When Desmond finally reached the Oasis he felt the cool rush of relief temporarily push back the annoyance he currently harboured for his ancestor. He sped up, eager to both quench his thirst and finally have a certain pain in the neck off his back.
He reached the very edge of the water and stopped violently and abruptly, he didn't even have to buck, Altair simple flew off his back from the extreme excess of Kinetic force from the sudden stop and the fact the Syrian man was completely unprepared. He flew off of Desmond's back with a multitude of frankly impressive and increasingly anatomically impossible profanity as he splashed into the knee deep shallows.
As his extremely Aquaphobic ancestor failed in panic Desmond let out a amused series of whinnies and tossing his head in a show of triumphant amusement. He trotted slightly farther down the bank and bent his head to begin chugging down the clear liquid ambrosia to sooth his parched throat, ignoring the loud splashing of his ancestor. Altair would figure out he wasn't drowning eventually.
Childish laughter and small forms darting in and out of his peripheral vision had him lifting his head. Sure enough there was a group of children, a little over a dozen, of varying ages skirting about. Eager to get close and interact but wary at the same time, eyes full of awe and wonder as they stared upon the magnificence that was the Spirit of the Desert.
Desmond lowered his head to the smallest child's height and gave a friendly nicker. The child, a little boy with dark skin and darker hair but eyes a pale pale grey, stared at him with uninhibited amazement as he eagerly approached. Desmond allowed the child to lay a gentle hand upon his muzzle, and when he allowed the child to move to stroke along his elegant neck the others took this as consent to approach as well.
Desmond folded his legs beneath himself and allowed them to do as they wished. Gaining confidence they stoked his side's and his head, the younger ones eagerly sitting beside him and curling into his side and marveling at the impossible softness of his coat.
Some of the elder girls began eagerly braiding his mane and tail with beads, and string, and even flowers, while some of the beaver boys scrambled up his back and pretended as if the were riding him on noble journeys and grand adventures.
He watched all of them in contentment, listening to their stories as the talked to him eagerly about anything and everything. This was nice.
Altair did eventually realize that he was merely sitting in water that barley even reached his knees, and that he was therefore makeing a complete fool of himself. He snarled and scowled as he stood up, robes soaked through and dripping wet. They would take forever to dry.
A warm chuckle from the direction of land had his head snapping up as he quickly took a defensive stance. Standing there, on the bank, was an older man. Hair steely grey with age but body strong and weathered still from harsh living and constant work.
"I see you have finally escaped the clutches of the water demons my friend." The stranger said in genial amusement. Altair scolded harder, but his eagle vision told him the man was no threat and so he loosened his stance and strode out of the water with as much dignity as he could salvage.
"And who are you?" Altair demanded near imperiously. Head tilted upward so he could glare down on the man from under his hood. It was supposed to be intimidating but the elder only seemed further amused, though he was wise enough not to give voice to it.
"Ah, allow me to apologize for not introducing myself. I am Baqi al'Bitar. I am the speaker of my tribe in affairs of outsiders."
"So you are nomads." Altair said bluntly.
"Of course. I came to invite you to sit by our fires and rest from what was doubtlessly a harrowing journey. My people are eager to hear your tales."
If anything Altair looked impossibly more dubiously suspicious even as he kept his face a blank mask set in stone. "I did not take the nomads of the desert to be welcoming to outsiders." He said blandly but with obvious distrust.
Baqi for his part simply waved his hand in a friendly dismissive gesture. "That is true, but you have nothing to worry about. The Great Desert Spirit has brought you here for a reason, truly it is a great blessing upon my people to offer you our aid. The Spirit has never before allowed one the great honor of sharing in his earthly flights, that he has trusted us with bringing one he deems so worthy is an honor that can not possibly be comprehended by any but the honored ancestors and gods themselves."
That actually gained a rare incredulous eyebrow from Altair. "The Great Desert Spirit?" He said blandly.
Baqi nodded joyously and pointed to, lo and behold, the current bane of Altair's existence. That damnable horse, that was currently prancing about as it nimbly danced around a group of joyously shrieking children, it allowed on or two to get a hairs breath from laying a hand upon it's golden hide only to dance away at the last possible second.
The infuriating beasts mane was currently filled with braids and designs of varying intricacy, and when it playfully swatted its tale at an older boy who got to cocky, Altair saw it was braided in a similar manner. The colorful threads and beads with intermingled semi precious stones have the animal a somehow regal look.
"The very Spirit of the Desert has deemed you worthy, clearly the Gods smile down upon you. Truly the Lord is fond of you, to show such favor."
Internally Altair was questioning the man's sanity, but even he had enough fact to not say as such out loud. First calling the animal a spirit, and now calling it a lord. Ludicrous. "He tossed me in the Oasis." He said dryly, unable to hold his going completely. Obviously this whole group was mad.
Baqi laughed once more, eyes wrinkling along deep set lines that indicated a man who often smiled and joked. "Yes the Young Lord is truly a creature of mischief as much as he is one of cunning. He is also quite found of children. Do not let him fool you though, he is wise and as he is fleet and my people have long honored and worshiped him. He has given us many a blessing in the years that we have shown our devotion."
Altair was sure of it. These nomads were obviously all smoking something, or were just all born mad. However he was not cool enough to turn down free aid do to eccentricities. Not anymore that is at least. And though he was proud of his robes they were soaking wet and the sun would begin to set long before they were dry. Plus they were beginning to change quite uncomfortably.
"I would be honored to except your aid." He managed as politely as he was capeable. Baqi smiled excitedly as he led Altair to the caravans camp. As they passed by the group of children he caught the eyes of the so called Desert Spirit. The animals brown eyes seemed almost smug before Altair stubbornly turned away. It was just a horse nothing more. He stalwartly ignored the knowing look the Nomad Speaker sent him.