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Malvec rubbed the lamp experimentally. It glowed and then became hot. Putting it down with a curse, the pirate backed away and gaped as a bluish smoke poured from the mouth of the lamp. It swirled into a miniature tornado and then solidified into a huge mannish shape, it’s hide as black as obsidian and gleaming like oil.
“You may ask anything you wish,” The shape stated, “And it will be yours.”
Malvec had heard of these, Gins, he thought they were called. The wishes were tricky. Ask for a fortune and it’s yours, but you would either be the owner of stolen wealth or put somewhere where it couldn’t be spent. He thought, and then shook his head, “Nay, spirit, I’ll not ask.”
The Djinn roared, “Ask or die!!”
Malvec backpedaled, holding up his hands, “All right, all right. Let me think.”
“Ask, or die,” The djinn repeated the threat, but in a softer tone.
“Okay…” The pirate said, nodding, “I ask that I never have anything bad or inconvenient ever happen again in my life.”
The djinn’s eyes glowed and it said, with a smile, “Granted.” As it pulled the pirate’s head from his shoulders.
This is your prologue. Now tell the story.
So the story goes. It’s what happened afterwords where the real tale begins. Malvek’s wish had been granted – since nothing bad or inconvenient could happen to him, he could not die. He considered that both “bad” and “inconvenient”, and the Gin had to obey his own rules, or be locked up in the lamp for eternity. However, that didn’t mean it had to occur on Earth, you see. The Gin made it so Malvek could live with just his head before casing it off into the unknown reaches of space.
“Whyyyyyy?” Malvek howled into the vacuum, remaining unheard by any he passed. Until his head landed on a small, barely inhabited planet, there to be found by a local who would care for him and keep him company. After all, starving to death and being lonely were also considered “bad” and “inconvenient”. Malvek had not specified that he couldn’t undergo hardships, so the one who found him was unable to understand him, and he was unable to understand the local. Many a night by the fireside was spent with the two trying to understand each other, with little progress. It was the end of the first month that the local managed to finally convince Malvek her name was “Domycht Finthil” or Night Moon in the local language.
With names established, though Domycht was convinced Malvek’s name was “Metostae”, or “It’s in” in the local language, the two found themselves in good company. Domycht, a trader by day and prankster by night, would often offer Malvek’s head up for sale when she set up at the local markets. Malvek used the opportunity to scare the customers into paying more than they should for the wares Domycht offered, satisfying his pirate heritage.
This lasted several lunars, until the pair upset one of the local nobles. Being away from the Gin, the noble had both Malvek and the merchant cursed, then forced off planet through an unconnected portal.
To find their way home, they had to join forces, and search out the one world they were banned from and return. Malvek, only familiar with sailing ships, couldn’t figure out a form to use to move between stars. Domycht, unfamiliar with navigation without roads, was familiar with animals that could cover vast distances in space. When the two talked it over, they settled on Domycht selecting the form, and Malvek choosing their course. The pair have been riding the ghost horse for millennia, searching for a way back home to have the curse broken. Unfortunately, neither remember any longer that they are banned from the planet. Now that they have reached the barrier, behind which the planet hides, they continually push at it, and get no where.
Cosmic dust has collected, like particles of knowledge, on their lives giving shape to the nebula. Perhaps, one day, when we finally reach the nebula ourselves, we can give the pair their final release, which is rumored to be all they ask for now.