Genie Bottle Lore
Gracious One, today I am in the mind to tell you the story of the Silent City.
Now, in the desert there is a city of the undead, the Silent City. Once it was a city teeming with life, filled with every comfort imaginable. Sweet dates and figs, cakes of all sorts, roasted meats...everything you could wish for was available.
Some said a city so wondrous could not exist and was surely legendary. How could one place be both so beautiful and so filled with treasures and happiness? They say, Gracious One, that the gods do not like mortals to be happy. Perhaps that is why things happened this way.
For though the city had been beautiful and happy for many long years, there came a time when its forests lay in ruins and its walls were buried beneath the ever-changing sands. And so today, the city is not as it once was, but is as it is and its residents are restless. Curb your happiness in order to retain a measure of it, Gracious One.
Ah, Gracious One! I am always pleased to see you. I believe you will find the tale of the Twin Dragons most pleasing.
We have always called them "Twin Dragons" though they are not twins but are betrothed to each other. They came to our lands when turmoil struck their chosen realm: the Plane of Sky.
Now, dragons are crafty beings that can influence others to do their will. These dragons influenced the djinn master to grant them the power to change shape. This power pleased them greatly.
In their greed, the dragons continued to change shape at will. Now, one is never sure whether one is speaking to a dragon or to a regular person. Some say they frequent Maj'Dul when not in dragon form.
Beware the dragons' voice, Gracious One. They will try to persuade you that they were wronged by the djinn! Such a thing would be laughable, would it not? That is the tale for now.
Gracious One, today I shall speak of the Court of Blades.
While life in a large city is never as simple as some may wish, exploring beyond the city walls is always dangerous. To give the lawful citizens some peace of mind, the Court of Blades guards against many of the external threats, such as the bands of gnolls and lizardmen that roam the wilds. And the orcs. Always, the orcs.
Of course, Mudeef is the Vizier of everything, but the militant Court of Blades is led by Dukarem, son of Dukar. The Courts are family affairs, going back to the elder days. Dukarem's son is Dukaris; he may someday inherit this Court.
This time I shall share with you some information about the Court of Coin, Gracious One.
Where the Court of Truth deals in laws and the Court of Blade is filled with militant zeal, the Court of Coin focuses on shall we say, resources. Where coin can be made or gained, Neriph, Caliph of the Court of Coin, is there.
Now, know that Neriph inherited the leadership of the Court of Coin upon the death of his father, Omren. Many consider that Neriph succeeded to his father's position too soon and was not prepared for all that it entails.
I but repeat stories I have heard, Gracious One. Neriph's detractors no doubt have hidden agendas. The Court of Coin does not seem to be near collapse. It maintains a tight grip on Maj'Dul's economic infrastructure.
If you seek riches, Gracious One, the Court of Coin will be a useful ally. It controls commerce, banking and trading throughout the city. Nomads from beyond Maj'Dul's walls work mainly with its adherents. But know that coin is not everything.
Would you be interested in hearing tales of the Court of Tears, Gracious One?
This is not an official Court and yet its influence must not be underestimated. For within any large community, there are always those less fortunate ones who live and die by their own laws.
This is not to say that all who follow these laws are unfortunate. By virtue of their charisma and prowess, a leader always emerges from the chaff. A leader who is strong in mind and body and who does not hesitate to use any means necessary to bring his influence to even the most formal of governing bodies.
I cannot say who is this leader, Gracious One. No one speaks his name; "he" could be a "she" for all that anyone knows! And yet, there is a dark power and purpose driving the Court of Tears. It is obviously someone of whom you should be forewarned.
Gracious One, I would like to tell you something about Maj'Dul's Court of Truth.
The Court of Truth under the direction of Caliph Ishara is very concerned with keeping the laws of the city. You would be wise to watch your step, for the least transgression is punished severely.
Any transgression, Gracious One, though the penalties are most severe for those which shed the blood of others. Regardless of who provoked an incident, all are punished alike. The Sha'ir take no sides.
They patrol Maj'Dul from their flying carpets, so ask to keep an eye on both rooftop and street. Though you may think to hide from them, they have eyes everywhere.
You can always settle differences in the arena. Find yourself a champion and advance through the ranks that way. The better your champion, the more prestige you will earn.
There will be opportunities in Maj'Dul to obtain a Champion. Some say that you can train a champion of your own choice, but it is always best to hire one experienced in the ways of the arena. Perhaps when you are used to the Dervish ways, you will know where else champions can be found other than the city itself.
You will be happy to know, Gracious One, that I have remembered an old story about the djinn and how we first arrived here. Please be seated and I will share it with you.
Know that in ancient times, the djinn answered only to themselves and not as today, to any mortal holding their anchor. In order to create unity, several of our kin allied themselves into what you might consider a league: the Uruvanians. Thus, we were able to protect large holdings for ourselves and our followers.
Though we are by nature a peaceful folk, many sought to entrap us by capturing a part of our heritage in order to hold us hostage. As the changes were being wrought throughout our worlds, many djinn sought a place where we could continue our harmonic existences.
Alas, this was not to be, for as some of our kind arrived in these inhospitable lands, the Vizier sought to control us and bend us to his will. We are quite willing to serve where necessary, but the Vizier is a cruel being whose ache for power is boundless.
Be wary of him, Gracious One! Seek not to bring yourself to his attention lest he attempt to do wrong by you, as he has to those of us who escaped the collapsing Planes and made our home in the desert.
Shall I tell you the story of seven bad crocodiles, Gracious One?
Long ago, crocodiles threatened to overrun the lands, being prolific egg-layers whose nests were constantly replenished. Now, the crocodiles were almost all content to make do with what was available to them, yet seven young hatchlings found the overcrowding too much to bear.
These seven decided that they would much rather there be fewer crocodiles so that they would rise to the top of their peculiar hierarchy and eventually rule their kind. To that end, they plotted to remove one egg a night from each of their nests and destroy it, thus reducing the competition.
On the first night, each of the seven crocodiles waited until their parents had wandered away for a nap and then they selected one egg at the edge of each of their nests. Using their noses, the crocodiles pushed the chosen egg away from the nests where the harpies soon found them and feasted.
On the second night, each of the seven crocodiles waited until their parents had wandered away for a nap and then they selected one egg at the edge of each of their nests. Using their noses, the crocodiles pushed the chosen egg away from the nests where the harpies soon found them and feasted.
On the third night, each of the seven crocodiles waited until their parents had wandered away for a nap and then they selected one egg at the edge of each of their nests. Using their noses, the crocodiles pushed the chosen egg away from the nests where the harpies soon found them and feasted.
My apologies, Gracious One! I forgot that you are not used to the Uruvan storytelling tradition. We djinn appreciate the spoken word and thus, enjoy a tale which does not skip such details. I will refrain from continuing in this manner. Suffice to say, the seven crocodiles ended up as the rulers of their kind due to their plan.
My story today is about taking risks, Gracious One. Sometimes risk is obvious and at other times, it is not. Hesitation is the enemy of us all.
In the eldest of days, there lived a beautiful woman whose form and grace were renown throughout the lands. She was a vain woman and enjoyed the attention her beauty attracted. And yet, she gave not her heart to any of her suitors, lest love weaken her.
Now, many great men sought her hand in marriage yet she did not wish to marry any of them, finding them beneath her. Until one night, one of her swains left a simple yellow rose before her door. There was no note or any way to know who had left it. The next night, another yellow rose was left and so on for many nights thereafter. She was intrigued.
Striving to catch the unnamed suitor in the act of leaving the rose, the maiden took to staying up into the night until she collapsed from exhaustion. As time went on, her beauty faded with the stress of her sleepless nights. She locked herself into a tower so that no one would see the changes upon her face. And still, the yellow roses appeared outside her door.
She went no where, saw no one and eventually grew old as mortals do. As she lay on her deathbed, she prayed that she might die knowing at least the name of the one who left the yellow roses. As she drew her final breaths, before her appeared an erudite male who laughed at her and said, "Perhaps in your next life, you shall not scorn me." And so ends this tale, Gracious One.