Inconvenient, Ithnan thought coldly, gathering up most of the Banker’s dark power before it could flee. He’d planned to do no less himself, of course – but only after the Kou Empire had Balbadd tight in its grip, so the uprising he would spark with the Fog Troupe would cause the most fear and confusion. Between a howling mob and the Banker’s black rukh, he’d have more than enough power to craft a Dark Djinn. And that… would allow many possibilities.
Taking Sinbad into our darkness. Taking whoever of the royal family survives the slaughter – if any do. Shattering any will to resist the Kou Empire’s plans, and so ours. Sinking Balbadd into hate and despair that would swell into the pit of black rukh we need….
Whoever that Metal Vessel User was, their timing is very annoying.
It had to be a King Candidate. No lesser power could cut through the protections on their mannequin bodies. Meaning Sinbad, or….
Merhdad. Ithnan frowned, staring toward the Banker’s lair. It could be Merhdad.
They knew the smugglers had some sort of magic, after all. Rumors of uncanny darkness alone would have told them that, even if Ithnan hadn’t picked up the traces of Cassim’s Fogblade being used against a cleaner, more ancient power. Merhdad’s weapon could have just been a Magic Tool, of course – but no mere Magic Tool should have shattered that enchanted shell.
And it just doesn’t feel right for Sinbad.
There’d been no triumphant fountain of light as Sinbad cut down another dark magician; no blaze of familiar magoi from his known seven Djinn. Just a scattering of bright sparks in the rukh, like a stirred-up fire-
Reflex made Ithnan draw the breath his body didn’t need. Fire. I know that rukh!
Amon. Of all Djinn, how had Merhdad seized Amon?