Page 1 of 4  [ 4 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
User avatar
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, '11, 4:05 pm
Reviews
This is part 2 in my "Aridian Nights" series, which takes the characters from Phantasy Star III and places them in an "Arabian Nights" context (obviously). Like the "Arabian Nights" themselves, this particular tale is a story-within-a-story, so you'll need to read the first one before you read this one. Its inspiration is the story "City of Brass." Please enjoy!

I was born into the royal family of Khashayar more than a thousand years ago, during the reign of the great prophet and king Oraki, may his soul find rest wherever it dwelleth. My father was one of the great djinn of the land and served Sayyida Layla as her trusted general. I never knew my mother; I was told that she was a mortal woman who died giving birth to me.

When I was a young girl, my father, for reasons forgotten to all but Layla herself, declared war on the kingdom of Landani and set out to battle against it. Despite the protests of his most powerful afrit officers, my father felt he could subjugate the kingdom of Landani to Layla’s rule. He underestimated the strength of the prophet Oraki and was defeated and imprisoned in a copper jar, which was hidden in the depths of the earth, never again to be discovered by the man or genie alike.

Having been orphaned so young, I was raised by my older brother Ahun. Ahun taught me everything, from arts and mathematics to strategy and fighting. We were inseparable as brother and sister and his devotion to me was second only to his devotion to his Queen Layla herself. Ahun was an accomplished warrior and by the time I reached adolescence, he had already succeeded our father as the general of the fairy armies. Those were peaceful times, however, and for some years there was nothing that disturbed the wonderful peace that reigned at Dali-e and the entire world.

It was in my eighteenth year, however, that things would change.

I remember clearly the day he entered the palace. There was no haughtiness or arrogance about him. But there was something about that tall, majestic sultan who appeared unaccompanied by viziers or slaves seeking audience with Ahun. He was decked in a besht of green and gold silk. His long golden hair fell past his shoulders. His eyes were like two smoldering coals. I had been seated near my brother’s throne, making a tapestry to give as a present to our beloved Sayyida Layla when our eyes met. I fixed my gaze on the man, feeling something ever so foreboding about his presence in the royal chamber.

The royal visitor bowed before Ahun and introduced himself. “My dear general Ahun, I am Ruh al-Akir, sultan of Lashkutan. I thank you for your audience.”

My brother bid him stand up. “Ah yes, the only kingdom on the continent of Tirmi Nas. The records kept in Dali-e say that there has never been any interaction between the people of Lashkutan and the outside world. I consider myself honored to have you in my court.”

Ruh al-Akir smiled and inclined his head again. “It is indeed an honor to be received by a general as great as yourself, my dear Ahun.” His otherwise respectful smile transformed into a hideous frown, as if to confirm any suspicion I had about him. “It is therefore lamentable, my dear Ahun, that I come to Dali-e with tidings that are anything but joyful.”

Ahun spoke with a concerned curiosity. “Oh? What evil has happened that is so bad that the Sultan of Lashkutan would visit me personally to relay the news?”

“It is about my brother,” replied the visitor gravely.


“Who is your brother?”

“It is not very well known among the kingdoms of the world, but I am the brother of Oraki, the great prophet and king.”

Ahun had been one of the many citizens of Dali-e who had opposed our father’s attempt to declare war on Landani, and therefore had, until now, regarded the prophet with great respect. He knew that Oraki was as brilliant a military strategist and powerful a warrior as he was a spiritual leader, and had strived for many years to maintain peace between the fairy kingdoms and the mortal ones.

The unscrupulous king—may I be forgiven for my slanderous words—continued. “It has come to my attention that the great Oraki has turned against his vows and has trampled his principles like the mad ox that treads through the cornfield. He has declared that he will stop at nothing to possess your queen, even Layla herself, even if he must carry her off.”

I watched silently as my brother’s face grew redder with each passing second. But after a few moments, I spoke up against our visitor. “It is a very serious accusation that you make against your own brother. Its truth could result in the loss of many lives, including the innocent. Do you possess any proof of your brother’s supposed treachery?”

There was a slight bit of cruelty Ruh al-Akir’s smile as he addressed my concern. “Dearest Princess Aliyah, I do indeed possess proof of Oraki’s evil intentions. It is not through mere rumor-mongering that this has come to my attention.” The man reached into his robes and produced a crystal sphere. “One of the great treasures of Lashkutan is this sphere, which allows one to see any place in the world. I had been alone for many years and had desired to know of the well-being of my brother. When I gazed into the sphere, I saw him at council with his wise men, discussing the best way to lead his armies into Mastak.”

The sultan of Lashkutan held the crystal ball out and spoke some words in a language neither Ahun nor I could understand. The ball gave off a great yellow light that made me avert my gaze, after which I saw dark blue smoke form within. The smoke dissipated and I gasped in awe at the image of Oraki, the great king, rallying his armies together and declaring, “Let us ride, for Layla our new queen!”

Ahun did not watch the image inside the ball for long before jumping to his feet and declaring, “Mortal dog! How dare he desire the Great Queen Layla as a mere prize! I shall have his head as a trophy and Landani and Satiri will soon be nothing but rubble and bleached bones!” Turning to Ruh al-Akir, he said, “I thank you for exposing your brother’s treachery. If it be your desire, you may stay at the palace as my guest.”

Ahun directed his servants to see to the Sultan of Lashkutan and then stormed out of the chamber to consult with his top officers: Primus, Secondus, and Tertius, the three most powerful afrit in Dali-e. I knew that they’d be planning some attack; the only way from Mastak to Landani is to go through Aridia. So I figured they’d attempt a desert ambush. Nonetheless, whatever my brother was going to do, I feared for his decision to attack Oraki. After all, my father was just as capable and had failed. Where could Ahun succeed where father failed?

But that was not my main worry. My attentions were turned more toward our guest. I simply didn’t trust the man. What king, after all, would show up unannounced without even the slightest entourage to accompany him? How did he make the journey from the surface world to the palace of Dali-e? Why did he even care about what his brother was doing, if his kingdom was so far away from both Mastak and Landani?

I knew that my brother was at a point too enraged to be reasoned with, and it was far out of my place to bring any sort of accusation of fraud to Ruh al-Akir. So I decided to take things into my own hands.
I left my tapestry with my ladies-in-waiting and hurried to the other side of the palace where I entered a small room that lead to a massive staircase. The long spiral collection of stone steps climbed up the tallest tower in the palace, where the family’s treasure was kept. Reaching the top of the tower, I entered the room, which was filled from one side to the other with gold, jewels, and other valuables.
Standing in the middle of the room was Foren, an automaton that had been built by the original inhabitants of Hazatak and given to my family centuries before. Naturally, fairies and djinn had little use for an automaton, so it had been placed in the treasure chamber and had never been touched since. I gazed upon the man of metal for a few moments. It was an impressive sight: his entire body, from his sculpted hair to the tip of his toes, was made of pure brass. However, he was dressed in a garb of silk, magically tempered, that never rotted nor gathered dust. Jutting out of his back was large iron spring. I twisted it many times, so many that I could not turn it any more.

The spring began to rotate slowly in the other direction. To my surprise, Foren blinked. His arms began to move, first the hands, then the elbows, and finally the shoulders. Despite its long abandonment, the automaton turned its head in my direction and said, “Hello Princess Aliyah.”

“How do you know my name?” I asked, awestruck that such a peculiar creature would know me.

“I have you seen you come in this room before and others who have visited this chamber have spoken of you and your matchless beauty. I may not have been able to move around, but I could hear and see just as any other.”

Foren’s joints were soon loose enough that he could move around the room like a normal person.

“So do you know why I am here?” I asked, curious as to just how much he knew.

“I confess I do not. But if you need a favor, you may assuredly tell me and I can tell you the answer or point you in the right direction.”

I answered him, saying, “I need to go to Landani as fast as possible without my brother knowing.”

The automaton stood still for a few moments, resting its metal face in its hands, as if it were thinking. At length he told me, “I shall take you.”

I watched in amazement as the metal plates that made up his body began to shift and spin out of place, only to reassemble themselves in another. Its body opened up, revealing a series of serrated, circular metal gears. Those two moved and switched places. The bulky, voluminous body of Foren began to assume a rectangular, flattened shape. In a few minutes it had reduced itself to a rectangular figure lying on the ground, covered with its silk robes. It looked like a carpet of sorts.

After staring at it for a few moments, I figured that it was for me to sit on the object. I sat down on the carpet and, no sooner did I do so, Foren began to levitate. We floated in the air for a few moments before it headed toward a window—the only window in the treasure chamber—that was just big enough for him and I to pass through. I reached over and unlatched the window. A blast of cold wind buffeted me, but I clung to a pair of handles sticking out of one of the brass sheets and braced myself.

The carpet began a steep drop but then righted itself was soon miles away from Dali-e, heading north to Landani.
Top
 Page 1 of 4  [ 4 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


Display posts from previous:
Sort by  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to: