In the land of ghosts there lies a shimmer of light ethereal and sacred. This hour I feel it and care not if it is sand or water, this destiny that liberates faith and soul. Too long have I, Hassam prayed for someone to help me in my quest to find the place called Rainzapour. Here, I was a prisoner shackled in a dungeon, besieged and tortured by hideous devils especially the man with the evil eye, But now my hands are unshackled and I breathe the air of freedom. Sometimes I stare into a void and gather my senses, yet in white shade there is still darkness. I am strong as I whisper to fate, " take me to Rainzapour and the palace of the black hearted Caliph Rashidun enemy of the common people." In the beginning I was wearied by travel having been besieged upon by demons and suicidal assaults and yet my love carried me forward to my destiny.
As a very young man I had collected haunted items, a moon chalice used in sacrificial ceremony, a sword taken from the hand of the dead on a battlefield, a mushroom turned to stone still purple with it's poison one bite away from whole. Once I found a copper bottle with a heavy seal, this too I added to my collection. I was serious and scholarly but studied the art of combat and became skillful in mock battle and combative games. It was at such an event I caught the eye of Bahija, beautiful creature, my dream of womanly curves, my heart throbbed in my chest when she gave to me a flower and soon I gave her my heart. She was air and nature and her soft voice danced like smoke in my mind. All went well and one day as we met in a field of poppies a dark shadow descended upon us. There on every side were stealthy warriors, soldiers of the dead, hooded devils who took me prisoner and stole Bahija away. Many years later I learned she had been forced into the harem of the Caliph.. Hatred rose in me, hatred and love and it made me powerful. I was free and still they incessantly dogged my heels like hounds from hell. I returned to the field behind my home, unwilling to subject my family to the same fate as mine, I didn't enter the house but dug deep into the soft loam to retrieve the box which held a few belongings along with my collection. The sword gleamed lethally in the light of the moon and a surge of power sang deep in its metal. The moon chalice as well vibrated, as though it had a task to perform and couldn't wait, but it was the bottle that was most powerful of all throwing itself out of my hands until the seal broke and there before my eyes was a giant genie or jinn. Broad chested and strong he appeared human but narrowed to fit inside the bottle. Now I had heard of such as he, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see one. He was of the line of Marid, considered the most powerful tribe of Jinn. When he spoke it was deep and booming and made me shiver inside my skin. There were no wishes to be granted, he would help me obtain the most important thing in the world that I wanted and once it was mine he would be free of the bottle. True to his word he taught me to bathe myself in mud fortified with basilisk oil and to bake in the crust of lava until my body hardened to the strength of armor, and it was he who as my spirit guide drew up my magick sigil a Silver Sword and Chalice above a Star on a background of Ebony. When I was attacked while traveling he trapped himself in my body and we slew hundreds on hundreds of warriors. Now as I stood outside the wall of Rainzapour, I knew that soon I would be losing this valiant protector for once I claimed my beloved he would be allowed his freedom. One last battle condemning the Caliph and all his evildoers to die in their polluted blood, as I freed those innocents he forced himself upon. So close and yet so far I could detect the flickering of a mind heavy hearted and needful of solace. " Bahilja," I whispered, "Can you sense that I'm here for you?"
Tonight the moon will eclipse and the Jinn once more will become part of me as we scaled the high imposing wall cloaked in darkness. There were soldiers everywhere, we moved ghost-like, landing lightly in the courtyard. with only seconds to spare, as the Jinn performed his task. Twenty men downed and now we swap out our clothes for the theirs, donning hooded face covering and weapons to spare. Soon we're climbing to the halls of the palace lighted by tall torches and golden candlesticks. I longed to search for the harem and Bahilja, but silent warriors were everywhere guarding halls and doors. Some raised their hands in welcome as we passed and I nodded in pretense of recognition. Before us lay a court room and there the Caliph beckoned us to join him in a meal. No hummus or taboule, but complex stews with spices and herbs their foreign scents causing a sickness to rise in my throat. He invited us to pull forth a cushion as though waiting to crush a dove in his hand. Things were out of control. I could feel that he recognized me for what I really was, a man inhabited by a jinn and yet his eyes were hypnotizing and I felt unable to resist his hospitality, though I knew this was a sorcerer and a man of blackest evil. Women entered carrying platters of bread and as the light moved I saw her sitting comfortably on a cushion. A harder version of the young Bahilja, assured and in control as though she had attained great status. My heart crashed as I saw the child beside her, five or six years old and the image of the Caliph. She must be his first wife and mother of the heir, no abused innocent, but a woman of status. There would be no saving her now. She'd hate me for the child clearly was her love and life. The caliph played me like a snake, his evil eye delving into my soul and the jinn too was confused and perplexed and prey for evil promptings. Summoning intense concentration I rose up, making ready to leave. Then the battle began, there would be no easy exit for the air became putrid and all ran away. It was just the jinn and I and the Caliph whose appearance had changed into a huge black jinn with a bejeweled turban. Suddenly it all became clear, and I saw this is where I belonged. My mind alert now, I pulled myself up to my full stature returning stare for stare and then the battle began. Abdul my Jinn surfaced from his previous oblivion. We bowed and the heaven fell down and darkness turned everything bleak. I felt jabs and pain erupting though my soul, this was good and evil battling with all their might. Abdul fought courageously downing the evil one again and again. But my body was his prison and each bolt rent yet another hole and each hole seeped blood sapping Abdul as I floundered on the ground. . I was the bottle that enslaved him and he couldn't cut me loose. And yet as I became a shadow, Abdul reached for my sword, the mushroom and the chalice and the earth stood still, as rumbling vibrations spawned my rebirth.. One slice of the sword sent the black Jinn's head flying and evil shrank to bitter root leaving the Caliph in the shape of a man. In the chalice Abdul combined wine and root and mushroom, the final swallow and the Caliph was turned to smokeless fire scorching earth . We drew a circle and ringed it with salt and his spirit was banished to the cave of horrors.
What of Abdul and me and the widow and child? My body couldn't contain Abdul so I set him free. Free to do as he chose and he chose to be the new Caliph. for only he could contain the evil passed down to child who would someday rule. Bahilja chose to stay with her child becoming the wife of Abdul and I was welcome to stay as well but chose not too. Somewhere a new life waits for me. Strong again and free at last with no demons breathing down my neck I ventured out taking with me some riches bestowed upon me by my benevolent hosts. .Perhaps I would find another trove of ancient relics, or create magic, or maybe I'll find love. For now I'll return to my family and relate the tale of Rainzapour. .