The Office of the Tax Collector in Melitene, or rather that of the sub-Vizier in Authority over Central Cappadocia, is a massive round stone and mud building that sits like a beehive at the rear of a court-garden, bounded by single-story dorm-like offices that form a curtain between the garden and the outside world. The party is permitted through the entrance way, to where they are directed to take a seat in the garden. There, they are met by a minor functionary, Fouad, who sets about identifying Ahmet and copying down his claim. From there you are marshalled further along in the garden, to a pond, where you sit in a place in the open (the day is cool), away from trees, and wait.
Eventually, you are met by a higher official, Jaredi al-Koum, who lets you know that Ahmet has been confirmed in his identity, and that the inheritance has been confirmed to exist, but that the matter has been tagged and must be seen first by the Kadi, or civil judge in authority of the case, and that will require his being informed. At this point, the party is moved along further still, to a slightly more comfortable place in the garden, nearer the beehive, which rises fifty feet in the air and from closer inspection appears to be covered with brown and gray mosaic stones. You are given a drink, allowed to rest on benches in shelter by the trees, and another great period of time passes, while you wait.
A minion appears to let you know the Kadi is looking over the document, and mentions the Kadi's name - Al'Azam Yacak Nazir - in passing. At this point, Ahmet's ears prick up. Yacak was the name of someone he knew when he was very young, only thirteen or fourteen, the sun of the quarter's chief grocer. He also knew Sevim, and as Ahmet remembers, was very fond of her. Yacak and Ahmet did not like each other very well, mainly because Yacak was weak-hearted and emotional, unable to train as a fighter and somewhat prideful about his father's importance, a belief with which few agreed.
The party is, at last, permitted to see the Kadi. He dwells in a very comfortable chamber within the bee hive, with a stone floor and a brazier which keeps the room warm and comfortable. It does turn out to be the very same Yacak that Ahmet has not seen in decades - he has aged, and the years have not been kind. His skin shows some yellowing that suggests the use of opium; he is thin and much of his hair is gone. His ears, never an attractive feature, now jut from his head and flap when he speaks, like wet cabbage. His eyes are sharp, however, and distrustful, and his tone is condescending and remorseless, as someone who has had opportunity to be cruel often.
The party is directed to hard benches, while Yacak sits on a sofa, reclined upon pillows, chewing dates. "We thought you dead, Ahmet," he says, having made his greetings.