Djinn

Sometimes somebody stumbles across this story who’s never met a djinn. Sometimes somebody will be reading Priyanka’s history and they’ll understand—

Maybe—

What kind of choice she faced, but not why she had to face it, or what it meant that Persephone called her djinn.

And if you ever met a magic Professor and expressed a confusion of this sort he would probably ask you, “What do they teach at school these days?”

What do they teach?

But then, because he’s a good sort, and magical to boot, he’d explain.

Djinn

the professor would say

are what some of the gods and fantastical creatures became after 539 BCE. They’re also called “the people of salt.” They’re humans, mortal creatures, only they can turn into a god. Since the world is severed from most of its gods these days—since the lot of a god is not to exist any longer—djinni pretty much catch fire and burn into nothingness when they transcend. We say that angels answer emptiness with hope; that fiends bring madness; that demons teach acceptance; and djinn? Djinn burst into flame and rip their souls to shreds and fade away.

That’s the tradition, at least;

the professor explains

but it’s better these days, with the gods and monsters coming back.

Now a djinn has a shot at living through transcendence. Now it’s a bit more like the old world, when you could say, “djinni are the seeds of gods” instead of “djinni are really good at spontaneous combustion.” When you could say, “djinn are unrealized gods” instead of “djinni paths do not resolve.” But even when a djinn does become a god, gods are still a bit . . . unreal these days. And some of them are dubious!

It’s not all pancakes and sunshine!

It’s a thicket of weirdly-shaped thorns!

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