Dance of Eternity
(Summary: In the city of Abd al Matin, he was transformed into a weapon. He no longer had control. That was the scariest part. Mozenrath-centric.)
(Author's Note: Aladdin and all of it's characters are copyrighted under Walt Disney Television and other respective owners. The title of this story is based off of "Dance of Eternity," by Dream Theater. This story is based off of various ideas and rumors floating around the web, combined with some of my own. I thought I'd give it a try. I hope you like the result. Footnotes are at the bottom of each chapter.)
"Ah, would you look at that, Iago," Cassim said, gazing at the darkening horizon. "First desert rain I've seen in a long time."
The bird fidgeted nervously. "I hate rain."
"What? Why?" Cassim grinned widely at the remark, amused.
Iago grimaced, looking somewhat ugly as he thought back on his past. "I had to create a storm so Jafar could find Aladdin."
"I got struck by lightning, you jerk!" he squawked loudly, filling the desert with his brash, unfriendly voice.
To which Cassim responded -
In choking laughter.
"Eh, shut up," Iago growled, choosing to silence himself amongst the older mans chortles.
"I'm sorry, Iago," he said, "But it is quite funny."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, where are we going anyway?"
"There's supposed to be some sort of hidden city somewhere through here. Quite a few magical… and expensive… artifacts."
Iago rubbed his wings together as a human might his hands. "Ooh, sounds like a good investment."
"Yes," Cassim replied slyly, then his voice trailed back to normal. "But the problem is finding it. There's wards all over the place. Makes it almost impossible to find."
Iago frowned at the prospect of receiving no gold after their long trip through the desert.
"Fly above. See what you can find," Cassim ordered.
"You got it, boss," he said, taking off, his red wings exposed to the sky.
Cassim maneuvered his horse around the sand slowly, looking for any clue that there was even a city there at all. Perhaps that old man had been lying. Or maybe he'd been crazy. Looking back on the man's appearance, that could have been a highly likely prospect. He cursed himself for his insatiable nature to follow leads when money could be involved. Then again, that's why you're called the King of Thieves.
"Hey, Cassim! I think I see something!"
He approached Iago rather quickly. "What? What is it?"
"Look!" he gestured at a twinkling object among the sand.
"Hmm…" he dismounted his horse, keeping hold on the reins so it would follow him. He stretched his hand out and picked up the object. "Seems to be some sort of gem. Maybe off of a turban."
It glinted against the setting sun. Iago fluttered down to Cassim's shoulder, examining it more closely.
"I don't think it's worth anything," Cassim said. "It's cracked and damaged. But it does lead me to believe that there is something here."
"That thing… looks familiar," Iago said. "Where have I seen it before?"
"This? It's probably on millions of turbans."
Iago cocked his head to the side, taking in the detail. From what he could see, the gem was shaped almost half-way between a diamond and an oval, lined in gold, and all together looked like a ruby or a garnet. The color of the gem had been tainted with horrible weather and all together neglect, but Iago figured if it had been shined up, it would be a brilliant red.
"No… I've seen it somewhere in particular."
"Really?" Cassim held it up to the sun. "Where?"
"I'm trying to remember." He squinted his eyes shut, trying to think. He remembered that gem… being associated with blue… lots of blue… and gold. Black hair… pale face…
"I KNOW!" he exclaimed, flapping nervously. "Cassim, we gotta get outta here! We gotta go! Let's go!"
"What? Whatever for?"
"That thing belongs to a powerful sorcerer! And he wants to kill me!"
"Well, Aladdin. But I'm a good freakin' start!"
"Iago, this thing is damaged beyond repair. Even if this sorcerer was here, I doubt he is now."
"I don't know, Cassim. This seems like him. Magical city… he's always messin' with magical artifacts. The last time I saw him, he was looking for a new body. His was getting too weak. He tried to take Al's, but his spirit was too strong. I bet he's somewhere around here."
Cassim squared his jaw, looking a little indecisive. The bird was obviously alarmed at the fact that this sorcerer was around, but… then again… Iago had the tendency to be easily frightened. Cunning as he could be, he was really a coward.
"And who is this almighty sorcerer? And who's to say that I can't take him? Surely if my son can, I can."
"Cassim, Mozenrath is no easy guy to deal with!"
"Mozenrath, eh? I think I've heard of him. He is quite a sorcerer."
The rain was coming in their direction. Cassim eyed it with caution. "The rain's coming."
"Hey - you see something?"
"What's that?" He looked in the direction of the rain again as Iago did.
As the rain moved closer, a large shadow began to protrude against the cloudy twilight.
"The city!" he exclaimed, mounting his horse again. "Let's go!"
Cassim moved forward, ignoring Iago.
Within the city of Abd al Matin, was a large palace. Within that palace was a dungeon. Within that dungeon, lay a withered, pale-skinned man, shackled and silent. Any one who might have known him would not have recognized his skinny, obedient form. He had been reduced to nothing but a servant. He heard the clink of bars and swallowed thickly, not wanting to think of what was to come.
"How are you feeling?" came the bitter, sarcastic remark of one of the guards within the palace.
He cast a dead glance in his direction. The large man cackled, grabbing the boy's shoulder and yanking him to his feet. His legs shook slightly under his weight (or lack there of). The man gave him a golden-toothed grin, then callously threw him back to the floor.
"Your magic's coming in handy boy. We're so glad we found you."
He clenched his fists slightly, feeling his heart beat faster. He would have given anything for his gauntlet. He bit back cruel words, knowing what he would receive in return.
"You like having your hand back, boy? Being normal?"
Being normal as your slave is far worse than dieing under my own control.
"Well, we've decided to do something with you," he said, smirking. "The master has decided to make you his weapon."
Mozenrath narrowed his eyes, feeling the blood rushing through his veins in silent fury.
"That's right, a weapon."
With those words, three other men entered the room, cloaked and looking almost withered with age. His eyes widened. What are they going to do?
Plans of escape flitted through his mind, but he had difficulty adapting to situations without his gauntlet. He wasn't Aladdin - he never had to really acclimatize to any situation. He looked down at his right hand, now fleshy and pale as his left. He almost wished for the skeletal figure of it once more. At least then he knew that he had some aspect of control. Now, he was normal, and therefore useless.
The figures closed in, and try as he might to fight them off, he was weakened too much by malnutrition and the general weakness he had already experienced to do a thing.
All he could do was scream.
End of Chapter One
Abd al Matin - Muslim for "Servant of the Strong"