Chapter 6: An Unforeseen End
Mozenrath raised his clenched fists above his head, his face holding an expression of pain as he began to speak ancient words. A vortex of wind began to overtake the thrown room, sending the young sorcerer's long dark hair and royal blue garments blowing in all directions. Blue flames began to engulf his gauntlet. The flames grew larger until they defied gravity itself and detached from Mozenrath's glove. They then turned into a growing sphere of fire, a sphere made up of the darkest and lightest blues swirling together. The sorcerer lowered his head and gave Aladdin and Cassim a most menacing glare.
Aladdin, not used to being fearful, could not help but duck next to his father as the wind blew his hair into his frightened young face. He then looked to his father, helpless, not knowing how he would get them out of such an impossible situation. Cassim looked back to him, a glint of confidence in his eyes. All he could do was squeeze his son's arm tighter in a reassuring manner. Aladdin was not sure what could possibly be reassuring about this, but assumed his father knew something he didn't.
It was then that Aladdin thought he saw, and he couldn't be positive, the young sorcerer smile at them. Before he could even begin to process what he assumed he imagined, Mozenrath began to speak.
"You have ALWAYS tormented me," he growled angrily, still looking toward the two men. "You haunt me in my sleep, and now you haunt my very footsteps!" Mozenrath shouted over the howling of the wind.
Destane looked on, smirking as he waited for his ex-apprentice to rid him of those two menacing pests.
"No longer will I be covered by your shadow! No longer will you put me down with your incessant abuse, and NO LONGER will I allow you to hurt me, OR the ones I care for!" The young sorcerer's face held an expression of deep pain and sorrow as he shouted the words he had wished to say since he was a young boy. Mozenrath's eyes narrowed as he turned around quickly. He was ready to face the real source of the hatred he had felt with such intensity as long as he could remember.
The look on Destane's face spoke volumes as he realized what was coming. Before he had a chance to do anything, the larger-than-life blue sphere of fire was released from Mozenrath's hands, barreling toward him. Mozenrath roared with fury and agony as he pushed the sphere away from himself. The energy of conjuring up such a powerful entity caused the young sorcerer to collapse to the floor. He could barely find the strength in his arms to push himself up to see what was about to happen.
Aladdin and his father watched the scene unfold in awe. The giant blue sphere of fire engulfed Destane's body in one swift motion. The evil man's body writhed as he screamed in pain. It was only a matter of seconds before the sphere exploded outward with a force so strong it knocked father and son out of the orb and off of their feet. The silence that followed was deafening, but lasted only for a short time.
Suddenly another wind picked up, but came from behind Aladdin and Cassim. The wind became strong, and was growing stronger still. Some of the smaller and lighter demons began being pushed back into the sphere of fire, growling and scratching to stay out. Father and son began to feel that very wind push on them, trying to take them into the sphere as well. The Sultan and guards were safe for now, as they were still bound to the very ground they stood, but Aladdin looked to Mozenrath's direction.
"Son! We must find shelter!" Cassim yelled over the wind.
Aladdin pointed toward his brother's limp body. Cassim looked to where Aladdin was pointing and saw his other son slowly being pushed, closer and closer toward the portal to the underworld.
Cassim and Aladdin ran toward Mozenrath as fast as they could. They each placed the young sorcerer's arms over one of their shoulders and hoisted him to his feet.
"Mozenrath!" Aladdin pleaded, "You've got to wake up!"
"Yes son!" Cassim chimed in. "We must get to a safer place!"
Mozenrath was close to losing consciousness, but could still hear the two men that were holding him up. He did not respond verbally, but gingerly began taking steps. With the help of the other two, they were able to walk quickly against the ever-increasing strength of the wind. They moved behind one of the giant support pillars, and sat the young sorcerer down against it. Aladdin and Cassim sat on either side of him, holding their arms around each other and Mozenrath to keep anyone from being pulled by the wind into the sphere.
The screams and moans of the demons continued as each one was pulled back into the hell from where it came. The horrible sounds of the demons and the howling of the wind was becoming harder and harder for Aladdin to take. It was just when he thought he could take no more that it stopped. The throne room became silent and deathly still.
Aladdin hadn't realized how tightly he had his eyes closed until he opened them and felt the soreness. He looked over to his father, and the two smiled at each other, happy to have the nightmare be over. Aladdin's expression then sobered, as he looked to his unconscious brother being held in his arms.
"Do you think he'll be okay?" he asked his father, his voice quiet.
"I don't know," Cassim replied truthfully. "I have no idea as to how much strength is taken when you perform a spell of that magnitude."
It was then that Aladdin and his father heard coughing and rustling to their right. Aladdin suddenly felt guilty as he realized the Sultan and guards were in need of help as well.
Leaving Mozenrath in the caring arms of Cassim, Aladdin walked over to the shackled group. Using one of the many lock picks he kept on hand for just such an emergency, like father like son, he began to pick at the Sultan's lock.
"Are you all right your Highness? Everyone?" Aladdin asked as he looked around to check the others. All he got was an audible mumble of moans and groans in return.
"My dear boy," the Sultan spoke as Aladdin unlocked his shackles. "Did my eyes deceive me, or did Mozenrath really just save us all?"
Aladdin looked back to where his father held Mozenrath. "No Sultan, your eyes did not deceive you."
"Then it really is true? He is your brother?" asked the Sultan with raised eyebrows.
"Yes, it is." Aladdin did not know what else to say as he now unlocked a guards shackles.
A disgusted snort came from none other than Razoul. "So not only does the street rat have a famous thief for a father, but now one of Agrabah's most notorious villains is his brother? That's some family tree," the guard trailed off with a laugh.
Aladdin threw Razoul a dangerous glare, one that stopped the annoying man's laughing immediately.
"I'm going back to check on him," Aladdin stated. "It takes a lot more energy to save people than it does to criticize them," he added with venom. He then threw his lock pick the Razoul. "Here, you can do some work for once and unlock everyone else."
A stunned captain of the guards had no comeback as he watched the younger man walk back to his father and brother.
Aladdin kneeled down next to his father. Mozenrath now lay on the floor, Cassim's cloak rolled up underneath his head, supporting it.
Aladdin looked to his father, his face masked with sorrow. "I always knew he had some good in him. I knew it."
Cassim watched his youngest son shake his head back and forth, cursing himself.
"That will be enough of that, Aladdin," his deep voice commanded. "Blaming yourself will solve nothing. Especially when it was not your fault."
Aladdin sighed, meeting his father's eyes with his own remorseful gaze. "What if he never wakes? What if I never even get the chance to thank him for saving us all? What if-?"
Aladdin was abruptly cut off, feeling the sudden tight grip of a slender hand on his arm.
"What if you stop your incessant babbling and help me get some of my dignity back?"
The younger man looked down at Mozenrath, his eyes wide with surprise.
Mozenrath smirked up at his former enemy and, for the first time since Aladdin's known him, the smile was genuine. It actually touched his eyes.
Cassim beamed, his face not daring to hide the true elation he felt inside.
Mozenrath looked between Cassim and Aladdin, a quizzical expression taking over his features. "So are you guys just going to smile like idiots all day or are you going to help me with that whole dignity issue?" The sorcerer only received wide smiles in response. Mozenrath rolled his eyes, sighing to himself. "Help me up!"
Father and son each gripped the sorcerer under an arm, carefully helping him to a sitting position.
Mozenrath groaned, leaning forward as he placed a hand against his forehead.
"Son? Are you going to be all right?" Cassim inquired with worry.
The young sorcerer regarded Cassim with a guarded expression. "Son?" Mozenrath thought to himself. That was going to take some getting used to. However, it was much better than being called worthless, a nobody, a waste of space, and seemingly thousands of other insults he was used to growing up with Destane. Destane. Mozenrath smiled to himself now. That was one name he was free from once and for all. And that meant, all the insults and torturing went away with it.
Cassim looked at his older son, still worried as he had a funny look on his face and had still not answered him. He put a strong hand on the sorcerer's shoulder.
Mozenrath snapped back to reality. His eyes were wide with surprise before he regained his composure and opened his mouth to speak.
"Aw don't mind him dad," Aladdin cut in. "Mozenrath's always floating in and out of consciousness. It's the way his brain works, or doesn't," he jabbed, smirking at his former enemy.
A cool smile spread over Mozenrath's lips as he turned his gaze back to Aladdin. "Weren't you crying two seconds ago about how you might never be able to thank me, oh younger brother?"
Aladdin stiffened, a flush of embarrassment touching his cheeks. Cassim chuckled quietly on Mozenrath's other side.
"First of all, I wasn't "crying"," Aladdin countered. "And secondly, weren't you supposed to be unconscious?"
Mozenrath shrugged nonchalantly, his attention focused on his hands. "Maybe that's what I wanted you to think, at least for long enough to hear what you had to say about me." He flashed a winning grin at the younger man, his eyes full of mischief.
Aladdin looked as though he was about ready to pounce, an angry look gracing his features. No one could make him annoyed the way that Mozenrath could. Before he could say or do anything, Cassim cut him off.
"Aladdin, I do believe Mozenrath is not in the best condition to be taunted," he stated. Cassim smiled inwardly despite his serious tone. He could see the two becoming closer right before his very eyes. Sure they were arguing and getting on each other's nerves, but isn't that what brothers are supposed to do? At least no one was trying to kill anyone.
Aladdin got to his feat, fighting off the urge to argue as he knew his dad was right. He offered his hand down to Mozenrath.
"Do you think you can stand?" he asked his brother with raised eyebrows.
Mozenrath regarded the other mans offer, not being able to help but be wary. Slowly nodding, the sorcerer grabbed the younger man with his gauntleted hand. He was inwardly shocked to see that Aladdin had not cringed when he gripped his own hand around the skeletal digits underneath the glove. Instead, Aladdin easily pulled Mozenrath to his feet. He had a serious expression as he met the sorcerer's eyes, not letting go of his hand.
"I wanted to thank you, Mozenrath, for saving all of us. For saving all of Agrabah." His face was still serious, his eyes boring into his brother's.
Mozenrath tried to wave him off, not knowing how to handle gratitude. When it came to thanks, it was not something he ever received in his life.
Aladdin tightened his grip, pulling the sorcerer closer to his face. "You did something for us here today, but that doesn't negate the fact that you were the one who originally brought on the hellish nightmare. I need to know, Mozenrath. Did you simply just rid yourself of a hated enemy, or did you do it to save the lives of your father and I as well?"
Mozenrath gazed steadily at Aladdin. He could still feeling the iron grip on his hand and saw the somber stare the younger man's eyes reflected. He then did something that Aladdin could not have expected, that no one ever would have guessed.
Mozenrath placed his left arm firmly around his younger brother's shoulders. He pulled Aladdin closer, his hold on him steady.
Aladdin tensed, he could not help it. This was very out of character for the other man, and Aladdin did not know how to take it.
"Because you cannot seem to understand my subtleties, I'll have to be physical in order to speak your language." Mozenrath spoke quietly as he continued to hold his brother close. He could feel the other man's stiffness. A small part of him smiled at the fact that he could still instill fear in the other man. However, this was not about rivalry, not anymore. "Are you so obtuse that you didn't even recognize all that went on?" he continued to speak into Aladdin's ear. "I killed Destane, yes, but not without saving you two first. I could have easily disposed of you, and then of him. Did that ever cross your mind?"
Aladdin pushed back to an arm's length, still holding onto the other man but now looking in his eyes.
"Why? You were set on coming here tonight and destroying us all. Why the sudden change?"
Mozenrath snorted, another actual smile gracing his features as he regarded the other man. "Sudden? You think it was a spur of the moment decision?" he laughed to himself some more. "Come now Aladdin, when have I EVER done something that was not completely and thoroughly thought through?"
Aladdin raised an eyebrow. "I don't understand… what do you mean?"
Mozenrath shook his head. "I've been thinking about this whole situation ever since my spell failed in my throne room. Ever since that moment when I realized you two were telling the truth."
"So," Cassim now cut in thoughtfully. "You had never intended on going through with it at that point? That doesn't make any sense because-"
Mozenrath raised a hand, effectively cutting off the other man. "Okay, so I wasn't sure EXACTLY what would happen tonight. But that doesn't mean I didn't think about it. But when I realized that you two were willing to give your life in order to help me, something just clicked inside of me."
Aladdin smirked. "Maybe it was that tiny thing you call a heart."
Mozenrath sent a cool smile in Aladdin's direction. "Very good Aladdin. I'm surprised your tiny brain could figure that one out."
The younger man rolled his eyes. "At least I'm not a pompous, arrog-"
"Boys," Cassim interrupted. "Shouldn't we at least be trying to get along?"
Mozenrath snorted. "Oh believe me, this is trying."
Aladdin nodded in response, a smile on his lips. He then threw an arm around Mozenrath's shoulders. "So are you SURE you'll be able to stop trying to take over Agrabah? It is kind of a hobby of yours."
Mozenrath waved his younger brother off. "That was then," he stated nonchalantly.
"It was a half hour ago!" Aladdin came back with a laugh.
Mozenrath regarded his brother seriously. "Right, like I said, that was then. When I didn't realize I had people who actually care for me." He looked between his brother and his father. "And this is now."
Aladdin and Cassim grinned widely. In spite of himself, Mozenrath couldn't help but smile in return.
"Well isn't that cute," a gruff voice spoke suddenly. "The street rat and his family of no-good embezzlers and villainous sorcerers have been reunited at last." Razoul laughed to himself while the guards ranked below him stood watching with wide eyes.
All three of the other men glared. Aladdin took a step toward Razoul before Mozenrath stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"Is he bothering you?" the sorcerer asked with a crooked smile, his gauntlet beginning to glow.
A frightened Razoul stepped back, moving behind a pillar and peering cautiously around it.
Aladdin chuckled at the sight. "Nah, but let's not dismiss that as an option."
Mozenrath smirked and gave him a thumbs up with his gauntleted hand. The motion of the gesture caused a small ball of fire to fly in Razoul's direction. The fire hit the pillar that he was standing behind. They heard a nervous yelp come from the Captain of the Guards on the other side of the pillar.
Aladdin couldn't help but laugh. "I have a feeling that having you around isn't going to be all that bad."
Mozenrath shook his head. "You say that NOW, but you'll be sick of me soon enough. What with visiting for all the birthdays, anniversaries… tea parties or whatever it is you hero types do."
Aladdin just smiled to himself. It would take a long time for Mozenrath to willingly accept the fact that they had a true friendship, a brotherhood even. The sorcerer was doing his best to try though. And that was an improvement Aladdin never thought, but had always hoped, he would see.