Tim and Eric were once Arabian slaves. Their journey began at the time they were tasked to a caravan delivering scimitars and spices to Mongolia. Ibn Battuta, a greedy and vain merchant, drove the long caravan through the Sahara desert.
Tim’s job, being a scribe before slavehood, was to write down everything Ibn Battuta did, which was mostly stare in a mirror and talk about politics and ...
taxes. Usually though, since Battuta was illiterate, he doodled or else wrote down something about being happy. Eric was a burly man and his task was to carry all of the dead and dying camels on his back. It was a terrible job: the stench alone had killed the two previous camel-carriers.
Sweltering days were spent trudging through the desert, dunes farther than the eye can see. The molten wind whipped sand everywhere, burning and stinging. At night the air would freeze under the clear night skies and the caravan would stop to set up camp. Eric, Tim, and the rest of the slaves would gather around small fires and talk about their lives before slavehood. After their small nightly meal Tim and Eric would retire to their little tent, where they would talk about freedom and music before drifting into hopeless dreams.
The slow, grueling journey carried on like this for several fortnights until one red sunset when one of the evil slavedrivers threw a new slave into their tent. Eric and Tim sat staring as the newcomer, dressed in a tattered cloak, got up, mumbling annoyedly. When the newcomer tossed back her hood the two were shocked that their new tentmate was a rather pretty woman, so surprised that at first they didn’t even notice her eyepatch. She introduced herself as Cheyenne, a pirate down on her luck.
Chey was appointed to feed the camels. “This is some old bullshit,” she concluded after several hours of work, and she stole one of the scimitars and swiftly stuck it through Ibn Battuta’s bejeweled head. Chaos ensued as she, like a true pirate, took over the caravan, deftly decapitating any slavedriver that got in her way. Tim and Eric escaped into the hot sands with just the clothes on their backs.
But their situation quickly became bleak. After a few weeks of meandering with no food and water they had to eat the leather off their shoes, but then had to walk barefoot. They had nothing to protect their bare heads from the impossible sun, or their dry and burnt skin from the wind and sand. Still, they soldiered on.
Until one night, one fateful Sunday night. Eric was dragging an unconscious Tim, on his last legs, when he saw a faint glimmer in the sand. He went over to it, and after a little digging, uncovered a old little toy ukulele, which is even smaller than a normal ukulele, and a silver toy trumpet. He took the ukulele in his arms, which had two cryptic words, “Simple Rituals,” carved into its body. He felt an energy flow into him through the toy instrument. Wide-eyed, he took the trumpet and placed it into Tim’s hands. “Look,” he said, “Music. We’ve found music!” Tim stirred in his unconsciousness and put the trumpet to his mouth as Eric struck the nylon.
The result was an erupting, beautiful cacophony! In the middle of the Sahara desert, in the middle of the night, stars shot across the sky in a multitude of colors. The wind swirled around the two heroes. They played and played, and sang, a song for every day in slavery, then a song for every second of their freedom.
Meanwhile, in a grand hotel room in the closest town, which was a hundred miles away, Neema Atri, the gallant leader of a troupe of gypsies, awoke from his sleep. Aside from being a hair over nine feet tall, Neema was known the world over for his ears, which were so acute they could hear your brain making thoughts.
Neema sat up from his bed, concentrating on the faint music his ears were hearing. “I… must… go to this music,” he said, and put on his robe and exited the room.
In the silent streets he came across Cornelius, the prized musician of Neema’s troupe. He was stumbling the cobblestoned night with the calm expression of someone who had fixed something quite well. Cornelius was a survivor of fifteen attempts on his life, . “Come on, Cornelius, we have treasure to find.” And Cornelius followed. They rode off on their camels.