By Christopher Lee Kneram


Chellah, Morocco. March 1st, 1897


The sun, thought John Katy, had forgotten its manners. Here in the Sala Colonia, in the necropolis, it was meant to be dark and gloomy. It was a haunted place, a place of death, a place forsaken by God and man, and ruined by time. It was not a place for bright, bold skies and a summery breeze that brought with it the cool, salty scent of the sea. But never mind—the thief had passed this way.

Chellah had been an educated guess, a calculated risk, and Katy was pleased to see it pay off. Over the past two months he had become a fixture at the Arabic Library in Málaga, as he delved ever deeper into his search. The thief could not have stopped after having burgled Katy, for that which was stolen was only one part of the whole. The thief would have to hunt down the others. And Katy would have to hunt down the thief.

The Arabic Library was enormous. Its ancient texts covered every topic under the sun, and then some. Katy found what he was looking for in a Middle German text on beekeeping, which mentioned off-hand that Abu Al-Hasan, the Black Sultan of Morocco, had been buried with the Hafsid Scepter. In Chellah.

The Scepter had many qualities, rumored and real, mundane and magical, normal and apparently apicultural. What those qualities were exactly was of no importance to Katy. What mattered was that it was a part of the whole that the thief sought, and that it was here. Or at least, it had been here...



Christopher Lee Kneram is a freelance writer who is much like you, but from Ohio. When no one is looking he pens absurd fiction, much of which can be found around the internet.