pattern
pattern
pattern
pattern

The world was created in light. While the sun shone down, God created the First Beings of the desert: the Buraqi, made of wind and sand, the Rocs, crafted out of clouds and stone, snakes made out of light and his most powerful creation, the Djinn, made of smokeless fire.

And then came the night. The Destroyer of Worlds came from the dark that existed only in the places the sun couldn’t touch. She dragged with her the endless night, and with it her dark children, the ghouls. Nightmares, who would suck the life out of another creature, Skinwalkers who ate a body whole and took on its shape, and more terrifying things that have since faded from the world: the black bellied snake who swallowed the sun and the sightless hound who guarded the mountain on which the destroyer of worlds took her throne.

And when the Destroyer of Worlds killed the first First Being, he exploded into the very first star in the newly black sky. God had made the First Beings with endless life, so when they learned of death they were afraid. That was the dawn of the first war and, as First Beings fell, the night sky filled. The Djinn feared death so much, they came together and gathered earth and water and used the wind to mold a being and set it alive with a spark of fire. They made the first mortal to do what they feared most, but what needed to be done in any war: die.

So the First Mortal took up steel and with it he beheaded the huge snake who had swallowed God in his sun form. The sun was released from the monster’s throat and the endless night ended.

The First Beings looked upon this mortal thing they had made and saw with awe that he wasn’t afraid of death. He dared to fight because his destiny was to die. And where the Destroyer of Worlds had created fear, the First Mortal had bravery to meet it. The immortals had never had a need for it before. But mortals did.

So the First Beings made another mortal, and another. They fashioned each in a duller image of an immortal thing—men instead of Djinn, horses instead of Buraqi, birds instead of Rocs. They worked until they had an army. And against the might of mortality, the Destroyer of Worlds finally fell. Her rule over the earth broke and the creatures she brought with her were left behind, stalking the desert night. And so too were the mortals left – to face them, and cut them down.

Many nights ago, the city of Massil was ruled by a great and powerful Djinni. He protected the city, which sat on the edge of the small sea in the middle of Miraji. Because of its position and its powerful patron, the city of Massil thrived in trade and was a prosperous and happy place.

At this time, there was a merchant, who had a beautiful daughter who outshone even his finest wares. His wife had died a year earlier and as the year of mourning came to an end, many men offered for her hand in marriage. Her father picked a wealthy young merchant from across the small sea, a young man.

A few days before she was to be married, the Merchant’s daughter walked through the market with her servant. It was there that the Djinni who ruled Massil saw her. He was so taken by her beauty that he fell in love with her.

The Djinni went immediately to the Merchant to ask for his daughter’s hand. The Merchant was at first awed by his visitor, and could not speak except to say that his daughter could not wed the Djinni. The Djinni, so desperately in love with the daughter, offered the Merchant a chest full of pearls. The merchant stuttered again that he could not marry her, and before he could explain that it was because she was already engaged, the Djinni offered him more: two chests full of rubies and a ship full of fine silks, but the merchant still said no. Until finally the Djinni offered the Merchant the whole of the city of Massil in exchange for his daughter. At this, the merchant’s greed made his tongue slip, and he said yes, he would trade his daughter for the entire city. The Djinni rejoiced.

The Merchant knew, however, that his daughter could not marry two men, so he conspired to trick the Djinni. He fashioned a doll made of wax, and brought it to life with a spark of magic.

The Djinni was deceived by this fake figure, so bedecked in wedding finery he could not see what was underneath. He handed the city over to the Merchant while the daughter sailed away on a ship across the sea to her true husband-to-be.

But the trick could not last forever. After the wedding feast the Djinni took his new bride by the hand, only to see her melt in his grip as the wax surrendered to his fiery form. The Djinni’s fury at the Merchant was unmatched. He would have reclaimed the city, but that he had sworn it over to the greedy merchant, and Djinn, like all first beings, are bound by their word.

And so he turned his wrath elsewhere. The Djinni summoned the desert. He summoned the swirling sands with such fury that they crashed into the small sea, destroying the ships that floated across it and burying many alive, including the merchant’s travelling daughter. He did not stop until the whole of the small sea had drowned in sand, until the city that the greedy merchant had tricked the Djinni out of was no longer perched on a prosperous shore, but at the edge of a barren desert. And so the Small Sea became the Sand Sea and, to this day, travellers cross it on foot at great cost. As a reminder of a Djinni’s power.

Buraqi

A horse fashioned out of sand and wind, the Buraqi run wild from one side of the desert to the other. They may appear as black as the sand of a cool desert night or as brilliant red as a bloody dawn over a sand dune.

According to legend, these were the horses of great heroes, who would come willingly to the worthy. The Princess Hawa escaped her tower on the back of a Buraqi, and the mighty warrior of Habbaden rode into battle on a Buraqi who surrendered to him.

These days the wily desert dweller may be able to catch a Buraqi if armed with a wife and enough iron to hold it to a form of flesh. And while it might not make him a hero, it will certainly make him rich.

Djinn

One of God’s First Beings: men made of out of smokeless fire. The true rulers of the desert, their powers are both great and mysterious, even to the mortals who have dedicated a lifetime to their study in the great libraries of Izman. They are known to be both truthful and deceptive, wrathful and unforgiving, generous and loving. The Djinn walk their own paths and sometimes make their fates alongside men, but now more often away from them. Though it is said that they make their homes in mountains and valleys instead of in cities alongside mortals, the Djinn are still enamored of mortal women.

Travellers are warned to not trespass on their domain or disturb them in the desert. And to always be polite to strangers lest they be a Djinni in disguise.

Rocs

The Rocs are hunters in the sky. Great birds the size of palaces that can darken the sun with their wings. To a Roc, a desert traveller would be as a mouse to a hawk. Desert mothers will say that they eat naughty children. Watch the desert sky and do not mistake a passing shadow for a cloud. There are no clouds in the desert – take cover quickly.

Nightmares

A breed of Ghoul that remains in the sands like an infestation, coming out only at night. These creatures stalk sleeping on the wings of a bat, with the maw of a monster. They crouch on a man’s chest to inject him with venom that infects his mind and body, sending him into a terrible sleep. A nightmare will draw out a man’s fear, even his soul, to feed on. Travellers are advised to sleep with one eye open.

Skinwalkers

If the Skinwalkers have a shape their own it has long been forgotten, as they shift their form from that of one victim to another. A Skinwalker is known to devour the flesh of an unsuspecting desert traveller, and then assume his form to prey on the rest of his travelling party. Any man around you in the night could be a Skinwalker. Like all ghouls, they fear the light. So if your travelling companion on a cold desert night won’t come any closer to the fire, beware.

A New Dawn! A New Desert!

We call for Sultan Oman Al’Hasim Bin Izman of Miraji to step down from his throne to stand trial for treason.

Sultan Oman stands accused of the following crimes:

Persecuting his own people without just cause

Subjecting his country to unfit foreign rule in the form of the Gallan army

Untried execution of parties accused of violating Gallan law

Persecution of Mirajin citizens for unproven Djinni magic in their bloodline

Oppression of working citizens through unfair wages

Oppression of women across Miraji

We demand that the traitorous Sultan Oman be separated from his throne and his head, and that his rightful heir, Prince Ahmed Al’Oman Bin Izman, true victor of the Sultim trials, be allowed to ascend in his place and return this desert to its true power and glory.

A New Dawn! A New Desert!