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House of Games - Recap

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On the high seas, Sinbad and the Providence are racing Captain Abdul Fahim of the Ceran. The Providence pulls ahead and Sinbad steers her across the Ceran’s bow, cutting the opposing ship off. While Nala expresses her disgust, Sinbad waves to an angry Fahim.

Later, the Providence approaches land and docks at the port. Sinbad reluctantly steps onshore but there is no signs of any life. Fahim’s ship arrives behind them.

In Basra, Taryn calls upon the dark forces to grant her the power of sight. She makes a sacrifice and waits.

Fahim and his crew come ashore, bearing platters of fruit, and set up a tent to enjoy their meal. The Providence crew, starved for supplies, look on. Rina goes below and checks the water supplies. Once she’s sure no one is coming down, she examines Nala’s jewelry, puts on a jeweled necklace, and admires herself in a mirror. Cook sneaks up on her and points out that she can’t change her nature to steal and to run. After a moment, he leaves her.

On shore, Sinbad and the others approach Fahim and offer to bargain for any food he can spare so they can make the two-week trip to their next port, Baruk. Fahim has no interest in trading but offers to wager for supplies. They have no choice but to agree, and Nala offers a jeweled hairpin. Fahim wants something more valuable and refuses to play until they do. Back on the ship, the crew looks for anything of value and Nala realizes that Rina has taken her jewelry and fled.

On shore, Rina climbs up into the mountains.

Anwar goes alone back to Fahim and tells them that they have nothing they can wager. The trader suggests that they wager the Providence. When the doctor hesitates, Fahim invites him to sit down and have a drink with him. The trader assures him that if they lose the wager then he’ll still give them enough food to travel overland to Baruk. Anwar wants to talk to the others but Fahim flatters him as the most intelligent member of his crew, says he knows the risk, and offers to flip a coin. Anwar agrees and they flip. A few minutes later, Sinbad discovers that Fahim’s crew is unloading the Providence. He confronts Anwar, who insists that he was trying to save their lives, but the others aren’t happy.

Rina continues into the desert and finds the ruins of a city. She drinks some of the water that she brought with her and continues on, and finally sees a woman approaching her.

Later, Anwar tries to apologize to Sinbad, but he informs the doctor that he won’t make it past the sunrise. He explains that the necklace is cursed and he’ll die if he stays on land more than one cycle of the sun. Anwar doesn’t believe him, insisting that curses don’t exist, but Sinbad insists that it’s true and asks him not to tell the others before walking away. Realizing that Sinbad is serious, Anwar runs to find Fahim. The trader’s guard says that her master has gone to the Palace of Games. The doctor tells Sinbad, who figures that he can beat Fahim at the gaming tables.

Taryn creates a potion, and drinks it. She sees Sinbad and the others ascend into the hills to find the Palace of Games.

Sinbad, Gunnar, Nala, and Anwar find the ruins but no signs of any people. They find dozens of water bowels lied out in a pattern, each one filled with coins. Sinbad tosses a coin into one of the bowls and a mystic portal opens up.

Akbari comes to see Taryn, who informs him that she has had a vision of Sinbad. She offers him the potion and he drinks it.

Sinbad steps into the portal, disappearing. Akbari is able to see the area and the others, but doesn’t see Sinbad. Meanwhile, Sinbad finds himself within the Palace of Games. Dozens of guests have gathered there, wagering fortunes on the throw of a dice. Sinbad notices Siddiq, an old man with no eyes, and asks him if he’s seen Fahim. Before the man can respond, twins Faris and Essam come up to Sinbad, dismiss him as neither pretty nor prosperous, and have the old man send Sinbad back through the portal. He tells the others what they saw and, realizing they need better clothes, go back to Fahim’s tent and steal an expensive tablecloth. Once they make clothes out of it for Anwar and Nala, the four crew members go back through the portal. Faris and Essam greet them and invite them to partake of the Palace’s games.

Fahim’s mistress, Abria, goes aboard the Providence to see what they have in their galley. Cook finds her and starts flirting with her.

Nala spots Fahim in the next gaming room, but the twins demand a 500 dinar fee to enter. Gunnar suggests that they try the desert crossing, but Sinbad insists that they need to get the ship back. He spots a table offering ten to one odds and Nala reluctantly gives him her hairpin. While Essam and Faris watch, Sinbad gambles it all on one throw of the dice... and loses. Out of money, Sinbad comes up with a new plan and accuses the brothers of using crooked dice. Before they can have Siddiq evict him, Sinbad offers a wager: flogging punishment if he loses, one game at any table if he wins. The brothers agree and flip a coin. Sinbad wins and asks for his one game in the exclusive gaming room.

As the crew go up to the room, they find Rina... wearing an expensive dress. Faris believes that she’s Lady Samara, and Rina denies knowing them. As she goes on her way, Sinbad says that they mistook her for a friend, a scrawny ill-mannered woman who they misjudged. The crew goes on its way and Rina goes her away.

That night in Basra, Akbari demands to see Sinbad and accuses her of exploiting his grief to use magic. She insists that Sinbad is under some magical protection and Akbari tells her to prepare another potion. He warns Taryn that it’s her last chance and Taryn vows that Akbari will see Sinbad.

Faris escorts the Providence crew into the room and Sinbad confronts Fahim. He offers a wager to get their ship back, but the trader points out that they have nothing. Sinbad offers to kiss his feet and Fahim agrees, warning it will take many wagers to win the entire ship back. They begin and Sinbad wins the first hand, and then offers to up the stakes. He offers his life in servitude for the entire ship and Fahim agrees. As the others watch, including Rina, Siddiq, and the twins, Fahim takes the first hand... and Sinbad wins the last. A furious Fahim grabs a knife and vows that he won’t turn over the ship. Faris steps in, saying that he is required to honor the wager. The trader lunges at Sinbad but Siddiq causes him to disappear with a gesture. Faris apologies for the incident and invites them to stay, offering a coin flip. Sinbad accepts and wins again, ignoring Anwar’s objections.

At the dock, Cook and Abria are preparing food in the galley. Abria is eager to enjoy food with someone who appreciates it after seven weeks with Fahim. Fahim’s guard comes in and attacks Cook, who easily disarms and knocks her out, and he goes back to cooking with Abria.

Sinbad and the others join the twins for dinner, while Rina watches them from the shadows. Gunnar is suspicious of everything and tries to warn his comrades that they’ve changed since entering the Palace, but they ignore him. The Northerner goes off while Faris comes over and suggests to Sinbad that they have another wager. Gunnar finds himself in the tunnels leading off from the Palace and sees someone in the shadows. Before he can investigate, Siddiq appears behind him.

Anwar approaches Rina, who explains that she met a woman in the desert who had lost her money at the palace. The thief bought the noble’s clothing from the woman and came to the Palace, hoping to find victims to steal from. When she thanks Anwar for not giving her away, he tells her that friends don’t do that to friends, and Rina says that he’s had more practice being a friend. As Anwar starts to go, Rina tells him that the woman she met had her husband imprisoned at the Palace, but the doctor tells her that she no longer needs to worry about him and the others and rejoins his crewmates.

Taryn prepares her potion and gives it to Akbari but he sees nothing except the water bowls. He tells Taryn that she is to leave Basra by daybreak and that her life is forfeit if she ever returns. Akbari pours the remainder of the potion onto the brazier and tosses the chalice onto the floor before walking away.

Anwar returns to Nala after failing to find Sinbad, but she isn’t interested. Meanwhile, Faris leads Sinbad into a side chamber where Essam is waiting. Faris says that he has chosen his champion and Essam invites Sinbad to remove the cloth from a large cage. As Siddiq comes in, Sinbad removes the cloth and finds Fahim, imprisoned, and the twins tell him to take his place. Unaware that Rina has snuck in, They force him into the cage and explain that ordinary games have lost their appeal. They explain that if Sinbad or Fahim kill the other then they will release the winner. The cage begins turning as Sinbad tells Fahim that neither one of them can give the brothers what they want. When Fahim hesitates, the brothers toss coins into their cage as a promise of payment.

Fahim grabs a knife and lunges at Sinbad, who manages to disarm him. He pins Fahim but vows never to kill him. Siddiq, closely monitoring the battle, tells the brothers that the necklace Sinbad wears is cursed. He explains that he will be dead by sunrise if he doesn’t return to the Providence and then their entertainment is over. The brothers consider and then propose a new game. They take him to a new chamber with several doors. Sinbad is free to leave, but his friends will die. He needs to find the keys to free them and bring them to the central chamber before sunrise. One door leads to the Providence, but Sinbad turns away from it. Another one leads to a vicious dog. The third room contains Gunnar, locked within an armored spell. When Sinbad frees him, Gunnar appears outside by the water bowls.

Sinbad continues his search and is confronted with the Providence again. He ignores it and moves on, finding a puzzle that he assembles to release Nala. With time running out, Sinbad finds a room containing two boys. One is holding a key but refuses to hand it over. The boys try to keep it away from Sinbad but he grabs it and frees Anwar. Sinbad returns to the main chamber and Essam says that he’s free to go. However, Faris refuses to let Sinbad go and says that Essam is jealous because his “toy” is better. As they fight, As they argue, Rina sneaks in and guides Sinbad to the portal. They appear at the water bowls as Sinbad begins to choke. Anwar tells the others of the curse and they carry Sinbad back to the Providence. Rina hesitates and Anwar invites her to join them. After a moment, she goes with the others.

Sinbad gets back to the ship just as the sun comes up. As they sail away, Cook serves them the food from Fahim’s ship and tells Rina that she has found a pack to run with. Gunnar asks Sinbad for the truth about the curse and he tells them of how he got his brother killed.

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