Fiction Friday is a new series on Intwischa featuring exclusive short fiction, published serially. Our first story, A Daughter of the Moon, was written by yours truly (Charlie White) in 2010. The story will be published in 12 parts here on Intwischa, and when the entirety of the story has been published, the complete work will be made available in PDF and ebook format. We hope you enjoy!
A Daughter of the Moon
Al Qamar’s camp in the Zagros Mountains lay only a few more hours from the Tigris, and Clement and Rana kept one another awake with stories. Clement described the Viking tribe he’d left. “The last person to free Loki from his prison was Prince Moldof, about twenty years ago. The Djinn granted him enormous military power, which led to a bloody war between our own people. Moldof’s own brother betrayed him by splitting his head open with an axe, because he wanted the Djinn for himself.” Clement grunted. “My cousin Engli saw it happen, and before Moldof’s brother could pick up Loki’s prison, Engli threw a spear through his heart.
“Polaris is imprisoned in an oil lamp. Loki was trapped in the blade of a sword, which was sheathed at Moldof’s belt when he died. Engli took the blade by the scabbardâ€•the scabbard isn’t part of the prison, so the Djinn couldn’t invade his mindâ€•and brought it back to our tribe.
“We debated what to do with it. One of our elders believed it was a riddle of sortsâ€•that we could harness the power of the Djinn if we figured out how to phrase a wish in a way that couldn’t be re-interpreted. But we’ve all heard the stories, and Loki is more cunning than any Viking I know. So, we split the warriors of our tribe in two groups. Thirteen of us took to a longship and set out toward Vinland, across the great sea, to bury Loki at the end of the world. The rest of us set out across Europe and Asia to find out what we could about the other Djinn, and stop those who sought them.”
Rana nodded–this was exactly what she had wanted Al Qamar to do. “How did you know where to find the other Djinn?”
“We don’t. Instead, we study legends. Look at the Greeksâ€•they have an unbelievable number of stories of ‘gods’ twisted by human weaknesses. There must be a Djinn in Greece. So, that’s where Engli went. When you find the place, you start looking for the people.”
Rana nodded. “People like Tancred. His desperation for the lamp was so great that he made foolish decisions with the lives of his men during the battles around Edessa.” They rode on in silence for a few moments before Rana continued. “He tortured children. When you hear about people like that, and you combine it with the myths of the past, you’ve probably found who you’re looking for.”
Rana stopped her horse and drew her scimitar. Clement’s head spun toward her in worry, and his hand went to his sword.
“You are him,” she said.
“You traveled with French soldiers. You are well-versed in the occult.” He continued giving her a dumb look. “You are a soldier of the Vatican. You fought desperately with suicide tactics. And you’re using me to show you where the lamp is.”
His hand left his hilt, and he wheeled his horse to face Rana. “I am not Tancred.”
She did not re-sheathe her sword. “I don’t know how you could prove that.”
“I don’t, either.” Clement paused. “But if I had a quick answer to that question, it would mean I had prepared for it.”
The Viking was smart.
Rana considered Clement. “Given that we have not found Tancred yet, one of three things has happened. One, you are Tancred, and have established this entire scenario to deceive me. Two, Tancred is at the cave with his soldiers. Three, Tancred got lost.” Rana thought for a moment. “I have a proposal. You alone could not stand against the Abnah al-Qamar. We have been told that Tancred left Antioch with soldiers. If the second scenario has indeed happened, Tancred’s soldiers are fighting with the Knights–if that battle is not over already. But if the first or third are true, there will be no one but Al Qamar at the cave. Maybe a few dead Frenchmen if you are Tancred and you sent an advance party.”
“And your proposal?”
“You either turn back now, or ride with me to the caves. If Tancred is not there, I will strike you down.”
“You would take my life, knowing that Tancred might have simply gotten lost?”
“It is my duty.”
Clement didn’t take time to think about it. “I will ride with you.”
Rana was a bit surprised.
That’s it for today–join us next week as we break the seal and venture into the cavern. Same Intwischa time, same Intwischa channel.
Think you know what’s going on? Want to spoil it for the rest of us? (Did you like my story and want to stoke my ego?) Tell us about it in the comments!