashes and headscarves and many earrings. He is armed with a Jambiya and a cutlass, which appears to be worn through the sash. Although he is proficient in the wheellock belt pistol, which he learned from the Pistoleer, he rarely wears them or rather no one sees him wear them. He is also considered to be a Wisp, a trouper who can still pass undetected in mundane society. This, and his friendly personality is why he is one of the Carnival barkers.

Najib has no real act. Since he is a wisp, he acts mostly as barker. But occasionally he does a bit of an acrobatic show and tightrope walker. From his years aboard a ship, he can walk a tightrope and tumble. He is also good with a rope and does tailoring. Najib is a very charming man, and his exotic appearance only helps. Since arriving in the Carnival he has become even more charming. So much so that he can charm any person as if casting a spell.

"Now, my noble friend, have you truly found a new home?" Najib smiled at the young man.

The man with newly lit eyes returned Najib's smile. "Yes."

A/N: Well? What do you think? As I said, I rewrote the gaming stats. This is the first of my Carnival stories. I had to get this one out before I can post my others. As I said, I wrote this in the style of the Carnival supplement, which is why there is mostly narrative and little descriptions.