Apr. 30th, 2012

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This is cheating, sort of. After that entry three or four days ago, where I explained the lack of drive and attempting to overcome it, I sat down and wrote this, and it felt good, and fresh, and things came together. I think part of it is that I'm hammering on the doors of Jack's world, and I've hit a wall; it's not coming. I am going to leave that story alone for a while, and do other things... like Huan and the djinn. With any luck, I'll have something more for you tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy!

Huan strolled through the village market carelessly, stroking the chain at his side. He was quite happy with it - solid gold, and made especially for the baron of the territory he walked through, it was more or less his passage through. He'd taken precautions to avoid being waylaid by bandits again - that was an experience he certainly did not intend to repeat - and this gave him access to some of the more extraordinary sights he'd seen, at least within civilization. He wished, on occasion, that he could discuss them with someone - that he had a girl with him, to point out that glass vase, so masterfully blown and dyed, or the beautiful ivory dragon on the other side of the stall; the alien furs that were shown on the other alley, or the strange and vibrant fruits being hawked here. But all for naught - save his djinni, he had no companion, and would take none; there was no one he could trust with his secret, and he knew better than to try to hide his servant from a traveling companion. His mother's advice had not fallen on entirely deaf ears, he mused wryly.

Back in the safety of the inn, he retrieved his lamp, and called forth the spirit of flame within. After a moment, the djinni stood before him in his usual guise, with the disconcerting eyes he'd grown so used to. "You called?"

He surveyed the spirit's form with a critical eye for a moment. "Aye, I did, djinni. Is there - I know this may be beyond your powers - would you be capable of giving me a companion, or, I mean, showing me someone who would be trustworthy, who I could travel with, commune with, and not risk betrayal?"

The eyes watched him for a moment in kind, across an infinite chasm, it seemed. He did not shiver, even for the long moment of silence before the djinni shook its head. "That is a thing that is... not entirely beyond my power, master," it told him. "But it is a task of tremendous foresight; to ensure that you will not be betrayed, I must scry forward, into the paths of each of your companions; it would take a fortnight for each person you wished me to attend my powers upon, and I suspect you do not have the time for such an endeavor."

Huan sighed, and turned back to the window. "You are correct, spirit, more's the pity. This is - I did not expect this to be a lonely journey, but since-- well, since that girl, I find I have no stomach for companions, and none certainly to travel with me from place to place." He realized he was speaking more to hear a voice than to tell - surely the djinni of the lamp did not need to hear his troubles. He waved a hand, shrugging. "I suppose I called you forth for nothing, then. Conjure me some salt, and you may return to the lamp. I do not wish to pay with my eyeteeth for a savory meal - half a pound should be sufficient, I will trade the remainder to the innkeep, as she seems to be sadly lacking in the stuff."

The spirit bowed, and waved a hand. A small sack appeared next to him. Huan thought he saw the man - the djinni hesitate for a moment before dissolving once more into smoke, and dissipating. With a frustrated snarl, he pounded the bed, nearly upsetting the salt - he had to dive to catch the stuff. He could call the djinni back to fix the problem, but the thought gave him a moment's pause, and that ...bothered him, for reasons he found hard to fully verbalize, even in his own mind. It was a tool, a thing of magic and energy, and if freed, a monster. So why did he still have to make himself bite back greetings, or apologies?

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