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5E Al-Qadim Moving Through the Flame

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? "
The Al-Aeshma passes his blazing eyes over Lal Qalandar stoically, the faintest squint of irritation at the edges of his eyes, but remains silent.

GM: For convenience, here is the post where the Al-Aeshma made its original offer – choice of a secret for freeing one of its kin: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?508133-Al-Qadim-Moving-Through-the-Flame/page65&p=7300385&viewfull=1#post7300385
 
Salahuddin glances towards Lal. The man just confirmed many of Salahuddin's impressions. Salahuddin thinks to the small puzzle box he had not yet completed. It's use would make an enemy out of this Al-Aeshma but it would be an effective cudgel to get to the truth. But it was not complete so would not help in these negotiations.

"You speak as someone who will refuse to listen themselves. Your punishment was the Grand Caliphs attempt to make you listen. How did that go over with the Al-Aeshma?" Salahuddin smiles to take the bite from the words. "Making others see your side is not effective. I do not expect the Al-Aeshma to submit. But the Great Caliph will want you to be bound by the wishbond. What will you do when you come to this impasse? For your current banishment is the result of the last time this impasse was met."

Salahuddin pauses for a brief second before continuing.

"I see many risks for myself in this bargain. What can you say that will alleviate these fears?"
 
Salahuddin glances towards Lal. The man just confirmed many of Salahuddin's impressions. Salahuddin thinks to the small puzzle box he had not yet completed. It's use would make an enemy out of this Al-Aeshma but it would be an effective cudgel to get to the truth. But it was not complete so would not help in these negotiations.

"You speak as someone who will refuse to listen themselves. Your punishment was the Grand Caliphs attempt to make you listen. How did that go over with the Al-Aeshma?" Salahuddin smiles to take the bite from the words. "Making others see your side is not effective. I do not expect the Al-Aeshma to submit. But the Great Caliph will want you to be bound by the wishbond. What will you do when you come to this impasse? For your current banishment is the result of the last time this impasse was met."

Salahuddin pauses for a brief second before continuing.

"I see many risks for myself in this bargain. What can you say that will alleviate these fears?"
For a moment the Al-Aeshma's form wavers, as if he might vanish into a cloud of sand borne on the evening winds. He maintains solidity through force of will, a scowl descending over his face as he hangs on Salahuddin's words. "You do not realize the gift you've been given, O Wind Called, the power. I have known many sha'irs in my time; some overreach for what is beyond their grasp, while some take the knee before the rulers of genie-kind. I thought you might be one who walks the fine breath between these." His eyes blaze with intensity, as if looking at the sun's diffuse light through a sandstorm.

"You worry of the Great Caliph, binding yourself to him like a fawning servant. And in the same breath, you seek to mettle in affairs of the wishbond far older than you. Can you not leave what affairs belong to the djinn with the djinn, trusting the affairs of genie-kind to genies? Can you not see that you are the wolf, and not the sheep, seeking your own fortune in the world of men?" There is a fierceness in the Al-Aeshma's voice, but a plaintive undercurrent as well, as if he still hopes for Salahuddin to accept his offer.

"Our risks are matched, are they not? I must trust you will honor your word to release my kin, as you must trust mine to deliver reliable secrets," even as the words leave his mouth, the Al-Aeshma casts a sardonic glance toward Akilah as if to imply her magic circumvented the risk of trusting his word, as if to imply the Al-Aeshma is actually the one taking the greater risk.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal Qalandar withstood the glare of the Djinn placidly. His feet were planted in the ground and he could feel the earth beneath, and the stars wheeling above. He was not afraid.

"A strange reply - if you wish us to leave the affairs of Djinns to Djinns... then we should not interfere. At all"
"... but on the other hand, perhaps we should have faith in the Grand Caliph's ability to deal with ... developments"

In a lower tone, he added to Salahudin: "It would be peculiar for the Caliph to grant mortals the power to free these renegade Djinns, yet condemn us for using said power... but I still feel unquiet. Our need is great, but not world shaking. These affairs are foreign to me. I cannot advise if the cost is proportional. But back home we say one does not hire a dragon to light a torch"
 
The looming Al-Aeshma attempts to remain silent at Lal Qalandar's musing, the shadows of evening clouds playing across his pale violet face, but the fallen djinn's pride compels him to speak. "Wanderer," he intones deeply, the restrained vitriol plain in his voice, "surely you have seen much, and thus possess wisdom. And with this great store of wisdom that you've gathered like a palm leaf gathers rain, surely you see a difference between righting an injustice and interfering beyond your reach? All I ask is a chance for my brethren to argue our case before the Great Caliph of Djinn. And, in your wisdom, you must also recognize the value of the secrets I can share..."

Rising up once more, winds causing your pack camels to press their heads against one another and your tents to flap vigorously, the Al-Aeshma addresses Salahuddin and your party with the tone of one for whom the taste of words has grown dry in his mouth. "O Wind Called, render unto me your judgment and answer! Are we to have your pardon and a chance to bend the Great Caliph's ear? Or do you condemn us all over again by taking no action? Will you receive my secrets or will you not?"
 
OOC: Work has been busy the past couple days. I'll get a post up tonight. On a separate note I have no idea how my character will answer and I both love and hate the fact that you gave me this dilemma.
 
Salahuddin looks at the Al-Aeshma he had made his decision. It might be the wrong choice but the secrets the Al-Aeshma dangled in front of him were to important to let slip past. He bows his head when the Al-Aeshma asked for his judgment.

"Yes you have made your case and I will make my judgment." Salahuddin pauses for dramatic affect. "I will pardon a pair of your brethren. They will be allowed to return to the winds of creation and plead your case before the Lords of Air. Is this acceptable?"

Salahuddin waits patiently for the Al-Aeshma's reply.
 
Salahuddin looks at the Al-Aeshma he had made his decision. It might be the wrong choice but the secrets the Al-Aeshma dangled in front of him were to important to let slip past. He bows his head when the Al-Aeshma asked for his judgment.

"Yes you have made your case and I will make my judgment." Salahuddin pauses for dramatic affect. "I will pardon a pair of your brethren. They will be allowed to return to the winds of creation and plead your case before the Lords of Air. Is this acceptable?"

Salahuddin waits patiently for the Al-Aeshma's reply.
There is a sudden stillness in the night air, and even Amina and Harun who are apart from the rest of the party can feel a shiver run down their necks as the temperature drops slightly. The cool of night comes swiftly in the desert, it is true, but this supernatural chill goes down to the bone. Even the smaller dustdevils that Amina kept an eye on seem to spin slower, as if placated somehow by the negotiations between sha'ir and Al-Aeshma.

"It is acceptable indeed, O Wind Called," responds the Al-Aeshma, his voice still a rumbling stormfront, the only sign of his satisfaction in the outcome of the negotiation a clearer more intense light in his eyes. "The ones you shall pardon are named Ashtigal and Yehiena... Tell me, which of my secrets do you wish to know first? I have heard many secret truths carried across the Badu al-Kabir..."

"I know the fate of Sheikh Ja’afar-al-Din al-Shakari, his banners broken and his faith betrayed by red robes..."


He speaks of Sheikh Ja'afar-al-Din al-Shakari, the sheikh of the Shakari jann tribe, anti-urbanists to which the jann Usqual belonged. According to Usqual, the Shakari were defeated in battle against the Khalduni jann and their sheikh was supposedly taken captive.

"I have witnessed the hazards of the desert from the Badu al-Kabir to Rukh Mountain and the Valley of Mists..."

The Badu al-Kabir is the current desert region you're exploring, a forlorn and inhospitable desert viewed with superstition by desert tribes. However, Rukh Mountain and the Valley of Mists are unknown to you.

"I know of the winged death, who the jann call Zu'l Janah, and where it dwells..."

The "water bearer" at Hakim oasis made fleeting references about Zu'l Janah being a flying monster the Khalduni jann fear.

"I remember when the Awamîd al-sharîr, the Pillars of Wickedness, were erected, and how one may circumvent them to reach Khaldun..."

The Awamîd al-sharîr, the Pillars of Wickedness, were mentioned by Usqual as surrounding Khaldun oasis with "wicked" magic.

"And I know the three secrets of the red robes that lie within the Badu al-Kabir, hidden from mortal minds..."
 
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Shayuri

Villager
Amina paused and crouched lower still in the puddle of shadow that concealed her. There would be a reckoning for this choice, she felt, and it would fall on all of them, if perhaps heaviest on Salahuddin. Later she would ask the Vizier about this, but for now she waited and listened. The red robes featured heavily in his offers, and she sensed that the answers might serve far more purpose than simply satisfying curiosity...if he chose as she hoped he would.
 
OOC: So I'm pretty sure I just made a really stupid decision but my PC can't pass up the chance to learn some of these secrets.


"The first secret I wish to learn is the three secrets of the red robes that lie within the Badu al-Kabir, hidden from mortal minds..."
 

Shayuri

Villager
(OOC -Sometimes the best choices for the story are the worst choices for the characters. History is a long procession of fascinating mistakes. :))
 
OOC: So I'm pretty sure I just made a really stupid decision but my PC can't pass up the chance to learn some of these secrets.


"The first secret I wish to learn is the three secrets of the red robes that lie within the Badu al-Kabir, hidden from mortal minds..."
GM: There's no such thing as stupid questions. :) Oh, you said decision. Well, what could go wrong with a 3-for-1 secret offer? *checks DM notes* :uhoh: Yes, yes probably a really bad idea. ;) On the plus side, if you ask about the Door of the Four Winds for your next question, you may get Inspiration for role-playing your character's goals at expense to the party's goals. Hypothetically.




Eyes flashing, the Al-Aeshma rises up, swirls of dark sand spiraling about him as he extends his hand toward the evening desert expanse, "Know, O Wind Called, the first of the red robes' secrets... There is a site east of the wadi (intermittent stream) – I can show it to you if you possess a map? – where corpses are left by the red robes. Though it occurs irregularly, it is frequent enough that the vultures have noticed the same pattern as I have: one red robe and two Sleepwalkers carry out the corpses and toss them without funerary rites, adorned in little more than a tattered aba (robe) or loincloth. Thereupon, the vultures have their feast."

The other dustdevils spin slowly, making a low droning sound, like bees eager for honey. The Al-Aeshma smiles and continues in his booming voice, "And know that the second of the red robes' secrets is this: The Sleepwalkers are made of men, but are not men, they are created, but never born. And some are unruly servants, wandering the Valley of Mists and Badu al-Kabir in small groups, full of a wordless frustration, seeking without knowing what they seek. Unlike the other Sleepwalkers, these lost ones may be charmed and frightened, and some dull light of what they once might have been still haunts their eyes."

Thereupon, the Al-Aeshma inhales as if he can smell the liberty of his brethren on the evening breeze, reminding him of the place he was exiled from. Speaking in a quieter voice, like wind hissing through crags, he says, "Last of the red robes' secrets is this, O Wind Called: Treachery runs deep in their hearts. One of their own, Omar Hazeem, was stabbed by his fellows and trapped under a stone sarcophagus. Trapped between life and death, Omar Hazeem reaches out to whisper into the dreams of mortals, offering his great treasure if they will free him."

"These are the secrets of the red robes as I have heard them echo through the desert. Now, sha'ir, what is your desire for the second of my secrets?"
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal murmured "I believe I know what these sleepless men are - golems, made of body parts. There are many golemologists in the Yellow City in my homeland, and the lesser skilled among them sometimes resort to this crude technique, working with flesh instead of stone, metal or more exotic materials... ".
 
Salahuddin listens to the answers to the first secret. They have learned that the red robes are dumping bodies in a specific spot. They learned some information about the Sleepwalkers. Most importantly they have a name of one of their own. The Sha'ir ponders the next secret he would learn. As he thinks Salahuddin's mind keeps drifting back to the door. Could he pass up the chance to learn more of the artifact which bound itself to him? Why did it choose him?

Salahuddin shakes his head. No he should ask about the Pillars of Wickedness. They would need to learn what foul magic protected Khaldun. He opened his mouth to speak but that was not the question that came out.

"Tell me of the Door of the Four Winds. Why did it choose me?"

Salahuddin blinks not sure what happened. He had intended to ask of the pillars. He scowls not sure if he should take back the question, or even if he was able to do so.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal turned slowly to Salahuddin, one thick eyebrow rising out questioningly.

He then made brief eye contact with Hassan and the Truth-Seeker - he wanted to be sure that they had caught that too....
 
Salahuddin listens to the answers to the first secret. They have learned that the red robes are dumping bodies in a specific spot. They learned some information about the Sleepwalkers. Most importantly they have a name of one of their own. The Sha'ir ponders the next secret he would learn. As he thinks Salahuddin's mind keeps drifting back to the door. Could he pass up the chance to learn more of the artifact which bound itself to him? Why did it choose him?

Salahuddin shakes his head. No he should ask about the Pillars of Wickedness. They would need to learn what foul magic protected Khaldun. He opened his mouth to speak but that was not the question that came out.

"Tell me of the Door of the Four Winds. Why did it choose me?"

Salahuddin blinks not sure what happened. He had intended to ask of the pillars. He scowls not sure if he should take back the question, or even if he was able to do so.


A cheshire smile spreads across the Al-Aeshma's sand-blasted face, "Seeing and hearing, O Wind Called, I shall answer. Know that the Door of the Four Winds existed long before the Seal of Jafar al-Samal, and long before the Caliphate of All Djinn. The wisest of my brethren knew it as the place where the Winds of Creation touched this mortal world. They spoke of it as an idea as much as an actual place. Only the noble Djinn were taught the secret way to find the Door, and they would travel there on pilgrimage when great and turbulent events came to pass. So it was until the house of Nafhat came to power..." Pausing as he mentions the family name of the Great Caliph of All Djinn, Husam al-Balil ben Nafhat al-Yugayyim, the Al-Aeshma expands his chest and squints his eyes, as if recalling the history of the djinn rubs salt in his wounded pride.

"The House of Nafhat believed there was no wind they could not master, and sought to move the Door of the Four Winds to their Citadel of Ice and Steel. And so they marshaled grand armies of janissaries upon pegasi to seek the Door, to slake their vanity." His violet face underlit by the flickering campfire tended by your roguish guides, the Al-Aeshma continues in a low voice. ”Those august heroes who returned with the Door were elevated as the first of the Great Caliph’s Lords of Air. None speaks of what they encountered, but the Al-Aeshma believe that when the Door was moved it left behind a void which would become the Jabal Turab, the mountain of dust from which the efreet invade the Winds of Creation.”

”The Great Caliph learned the powers of the Door – to transport his armies with the blink of an eye; to send winds of change, warning, or vengeance to those worlds touched by the Door; to banish his enemies…” Here the Al-Aeshma’s eyes crackle like lightning and he scowls before leaning over to regard Salahuddin once more, ”…and to whisk mortals away to entertain his court. However, the Door was born of eternity, and only a fool could hope to have dominion over it. Even the Great Caliph cannot bind the Door entirely to his will, for it moves with Fate herself, appearing and disappearing according to some unseen design. Thus, there are moments when – lacking the Door’s powers – the Great Caliph must rely on bluff and bluster to keep his enemies at bay.” A dark smile plays across the Al-Aeshma’s face like cloud silhouettes upon the dunes.

”This is what I know of the Door of the Four Winds. I trust I have satisfied your thirst for knowledge, sha’ir?”

GM: EDIT: I forgot! [MENTION=6803188]VLAD the Destroyer[/MENTION], gain Inspiration!
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal frowned.

The talk of this door of wind... troubled him. His companions didn't know this, but Lal knew his was a planar traveler - trice now his sea-borne travel had brought him across to another world. He didn't understand planar mechanics, even though he had tried - the arcane grammars used by portal masters and dimension jumpers were *far* beyond him. And yet. And yet. Intuitively, he knew that the existence of this door, its moving, the mountain of dust... all those were ... instabilities. That would sooner or later have... consequences. And Salahudin was tied to such?

... and had used one of his three questions on it? He looked sharply at Akilah. The Al-Aeshma hadn't said he would tell the truth about other secrets than those offered... was this even true, or tall tales to entertain unsuspecting travelers?
 
"I have drunk of the secrets you share and am content. But my thirst for knowledge can never be sated. Now speak of what I must do to complete our bargain."

Salahuddin waits with patients for the Al-Aeshma to speak of the ritual that will pardon his brethren. The Sha'ir keeps a placid expression on his face while he recounts the secrets he had just learned. He had not intended to ask of the Door but now he knew more of the mysterious artifact which bound itself to him. It seemed that the door was not fully controlled by the Great Caliph and had some unseen agenda. This revelation was the most shocking, it is possible that he was bound up in a greater fate that was hidden to him.
 
"I have drunk of the secrets you share and am content. But my thirst for knowledge can never be sated. Now speak of what I must do to complete our bargain."

Salahuddin waits with patients for the Al-Aeshma to speak of the ritual that will pardon his brethren. The Sha'ir keeps a placid expression on his face while he recounts the secrets he had just learned. He had not intended to ask of the Door but now he knew more of the mysterious artifact which bound itself to him. It seemed that the door was not fully controlled by the Great Caliph and had some unseen agenda. This revelation was the most shocking, it is possible that he was bound up in a greater fate that was hidden to him.
"You must release two of my brethren, Ashtigal and Yehiena, from their banishment from the Winds of Creation by the Great Caliph of All Djinn. The words must come from your heart. I cannot give them to you, else they would fall from your lips like ash and lack any power." Thereupon, the Al-Aeshma gestures to two of the whirlwinds to the southeast which spin agitatedly and advance toward Salahuddin, not enough to be close, but enough to make their presence known. Regarding Salahuddin, the Al-Aeshma inclines his horned head, "I do not forget those who do me a service, O Wind Called."
 

Thateous

Explorer
Akilah was having an out of body experience as the two negotiated terms she did not fully comprehend. She was snapped back by the Al-Aeshma's last words. "How many can count themselves in that category." she thought.
 

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