The Place of Peace, it was called; the Gin Palace; the Flowering of the Desert Spring; and the Garden of the Djinn that Should Last Forever. These are the names of Khiladun, the greatest mansion and oasis of the Djinn of old, and today it is a ruin in the hot Alk'kir desert hidden in the Jizdan Hills. Only its tall towers, rising like startled birds, remain in the overworld. The rest has been consumed by the desert. This is an ancient place, perhaps more than ten-thousand years old, but its greenery and flowers and free-running waters are now dry and spent. It is a physical ruin and can still be visited. Adventurers sometimes make their way through the Jizdan Hills to see if there are any treasures remaining in the ruins of Khiladun to be found. These adventurers are invariably disappointed.
The First War of the Djinn and Elves
Mighty were those called the Djinn. More familiar is the term 'genie'. They are the spirits of the air, and they come from a far away realm which is said to be filled with the fury of the natural forces. Their original world is one of calamitous beings of fire, air, water, and earth, smashing against each other like toppling skyscrapers until nothing is left. No wonder, then, that the Djinn sought to expand elsewhere, seeking to set roots in a less violent world that was ripe for the conquest. So they made a portal into Val'Vahan, but they found not a weak world ripe for conquest, but rather the mighty kingdoms of the Tentyric Kings, flowering in their Summer Age.
Alk'kir had long been under the rule of the line of the Tentyric Kings, and they were most displeased to hear of a Djinn army laying waste to their far western provinces. It was an act of war. The Clans of Muyyaqar brought their chariots, thundering and rolling, quick as lightning, across the dunes and set upon the Djinn. The Elvish sages crafted mighty constructs of sand and stone to match the Djinn in contests of strength. Elvish footmen wore glittering, tall helms with long red plumes, and their long spears gleamed in the wide desert sun. They came upon the Djinn and the Djinn-thralls and put them to the sword. Blood flowed as the newest, greatest river of Alk'kir. But the Djinn had come in a surprising amount of force. And it is said that even Is-Isil the Ever-lasting, the First Tentyric King, partook in the Battle of the Menes, the final battle of the First War of the Djinn and Elves.
The Battle of the Menes occurred at the Fort of Khiladun. The war had been going on for a very long while. While the Djinn controlled the largest portion of land in modern Alk'kir, the Tentyric Kings and their subjects still controlled the riches of the Mendesian River, and their territories were overall more productive than the Djinn's. Furthermore, the Djinn did not seem able to restore themselves in great enough numbers to match the Clans of Muyyaqar. And Elvish magic had trapped many Djinn in lamps or other odd objects, so that they could not reform from their original plane and return to Val'Vahan. Therefore, the Djinn made a desperate attack on the fortress, which held a key position into a mountain pass which led to the source of the Mendesian River. The battle ended in a stalemate, and a concord was signed between the Tentyric Kings and the Djinn. Many years later, this peace would be broken, and the Djinn would be cast back into their original world, but for awhile there was peace between the races.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
At the heart of Khiladun was an oasis that was called the Pearl Betwixt the Emerald, an allusion to the color of the oasis waters at sunrise and the verdant growth around it. The oasis became the centre of much activity of both Elf and Djinn. Khiladun was a place of rest and Art. Beside the idle oasis waves Elves would wax softly on the Elvish sentiments and their lost gods. Djinn would take more solid and tactile forms. They walked as gentle giants, but their dances were as wild as the howling desert dervish. Khiladun was decked in gold and silver. Water flowed freely, as did the wine. Khiladun's walls were torn down, and it was a place open to all travelers. Tucked between the Jizdan Hills, Khiladun was the Emerald that Beheld the Pearl; a bright spire of green in the sterile desert.
It was also a diplomatic meeting point, meant for high-ranking officials of the Djinn and the Elves to meet and speak with each other. But as the years passed and official relations cooled, Khiladun became a place still for the mighty leaders of the two peoples, but its purposes were entirely changed. Its wealth had attracted an unsavory kind of sin.
Khiladun became the destination for great hedonistic acts. Elves, as a race, are less inclined to the lustful kinds of temptations, but in Khiladun that temptation was embraced fully, and the sin grew swollen and black. Even the Djinn women made an appearance at Khiladun. A woman of the Djinn usually hides from public society, or goes about in heavy clothes and veils, as her beauty is too great to be fully revealed. But in Khiladun the women of the Djinn came unclothed. They revealed their many sexual arts there, and Khiladun never knew a moment of silence from that point on, so filled as it was with orgiastic screams. The Elves, normally bound to a single mate, knowing only great pain if they should bond with more than one, learned to revel in the pain, and they sought greater and greater pleasures from the pain. It was a furnace of blazing bodies coiled together in passion.
With food, drink, and sex plenty there, Khiladun was now truly the Garden of Earthly Delights.
The Dismantlement of Khiladun
But among the Djinn and the Elves, especially among the more conservative Tentyric Kings, there was a disgust of this place. That disgust grew into a hatred of the people there. There were many petitions to end the existence of Khiladun, as its original purpose - that of a sign of peace between Djinn and Elf - was no longer respected. At last, Prince Alham, heir to the Tentyric Throne, brought with him the Seventy-seven Ghen Assassins of the Elves and the Thirty-three Wind Princes of the Djinn and came to Khiladun. He slew everyone there in the middle of the night. All were slaughtered, Djinn or Elf, and Khiladun was forcefully abandoned as a sign that peace between the Elves and Djinn could only lead to evil. Prince Alham's last act there was the desertify the oasis, and he transformed the verdant garden into a desolate place. This was to be the last act in union between Djinn and Elf.
The Second War of the Djinn and Elves began a year later, on the anniversary of the Slaughter of Khiladun.
Khiladun was never restored. The desert sands eventually encroached on the old garden, and the grand spires of Khiladun were consumed by the Alk'kir desert. Nothing remains of this beautiful, sinful place. Eternally a symbol of a peace that could never last.
Times of the Tentyric Kings
- Alternative Names
- Gin Palace; Flowering of the Desert Spring; Garden of the Djinn that Should Last Forever
- Mansion / Villa