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5E Al-Qadim Moving Through the Flame

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal frowned slightly. These djinn matters were foreign to him, their politics and philosophies had never been of concern - best avoided. But no longer it seemed. How could he assist?

Wisdom, and resolve.

He looked at Sinjin and smiled beatifically. For a moment he looked not a mere man but a boulder, anchored deep into the earth, that had withstood wind and water for uncounted millennia. He then said in low tones to Salahuddin "He will not swear an oath - so they matter to him. But he does not share his name".
 
Salahuddin looks to Sinjin. He trusted his valet and shared many of the concerns he had broached. But the viziers magic would not last forever so he could not debate at the moment.

"I have planned for that my friend, and will not proceed if he does not convince me."

When Lal speaks he glances his way.

"That is because his true name has power."

He glances towards Akilah to see if the spell was in place. Once confirmed Salahuddin turns towards the Al-Aeshma.

"Now we will have a discussion. We will try to build a trust. If we can I will say the words of pardon and you can return to the winds of creation."

Salahuddin steps into the area of the spell and spreads out his prayer rug. He takes a seat and looks up at the djinn.

"My first question, what did you do to be banished to this plane?" The Sha'ir looks to the Al-Aeshma. "My second question, why did you break the sacred laws?"
 

Shayuri

Villager
From her hiding spot, Amina frowns to herself. Perhaps this was no more than it seemed, but in her line of work she'd grown to distrust big, ostentatious displays. They usually came from those who wanted to direct your attention.

And that usually meant there was somewhere else your attention would be better directed.

With the immediate threat lessened, Amina took the opportunity to survey the area, paying special attention to what might be lurking...much more quietly no doubt, behind the backs of the Vizier and her company.
 
Salahuddin looks to Sinjin. He trusted his valet and shared many of the concerns he had broached. But the viziers magic would not last forever so he could not debate at the moment.

"I have planned for that my friend, and will not proceed if he does not convince me."

When Lal speaks he glances his way.

"That is because his true name has power."

He glances towards Akilah to see if the spell was in place. Once confirmed Salahuddin turns towards the Al-Aeshma.

"Now we will have a discussion. We will try to build a trust. If we can I will say the words of pardon and you can return to the winds of creation."

Salahuddin steps into the area of the spell and spreads out his prayer rug. He takes a seat and looks up at the djinn.

"My first question, what did you do to be banished to this plane?" The Sha'ir looks to the Al-Aeshma. "My second question, why did you break the sacred laws?"


Winds hiss around the edges of Salahuddin's prayer rug as the Al-Aeshma sinks down lower to loom over, blazing eyes narrowing as he surveys the confident sha'ir. Despite the Al-Aeshma's bluster, his demeanor says he knows well the legends of Zakhara's genie-binders. "Surely you know of the Seal of Jafar al-Samal, O Wind Called, which bound the genies to the will of the first sha'irs? Jafar's students succumbed to greed and ambition upon his death, and took to fighting over the Seal, whereupon their gens hid the artifact so well it remains a secret to this day." The legends of the Seal of Jafar al-Samal were beyond counting; some believed it hidden in the City of the Jann, others buried and warded beneath the World Pillar Mountains, and still others that it was kept by the Loregiver herself in paradise. "The Great Caliph and his djinni court believed that Fate had made servitors of genie-kind, that we should accept our place under the yoke of the Seal. To swallow this bitter stroke to their pride, the djinn hid their servitude behind elaborate rituals, flatteries, and gift exchanges. But I knew better. A gilded cage is still a cage. In those bygone days, I refused to grant the wish of a student of Jafar the Incomparable – I remember him now, so proud in his burgundy robes – that he should gain mastery over the sun, moon, and stars and all the fires of life." Snorting flurries of sand in contempt...or perhaps begrudging respect...the Al-Aeshma sinks down lower, his contorted facial features growing clearer by your campfire light. "I refused that sha'ir. And I was not alone. Not all in the Great Caliph's demesnes believed that we must accept the Fate we are given. And so the Great Caliph summoned us, and consulted his Lords of Air to sit in judgment, and in their wisdom we were banished from the winds of creation to the wastes of this world."

Gesturing with a taloned hand toward the night sky above, the Al-Aeshma's blazing eyes shine with the kind of understanding commonly seen among sheikhs and desert tribesmen used to endless days and nights at the mercy of the gods. He proceeds to answer Salahuddin's second question obtusely. "Consider the night sky, O Wind Called. It inspires your tribesmen, gives life-giving rain, and guides wayward caravans home. It terrifies children and unleashes ravaging storms. It has existed before you and before your father, and it will exist long after you are dust. If you sought to bind the night sky, you would be a fool. It cannot be bound, for it belongs to eternity. We Al-Aeshma belong to eternity as well. The Great Caliph diminishes our natures, comfortable to let his court be manipulated by mortals, content in the gilded cage." Fumes roll from his nose as the Al-Aeshma crosses his arms, hunching over so he and Salahuddin can see one another's eyes. "Can you see? If you were as the night sky, would you break this sacred law yourself?"

From her hiding spot, Amina frowns to herself. Perhaps this was no more than it seemed, but in her line of work she'd grown to distrust big, ostentatious displays. They usually came from those who wanted to direct your attention.

And that usually meant there was somewhere else your attention would be better directed.

With the immediate threat lessened, Amina took the opportunity to survey the area, paying special attention to what might be lurking...much more quietly no doubt, behind the backs of the Vizier and her company.
Beyond the dry riverbed are a quintuple of dust devils – perhaps more – gyrating across the desert's surface, just barely perceptible in the sliver of moonlight. As Amina's eyes scan the horizon for signs of other creatures, it is the movement of the dust devils that catches her attention. The winds blow down the eastern mountains toward the southwest. The dust devils should be moving with the wind, but instead they seem to only momentarily drift in that direction before anchoring themselves with some unseen force and returning to their previous locations.
 
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Salahuddin nods at the answers. As the Al-Aeshma spoke of the night sky Salahuddin looked up.

"Yes the night sky may be endless but it must still bow to the dawn." Salahuddin lets this linger for a minute then speaks. "My next question, how did you know me for the wind called?"
 

Shayuri

Villager
Amina gauges the distance between herself and the spot those devils are drawn towards, as well as looks for places of cover or concealment she might hide herself within. Tricky, since she'd have to be concealed from both whatever that thing is, and the towering genie as well, but the shadows of night are her friends.

And she is fast...she doesn't have to get too close to strike at it effectively. The limiting factor is time. By her estimation, she has only until Salhuddin makes his final answer to get ready. If he denies the genie, she expects that he will continue his game, talking and keeping their attention while his confederate takes them by surprise. And if he accepts...well...Amina isn't sure she believes that a mortal can pardon one cast out by the Caliph...but regardless, once he has done so the genie would have no further need of him. The end result could easily be the same.
 
Salahuddin nods at the answers. As the Al-Aeshma spoke of the night sky Salahuddin looked up.

"Yes the night sky may be endless but it must still bow to the dawn." Salahuddin lets this linger for a minute then speaks. "My next question, how did you know me for the wind called?"
At this question, the Al-Aeshma makes a rasping sound in his throat like sands grinding over a worn stone surface; only after a few heartbeats is it clear the genie is chuckling ruefully to himself. "How did I come to be a prince of the forgotten wastes, ruler over naught but dust, sultan of sand? Why, I was banished from the winds of creation through the very same door which gave you entry into the Great Caliph's court." He responds as if his having passed through the Door of Four Winds is sufficient explanation for how he recognized Salahuddin, and only after meeting the sha'ir's eyes for a moment does the Al-Aeshma further elaborate. "The Great Caliph and his Lords are powerful indeed and little is beyond their power, but to pluck a mortal from the streets at a whim? To forever banish one whose inheritance is the wind from the airy heights? To trespass into the most secret and guarded of places in all creation, so long as air can reach there? Even these are beyond the Great Caliph, and so he must rely on the Door. There is more I could tell you about the Door, O Wind Called, many secret things... if it be your wish..." He trails off, insinuating that the price of his forthrightness hasn't changed: he still wishes for he and his brethren to be released from their banishment.
 
Salahuddin looks up at the Al-Aeshma as he mentions the door. He thought back to the first day he had seen the door, standing alone deep in the catacombs of Qadib. Its frame was made of ice and twisted up oddly as if it was not intended for mortals use. The frosted steel of the door was so cold that it burnt his hand the first time he touched it those decades ago. He looks down at his palm and the funnel cloud branded there from that first touch. There where so many thing he would ask about the Door. Why had it come to him, and why was he unable to resist its siren call?

Salahuddin chides himself. This was a tactic the Al-Aeshma was using to draw him in. Giving him drips of knowledge he desired. Trying to distract him from his true purpose. Salahuddin calms himself and steadies his racing thoughts. He was getting to the meat of his questioning and would not be distracted so easily.

"You were cast out of the winds of creation through the Door and thrown to the dust. I know how you must miss your home and yearn to return to the great expanse. I to sometime wish to return to the Citadel. To fly on the north gale or stare into the great maelstrom once more. I can also tell that there is bitterness in this punishment. If I am to pardon you I must know what you plan to do once you return to the winds of creation?"
 
Salahuddin looks up at the Al-Aeshma as he mentions the door. He thought back to the first day he had seen the door, standing alone deep in the catacombs of Qadib. Its frame was made of ice and twisted up oddly as if it was not intended for mortals use. The frosted steel of the door was so cold that it burnt his hand the first time he touched it those decades ago. He looks down at his palm and the funnel cloud branded there from that first touch. There where so many thing he would ask about the Door. Why had it come to him, and why was he unable to resist its siren call?

Salahuddin chides himself. This was a tactic the Al-Aeshma was using to draw him in. Giving him drips of knowledge he desired. Trying to distract him from his true purpose. Salahuddin calms himself and steadies his racing thoughts. He was getting to the meat of his questioning and would not be distracted so easily.

"You were cast out of the winds of creation through the Door and thrown to the dust. I know how you must miss your home and yearn to return to the great expanse. I to sometime wish to return to the Citadel. To fly on the north gale or stare into the great maelstrom once more. I can also tell that there is bitterness in this punishment. If I am to pardon you I must know what you plan to do once you return to the winds of creation?"
The swirling biting sands have died down around the Al-Aeshma to a normal evening wind, but even in the quiet its features watch and weigh the words spoken by Salahuddin. Though he seemed taken aback by the sha'ir's forthrightness in unrolling the prayer rug and insisting that a zone of truth be cast, it is clear that even the wild Al-Aeshma understands there is a protocol; it has clearly dealt with magic-users before. "It is my brethren that I seek to see instilled back in their rightful place among the winds, not myself. It has been too long for me... These wastes have become all I know, and without them I would feel like a man absent his liver. They are a part of me. But my brethren? They will seek recompense from the Great Caliph, of course," he says, articulating 'recompense' with precision. "It is only fitting their estates among the winds be returned to them, at the very least... The same ache that you feel in your chest, O Wind Called, so too do my brethren feel..."
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal frowned. The Djinn was weaving a complex tapestry of words, that he couldn't quite untangle... but something didn't *feel* right.

"Curious, is it not, that the one who wishes to remain is the one that advocates, and those who seek to return remain hidden"
 
Salahuddin listens to the Al-Aeshma, taken aback when he states he does not wish to return to the Plane of Air. He listens to the remainder of the response. Recompense, now that is something beyond his control. Salahuddin does not speak as the Great Caliph or his Lords of Air. He cannot restore what the Al-Aeshma lost.

"That is noble entreating on behalf of your brethren with no benefit for yourself. It goes counter to much I have heard of the Al-Aeshma." Salahuddin nods to the Djinn. "As for recompense that is not my purview. The Great Caliph rules over his domain and is the only one who can grant what your brethren request. If I am to pardon them they would need to request an audience with the Great Caliph and plead their case to have their estates returned."

Salahuddin pauses for a moment and watches the effect his words have.

"And what do you get out of these dealings if not return to the Winds of Creation?"
 
Salahuddin listens to the Al-Aeshma, taken aback when he states he does not wish to return to the Plane of Air. He listens to the remainder of the response. Recompense, now that is something beyond his control. Salahuddin does not speak as the Great Caliph or his Lords of Air. He cannot restore what the Al-Aeshma lost.

"That is noble entreating on behalf of your brethren with no benefit for yourself. It goes counter to much I have heard of the Al-Aeshma." Salahuddin nods to the Djinn. "As for recompense that is not my purview. The Great Caliph rules over his domain and is the only one who can grant what your brethren request. If I am to pardon them they would need to request an audience with the Great Caliph and plead their case to have their estates returned."

Salahuddin pauses for a moment and watches the effect his words have.

"And what do you get out of these dealings if not return to the Winds of Creation?"
Winds whistle overhead, as a pair of hawks chase after a songbird in the moonlight. For the first time in the evening negotiations with the Al-Aeshma he casts his glowing eyes toward Akilah, who weighs the truth in every word he speaks. So far, everything the Al-Aeshma has spoken rings with the clarion tone of truth, like a drop of clear water into a basin. It wavers. He contemplates a lie, but at last returns his focus to the sha'ir. "Much of what you have heard..." repeats the Al-Aeshma ruefully, his windy rueful tone implying he distrusts the word of djinn on principle.

"Once... long, long ago... we were the greatest of the Great Caliph's warriors against the City of Brass, fighting the efreet at the very mouth of Jabal Turab, the mountain of dust from which they invade the winds of creation. We were vaunted and held aloft on glorifying winds. Our names were praised in all four corners of the wind. Now we are shadows upon the dunes of this crude world." In one breath he seems to hold the Badu al-Kabir, indeed all the Material Plane, in contempt, while in another he seems to regard it as more of a home than the Plane of Air. "My brethren will represent my case to the Great Caliph...to convince him of the err of his ways..." The Al-Aeshma glowers. "...so that I will hear those praises sung once again, as in the time since long forgotten by mortals and their hubris."
 
"How do they plan to plead your case? After so many ages resentment and anger may tinge judgement. Returning with demands that may not be met would be folly." Salahuddin studies the Al-Aeshma. "And what if their requests are refused? Will they accept this or will they try to force these requests? I will not pardon your brethren to start a war in the winds of creation?"
 
"How do they plan to plead your case? After so many ages resentment and anger may tinge judgement. Returning with demands that may not be met would be folly." Salahuddin studies the Al-Aeshma. "And what if their requests are refused? Will they accept this or will they try to force these requests? I will not pardon your brethren to start a war in the winds of creation?"
"My brethren will plead first with words," answers the Al-Aeshma with a rumble in his violet chest like a thundercloud. "If the Lords of Air will not hear, they will make them listen... It may be foolish to request wisdom of a figurehead, and yet it would be just as foolish to lay down in silent submission." The words the Al-Aeshma chooses are selected with clipped precision, as if it has centuries to perfect its argument, each kernel it lays down a trap that Salahuddin might stumble into... An tantalizing offer of secrets here, a plea to Salahuddin's own fiercely independent nature there...

[SBLOCK=Akilah]@Thateous Though the Al-Aeshma has told no lies, its opaque answers...what it avoids saying outright...speak volumes. You're certain that its brethren, should push come to shove, would resort to underhanded tactics, if not violence, to make their case to the djinni Great Caliph.[/SBLOCK]
 
OOC: I'm pausing here to let someone else jump in if they want. I'm loving the scene so far but don't want to hog all the interaction with the djinn. Just let me know if you want me to continue.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal's eyebrow shot up.

" "Make listen"? An interesting choice of words. When someone speaks of "making" someone listen, they never mean merely listening. They mean forcing someone to *agree*... It is interesting that this ... linguistics error... is present in most languages, and both among mortals and djinns, is it not? "
 

Shayuri

Villager
Amina, still keeping an eye on the dervish behind the party, starts moving to be in a position to intercept it should it attack...
 

Matthan

Explorer
Husam stays crouched behind his rock keeping an eye on the scene. He held great respect for Salahuddin for his office, but he was now seeing that he walked in wisdom as well. Still, his instincts told him that this situation would likely not end peacefully so he kept his hand on the hilt of his sword and waited.

OOC: VLAD, this is your scene, man! Take the spotlight and enjoy it. We're all excited to see how it plays out.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
OOC: I concur - I've only been posting a few snippets because there isn't much Lal can say, but also to help keep the momentum going. If this was around a table IRL, I would be keeping mum!
 

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