- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 15
- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 16
- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 17
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 18
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 19
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 20
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 21
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 22
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 23
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 24
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 25
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 26 – Finale
Jomo, a young nomadic man was betrothed to a fellow clan’s girl, Bonajo, and they were to be married during the merriment of reuniting at the designated reunion camp in mountains of central Africa. Unfortunately, a huge war campaign was to prevent that simple thing from happening until after more than three years.
Gassan pushed at the door and it opened without resistance. He stopped to make sure that he was not working into a trap; trap that could be set by the Queen herself to make sure that after he was done with his job he too didn’t leave the room alive. Or in case Lataky was caught and she exposed his plans and he was to be disposed of immediately. After ascertaining that there was nobody with breathing capability inside the room he entered pulling the door lightly behind him.
The room looked like either the owner had been robbed or some kind of wrestling took place. The huge chest against the wall was opened, vomiting many items. The bed sheets were ruffled, with many smaller chests on it, also agape and spilling their contents. Nothing in the room failed to suggest that something strange has happened to its occupant.
Gassan closed the lid of the large ornate chest and started rummaging through the wreckage. If this was some sort of a joke he had nothing to lose playing it, he thought. He already had more than a thousand dinar from the Queen and two hundred from Nira is in his possession already, Lataky was supposed to steal some more from the Queen. Nira he met briefly today and gave her the information he could gather; the girl seemed satisfied and parted with the money happily. Now his lucky star was not done lavishing him with fortune, he would make sure that he left the girl’s room with many more treasure. He would be rich!
What about Lataky. He smiled at the thought. He knew the crazy woman fall for his words. She was in for a surprise. He wasn’t planning to marry her at all. She was too old for him. If she succeeded in stealing money and jewellery from the Queen, which he believed she would, plus her own payment atop of his balance of five hundred dinar, he would simply take it off her and leave her high and dry. And now that he was filling his pockets with some of his victim-to-be’s valuables, he would be very rich and far away from Maghreb and Lataky. About Nira, he still wished to collect some more money tomorrow when he took her to the war supplies at the prison gates as he promised, and if he could spare some time.
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Gassan froze at the sounds of approaching footsteps as he scooped pearls into the pocket of his voluminous pants. He was so much indulged in his rich thoughts he should have perceived them sooner. Who could it be? He asked himself. Was it the trap he was warning himself of when he entered the room? He silently moved himself to the back of the door so that he would see whoever comes in before he was seen.
As soon as he placed himself behind the door, it hesitantly opened. He waited, as his heart thudded so loud that he thought it could be heard by the new arrival. Then he saw the figure in a black cloak materialized from behind the door.
Lataky betrayed him definitely. The old bitch! May be she too was having the plans of escaping with the booties without him. Gassan was at the brink of losing his control to anger.
The cloaked night visitor stood a few inches from the door, like it was marvelled at the disarray of the room. It had to be her. Nobody knew about the assassination but she and the Queen. He could almost discern her hair against the black cloak reflecting some moonlight. The double-crossing bitch had been lying to him all along. Now he had no doubt Lataky was ganging with the Queen, they wanted him to kill the black girl then kill him as well. Gassan was so still he could be a statue. He watched the figure as it fully entered the room.
The traverse from her room to Bonajo’s seemed to be shortened by lack of events, for within what seemed like seconds Agnes quickly found herself at the front doors. Her mind twirled of millions of thoughts at once and, pounding like a blacksmith’s hammer, she put her palm on the door and ever lightly pushed. The door, to her surprise, gave way.
Inside Bonajo’s room it was cold, the windows were open, and wind constantly blew the curtains. Whispers of the nightly wind made Agnes more nervous than she was when she left her room. The room was not totally dark, as plentiful amount of moonlight, low at the horizon, streamed freely through the open windows. She could sense the presence of the girl, her breathings, and wondered what kind of a heavy sleeper she was. How could she still be sleeping in spite of the cold? Then she noticed the disorder.
She moved soundlessly to the huge chest near the window, being careful not to topple on the many scattered things she came to notice as her eyes accustomed to the semi darkness of the room. She dropped the gold crown behind the chest sitting against a wall.
As she was about to trace her steps back to the door, she also noticed that the bed was filled with small treasure chests, all opened. There was no way somebody could be on that bed.
Agnes felt alerted. Her heart pumped large volumes of blood into her head. She felt herself panicking instantly. If the girl was not on the bed where was she? She was sure there was a living being in the room, because she could feel it, she could hear breathings. She had to leave the room at once she taught. Thanks to the cloak she was wearing, nobody stood the chance of knowing who the wearer was. When she reached her room she would solve this mystery.
She increased her pace reaching the door. She felt brisk movement and a sharp object suddenly jabbed and violently twisted through her back. The violence with which she was attacked was less frightening than the unexpectedness of the assault. As she opened her mouth to scream the attacker pushed rags inside her mouth and muffled her screams, without forever lettung it out of her mouth. She felt another painful thrust, then another, again and again and again, the coldness of the room multiplied hundreds of times as her eyes rolled out of sight.
Gassan should be here by now. Had something gone wrong with the plans?
Lataky was successful in stealing several jewelleries with even more dinars. To her luck the Queen took some kind of sedative from the harem doctor for a sickness she suddenly started complaining about. However, she made sure that she made herself clear to Lataky that she didn’t want any problem with her plans.
As soon as she passed into a deep sleep, Lataky stuck as much stuff as the small leather bag she brought could handle, and looked at the sleeping Queen for the last time before she left. She arrived at the southern gate, their rendezvous, as the sun began to crawl from the eastern horizon. More than half an hour have passed by and Gassan hadn’t shown up yet.
The Queen must be waiting for Lataky to return back with the updates, Gassan thought. That means he had few minutes to escape the palace before the Queen suspected something went awfully wrong and decided to expand the party to reinforce Lataky. Nira should be where he asked her to come, he had to meet her and finish their business before it was too late.
As his victim slid with a thud on the carpeted floor, Gassan was shocked to see a spill of full blonde hair out of the cloak hood. It can only be one person in the world.
Ya ilahi! I was supposed to kill the black goat, now I have killed Lady Agnes. What the hell was she doing here?
He quickly searched the room. There wasn’t anybody besides the two of them. Great! He thought. The black shit was not even in the room. But what was Agnes doing in the room. He remembered he saw her reached the far window before she returned quickly, like she was looking for something precisely at the window. That move made him think she knew where he was hiding and was about to do something. Even though she seemed to be intent on leaving the room, instinct told Gassan that she was going to do something. That was when he attacked her. He moved to the window.
If it wasn’t Lataky, it meant that Lataky was at their rendezvous, waiting. He let out a gasp as he reached the window. On the chest laid the queen’s popular crown. What was happening? Gassan quickly grabbed the crown made of pure carats of gold, studded with rare gems, alongside other plunders which he stole and dashed out.
Several times Lataky decided to return back to the Queen’s chambers and abort the mission. Gassan is careless about this whole thing, didn’t he know the gravity of the situation? If he did, why was he not here already?
Her heart skipped a beat.
He was coming, carrying a sizeable bag on his broad shoulders, quite a conspicuous figure. Fool!
Lataky hurried up to meet him. “Where have you been?” She was overly anxious. “And what is this sack you’re carrying?”
“Will you shut up?” He snarled at the wailing woman. “Do you get what I asked you to?”
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Lataky could only nod her head vigorously, he was the boss and she didn’t intend to match his authority, but he was becoming fulgurous again. Then she noticed the blood stain on his white shirt. Her gasps took his attention to what she was staring at.
“Now what, is that not what I was supposed to do?” He grabbed the small bag Lataky extended and peeked through. The glint of gold that greeted his searching eyes made him cracked a smile.
“We should be leaving, now”. Lataky was looking over her shoulder as if expecting someone to turn up with the Queen’s command to kill her on the spot.
When she looked back at Gassan, what she saw him held in his two palms knocked all the residue of peace out of her.
“Gassan what is that?”
Gassan smiled sneeringly, scrutinizing the Queen’s crown closer. “What your eyes showed you.” he said, not minding Lataky’s tremors of fear.
“How did you get it?” She was about to start screaming or running or do anything as crazy.
“You stole it.” Gassan said without caring whether her flipping was drawing the whole city’s attention.
“No I didn’t!” she vehemently denied.
“Yes you did.”
What was wrong with him? Lataky dropped the other bag containing a few of her essentials and started to back away from Gassan, who she was sure had gone crazy.
“You see Lataky you stole this crown from the Queen’s chambers alongside all of this jewels and monies and, see, you even took your bag containing your belongings. You are running away!”
“Please Gassan, I love you. Don’t do this to me.” Tears were beginning to well up in her eyes as she watched Gassan drew a blood covered white steel knife. The psycho smile still contouring his facial muscles. She should have trusted her instinct; she always knew he didn’t love her.
“I love you too, but I am sorry you are a little bit too old and you know that much.”
In what seemed like the blink of an eye he was in front of her with the knife, lodging it somewhere in her vital organs. She screamed, horror written on her face. Gassan was quick to place his huge palm on her mouth, muffling the painful sound, as he stabbed her a couple of more times, each time making sure that he targets a vital spot.
When the writhing Lataky finally succumbed to the inevitable death, he allowed her slumped to the ground. He opened the bag she brought with her, picked a gold chain carrying a huge ruby pendant out. He hesitated, looking at the jewel, he dropped it back and picked another without a pendant, threw it at the dead maid with a couple of coins. That should do it, now let’s meet Nira and see how much can be found on her, he thought.
A guard opened the gates for them as he was ordered by his boss, without asking further questions. Bonajo, covered in overflowing cloak followed Jango’s steps inside the dingy prison interior that reeked of men and dirt. The guard simply gestured his club in the direction of the building wing they were visiting and looked away.
Without as much as acknowledging the guard’s limb gesture, Bonajo and Jango moved in the direction with enough speed to disappear on time, without appearing to be running. At the far corner the head guard was coming just in time to see them entering. At least they kept to their timing. In another half hour he can be rest assured that he was free of any danger he sold himself into and enjoy his benefits.
They followed him inside the mud building. In a few seconds they arrived at the cell at the last end of the corridor facing the entrance. Bonajo noticed that there was another corridor that disappeared inside the building, but the one they used opened to the court yard directly. Nobody was in the corridor save for the two torches posted to the opposite stone walls. The floor was covered with sand, making their footfalls muffled.
“You have ten minutes.” the guard told Jango, as he gestured in the direction of the cell Jomo was in, then left briskly, without wanting to see who the important person from the palace was. He didn’t want to know.
Jango quickly reached the cell door and inserted himself inside the candle lit room. Bonajo followed suit without hesitation. She was having a mixed feeling of anxiety and fear. It was like she was about to start the most perilous of adventures of her life. The Spartan mud walls of the prison intimidated her.
The room was small by all standards of the word. Besides the small man Jango remembered as Audu, who was planted near the door to welcome the nightly visitors, the weather-beaten, termite-eaten wooden table at the corner, a candle and small ewer of water on the top, there was nothing but the sandy floor occupying the room. Save, of course, for a tall dark figure at the darkest corner of the room.
Jomo didn’t move as his visitors entered the cell. He chose the darkest corner so he would have the advantage of seeing who their visitors would be. There was enough agitation with the visitors to warrant them to be considered as a potential threat. He could see from the way they made their entrance.
He waited until Audu shut the door as soon as the two visitors entered the room. Jomo leapt from his corner like a freed tiger and hit Bonajo hard on the head. At the same time Audu knocked Jango in a similar fashion.
As Jomo gather his strength to strangle his prey lying motionless on the ground from his prior hitting, he noticed something unusual. Unless the weak candle light was playing tricks with his vision, his victim was a woman. He gently removed the cloak and was surprised to see a head full of hair and the rest that confirmed that he was not imagining things.
“Look.” He called to Audu
Audu came over to Jomo’s side, after he was sure the ropes were tight around Jango’s arms. “What have we got here?”
A black woman! Jomo stared in disbelief. An important black woman in the kingdom of Saadis, unbelievable! Jomo was confused. He wasn’t hesitating on his decision of killing whomsoever that was important within the kingdom – man or woman. But this was not what he had in mind.
“We don’t have much time before they come around. What do we do now?” Audu was beginning to see the awkwardness of the situation. The plan was to kill them and take their cloaks and leave. “Now are you still blood thirsty or shall we take the cloaks and leave them alive.” Audu asked with sarcasm.
Jomo didn’t say anything; he snatched the ewer of water sitting on the table top and poured it on the woman. What was left went to Jango’s face. Bonajo surfaced first. She tried sitting down when she realized that she was tied up.
Jomo’s dominating figure loomed large within her viewpoint. He looked as deadly as any dangerous man could hope to be.
“Please don’t kill us, we come in peace.”
“You better start explaining how comes you are an important person around here and what do you want from me?” Jomo hissed out in a broken Arabic. “And consider yourself lucky you live until these seconds.”
Bonajo sat down. She knew that she was dealing with a dangerous man, and, moreover, she had nothing tangible to present as her reason for wanting to see him. She looked to her right as Jango made a slight sound signalling his coming back.
The movement Bonajo made in the effort to sit herself well and to properly take a look at Jango to make sure he was not killed, made her cloak slipped down and exposed her upper body to the full reflection of the candlelight. Jomo froze instantly.
He came to the realization of two things; first, the girl had been answering him in as pure a Fulfulde as he knows – his exact dialect; and two, what he was seeing, he was finding it hard to believe.
Audu saw the reaction. “What is wrong?”
Jomo said nothing
“Bonajo?” Jango surfaced, calling out his lady to find out if she was alright.
Bonajo? Jomo’s mind was spinning faster than he could ever hope to control, the stream of thoughts bombarding it one million times per second. This couldn’t be.
Bonajo told Jango in Fulfulde that she was alright. She gathered her strength to face this brute of a man. This better be over with soon, for better or worse. She regretted coming. He might be brave, but is definitely a brute as Jango described him. She had to try to save Jango’s life, because if something happened to him because of her she would never forgive herself.
“My name is Bonajo I am a captive too, as you are. As for me being somebody important is a long story that you don’t want to hear and I would be ashamed to relate. I heard about your bravery and you inspired me to seek for my freedom that I always wanted by escaping while I could. I decided to contact you, I should be called stupid for making such a decision but I thought you might know something about my people or perhaps want to escape and I have plans of helping you.” She said in her best Arabic
In a rapid Fulfulde Jomo asked. “Where do you get that?” His breathing was barely coming out complete. He was half listening to what she was saying. She was carrying his father’s talisman – he could recognize it anywhere, anytime. And above all her friend called her Bonajo. That was the same name Mandano told him at the reunion camp on the plateaux.
“Get what?” Bonajo was terrified now. The fire and anger distorted Jomo’s face until he was ugly enough to cause miscarriage of a matured pregnancy.
“That talisman.” He was trying hard to hold himself together.
“It’s mine!” Bonajo clutched the talisman like her life depended on it. She regretted coming here for the hundredth time in less than five minutes. They were not getting anywhere, and time is a rare commodity right now. It is either this brute accepted her offer and they get to the harder task ahead, or he let them go.
“Who gave it to you?”
“Why would you care? Now are you going to come with us or are you ungrateful enough to rob us after trying to be kind to you?” Bonajo was flaring in Fulfulde too, without even realizing it.
“I said where did you get it from?” He barked
Audu came in between, trying to make sense of the barrage. Jomo used his powerful arms to sweep him aside like he was an annoying kid.
Bonajo was sure he was going to strangle her like she heard he did to the corporal. “My father in-law gave it to me and I don’t care if you are the bravest soul on the face of the earth, I swear by Almighty Allah there is no way you are going to take it away from me without first killing me.” Her voice shrilled high enough to confirm she meant what she said.
Jomo kneeled down. His knees couldn’t continue carrying him anymore.
Jango, who was scared senseless, was waiting for Jomo to land the first attack on his mistress, he was confused at the man heaping to the ground like he was possessed by an overpowering weight of spirits.
Audu had his own confusions too. Why was Jomo making a big deal out of this mere talisman? Could it be his? Even if it was, wasn’t escaping more important than squabbling over a toy?
When Jomo raised his face again his eyes were flooding with tears. “Tell me about your in-law please, my lady.”
Bonajo, too confused at the turn of events, let go of all resistance.
“His name is…” she stopped briefly before continuing “…was Mallam Gojjo. I was to marry his son before the war started. It was a very prosperous year. The cows were fat and producing healthy calves. Everyone was happy and making good wealth from their cattle. It was such a blessed year.
“My father was a good friend of Mallam Gojjo’s. They arranged to marry their children together by the time we reach the reunion camp. This son of his, I don’t know him very well but he was the talk of the camp, the fantasy of every girl. I was lucky I was going to marry him. That year was the happiest time of my life before the war started. Then it came and everybody I ever knew and loved was killed alongside my promising future.”
Audu was touched by the girl’s story. Jango on the other hand knew the story. Jomo was motionless.
“The men of our clan chose to fight the empire soldiers than surrender their cattle and young sons.” After a sombre pause, Bonajo continued. “Most were arrested and taken to camps. The cattle were seized and the women were left stranded. Before we left our last camp he gave me this talisman and asked me to give it to his son if we could somehow meet. Unfortunately I don’t even know the man I was supposed to marry and even more unfortunate, I was captured during the war and brought to be turned in to the King’s whore. You see, that is why I came here this night, I am a desperate woman wanting nothing but to escape from this fate.” Tears finally overcame her eyes.
Jomo was still not moving. Audu thought, of all his strange attitudes this was new.
“If you take this talisman my escape will be empty. Also the longer you retain me here the more you spoil my chances,” Bonajo sadly admitted, her head bowed down.
“Mallam Gojjo was my dad; I am the betrothed you were supposed to marry.” She heard him say like in a dream.
Jango was not catching up the most part of the exchange, because Jomo said the words almost in a form of a whisper, and Bonajo was speaking with anger and emotions, but he could sense the tension in between. Audu, on the other hand heard every single word uttered, due to his proximity to Jomo.
Bonajo couldn’t believe her ears either. She was disconcerted and not catching the meaning of things.
And Jomo was at a loss of words again.
Audu decided it’s action time, otherwise they would be busted and never have a chance to run away.
“OK, now that we know we belong to one team and there is no need of hitting one another in the head again, how do we get out from here? You will have enough time to go over tonight’s incidence. We were supposed to take your cloaks, stab you and leave you on the floor to die slowly. Now apparently the four of us have to escape together. Not going to be easy.”
Bonajo’s mind snapped back to reality. They had spent more than eighteen minutes, the guard could return anytime soon. She also agreed with Audu, it is going to be difficult for the four of them to walk out.
“I have two guard’s uniforms; you two can wear them as I hope you would when I decide to source them. Jango told me there was a companion and I decided you may want to come too. I don’t have any plan for smuggling you out of the prison, though. You figure out how. I am sure the uniforms would be of help. We will leave before you.”
Jango produced the heap he tied around his stomach and went on with the explanation. “Give us five minutes head start; then sneak your way out as best as you could. If you make it out of the prison you must leave the city at once. We will be waiting for you by the southern gate. There, with our supplies and everything else ready, we can begin our journey back to the Savannah.
Jomo said nothing.
“It is a perfect plan.” Audu said, with admiration in his eyes as he looked at Bonajo. He hoped for a qualms-free escape and here it is easy and simple.
Audu’s enthusiasm was short when he turned to his friend. The man still looked sad in spite of the latest revelation.
“If you think you have no reason to go on living, my friend, I think now you do.” Gesturing in Bonajo’s direction, who was busy separating the two sets of uniforms, Audu extended his hands to collect them.
“Give me the uniforms and you can start leaving.” Jomo said. He moved closer to her after taking the uniforms and handing them to Audu. “Bonajo, thank you and be careful, I can’t afford to lose you again. I will see you outside the city, I promised.”
Bonajo nodded her head; she was still struggling to process what had happened within the last half hour. But Jomo’s eyes did convey something strong that she was sure was admiration and respect, and hopefully, love. Not the idolization I got from the harem.
“I promise.” He added, when he saw her emotions welling up.
Bonajo nodded again, this time more vigorously, like she was urging him not to fail to do what he promised. She quickly pulled the hood of her cloak up and hurried up towards the door with Jango at her wake.
Outside the door the corridor was still deserted, except for the flickering light of the torch attached to the walls. At the corridor entrance a guard was posted obviously by the boss guard, apparently not aware of the rumble that took place inside the cell within the last few minutes. He quickly opened the door for them and slipped out even more quickly, and disappears into the darkness of the night.
The head guard was at the gate. He literally pushed them out, and to his relief, saw them disappear into the darkness of the night.
As soon as they were out of the prison’s visibility they ran to the southern gates of the city.
A few minutes after their departure, Jomo and Audu now dressed up as the prison guards, came cautiously out of the private cell. They stood listening to some noises. There were voices coming from the end of the corridor. The voices were getting louder and fast approaching; seconds later they heard a clanking of metal door being unlocked.
The head guard and his cohorts were coming in to clear the last traces of their midnight activities and return the prisoners to their cell, may be even question them what all the meeting was about.
Jomo reacted quickly by extinguishing the two torches at the opposite walls and pressed himself flat against the wall. Three figures appeared in the corridor, the fat one leading the procession was speaking rapid Arabic.
The head guard was alarmed by the darkness in the corridor. He knew there were two burning torches in the corridor which should be alive till the next night if left alone. More so, why is the cell’s door open? He cursed himself for not giving the orders to take prisoners back to their cell immediately after the meeting was over. He drew his sword and head toward the source of light at the end of the corridor. He was too anxious to see the visitors leave uneventfully, that he wasn’t about to involve another person in charge of immediately seeing to it that the prisoners were taken back to their cell, for that would further lower his cut. There wasn’t any need for that, after all where could two prisoners go?
Jomo waited until they passed him by in the darkness, then he attacked the rear two by colliding their heads before the chief guard at the front could make a one-eighty degree turn. Jomo precisely hit him at the side of his neck where his jugular exist, sending him sprawling to the sandy floor with a muffled thud.
“Man, where do you learn the art of killing?” Audu was astounded at the speed with which a single man took care of three powerful men. It didn’t take more than half of a minute, and they hadn’t even seen it coming.
“Grab a sword, we don’t have much time.” Jomo took one sword from the limp bodies, then lodged an elbow into the owner’s kidney, and took out his remaining consciousness for good.
They reached the end of the corridor through the route Bonajo explained would take them to the courtyard quicker, and found out that there was nobody at the other side of the entrance. Nothing was out of the normal at the prison courtyard. Jomo and Audu moved in unison, like some highly trained soldiers. Now, they were a few steps away from the gate. Jomo could feel Audu’s strides quickening. He used his hand to slow him down. Any out of the ordinary move from them would spoil their chance of leaving without qualms.
They had to act naturally. Guards were all over the courtyard of the prison premises. In twos, threes or singly, patrolling the vast space that was the frontal side of the prison. With their high red caps, voluminous trousers and a sash at the waist, Jomo and Audu blended in the scene.
Fifteen feet away from the gate, a loud horn blared out alarmingly. At the same time, Jomo covered the remaining distance separating them with the gate and drew his sword, knowing without being told what the alarm was announcing. There were only a handful of guards at the gates, and Jomo’s body twisted and turned as he busied himself, taking care of the surprised guards. More guards started pouring towards the fighting scene from inside. Jomo could see from the corners of his eyes their number increased exponentially by each passing second.
Somebody at the first level of the building was shouting a hysterical order in response to the horn and the numbers of the guards hurrying to the gate continued to increase.
“Audu, open the gate!” Jomo shouted above the noise.
Audu, who was less busy, drew his sword into his opponent’s gut before running in the direction of the gate.
The gate refused to move at his push. They were sturdily locked, like they were never meant to open.
“The gate is locked or something!”
Jomo was hit by Audu’s words like they were bags of sand. He was distracted briefly at this information that an attacking guard succeeded in landing him a sword scratch. He also heard guns fired. Jomo became angry and went berserk, thrusting his sword, leaving bodies falling like autumn leaves. I have to escape!
This could be his doom. He thought. Though he abandoned the idea of revenge at the discovery of the fact that his betrothed was still alive less than an hour ago, he realized that he didn’t want to die anymore. He wanted to return back to Songhai and start afresh. But he could see now that there is no way he could overpower the guards and hope to breach the gate.
More guards converged on them and he could only hope that Bonajo would realize the turn of events and leave without him, soon enough before she too was found by the Maghrebans.