Chapter One- New Alliances

Huddled beside the corpse of Unukalhi, sobbing in the darkness, Abid was truly the epitome of miserable and alone. Placing his shaking hand on the snake's head, he quivered and moaned.

"My pretty...oh...my pretty".

Footsteps drew near, Abid continued to mourn his departed pet.

"Abid" whispered a deep voice, "Abid, get up you old fool!"

Abid sniffed, and lifted his head up. He may not be able to see who stood before him, but he knew exactly who it was. A person doesn't forget such a voice in a hurry.

"You...you came back" sputtered Abid, "Ghazi.."

"I see your memory hasn't faded" said Ghazi coldly, "But I see I've come too late".

"If...if you wish to kill me, I will let you" whimpered Abid.

"Pathetic!" snorted Ghazi, "Completely pathetic!"

"My pretty is dead!" screeched Abid, "THEY KILLED MY PRETTY!"

Abid was forcefully slammed into the wall, a tight fist closing in around his neck. He gasped, and squirmed.

"Shut your wretched mouth" snarled Ghazi, "Or I'll shut it for you! I'm not here to kill you!"

Ghazi released him and let him slid to the ground. Abid curled up into a ball and bawled.

"Though I'd have a right to do so!" yelled Ghazi, "After imprisoning me in the ring, I'd have every right to tear your head from your shoulders!"

"I'd...I'd welcome it".

"Clearly, you've lost your touch since that fateful day" said Ghazi, "Beaten by two mortals and an idiotic Genie boy".

"Loathsome vermin" scowled Abid, "Loathsome foul creatures...I hate them...they killed my pretty...and touch my ring..."

"You were foolish not to be wearing it!" snapped Ghazi, "You were foolish on many accounts! You could have wished for your sight! But no! You don't wear it, and it's taken away from you!"

"I didn't want to waste my wishes!" whined Abid.

"You old fool..." scowled Ghazi, "I would have a proposition for you, but I doubt you'd be interested".

"What...what is it?" asked Abid, weakly lifting his head.

"I wish to rule the Desert Plains" said Ghazi, "All four corners...every village...every palace...everything. For it all to be mine, and for every person, of every race and gender, to vow their obedience to me, and me only!"

Ghazi seemed to have gotten carried away with himself, for now there was a brief pause. Abid couldn't deny the excitement that had sounded in his voice.

"To achieve this" He continued, "I'll need the control of the Genies. They are the most powerful beings in the Mortal world after all".

"I'm not a Genie...not anymore" said Abid.

"I know that!" cried Ghazi, exasperated, "But you still possess some of the powers of a Genie. I need all the help I can get, at the moment, I'm at an unfortunate disadvantage".

"You..you...want my help?" stammered Abid, wiping the tears off his crusty face.

"Yes".

"I...I...If for only one thing..." He said, bearing his hideous teeth, the hatred flowing from his very soul, "That I get to kill THOSE SAVAGE KILLERS THAT KILLED MY PRETTY!"

"Oh believe me" laughed Ghazi, rather amused, "A very painful death will lay in store for them..and I'd be honoured to let you do the honours".

"Then...I'll help you" said Abid finally, "I will help you".

Abid help out his hand and Ghazi helped him to his feet.

"Excellent" said Ghazi, "Perhaps, I will find you a new companion...a new Pretty".

"You couldn't replace her..." sighed Abid, "I raised her from an egg...she's my pretty little girl..."

"Oh, come on now Abid!" said Ghazi, "I'm sure I can find you a substitute!"

"It's nice of you to offer" sniffed Abid, "How...how come you've not swore revenge against me after what happened?"

"I'm not the type to hold grudges" said Ghazi.

Leaning against the taller man, Abid was led out of the room and down the steps. He would occasionally stumble, but a surprisingly patient Ghazi was firm in his duty to keep Abid walking upright.

"So dark in here" muttered Ghazi.

"What use do I have for light anyhow?" said Abid.

They exited the front door and walked through the courtyard, Abid shivering beneath his robes.

"How come it took you so long...after you were released from the ring...to find me?" asked Abid.

"Travelling mostly" said Ghazi, "Beyond the Desert Plains and making new allies. It's all been building up to this".

As he spoke, he spoke with visible pride.

"I may not be able to walk a great distance" Abid said.

"Do not fear, I've picked up some transport" said Ghazi dismissively.

A foul, humid stench reached Abid's nose and he gagged. If he would have been able to see, what he would have seen would have caused him to vomit. Three large bulking camels, with sagging skin, bloated humps, and miserable faces, ridden with flies. A gob of spit flew from one of their mouth's and missed Abid's head narrowly.

Taoul stepped out from the side of one, his veil now wrapped around his lower face. His eyes gleamed with intrigue; this was his first time seeing Abid in the flesh.

"So where's our first stop?" asked Taoul.

"Have you ever been to Nemebis?" asked Ghazi.