Villa De Karkaldwin, The Farmlands, Pryldahn, 1439 ATC
It was the early, early hours of morning. Some perhaps late hours of the night even, probably between four and five although Maggie could not be sure because there was no clock in the room. Outside the rosy glow was already appearing in the eastern horizon, promising dawn.
The buxom redhead had trouble sleeping. The baby in her womb was kicking and that kept her awake, turning and tossing on the bed. Finally, Maggie gave up with trying to sleep, deciding to head out, walk a bit, maybe grab a bite. Anything to reset the situation so she could later try again. As she was pulling the silk robe over her night-shirt and letting oit a heavy sigh.
No longer able to close due to her belly she peered through the window, noticing some womanly figures outside already on their way to the work on the fields to collect the last of the harvest. Moving quietly along the still corridor, she slowly waddled down the stairs from her room to the main atrium in the center, heading towards the kitchen. At her eighth month now, Maggie was huge. Just hoping the baby to be born soon so she could move and breathe more easy. Somewhere outside, crickets began their concerto. Shovels already struck earth, their sound carrying in the quiteness of the early morning.
"Just one more month, Anna..."
The kitchen was clean and empty, a large basket of fruit laid in the center of the nearby table beside a bowl of mixed nuts. Many snacks had been kept in the cupboards. Venser himself was either sleeping or in the study, most likely the latter as he had been spending a lot of time in the last few days when he was home.
The kitchen was clean and empty, a large basket of fruit laid in the center of the nearby table. Venser himself was either in his bedroom or study, most likely the latter as he had been spending a lot of time in there as of late when he was home. However, he actually was in the kitchen not five minutes ago and was going back up the stairs, a glass of water and a bowl of cracklings in his hands along with a few books, trying not to drop them all. He passed Maggie's room and went to the door all the way at the end of the hall, entering it and not bothering to close the door despite the lantern light coming from it.
Maggie had some water, she sat down and ate an apple. In the horizon, light was slowly growing brighter, although it would still be an hour before the sun would climb over the horizon.
"Time to get some more sleep... If you let me." The buxom redhead said, patting her round tummy. Walking slowly upstairs, she spotted the normally closed door to Venser's study and saw light coming out. Curious, she drew closer, peeking in through the opened door.
"Venser? You awake already?"
There were several books and notes on his large wooden desk, along with a cracked stone jar covered in dried clay and algae. He sat there eyes glued to a particular book and wearing aboslutely nothing as he sat there.
''No need to whisper.'' Venser said not looking up to her, he gestured for her to come in. ''Can't sleep? It is rather early... Or... Stomach pains?''
"Not pains as such. The baby just woke up and wants some action it seems", Maggie said, remaining at the entrance, resting her hand on her tummy. The man was nude that much she could tell from her position. Why was he working by his desk at this early hour, with nothing on? Venser was excentric, but sometimes Maggie couldn't help thinking he might have been also somehow a little mad. And she knew about how many times he had been hit over the head over the years. She stayed at the door, ignoring the man's invitation to step in.
"So...what are you working on, at this hour?"
''I should be out, maybe checking my warehouses... Maybe at some tavern in some town looking for a mage.'' Venser said standing up, fully showing his naked muscular body for her. He picked up the cracked stone jar with a narrow bottom and held it up in front of her, rotating it around.
''Know what this is?''
"I asked you what you are working on, and you respond by saying you should be somewhere else." Maggie said, raising her ginget eyebrows. When the man got up, revealrng his exhibitionist tendencies.
"No, don't really know what it is. But I bet you're going to tell me", she replied when the man held up the particular vase.
''Yes, and then I'm going to lead you on and you're gonna ask me questions. No particular order.'' He leaned against his desk and set it down beside him. ''So, lemme ask you something before I tell you what I'm working on, since it would sound absurd. Even though...'' Venser raised his left hand and his mark glowed greenish white, emitting steam. ''Magic. I mean, you see people all the time saying something sounds impossible even though they are aware magic exists.''
''Not really where I come from though.''
"I'm aware magic happens, I've seen it enough. Which is not yet to say I would like it or necessarily trust people who use it." Maggie said, eyeing Venser and how eerie glow emanated from his mark.
''Lemme ask another question, if you had three wishes, what would you do with them?'' He moved around the desk and cleared his work space, sitting down again. ''Anything, whatever your heart really desires.''
"You didn't yet ask the first question", Maggie noted. It was true. The man had not asked a question, he had just shared cryptic comments about magic and she had responded to that. "About wishes... I really don't know. I guess I would have to sit down and ponder about them before making any wish." She glanced at the man and frowned her eyes a bit.
"Why do you ask?"
He smacked his desk and pointed to Maggie. ''Because that is exactly what I want to do!'' Venser got up again and grabbed the stone amphora. He turned it around and pointed at the space where a circular disk was missing. ''I need to find a mage to enchant this, then find the seal, a cosmic cork that goes with this, and then hunt down and capture a djinn... And then... I will get a wish!"
The handsome bearded man chuckled to himself and held out his left hand, trapping a guitar in a green aura and pulling it over to him.
"I've got a fish, would you like to make a wish...?" He sang gently strumming the strings.
There was a brief silence.
"Well good luck with that. I bet those genies don't exactly volunteer themselves to be captured. If you can actually find one." Maggie said, crossing her arms over her massive bust. "So tell me, what would YOU wish, if you would actually manage to imprison a djinn? Are you going to wish for your hand back? Because you pretty much have everything."
''They don't. You see, from what I've been reading when I had the time.'' He grabbed a random book from out of his pile and waved it in front of him.
''One must simply capture it, keep it prisoner for a while, and when it breaks it will grant you a single wish and then escape back to another dimension. Hmmm... Slender Sea... The Obsidian Islands... Home of the dark elves...'' Venser set it down and rubbed his beard, before letting out a sigh and standing up, grabbing a piece of paper and handing it to Maggie.
''The Luektorem killed Nadine and almost turned me into one of them...'' On the paper was a sketch of a four armed metal, skull like being with a tattered cloak over it's head and four sinister eyes. ''When I was getting baked. Like, super, super baked, I thought of a brilliant idea that will destroy them and restore her to life."
Even when he said that outloud Venser winced. That would be complete necromancy and he hated necromancy and knew how bad that route would go. Maybe he could wish for a perfect clone? Or his own version?
This actually was crazy.
"You are going to capture a djinn and then use it to fight those things that put you in a coma?" Maggie said, holding a piece of paper. "They look like something you would see in your nightmares but nowhere else. Or, creatures from the very bottom of Coldwraught."
''Yes, yes I am. That is monster that took my hand. Doulocel..." He crossed his arms. ''With this djinn I could bring her back or just wish the Luektorem that are still out there somewhere all to turn to dust."
"Are you sure even the djinn would be capable of doing that?", Maggie said, rubbing the tip of her jaw. "I mean... I know they are powerful and all that, but they are not omnipotent. From what you say, it sounds the Luektorem are truly powerful. Would the genie be able to just poof them out of existence?" Then pausing to think a bit more.
"And assuming the djinn actually would be able to do that, then how on Laguna are you going to capture one?"
''Yeah. A djinn grants wishes. Ya know?'' Venser mumbled and rubbing his aching head, grabbing his cup of matcha and taking a bug swig. ''Beyond your wildest imagination from what I hear! As for capturing one... Still doing reseach how exactly. I need a vessel that's all I know... And a strong enough seal to bind it. Magic plug. Ahem. Like, the amphora is just an example. A safe maybe?"
Maggie stared at the man. A man who was clearly so captivated by his idea that he didn't listen. Well, it was not her job to advise. True enough, she didn't know much at all about djinns, but it seemed to her that Venser didn't really know much either. She couldn't help feeling a bit uneasy with the idea that this slightly egoistic pothead would get a wish.
"Well, I guess there is still things for you to find out then. I hope you get it all figured, Venser." Maggie replied with a reserved smile. "I think I will be going to back to bed now, see if I can get some more sleep before breakfast..."
''You could take a rest on the couch over there.'' He said gesturing to the exensive leather couch near his desk, beside a display case that only held a dull grey mask with copper wiring running through it, it appeared to be a modeled after a distored human skull with glass lenses in it's eyes and heavy water damage. "You're right. I do have everything. Look around you.'' He said gesturing around his study, more books and artifacts on display.
''A farm, a family, lots of sexy lovers... A business that I really need to be paying more attention too... But, who could ask for more?''
"Yes, you have your things pretty well laid out for you. Its clear." Maggie agreed, still remaining at her place by the door, leaning against the doorpost.
"But it is the nature of men to always want more. I'm sure if you get your wish, you will definitely find something your heart desires and wish for it."
''When I was younger I wanted own a stud farm.'' Venser said gesturing to the leather couch beside the display case. ''Come on, sit, lay down. Doesn't it hurt to stand?''
"A stud farm? For breeding horses you mean?" Maggie replied, remaining where she was. "It hurts, a bit. My feet will thank the day when this pregnancy is over." She added with a chuckle.
"But I'll go to my own bed soon anyways." She looked at the man a bit and then decided to be blunt. "Venser, is there a reason you don't have any pants on? I know I've seen you naked many times but I just have to ask."
''Kinda... But I wanted to be the stud and... Well I own slaves but they take care of the house and manage the cannabis fields so...'' He rubbed his head and let out a sigh, standing up and gesturing to the couch.
''Because clothes are a prison, are you sure you don't wanna lay down for a bit and let your feet relax before you have t walk all the way down the hall again?''
The man was obsessed with sex, that much Maggie knew already from past experience, the wives he kept, and a few pregnant servant girls she witnessed around the villa. Which also was the reason she didn't exactly want to sit on his leather couch and admire the man in his naked state.
"I'm fine Venser, thank you for caring but I am still quite capable of getting around even if there is no gracefulness in my waddling anymore." She chuckled. "In any case, if you manage to get the djinn, you need to wish for something. It would be kinda dangerous to actually find a djinn... What about others who want to do the same?"
''Good armor. A clear head, a cigar, and the will to actually make this djinn work for me is all I need.'' He said standing up, walking beside Maggie and offering her his arm.
''Shall I walk you back?''
"Of course." Maggie said, taking Venser's arm, still a bit uneasy by the man's nakedness. "Better to figure that stuff out before you actually get to the wishing part... I have heard you really have to be careful with your wordings when you deal with the genies or you might just get something unexpected in return..." Led by Venser the two left the room. Maggie actually welcomed the man's support. She had grown clumsy and heavy with the last month of pregnancy, and especially now that her breasts, already massive before, was starting to get ready for their task at milk-production, the redhead couldn't see her feet anymore and felt wobbly with her center of gravity so high.
''Yes, I have to be specific. Like if I tell the djinn I wish to fly and he turns me into a bird. Or a flying insect or something twisted. I have to write it all out first..." Venser said looking to Maggie as they walked slowly down the hall. ''The baby is gonna have itself a handful... It's almost like your tits are weighing you down.''
Maggie glanced back at Venser and flashed a smile to him. "Almost? Well, they ARE, very much so. But I guess I can't complain, it's the nature's way of making sure the little one will have enough to eat..."
''You could set a record with yours though!'' Venser laughed and pushed the door open for her.
"Record? Perhaps, if there is anyone arranging competitions..." Maggie laughed, squeezing through the door and entering her room. She turned around and smiled at Venser. "Thank you for walking me in. See you at the breakfast table then..."
"See you at the beauty contest I'm throwing! Ha... Long day ahead."