Chapter 10: Jalik
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In this world, three great races stand out: the humans, who dominate the land; the elves, guardians of the forests; and the naiads, the souls of the waters. While these peoples seem to rule the world, another race, just as mysterious and influential, governs the invisible: the djinns.

Legends depict the djinn as evil entities with mystical powers, often encased in artefacts and intent on causing harm. However, these stories are more myth than reality.

My life changed at the age of eight, when I met the king of the djinns, the ruler of this invisible world.

He greeted me by calling me "my friend", as if he had known me all my life, even though I was sure I had never met him. Despite his imposing appearance, he exuded a comforting familiarity.

His appearance was that of a colossal being, with defined muscles and an impassive face, topped by a crown reaching skywards. His eyes, barely perceptible, shone with a whitish glow, and his long white hair floated around him. Dressed in white, adorned with jewels and armbands encrusted with precious stones, he was the embodiment of majesty.


Our conversation began with my innocent question: "Where am I?"

"You are in Aether Haven, in my palace," he replied.

Intrigued by something inside me, he beckoned me to come closer. As I hesitantly climbed the steps to his throne, I could feel his gaze on me, not with judgement, but with deep curiosity.

When I reached his height, he paused for a moment over my eyes, a smile forming on his lips. "Your eyes..." he began, pausing to emphasise the moment. "This time it might do..." he mumbled, as if sharing a secret known only to himself.

Confused and slightly worried by his words, I shared my confusion with him. "I don't understand... My pupils, they've disappeared, losing their colour and cracking like broken glass. How can that be?" My voice betrayed my fear of the unknown, desperate for answers.

"Don't worry, I have every intention of informing you of everything you're wondering about," he reassured me, before lifting me onto his lap like my father used to do.

He then introduced himself officially, revealing not only his name, Jalik, but also his position as King of the Jinn and ruler of Aether Haven. He reminded me of the existence of two categories of people in relation to the ruh: soulshapers, who can manipulate it, and soulsilents, who cannot. Then he revealed that I belonged to an exceptional category, the 'soulbound', beings who had suddenly acquired the ability to manipulate their ruh under certain conditions.

Intrigued by this revelation and by the distinction between my eyes and my ruh, I listened attentively as he detailed the unique powers conferred by my eyes: the ability to see the invisible, to perceive colours inaccessible to humans, as well as the infinitely large and infinitely small depending on my concentration. As for my ruh, he confided in me that my power was not tangible but corresponded to a concept linked to my desire for freedom, allowing me to teleport at will wherever I look, insisting that revealing more could harm my potential.

Facing Jalik, with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension, I asked him why I was in this mysterious place. With a depth of serenity, he revealed, "The distinction between a soulbound and a soulshaper lies not only in their late mastery of the ruh. Soulbound are unique because they share an essence linked to a supernatural being, a predestined connection forged before they were even born. This profound alliance echoes throughout their lives: if one were to perish, the other would suffer the same fate. But this union also confers shared powers and a limit to their potential."

Who could this being be to whom my life was so intimately linked? When Jalik revealed himself to be this being, my mind was overwhelmed by a wave of amazement. "This means that..." Words failed me, trying to grasp the significance of this connection.

"Exactly, Zayn. Our souls are intertwined." he said, his eyes locked in mine.

Despite the confidence he inspired, a doubt persisted. "How can I be sure of all this?"

"Come on, Zayn, now that your vision allows you to, you can see the link between us," he replied mockingly. I then looked around for proof of what he was saying, focusing my vision on a potential piece of evidence before I actually saw a faint connection between our torsos.

After highlighting the link between us, Jalik, with a gleam of reminiscence in his eyes, shared part of his story. "For thousands of years, I had been waiting to discover who would be the one to whom my soul was linked. When a young child was born, I immediately understood that our destinies were intertwined. I watched you, patiently waiting for the moment of your awakening, the moment that would allow us to meet. Bonds like ours dictate such reunions, but being confined to the Aether, I had planned to invite you here in due course. To my great surprise, you took the initiative," he explained.

Hesitantly, I bit my lip, gathering my courage to broach a subject that had been nagging at the back of my mind. "I've heard that my home village has disappeared. My family, are they all right?" I asked, my voice full of worry.

Jalik, sensing my anxiety, reassured me in a soothing voice. "Your family is safe. Your father, anticipating the danger, took the necessary steps to protect them." He then summoned a floating image before us, a screen formed from the surrounding air showing my family safe and sound in a house nestled in the heart of a forest, although my father looked weakened.

"To save them, your father had to draw deeply on his energy reserves. This has weakened him, but his life is not in danger," continued Jalik. The sight of my father in that state worried me, but a deep sense of relief washed over me, easing the burden on my heart.

Driven by a need to understand, I asked him what had really happened. His expression darkened, foreshadowing a serious revelation. "The bond we share has surely awakened in you an awareness that your path will be strewn with pitfalls. You should know that a malevolent being, the architect of the chaos that threatens our world, is now aware of your existence, and one of his many names is 'Lutan'."

His words, which had far-reaching consequences, urged me to find out more. "What do you want from me?" I asked, my voice full of nascent determination.

"We're going to make a deal, and I'm going to help you achieve your goal by making you the Soulmaster you've always wanted to be," he announced, his face lighting up with combative hope. I hung on his every word, amazed and attentive.

He continued, "Lutan's plan is vast and obscure; it threatens the order of the visible and invisible worlds. As king of the jinn, I will assist you in your quest, provided that you help me to thwart his plans."