The Battered Lamp
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Six Shall Be One
© Copyright 2014, 2015
Comments are very welcome. I would like all criticism, positive and negative, so long as its
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Click here for Chapter 36.
Note: Thanks to Scotstigger for being my beta reader.
Cast of Characters
Kyle Unmei Jr.: Half-Japanese/Half-Kurdish owner of Aaliyah and wielder of Earthbones. Captured when he tried to rescue his mother from Rashid. Imprisoned with Christy in Sahabah.
Aaliyah Unmei: A Jann sent to marry the prophesied savior of the Djinn. Kyle’s First Wife. Reunited with Kyle.
Fatima Unmei : Kyle’s younger sister and wife, wielder of Fireheart.
Christy Unmei nee Leonardson: Kyle’s long-time girlfriend turned third wife. A witch who follows Ishtar and wields Shadowedge. Captured with Kyle in Sahabah.
Fumi Unmei nee Nakamura: Kyle’s fourth wife. A succubus-like Yuki-onna and wielder of Windfeather. She is blind.
Britney Kingston: Kyle’s best friend since elementary school. She is a Rakshasa and has sworn to defend Kyle. She is a hermaphrodite and has claimed Phillipa as her mate. Wielder of Waterclaw.
Sultan Rashid ibn al-Marid: The despotic ruler of the Djinn and leader of the Marid clan. Wants Aaliyah dead to thwart the prophecy. Forced to accept the marriage with Faiza to stop Kyle. Killed by his son and Hecate.
Hecate: The Dark Goddess that both Ms. Franklin and Burke served. Sent a familiar to seize Faiza’s soul when she died. Hecate has possessed Faiza and approached Rashid for an alliance. Manipulated Makerah to kill his own father when Hecate realized Rashid would not be controlled.
Faiza Unmei: Kyle and Fatima’s widowed mother. Killed by Burke. Her soul was stolen by a familiar of Hecate. Resurrected by Hecate as an instrument of the Dark Goddess’s vengeance against Kyle. Hecate has possessed Faiza. Married to Rashid as part of Hecate’s plan.
Makerah: An Unbound Marid, a Djinn that has violated the Laws of his people and escaped punishment through a dark ritual. A servant of Sultan Rashid and his son. Hecate, through Faiza, has enhanced Makerah. He has killed his father and claimed the Sultanate.
Sheikh Tariq ibn al-Ghul: Shiekh of the vile Ghul. Rashid has contacted Tariq, alerting the Ghul of Kyle’s plan to free Kalila from Jabal al-Dhukan in Ghul territory.
Aljihm: An Unbound Ifrit and servant of Sultan Rashid. Killed by Kyle and Britney during the attack on Khoshilat Maqandeli.
Aalizunah: An Unbound Si’lat and servant of Sultan Rashid. Ordered to hunt down Aaliyah and Zaritha and kill them. Slain by Britney.
Jowdah: An Unbound Ghul and servant of Sultan Rashid. Killed by Zaritha.
Khiana: An Unbound Jann. Once a bitter rival to Sultan Rashid but now a servant of the Sultan. Ordered to hunt down Aaliyah and Zaritha and kill them. Revealed to be Aaliyah’s father. Killed by Christy, Fumi, and Fatima during the attack on Khoshilat Maqandeli.
Ms. Franklin: The deceased servant of Burke and leader of the coven. Also known as Celestite.
Principal Burke: The identity assumed by Alphonse of Toulouse, a nine-hundred-year-old knight. A warlock serving Hecate. Killed by Kyle.
Chyna Unmei nee Coel: Kyle’s first concubine. Ms. Franklin cast a spell on Kyle and Chyna, forcing them into a slave/master relationship.
Shannon Unmei nee Coel: Chyna’s hot mom and Kyle’s second concubine.
Alexina Unmei nee Kendrick: Blonde concubine.
Carla Unmei nee Tyler: Redhead concubine.
Antonette “Toni” Unmei nee Buckley: Cheerleader concubine.
Daniella “Ms. Capello” Unmei nee Capello: Kyle’s English teacher and concubine.
Lois Unmei nee Smilingfox: A lesbian Domme that serves Kyle as a concubine.
Ann Unmei nee Weaver: Fatima’s friend and strawberry-blonde hair.
Kayleah Unmei nee Peterson: Fatima’s bleached blonde concubine and former rival.
Teleisia Unmei nee Otis: Aaliyah’s African American concubine.
Phillipa Kingston nee Stoddard: Former member of Ms. Franklin’s coven where she was known as Jade. Captured by Britney, Phillipa submitted to Britney and became her mate, discovering that she is a masochist.
Mindy Unmei nee Stoneking: A nurse at the hospital where Fatima is sick and Kyle’s newest concubine.
Sable Unmei nee Purcell: Also known as Tourmaline, she was a member of Ms. Franklin’s witch coven. While fighting with Christy, she was hit by a Love Elemental’s attack and now completely loves Christy.
Zaritha Unmei: An Ifrit serving the despotic ruler of the Djinn and sent to kill Aaliyah. After saving Aaliyah, she now serves Kyle as a faithful concubine.
Naila & Tarah Unmei: Twin sisters and daughters of Hawaa. These two Si’lat are hermaphrodites and submit to Fumi as her concubines, betraying their mother’s plot to enslave Kyle.
Sheikha Hawaa Unmei nee binti al-Si’lat: Former ruler of the Si’lat Djinn. She tried to dominated Kyle, but he prevailed and made her his concubine.
Shiekh Umar ibn al-Jann: Aaliyah’s father. Believed dead, but really he became the Unbound Jann Khiana. Murder his son and heir to trap Kyle and kill his daughter Aaliyah. Killed by Christy, Fumi, and Fatima during the attack on Khoshilat Maqandeli.
Kalsom binti Abdullah: An old Jann woman that made the Kalsomid Prophecy, setting into motion Aaliyah’s sleep in the lamp.
Ishtar: The Goddess of Magic Christy, Sable, and Phillipa now serve.
Sarai: The daughter of Rashid. She is angry at her father and helps Kyle, pledging the Marid’s support to his rule if he overthrows Rashid.
Sayid: The Vizier to Sheikh Sihab ibn Jann. Helped Khiana and Aljihm to attack Kyle. Now he is the regent for Sihab’s son.
Sheikh Haleem ibn al-Ifrit: Ruler of the Sheikh. Kyle returned his beloved wife Kalila to him, and Haleem has sworn the Ifrit to Kyle’s service.
Sheikha Kalila: Wife of Haleem and rescued by Kyle and returned to her husband.
Six Shall be one, the Marid defeated.
In the lands of the West shall be born our salvation,
The Blood of Sultans and Warriors flows through his veins,
Four wives and countless lovers shall he possess; the appetite of sultans.
If you wish freedom for the Djinn, send a daughter of Jann, slumbering in a brass lamp, to wife,
She shall guide him to his champions and gird them for battle.
Six shall be one, the Marid defeated.
The Warrior of the Earthen Sword, whose youthful inexperience conceals the strength of a Sultan;
The Consort of the Brass Lamp, whose meek obedience obfuscates the will of a Sultana;
The Consort of the Fiery Spear, whose playful petulance hides the desires of depravity;
The Consort of the Arcane Grimoire, whose innocent beauty obscures the powers of darkness;
The Consort of the Airy Bow, whose calm demeanor cloaks the fury of storms;
The Companion of the Watery Dagger, whose deep intellect masks the hunger of predators.
Six shall be one, the Marid defeated.
In the Lands of the West shall our salvation arise,
Their trials will be many, their conflicts fierce,
Their enemies will beset them on all sides, hidden behind masks of authority,
The darkness grows, hungering for power; guard well the daughter of Jann, freed from a brass lamp,
Through blood and tears shall they be forged.
Six shall be one, the Marid defeated.
In the lands of the West shall be born our salvation.
The Kalsomid Prophecy
Saturday, January 29th – Sahabah, The Hidden Realm
Kyle had failed his mother, Christy, and all his wives.
He stared up at the diamond ceiling of his jail cell. The diamonds prevented any teleportation in and out of this room. Beyond the diamond walls were sapphire ones, blocking any telepathy. He couldn’t summon his sword if he wanted to, or even speak to Aaliyah.
Kyle and Christy were going to spend the rest of their lives in this cell. It may be richly appointed, decked out with all the luxuries of home, but that didn’t change the fact it was still a prison.
Christy’s head rested on his chest. He didn’t understand why she wasn’t furious with him. He had led her into this trap. He hadn’t listened to Britney or her arguments against this plan. He had been so certain that he was better than Rashid. That he could pop in, grab his mother, and escape.
But she hadn’t really been his mother. Some spell still dominated Faiza, forcing her to aide Rashid.
Muffled voices came through the diamond door of his cell. They grew louder, shouting. Kyle tensed, sitting up.
“What?” Christy asked, blinking her hazel eyes in surprise. “Have you thought of something?”
Another muffled shout.
Kyle did not like the sound of that. He quickly rose, standing before Christy and falling into an aikido stance. He wasn’t completely defenseless without his sword. He had been trained in hand-to-hand combat by his uncle.
But any foe here is going to have powers that no human possesses.
Christy pressed stood behind him, her breath warm on his neck. “What’s going—”
The door flew open.
Makerah strode in, the Unbound Marid’s eyes wild. His right hand was dripping with blood, a mass of red flesh in his hand. A heart. Whose? Kyle’s mother strode in behind him, naked, her breasts splattered with blood.
“You cut me, mortal!” hissed Makerah. Kyle saw insane death in his eyes.
“Rashid promised us safety!” Kyle shouted, ice pumping through his veins.
Makerah brandished his bloody fist. “He had a change of heart,” he cackled.
The Unbound Marid surged at Kyle like the violent sea. Kyle lashed out his arm, grasping Makerah’s wrist. He pivoted, using the Marid’s momentum to flip him over his hip. Makerah landed hard on the ground.
“Ishtar, defend your servant in her desperate hour of need!” Christy chanted.
“That pathetic whore cannot help you!” Kyle’s mother shouted, striding at Christy. “You never should have betrayed me! I never forget those who break my oaths!”
“Hecate?” Christy gasped. “You’re possessing Faiza?”
Kyle barely had time to process that. Makerah lashed out with water, striking the young man in the chest. He was thrown off his feet, landing on the pillowed floor. He struggled to get up, but the water clung to him, pinning him to the floor.
Makerah rose, flexing his left hand. Kyle’s heart beat faster as he struggled against the heavy water.
Khoshilat Maqandeli, The Hidden Realm
Fumi adjusted Windfeather, pushing the green glasses up her face. She kept having to stir currents of air through the room to see. The sapphire war room was airtight. No drafts squeezed in to stir the air for her.
Her wives and the concubines were painted in green, their faces animated as they discussed plan after plan to save Kyle. Every attack would first have to breach the defenses of Sahabah, and that would leave the Marid time to go through with their threat to execute Kyle and Christy.
What was the point then?
Fatima was the most passionate, standing up, slamming her fist on the sapphire table and demanding that they go now and fight their way in. “The Djinn are all slow to act! They are planners! They would never expect our attack to come so swiftly. We could burst through their defenses and reach Kyle before they react!”
“Yeah!” Chyna agreed.
“It is too risky!” Aaliyah countered. “Rashid is a planner. He has to anticipate this as a possibility. We need some way to bypass the defenses and land inside the prison itself.”
“I know where they are keeping him,” Zaritha said. “But it is deep within the palace. Sure, we could assume the form of our essence and fly fast through the corridors, but the moment we are in the palace, the homunculi defenders will activate. They will slow us down.”
There has to be a way for us to move through the palace. These Djinn are masters at moving through the spaces between realities. Aaliyah had riddled Kyle’s school with that pocket dimension that could be accessed from… Fumi’s eyes widened. “…anywhere.”
“What was that, Mistress?” Tarah, her Si’lat concubine asked. Tarah’s twin, Naila, reached out and touched Fumi’s arm.
“Aaliyah,” Fumi said, hope beating in her heart. “At Kyle’s school, you made it so [that] any door led to a pocket dimension that could be accessed with a special key.”
“Then let’s do it at Sahabah. I wish that there was a pocket room for Kyle to go and enjoy his harem, accessed through every door in Sahabah!”
Aaliyah shook her head. “I was able to do that at Kyle’s school because it was part of his life. He went there every day. Sahabah is Rashid’s palace.”
“But Sahabah is Kyle’s prison,” Fumi countered. “That is a part of his life.”
“And he’s the rightful Sultan!” Fatima declared. “Sahabah is his seat of power! Rashid has usurped it from him. How is that not Kyle’s?”
A smile crossed Aaliyah’s lips. “Make the wish again.”
“And add that Khoshilat Maqandeli connects to it,” Britney added.
“And the keys to open the doors,” Toni added. “That’s how me and Chyna figured out the school one.”
Fumi made the wish and Aaliyah proclaimed, “Done!”
“Zaritha,” Fatima snapped, “conjure a map of Sahabah and show us exactly where you believe Kyle is held.”
The Ifrit waved her hand, fire flowed from her, forming a three dimensional map of Rashid’s massive palace. The image zoomed into the basement of the palace to a large room built of sapphire surrounding three smaller rooms. Two were antechambers, the first also made of sapphire, the second of diamond which led into a larger diamond room.
“This is where important political prisoners would be held,” Zaritha said. “The emissary claimed Kyle would be kept in comfort. This room is quite comfortable, for a prison. It is furnished like any guest room in the palace. Of course, it is guarded.”
“And designed to hold Djinn,” Britney nodded. “If only one door is opened at a time, there will never be a breach in the sapphire or diamond enclosure.”
“Those two diamond doors will not be accessible from the pocket dimension,” Aaliyah added. “Diamond prevents such work. We could enter through the second sapphire door and then force our way through the two diamond doors.”
“Then what are we waiting for!” Fatima declared, holding Kyle’s sword in one hand, her fiery yari in the other.
Chyna was already racing towards the door, her key in hand. She opened it up onto a new room. “Let’s save Master!”
Sahabah, The Hidden Realm
Fatima stepped out of the pocket universe into a short, diamond hallway. Chyna, Toni, and Alexina charged ahead of her, reaching the first diamond door. The concubines threw the door open, screaming with desire.
Two watery homunculi guarded the room. They activated, sweeping tides of water at the concubines. But they all had been enhanced by Christy, moving with grace and speed that no mortal woman could. Chyna ducked the water spray while Toni and Alexina leaped over them.
“We’ll handle the homunculi! You save Master!” Toni shouted.
The door to Kyle’s cell was open. And her brother was in trouble. Makerah stood over him, prepared to finish off her brother.
“Banzai!” Fatima shouted, dropping Earthbones and setting her spear. She charged forward.
She raced through the diamond antechamber, passing the concubines dueling the homunculi. Fire burned at the tip of her spear, bright and hot. She burst into Kyle’s cell. Makerah looked up in surprise. Her spear plunged into his chest.
Makerah became water.
Fatima didn’t hit any resistance like she expected, her spear sliding through the Marid’s liquid body. She tripped on Kyle and fell through Makerah’s watery form, falling to the floor on the other side drenched. She didn’t like that. The water pulled off of her as Makerah reformed his figure.
She used her fire to warm her body. Steam flashed around her as she rolled to her feet. She fell into her stance, thrusting her spear with precision at Makerah. He flashed to water each time her weapon’s point found his flesh.
Britney leapt into the room, Waterclaw flashed, pulling the water off of Kyle. Her husband rose, freed from the Marid’s watery grip.
“Summon Earthbones, big bro!” Fatima shouted as she worked through her katas, her spear forms, driving Makerah back towards the wall.
Fumi shot a green arrow at Christy and Fatima’s mother, pulling Christy away from the murderous rage in her mother’s eyes. “She’s possessed by Hecate!” Christy screamed. “Watch out!”
Fumi screamed as an unspoken spell struck her, wracking her body. She fell to the floor in convulsions. “This is getting meddlesome!” Hecate snarled.
A great anger boiled inside Fatima. Her mother was possessed by that hate-filled Goddess. She stabbed harder at Makerah.
“Kyle!” Aaliyah shouted, rushing into the room.
“You need to get out of here!” Kyle called out. “It’s dangerous.”
“No!” Fatima declared. “We’re finishing this today! You’ll be the Sultan, big bro!”
Fatima had Makerah backed into the corner, Ann and Kayleah—her two concubines—joining the attack. Petite Ann danced, her strawberry-blonde hair flying as she kicked and punched, enhanced by Christy.
“He is not the Sultan!” raged Makerah. “No insect can lead the Djinn! I am the Sultan!”
Fatima was hit by a wave of water, throwing her and the two concubines back away from the Marid. Mad rage swam in Makerah’s eyes. Water spouted from all around him. It was chaos in the room. Concubines were hit by the lashing water, sent sprawling as Makerah strode across the room. Other concubines swarmed towards Faiza. But Kyle’s mother was possessed by Hecate. The dark goddess cast her spells with ease, and Kyle’s concubines were falling unconscious or were wracked by pain.
“Ishtar, come to our aide against your dark foe!” chanted Phillipa as she and Sable strode into the room.
Kyle reached out with his powers and commanded Earthbones to his hand as Makerah advanced on him. The sword flashed to life in his hand, shining with gold light. He fell into his stance, cutting the lashing water that the Marid threw at him.
“You will submit to my will!” Makerah cackled, driving back Toni and Alexina as they tried to leap on him from behind.
“I should have killed you in the throne room,” Kyle growled. “This time I’ll make sure I finish the job.”
He advanced on Makerah, swinging his sword. He reached out to the diamond walls, commanding them. Unlike sapphire, diamond couldn’t resist his telepathic command. Shields appeared, ripped from the walls and floors, deflecting Makerah’s watery attacks.
Makerah hissed in frustration. Kyle closed with his foe, hacking with his sword. He knew the truth. His sword could hurt Makerah even in his watery form. He believed it and his sword shone with the strength of his conviction.
The Unbound Marid howled in pain as Kyle’s sword found flesh. Blood streamed down the Marid’s body. But the wounds did not slow him. He cackled, his watery attacks coming faster, battering into the diamond shields that whirled about Kyle.
“I am so much more than any Marid!” Makerah cried out. “I have been transformed by Hecate! Perfected!”
Kyle groaned. “She made you her familiar?”
“So you’re her slave? I thought you said you were the Sultan?”
“I am not her slave!” Another gout of water exploded from the Marid. Kyle’s shields barely held back the tide. Shannon screamed in pain as she was caught in the tidal explosion and was sent crashing into a wall. Kyle hoped her enhancements would protect her.
“All familiars are slaves!” Kyle laughed. “I know. I have a bunch of familiars!”
“That’s right!” gasped Shannon, forcing herself to rise. “I’m Master’s familiar! I’m his slave! Just like you are, Marid!”
“I AM NO SLAVE!”
Water slapped into one of Kyle’s diamond shields, knocking the chunk of translucent wall out of the air. The angry Marid channeled his ferocity into his attacks on Kyle, slapping shield after shield out of the sky. Water billowed around him, lashing at him from every direction.
Kyle didn’t have the reflexes to stop all these attacks. Makerah left himself completely open, pouring all his energy into killing Kyle. Chyna, Toni, and Shannon took the opportunity to attack the Unbound, landing powerful kicks and punches on the Marid. But Makerah ignored them. All the Unbound cared about was Kyle’s death.
Pain cracked across Kyle’s leg. A tendril of water slammed into him with the force of a semi-truck. His thighbone snapped, a jagged piece of bone splintering out the side of his thigh. Kyle fell hard, screaming in pain.
Water lashed down onto his chest. Ribs cracked. Pain erupted. Another tendril fell. And another. His body was broken. His ribs crushed. He coughed blood. It hurt to breath. His lungs felt heavy, filling up with his blood.
Kyle’s sword fell from his hand.
“Master!” Shannon cried out in fear.
“Brother!” Fatima snarled.
Christy was battered by Hecate’s spells, reeling back before the Goddess’s power. Phillipa and Sable’s spells helped, but none of them were a match for the Goddess’s awesome strength. Christy wasn’t even sure how her wards were still standing. She had been stripped of her amulet, the focus for her power.
But Ishtar’s power still rushed into her, building in her stomach. Growing. The memory of suckling at the goddess’s breast, Ishtar’s mother milk pouring down into her hungry stomach, consumed Christy. It had been so intimate to suckle from the Goddess. She had been adopted by the Goddess, made a part of Ishtar’s flesh.
I’ve been prepared for this moment. Christy’s hazel eyes widened. Ishtar and Hecate had long been rivals, each disagreeing on how magic should be used. Christy always assumed Ishtar rescued her that terrible day as part of the Goddesses ongoing feud. What if it was for this exact moment. To see Hecate defeated.
I need to kill a Goddess to power the unity spell. And I need a Noble Djinn for the focus. All the pieces are here.
“Aaliyah, Zaritha!” Christy shouted, beckoning with her hand. “I need you.”
Aaliyah, crouched in the corner watching Kyle’s duel with Makerah, whirled into dust, flowing across the battlefield, past all the wounded concubines. She flashed back into the flesh, taking Christy’s hand. Zaritha rose in a cloud of steam, her arm dangling, broken by Makerah’s mad flailing. She zipped across the room, landing next to them.
“Feed me your power through Zaritha like you did at the school!”
“What are you up to?” Hecate hissed through Faiza’s mouth. She clawed through Sable and Phillipa’s spell, her eyes dark with rage.
“Britney! I need you to grab Hecate and hold her!”
The Rakshasa stood next to Phillipa and channeled water at Hecate, swirling around the Goddess. Energy poured into Christy, all the power of a Noble Jann. She reached her hand out and grabbed Hecate as the Goddess destroyed Britney’s watery bonds.
“Ishtar, send me into the mind of Faiza so I may free her from your enemies bondage.”
“No!” hissed Hecate, throwing up a counter spell.
But the power brimming within Aaliyah was immense, seething with the energy of creation. Ishtar’s presence in Christy burned hot. It was more than Hecate could handle. Christy fell into Faiza’s mind, pulling Zaritha and Aaliyah with her.
Fumi was wracked by pain. Hecate’s spell shot agony through her. She could barely follow the battle as the pain gripped her. Her heart beat wildly in her chest, aching under the strain. Nothing she could do could shake the pain.
And then it ended.
Christy, Zaritha, Aaliyah, and Faiza all slumped to the ground, the evil Goddess no longer powering her spells. Fumi shuddered, gasping in relief as she sat up, her Windsight seeking out Kyle.
Fear shot through her. Kyle was battered back by Makerah’s attack. Fumi gasped in horror as the Unbound Marid’s water crashed into Kyle’s leg. He fell and Makerah hammered his body, crushing his legs.
“No!” Fumi shouted and summoned her wind, yanking Kyle back from the crushing blows to her. She cradled her husband’s head on her lap. He coughed, his chest crumpled and beaten. “Please, no, Kyle!”
“Fu…mi…” he struggled to say, his voice thick with blood.
“HE IS MINE!” roared the Marid.
“You have to be okay, Kyle!” sobbed Fumi.
The Marid loomed over them.
Fatima burst between Kyle and the Marid, her yari burning bright.
“You will not have him!” Fatima snarled, surging fire towards him, boiling off the tendrils of water he lashed out with.
Kyle coughed weakly behind her.
Fatima’s fire surged hot, driving back Makerah. She lunged with her flaming yari, the Marid flinching before the intensity of her passion. She had never been so angry, so fearful, and so full of love. Her husband was dying, and she would use up every last ounce of strength she had to see him defeated.
Fireheart fed off her passion.
Britney joined her side, knocking away Makerah’s attacks with Waterclaw, fighting against the Marid for control of the water flinging through the air. She channeled it back at the Marid, whipping it towards his mad face.
“GET OUT OF MY WAY!”
“You cannot have him!” Fatima shouted.
“I AM THE SULTAN!” the Marid bellowed. “ALL WHO DEFY ME SHALL PERISH!”
More water seemed to be generated, flowing out of the maddened Marid. Fatima had no idea where he pulled the liquid from. Maybe he was creating it with his Djinn power. It sloshed around in great, sweeping tentacles that slammed into concubines and surged at Fatima’s fire. Makerah’s attacks grew more fierce, building like the relentless tide.
Britney didn’t make a sound as a tentacle cracked against her temple. She fell back, rolling across the ground, blood pouring from her split scalp.
“Britney!” screamed Phillipa.
Sable and Phillipa began casting shield spells behind Fatima, protecting the wounded. Protecting Kyle.
I have to beat Makerah! I have to protect Kyle!
More water attacked her, driving back her flames, slowly dousing her passion. Fatima stepped back, Makerah swelling above her, laughing in triumph. Fatima had to be strong. She had to keep fighting.
But the tide was relentless.
The world grew dark around Kyle. The pain in his crushed body slowly fading away. Fumi’s pleading cries grew soft, distant. Fatima’s fire dimmed. His sister was being driven back. Makerah’s water slammed around the room, throwing about the concubines caught in his tide. The water crashed against Phillipa and Sable’s spell, protecting them.
Fatima stepped back. She was losing the fight.
Kyle didn’t have the strength to watch any longer.
His eyes closed.
Christy looked around at the dark void of Faiza’s mind. Faiza huddled in a far corner, wrapped in chains, sobbing and pleading. Hecate stood, pale-faced, dark-hair, her face ravished by age. She was a twisted crone, full of bile and hate.
“Christy,” she hissed, striding forward.
“Free Faiza from Hecate,” she hissed to Aaliyah and Zaritha. “This is her mind!”
“I am not the one that imprisoned her!” laughed Hecate. “She swore to be my vessel willingly!”
“I was tricked!” sobbed Faiza. “You took my memory! I didn’t know what I was agreeing to! You kept the truth from me!”
“She swore an oath, Christy,” Hecate cackled. “You know all about swearing oaths.”
Christy shivered beneath Hecate’s baleful gaze. But she held strong. Ishtar’s blessing was with her. “I made a mistake, just like Faiza did! I did not know what a loathsome, foul creature I was submitting to!”
The Goddess’s will crashed into Christy. She screamed, hunkering down beneath the immensity of Hecate. She tried to push against the fist of the Goddess’s thoughts. She was like a bug straining against the crushing boot.
The only thing keeping her mind from squishing was the warmth of Ishtar’s milk. I was prepared for this moment. I need to believe that I can survive. That I can fulfill the prophecy. Kyle needs the power. It is the only way to defeat the Unbound Marid.
I just need to hold on!
Aaliyah and Zaritha tore at the chains wrapping around Faiza. Christy screamed behind them, her pain knifing through Aaliyah’s heart. The force of Hecate’s will echoed through Faiza’s mind, buffeting Aaliyah’s senses.
“She is so powerful!” groaned Zaritha, hunching down. “How can we defeat her?”
“We can’t,” moaned Faiza. “She is too much. I have fought her for days, but I couldn’t stop her.”
“We can do it together!” Aaliyah insisted, forcing herself to be strong, to be the Sultana. She ripped more of the metaphysical bonds from Faiza. “Stand, Mother, and we shall defeat this foul Goddess!”
Faiza shook her head. “I can’t.”
“You can, Mother!”
Aaliyah heaved Faiza up, forcing her to stand straight in the face of Hecate’s will. Christy was hunched into a ball, barely keeping the Goddess from snuffing out their minds. Aaliyah pushed her will into Hecate, trying to force back the immense power.
“Help me!” Aaliyah commanded, seizing Zaritha and Faiza’s hand and striding towards Christy and the hag. “We can beat her together. This is your mind, Faiza! Yours! Take it back! For your son and daughter!”
Faiza’s hand tightened in her grasp. “For Kyle and Fatima!”
They slammed their will into the Goddess’s. Christy’s moans lessened, her wife sitting up, a determined expression on her face. Aaliyah kept on the pressure, forcing her will harder and harder at the goddess.
“I am the daughter of Sheikh Umar ibn al-Jann! I am the wife of Sultan Kyle Unmei! The strength of my ancestors fills me!”
Hecate recoiled, fixing her eyes on Aaliyah. “Pesky Jann!”
The crushing will of Hecate slammed into Aaliyah. The Goddess focused every bit of her will upon the Jann. Aaliyah’s knees wanted to buckle beneath the assault and her spine wanted to break. But she wouldn’t bow her head. She wouldn’t submit.
“I am Sultana of the Hidden People!” Aaliyah spat, stepping towards Hecate, pushing back her will. She had been raised to be meek, to submit to her father and husband. Her will had been bridled, hidden beneath her submissive demeanor. Aaliyah unleashed its full power. “Bow and pay homage to the rightful rulers of the Hidden Realm!”
“No!” the crone hissed, her knees bending. “No! How?”
“Kill her, Faiza!” Christy shouted. “This is your mind. Shape a weapon and end Hecate’s existence.”
“Please!” gasped the Goddess, forced down to her hands and knees. “I submit. I am your most humble and abject servant.”
Faiza strode forward, a sinuous dagger appearing in her hand. “You wanted to kill my son and all my daughters!”
The dagger flashed. Hecate’s blood spurted.
“Ishtar!” Christy chanted, seizing Aaliyah’s hand. “Channel the energy of Hecate into the Noble Djinn. Let her be your focus and Hecate your fuel. Let the power of the five artifacts all rest in the hands of Kyle Unmei! Let the six of us unite in one spirit.”
Energy poured into Aaliyah’s soul. The Darkness of Christy and her staff merged with her. Aaliyah became one with Christy, their souls merging. Fiery Fatima’s soul flowed in next, adding her love and heart to the fire. Fumi and her beguiling wind gusted in, bringing fresh delight to Aaliyah’s soul. Deep water flooded in, carrying the deep intelligence of Britney.
Then their united souls poured into Kyle. They met his stony strength, uniting with his strong love. Aaliyah was mixed with them all, merging together to form one happy soul brimming with such power. Aaliyah laughed for delight. Fatima, Britney, Christy, Kyle, and Fumi laughed with her.
Their six souls were one.
Energy poured into Kyle.
Aaliyah, Fatima, Fumi, Christy, and Britney merged into his soul.
Kyle’s eyes shot open.
Makerah loomed over him, hammering at the shields Phillipa and Sable had conjured.
“Where’s did they go?” Sable gasped. “Where’s Christy?”
“Britney?” cried out Phillipa.
They were inside Kyle, merged with him. “Everything will be okay,” Kyle said, the sound of six voices issuing from his lips.
“Britney?” Phillipa gasped. “Are you in him?”
“I am,” Kyle answered as he rose. His body was no longer battered.
“I AM THE SULTAN!” raged Makerah, crashing another wave into the shield.
Kyle transformed Earthbones into Waterclaw with a thought. He guided the water away from the shield, striding out to face the Marid. Makerah’s eyes widened as Waterclaw became Windfeather. A howl of wind slammed into Makerah, throwing the Marid across the room.
“What?” gasped Makerah, blinking in bewilderment.
Windfeather became Fireheart. “You tried to hurt my family!” Kyle snarled, fire lashing out, boiling away Makerah’s water.
“Master?” his concubines called out, dragging themselves to the side. They were all soaked, their bodies battered by the violence of Makerah’s waves. It drove Kyle’s passion. He channeled all of it into the heat roasting Makerah.
“No!” screamed Makerah.
Makerah became water, flowing through the damaged diamond wall and crashing through the sapphire door, shattering the gemstone. He flowed into the hallway of the palace, fleeing before the intensity of Kyle’s fire, howling in terror.
Kyle smiled. Fireheart became Shadowedge. Kyle folded darkness and appeared in the hallway behind the fleeing Marid. Shadowedge flashed gold into Earthbones, and Kyle molded the blue stone of the hallway, cutting off Makerah’s path.
Makerah reformed into flesh, turning to face Kyle. “What are you?”
“A man,” Kyle answered. “Supported by those who love me.”
Water lashed from Makerah. The weapon in Kyle’s hand shifted as he used all the elements. Water guided Makerah’s attack from Kyle’s flesh. Earth blocked the attacks. Fire boiled them away. Wind disrupted the waves. Darkness transported Kyle to safety.
He hurtled a piece of stone at Makerah, slamming into the Marid. Makerah became water. Kyle sent a great gust down the hallway, carrying Makerah into the wall. Fire roared, boiling away Makerah’s essence as he reformed into flesh.
“Please!” howled the Marid.
Kyle stood over the blubbering Marid.
“Mercy! I surrender.”
Britney and Fatima urged Kyle to kill him. Aaliyah and Fumi were moved with pity. Christy was twisted with indecision. Kyle…wanted to end the monster. But he was so pathetic, blubbering like a child that had lost its favorite toy.
Makerah’s attack caught Kyle in the stomach.
The wind was knocked out of his chest as he fell back. The blow would have killed Kyle if [he] wasn’t swimming with the power and essence of five others. The pain was intense, burning through him. Makerah scrambled up, fleeing down the corridor as Kyle struggled to stand.
Fatima berated Kyle.
Kyle stood up and chased after Makerah, Windfeather summoning a great breeze that propelled him forward. But Makerah was swift, hurtling through the hallways as a whirling mist. Other Marid crowded the corridors, cowering as Kyle hurtled past.
Britney believed Makerah was going for the throne room.
Windfeather became Shadowedge.
Kyle folded space and appeared in the throne room. He stood on the very spot where he had failed to save his mother.
Aaliyah and Christy proclaimed with joy that they had saved Faiza.
The Marid gasped at the sight of him, recoiling as he stood in the center of the throne room waiting for Makerah to appear. Power radiated from him. Shadowedge became Fireheart, the tip of the yari burning bright.
Britney told Kyle when to strike.
He hurtled a great ball of fire towards the entrance to the throne room. Britney was sure Makerah was about to enter through the door. She had calculated Makerah’s speed and the path. The sapphire floor cracked from the heat of the fireball as it streaked across the throne room.
Makerah stepped through the doorway.
Water flashed into steam as he screamed in pain. The fire boiled the Unbound Makerah. Kyle held firm, ignoring his piteous screams. He had shown Makerah mercy. The Unbound had repaid him with treachery. Even Aaliyah and Fumi agreed to kill him now. Kyle poured all his energy into the fire. Steam billowed, rolling along the ceiling of the throne room.
The fire ate through Makerah’s flesh, reaching his heart. The chains of diamond wrapped around the Unbound’s foul heart anchored him to the Hidden Realm. The links glowed cherry red. The diamond weakened beneath the heat, melting, running like iron heated cherry-red.
Makerah was Unbound no longer. His soul was pulled into Haawiyah for the crimes he had committed.
Kyle released the energy.
Christy, Aaliyah, Fumi, Fatima, and Britney flashed into existence around him, each holding their artifact. Fatima whooped, thrusting her spear up into the air. Fumi smiled at him, and Christy leaned on her staff, wiping her sweaty brow. Britney nodded at him.
And Aaliyah took his hand. “Take your throne, Sultan,” she whispered.
“You earned it, big bro,” beamed Fatima.
Fumi slipped up and took his other hand. “Take what is yours.”
Kyle crossed the room, his back straight. He let Earthbones disappear in a flash of gold and sat upon the throne of the Djinn, gazing out at the quavering Marid. They cast fearful glances at the half-molten spot where Makerah had been consumed.
The first Marid stumbled forward, falling to his knees. “Sultan!” he cried out, falling prostrate before Kyle.
“Sultan!” Another Marid. “Sultan!” A few more. And then the dam broke and the rest flooded into the throne room, bowing before the mortal that had claimed the Sultanate.
“What is your command?”
Kyle had no idea. His wives joined him, standing around his throne. He stared out at the assembled Marid. What am I going to do as Sultan of the Djinn? Aaliyah whispered a suggestion into his ear. “Summon the Sheikhs to Sahabah to celebrate my coronation,” Kyle declared. “All should celebrate this happy day with feasts.”
“Yes, Sultan,” a trembling Marid nobleman said. “But who shall lead the Marid? Who will be our Sheikh?”
“Rashid’s daughter,” Kyle answered. “She shall be your Sheikha.”
The concubines limped in as the courtiers bustled off to ready the feast. His women were all bedraggled and battered, but they all had smiles on their faces. He saw all their faces. None had been killed by Makerah’s rampage.
“Master, Mistresses,” Shannon bowed before the throne. The rest of the concubines, even Hawaa, followed her in.
Kyle smiled at his harem.
“We are ready to serve you.”
Kyle’s breath caught as his mother stepped into the throne room, her arms hugging tight to her body. “Mom,” Kyle said, rising up from the throne. Tears brimmed in his eyes. She was alive and free.
“Mom!” Fatima cried out, racing from Kyle’s throne across the room and throwing her arms around Faiza.
“My baby girl.” Tears ran down his mom’s cheek as she clutched her daughter tight.
Kyle stood up, striding towards them. He threw his arm around both of them, hugging them tight. “Is it really you, Mom?”
“Yes, dear,” she smiled.
“Mother!” Aaliyah cried out, joining the hug.
“I’m so relieved,” Christy said. “It’s nice that you’re back with us Faiza.”
Fumi walked up, hanging back. Kyle frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“I haven’t been introduced yet.”
Kyle laughed. “Right. Mom, this is Fumi.”
His mother broke away, looking at the trembling, Japanese woman. “So you’re my son’s fourth wife.”
Kyle’s mother seized Fumi in a tight hug. “I’m so glad you make him happy.”
“Thank you,” breathed Fumi, tears running out of her all-white eyes. “We make each other happy.”
“Perhaps we should retire to somewhere more private,” Aaliyah suggested. “You have a lot to tell your mother about.”
“Like Kyle being a father,” Chyna smiled, touching her stomach.
“What?” his mother gasped.
“She’s not the only one,” Fatima added. “My period should have started two days ago. You’re going to be a grandmother!”
To be concluded…
Click here for Epilogue.
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