Curse of the Blue Djinn
Joshua was born in the land of Egypt during the ages of great upheaval in the heavens. While the age of myth was falling apart, the age of man was rising to power. Great wars scattered across a landscape bathed in the blood of legends, both mortal and immortal.
The family of Joshua weren't famous warriors or commanders, just land owners who managed the farms for the household of the local governor. The governor, Potiphar the twelfth, was a good man and cared for this family. So close was the governor to the family that when their son was born he let young Joshua sit under the scholars that taught his own children. Joshua learned foreign tongues, history, and poetry.
Potiphar had a daughter that was near Joshua's age. When the time came, Joshua petitioned her father for her hand in marriage. This would bring great wealth and power into his family. But, he didn't care, Joshua only cared about the immeasurable love he had for Ahmose.
Before Potiphar could agree to the request Ahmose suddenly proclaimed she had accepted the proposal of another young man of Egypt. A warrior of noble stature and many victories. Joshua was crushed. He wasn't a strong man, only the son of a farmer. His only fighting was against the animals that threatened their livestock. He was no match for this virile soldier of the Pharaohs armies.
Distraught he left his home and wandered into the desert in hopes of perishing under the sun. He couldn't imagine life lived in such disgrace.
Soon he came upon a natural cistern in the lands of the Ishmaelites. The water was very low for it was early in the dry season. But, he was thirsty so he climbed in and fell into the water at the bottom. Once he had drunk the stale, dusty water, he saw something odd glistening in the moonlight. A small oil lamp made of bronze and carved with intricate design.
“This is odd?” he muttered to himself. Picking up the lamp he felt that it was warm, even after sitting in the cold water all this time.
Looking deep into the etchings he saw words in a language that was not common to his people. But, he had studied under Potiphars scholars and knew enough to read a little of the text. “Beware...twist the words.....unfortunate...evil resides within.” he threw the lamp down and spat at it, “a cursed artifact!” he knew enough to fear this thing. The recent wars against the god like beings have left many strange and powerful items laying around, items that should be avoided unless you know how to deal with them.
a devilishly clever idea crept into his mind. If he brought this item
to the lord of Egypt and presented it for destruction, then Joshua
would be rewarded handsomely by the Pharaoh. This would certainly
draw the attention back from the beautiful Ahmose. Grabbing up the
lamp he climbed out of the cistern, soaked up to his waist in dirty
water but still with a good smile on his lips.
Joshua journeyed for a full day back toward his homelands. It was a long walk, but he was certain of his victory.
The evening of the first leg of his journey he rested by the road and looked at the lamp again. Something about this item fascinated him, he wanted to know what was inside. But, he couldn't bring himself to look out of fear for his life.
examined the writing closer and pondered how he would approach the
Pharaoh. It would look better if he could explain more than the
mismatched words he already read. But, this stupid thing was so dirty
no one could read it. Using his sleeve he rubbed the surface of the
bronze lamp to clean it off. It rattled in his hands and he nearly
dropped it. Realizing he had awoken something within he gazed at it
intensely to read, “Beware the wicked Djinn, he will twist the
words spoken to him. Misfortune is all he will give, lock him inside
if you wish to live.”
As the last words came out of his mouth the top of the lamp blew off and a billowing, thick cloud burst out. The cloud transformed into half a large man that floated above the wispy smog beneath him. It was an enormous blue skinned person that appeared as a very strong man, at least from the waist up. He floated aloft with only smoke as his legs and a wicked sneer spread across his face.
“WHO HAS FREED ME!? THE GREAT BLUE Djinn!” He bellowed so loud that it echoed across this arid land.
Joshua held an arm up in fear, “It....it....it was I....”
“HA, HA. Such a pitiful mortal cowering in fear! Stand up, shout for joy, you have gained much this day, little one!”
Joshua was not certain what to make of all of this. This thing was happy, joyous in fact, and speaking very amicably. So, with a lot of shaking, he lowered his arm and got to his feet. “What....what are you?”
“I am the Blue Djinn. A great and powerful lord of magic. Tell me, what is the age? How Long have I been imprisoned in that lamp?”
“It...” he straightened up, “It's the second age of man.”
“Then the war with the gods?”
Joshua gulped, “It still progresses.”
“Then it hasn't been long.” The giant blue man leaned over on his cloud and looked deeply at Joshua, “Tell me, little mortal, whom do your worship?”
"Worship?" Joshua's voice almost squeaked as he said that word.
"YES! Worship! Honor! Which god do you owe yourself to?!"
“Well, powerful lord, the leader of the god army is Ra. He has betrayed us. We Egyptians worship no one, sir.”
“Ah! I see. So, you, personally, side with Ra or with the mortals?”
Joshua grew more worried about this line of questions, but he would not betray his loyalties, “Ra has abandoned us and seeks our dominion. I side with the mortals in this war.”
“Good! Good!” This seemed to please the Blue Djinn.
“Are you going to kill me...sir?”
“HAHAHA! You amuse me, little man. Of course I'll not kill you. I cannot kill, it is against the rules that govern Djinns. On the contrary, I offer you a wish. You may have what your heart desires. A gift for freeing me of that damned lamp! Speak, and it shall be!”
Joshua should have heeded the many legends of the Djinns, and the warnings on the lamp, but his heart was still yearning badly for the love he had lost to a stronger man. His wish came out before the thoughts were properly weighed, “I wish to be a strong man, a man who can fight wars.”
The Blue Djinns smile turned positively malicious. “Thus it shall be. I will grant you your wish, little mortal. A great warrior of Egypt. Land of the animal gods. Forever more you will be a strong and powerful man. Enjoy the face of your enemy, for it is yours now!”
“What?” Before an answer could come, a flash of light filled his eyes and he was thrown through the air like a leaf on the wind.
He flew through the air, half conscious and with a lot of pain all over him. His body was changing, but he could not see what he was becoming. All he saw was water distantly below him, stars above him, and the clouds passing around him as great waves.
On a dark and cold night in a land filled with grassy plains, Joshua splashed into a shallow river and tumbled to the shore. For a brief moment he looked to see his arm and discovered the muscles he had wanted, but he also found thick fur and claws. He tried to say something but his mouth didn't work. A great depressing exhaustion came over him and he blacked out.
“Who...who is giving me water?” Joshua felt the cool trickle of liquid running down his throat. More than that he felt his head being rested on someones lap with a gentle hand lifting him each time some water was given.
“Are you awake?” A sweet feminine voice asked him.
Joshua forced his eyes open and groaned under the pain he felt in his chest. He looked up to see a clear sunny day and a woman holding a small bowl of water up for him to drink from. “Who are you? Where am I?”
“I'm Julia, an acolyte of the Vestal Temple. I had a vision last night and followed it here to find you laying on the bank of the river. Are you in trouble?” She was not looking at him, her eyes were fixed forward.
Joshua got himself up away from her lap and into an upright position. He felt really weird, something wasn't right. “I think I'm alright. My memory is cloudy, I don't recall how I got here. Where am I anyway?"
"You're near the Vestal Temple in the village of Ticinum, two days walk from the city of Rome."
"Yes." Julia, her eyes still fixed forward, felt the ground for a moment and then found a stick she had been carrying. “Are you well? Were you injured when you fell into the river?”
Joshua watched how she acted and realized she was blind, “I'm alright I think. Nothing broken, and no blood. Are you alright? Did something bad happen to your eyes?”
“I was born blind. Don't worry about me.” She tapped the ground for a moment to get her bearings, “Are you sure you're fine?”
“Why do you keep asking me this?”
“I apologize for asking so much, it's just that your skin feels odd, your face seems puffed as if hit hard, and I thought there was something sticking into your back. Forgive me for examining you while you slept, I was concerned.”
Joshua looked down only now realizing that his eyes weren't playing tricks on him, his arm was indeed a dark gray color. It was covered in a thick fur, in fact his whole body was covered in this fur. Standing up quickly he felt his back all the way down until he had almost got the length of his spine, only to discover a tail. Rushing over to the waters edge he looked in to see a face that wasn't his, it was a mans face that had more dog in it than man it seemed.
“YAH! WHAT DID HE DO TO ME!?” He felt the puffier upper lip and whiskers that were growing out of it.
Julia felt her way over to him and then took his arm, “Who? Who could have done this to you?”
“A Djinn, something evil that cursed me.” Joshua couldn't stop looking at his reflection.
“Cursed? Are you sure about that?” Julia was highly curious about this.
“Yes, what else to you call being transformed into a dog, man....thing? I'm hideous.”
She gently took his hand and held it, then used her hand with the small stick in it to feel him, “I feel a heart beat, I feel muscles, and I feel warmth. You aren't hideous. If I could see you, I'd wager you're quite handsome.”
“That's because you're blind. If you could only see what was done to me. I'm a monster.”
She pulled on his hand to lead him away, “Come with me to the temple.”
“No, I can't” he resisted her. “People will be scared of me.”
“People have avoided me my whole life because they don't understand a blind person. You get used to it. Just come with me, please.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yes.” Julia smiled and pulled on him harder to follow, “The Oracle I study under is a wise and thoughtful woman. She can help you understand this better than I.”
With great reluctance and reservation, Joshua followed this nice girl to a stone road that led toward a small village surrounding a large temple. Along the way people stopped and stared at him, more than one person ran away, and a few even threw small things at him. He didn't respond since he sort of understood their trepidation.