Legend Of Kaylos

“I wish…” Mage Halak began.

“No, no, I advise, do not wish just yet, please,” Kaylos said.

“But you’re a genie, aren’t you?” Halak asked.

Kaylos often introduced himself to mortals as a friendly genie but in fact he was a terrible demon of hell-spawned power. This did not prevent him from enjoying a soft spot, however, for the occasional mortal, especially arrogant wizards like Halak. If Halak were to ask for all his wishes too early, their fun together would come to an end too soon.

“I am the kind of genie,” Kaylos explained, “who surely twists your wishes in the most awful ways you can’t imagine. So please, think carefully about what you wish for.”

“Really,” Halak said, incredulously. “If you are so terrible, aren’t you supposed to eat me or something?”

Kaylos laughed. “No, you conjured me so I cannot eat you, at least not until your wishes are used up. And you are scrawny.”

“Then I shall wish to be more….”

“No! Stop!” Kaylos interrupted. He sloughed off the disguise he had borrowed earlier, from the citadel harem. Although the woman’s skin was pleasant to wear, it was clearly distracting Halak from a serious conversation. Kaylos’s true form was a muscular, red-skinned, nine-foot humanoid, with ebony horns, small fangs, and opal eyes. Plus gold chains, lots of finely wrought gold chains, arm bands, baldrics, and so forth.

Halak gasped and stepped back, momentary ruffled. Then he laughed, first a snicker and then huge guffaws. “If you think this show is going to turn me away from enjoying you in my bedchamber, then you are mistaken. I know all the genie tricks. I’ve studied for decades.”

“Might I suggest you take me more seriously,” Kaylos boomed, hoping to turn his newfound freedom into a serious opportunity for moneymaking and mayhem. While Kaylos could not grant himself wishes, he could influence others’ minds, not to mention read their deepest desires. Halak desired gold.

“Let’s rampage together,” Kaylos offered. “Imagine a mountain of coins, each one with your face as king minted upon it.” Halak went over to a nearby desk, sat down, poured a decanter of tea, and picked up his quill.

“What are you doing?” Kaylos demanded impatiently, seeing his suggestion had failed to influence Halak. “We can help each other to achieve our greatest desires. You will become the richest, most powerful and adored wizard in the world!”

Kaylos could read all of Halak’s deepest desires easily enough.

“I’m taking notes on you,” Halak said. “Very rarely have I had the opportunity to study efreeti for more than a few moments.” He kept writing. “I just had a wonderful insight and wanted to jot it down. Memory at my age isn’t what it used to be, you know. Oh, would you like some tea?”

Kaylos had reached his limit. What impudence! Alas, Halak was the one who had polished the gem and set Kaylos free, so he could nothing to harm him. Nor did there seem to be anyone Halak cared enough about for Kaylos to hold hostage.

“Feel free to use the bed for a nap,” Halak said. “Oh wait,” he added sarcastically. “You’ve been napping for hundreds of years.” He turned to Kaylos with a twinkle in his eye, and said more seriously, “You are starved, aren’t you?”

“I will happily mutilate, desiccate, and conflagrate every living thing in this noisome palace!” Kaylos spat.

“So you want me to make wishes after all?”

“Yes. Fine. Go ahead.”

“But that will surely open some gate to the flames of the Elemental Plane of Fire. Why do you think I’d want to do that?”

“Because you will be resting comfortably by cool waters, surrounded by beautiful virgins, with a set of adamantine statues—your petrified enemies—standing all around you.”

“What a wonderful idea,” Halak said. “I’m glad I thought of that.” He understood Kaylos could read minds, and had picked out a fanciful image. “So why don’t you just go ahead and kill everyone? I’ll be here when you get back.”

Kaylos felt something was off. This wizard was far more powerful, or dangerously stupid, than he had assumed. Kaylos unfurled his wings to their fullest might. His hair blazed with fire and his eyes danced with darkness. He strode to Halak the puny wizard still at his desk. “Who are you really?” he roared.

Halak trembled ever so slightly. Then his resolve strengthened. He whispered into Kaylos’s giant be-ringed ear. “What is important is that your existence is based on an error.”

Kaylos eyed him strangely. Surely, this was no preacher.

Halak continued. “Tell me, genie, are there not an infinite number of potential possibilities in the multiverse?”

“Yes,” Kaylos said. “If we are to get philosophical. It is infinity that is my livelihood and my friend. How else to twist even the most carefully worded wishes? Do you wish to have in your possession a million gold coins? You shall, though they will belong to a demon prince, or perhaps I will disembody you and send your spirit to rule over a cursed treasure trove as its eternally damned guardian.”

“I think I could do better,” Halak commented lightly.

“Those were just examples,” Kaylos offered apologetically.

“You know, Kaylos,” Halak said, “I’m not interested in fulfilling my wishes. They entertain my imagination. When they become real, I bore quickly of them. So I’m curious, if I asked you for knowledge about something, and you didn’t know offhand, how would you go about answering my question? Before transforming me into a mute toad or what-not, of course.”

“I’d visit the location,” Kaylos began. “I can travel freely anywhere in the multiverse. No creature can bind me to its place and no prison is authorized to hold me by godly decree, except, of course, for the gem I was released from. And there is nothing in the gem I don’t know. What do you wish to learn of?”

“I wish,” Halak began, switching his speech to his native tongue, draconic, which is the language of silver dragons. “I wish for you to verbally tell me, in this room, from your personal perspective of course, what it is like for you to reside outside the multiverse.” Kaylos had never been outside the multiverse, so he had to check. Unfortunately for him, all who exit existence cease to exist and cannot return.

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