Chapter One- Stories of Fudail
In the Desert Plains, in the west, there was a small village called Abab. And in that village, there lived was an elderly man named Fudail. Not just any old man, this was quite an extraordinary one. His life was often the talk of the village, for it was rumored he had journeyed far and wide. Most of Abab hadn't stepped out of the village, so he was something rather unique to them. And to compensate for the mundane reality of Abab, a lot of the stories about Fudail were extremely Some said he fought Dragons, others believed he was a member of the Forty Thieves. Nobody would ever know for sure; nobody had the courage to ask him directly.
Fudail was surely aware of the gossip, but it's likely he didn't care. He was a very care-free man, believing in the good of everybody. If anything, he'd find it amusing that people believed such far fetched fables.
In his later years, he lived with his family in a small home in the village of Abab. It was by no means a palace, but Fudail was constantly thankful to have a roof over his family's heads. His wife had passed on several years prior, so he was to look to the younger generation for companionship.
There was his daughter, Karam, his pride and joy, and her husband, Jabir. The two of them were appreciative of Fudail's positive presence, though they were quite bothered by the rumors going around about his life.
And then there were the children of Karam and Jabir. This, of course, made them Fudail's grandchildren. The eldest of the three was Usaim, a boisterous and somewhat naughty child. Usaim was known to give his parent's a tough time, but Fudail was always able to put him in his place, firmly but kindly. The second of the three was Minnah, the only girl. She was very talkative and spent all of her waking hours asking questions, as children often do. And last, but certainly not least, was Ali. As the younger sibling of two very loud characters, he was seldom heard from. He usually spent his time wandering the village, not really speaking to his family all that much.
Despite their differing personalities, there was one thing they all loved- Fudail's stories. Every night, they'd sit around Fudail and listen to his tales. Such wondrous adventures of many legendary people, who may or may not have actually existed. There was Courageous Cassandra, a maid who escaped her own execution. Then there was Lut, a warrior who highhandedly fought his way through a army of Ghouls, with just a dagger. There were many more, far too many to list. But each new one was as good as the last, every single one caught Ali's imagination, quietened Minnah (Even if it was just for an hour) and calmed down Usaim.
On one particular night, Fudail sat down on his stool, with a dilemma.
"It seems, my beloved Grandchildren" He said grinning, "That I have run out of stories".
"You surely haven't!" cried Minnah.
"I'm afraid so, Minnah" said Fudail, seemingly pleased with her enthusiasm, "I suppose I'll just have to tell you about Genies".
A silence fell over the room (Given the house only had one room, that was quite an impressive feat). Karam and Jabir halted in brushing the floor, and listened in. Secretly, they loved Fudail's stories just as much as their children did.
Fudail was by no means a strong looking man. He was bony, short in stature and very elderly. His grey beard was untamed and bushy, his face wrinkled like a prune. He wore a brownish robe, which had long since become stained and dirty. Usaim had often joked that he resembled a Chimpanzee, his roundish head, large ears and his big grin. So, despite his rather unremarkable appearance, he was able to captivate the minds of his listeners. His eyes were quite a big part of this. Just by looking a person in the eye, you can tell what they're feeling. Never once, in his entire life, had Ali seen his Grandfather have anything other than an bewildered twinkle in his eye.
"You all know what Genies are, I suppose" He said, looking around at his three Grandchildren.
They all nodded.
"Excellent" He beamed, "Well, usually you hear of Genies being held in Lamps. I'd just like to say this is complete nonsense!"
Minnah gasped, rather theatrically.
"They are stored in Rings" He continued, "Six rings, to be specific. Six rings, each with a beautiful little diamond. In which of course, are six Genies".
"What are their names?" asked Usaim.
"Well..." said Fudail, suddenly looking very deep in thought, "There's Nayif. A very tall woman, beautiful. Then there's Korua. He's quite the mischievous one, a street thief who was foolish enough to be imprisoned in the Ring. The details, I can't really remember them. Oh! How could I forget, Cassim! Cassim was a Hermit, in a distant land. How he came to be a Genie, I'm not really sure. But I know that his ring has been lost for decades. Nobody really knows it's exact location. Then there's Abid. He's blind as a bat, and even crabbier. Malakah was a Dancer in an exotic palace in a land time forgot. She's always good for a laugh, as I remember.. And then there's the most powerful Genie of them all. Barani. I don't even know what he looks like, or even what he's like. But I know, that his Ring is hidden away from the world. It seems that nobody wants him to be summoned to the world".
Fudail had now finished his story, he now awaited questions from his three listeners.
"How do you know all of this?" asked Ali, speaking for the first time that night.
"Oh my dear Ali, a man of my age knows certain things" said Fudail, winking.
"Where are the rings?" asked Usaim.
"Well...they could anywhere I suppose...guarded by a ferocious beast with a million heads...on the finger of a King..." said Fudail dreamily, as though he was thinking of all the possibilities.
"Have you ever met a Genie?" asked Minnah, "Spoke to them, seen them?"
"Well.." said Fudail, stroking his beard, "I occasionally spoke to some of them, not always aware of their stories until much later. I can tell you with confidence that Nayif is lovely, Malakah is very amusing and Korua is a pain in the backside!"
With that last joke, his grandchildren began giggling hysterically.
"Alright, it's time for bed now" called Karam, "I want you all being well rested!"
"Very well" said Fudail, who seemed a little disheartened, "Let's leave the rest of that story for another night!"
Usaim and Minnah scrambled to get onto their beds, which were nothing more than a mat on the floor. Ali did so a little slowly, so he could speak to Fudail alone.
"Are Genies really real?" He whispered.
"As real as the hair on my head Ali!" He said, before his eyes looked upwards in mock surprise, "Well...maybe you'll just have to take my word for it.."
Flashing his grand-father one last smile, Ali crawled to his mat and nestled down for the night. Fudail smiled at the back of his grand-son's head, watching as he drifted off into slumber. Karam squeezed his shoulder.
"Nights like this, are so special" She said wistfully.
Fudail nodded, "Indeed they are. Makes me wish I could have an eternity of nights like these".