Well, its February 18th, and as I am still enjoying the recent popularity of one of my fic on Fanfiction.net, I'm presenting Chapter 6 of my Gauntlet Dark Legacy fic, Legendary Hereos. From this is the first chapter that was purely written from the notes I had set up back in 2002. This, and the following three chapters, are all recent works, with no rewritten material. Here is the link to the previous chapter, and I hope you enjoy this chapter as well.
(This story is based off characters from the game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy. The events of this story take place before the game.)
Chapter 6: Genie, not Djinn
Of the eight realms, one that is mixed with both desolation, and beauty, is the Desert Lands. While a majority of the land is desolate, and over run by venomous snakes, the habitable areas are true signs of man perseverance in harsh climates. Part of that was made possible by the Wizards who were called in to help people in the land, and the other part was made possible due to Djinns, magical beings that were benevolent. They were a far cry from their one eyed cousins, the Genies, whom granted wishes, and grew in strength.
No one knew this more than the Desert Lands' most praised Wizard, Toyodai. Even though he was still on the young side, he had learned all about the Djinn and their malevolent cousins. He even knew how to banish most of them. They needed to be surrounded in a cloud of dark smoke, and then struck down. The Lamp of Dark Obstruction owned by one of the greatest Wizards of all time, Merlin, was usually used for that. He felt proud that he owned it. It actually put him in the same league as Sumner.
It also came as no surprise to Toyodai that he was being requested to meet the Pharaoh. The supreme ruler of the Desert Lands, was one who always wanted what was best for his people. He helped keep the monstrous nomads at bay, and like every one before him, he also communed with the ancestors buried under the mystic pyramid. In their world, they always communed with their spirits, who when called upon, would returned to their mummified corpse to offer advice.
This time, however, when Toyodai visited the Pharaoh, he found that the ruler looked very troubled. It had been true that the nomads' attacks had picked up in both intensity and number, and that had to weigh heavy on the mind of the ruler. It also meant that the areas that provided both food and other essentials were producing less. No doubt, Toyodai would be asked to help in that matter. As a matter of respect, he knelt in front of the ruler, and calmly said, "You sent for me, my living deity."
He waited until the Pharaoh motioned him to rise. "Yes, Toyodai. I have a request that I need your help to fulfill. One that I know will help the people, although my advisors say it will not." This made the Wizard pause in standing up. Any Pharaoh had only one set of advisors, and that was the dead Pharaohs.
When he was standing, he looked at the Pharaoh and said, "You are going against the wishes of your ancestors. No Pharaoh has ever done that since the time of Skorne." He had not wanted to speak the name, but the point had to be made. Skorne had first caused problems in the Desert Land when one Pharaoh had tried to make peace with the monster. The resultant tragedy lead to the Dark Genie, a powerful one that caused great havoc, including enslaving the dead.
Toyodai had hoped the Pharaoh was jesting, but a grim look on the man's face told him it was no joke. “It is a dark time, Toyodai. Giant men of the desert sands attack our people. No doubt it is the dark Genie influencing things. My advisors say to destroy it. I want you to subdue it.”
The wizard felt a chill go through him. To control any Genie was dangerous, but the Dark Genie meant risking their life and powers. He also knew the proper course of action would be to destroy the foul creature. Still, his leader wanted the foul creature subdued. “I will do my best. I will need to find the proper lamp to obscure the creature‘s sight.” Toyodai hoped his statement would help to deter the Pharaoh from this foolish course.
To his surprise, the Pharaoh shook his head. “There will be no need, Toyodai. I know you have the very one that is needed. We shall go down together, and subdue this thing." Deep down, this scared Toyodai more than the initial request. If the Pharaoh went down with him, it was only because his leader did not trust him to do the right thing.
Toyodai corrected his thinking after that. It was the sensible reason to join. Toyodai suspected another reason, and that was far more disturbing. Regardless of the reason, Toyodai only nodded, and said "Very well, your godliness. We shall head off at once to subdue the foul being." Toyodai now hoped that they would be successful in that task.
The time it took to reach where the Dark Genie was confined was long, but fortune had favored them. While reports of huge creatures of living sand were not the norm, Toyodai had expected at least one of them to attack as they passed through the Temple of the Magi, and even the Mystic Pyramid. Those two location were the only barriers between the lands of the living and the dead. Now that they moved through the Tombs, he could not help but feel a sense of foreboding. It made him fear for the Pharaoh's life.
As they neared the central chamber, taking note of the numerous open sarcophagi, he said to his leader, "I feel something is wrong, sire. All those sarcophagi were empty, and we had a very easy journey here. The Genie is obviously up to something."
To his dismay, he heard his Pharaoh say, "The Genie realizes who the master is. It shall be easy to put it under my control." He knew that would be a problem. There was no way that evil thing could be control.
When they entered the chamber where the Genie was confined, the room seemed empty. The only thing in it was the bottle the Dark Genie was confined in. Again, the sense of unease hit Toyodai, and he also felt power. It was a power that was too much for just one man to combat. He also felt that the Pharaoh‘s presence there was a folly. The people need him to be alive, and he was being too stubborn to listen.
As they neared the center of the vast room, Toyodai felt the malevolence in the air. He turned to the Pharaoh and said, “We should flee. There is a great power of darkness here, one it would take only a powerful practitioner of magic to combat.” It was the truth, since he was feeling a demonic presence as well.
He was shocked when his leader turned on him, and Toyodai could see a madness in Pharaoh’s eyes. “Toyodai, I am a god. The genie will bow to me, because he can not defeat me. If you are against me, you will die.” At that point, Toyodai knew death was near, and had he not seen what was coming, it would have claimed him as well.
Toyodai leapt backwards as the figure that had appeared behind the Pharaoh swung one of its swords. It was the Genie, and the dark creature had sliced the Pharaoh in half. He then saw the evil being look straight at him, its one red eye starting to glow. As it did so, he heard the creature say, “You reek of magic, human. I shall enjoy killing you as well.” Toyodai then noticed a surprised look on the foul creature‘s face.
He didn‘t wonder what caused the look to cross the creatures face, but Toyodai pulled out the Lamp of Dark Obstruction. The second he had pulled it out, a thick black fog started surrounding the evil creature. He started to back away, hoping the fog would keep him safe long enough to do something to escape.
When he was almost to the top of the stairs out of the pit, he froze, noticing his reflection in the Lamp. His head had changed into that of the god Anubis, like in the legends of Merlin. Was he the one destined to defeat the Genie. If that was the case, he knew he wasn‘t going to be able to do it alone. He needed help. There had to be other people blessed like he was.
He was broken out of his thoughts when something caused the Lamp to fly out of his hands. It was so swift and forceful that it had smashed thought the ceiling of the chamber. He then found himself looking eye to eye with the Genie, and heard the foul creature say, “So, there is another of those fools. Even your Legends cannot destroy me, nor my master Skorne. I shall turn all the people of the desert into my undead minions.”
Toyodai leapt backwards as the blades came at him. He had jumped out of the way, but then he noticed the forms coming towards him. They were smaller forms of the Genie, but just as deadly. He launched a few fireball blasts from his staff at them before dashing out of the Genie’s Lair.
He quickly made his way out of the Tombs, but he was unsure of his next move. Very few of the guards had known that he and the Pharaoh had made this trek together. Those that did know might suspect that he did something to the Pharaoh. He needed to figure out a way to make sure people did not think the worst of him.
In that moment, Toyodai’s eyes focused on one structure that was beyond the far side of Desert Town that was his home. It was the ethereal structure that was Sumner’s Tower. The few people who had ventured close to the structure had often said the landscape seemed to change around them, like two different surroundings were both there, and not there. If anyone would know what to do, it would be Sumner.
Toyodai quickly made his way through the Temple of the Magi, and then through the Town. He noticed as he did that the number of people out and about had decreased. It wasn’t deserted, but it seemed to hint that something was going wrong in the area. Did the people seem to know that the Pharaoh was gone. He shook his head at that thought, since no one could know.
It was then he saw it. An odd door that didn’t seem to match with a known home. He noticed the markings, and he knew what was happening. The brutish nomads of the desert were now breaching the town, and it would not be long until their more advanced fighters would start invading. The people were in trouble, and they needed their Pharaoh, or even better, heroes to fight off the minions of Skorne.
With this new reason in mind, Toyodai picked up his pace, and left the Town, making his way for Sumner’s Tower. As he ran, he chanced a glance up at the sky. He tried to spy where the Lamp of Dark Obstruction might have gone, or even if it was coming down. He had hoped that it was still issuing out it’s thick black fog, but he could not see that. What he did see was a hazy green streak heading down to the Mystic Pyramid. While he was certain it wasn’t the Lamp, he was certain that whatever it was, it was needed to defend one of the other seven realms he knew existed. That actually gave him hope, even though it was a grim sign for another of the realms. It meant that there would be others like him, ready to become Legends. With that hope in mind, he picked up his pace, and ran even faster for Sumner’s Tower.