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Several years has passed since the coronation of the new Sultan of Ramil and the hardships which the people had to endure under the corrupt rule of his brothers. As lives struggle to come together and rebuild the kingdom happiness is shared between the loving affairs of Sultan Jafar and his wife Aisha. However, in the world were people live, happiness is often fleeting.
Upon the sixth birthday of their child, the doors to the palace burst open and a strange and mysterious woman comes through. Dressed in clothing of Ramil, her skin glows a stranger color as though she is not of this world. With her she brings word that Aisha’s people need her and that they must travel to Ethereal immediately for they are under attack.
Face with uncertainty but knowing that they can conquer all, Jafar and Aisha must choose between leaving Ramil or going to Ethereal to save them.
“Father! Get up! Father get up now! You promise you would take me horse back riding you promise!” Jafar groaned as he rolled back over into his bed. The softness of the pillows and the silkiness of the sheets were both compelling the thirty year old man to stay within bed for he had no desire to wake to the world. It was, afterall, the middle of Ramandan where all of Ramil feasted from the rising of the sun till it set. One could not eat or drink till the sun set and Jafar had felt himself growing weary so he had taken himself a midday nap. However that did not stop the rambunctious six year old son of his from wanting to ride the horses within the desert Dunes.
His mother had gone off with their five year old daughter to spend quality mother daughter time. And so as the sheets of the bed were pulled of, Jafar groaned and spoke “Fine…. Fine!!” turning from his bed he looked into the eyes of his beloved son Aladdin and cup him by his face. “You musn’t tell your mother that I spoil you so or else we will both be in trouble.” He spoke to him and with that the youngest boy gave his father the toothy grin before running out of Jafar’s bedchambers.
Dressing himself the sultan looked within the mirror and eyed himself. He had changed much over the past six years. First starters his beard was now fully grown. It was thick and it had lines of gray within it. Being royalty meant that his head was continuously wrapped in a turban so the curly locks of his was only seen by his loving wife and occasionally his children. Also, upon visiting their children and seeing the scars which Jafar bore, Aisha’s father had taken him aside and told him “No child should have to look upon a father whose been scarred.” And using his magic had restored Jafar’s face and body free of scars. He remember that day because when he appeared in front of Aisha she had looked confused. She question who he was till and why he’d sounded like her husband till her father had told her what he’d done for Jafar. That day Aisha wept sweet tears.
As he led his son out towards the horse stable Jafar smiled. Tomorrow would be a special day. A third child was being born. Jafar had told his wife Aisha that that would be their finally child for having two boys and one girl. Or Two girls and one boy would be enough for them. As he set out to take his child horse back riding he smiled happy that the Gods had still blessed them unaware that that once more… things were going to turn sour.
Two weeks later
It had happen upon the day after the final day of Ramadan. All of Ramil was in the middle of a huge feast and Aisha, herself, had shocked the world with Twins. One boy and one girl. As Aisha held the new born daughter and Jafar their newborn son the doors to the halls burst open. Staggering, a woman of unearthly beauty slowly began to stumble as though she were drunk. A veil covered her face but she had dark raven hair which was wild and untamed. Throwing her hair back she tossed her locks before she pointed towards the twins and spoke.
“A father cries out for the eldest of Three daughters! Once exiled now is she called home! To choose between a famil of old and a family newly start!
A Sultan will be force to leave only to return to find a Kingdom in the midst of a civil war! Ramil will divide into two kingdoms!”
“What madness do you speak!?” Jafar shouted as he looked at the woman who in turned pointed towards Aisha and she cried out
“Aisha Return home! Before it is too late..”
It felt wonderful, to have a family all her own. And it had grown ever more so with the arrival of twins, a boy and a girl. Ramadan made her exhausted and labour had exhausted her more so but she was glad to be a mother and a wife. She looked to Ja'far as they sat together and enjoyed some food. She was fussing over the child as she often did, careful not to spoil them and she often took them for walks through the city so that they might understand their own people. She laughed softly at her eldest son, Imam after Ja'far's father. She looked down at her youngest daughter, bright blue eyes staring back and she looked to Ja'far. He had aged in his time but so had she. Her love had never once wavered for him and she was truly blessed to have such a wonderful family.
“Imam, darling.” She laughed a little as she reached over carefully and wiped his face. The end of Ramadan was cause to be celebrated.
She smiled to Ja'far and looked to the doors when they swung open and she eyed the woman, motioning Yasmine and Imam close to her with her free am protectively in front of her children. Her family? Her family had long since exiled her and forgotten she existed save for a few sparse visits. She stared at the woman, Ramil would be divided and she swallowed,
“Fetch her food and water.” She said as she got to her feet, her scared children clinging to her legs, “We will deal with this privately.” She murmured softly. She looked to Ja'far, unsure of what was happening as she moved and settled her newly born daughter in the basket to sleep and she took her youngest son from Ja'far and settled him by his sister.
“Children, come. I would like you both to wash your faces, say your prayers and get into bed. I will come to kiss you goodnight soon.” She promised and looked to one of the guards and nodded as he escorted them. They had four children now, she adored all of them dearly and she made sure they were alone with the mystical woman.
“Ja'far.” She said quietly, “We are parents, another war is not something we can afford.” She whispered, worried already. Her children needed their mother and their father. It would tear all of them apart if something were to happen and she looked him over, resting a hand on his chest. They had been gifted many years of peace and serenity. Ethereal being in trouble, though. She was still recovering from giving birth to twins and she couldn't turn her back on her birth family.
As Aisha put the little ones to bed and help saw to it that the oracle was given food and water, the Sultan furrowed his brow deeply. Six years had brought them happiness after struggling to maintain it during the year they’d spent in exile. Those had been simpler days with the tending of the sheep and the evening meals with Fahad and his children. May Elah rest his merry soul. Once the children were put down to rest and his wife rejoined them, he went to her to seek council and guidance.
Silence filled the room between the trio as she spoke to him about how they couldn’t afford another war. Once the oracle was seen, the woman was brought back into the private audience of the two. Trepidation seeped into Jafar’s heart as he saw the way the oracle stood still, her eyes closed and her hands lowered by her side. There was something about it that made him feel uneasy. Without much warning the oracle suddenly released a blinding flash and the entire room slowly started to transform. Before them stood their younger selves. Not only were the young again but the king of Ethereal stood there as well.
“Princess Aisha come forward stand beside the intruder you brought..” The king spoke and instantly Jafar knew where this scene was from. Seven years ago, when he had just been twenty-four, they'd gone to Ethereal in order to save his people; the price had been steep. As the scene played out as they remember of her being banished it than played another scene of Jafar swearing.
“Thank you still for allowing her to stay for three days so that she may help me people. Know this, in the future I will repay your kindness if ever there is a reason as to why I need to. Call upon the people of Ramil and we will save your lives just as you have allowed your daughter to save ours.
As those words filled the air the scene switched to another scene. It was of Ethereal but the happiness and beauty which the Sultan had remembered had faded from sight. Instead the lush greenery had been burnt and its people were running. The sight of a ghostly figure wearing a hood and commanding the horde struck them as odd. These figures which walked through streets of Ethereal seemed to be bones being held together by magic. Black magic and necromancy had descended upon the people of Ethereal.
“Impossible!” Jafar muttered in horror as he saw the scene play out before he bit his brow. As the scene died down the Oracle spoke to him “You’ve seen this before..”
Nodding his head the Sultan turned a ghostly white as he shook and fell back to his seat.
“Her name was Zineb the necromancer.. A woman of the dark arts who had been a member of my father’s harem. At the time no one knew that she was a sorceress. Zineb had been the mother of my half brother Saad and had felt jealous that my mother had been gone from a common whore in the brothels to being the wife of the sultan and my mother. She… she… took my mother away from me when I was just a boy. She killed her and used her dark magic to bring her back as her slave to try and get rid of me and my father. It took everything we had just to exile her.. Why now.. Why after twenty years has she returned?”
She wore modest clothing. Dark ashen robes as though she were a widow in mourning and a hood to cover her features. Black raven hair poked out from beneath the hood, though it was speckled with gray here and there. The only sign that show proof that she’d been part of Iman’s royal harem were the golden earrings which hung about her ears. It had been thirty years ago, thirty long years, since her and Marryam were sold into slavery.
Her dearest friend, beautiful and bright eye, had been purchased by a madam who ran a brothel. Whilst she had been sold as a house slave to a wealthy man who was as cruel as he were lecherous. Each day she never knew where he would use a switch to beat the soles of her feet or whether he’d forced himself unto her. However she knew that her hatred would save her and save her. It was in the form of Iman who had saved her friend two years into her slavery and had made Marryam a promise. That the two childhood friends would be reunited again.
Zineb had wished she’d stayed a slave. She loved Iman. She bore his child. She had given him Saad. And how had her love been rewarded? By her closest friend being made queen her child passed up for her sister. It was jealous that led to her killing her best friend and then reanimating her corpse to try and kill her own son. When that failed she had no choice but to flee and flee she did. Into the desert were a soul had taken pity on her. The only reason why she’d been allowed in Ethereal as an outsider was because the god’s had gifted her with dark magic and those above agreed that she had been to dangerous to be released unto the world below.
So in the dungeons of Ethereal she had been locked away. A forgotten secret. It had been a fatal mistake. Something about Ethereal had made her magic grow stronger and stronger.. It stopped her from aging and eventually she used her beauty to make friends with those set to watch over her.
News of the world below reached her. News of the banished princess, news that her best friend’s son had visit Ramil.. Eventually the news of her son dying in combat to her son also reached her and that was when she decided to take vengeance on the son of the man who’d spun her love. She would take everything from him, starting with his wife’s people..Just as he’d taken everything from her just by being born.
Ai'sha stared at the Oracle, this couldn't be happening. A necromancer. This wasn't possible, her people had never wronged anyone and they had been set upon from within. Ai'sha could not turn her back, not on her homeland and even if she did, the woman would come for Ramil next.
“Saad's mother.” She whispered, somehow that man still found ways to curse them from beyond the grave. Did she intend to bring her son back? If that were the case then not only was Ramil in danger, then her children were too. She stared at Ja'far for a long time. He had sworn his help, and now it was being called upon.
Her blood ran cold, she would destroy anyone who came close to her children, all her fury would be brought down on them and she looked to the Oracle and nodded,
“Thank you, your warnings are appreciated and you will be treated as most honoured guest.” She said to the other woman and she looked stricken, thinking about what they could do. There had to be a way to help her people but all of them required war and battles. A battle against necromancy.
Ja'far had never spoken of this necromancer in the seven years she had known him and she sighed out quietly. She focused her blue eyes on the marble of the halls, her children were too young to be put in danger.
“Ja'far, our children.” She said to him quietly as she reached out and took his hand, holding onto it as she swallowed the bile that rose in her throat.
“My sisters- My father…” She said, she didn't know if they were alive or dead and she was terrified to find out. Ai'sha wanted nothing more than to gather her children close and shower them with kisses and protect them.
“She cannot be allowed to continue. When she is finished with my home, she will come here.” The images of bones held together by magic was unnerving to say the least.
“You took her living son from this world, an eye for an eye, Sultan.” The Oracle spoke and Ai'sha was on her feet,
“I will die before she lays a hand upon my children, any of them.” Two were new borns and the other two were innocent. None would harm her father and the Oracle regarded her for a moment,
“It is time to call upon what makes you Ethereal, Exiled Princess. Bring forth your light, stop the darkness." The Oracle said and Ai'sha stared at her. She had not used her magic in years, nor had she used it to destroy anyone or cast out darkness. She didn't know how and she looked to Ja'far.
She was not prepared to take a life of a scorned mother and she squeezed Ja'far's hand.
“I have four children, I cannot leave them.” She said to them both, she had never been away from her children and she looked to Ja'far, their eldest son, Imam, would be terrified. Their daughter, Yasmine, would be devastated and if they never returned, if something terrible happened, their twins, Aladdin and Jamila, would never know their parents faces.
Of course this was the worst case scenario which they found themselves in. How could they abandon Ramil and better yet, how could they abandon the oath with Jafar swore to his wife’s father. Jafar knew that the oracle could see into the future, he’d heard rumors of it. As he looked to his wife and held her closely to him he place a loving hand to her cheek and spoke in reassuring voice. “Do not be frighten, I would not have my life so easily taken. As you remember with my duel with Saad I am a hard man to kill.” He spoke those words as a means to make a jest in light of a serious situation and this was serious.
Yet, one thing did bother him. She’d spoken of a civil war and of Ramil being divided. They'd already given birth to two sons and two daughters. Iman, Yasmine, Aladdin and Jamila. Aladdin and Jamila were both way too young to remember the looks on their parents faces. If they were not to return then the burden to raise them would fall upon that of their eldest. A thing he would not place upon them. As Jafar closed his eyes and was heavy in thought that was when the oracle spoke again.
He’d nearly forgotten. Aisha was not of Ramil. During the exile the sultan had promised his wife that she would become one of his people. A promise that he’d not forgotten or forsaken. She’d dressed like his people, ruled over them, and even forsaken magic for a time to feel as though she were a human amongst men. In a distant past the male remembered looking upon her and seeing her as an angel. Still Zineb was a blight on his past. A past full of pain and suffering he had hope would never again bother him.
“Oracle… one more thing bothers me.. You spoke of a civil war. Of Ramil being divided into two kingdoms you’re hiding something from us aren’t you? What is it?” Jafar spoke as he stepped closer to the woman.
He knew that they could not abandon Ramil but he felt as though something was wrong. This very thing was so so wrong. Even though they’d never face the horde of the undead the kingdom of Ramil had their holy book with contained spells to destroy the darkness. Hold a hand upwards the oracle spoke to him. “Very perceptive o’ Sultan..” Her voice spoke softly a she looked to the sky above.
“I can tell you the future, but its come with a cost. For every year I see into the future is a year off your life. And you, oh Sultan, it is written in the sands of time that you end will not come for another thirty six years. Would you wager give up six years of your life to know six years of the future?”
Stepping forward Jafar hesitated.. “The offer only extends to you for you are mortal. You’re wife, on the other hand, it is written in the sands of time that she’ll live for over three hundred years if no one takes her life beforehand. To trade her years to know of the future is unfair.. Only you can make this deal.
Ai'sha cast a look at Ja'far at his jesting and shook her head. She looked to the Oracle as she spoke and she watched Ja'far move forwards. She was on her feet and swept between him and the Oracle,
“I will not allow it.” She said to him, looking him in his dark eyes, thirty-six years. Those mattered, those six years mattered and she couldn't think of a life without him. He was a father, her husband. His children would want him around for the longest time and she wanted him around, she had not gone through Hell and back to see him give away years of his life.
“I am your wife and I forbid it." She stated to him, firmly, “Six years without you, Ja'far.” She said to him, she could barely fathom it, “Please, if not for me then for your children.” In those six years, their youngest children could be married, they could be grand-parents. She would not stand for Ja'far to be absent. She knew he loved his people, and he was a good and kind Sultan who had always placed his people before everything and Ramil.
“Do not make me spend six years without you, when they could be mine.” She said to him softly.
Her eyes turned to the Oracle and she looked her over.
“I do not want immortality, take it from me. Make me mortal and give him those six years of foresight.” She said, immortality was not a gift when she fell in love with a mortal man. She didn't want to spend even a day without Ja'far at her side, it would be the biggest curse she could imagine. She wanted him to know wat was going to happen but she also wanted him to have a good and full life.
She knew mortals who had been gifted immortality, but it was such a rare thing only done by the magic in Ethereal itself. It was not something a single person could bestow upon someone. She cupped Ja'far's face,
“I cannot know the pain of living without you, my love.” She said to him. To watch their children grow by herself, to always wonder what words Ja'far would say to her to get her through, she had come close to losing him to Saad and she was not ready to go back to that place.
It was her words, her voice, her pleading with the oracle that her life should be shorted instead of his that moved him to love her so. Stepping towards his wife he brought a hand to her and nuzzled her gently. Whatever was wrong and whatever fate awaited them they would get through it together. They had to for their love was unshakable and unbreakable. It was indestructible. Looking towards the oracle he exhale before inhaling giving thought to his words and considering them heavily. “Do we have time to say good bye to our children? I will uphold my promise to help Ethereal but we will not forsake our kingdom.”
With a thin smile the Oracle grinned as she nodded her head and spoke gleefully. “Yes.. Yes you may.”
After their midday nap the sultan had woken up his children and gathered them into his arms. Wrapping them close together he leaned forward and kissed their foreheads one by one before he reached looked at Yasmine his pride and joy who looked so much like her mother and than to Iman who would grow up to be wise just like Jafar’s dad had been.. “Children. It pains my heart but we must leave for a while to uphold a promise I made. But I want to give you this, a locket given to me by your mother.”
As he took off the locket he put it around the neck of his daughter and look to them as his wife slowly explain to them what it meant. Eyes looked lovingly at his beloved as she told them all about how she'd given him that same exact locket years ago and what it meant to them both. As they each told their kids that they would be back soon, by tomorrow’s end, it was a promise which they’d aim to keep.
Calling upon their old friend Raad, who had been the son of Fahad they trusted him that he would take care of their children as they went off to Ethereal to fulfil an old promise. Looking to his wife he once more stepped into the stream which she’d summon all those years and held her hand as she spoke the name of Ethereal.
Stepping out into the bright light Jafar had his sword by his side ready to defend them from the horde of the undead. But the first thing that greeted his ears was laughter. The sound of children laughing and that of bread baking in the air. The vision that they’d had been shown of the destruction of Ethereal, so vivid so real, what had happen?
“What is this?” Jafar asked as he looked around only to find nothing.. Nothing but peace, quiet and serenity.
Ai'sha looked to her children and felt her heart ache for them. It felt unnatural and she gazed at them. She explained the locket and kissed each of her children, tears brimming in her eyes. She looked to Ja'far, this felt terrible. She settled her children and asked for the Oracle to look over her children and the guards. She gazed at her children one last time before leaving and heading to the stream. She hated this, it felt like a betrayal to her own children. She was their mother, the twins were barely two weeks old and she held tightly to Ja'far's hand because if she let go she would go right back to the palace.
Ethereal was peaceful, as she remembered it. She looked around and her sharp blue eyes looked around. Something felt off. She looked to the castle she had once called home, something was amiss and she moved to the gates, let in by the guards upon recognition and she strolled into the Throne room.
“Father!” She called, relieved to see her father sitting. He had aged, despite his immortality and she embraced him, “What is going on?” She asked him, concerned and her father looked at his daughter.
“Sweet Ai'sha, what a wonderful surprise.” He looked to her belly, “I trust my latest grandchildren are in good health?” He asked and he seemed okay, he seemed safe. She stared at her father and looked to Ja'far.
“An Oracle was sent, she bore tidings of necromancy, of Ethereal destroyed.” She whispered, concern in her gaze and her sisters watched on. Her father laughed,
“My dear child, I believe you may have encountered the drunkard of Ramil, everything is fine here. Come, eat.” He brandished and looked to Ja'far. It pained the man to see Ja'far aging, his daughter would know the sting of loss and despite their first meeting, he had grown to love Ja'far as a son.
“Are there anymore children on the horizon?” He asked and Ai'sha was shocked, she didn't understand. Perhaps the Oracle had looked into the future and the events had not transpired yet.
“Father, please. Ja'far, tell him of your brothers mother.” Ai'sha said to her husband, worried as time went on.
Her father, Azur, watched them both. Frankly, he was worried they had both succumbed to madness with how they were behaving and what they were talking about. His daughter was sensible and sweet, too kind perhaps for her own good so perhaps an old woman had taken advantage of the two and their renowned kindness and grace.
A drunkard.. A crazy woman.. A wild woman..
As soon as she found herself freed from her imprisonment Zineb had taken to the streets of Ethereal acting as madwomen. Oftentimes she would chase little children making them laugh or point towards a random person declaring that she knew of their futures. By the time she’d finished planning her revenge none had taken her seriously. No one had noticed her as she slipped out of the gates of peaceful paradise and wandered into the deserts of Ramil. Walking alone the hot sand barefoot she’d found that the heat which usually had effect her no long felt as hot. She could walk for days without being tired and not eat food or water and still be full and slaked.
For hours she walked unto her feet had carried her upon a tiny village that hosted a widow with children. For a time she lived with them. She’d spent half almost a year in Ethereal and in that time nearly 20 years had passed. Much has changed and yet much stayed the same. The one thing that never changed was her desire for vengeance and her thirst for it.
Eventually the widow and her daughter had fallen asleep and Zineb slew them in their sleep. Taking the youngest daughter she rose her up from the grave and had her storm into the kingdom of Ramil as an oracle. Her plan was working. Out in the desert Zineb was slowly started to build her own kingdom, using magic to brainwash those who’d come close to her…
“This doesn’t make any sense..” The sultan spoke as he looked into the eyes of his step-father Azur. In the past years the two had become as close as step father and son could. He was no replacement for the wiseman which had been his father Iman, but his wisdom was appreciated and loved. As he went into the story of Zineb and how she’d been a necromancy which had hated Jafar’s father for abandoning them Aisha’s father looked as confused as Jafar did.
Everyone in the realm knew of the woman whom the Jafar spoke of, but she was no necromancer. She was a crazed fortune teller who’d been released from the dungeons as soon as it was confirmed that her powers had left her. The king was sure, more than certain, that this was the case. As he clasped Jafar and Aisha on the shoulders he looked at them firmly and told them that they’ve been a victim of a cruel hoax. A prank that some malevolent person had taken advantage of their kindness. He promised them that all would be fine and that since it had been sometime since they had last visited, they should at least stay for an hour.. And tell him about his newly borned grand children.
Had it truly been a hoax? Ai’sha relaxed some, it had to be a nasty little hoax to get them to feed a stray. Ai’sha felt stung and she sighed as she relaxed some and sank to sit as she told her father of their children. How Imam was growing so strong, how Yasmine was turning into a beauty and the two twins were healthy and doing well.
It hurt her heart to be away from them though, she hated it. She was their mother and she had left them all because of a trickster. Her heart ached in sorrow for not having her children close, she had never imagine motherhood being like this, being completely adoring of people. Her children were completely perfect and she reached out to hold Ja’far’s hand. She couldn’t shake the feeling she should be with her children.
An hour turned to two and Ai’sha could bear it no longer.
“You’ll have to excuse us, I really must get back to my children.” She said and hugged her father, she was desperate to see them again despite it not being long. She looked to Ja’far with a soft smile. She missed her children, she missed kissing them goodnight and going to bed with her husband. She wanted to forget the woman who had been a doomsayer for her city.
“Of course! I’m sure they will be missing you.” Her father smiled and kissed his daughter’s head. She had created a life for herself and had a wonderful father. He looked to Ja’far and nodded to him,
“Take care both of you, our prayers are with you.” He said to them and Ai’sha looked to the stream, practically dragging Ja’far with her.
“They’ll have missed us so much! Oh, I hope they read them a story, and Imam stayed out of trouble! She looked to Ja’far, all this panic for nothing and she had left her children in the whim of a crazed woman. She hated it and she hated herself for doing it.
“Come, we must go home.” Ai’sha said to him and she was excited to get home to her four beautiful children.
“Tomorrow we should simply have a day with them, my love. You can take Imam riding again.” Ai’sha said softly.
With her telling him that it was time to leave, Jafar nodded his head. It was always nice to spend time with his father in law and the people of Ethereal but an hour here, he’d learned, was a day in the world of Ramil. As he nodded his head and offered his thanks to the King he took his wife’s hand in his and made there way out towards the stream which would led them back home.
Kissing her hand he looked at his wife as he nodded to her and spoke in a soft voice. “Indeed, I cannot wait to take Iman horseback riding. He enjoys it oh so much..” He spoke those words smiling as he they returned back to the Kingdom Jafar could feel something was off the moment he stepped into the castle. The air felt different. Walking through the halls of his palace he called for his daughter Yasmine and she came running towards him. “Father, mother!” Yasmine spoke as he ran at them as fast as she could.
Jumping into the arms of her father she looked to Aisha and she spoke without pausing. “Iman’s gone! He’s gone! W/hen I woke up from the nap I couldn’t find Iman at all! I was just about to open the locket and let you know that he was gone. But no one’s seen him in the palace.. And the strange lady that was with us won't wake up.. She’s asleep.”
Giving Aisha a worried look Jafar rushed into the room fearing the worst but praying for the best. As he barged into the room of his oldest son his eyes widened. The oracle laid on the bed with her eyes rolled to the back of head. Moving close to her apprehensively he moved to check her pulse only to find that she was not longer of this world. Jumping back Ja’far cursed as he flew out the room. “Guards! Guards! Bring me the horses, rally the men! The prince has been kidnapped sound the alarms the prince has been kidnap!”
As Jafar ran through the place screaming about his son being kidnap, the entire palace soon was bustling and active as men began to tear through the castle looking for where his son could’ve gone. Moving towards the stable the Sultan gather the horses and looked at Aisha. He knew that she would want to come with him but as he kissed her he asked her, pleaded with her to watch over their children. Inshallah Elah would bring back their eldest son unharmed.
Mounting the horse the Sultan began to ride into the city of Ramil raising a search party for the Prince. It wasn’t long till the number grew from the prince and a few dozen palace guards to soon over a hundred men who were searching for the missing prince. The Sultan was offering a year's wage of gold coin to whoever could find his son. As the noon day sun passed and there were no signs of Iman anywhere, the ruler of Ramil turned his eyes towards the desert. He had no choice; he would once more go out into the brutal sands to try and seek out his son.
Into the desert he rode his horse praying that the god’s would show mercy upon him and his family. As the went out into the desert he and his men rode through the setting sun to the nearest cities and abodes on the outskirts of Ramil. Into the caverns which people hide from and further still. For a three days they combined the desert only to return home empty handed.
Exhausted, broken, Ja’far walked towards his wife and shed tears. Breaking down he wept in as he spoke “I.. I couldn’t find our son… I.. i.. Failed as a father.. As a husband.. I failed you and our family Aisha..”
Ai’sha smiled when she saw Yasmine and she was relieved to see her little girl again. She looked to her when she started to talk, the five year old not quite understanding. She moved with Ja’far, Imam was gone. Si’dha could feel panic surging in her chest. The twins were safe and sleeping and she stared at Ja’far. Their son would never go off by himself and Yasmine had been beside a corpse, trying to wake the woman up.
Ja’far roared into action and Ai’sha seemed to be in some sort of shock, like the reality hadn’t set in yet as she stared at him. She kissed him and watched him ride off. Time went on and there was no news. Ai’sha had settled the children to bed for the night and she paced in her and Ja’far’s room, anxiously. Of course, Ja’far would find their son, their eldest son. He and Imam were inseparable.
She looked up when she saw Ja’far but her son was not with him and he wept. She wrapped her arms around her husband, her heart hammering in her chest. Where was her son? The prince of Ranil could not just vanish into thin air like that, it was impossible! She kissed Ja’far’s cheek and buried her face in his neck. Who would take a six year old?
“Shh, we will find him. He is strong like his father, and smart like his mother.” Every person in the city would be looking for the young Prince, he would be okay. He had to be. Her heart could not take the loss of a son, the loss of a child. It would be too much to bear and she stroked Ja’far’s cheek gently.
“We’ll get him back- We have to, he’s our first child, our boy.” Ai’sha said but her voice cracked as she closed her eyes and her shoulders shook as she wept. She had not wept in such a way since her own exile from Ethereal and she felt as though she might be sick. It was the heartbreak of a mother, the loss of a child. Imam wouldn’t survive in the desert, and whoever had taken him… She clung to Ja’far in her grief and wrapped her arms around him.
Iman, young and handsome with curly hair and boyish features, was cradle softly in the arms of the Necromancer. By the time the King and queen had returned from Ethereal Zineb had long since taken off with the boy. Her first child, Saad, had let his perversity taken over and was ruled by his hatred and lust for power. As her fingers gingerly stroke the face of the boy was asleep against her as she rode together with him on the Camel she knew that she would not make the same mistake. This time her child would be wise. Not only would he be wise he would be a skilled warrior, cunning and able to swiftly wield a blade.
Leaning forward lips were pressed to his forehead as she slowly began to rewrite is memories. As the young boy slept, he saw lies, distortions of truth. His mother and father leaving him, abandoning him. His parent’s telling him that now that his youngest had been born they had no use for him.. That he was better of dead and that they couldn’t, wouldn’t love him anymore. In his dreams Iman was crying. Sobbing begging his parents not to leave him. His hands were grasping at straws, trying to understand what had he done to be abandoned so unjustly..
When he awoke it was far from the shadows of Ramil. The continent of that they lived on was vast. Rocky mountains and the terrains laid beyond the desert are a week's journey. It was here that the Kingdom of Saad, named after her own son, would begin to flourish. As the young boy woke he found himself being comforted by a woman he’d never seen before. Eyes widen as he cried out for his father and his mother. Silence greeted him as he turned towards the woman he clung to her and sobbed. This couldn’t be his reality, this couldn’t be real. Why? What crime had he done to be abandoned so… it made no sense. None at all. However, time healed all wounds.
As the kingdom of Saad flourish under the rule of Zineb the Judge of the land, the young boy in statue. He’d grown handsome and not only that but he was educated in the ways of the world. At thirteen Zineb decided that he needed to see the world beyond the confines of his own Kingdom and took him to travel out to sea. For several weeks he was out at sea so he reached another continent and experienced another culture.
There the weather was pleasant, the culture nice and polite. Men wore long loosely flowing clothing known as yukata’s and wore their hair up in a top knot. It was here that Iman learned the way of diplomacy and how to use a bow. His skill of archery was unmatched as was his love for poetry. For three years his mother let him live in this foreign land. And eventually Iman fell in love.
When word was sent back Zineb felt that which she’d never felt before.. Happiness, not for herself, but for the boy she’d stolen away. Time had come to show that she truly did love and care for him. And as he returned now a man of eighteen years he had changed a alot.
In twelve years the Kingdom of Saad had become an establish trading partner with the kingdom of Ramil. A trade route which connected west and than East had been form across the Sahara desert. From Ramil to the kingdom of Saad it took a week to bring goods such as spices, golds, and silver. From the kingdom of Saad, trade went up north into the peaceful lands of Qing Yuan. Trade had flourished and life continue to on despite the heart aches and the tragedies of the past. Now, Eighteen years old and in line to become the ruler of Saad Iman looked to his surrogate mother Zineb.
“Mother, I wish to travel to Ramil. Its time I faced them.” His words came out calmly as he looked to his mother and held on to the hand of his beloved that he’d met overseas. As Zineb slowly looked to her son she breathed in and out. This, this hadn’t been the plan. She had wanted to turn her son against the child of the man who wronged her. But she’d completely fallen in love with him as a mother would her son. He cared for her over these twelves year and feared what would happen if he returned.
“Promise me you’ll return..?” She spoke..
He’d remember his sister, mother and father in his dreams. The past twelve years he had wondered what they would do when they gazed upon their abandoned son again. As Iman arrived at the city gates with the weeks trade supplies from Saad he covered his face and entered into the city.
The city he had dreamed about as a young boy had change so much and not at all. Sure the streets had gotten livelier, the people happier. Trade and business had made Ramil richer than ever before. With the importation of silk from the kingdoms north east more and more of the nobility were enjoy the fabric as though it were a luxury item. As he walked through the markets exploring the city which change so much and yet not at all he’d held his breath as he saw her. He couldn’t believe her eyes.
She hadn’t change one bit. Her hair was still the blonde as he remembered, her face still warm and lovely, though it did held a tinge of sadness now. But it was her. Beside her were two girls, one was the spitting image of him. She was his junior in age, seventeen. She wore blue and gold and tied her back in a ribbon. And the young girls clearly had taken after her mother for she had blonde hair. There was no mistake, as he moved swiftly he stepped in front of the woman and child before he sneered.
“Of course you would take Yasmine and Jamil with you everywhere you went. Seeing as they are the most important thing to you than anything else.” He sneered those words as he looked at the blonde. “I can’t believe you… still carrying on as though you deserve to be a mother..”
With that Yasmine snapped. “How dare you.. You lowly, filthy merchant! How dare you address the Sultan’s wife and Queen of Ramil like that!”
“I see you still cling to our mother, Yasmine.”
Taken aback her eyes spoke as she looked at the male confused. His hood still conceal his face but as he pulled it back he spoke to her again. “What’s wrong sister? Aren’t you glad to see you brother again? I, Iman, prince of Ramil have returned home.”
Not a day went by that Ai’sha didn’t think of her lost son. Every day for twelve years, she woke each morning and prayed for him. She prayed that he was alive, and wherever he was that he was cared for and loved. It was as though he had vanished into thin air and some night she wept for her loss so hard that none could comfort her. Some nights she wept so hard that she was given herbs to help sleep. She had been walking in a dream since Imam had been lost to her, she adored her remaining children but had been fiercely protective of them since that day.
She looked to Yasmine and then to the merchant. She had never seen this man before and she reached out a hand to Yasmine, tired these days and slower given the grief that weighed down upon her shoulders.
“Yasmine.” She said softly, her daughter was fierce and passionate, she had always been protective of her parents and she gazed at the man before her. How did he know her daughter?
Ai’sha stared at him as he pulled his hood down and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. He had the same eyes, he looked exactly like his father. Ai’sha rose to her feet, approaching him. She didn’t believe it, he was a man now. He was taller than her and she reached out her fingers and brushed them over his cheek. It was really him.
“Imam.” She breathed out, shocked to the core. She wanted to embrace him, to hold him close and never let him go and she wanted to cry.
“My boy.” She whispered and looked to some of the guards,
“Fetch the Sultan, immediately. Please.” She said to them and looked over Imam. He was healthy, he was strong and she couldn’t believe it. She had so many questions but how could she even begin to ask them, there were too many and she felt tears sting her eyes.
“You came home.” It was all she could say, after years of not knowing, years of mourning him, he had come back. He wasn’t the doe faced young boy she had lost and she had been robbed of so much time with him.
“I prayed every day, I begged our lord to take me in your stead.” She whispered, “Your sisters missed you, your younger brother and your father- Oh, your father.” Ai’sha said to her son softly. Her eldest was home, he was safe and alive.
He knew within his hearts of hearts that this would happen the moment they were reunited. How she would fling her arms around him or stand shocked and in tears claiming of how she’d missed him. Stepping back away from her he shook his head. As the royal guard when to find his father he simply spoke to his mother in a dark and low voice. He’d learned to meditate when he had been overseas. The warriors over there practice a strange art known as Zen. Where in the midst of the flames of war and the violent world they were able to find peace despite the fact that peace was not there. He stilled his breath. Inhaling and than letting out an exhale he looked to his mother and spoke to her in a voice which was distance and cold.
“I remember crying for you. I remember crying for you and you turned your back on me saying how my youngest brother was more deserving of being the Sultan of Ramil. That my birth had been accidental and I was no longer useful to you. I pleaded and begged for you to not abandon me and yet, you did.
Do not mistake my return for a reason for you to be filled with joy or happiness. I have only come to tell you that I have gotten engaged. My beloved name is Hana. it means flower. Also, I am to be ruler of the kingdom of Saad. There we do not have sultans, we have Judges. My appointment to the seat of judgment will be the day after the new moon. A months time from now for you two to travel and see the Kingdom with which you’ve been trading with.
You were wrong to abandon me… Mother..”
There was no quivering or emotions in his voice. Only one of coldness and something that seemed to boil underneath. Not anger, but sadness and grief.
“Oh, and good you called the Sultan. I’ve come to handle the trading for this week so I need to see him to talk business. Nothing more, and nothing less.”
Abandoned him? Ai’sha stared at him, the words he spoke were like daggers through her heart and she watched him. More deserving? She couldn’t believe what she was hearing . He was wrong, she would never have said such things to him.
“Imam, I would never- You are my first born, you taught me how to be a mother. You were the first child to teach me the pain and reward of being a mother.” She had never abandoned him, she had never wanted him to leave. She had prayed night and day, fallen into a depression. Her son was engaged, he was going to marry a woman and Ai’sha knew this should have been cause to celebrate but something was wrong. Did he really remember her as such a cold mother?
Ai’sha stepped back, questioning herself over and over. When she went to Ethereal, did he think she had abandoned him?
“Mother, please, sit. Father will worry if you exhaust yourself.” Yasmine said quietly and Ai’sha sank into a chair. Kingdom of Saad, a kingdom named after the man that tried to kill Ja’far.
“You named a kingdom after the man who imprisoned me, who threatened to rape me, who tortured me and your father for fun. He poisoned me, six months before I fell pregnant with you.” Ai’sha said, numbly. What was she to do? She loved her children and she loved Imam greatly but she didn’t know him anymore. He had grown up without her and that was something she had never wanted her children to do. She was his mother, at the very least he acknowledged that he was her son.
She looked to Imam, this was going to break Ja’far’s heart. Ai’sha looked away and sighed out softly,
“Do not do this to your father, Imam. My son, it would destroy him.” She pleaded quietly. It was destroying Ai’sha but she would sooner she was destroyed than her loving husband.
“Mother, the kingdom of Saad has nothing to do with that beast of a man.” Iman spat as he stepped backwards and looked into the eyes of the woman whom Zineb had told him had abandoned him. He knew, he knew about the horrible things that the man had done to his both of his parents. A good thing that he was no longer of this world for if he had been than Iman would've hunted him down to the ends of the earth and slaughter him his self. As he inhale through his nose the male looked to his mother and spoke up softy.
“After you abandon me.. Zineb, the former concubine of my grandfather, found me. She wasn't allow to raise her son, my uncle, and he turned into a beast. She made sure to not make the same mistake with me. Zineb took me east, to the mountain side of Ramil where we carved out our own kingdom and united the people of the land to come together as one. Under her guidance I've travel the world. Northeast to the beautiful countries of Asia, I cross the Ocean and travel to a foreign country where men shot arrows and rode on horse back. There I learned the importance of Zen and that a true warrior control his emotions and used his mind as the sharpest of swords. After wards I came back home and am now studying the ways of the merchant.
In order to be a just ruler Zineb taught me that I must walk a mile on everyone shoes. From the lowest of servants to the richest of merchants. The warrior can learn from the poet; the poet gets his inspiration from the common people. Life is a cycle that never ends that continues on and on. When you and Jafar left for Ethereal, taking my sisters and youngest son with you.. I did not blame you for it now. I understand that Ethereal is your home and you needed to tend to your people. I will do the same. From you, Aisha my mother, I learned that blood does not define family. Loyalty does..”
As Iman finished his speech he heard his voice being called off in the distance. Jafar had been in the market also with his wife awaiting the merchant from the foreign kingdom of Saad. As he saw his boy, the sultans eyes filled with tears and emotions. Running towards him he through his arms around his son, only to for his son to push him backwards.
“Save your lies father. All this time, I had been within the mountains side of Ramil. I know that you will tell me you search for me; but I know that you never left the deserts. You were to obsess with your own people to step out of your little.. sand box and truly scour the Earth to find your oldest. Tell me that I am wrong.”
Jafar said nothing. His face slowly twisted into a pained look. Stepping backwards he looked at his son, before doubling over and clutching his chest. Eyes turned to his oldest son as he gasp before Falling before his feet and dying of a broken heart.
Ai’sha looked to her husband, she knew the pain he had been in when he lost his eldest son. Ja’far and Imam had really had the most wonderful bond and Ai’sha knew Imam had been spoiled by Ja’far but she never stopped it. She looked to Imam, pleading with him not to do this and hurt his father but she lost that fight. Imam rejected Ja’far and she could feel her heart break but then Ja’far clutched his chest and Ai’sha rose to her feet, moving over only for Ja’far to collapse.
“My love?” She said softly but he wasn’t breathing and she looked at Imam. What had he done? She clutched Ja’far close to her and stroked his face, he couldn’t be dead. He wouldn’t leave her. He would not leave her. She wanted to plead over and over again but she was devastated, she was hurt. She cradled Ja’far close and lifted her gaze to Imam.
“How could you? Your mind is twisted, my son.” Ai’sha said through tears, “Twisted by a woman who also has a twisted mind.” Ai’sha couldn’t believe this was her son. He had been such a loving boy, so vibrant and sweet and now this. She didn’t know this man. She leaned down and kissed Ja’far’s forehead, hands shaking. She had lost her husband and she had lost her son. She clung to Ja’far desperately and gazed at Imam. She wanted to scream at him, tell him to leave and never come back but she couldn’t, he was her son.
The witch had told her thirty-six years she would have and she had treasured every single day with him.
“I’m so sorry, my love.” She whispered quietly to Ja’far, “I’m so sorry.” She murmured over and over again. She didn’t know how she would go on, how she would find her footing now without Ja’far guiding her. She wanted to hate Imam, but she couldn’t but she was angry now with him, distraught at the loss of her husband because her sons mind was so warped.
It felt more like a dream than anything else. As though the world around him wasn’t real.. Standing before him was his father, but how could such a thing be? He was sure that his father had passed unto the other realm. And just a moment before he’d been with his son. As he looked into the eyes he spoke softly “Where am I?” He asked.
“Home..” That voice! Opening his eyes the male looked at his father and suddenly ran to him. He was no longer a grown man, his stride was shorter, his voice more high pitch. He’d returned to a young boy. Jumping into the hands of his father he cried. “FATHER! I’m sorry.. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there to bury you.. I’m sorry that I killed my brother.. I’m sorry that.”
Shushing him Iman held his son in his hands as he tenderly stroke his hair. “It is alright my son. You’ve done your best. I’ve watch you from up above and I know that you’re life had not been easy.” As his father spoke those words Jafar gulp back tears as he looked into the eyes of the man whom he respected all above.
“Father.. Our son has returned to us but at the same time he is lost to us. What happen to him?” He asked
Looking down at him his father’s face darken before he spoke. “It is Zineb my son. Zineb stole him from you two and brainwashed him with false memories.. Powerful magic is at work and I do not know what can be done to undo it..” His father spoke
“Oh mother, you are far to dramatic.. Zineb would be most upset if she found out that I lost our trading partner..” A voice came from far away.
As Jafar heard that voice he looked to his far his eyes widening as he began to float away from him. “Father what is happening?”
“My son your time has yet to come.” Iman spoke sadly as he looked into his eyes. “You’re greatest battle has yet to be conquered.. A father is never done raising his son till he has died.”
“But what if I cannot find my son again?” He asked
“You will find him. Son’s always come home..”
Gasping for air, Jafar’s eyes open as his son stood over him. He’d been to the land of the dead and somehow he’d been brought back.
Extending a hand towards his father, Iman watched as the dead man rose from the ground. “I know that my mother Aisha cannot be without you. So consider this fulfilling my duties as a good son. After this day, I will no longer be considered a prince of Ramil or a son of yours. I will simply be another trading partner, merchant, and foreign ruler.”
Shaking his head Jafar looked to his son and spoke “You will always be ours. Even if you deny it within your heart. Will you not at least let break bread with us… Son?”
Looking to both his mother and father Iman falter swaying before he spoke. “I… Since I brought you back as a gift for mother.. I will consider breaking bread at your house as gift to you father. Let us feast..”
Ja'far breathed, his eyes opened and Ai'sha thought she might faint from the relief as she looked at Imam. He had brought Ja'far back, what was this magic? She gazed at him, was it necromancy? She got to her feet and it hurt him to hear those words. that he was no longer a Prince or their son. He would always be her son, until the day she died or the day she buried him and even in the vast beyond, she would always consider him her son. But she didn't know him anymore. He was a stranger, she still remembered the day he was born. Everyone had been so overjoyed.
“Ah, a wonderful boy, a new Prince of Ramil.” The woman said as she swaddled the new born, crying baby. Ai'sha was exhausted, spent from a long labour through the day and into the night. She reached out and took the child in her arms, tears of joy painting her face as she pulled the child close to her and stared at his face. He was perfect, he would always be perfect to her. She ran her fingers over his face,
“Prince Imam of Ramil. What a world awaits you.” Ai'sha said quietly, overjoyed and in love with the child in her arms that looked so similar to his father. Dark hair, dark eyes and crying out with strength and health. Named after Ja'far's father for the strength and to honour the man who had watched over Ramil before Ja'far.
Ai'sha looked to Yasmine and nodded,
“Go, check on your sister and brother.” She said to her daughter who looked stunned.
“Mother- I should stay, please.” Yasmine said quietly and Ai'sha embraced her daughter before shooing her off as the doors closed and she looked to the food that had been brought up. She sat down and she wasn't sure what to say or do.
“Would you tell me about Hanna, your beloved?” Ai'sha said, she didn't feel like eating and she looked to Imam. She reached over and held Ja'far's hand tightly, she never wanted to see him dead again. That image would linger with her for a long time. It was awful, terrible in fact. She didn't want to be immortal, she never wanted to bury Ja'far for as long as she lived. She wanted to go first, before her husband who had loved her for almost twenty years now. If Imam was truly going to leave and never look back, she wanted to know about his future wife and what she was like. She hoped she made Imam happy, and that he would have healthy children.
“Please don't yoour turn back on your siblings, Imam. I can live with you hating me, but Yasmine missed you every day and she told your younger sister and brother of you. They often speak of meeting you one day but-” She didn't want to introduce Imam if he was going to abandon them. It would hurt the two twelve year olds too much.
As they all gathered around the table and the dishes were brought out Jafar sat beside Aisha eyeing his son still adjusting to the fact that he'd been brought back from the dead. it was a rather queer feeling being along the living but he was never the less grateful for the fact that that he still drew breath. As the lamb and rice were brought out along with other side dishes they watched as his son smiled when Aisha asked him about her son and his beloved. That boyish grin on his face-though he were a grown man-Jafar had missed it. That smile which lit up his world once upon a time in a different life that had they had now since passed on from. Nodding his head the male took the goblet of wine and sipped from it as he looked to his mother and father before speaking.
“You would approve very much of my Hana..” Iman spoke as he looked to his mother. “She is gentle, nurturing, patient and yet wise and not afriad to speak her tongue.. I.. it's a embarrassing to say but when I was looking for a woman to married I thought back to times where I would sneak into the royal throne after you told me to go to bed and listen to the conversation you and the Sultan would have. I often admire how you were able to speak softly to him, and yet firm at the same time. And How Jafar respected your words of wisdom. It… made me want to have that for myself.. So I sought it out.”
A slight blushed appeared on Iman's face as Jafar couldn't help be grin. Grabbing the hand of his wife the the male softly looked to his son and spoke. “It runs in our family to be attracted to women such as this. I'm told that my late mother, and your grandmother often held a sharp tongue but was gentle in how she delivered it. If your Hana is anything like my Aisha, you mother.. Than the gods have truly blessed you and kept you in good hands.” He spoke while nodding his head.
As his wife spoke about keeping in contact with his siblings Jafar was about to expand on that point but their son nodded his heead before speaking to both of them. “That is why I've decided to invite you both to the wedding in Saad. So that i can see my siblings as well. Im sure that Yasmine missed me… and I'd like to get to know my younger siblings.. Provide for them, educate them. I will keep in contact with my siblings under the condition that when they grow old enough you allow me to pay for them to go a school so that they can have a worldly view and not be confined to such limiting beliefs that we have in Ramil.”
This was hard for Ai’sha, she had missed her son dearly every day and fallen into a deep depression for a while at losing him. She had felt like a failure as a mother for the longest time. Her other children and her husband had gotten her through it in the end but she had been devastated by everything. The man before spoke so fondly of his time with his beloved and she squeezed Ja’far’s hand. She wanted nothing more than to go to his wedding and see him happy but they were strangers. She wanted to know what had happened to him, why he hated them so much. His memory was flawed and she didn’t know why.
“Hana sounds wonderful.” Ai’sha agreed, “You be sure and treat her right.” She added with a motherly urge and then looked away. She had no appetite, her own son hated her and she had seen Ja’far die before her eyes. She felt as though her heart had shattered and she nodded,
“Yasmine missed you greatly. We told the twins of you, often.” She said to him and eyed him over when he brokered a deal.
She was hesitant about Imam helping their children, his memories were wrong and they were flawed, how much of that would influence their children?
“They will have the choice, Imam. I’m sure they would love to be worldly like their parents and their brother.” She said to him, she would not rob her children of choice and she still felt nauseous from his words.
“I’d be honoured to meet Hana and attend your wedding. It would make me very happy.” She felt like she might choke, she wasn’t lying but this entire thing was devastating.
“Please, excuse me.” She said to her son and her husband as she rose to her feet. This was too much, it wasn’t normal. Someone else had looked after him, fed him, bathed him and warped his perception of his own family. She choked back a cry when the doors closed and Yasmine was at her side,
“Mother? Come, perhaps you should lay down.” Yasmine said as she led her mother to a daybed and helped her lay down. Yasmine lit a scented candle and some incense for her mother before leaving her alone.
Things were tough for his wife… As Jafar took notice of the way she tried to hold herself together and than ask to excuse herself his eyes turned towards his son. He didn;t mean to tense his muscle of feel a type of burning hate for his one and only, but he couldn't possibly fathom how this had come to be. Than he remembered the words of his father in that dream like state he had. As his mother left them Iman, his son, came to look his father into the eye and spoke softly. “Shall we continue on with our buisness and talk of trade than father?” Hesitantly the male looked to his son before he nodded his head and spoke. “Let us continue on with that it is that we must discuss.”
The conversation was a hard one to have. His son was a skilled orator and negotiator. In truth what started off as a simple converstation ended up turning into a battle of prowess and a discussion of who could out negoitate who when it came to the prices of what goods could be eventually after the discussions were had the two moved on to a game of chess. Neither Jafar or Iman had intended for the night to turn out this way, but the father had a respect for the intellect of his son and his son had a respect for the wisdom of his father. As the first game went to Jafar, Iman squinted before he set up for the second game. It had been close but as he moved his rook to E6 and and his Jafar furrowed his browed and tried to move his king he found that in a few moves letter his son had put him to check. By this time the night had gone long into and Jafar was exhuasted.
“I didn't know that I would find such a worthy opponent in a King whom abandon his own son.” Iman lamented bitterly as he loooked downcast.
"You were stolen from us.. I know that you do not believe us no matter how hard we try to convince you but your mother prayed everyday for your return.. She thinks you hate her.. That you hate us. Imagine, wishing with all your heart and soul to reunite wiith the one person whom you thought forever lost to you only to be met with scorn and coldness.. It's enough to make anyone;s heart break.:
Iman closed his eyes as he listen to his words of his father. He'd tried to be symphathetic but there was none to be had. As he spoke up Iman counter.
“And try to see things from my point of view..It was the evening of ranamda and my youngest brother had been born. For six years neither you or mother left my side. and the next morning I wake to find that both you have left without a word leaving me alone in the castle by myself. I searched the entire castle but I couldn't find you.. I remember the night before we had had a fight. Do you rememeber that? Alot of words were said in anger and that's when you both told me that if It was a good thing that I had a brother for if I was so disagreeable than I wasn't needed or wanted as a son. Than to wake and find you to nowhere to be found.. I felt abandon."
Jafar blinked as he raised an eyebrow.
“What fight? We never had a fight.. And we would never..”
Clutching his fist Iman slammed his hands on the table and spoke. “Another damned lie. Or perhaps your memories falter just as your wives! But, I remember that fight clear as day! And those words of me not being wanted or needed.”
As Exhaling Iman excused himself and apologize for his outburst before asking to take his leave. When told that he could stay in his old bed chambers Iman thanked his father and headed to his old room.
Sliding into the edges of the bed with his wife Jafar slowly stroke his wife hair before he spoke to her softlly. “I've finally figured out what is wrong with out son..” He spoke to her as he stared blankly towards the wall.
“When I was…. I had a vision of my father. He spoke to me and told me that our son had been bewitched, a spell cast on him.. It seems as though the night before we went to Ramil a false memory has been planted in his mind. He believes that we had gotten into a fight with him. A huge fight that lead to us telling him that if he continued to act in such a spoiled manner that we would replace him with his youngest brother. I don't recall us ever having such a harsh fight with him.. Do you? I think that when he looks to us, all he can remember is that fight that never happen.. If we cann just convince him… show proof that the fight never happen than his anger would no longer be towards us.”
“Our son doesnt hate us. He hates the memory that has been place in his mind of us.”
Ja’far joined her and she turned to look at him, sighing out. It was possible he had been bewitched but it didn’t take the sting out of her first son hating her and her husband. His words were like ice and she wanted nothing more than to envelope him in an embrace and she sat up slowly, looking him over. Perhaps tomorrow she would introduce him to the twins, maybe it would help to jolt his memory of what he had missed and fill some gaps. Aladdin and Jamil, his younger brother and sister had grown up without him and both were curious and wonderful youngsters now of twelve years old.
Aisha looked over Ja’far, still stunned he had been brought back from the dead.
“I felt you go cold in my arms.” She said to him, she knew one day it would happen but she never wanted it to. If she could give her immortality to him then she would, and if she could give up her own then she would do the same. She wanted to, living on without Ja’far was far too much to bear when it came to this sort of thing. She leaned in a kissed her husbands lips softly.
“I don’t think I could live without you.” Soon Yasmine would find a suitable husband and then would come the twins. It was strange seeing them all grow and flourish the way they did. Ja’far and her had made excellent parents and taught them humility and not to be spoiled.
“Come to bed.” She said to him quietly, “Tomorrow we should introduce Imam to Aladdin and Jamil.” Aisha was still a fiercely protective mother and she didn’t want her children hurt or snatched away. She wanted them to be safe, always and protected and to be loved. She had failed Imam, even if it were a because of a bewitching mind trick, she should never have let it happen. She should have strived to protect him more. If she had only told her eldest what he meant to her more often perhaps none of this would have happened.
Aisha laid back among the silk sheets and she struggled to sleep. She tossed and turned for most of the night, haunted by the thought of her own child despising her.
“Indeed, we shall introduce our Iman to our children tomorrow.” The sultan spoke as he leaned forward and kissed his life gently before snuggling up closer to her. Today had been a dark day but somewhere deep in his heart he had hope that it would bring with it a better day tomorrow.
Before the sun was up Yasmine found herself walking the gardens in the company of her eldest brother. Hands by her side the two siblings said nothing as they walked within each other's presence. Yasmine looked very much like her nother, despite the fact that she had dark hair. In the end it had been the youngest daughter who'd turned out to look the most like their mother with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Nothing was said between the two as they tried to come to grasps with the memories which they'd different from. Yasmine had told her older brother that a fight didn't happen and that they'd alll been put to bed early because an oracle had come to talk to both of their parents. While Iman insisted that there was no oracle at all and that they're been a massive fight between mother and daughter and father and son. Leaning forward he tried to come to terms with why his memories were false and why he got so hot and angry when he tried to remember it.
“If you, mother, and father all remember something different than I… then what does it mean? The women who raised me Zineb never did me any harm. She treated me as her own son and raised me well. But I know that she was also resentful towards our grandfather for baring his son and still not being the apple of his eyes. So, what all does it mean?” He asked her trying to come to terms with it all.
“It means that we were all tricked, for what reasons we may never know. But we are a family again. Might we try and move pass this?” Yasmine asked as she placed a hand to her heart and offered a hand towards her brother who was now Eighteen. Taking it he nodded as he spoke to her softly. “Of course..I can I deny my beautiful sister.” He spoke as before bringing her hand to his lips before Yasmine stopped him.
“We're still siblings brother.. you needn't show such tenders affections for me.. save it to the woman you are bethroved to.” She spoke as she felt heat rising in her cheeks.
“Of course.. I.. forget myself..” Iman spoke as he stepped away and hurried from the garden.
With the sun fully risen both Yasmine and Iman greeted the Sultan and his wife only this time Iman was on his hands and knees bowing before them both. Lifting his head he spoke softly. “I've.. come to ask your forgiveness. After talking to my sister Yasmine we believed that it is my memories that have been alter.. I was wrong to accuse you both of abandoning me. My anger, regardless of how righteous it feels, is misplaced. I ask that you forgive my insolence and rudeness.”
Ai’sha had barely slept and her two youngest children were with her as she made sure to brush their hair and she looked over when Imam entered and fell to his knees, bowing before them and she couldn’t quite place what had happened. She looked to Yasmine questioning it but said nothing as she listened to her eldest son. She was conflicted. He was her son, she could not simply turn away from him and deny forgiveness but she was scared, scared of what would happen tomorrow. She looked to Jamil who was staring at her eldest brother curiously. She was only twelve and this was the brother she had heard so much about.
Jamil approached her older brother, a man she had never really know and she stared at him, big blue eyes curious about him and Aisha held her breath, taking Ja’far’s hand and watching her gentle daughter as Jamil giggled and hugged Imam, curious about the different clothes he wore and how his hair curled and the shirt beard he had.
Aisha eased up and softened when seeing her daughters innocent curiosity at her older brother and she spoke up,
“You are my son. No matter what where you go, no matter how far or how close, you will always be my son and I will always love you. You are my first born, the man who will take over your fathers legacy here in Ramil should you choose to. I will not turn my back on you.” She said to him and watched Jamil as she inspected the man.
“Your siblings missed you terribly and the entire family grieved your loss. There wasn’t a day go by that me and your father didn’t speak of you.” She said to him with a small smile, “Or shared memories of you. You were out little boy when you were taken from us.” Aisha said as she cleared her throat, “You returned to us grown and strong.” She murmured, “We would like for you to stay a while, get to know Jamil and Aladdin.” Aisha said, they deserved to know their brother and Aisha did not want to see him leave again. In all honesty, she was worried he would never come back.
“And it would soothe my heart to see my children together again.”
Jafar couldn't deny hat he felt apprehension when it came to watching his youngest daughter interactwith his oldest son. Yet, however. There was a gentleness. A playful atmosphere when Jamil embrace Iman. That harden expression turned into ansofte smile as he returned the hug to his daughter. Standing behind him was thetheir youngest son also twelve. His eyes stared at the scene as he slowly inhale before Exhaling. Taking a step down he moved towards his brother. There was a fear of rejection, but that was all washed away when Iman got down on one knee. Placing a hand upon his son he ruffled his had and slowly laughed.
“So you must be Aladdin. Its so strange to see you and your sister so old. When last I saw you you were swaddled in cloth clinging to our mother. Now here you are, a young boy growing to a fine young man. I know that you will make a great sultan one day if you so choose so.” His words made the young boy grin from ear to ear as he jumped up and down and grinned before smiling. “I can't wait to be strong just like you!”
As they both laugh Iman smiled brightly before he turned his parents. At his mother's word his face soften a bit as he slowly closed his eyes. The caravan would be tired after traveling such a distance to make it here. So, he'd had no choice in the matter. “I can only stay till the day after tomorrow to give my caravan time to rest. Than I must prepare for my wedding with my whole entire family is invited to. Afterwards I'll gladly return home and spend a month with me and my wife herein Ramil. I want to see all that I missed and all that was taken from me. If you're fine with that mother.”
Ai’sha smiled softly as she watched her two youngest introduce themselves to Imam. He was the brother they had lost and she hoped he was found now and he wouldn’t abandon them. In time perhaps he would have his memories rekindled and she looked to Yasmine who seemed cautious.
“I am relieved to hear that.” A month with Imam was more than she ever could have asked. She wanted to meet the woman who had stolen her sons heart. She still remembered her and Ja’far’s wedding fondly. It hadn’t been grand or full of riches, it had been perfect.
She reached over and held Ja’far’s hand,
“Of course, you are our son. Our firstborn son and we would be so pleased to have you.” She wanted to embrace him, hold him close and never let him go but things were still touchy and she couldn’t bear to be shoved back again by him. He was so lost, but she would pray for his redemption and that he would find his way back to them.
“Ew, you’re getting married?!” Jamil said and pulled a face. Ai’sha laughed some at her youngest daughter and looked to Yasmine. She had avoided setting her up with someone, although there were many men who would treat her like a Queen, she wanted Yasmine to find someone she loved. Perhaps she would, maybe her brother could help her find someone now he was back.
“What’s her name? What’s she like? Is she a princess? Will she be a queen? Is she gold haired like mother?” Jamil never had a shortage of questions as she peered at Imam and Aisha laughed. Her daughter had always been curious with questions on why the world was how it was. She was also full of faith like her father and she looked to Ja’far,
“We haven’t attended a wedding since our own, it feels like.” Aisha said to him softly.
As the festivities continued on in their joyous reunion Iman smiled as he looked to Jamil as she pestered him about getting married. Indeed he was going to be soon involved with his beloved Hana. Sitting back down he closed his eyes as he was asked what his wife was like. Words couldn’t describe his beauty and as he looked to his little sister he smiled at her warmly before answering all of her questions
“Her name is Hana.. and she is quiet but fierce. Smart and strong. She’s the perfect blend to me. And no she won’t be a queen. She’ll be.. Well, I’m not sure what she’ll be.” he spoke honestly as he paused for a moment before he gave his sister a toothy grinned. His time at the palace had been going better than he’d hope. Even though there was still some tenseness between him and his parents he felt not hostilities towards his siblings. As Aladdin came closer to him he smiled at Iman and spoke
“So, will I grow a beard like Dad or one like yours?” Aladdin asked as he looked to him before clasping his hands and speaking “also what do you do!”
“Well, I’m a merchant for now. I’m learning various trades so I know how to be a fair and just rulers and yes. One day you will.” He spoke as he stood up and when he did so that was when the palace guards came walking in.
As they did so a young woman. She had straight black hair and skin the color of snow. She was dainty and yet carried herself with poised and dignity. Turning around Iman gasp as he rosed up and went to her one of the guards spoke up. “She said she’d come looking for the leader of the merchants because she had a bad feeling…”
“Hana. What.. when.. How?” As Iman looked to his wife she smiled before she spoke. “I followed you in secret because knowing how hot head my husband is, I didn’t want you to risk offending our trading partner..”
Heading towards the throne room the young woman bowed to both the Jafar and Ai’sha before she spoke. “I apologize if my soon to be husband has caused you any troubles. The kingdom of Saad continues to appreciate our most valuable trading partners Ramil.” She spoke as she smiled.
Walking behind her Iman turned a shade of red as he looked at both Hana and his mother.
“Well erm.. This awkward but.. Hana.. the Sultan and Queen of Ramil are my birth parents.. Queen Ai–... mother this is my fiance Hana.”
Ai’sha smiled at her children’s curiosity and Imam was so patient with them.
“She will be his Queen, Jamil.” Aisha said to her with a grin, perhaps in title Hana would not be a Queen but if Imam was anything like his father, then he would treat her like a Queen and they would have a very happy life together. She smiled towards Ja’far and looked over when a woman entered. She paused for a moment, a distant memory of what had happened last time there was a strange woman in her hall. She drew in a breath and looked to the woman with a smile.
This was Hana.
Aisha looked to Ja’far and smiled as she got to her feet, looking over Hana. She was beautiful like Imam said.
“I understand this might be a little strange for you. Imam will tell you what happened I am sure.” She said and looked to Imam with a smile. It didn’t matter what they had been through, she was his mother. She had never stopped loving him, not ever. She remembered the day she held him for the first time, how small he had been in Ja’far’s arms and how he brought tears of joy to Ramil.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Hana. Come, join us. Im sure you must be tired from your journey. I’d like to know more of the woman who has stolen my eldest sons heart.” Aisha said to the woman softly and offered a place at the table. It was strange to be like this. She wished she was the mother he had come to about his feelings, that Ja’far was the father he had come to about his problems. They would never get that time back now and she looked to Yasmine who watched on cautiously.
The twins seemed completely enraptured by Imam and Hana and she smiled, she wanted her family to be like this always. She looked to Ja’far as everyone chatted and sighed out softly,
“It seems like just yesterday when I put him in your arms for the first time.” She said, “When we were married, and I announced my pregnancy to you after everything.” This was hard for her, to get over the fact she would never have that time back.
There was confusion on her eyes as she heard the introduction given by her soon to be Husband. For four years she’d known him and never once had he mention that he had family in Ramil. Of course, Hana knew that Zineb and Iman were not blood related. Her skin tone was darker than his but she’d never guess that he’d kept his family from her. Exhaling she took a step back lacing her fingers together. It wasn’t a betrayal of trust but it was a slight irritation that she’d hadn’t known.
“Mother.” She repeated as she looked to the woman on the throne. Her beauty was otherworldly and magical. It drew her in and she felt herself beginning to flush. Bowing her head once more again she stood up and huffed as she latched on to her husband. A hand went to the back of his head and as he turned to her and eyed her Hana’s voice came out low and slightly venomous.
“Iman, you never told me I’d be meeting your parents today. Had I’d know I’d had picked out a finer Yukata..” Looking down at her Iman felt heat rise up in his face at his wife scolding him. Looking down at his feet he said nothing and this took brought a laugh from Jafar.
“Ah! It seems like you truly did pick a good one to marry! I can tell that she’ll keep you in line and pull you from the edge of danger. Just as your mom has done for me many a times.” Jafar spoke clapping his hands,
Bowing her head she looked to the male and gave him thanks before Aladdin, the youngest jump up and suddenly spoke. “Do you two like horse back riding? I wanna go for a ride!” Looking down at brother Iman smiled as they both answered yes.
“Well than, shall we head out and ride together as a family? Nothing stirrs up the appetite like a good morning ride.”
“I agree.” Iman spoke as he looked to his wife and than to the queen of Ramil. “Will you join us?”
It was nice to feel normal.
Aisha laughed softly when Hana chastised her fiancé for not being forthcoming. She was sure once Imam spoke with her she would understand. She looked to Aladdin when he mentioned riding and she looked to Ja’far. It had been a while since she had ridden and she didn’t go as fast and hard as the men that was for sure.
“Well, I can’t promise I’ll be haring around the area but a gentle ride certainly sounds lovely.” Aisha agreed and looked to Ja’far.
“Watch Aladdin, he rides so quickly these days.” She said to her husband softly. Ja’far always enjoyed riding with his children and Aisha worried so when they did, all it took was a tumble.
Aisha made sure Aladdin and Jamil were well taken care of as they went towards the stables. Aisha was always fond of her Arabian horse, he was older now but it never bothered her as she looked to Jamil and helped her youngest daughter,
“Alright, nice and steady.” She said as she kissed her daughters cheek. Aladdin was too adept to need his mothers help.
Aisha mounted her own and rode out slowly, content to let the men of her life do the racis around as she rode beside Hana,
“Forgive me, for not meeting you sooner.” She said to the younger woman. She missed she and Ja’far being young like Imam and Hana, he had been a fine Sultan, kind and generous.
Yasmine had opted to read up on the history of Ramil and Aisha often worried her daughter was becoming too much of a wallflower and she didn’t want to arrange a marriage for her. She smiled to Hana,
“I’m really glad Imam has found someone who makes him happy. I wish you both many happy years together.”
As they set out to prepare to ride the horses, Iman was sure to ride carefully behind his youngest whilst his son stayed ahead. Iman and Jafar would always go for a daily ride and a part of him ached to see his son finally on his own horse. He’d remember how oft, he’d held the reigns of the horse and guide the animal underneath his son. Now he was so noble, so strong as was his youngest who was twelve years of age. Clicking his tongue, Iman pushed the horse to a gallop and Aladdin followed after him leaning forward as the took off across the desert plains.
“Come no, little brother. Don’t try to keep up with me. I’ve fear that you’ve yet to become as skillful as I.” Iman warned Aladdin as he spurred the horse on a bit faster. Taking this as offensive, Aladdin double down on his horse and spurred it to go faster as well. He wasn’t going to be left behind or shown up as weak. He was more than capable of matching his brother in speed and finess.
Aisha had asked for Jafar to watched his children and as he clicked his tongue and made his horse go faster he knew that if anything went wrong than the price would be on his head and his alone. He hadn’t meant to start a race but as he started to flick the reigns to move his horse faster Aladdin grinned as he shouted into the wind. “It seems as though our father wishes to race us. Fine! Let us race and let’s put to bed who is the best rider in the family.. KI-Yah!”
Spurring on the Horse, Aladdin took off like the wind his body leaning down low as he began to fly through the desert towards the outer gates. Following after him Iman had guess where he’d was going. Often times, when Aish’a hadn’t been looking, Iman would take him around the city gates as fast as he could without loosing control. So knowing the route of the impromptu race Iman grinned as he followed in hot persuit of Aladdin and his father followed both his sons, shouting to the wind but to no avail.
In the distance the sight of a desert storm could be seen. Sand was whipping up in the air and in the midst of the storm sight would be very impossible to see. The desert was a cruel mistress and its storm blinded all. Throwing all caution to the wind Aladdin raced on before Iman cried out to him “Wait you fool! A storm is approaching!”
Turning his head Aladdin was shouted back “Is the oldest scarred of being outclass by the youngest!” Childish words.
Those were childish words that ought not to mean anything but in the heat of the moment Iman lost himself. Digging his heel into the horse he expectly moved faster and faster over taking Aladdin and cutting him off, causing his horse to rear up and almost throw Aladdin from it. Holding on to dear life the young boy shout before Jafar came up behind him. Dropping from his horse Jafar ran as fast as he could to steady the creature before starring daggers at his son who still stood mounted.
“The little fool started it.” Iman huffed before cracking a smile.
“And this little fool almost bested you in a race, if it weren’t for the storm you would’ve eaten my dust.” Aladdin sneered.
Placing a hand on both of their horse the father huffed and turned towards the city. They’d ridden quite far out from the city gates in such a short while. “Come, let us head back. You mom would be worry after seeing us all race like that.”
Aisha watched as the three sped off and she sighed. These men wouldn’t stop until she had a heart attack, she feared. Ja’far was an able and adept father as well as rider. She looked to Hana as the two spoke of life and what was to be expected. In time she would have Imam’s children and Aisha was hopeful that she could be part of that chapter, she had missed so much already. She couldn’t see the men, she realised and she scanned the horizon. She could see a storm coming in and she drew in a breath, Ja’far would be back with her children, she trusted the man with anything.
“We should head inside when the men return, the storms here tend to be rather vicious in nature.” Aisha said to Hana with a soft smile. She really was beautiful and Aisha hoped that they could all be a family, but she wasn’t sure how Imam felt about it. Everything had to be on his terms, his memory was damaged and she was unsure if it could be helped now.
She looked over when she noticed the men coming back and she shielded her eyes so she could see. Aladdin was dirtied and she rode over ,
“What happened?” There seemed to be some sort of tension among them all. She glanced to Hana, it was easy to forget how rowdy young men could get, even Ja’far at a point had been similar and she slowed her horse,
“What happened?” She asked him quietly as she watched Imam and Aladdin. She longed to have a conversation with Ja’far privately about everything she was feeling, how conflicted she was and how afraid.
It would have to wait though. She didn’t want to add any more issues to the fire and she was unsure how to express anything without sounding like a terrible mother. She didn’t want to seem lesser to Ja’far, she never wanted that and she adored him, loved him more each day. She wanted for them to stay together, it stung to know she would watch him die one day. The witch had did thirty six years and twelve had gone by already. Perhaps she could speak with her father, beg for solace in Ethereal, they could retire from their duties and allow the children to take over and have a peaceful life, restore to youth in Ethereal. Ja’far may not be seen as worthy though.
“We learned today that I’m the best rider in our family today Mommy!” Aladdin beamed as he took off running into the arms of Aisha. His eyes lit up brightly before Iman huffed and came up beside Jafar. His eyes narrowed as he heard that remark and he quickly retorted. “Please, you only won because the desert storm is upon us. Had not there been a storm I would’ve easily over taken you.”
Just like siblings the two of them were already settling into the role of oldest and youngest and it was as though they’d been together for the past twelve years instead of separate. Breaking away from his mother, Aladdin quickly challenges him to a foot race and the two took off once more with Iman shouting how he’d not lose again. As Iman asked for one of the servants to take care of the horses he shrugged his shoulders as he looked towards his children. It was quite clear from the exchange what had happened. They’d been racing and nothing more nothing less.
As Ja’far looked into the eyes of his wife he could see that she was worried. He could only guess what the reason behind it was but he didn’t want to accuse her of anything. But he understood how suddenly it was to have their son back in their lives after so much time. How there was still fear between them. Hana broke away from Aisha as she spoke to the two of them. “Gomennasai, it seems as though I need to reign in my husband to be. He’s always been fierce when it comes to competition.”
As Hana spoke she turned upon her heel and headed towards the pair. Of course, he knew that there was something Aisha wanted to talk about and he turned towards her and spoke softly. “Are you worried about the words of the false prophetess? Of Ramiil dividing into two kingdoms? And a civil war?” He asked her softly as he took her hand in his and kissed it softly.
“I think its important that we sat them down and told them the story of me and my brother. As a warning of what jealous can do. I dont want history to repeat itself.. We can’t allow for it to repeat itself.”
Aisha watched her sons and shook her head. Typical, she had missed seeing them together. Imam had doted on the twins when they were born and she wondered if he remembered. She was relieved they were okay though and she laughed softly as Hana went to scold her husband to be. She looked to her husband and followed at a slower pace so they could speak with one another. With everything going on, it was easy to forget they were married and going through this together.
“I’m worried he will leave again one day.” Aisha said to Ja’far softly.
The prophets warnings were still a concern but right then she didn’t want to see Imam leave. He was named after his grandfather, Ja’far’s father. She smiled to her husband softly.
“I’m worried we missed too much, there’s- There’s so little time, my love.” She said softly to him, “I don’t want to see Ramil at war but-“ Maybe if it were to happen then she could do nothing to stop it.
“I want to turn back time. I want do redo all of this, Ja’far.” She said to him as she paused and turned to face him, “Meeting you, not waste a moment wondering or doubting my own feelings.” She cupped his face and smiled at him softly,
“I love you, things are hard right now, Ja’far but I need you to know I love you.” She said to him and leaned up, pressing a kiss to his lips and letting it linger a moment. They were still the same young man and woman that had fallen in love all those years ago.
“Ewwww.” Aladdin interrupted and Aisha broke off, stifling a laugh,
“Alright, alright. Come on, let’s get the evenings meal prepared before the storm comes in.” She said and smiled to Ja’far,
“Perhaps we could have that conversation with Imam and Hana, after our two darling little rascals have gone to bed?” She smiled to him as she scooped Aladdin into her arms, ignoring his protests as she placed a kiss on his cheek.
As jafar felt her hands on his face and her lips upon his he looked at her and placed a hand to her cheek. There was something that he’d forgotten to tell her up till this moment and as his youngest Aladdin acted out his mocked disgust at the fact that the two had kissed Jafar gave him a grin before he leaned forward and whispered into the ears of Aisha. “There’s something I must tell you… But it not here.. When we get palace to.” He spoke as he looked at her seriously before taking her hand and walking with them back to the palace.
When Jafar had been but a child his father had told him about a legendary hourglass. A golden one with magic sands which could turn back the hands of times and transported them to the past. It was said that that was the secret to how Ramil’s rulers were able to defeat their enemines. Whenever a loss proved to be to severe to tragic they would beseech the magical hourglass to change back time. It been a secret that only a few were trusted with a thing of legends. Jafar had thought that it was nothing more but mere myth but as soon as he got to the palace he set about searching for it in the storage room where they had put his great-grandfather’s stuff after he’d died.
It took hours of rummaging through his stuff but eventually, once the little ones had been put to bed and Aisha had come looking for him Jafar had found it. It was a silver hourglass just as the legends had said but it had golden sand on it. Holding it in his hands he slowly began to move towards Aisha as he sat her down in the throne room. Holding the treasure in his hands Jafar softly leaned forward and spoke to his wife.
“I…. I had forgotten about an ancient legend that was pass down from father to son. It spoke of the only magic that Ramil possessed. An ancient hour glass capable of giving one the power to travel through time. They called it the sands of time, I had thought that it had been a farce. Just something that I didn’t want to believe.. But i found it.. It took all day, hours..and I’m sorry that i was away from you but here it is..
I must confess… I do not know how it works. I do not know it rewinds times or if we will be sent back in time but… if we can use this magic we can escape our..-” Just as Jafar was trying to finish his sentence Iman came stalking around the corner..
He’d had an uneasy feeling and as he heard Jafar out of context his anger exploded. Instantly he came stalked towards the two his eyes burning with a fury and as Jafar turned towards Iman he tried to explain but Iman would hear none of it. “Once more, you two are trying to abandon us.. Abandon me! Why? Because I scolded you precious son? I don’t care what this magic you were talking about is but I assumed it has to do with this hour glass?” Reaching for it, Jafar instantly shouted for him to stop, but Iman instead smashed the hour glass unto the floor and suddenly, they were all falling…
Aisha, Jafar, And Iman were all falling through the air feeling weightless.
The young Prince of Ramil had been through so much with his darling bride Aisha. As she stood before him exchanging his vows there was no other placed he’d rather be. His only wish, though, was that his father had been here to see them in this moment. Turning to his briefly towards the gathering of people he lamented about the death of his father and wished, prayed, briefly, that the Gods could somehow send a sign that all would be fine.. That all would be alright.. Whether it be through a person or.. Raining sand?
A murmur went through the crowd as sand began to drop from seemingly nowhere. At first it was droplets, but those droplets soon became pounds and pounds of sands and eventually, from seemingly thin air, three people dropped onto the floor onto a pile of themselves. Instantly, Jafar’s eyes widen… It wasn’t possible… One of the people was no other than his father. He was sure of it! The gray beard! The short hair, the stern looked… It had to be Iman! ‘
“Father!” Jafar cried out filled with joy, before he stopped and looked closer. No.. that man wasn’t his father And… the woman beside him looked exactly like…
“What sorcery is this!?” A strange man was the first of the trio to stand up.. As Jafar blinked he seemed to be confuse as to why that man looked so familiar and the third one to stand up was… no.. “Aisha…” Jafar asked…
Turning his head he looked to the his wife that was standing at the alter just beside him whom he was planning on marrying. She was right there beside him and yet at the same time.. Right in front of him..
As he step backed he was confused and he wasn’t the only one.. As the older Jafar came to he grasps the hand of his wife and spoke. “It isn’t possible… Aisha do you remember this moment… this… is the moment of our wedding..”
Aisha followed along with Ja’far and smiled a little, wondering what he was up to. He never seemed to stop, her husband. She stared at the hourglass. It made sense that there was an ancient magic infused into the city, it was an old city and Ethereal had its own magic source. She smiled to Ja’far softly. She shocked her head at his apologies and gazed at the sand of time. She couldn’t believe it. To turn back time was no small thing and she looked to him, it was a powerful item she supposed, something that could alter the history around them.
Imam interrupted and Aisha tried to explain he had heard wrong. She shielded her eyes when the hourglass was smashed and quite suddenly, they were falling through the nothingness.
When she opened her eyes, there was a scene she remembered. She had carried this day in her heart every day. She gazed at the younger Ja’far and herself, then her gaze settled on Fahad. She missed him greatly, he had been a good man despite everything he had said about his past. She looked to Ja’far and squeezed her husbands hands as she nodded,
“It is, my love. The day we were married, finally.” She said and looked to her younger self.
Ai’sha was so excited to marry Ja’far, after everything and with everything to come she was glad to call him her husband and she his wife. She looked to him, utterly confused when he called for his father. She followed him and stared at the couple. She knew who they were and she took a step back. How was it that Ja’far had aged and she had not? She was completely silent as a million thoughts went through her mind.
Immortality was not a blessing , not when she saw it like this. It was a curse. She wouldn’t age and Ja’far would and one day he would die and she would be left behind.
“I-“ She cut off and stared at her older self. She reached out and Ja’far’s hand, this had to be a dream. They couldn’t be at their own wedding. It was confusing and she stepped behind her husband to be, the veil still covering her face from view. Her eyes fell on the man behind the older couple, he looked similar to Ja’far and she wondered- It couldn’t be. She stared at Aisha,
“I know your fears.” The elder Aisha said quietly, “You need not worry.” She tried to comfort but the younger Aisha shook her head.
“How could you bear it? How do you bear it?” She demanded, “I’m sorry- I can’t, I cannot do this.” She said to them as she took a step back. If she married Ja’far she would watch him die, regardless of her love for him, and she wasn’t sure she could bear it. She had no idea what sort of woman she had become that she was okay with it in the future but she was not okay with it.
Seeing one’s future before your very eyes was both a blessing and a cursed. To the shepherd whom once served as the undefeated general of Ramil he knew that this was a shock. As the younger Aisha fled from the older pairs, he stood leaving the younger Jafar stunned and hurt. His eyes were filled with betrayal as he watched the way his beloved as she stepped back. Clapping his hands he coughed and turned towards the guest asked that they please give them space. Once that was done he turned towards the eldest version of Aisha and Jafar. Including the youngest boy who had looked like Jafar and his father slightly.
“I must say, Elah works in mysterious ways..” He spoke as he came closer to the pair. Blinking back his eyes, the Sultan from the future blinked once and than again before holding back tears. He had almost forgotten how that sage voice sounded. Fahad had shown both him and his wife a kindness. Taking them in for an entire year that they were exiled. As He came forward and place a hand on both of their heads he leaned forward and spoke. “I prayed that Elah would give me a chance to see you two grow happily married together. Judging by the boy who stands behind you and Jafar’s beard… am I right to assume that you two had enjoyed many years together? Marriage, what a blessing it is..” He whispered as he kissed both of them on the forehead.
Turning towards the young Aisha he waved his hand towards her. “Believe it or not… I know how unbearable this must seem. To know that your lover will grow old while you will not. The fear of having to live when your lover is no longer in this world. The pain that comes with it.. I’ve walked through those valleys.. I’ve buried my darling wife. Fifty-three years we had together when I met her I was but a young general.. No words I can give you can comfort you, or ease your fears.. But you musn’t be afraid..”
As all this played out Iman was confused as to who this man was.. Furthermore..
“You.. can’t be my father..” Iman spoke as he stepped from behind Jafar and Aisha towards the younger one. “Your face… it’s scared.. How… I mean.. I know how but I…. I didn’t think it was this bad.. The things you suffered to protect mother…”
“A man will do everything he can to protect his love ones.. I’m guess the rumors are true of the sands of times? I think, my darling Aisha needs time to process this…” Turning towards her he softly held out a hand towards her and spoke softly. “Aisha, did not be afraid.. I told you didn’t I? That I would be by your side… I know its hard to view me like this.. Even I’m stunned.. But, don’t be afraid.”
Aisha watched her younger self, she knew this must have been tough for her but Aisha was a mother now. She didn't have the option of simply giving up and she looked to Fahad. She embraced the man and smiled,
“Very happy years.” She said to him. They had certainly had their moments, their turbulence but Aisha wouldn't have changed it. Everything they had endured, it had culminated in this. Four beautiful children and a marriage that was strong. She looked to Fahad as he offered the younger Aisha comfort and she heard her sons words.
She looked to Imam and cupped his face,
“I would not have you bear witness to what came after this day, my son. My heart could not take the shame. It broke when your father had to witness it. I would not have you see me in such a way.” She said to him quietly. She looked to Ja'far and smiled softly, it had taken a long time for her to recover from what Saad had done to her, how he had humiliated her and almost murdered Ja'far. At times, she still had nightmares about his hands upon her. She looked to her younger self and the younger Ja'far.
“I promise, the fear does not go away. One day you will bury your husband, perhaps even your children and you will remain unchanged and young, but you will have a son." She said as she watched herself, “Your first born, and you will love him more than anything else in this world. More than even your husband.” She said quietly and smiled softly.
“It will make it all worthwhile.” She promised.
Aisha stared around, this couldn't be happening. This was absolute nonsense, why had Ethereal not granted Ja'far the same eternity she was blessed with?! He was a prince, and given their marriage, he would be a Prince to Ethereal too. Was she so hated? She gazed at Fahad when he spoke gentle reassurances,
“How can I not be worried? Look at this.” She said as she looked to Ja'far and Aisha together, “I look the same, forever. And-” Her eyes landed on Imam, that was her son, “I look the same age as my son- I can't-" She cut off when her older version spoke and she levelled her eyes with her. Was it worthwhile though? She was going to know the worst of heartbreaks, she was going to have to simply endure it all.
Aisha was also afraid of what Saad would come to do to them and she swallowed back her fear. She would not have this day taken from her. She and Ja'far had waited too long for all of this.
“Please. I want to marry you. If nothing else, I have waited so long for this.” She said to younger Ja'far and took hold of his hands, she had no idea how long they might have with one another and she was desperate to marry him.
She looked to the guests who were probably confused and then to Fahad who was to marry them.
“Speak the words, please. I would not go another day without you as my husband.” She said softly to Ja'far as the wind played very gently with her veil.
Ja’far didn’t understand any of what was happening but he knew that time was a precious gift. One which he would be the most foolish person to ignore. Tomorrow would be the day that he was destined to ride into battle against his brother and liberate Ramil… He’d had thought that he wouldn’t make it pass tomorrow. But now, now seeing his future self and his future Aisha together it only strength his belief that they were meant to be together. Nothing could wrest his beloved from his hands. And as Fahad spoke the secret words which would forever bind the two together for a loving ceremony, Ja’far leaned forward and kissed his wife softly on the lips. His hands caressing her cheek as he swore that they would forever be linked together and together.
“Aah, I remember this night.. And what came next..” The older Ja’far spoke as he looked to his eldest wife and both Iman and Fahad. This night had been bittersweet. The sweetness of marriage and the bitterness of war which came with it. Though the battle was over within a few hours the aftermath and the poison which threaten to take the life of Aisha, his darling wife, was upon them. Ja’far, the Sultan, had asked Aisha’s father what poison had been possessed by Saad which could harm immortality… And he himself had no idea. No one knew where he’d come to possess it only that he did so.
As the night came and it grew darker and darker, Iman looked to both his current and past parents as they both held his mothers in their arms. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that his younger father had been beaten and tortured so cruelly the whip scars showed on the back of his neck. How much more would his father have to suffer? And why?
“Tomorrow… When you go into combat to face your brother Saad… I want to be the one to challenge him.” Iman spoke up and to that, without thinking, both Ja’fars promptly said No. Out of the question. They wouldn’t risk the lives of their son to fight his own battle.
Pausing Iman looked to both of them before he spoke softly. “Than at least let me accompany you into battle.. I…. we need to take the castle in order to grab hold of the sands of time and return to our era.. I don’t know how this magic works. It’s best if we don’t risk its effects.”
Aisha looked to her husband and sighed out softly,
“I remember it all too well. We had one night before you went off to war and we were travelling.” Aisha said quietly to her elder husband and she didn’t want to change past events. She stroked Ja’far’s arm gently and sighed out. They couldn’t change the past and she wished she could to spare Ja’far everything he had been through. She kissed her husbands cheek and sighed out softly,
“I wish I could save you.” She said to him softly and looked over when Imam spoke up. She joined with the no. She had seen war, she had seen how badly Ja’far had been hurt and she wouldn’t risk her eldest son. She got to her feet and approached Imam.
She cupped her sons face and looked him over.
“I don’t know who looked over you, I missed out on so much.” She said to him quietly.
“Please, Imam. I know you don’t understand but you are my son.” She said to him and embraced him, “I won’t tell you no, but I will tell you to be careful. I will not lose you again, Imam.” She said to him and looked to Ja’far.
“I will do what I could not before, I will protect our son.” She said to him, “By any means.” She said them, finally.
Aisha kissed Imam’s forehead and smiled at him. She had failed him before, she would not now
Young Aisha looked to her new husband and she watched him,
“I will find a way. I would not give you Elah freely while I wait behind.” She said to him and pressed a kiss to his lips. The flowers in her hair smelled sweet and she had never been happier. She knew war was coming, she knew she may well lose everything they had worked on. What Saad had done was unforgivable and she gazed at Ja’far and her future self. She was terrified of what the future held and now even more so.
Iman couldn't except the words of his mother of father.. Despite the fact that he had been forbidden to ride out and knew Iman couldn't except the words of his mother of father.. Despite the fact that he had been forbidden to ride out and knew that changing the future could have drastic consequences; he felt the need to prove himself. Prove that he was a worthy son and one whom could right the wrongs that he'd done in the past. As the morning sun rose and he slipped out of the tent he was prepared to steal one of the horses before a hand on his shoulder made him turn around. Rising his fist, he blindly threw the punch only for it to be caught and to find himself being thrown to the ground over his shoulder. Swearing he looked into the eyes of a younger version of his father and growled. He'd been outsmarted! All his life he'd known his father to be slow to act. He'd always paused, hesitated, weighed his actions. But it seemed as though when he'd been a younger man Ja'far had acted far more brashly and rash.
“Let me go… I must do this. I must prove my worth to my father and mother…” Iman spoke as he stood up and reached for the horse reigs.
“Isn't it enough to hear from me that me and Aisha love you. Even though I've not yet had you, doesn't change the fact that you are my son.. And I do indeed love you.” As the younger Ja'far spoke Iman shook his hands closed.
“You don't understand what happen.. what was lost between us.. I need to do this… I…” As Jafar touched him on his cheek the young exiled Prince leaned forward and touched his head to his son. “Oh my future son, tell me what happen…” And in that moment Iman said everything. Everything that had happen, everything which will happen in the future and everything that led up to this moment. As Ja'far stood in silence he slowly closed his eyes before nodding his head. “I understand the need to prove yourself… very well.. Stick close to me..”
“Two against one!? What is this brother? Are you to scared to face me on your own that you needed to bring another one to hold your hand!?”
Waking up suddenly from a dream Ja’far was panic as he grabbed his head. In his dream when he went to face his brother he hadn’t been alone. Instead his son had been beside him fighting in said dream.. But that was impossible? Surely it wasn’t so. As Ja’far turned to Aisha he looked to her and could see that she’d had a dream as well.
“Aisha… did you just now have a dream? A dream of this day happening differently than what we actually happen?” Ja’far asked as his eyes looked to her in fear that something foolish had been done. As he looked to his hands and touched his face he felt the same. He felt as if nothing had change and yet he felt like everything had changed. But it couldn’t have been. As he got dressed and looked to his wife his eyes flickered towards the tent inhaling and exhaling hoping that his premonition was false and that nothing had changed at all.
His planned had fallen through. He’d knew that eventually his own brother would come and attack him; Ja’far had always been noble. He’d knew that that would be his greatest flaw. In that moment of the attack he’d would slip away and see to it that Aisha was kidnapped. And, just as he’d done to Yasmine, he would poison the blonde whore go to his grave knowning that he’d once again stolen his brother’s happiness. Yet, as saad felt to his knees before the sword of his brother and stranger whom he’d hadn’t even know, his eyes looked upwards.
Ah.. How the stranger had eyes just like him, filled with darkness and arrogance yet beautiful and stern. Letting out a low chuckle, Saad grinned. Now he understood it. Now he understood what had happen; the fable sands of times. All his life he’d just assumed the hour glass to be nothing more but a myth and fable. Oh! How he’d wish that he’d knew it was real. Than he would’ve used it to finished off his brother and his whore of his wife.
“So, brother! What are you waiting for?” Saad growled as he looked up towards him. Hesitating, Jafar was about to bring down his sword but stopped.
“Father.. What are you doing? We can’t let him leave.. We can’t change the past.” Iman spoke as Jafar held his blade to his brother neck. It was true the past couldn’t change.. But what if it could? What if…
Ja’far falter and in that moment Saad took it. Taking the poisonous blade out from his sheath he took it and lunge at Jafar, only for Iman to push him out of the way.
The older Ai’sha looked to her husband and she too had been victim to a strange dream. She sat up slightly and looked around. She wiped sleep from her eyes,
“Shh, my love.” She tried to soothe him gently. They could not control everything that went on and she hoped what she had seen was simply a dream and nothing more. She worried though, if it were true. She gazed at Ja’far and knew there was yet one thing she could do, to set her free and see her children lived on as a legacy. She kept it quiet for now though, it would likely break Ja’far’s heart if she told him.
“I never forgot that day.” She said quietly, “Watching you fight your brother in the sun and the sand.” Her heart had been broken, she had been completely useless and distressed at the sight and unable to help. It had certainly opened her eyes to how much she loved the man before her. His age, how he had matured and changed over the years never changed her feelings for him.
“I remember believing I was going to burn to death after the poison knife.” She said to him quietly. She hadn’t.
“I remember everything. The look on your face when you found out I was carrying our first child.” She smiled softly at him. He had been a wonderful father, and an even better husband. He had never raised his voice in anger, he had been patient with her even during her pregnancies.
Younger Ai’sha was living through what she had always needed to live through. Witnessing the battle and enduring being completely helpless as she watched on. The guard held her in place and she felt she might have a breakdown at what she was seeing. She did not know her eldest son, Imam. There was a bond there though. She couldn’t explain it and she stared in disbelief when he shoved Ja’far out of harms way and took the force of the blade. She screamed, she kicked and shouted. The Knick of the knife that poisoned her from the guard digging into her own skin.
“Ja’far, my father.” She called out, “My father- Summon him.” She called out. She could do it.
She collapsed into the arms of the guard who promptly dropped her, rather unsure of what to do as the people of Ramil rose up in defiance.
It was then, just as he always had that her father appeared in a storm of sand. He gazed at the scene,
“The sand of time.” He remarked, calmly. He looked over his daughter in her day bed, bestowing upon her the healing she needed and he turned to his grandson.
“Such a man, confused and grieved.” He said and he looked to the others, “His soul is torn and confused, he is in agony not only from the poison but from who he is.” He smiled some, “I shall heal him, but all that was destroyed must be put right.”
He turned and looked to Ja’far and Ai’sha,
“You still have my blessing. But Ja’far’s time will be upon him, soon I believe.” He looked to his elder daughter.
“You will come to Ethereal and retire yourself to your grief.” He said simply and Ai’sha shook her head,
“I will fall on my own dagger before I consign myself to grief.”
The time to say goodbye had finally come at hand. As Aisha and Ja’far rode to the castle they were surprise to find that their youngest son had been waiting for them.. Along with Fahad and the other sultan. As the sands of time was held within the hands of the old farmer both Ja’far and his younger self looked to one another. Holding out his hand they grabbed hold of one another before looking each other in the eye. He knew, he knew that he would be a good ruler and a great father. As he gave himself a smile he spoke softly. “I look forward to growing old like you and going on the greatest adventure a man can venture out on… Fatherhood.”
As he did so Ja’far nodded his head before he turned to look at Fahad. In his hand was the hourglass and despite knowing that it was time for them to stay goodbye, Ja’far hesitated a moment. It was Aisha who was gripping his hands and as the elder man blinked back tears, he wiped it from his eyes before his son Iman gripped him on his shoulders. “I remember now…. All my memories have been restored and I remember what truly happen.. I remember seeing Fahad in a distant memory.. I remember seeing him…” Iman cut off.
“Can you come with us?” Ja’far spoke. As he tried to be strong but the tears continue to fall. Looking down at his feet he shuffled like a little boy begging for a treat before laughing nervously. “I.. don’t know how to say goodbye to you again old friend… I’d never though Elah would grant us a chance to see each other… I never got to say goodbye to my father.. And saying goodbye to you is… more painful than I thought it would be.” Ja’far spoke as he sniffled.
Looking at this older self the young Prince was tempted to speak up. “You should go with them.. As long as you hold the sands of time you can return to us as though time never passed.” Jafar whispered but Fahad held up his hands to both of them.
“Life is a gift. A most precious one. Because we cannot get back our lost time or fastfoward through out hardest moments, is why life has its value. It’s incredible the gift Elah has given us.. Now that I know that two people whom I’ve loved like my own great grand children will grow to be wise rulers of Ramil, I must accept the fact that my life will come to an end when Elah deems it so..”
“But its not fair..” Ja’far stammered out as he tried his hardest to not fully break into a sob. Leaning forward Fahad smiled as he pressed his head to his and spoke. “Oh, I see that I’ve yet to teach you one final lesson. Parting is only temporarily for us who believe in Elah. We will be reunited in the other world.. And in the future when judgment day comes. Elah will raise us up from the dead and grant us our reward for how faithful we’ve been.. Even when you die; you and Aisha will be reunited again. Love never dies, it is only reborn into new love.”
The younger Ai'sha made a full recovery just as she had before but soon the time came to leave and part ways.
Ai'sha herself, wanted nothing more than for Fahad to come back with them and meet her youngest children and Yasmine. She embraced him after his kind words with her husband and she looked to Ja'far. It was true what Fahad said, Ai'sha knew she would be rather late to the reunion. She smiled softly to them,
“Come, we have our youngests children to return to.” She said to Ja'far and looked to her eldest son, he had made her so proud. She wished she had been there to see him grow up, to see him meet Hana.
Ai'sha looked to her younger self for a moment and smiled to her,
“Keep your children close, and tell him you love him, every day.” She said to her softly, “Because he will comfort you after every nightmare, he will hold your hand when you have each of your children.” She said to her and looked to Ja'far, eyes brimming with adoration. She stepped back and looked to the Sands of Time.
“Come, my love.” She said Ja'far, her Ja'far and then to her eldest son. They needed to go back, perhaps Imam understood now that despite everything, he had been loved and adored by them. She hoped so. She really did love her son and she knew there was the lingering prophecy of civil war, that she had missed out on everything of his childhood, his first love, so much had been lost that she couldn't get back.
But that didn't mean she couldn't be his mother now, that she had to miss out on anything else.
And just like that they were in the very moment which they’d left to ventured into the past. Despite the fact that they’d been gone for over a day it happen so that they never left. Looking Ja’far’s eyes were still wet with tears but he stood firmly as he held onto the hour glass. Iman took hold of it carefully and looked to his father and than back to his mother. Yes, they would be a family again. Now that he’d understood everything which had happen he would long for them to be together again.
As soon as they returned Iman turned to his mother and spoke to her. “Mother.. I mean what I said when I remember what happen…” Iman spoke as he began to launch into the tell of what happen.
The woman had appeared at dawn. She’d been singing a soft lullabye as and her voice echoed sweetly throughout the palace. Using magic she’d had disguised herself as a beautiful young servant girl. As Iman woke early, hungry, he rubbed his eyes a she saw the woman heading towards him. Her eyes were filled with kindness as she spoke softly. “Are you hungry my young Prince? I’ve just finished some fresh bake bread.. Come let me feed you..”
“She had lurred me away with the promise of bread and she must have enchanted it because when I awoke it was to her carrying me away and filling my head up with fake memories.. I heard a voice.. A voice i’ve never heard before in the past.. Telling me that I was deeply damaged and that it would take time to heal but it is possible… I also remember seeing that man heal Aisha… a younger aisha. As well..” He spoke as he explained to his best what had passed.
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