Bartimaeus was gone. He had dismissed him. This was it.
Nathanial watched as Nouda was just in the right position as the staff broke, the deafening sound of crashing iron throttling the marid and the ground around him. Faintly, Nathaniel smiled, knowing at least that it worked, as he was thrown back against the remainder of the walls from the blast. No longer did he even bother to try and keep awake. Why should he? After all, Kitty was alive, Bartimaeus was safe… Yes. Dying wasn't so bad after all.
He closed his eyes and let the echoing of the crashing around him cease.
It was an odd thing, really. He felt like he was simply leaving. No longer doing everything he was on Earth, more rather… being. He saw a shape of himself form, he was watching it from afar. How curious. Is this where you go when you die? He wondered. He watched as his human shape walked peacefully towards two large doors. They both started to open, but at different speeds. One moved rather slowly, and the other opened like it was on a hinge.
His form moved naturally towards the hinged door, as if it was supposed to go there, but for some reason, something in his mind fought it. Just out of curiosity he wanted to see what was in that other door. Why was it so hard to get to? Was it like this for all humans?
Horribly, and weakly, his form struggled, flickering and wavering, but eventually managing to grasp the half opened edges. His form peered inside, and his view followed. That was all it took for him to understand. It was no longer his form, it was his essence.
Nathaniel had gone to the Other Place.
As he was pulled in abruptly, his vision snapped back inside his head, not that it made much difference. There wasn't much to see, except distant images, some colliding, and some blurry. Some his, some not. He let out a silent scream, but no one, no essence seemed bothered by his distress.
Who are you? A voice was asking him. He tried to turn, but it was useless. His form wasn't cooperating anymore. He tried speaking again, but no words formed. No matter, he couldn't see anything. A few hundred more images few before him. One was a blurry picture of the form Bartimaeus always took, laughing over a scroll of some sort. But that was impossible, he'd never seen that-
Who are you? The voice asked again, except stronger. He made up his mind to answer. Oddly, even though he used no voice, started to come naturally. His mind told him to ignore what used to be a form, and focus on the abstract thoughts floating about his head. Project them.Then, what should he say? His name? Sure. Why not? He was dead, after all. What harm could be done? A bitter picture show of his former masters seemed to play through his mind to answer his question.
Nathaniel. He replied.
There was a long silence, and the voice seemed to have vanished, and in all honesty, Nathaniel wasn't intent on chasing it down. Not when he had yet to figure out how to move. Why move? A voice in his essence was lazily asking him questions he'd never thought of. You've been moving your whole life. Just sit still and let power come to you. More will come, you know. But no, if not for just the sake of curiosity, Nathaniel needed to at least know how to move.
What did one require to move? A form. Well that put an abrupt halt to the learning. He thought of his old form, focusing on it's aspects and trying to apply them to his current state. Using every part of his memory that he'd so vigourously trained, he tried to remember everything logical he'd ever been taught about the physics of movement. Of course none of that applied to djinn, but it was worth a shot. To his shock, the form, his form, that he'd been concentrating on so hard started appearing before his very eyes.
So this is the wonders of the Other Place and of essence. He awed. Movement followed easily. He examined one of his hands. Identical. Exactly how he remembered it. In his wonderment, he failed to notice another form had appeared, one that didn't seem to think it was nice at all that he'd taken a form.
Nathaniel's dead. Who are you really? The Egyptian boy demanded coldly. Nathaniel looked up from his hand. There was no doubt in his mind that it was Bartimaeus in front of him, but it wasn't just from recognition. Some other sense. His essence, or something he couldn't put his finger on. What worried him most was how faint it was, and how despite being able to create a form how one liked, Bartimaeus's form looked tired.
This the Other Place? He decided to keep his questions short and to the point. Make sure he wasn't hallucinating, or worse, in an illusion of Nouda's.
Bartimaeus scowled, and Nathaniel realized it. There were two things wrong. When he had seen through Bartimaeus' eyes, he'd seen Kitty's unearthly aura, and she'd only been human. Bartimaeus' should've been enough to light a good sized room, but he barely saw a glow. Not only that, but the sarcastic djinn wasn't smiling. No matter what, he'd always managed to make a joke. Generally at Nathaniel's expense, mind, but regardless. His face was dead serious, and it was somewhat unsettling.
Who are you? Bartimaeus repeated. I won't way it again.
Nathaniel, as I told you. Nathaniel frowned. This was getting tiresome. There had to be a way to prove he was who he said he was. He ran through his memories. Lovelace, the mercenary, Kitty. He found it! He projected an image Mrs. Underwood. Bartimaeus, just stared at the picture for a minute, blinked a couple times, then, turned back to Nathaniel.
Who's this? He asked. The poor magician turned djinn bristled.
Mrs. Underwood, you dolt!
Well, excuse me! I never met her! You upped and burned the house down before I could say my 'how do you do's. Bartimaeus returned, looking deeply offended.
I didn't burn the house down! Nathaniel hollered, stomping his foot childishly. He glared at the boy across from him for a while, before noticing that his expression had changed.
Bartimaeus didn't answer. He looked an odd combination of stunned and tired. Then all at once he gained a sly grin. Nathaniel fidgeted. The expression reminded him all too much of when he'd lost the safety of his birth name.
You're a djinn. Bartimaeus grinned nastily.
Don't be stupid. Nathaniel retorted. Ptolemy had crossed the boundries of the Other Place, why couldn't he? It most certainly didn't mean he was an entity.
This is great. I can't wait to see how you'll take your first order! Hah! Bartimaeus burst out laughing. It was Nathaniel's turn to scowl. He skulked over where he was standing, waiting for Bartimaeus to finish his prattle about how he'd have masters for all of eternity and all such nonsense.
Regardless, even if I was, I'd never be summoned. Nathaniel said smugly. Bartimaeus eyed him from where he was chuckling.
And with your seventeen years of infinite knowledge, what makes you think that? The djinn teased him, laughing as he spoke, rocking back and forth on bare heels. Nathaniel ignored him.
No one on the Earthly dimension thinks of my name as any more than that of a humans. Or, have they discovered I'm a djinn. That and, even if they do know I'm a djinn, only one person knows my name. He paused for a second, giving Bartimaeus a knowing look. Kathleen Jones. And I trust her with my name.
Bartimaeus had stopped laughing to instead adopt a fascinated look. He peered at Nathaniel, tilting his head to the side very slightly. Mm. And what a great pity it would be if some people were to catch wind of this great new djinni named Nathaniel, free of a master. Don't you think?
Nathaniel's essence flinched as it was punched. Would Bartimaeus really sentence him to an eternity of slavery? Quite honestly, in some cases, he probably deserved it, but in the end he'd thought…
Bartimaeus suddenly looked quite ill. He cringed, and made an apologetic motion as his form flickered and wavered. Nathaniel walked over to help him up.
What was that? Nathaniel asked. He'd never seen that happen when he'd had Bartimaeus under his service, and he'd certainly never been told about it.
Summoning. Talk later. And with that Bartimaeus vanished. In mild confusion and slight horror, Nathaniel decided to just try and rest up, just in case of the deranged possibility that Bartimaeus was right about him being a djinn. Which of course he wasn't. He couldn't be.
New obsession, folks.
Bartimaeus, and his lovely essence. It occurred to me that the Other Place is usually how people refer to the land of the dead, and so, Nathaniel may become a djinn (or an Imp. But I decided to be nice.) after he died.
May have been done before, but I didn't see it, so, mrph.
-prods big review button-