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[Orig '12] Wish ch 04

kicking off Wish Wednesday.

Following the advice of bgreenwivy, chapter 02 was split into to 2 parts, so this is technically chapter 04; you haven't missed anything.

Notes: This chapter takes place decades before Micah is born. Time is kind of weird in Wish, but I swear it'll all make sense in the end.

Summary: Slowly losing his mind, the Djinni of the Mountain has been biding his time waiting for his jailer to make a mistake that will grant him his freedom.

Chapter 04: Djinni of the Mountain

Akren was a country wrought with civil war. Religion, government, family feuds that lasted generations, and any conflict of interest was — by majority vote — worth fighting for. Some found the attitude of fighting for what one believes admirable; but, the combatants who fought and died in Akren would never be recorded in the history of the Realm of Onoker. By Xakkiya South’s decree, those who battled, those who trampled on the futures of many lives for power, would never see his heaven created for those who served him dutifully. His heaven was for warriors, not butchers, and Akren was home to many of the latter.

There weren’t many places not suffering from the ravages of a war that would not end. What there was, were many people who were tired of fighting and were willing to find a plot of land that war had yet to ruin. They found it at the base of the mountains that acted in part as a natural border to Peyirzha. There was plenty of water, the land was arable, and the mountains blocked a majority of bad weather produced by Xakkiya’s storms. A village was erected in the mountains of Akren, and the villagers found a measure of peace that they, at first, were not able to place any faith in for fear it would be snatched away. But after ten years of solitude, no soldiers, no war, the villagers began to relax. And this haven they had built eventually came to be called Paradise.

In the twentieth year of Paradise a large, yellow, glittering Dragon flew over the village. Having seen the state of turmoil the rest of the country was in, this Dragon, bearing the name of Emelette DragonRock, decided that she would like to be queen of her own domain; and Paradise would be the ideal place when she was ready.

In the twenty-fifth year of Paradise, Emelette DragonRock returned and after proving that the villagers could do nothing to harm her, she set herself up at the top of the mountain and ruled the village below with a cruel scaled claw. She demanded proper servitude; gifts, tribute, sacrifices every ten years of a baby or two to be sent up the mountain to her domain.

In the twenty-sixth year of Paradise, the farmers whispered amongst themselves — softly for fear that Emelette would hear — that the village’s name was now Paradise Cropped.

† ♦ †

Unlike his name, the shape of the room he resided in remained firmly locked in his memory. The walls still shimmered with silver dust, he noted. The floor, though made entirely of rock and only rock, had been crafted to look like tile; it shimmered a bit too. There was a door, keeping with the rock motif that never opened on the southern wall of the room. But if it ever did open, then whoever crossed the threshold would be treated to a view of an indoor waterfall that fed the lagoon that he used for bathing on the north wall. In the left corner of that very same wall was a mud bath. He supposed Nomads had an obsession with dirt. Every Nomad he’d ever met had a bath that they manufactured to host mud. Was the idea to use dirt to clean dirt? He did not understand the philosophy, but he did use the bath, and amazingly enough, he always felt cleaner for having utilized it in favor of the lagoon. What water could not cleanse, mud apparently could . . . The Realm of Onoker was obviously running out of Breath, and he for one could not wait for asphyxiation.

On the east wall there was a bed that he currently lay on; a very large comfortable bed that was installed very close to the floor as was the custom in Jihinistad. It was kept well padded and loaded with colorful pillows. Obviously his host wanted him to remain comfortable in the eternity that he was likely to spend in the room with the stone door that did not open. Along the west wall there was a sitting area with a low round table and two chairs. He scoffed at them often. Two chairs? For what reason? For whom? There was only him, and had been for a very long, long, insufferable time. It was a very poor joke on his captor’s part.

There was also a bookshelf on the west wall. It was home to a host of fairytales, where the damsel was always rescued by her daring prince who’d battled the Dragon, climbed the tower, and bestowed a kiss on said maiden’s fair lips. He’d tried to burn them many, many times, but they were magicked against ill treatment, and his attempts were proven futile time and time again. Those books were just another reminder of who was in charge and that no such thing would ever happen to him. And damn her, she was probably right.

This room had been his home for . . . for . . . Well that was an interesting question; he would have to think about it for a while and calculate the math. It was safe to say he’d been in the room with a door that did not open for an extensive period of time. He was Bound to this room. He would not be leaving this room until the stipulations written in the Contract that Bound him were fulfilled; it wasn’t likely to happen.

He had been captured by Emelette DragonRock much too long ago. Emelette was a Dragon and Mountain Snow Colony native of Nomadia. He did not know the specifics that allowed some Nomads to be just Nomads, or some Nomads to be Dragon and Nomad, but he was sure it was all very interesting. He’d thought about it from time to time, because time was all he had. He did not want to think about that now. Being a Dragon meant that Emelette could only die by another Dragon’s claw. All those myths of a mere Human slaying a Dragon were purely that. Humans can’t kill Dragons no matter how special they believe themselves to be. A Dragon would live until they took their own life or were killed by one of their own kind, no questions asked. Furthermore, because Dragon’s were once endangered, there were laws that protected Dragon rights and ensured that they would indeed live.

But there were exceptions; there are always exceptions to the rules, because if that weren’t true then the Dragonslayer wouldn’t exist. The Dragonslayer’s job description could be found in the title — and what a wonderful title it would be to have if he were Dragon-Nomad and not Djinni. To kill Emelette DragonRock, the thought crossed his mind often. But he wasn’t the Dragonslayer, he was a Djinni Bound to a godsforsaken room with a door that he hadn’t been able to budge in the extensive time that he’d remained there; and in fact, could not unlock it until that monster Emelette DragonRock died. And the irony of the situation was that she could not be killed.

Akren had been at war the last time he’d wandered the Realm. It likely still was, because that brand of Human didn’t seem like the type that would let things go if it didn’t settle in their favor. So there was no help forthcoming from the government or anyone, not that they would be able to do much, or anything, but it was a nice thought nonetheless. The Dragonslayer would not be coming to put Emelette down. As far as he knew, The Slayer dealt specifically with insane Dragons and — as debatable as Emelette’s sanity was — Emelette did not fall under the Slayer’s jurisdiction. She wasn’t crazy; just a conceited, cantankerous young lady that was feeling her youth and invincibility a little too keenly.

So, basically, he had a young Dragon that was impervious to attack, sheltered by laws, and protected by her mental stability from the wrath of the Dragonslayer. But of course there are exceptions to rules. Keeping a Djinni Bound in service with her life in the balance was a mistake on Emelette DragonRock’s part. Djinn created those exceptions to established laws. The door need only open and he would prove to Emelette — he laughed a little at his own wit — that keeping him was like a Dragon with two heads.

He grabbed a nearby pillow and added it to the pile behind his head. Knowing that he had the power to kill Emelette always brought a smile to his face. It was only the Laws of the Djinn that prevented him from employing its use. So perhaps he’d lied a little bit; there were some rules even the Djinn weren’t above. Would that it was not the case. When he slept at night he could hear the whispers from the village below. “I wish, I wish,” had been carried to him on the wind by the thousands. “I wish, I wish, Emelette DragonRock were dead,” but they did not know of his existence and they did not know his name. The Laws of the Djinn dictated that he could do nothing if they did not call him by name. Perhaps it was just as well; would any of them suffer Sequence of Consequence for a Death Wish? He did not think so.

He toyed with the amber gemstone lying on his chest; his heart that had been forged from a battle between the gods. It glistened in the weak glow of the light coming from the opening in the ceiling that allowed the water to pour down. As long as it never shattered he would live indefinitely; whether he ate food, or drank water was of little significance. It was a curse at times; because as he was currently Bound he was prohibited from ending his own life should he want to. He wasn’t saying that he hadn’t thought to every now and then; the same four walls and the same high ceiling, and the same false-tile floor for longer than he could remember greeting him every time he woke was enough to drive any creature to end their life.

He’d been imprisoned for so long he’d forgotten what he looked like, and the light wasn’t bright enough for him to see his reflection in the water. He knew he had wavy, thick, auburn hair. It was currently in a long braid coiled in a bundle like a rope on the floor. It had been many years since he’d burned it off to a reasonable length. He didn’t feel there was much point to doing that anymore; nobody saw him. His face was smooth as all Djinni faces were, and his ears were long and sharply pointed. His eye color was another feature his memory failed to supply him with; it was probably red; most Djinni had red eyes.

His name . . . it had been a while since anyone had said it but he was sure it was something like . . .

There was stomping on the level above him and he knew that heralded hearing the voice that had captured him in the first place. How he loathed that lisping voice.

“I have a Wish, Djinni,” she snapped. Her tongue slurred her pronunciation of S’s so that ‘wish’ sounded more like ‘wisss’. He had no doubt that she was unable to rid herself of her forked tongue even in Nomad form.

He did not appreciate her tone. “I don’t care,” a pause, “Lizard.” He turned over on his bed, giving his back to the waterfall and his captor whom he had no doubt was peering down at him.

Her tongue hissed at him, “You watch your attitude. There are many more powerful than you out there . . .”

“Then why don’t you go fetch one? I’d love to trade places with anybody about now,” he interrupted. There was no point in being nice to Emelette; she could do nothing more to harm him than keep him locked in the room. The Contract that Bound him secured his continued living no matter what happened to him for as long as she lived.

Emelette was not used to being disobeyed, he knew that. Most cowered in fear or jumped into compliance. She was silent a moment at being thwarted. She hadn’t nagged him for anything in recent years; she had likely forgotten that threats did not work on him. Her voice was colored with anger; and he could imagine that were she in her Dragon form, those garish yellow scales would be tinted red.

Djinni Kadík Ilora, I Wish . . .”

He snapped to attention. Without his consent, his body rolled back around and his neck craned so that he was looking up at the source of the waterfall in a position that was less than comfortable. Kadík, he thought absently, that’s a surprise. Why had he thought his name was Salúk? He’d been way off on that one.

Emelette continued, “. . . for my next couple of sacrifices in ten years to have curly dark hair, brown eyes, and be stunningly beautiful to any who see them.”

His amber heart flared, his probably red eyes were baleful as he gritted out, “As. You. Say.”

“Good,” Emelette chirped, and he could hear the steps that took her away. She was so selfish, she never thought of Sequence of Consequence. It never crossed her mind that suffering was wrought through careless Wishes. Kadík had no doubt that this was one of those Wishes that would do just that.

The last he knew of the outside world, Akren had been at war, Djinn Tribes were disbanding, Najort was still prospering due to trade with Nomadia; Mintz was fairing much the same due to trade with the Onarch continent, and Paradise had been cropped. He didn’t know who had written the rules that said that the continent of Kernantz would turn out that way, but Kadík knew that someday he would love to be the exception to the rule.

He would love to grant Emelette DragonRock’s Death Wish.