Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 155,374,198 Issue: 220 | 16th day of Celebrating, Y7
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Tomos: Before the Plot


by mischa_rox

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"Hey, Tomos?" Nabile asked.

     "Yes, your highness?" Tomos was still a tiny bit angry that Nabile had left him for Jazan, leaving him partnerless.

     "Don't be so angry with me. Can you tell me your life story?" the Princess of Qasala asked.

     "Sure," he replied, not expecting this question. "You'll find it the Neopian Times soon, I think."

     ***

     "Mother! Mother!" he screamed frantically as he was dragged away from his mother, Kalila.

     Kalila's face had tears streaming down it openly, as she reached out, to her only son. Her eyes were full of pity and sorrow. This shouldn't be happening to Tomos, she thought. He now is going to live on the street, thieving, mark my words. No-one's going to care for him. I know it. This isn't the life for him.

     The men that came to drag Tomos away were muscled and quite strong. When Tomos struggled against them, all he was doing was exhausting himself by the strenuous resisting. They had arrived at Kalila's humble shack, one day, to inform her that her son was going to be taken away, by the king's decree. She couldn't stop it at all. So her little son, aged six, was taken from her, to a harsher life with fewer comforts.

     Kalila cried for hours, after Tomos' departure. She hated how the king was so selfish. But she couldn't do anything about it. And that made her cry all the harder. Kalila went into the house and picked up a picture of her child, Tomos. She wept for hours, and then started to collect herself.

     Well, she thought, there's not much I can do. I'll just have to cope.

     Then Kalila burst into tears once more.

     ***

     Tomos was plonked down on a hard, dusty dirt road. The two large men walked off without another thought for this young child's well-being. Tomos cried out for his mama again, to no avail.

     A friendly hand patted him on the shoulder. He looked up, to find a large yellow Grarrl above him.

     "Are you lost, little kiddie?" he asked.

     Tomos stood up, and looked at the Grarrl. He had a cloth-like hat on his head, and seemed quite strong and muscled.

     "No. Two big men came to my house and took me here." Tomos started crying heavily. "I want my mama!" Tomos cried.

     "Don't worry. Which way is your house from here?"

     Tomos turned and gestured towards the north-east area. "Somewhere around there," he replied.

     The Grarrl nodded. "Now, what's your name, little one?"

     "Tomos."

     "Well, mine's Basim. Basim Hakhur. Nice to meet you, Tomos."

     Tomos smiled, albeit a small one, for the first time in days. Basim offered a hand, and Tomos took it hesitantly. The yellow Grarrl lead the young Lupe down the long road, telling Tomos things along the way, to a partly neglected house, and took him down the steps to the basement to a not very organized meeting room, where there were around seventeen people lounging around.

     Basim entered the room, with Tomos still clutching the older boy's hand, and looking around fearfully.

     "Hey Basim!" a yellow Blumaroo greeted with a warm smile.

     "Hey Horace. I found this little boy on the road, crying for his mama. Says his name is Tomos."

     Horace walked towards Tomos and crouched before him. "Now little boy, can you remember why you were brought to Sakhmet?"

     "The big scary men said something about the king's decree." Tomos' lip quivered, and he was on the verge of starting to cry openly.

     Horace nodded knowingly. "Another of Coltzan's silly decrees. Well, young fella, do you want somewhere to stay, and some food?"

     Tomos nodded frantically. Already his stomach was feeling quite a bit empty.

     "Well, Tomos, I am going to make you a serious life-changing offer. We want you to join the Desert Scarabs."

     Tomos was puzzled. What or who were the Desert Scarabs? What did that have to do with Horace's offer?

     Horace must have seen Tomos' face, because he said next, "The Desert Scarabs are one of the many bands of thieves in Sakhmet. There are other, smaller and poorer ones like the Grackles, and the Sutek Robbers. In joining the Desert Scarabs, you are tattooed with a scarab on your arm, and that makes you a Scarab for life."

     Tomos nodded slowly, and with each nod, Horace's smile grew. "Welcome to the Desert Scarabs, Tomos!"

     ***

     "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!" an anguished scream yelled. Screams like these woke up many people, and they went into the streets of Sakhmet to find out what was wrong. They found nothing out of the usual. But that scream was the scream of Tomos getting his tattoo done. He was very proud of it.

     "There we go, Tomos. You are now a fully-fledged Desert Scarab," Horace announced. "I'll introduce you to the rest."

     There were about ten to twenty other members there. Horace introduced them one by one.

     "You already know Basim. Basim is the oldest here, and the group leader." Basim bowed mockingly to Tomos, as he and the Blumaroo headed to the next member.

     "This here is Zina. She came around a year ago to the Scarabs, and is my partner."

     Tomos raised an eyebrow as he looked at the red Zafara, and asked, "Partner?"

     Horace nodded. "Every Scarab has a partner to help them steal. Mine is Zina, while others have other people."

     "Right." Tomos didn't have any more arguments, so he followed Horace around to the next person.

     "Here is Nabile. She came here when she was four, but currently has no partner, since her last one was a traitor and ran away."

     Tomos couldn't speak. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Curiously, from the scarce lessons he could remember, there was a princess called Princess Neera. Nabile looked curiously like that princess of old.

     Tomos greeted Nabile shyly, and she returned the hello and watched him as he went around the room, finding out the other names of the people in the Scarabs.

     He looks like he would make a fine partner in crime, she thought. Perfect. My new partner. Better than that Hakak, anyway.

     After Tomos went around the circle, he arrived back in front of the bulky Basim.

     "What next?" he asked.

     "You get a partner. Since Nabile is the only partnerless Scarab, apart from you, she's now yours."

     Tomos twisted to look at the pink Ixi, Nabile. He gave her a rueful smile and she returned it. Tomos then turned back to Basim.

     "When do I learn to steal?" he asked, unsure about what happened if he got caught.

     "Right now. Or as soon as Nabile will start teaching you, that is."

     Tomos spun around to look at the beautiful Nabile again, and she gave him a look that said, Did you want to learn or not?

     Tomos smiled briefly, and then walked towards his new partner to start his new career.

     ***

     Nabile closed the newest issue of the Neopian Times with a smile. Now she could figure out why Tomos was so jealous about her leaving him for Jazan. And that bit about Hakak was completely true. That traitor. Her blood boiled at the very thought of him.

     She opened a letter addressed to her. It was from Tomos.

     It said:

     You know the rest of the story. I just wanted to ask, did you ever have the same feelings for me? Because my friendship for you never changed. Never. I'm sorry to cause you so much pain and anger, and I just want to say, I love you.

     From your partner in crime, who loves you dearly,

     Tomos

     The Princess of Qasala read this studiously, and then sorted things out in her mind. Of course she returned his love. Tomos was like a little brother to her, him being around one to two years younger.

     She rooted around for a piece of paper, and picked up a pen and started to write.

The End

 
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