At last, when the dust settled, the Queen and the Jinni stood on the mountaintop and looked down on the battlefield and the bodies spread like leaves across the desert. The Queen fell to her knees, wearied and wounded and her sword dropped from her hand. Before her, the doorway to Ambadya burned with fires of every color.All I wanted, said the Queen, was peace between our peoples. But I see now that this is not possible, for my people are ruled by a dreamer and the jinn are ruled by a monster. My only consolation is that thou art by my side, my Jinni. I would die in the company of a friend and give thee my final breath. For I have one wish remaining and it is for thy freedom, yea, even at the cost of mine own life.At this the Jinni shook her head, replying, Nay, my queen. The time for wishing is passed. For here is the Shaitan, Lord of all Jinn and King of Ambadya.And even as she spoke, the fires in the doorway rose higher and through them stepped Nardukha the Shaitan, terrible to behold.O impudent woman, said the Shaitan, looking down at the Queen. Wouldst thou dare make the Forbidden Wish?I would, she replied. For I fear thee not.Then thou art a fool.As the Queen’s heart turned to ashes, realizing her doom was upon her, the Shaitan turned to the Jinni and said, Dost thou recall the first rule of thy kinsmen, Jinni?And the Jinni replied, Love no human.And hast thou kept this commandment?Lord, I have. And up she rose, as the Queen cried out in dismay.Are not we like sisters? asked the Queen. Of one heart and one spirit?And the Jinni replied, Nay, for I am a creature of Ambadya and thus is my nature deceitful and treacherous. My Lord has come at last and I would do all that he commands.The Shaitan, looking on with approval, said to the Jinni, This human girl is proud and foolish, thinking she could rule both men and jinn. I am well pleased with thee, my servant, who hast brought her to me. Slay the queen and prove thy loyalty to thy king.And the Jinni grinned and in her eyes rose a fire. With pleasure, my Lord.Then, with a wicked laugh, she struck down the good and noble Queen, the mightiest and wisest of all the Amulen monarchs, whose only mistake was that she had dared to love a Jinni.
Jessica Khoury