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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:33 am 
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The Tears of the Djinn
by RavenoftheBlack
Status: Public :diamond:


Denner Fabellian knew how to find things. It was his gift, his talent, his passion and his obsession. On some planes, he was known as a tracker, on others, a seeker, but he always preferred the term Delver. The term tracker suggested he was searching for people, or beasts, and while that was well within his talents, it was not within his tastes. Seeker, conversely, suggested he sought objects or locations. These were, once again, no challenge for Denner, and their interest to him was only tangential at best. But Delver, he thought, struck closest to the truth, that what Denner Fabellian truly desired was knowledge, deep and hidden in the darkest parts of the Multiverse, and in the darkest reaches of the mind.



Denner sought knowledge ravenously. Any piece of information, no matter how small or mundane it may seem, was like a coveted gem to him. Anything he didn't already know, any experience he had yet to feel, all were prizes in his eyes. Denner had a mind like no other, one which was perfectly fit to organize, catalog and access every single piece of information he had ever absorbed. But there was always more. Always something else to know and something more to understand. Sometimes, in the dead of night, as he lay there, trying to sleep as his mind prepared to shuffle and reorganize everything he had acquired, Denner Fabellian wondered if it was the knowledge itself he sought, or the feeling of learning. He usually fell asleep deciding it didn't matter.



But not everything was within Denner's understanding. There were some things even his mind could not grasp. Even more aggravating to him was that he knew it. He was a brutally objective man, and he had the ability to see a problem, break it down into its smallest components, and solve each part individually, but somehow, when reassembled, they still made no sense. These were the problems that bothered Denner Fabellian the most. He knew the problem. He understood the problem, and yet, there was no solution. Such was the situation with Dmana.



Dmana was a woman of irrefutable beauty. She was, in fact, the third most beautiful woman Denner's specific and cataloging brain had ever seen. He hadn't told her that, of course. He may have been objective, but he was no fool. He had told her she was the most beautiful, and considering the other two who slightly surpassed her existed on other planes of existence, a concept Dmana would never be able to truly comprehend, the statement was close enough to true. Dmana was an amazing sight, with dark hair, a tanned complexion and dazzling blue eyes that reminded Denner of the island on which he was born. When she smiled her broad, genuine smile, his heart felt a contentment it never otherwise knew. Denner loved her from the moment he met her, and his love had grown with each encounter thereafter. But Dmana did not love him, and that is what Denner simply could not understand.



Denner Fabellian was not the most handsome man in the Multiverse, but he was not unattractive. In his objective, cataloging mind, he knew where he ranked, but he usually avoided thinking about the number. Still, he was attractive enough for Dmana, based on the men she had expressed an interest in during the time he had known her. Also, Denner had brought with him riches from other worlds when he settled into the arid deserts of Carghora, so Denner was, by all accounts of the locals, a wealthy man. Yet somehow, despite local consensus that he was a desirable match, Dmana remained uninterested.



Yet it was not as though she disliked him. Quite to the contrary, she seemed always pleased to be near him, and smiled that same, honest grin whenever he arrived. To a less knowledgeable man, this could have easily been misinterpreted. Denner's analytical mind, however, repeatedly pointed to instances where her intentions, or lack thereof, were all too clear. To a lesser mind, it might have been maddening. To Denner Fabellian, it was still maddening, though he liked to believe it was probably less so. After all, in his lifetime he had seen or heard of thirty-six similar instances when less disciplined minds had snapped in bouts of volume or violence, and Denner was well above such base reactions. If nothing else, his curiosity kept him sane.



Planeswalkers rarely stayed long in one place, and Denner especially, since he was always on the hunt for new knowledge. Still, though, his love for Dmana and his desperate desire to figure out her lack of love for him, had kept him on Carghora for over a year. Now, though, Denner was growing restless. Never in his life had he spent this long on a puzzle. Never before had it taken so much time to gather the knowledge he sought, and he still had nothing to show for it. Time was running out in the planeswalker's mind, because there was little left for him here apart from Dmana, and it was becoming increasingly clear that even she was not for him. Denner knew he had to do something, and he might as well clear up two problems at once.



As a rule, Denner rarely paid much attention to local legends. Just as he did with all other scraps of information, he heard them, absorbed them, and then filed them away in the back of his mind, likely never to be accessed again. There was, however, one local legend that kept returning to the forefront of Denner's mind. It spoke of a mountainous spire, three days out into the desert, that served as the home of a beautiful and terrible Djinn whose name was lost to the whirlwinds of time. The spire itself, however, was well known. The histories named it Wo'Odsiin, though to the less-imaginative locals it was called Weather Rock, because although it stood in the middle of a sand-blown waste, around the spire, it always rained. Where the water came from and where it went, nobody knew, because nobody dared search there.



The mere fact that the legend aligned so perfectly with fact would have been nearly enough for Denner to investigate. He had already determined that the massive spire of Wo'Odsiin existed, and the strange weather patterns around it were equally real. But the legend went on to say that whoever drank the tears of the Djinn would learn the truth of their love. At first, Denner had thought little of the myth. The fable outlined that the Djinn had once been scorned by her lover and eternally mourned her own loss, so the planeswalker had mostly dismissed the legend as a local cautionary tale about infidelity. But with the geography of the myth matching the reality of Carghora, and Denner's increasing frustration in figuring out Dmana, he resolved to investigate.



The journey to Wo'Odsiin was uneventful, but difficult. Denner was tall and imposing, but he was no athlete, and three days in the blistering desert sun is no easy trek, even for a planeswalker. He stocked up well on provisions, especially water, but still his way across the sands was slow and arduous. It took longer than he had expected to reach the spire, not because of a lack of or inaccuracy with his information, but merely because he moved slower than those who had previously paced the distance. To Denner's amusement, and the validation of the knowledge he had already gleaned, the moment he arrived, it started to rain.



Denner Fabellian knew a thing or two about illusions. Actually, in his catalogical mind, he knew thousands of things about illusions, and yet even so, it took him nearly twenty minutes of standing in and drinking the rain water to realize he was being showered in one. Even after realizing it, though, the rain still felt cool and pleasant on his face, and still quenched his thirst. Whatever creature had cast this spell was a powerful and talented illusionist. This thought gave Denner hope that he might indeed have something to learn here. With a smile and the illusion of rain on his face, Denner Fabellian started to climb.



Wo'Odsiin was a rock-climber's dream, all jagged points and slightly-inclined verticality, but Denner was no rock-climber. Despite knowing with surgical certainty that the rain all around him was a facade, that rain still somehow made the rock face slick and nearly impossible to navigate, particularly to an inexperienced climber like Denner. After a solid half-hour of climbing, he felt like he had gotten nowhere. Denner disliked using his magic too overtly, particularly on worlds like Carghora where magic was not exactly an everyday occurrence. But he was alone here, apart from whatever inhabitants might exist within Wo'Odsiin, and they were apparently already familiar with magical practices. So Denner sighed, closed his eyes, thought about the updrafts in his old island home, and silently levitated off the ground.



It did not take long for Denner to reach the top of Weather Rock. Near the summit, he spotted a balcony, which from below had looked just like a natural outcropping of rock, but from above, it was clearly formed by a craftsman's hand. The top portion of it was flat and smooth and, in fact, covered with a carpet. The carpet was nearly the same shade as the rock it covered, so it took Denner a moment to recognize it, but it was certainly a man-made carpet. Beyond, a smooth, rounded archway led into the interior of Wo'Odsiin. Without a second thought, Denner Fabellian landed on the balcony, made a quick, thorough check to ensure this wasn't an illusion, as well, and then stepped inside.



The first thing he saw inside Wo'Odsiin was a long, exquisitely crafted dining table in the center of the room. The second was an immaculate crystal chandelier hanging above that table. The third was a staggeringly beautiful, barely-clothed, blue-skinned woman sitting at the end of the table. Denner stopped for just a few moments to wonder why she wasn't the first thing he noticed, and as he looked her up and down, he concluded it could only be that she wasn't, at first, there. He felt confident he would have noticed. She was exquisite. She was not the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, nor even the second, but she was giving Dmana a run for her money. She was sitting there silently, a sad sort of smile on her face, watching Denner with bright, expectant eyes.



Denner Fabellian scanned his extensive mental library for a suitable salutation for one such as her, but his tongue refused to cooperate even when he found one. She laughed slightly as she rose to greet him, and he noticed she was holding a silver chalice in her right hand.



"I have been watching you. I had hoped you were coming to visit with me. It can be very lonely in this place." She held up the chalice as she continued. "Here, I believe this is why you have come."



Denner took a step forward and looked into the vessel. It was filled with a crystal blue liquid that seemed to shimmer with her slightest movements. "What is this?" he asked, already suspecting the answer.



She smiled a laughing grin. "It is my tears, of course. Is that not what you have come here for?" She held the chalice closer, as if to emphasize the offering.



Something did not seem quite right to Denner, and he was gripped with a sudden, and disturbingly irrational, fear of the liquid. He decided to try to buy some time. "What's your name," he managed, awkwardly.



She cocked her head to the side and pouted a little at the question. "You mortals and your obsession with names! What import can a name possibly have?" She allowed her voice to go lower, more sultry. "We are here, you and I. Can our names alter that fact?"



"No," he admitted, his curiosity and rapacious thirst for knowledge beginning to rise, "but how will I know what to call you?"



"Why must you call me anything," she said with an impish smirk. "I am already here."



"Please," he said, his sincerity tinged with the slightest edge of apprehension, "I must know. I can't stand the thought of unobtainable knowledge."



She smiled. "Here. Drink of this. Within lies the knowledge that you seek."



Denner eyed the chalice with an appropriate amount of suspicion. In his entire life, he had never met anyone so intent on getting others to drink her tears. There was one girl on Hzoria who had asked someone to, but their refusal was met with only a sigh. Denner distrusted the Djinn, and feared the drink, but he could not find an adequate reason for why. "For the time being, do you mind if we simply talked?"



The beautiful blue-skinned Djinn scoffed and set the chalice down on the table. "If not for my tears, then why did you come here?"



"I came here to learn," he stated plainly.



"And I have already told you that the knowledge you seek lies within my chalice. My tears will grant you the truths you wish to learn.



"Perhaps," the planeswalker admitted, "but I deal in facts."



"You disbelieve me?" She said with a coy smile, as she demurely reclaimed her seat. As she continued, she motioned to the chair next to Denner, which he accepted. "I will swear any oath to you that my tears will do as the legends say. They will show you the truth about your love."



"Even so, I have no way of knowing whether that chalice contains your tears, or some other concoction with a less favorable effect."



The Djinn laughed heartily and honestly at this. "You are a clever man! Though too clever, in this instance. I will swear an equal oath that this chalice does contain those very same tears. In this, I am not attempting to deceive you."



"In this, you say," the planeswalker retorted. "And the rain outside? Am I right in presuming that illusion is your doing?"



Again, she laughed. It was a sweet sound. "I prefer the cool rain to the heat of the desert. But still, am I an illusion?" She indicated toward the chalice. "Is that?"



"All the same," Denner continued cautiously, "If I could only see this liquid's source..."



The Djinn stood up again slowly as she replied. "You came here to watch me cry? How very cruel of you." The smirk she wore belied her words. "But how could I possibly cry for you now? With such a handsome caller paying me a visit, I have no tears to shed."



She stood and moved closer, sliding her body fluidly toward him until their faces were mere inches apart. With an equally smooth motion, she again raised the chalice in offering to him. He eyed it carefully, his mind thirsting for the knowledge even more than his body thirsted for the liquid. It was becoming difficult to resist, which made Denner all the more determined to do so.



"Why are you so intent on me drinking this?" he asked bluntly.



The Djinn slumped slightly, frowned, and took one exaggerated step backwards. She hung her head slightly, then looked up at him with only her eyes. She maintained that pose for a few moments before tossing her head back up and flashing him her alluring, dazzling smile. "Because this is what you want. This is why you have come here. So few have ever come to me, and fewer still have made it inside." She paused her for a moment, and then once more offered the vessel to her guest. "I want what you want, Denner. Do not fear the very knowledge you have sought."



Denner Fabellian could not deny the truth in her words. He had come for the tears of the Djinn, and it was foolish to resist them now. But still, there was something about them he feared, or perhaps something about the knowledge they offered. Ultimately, though, he knew he had never allowed fear to get in the way of his pursuit of knowledge before, and he wouldn't do so now. The tears led to the knowledge and the knowledge was his prize, and this Djinn, for whatever reason, was offering them to him. He would be a fool to pass them up, and Denner always believed he had too much knowledge to ever be a fool.



With slow, measured movements, Denner reached out and grabbed the chalice, to what seemed to be the Djinn's genuine pleasure. He raised it to his lips, then hesitated, but she just smiled at him. Finally, after a long moment of waiting and considering, he poured the liquid into his mouth. As he swallowed the cool, smooth tears, he suddenly realized that while the Djinn had never told him her name, he hadn't told her his, either. He looked up at the smiling woman with concern in his eyes.



"How did you know my name?"



Her smile broadened. "You told it to me...the first time you came here."



Denner's head was already spinning as the tears began to take effect. Vague memories began to surface, much more difficult to grasp than usual for a mind as powerful as his. Had he been in this room before? She seemed to think so, and he could just about remember it, but the memory would dart away again. Had they had another conversation? It seemed they must have, different, though. Denner slumped down in his chair and put a hand to his head as he tried to clear his jumbled memory.



"Who...who are you?"



The Djinn smiled as she, too, sat down once more. "You already know my name. Have patience, Denner. In a few moments, the tears will take you out."



"Take me out?" he asked, groggy. Had he truly been here before? Perhaps, but when? He had been living in the village for over a year, and had never left. Had he come here first? But why? Or, was it a year? It was becoming increasingly difficult to remember. Now that he thought about it, it seemed it must have been less. Much less, perhaps. A few days? But if that were true, what of Dmana and his love for her.



Denner looked up to see the devilish smile on the Djinn's face. She laughed as she spoke. "Have you recalled my name yet?"



He shook his head, not because he didn't know, but because he couldn't believe. Still, though, he managed to speak it. "Dmana."



"Very good!" She clapped with a vicious joy.



"But, why?" Denner Fabellian struggled.



The Djinn stopped laughing and resumed her previous pout. "Do you still not remember, my Love?" She asked with a venomous tinge to her voice. "Do you still not remember how you came to me, asking for knowledge about love? You said you had never felt what is was to love before. And now I have shown you, have I not?"



Denner did remember. He remembered arriving on Carghora just three days earlier. He remembered hearing the legend of Dmana and her spire home of Wo'Odsiin. He remembered the legend of her tears and the knowledge she had of love. Denner looked over at the wicked Djinn with narrowing eyes. "I asked to learn of love. I said nothing about love unrequited."



Dmana's hair and eyes flared and seemed to take on a dull, fiery glint. "And what other love would I know about?" As she spoke, Denner remembered the rest of her legend, how she was spurned by her own lover countless ages ago. "You sought to gain from my tears, just as he did. But I gained from it, as well. For a brief flash of time, I knew what it was to be loved. And you? You now know what it is like to not be loved. Relish that knowledge, Denner Fabellian, for it is the hardest earned knowledge you will ever possess."



Denner struggled to breathe. It had all come back to him now. The last year of his life had been nothing more than an illusion, a cruel trick by a vengeful Djinn. He had consumed her tears to enter that fictitious world, and drinking them again therein had brought him back out. In reality, no more than three days had passed, but the memories of that time would still be permanently filed away in the catalogs of his mind, his to relive forever. Once more he looked up into the fiery, beautiful eyes of Dmana and spoke.



"So what happens now?"



Her smile was broad, genuine and cruel. "Now, you may leave my home. You have nothing further to offer me. But remember the love you had for me. Remember it often. And enjoy the tears."



Dmana waved her arms in a complicated pattern, and suddenly Denner was outside again, Wo'Odsiin stretching into the sky behind him, the vast desert stretching out like an unshakable memory before him. He glanced back at Weather Rock, and contemplated on how the woman he loved never loved him, and was not what she seemed. He turned around and 'walked off of Carghora once and for all, briefly wondering if it were possible to weep in the Blind Eternities. He suspected he was about to find out.



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