“Master Moses.” Ayyub went down on his heels in front of the beggar. “What would you say to working as a master builder again? To building aqueducts?”
“I’d say you’ve gone mad,” came the bitter answer.
“But could you do it? Could you design and build an aqueduct? Like we were going to do together?”
“Have you been drinking or chewing khat?” the master builder asked, narrowing his eyes and eyeing Ayyub suspiciously.
“Neither! I can’t afford such luxuries. The Baron of Ibelin is looking for a master builder to build aqueducts and sewage drains on Cyprus.”
“I’ve seen more sewage drains than I ever want to see the rest of my life!” the ex-slave growled. “Go away!”
“This isn’t about cleaning them out,” Ayyub protested frantically, his dreams collapsing around his ears. “It’s about designing them and watching other people build them.”
The beggar snorted skeptically and snarled, “What’s in it for you?”
“Just that you take me on as your apprentice, like before: that you take me with you.”
“To Cyprus! Didn’t I already say that? Ibelin wants a master builder willing to go with him to Cyprus.”
“That’s what you say!” Moses scoffed. “Sounds like a drunkard’s dream to me.”
“I’m not drunk. I’m stone-cold sober, and I heard the exchange myself. What’s the harm in trying?”
“Going to find the Baron of Ibelin and presenting yourself.”
Moses ibn Sa’id made a rude noise.
“Come with me!” Ayyub insisted, reaching out to pull Moses to his feet by his forearm.
Moses tried to shake him off, but Ayyub was stronger. “You’re coming with me,” Ayyub insisted.
Moses was too weak to effectively resist, and so he found himself being dragged through the streets to a small and rather disreputable bathhouse run by a fellow Syrian Christian.
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