Ask “Al Barqan”

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  • #1522
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Barqan fields questions from Lesser Jinn, from the Kitab al-Bulhan aka Book of Wonders aka Book of Surprises

    Barqan is an ancient interdimensional being, known to some as a Jinn, known to others an Ifrit. Most scholars recognize him as one of the Seven Jinn Kings.

    With the assistance of my carefully constructed almadel, I will endeavor to contact the terrible and mighty Barqan, “The Black King”, “Two Lightnings, father of Wonders”, who is said to worship the Fire, not the Omnipotent Sire, but who can be compelled with the seal of the archangel Michael.

    An Almadel of wax, with a crystal sphere for communicating with the realm of fire.

    So if you dare, mortals, ask questions. Barqan will answer.

    #1563
    William Gloume
    Participant

    Dear Al Barqan,

    This month my water bill was $71.26, but for the same month last year it was only $50.48. I was actually out of town for several weeks this time around, so there’s no way regular usage can account for the discrepancy and there are no leaks. Please help!

    #1568
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Dear Al Barqan,

    This month my water bill was $71.26, but for the same month last year it was only $50.48. I was actually out of town for several weeks this time around, so there’s no way regular usage can account for the discrepancy and there are no leaks. Please help!

    This is indeed an ominous mystery. I advise resorting to the enchantment known to mortals as “The Cloak of Firiel”. Once you have completed the ritual and achieved total immunity from observation, approach this den of evil they call the “Water Resources Department” and enter within. Observe the fools at their work, and listen closely to their words. Then report back to me.

    #1575
    William Gloume
    Participant

    I donned the Cloak, O Father of Wonders, but I had a hell of a time finding the billing department (the second floor is being renovated, apparently because of asbestos). Hardly anyone was there. The atmosphere was one of desolation and I could easily have been convinced that the building existed in a forgotten cul-de-sac in the Plane of Shadow. Turns out billing had been temporarily relocated to the break area, where I found two middle aged women of sallow complexion and melancholic humor eating Funyuns and gossiping about Steve in Stormwater and Runoff, who is apparently having an affair with Deedee in Maintenance. To top it all off I got a ticket for parking in the Employee of the Month spot, and when I burned the cloak I didn’t hear the expected wailing and lamentation from the spirits, just a low chuckle. Am I going to have to deal with an Invisible Stalker as well as an unjustly high water bill?

    #1581
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    I donned the Cloak, O Father of Wonders, but I had a hell of a time finding the billing department (the second floor is being renovated, apparently because of asbestos). Hardly anyone was there. The atmosphere was one of desolation and I could easily have been convinced that the building existed in a forgotten cul-de-sac in the Plane of Shadow. Turns out billing had been temporarily relocated to the break area, where I found two middle aged women of sallow complexion and melancholic humor eating Funyuns and gossiping about Steve in Stormwater and Runoff, who is apparently having an affair with Deedee in Maintenance. To top it all off I got a ticket for parking in the Employee of the Month spot, and when I burned the cloak I didn’t hear the expected wailing and lamentation from the spirits, just a low chuckle. Am I going to have to deal with an Invisible Stalker as well as an unjustly high water bill?

    Do not fear mortal, to suffer two such curses simultaneously is not to be your fate at least until the next moon, after that I could not be certain without casting your horoscope, which though a small effort is not necessary.

    You did well in your espionage, but because you have the wit of a Mandrill Baboon you did not grasp the meaning of the words which were spoken. “Dee Dee” is a well known Ismaili euphemism for “I-Hima bint I-Hima” (الهمة بنت الهمة – “sorrow daughter of sorrow”) that is to say my frenemy and ex-girlfriend, the terrible Jinn Tabi’ah, also known as Al-Qarinah, who has three names and ten more names.

    “Steve” in Stormwater and Runoff is obviously the Jinn Zawba’ah (known as “cyclone”) who is also said to be a Div. He is the father of whirlwinds and sudden tumults, though in truth he is too lazy to foment great evil. It is Al-Qarinah who is calling the shots here.

    The chuckling you heard was a Qareen, a double who has been dispatched by Tabi’ah to push you to do evil things and disobey Allah. She may also accompany this with a visitation from bears or lions.

    But fear not! First of all the Mandrill is an order of magnitude more clever than the Chacma baboon let alone the Olive baboon, which is known for it’s filth. Second, you have been wise to seek my council and I shall now assist you in your plight. Obey my every word and you will be free of all curses and maledictions.

    1) You must acquire a Tunisian metter of Oud perfume, placed inside a sandalwood barrel with my seal engraved on each end, and then coated with blue woad.

    2) Wait until the next New Moon, and during the hour of Mercury, take the Oud to the blue house north of your own domicile. These people are adherents of my cult. Place the barrel on their front porch and flee. This will secure your payment to me.

    3) Fashion an apotropaic shield of brass with my own terrible visage and seal inscribed upon it.

    4) Then adorn each of your shoes with the Seal of Solomon. Create a copper ring inscribed with the seal of the angel Sammael to wear on the second finger of your right hand, and suffumigate both with the smoke of benzoin and saffron.

    5) You must prepare the Curse of Ba’al Zevûv to discomfit Tabi’ah, whose sin is wrath, and prepare The Terrible Restraint of Rabam to forestall her other cultists.

    6) On night the day of Saturn, in the hour of Mars, you must purify your spirit with the charm of the Dark Candescence. Gird yourself with Circe’s Mantle of Stealth, as this should be sufficient to conceal you and it is unwise to invoke Firiel twice in the same year. Using the charm of Circe, sneak onto the town morgue and obtain the heart of a deceased criminal. Approach the compound of water, and bury the dead mans heart just outside the gates of the dreaded Water Resources Department.

    7) Then cross the threshold into the compound. Tabi’ah is vigilant, and she will confront you immediately. Speak her name and the terrible words of the incantation, and a swarm of flies will plague her. Do not tarry to behold her fate, but enter her temple where you will find her disciples chanting evil hymns. If Zawba’ah appears, show him the seal of Samael and he will retire. Cast the Terrible Restraint of Rabam on the cultists, and then order them to follow you to their doom.

    8) Lead the entire procession to the blue house, and take them into the back yard, where you will be greeted by 5 bears. The bears will take them to my Castle of Gold within the city of Carnelian, where I shall visit upon them terrible suffering, and determine why your water bill was so high.

    #1589
    William Gloume
    Participant

    It wasn’t easy but I did all that you commanded, Black King. I made a few beginner’s errors so I’ll describe three times where the plan kind of disintegrated a little.

    The first thing was the arm-ring, which I found on darkBay for one Reichsthaler (bargained the seller down to 2 marks!). I inscribed it with Circe’s name and the Greek prayer but I think I screwed up by using my dad’s old onglette chisel. It slipped a few times and scratched the surface, and ξ was really difficult. Also my girlfriend was reading the prayer aloud for me and her ancient Greek isn’t the best.

    Still, I was totally sure I’d get the full hour of anti-detection. Instead I was caught in the act of sawing open the corpse’s chest by a coroner and I unfortunately had to kill him. It was my first time and I found it totally nerve-wracking. He had the eyes of a born malefactor so I wound up cutting out his heart, too, since it seemed like a shame to let it go to waste.

    Then, while I was burying the hearts outside the water department, Tabi’ah appeared in the guise of an elderly security guard. I employed the Curse of Ba’al Zevûv, as you commanded, but I guess I totally overdid it with that second heart, O Master of Lightning, because what happened next was pretty extreme. A black swarm of flies appeared, bypassed the initial distractive buzzing I had been led to expect, and instead burrowed immediately and ravenously into Tabi’ah’s face. Her shrieks of agony were swiftly choked by a second swarm which disappeared into her mouth. Where her liver-spotted hands swatted and clawed I could see that the old man’s visage with which she had disguised herself was acquiring the texture of oatmeal mixed with raspberry jam, and the chest was heaving wildly and kind of vibrating; it seemed to me that the flies in her lungs were multiplying tenfold. I know I wasn’t supposed to tarry but I wound up rooted to the spot in horror for probably thirty seconds.

    The third thing was this maybe ten-year-old kid who really shouldn’t have been there. I think he was the son of a young woman from personnel, because he kept crying and trying to pull her away from the gathering of cultists whom I had enchanted with the Terrible Restraint of Rabam. There’s no way she didn’t violate some kind of city ordinance by bringing her kid to wander around unattended, so I feel like I was in the clear morally by bringing him along, too.

    I dropped them all off, kid included (maybe you can use him for parts) at the blue house, and the bears escorted them in a flash of golden light to your castle, so by now you’ve probably completed the intake forms and all that. Really looking forward to hearing what you find out!

    #1590
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    William,

    First, I must inquire as to where you received your training? Are you in the OTO or something? Or perhaps, a self styled “vampire”? Or were you actually trained by a pack of Mandril Baboons?

    Nevermind. I must congratulate you on one thing, you are an unusual person William. It has been 1,300 years since I have encountered a fool so great as you. If you survive your current predicament I will tell you the tale of that unfortunate man.

    Let Dominus take note, I Barqan, called “Two Lightnings” and “Father of Wonders”, am in full compliance with our agreement and by the searing fire which flickers in the night, and by the bright sword of my nemesis, the angel Michael, I have followed the agreement and the nature of my compulsion. I gave this fool good counsel. I cannot be responsible for the state of the education system in this late era and this uncouth foreign land. When one tells a man how to steal a camel, must one say where to put your hand on the reigns and which foot to put in the stirrup? Call upon a lesser being than I for such trivialities as how to cast Circe’s Mantle of Stealth.

    Enough of that. Let it not be said that Barqan is consumed by pettiness or easily startled. My last comment on the nature of this debacle is that the type of evil of your era does not suit me. It is like a weak tea which does not quench the thirst.

    Let us return to the facts of the situation.

    FIRST, I have interrogated your prisoners and determined that you have made a series of terrible mistakes. They are not cultists in the service of Tabi’ah after all. When you perceived this security guard, Toby Millard, did you not check his body for the seal of Tabi’ah before unleashing the terrible curse of Ba’al al Zevûv? Did you not behold his visage? Did he have “molar teeth like the tusks of an elephant, hair like leaves of palm trees, smoke emanating from her nose, a voice like thunder and eyes like lightning?”

    Obviously you did not. It is only the coincidence that Ba’al decided that “Toby Millard” was close enough to “Tabi’ah” and that he did indeed indulge the sin of wrath, and therefore that the spell did apply to him and did not backfire onto your own cursed head.

    SECOND, the man you slew in the coroners office of the City of Ash was a medical resident named Clifford Simons, who was apparently a very evil man. Again, this is incredible luck on your part.

    An Irish Faerie once told me that the Christian God watches out for “Fools and Drunks”, were you drunk? If not, I would meditate upon this.

    THIRD, having tortured several of these unfortunates, I finally found one, Jesse Spencer, who had some degree of wit. You should hope that he does not ever get wind of the origins of his suffering, because if he were trained in the Ars Esoterica he would certainly be your swift undoing. Under stimulus of the threat of immersion in a pool of liquid brass, and after a trying ordeal during which we had internet beamed to the City of Carnelian through an aperture in the Material Plane (if you think your water department is infuriating you should try dealing with Sky Abu Dabi)… Mr. Spencer was able to determine the cause of your increased water bill. It seems that you installed an old, high flush rate toilet which flushes 5 gallons instead of the now mandated 2.5. With the help of a Marid I sent to your home I was also able to determine that a homeless person named Jeff who suffers from Crohns disease has been sneaking into your basement, taking showers and repeatedly excreting enormous bowel movements into your new toilet. Jeff by the way no longer suffers from anything so you needn’t worry about that.

    FOURTH You will be happy to know that this incident has not been an entire tragedy. Though my cultists were forced to abandon the blue house before the arrival of the police, with the help of Mr. Spencer I have now been able to acquire a large quantity of Bitcoin, which I have already used to purchase a barque full of sapphires. So you do not owe me any further debt.

    FIFTH What do you expect me to do with this child? What do you take me for, an Ottoman? What need do I have of ‘parts’? I command five hill-strongholds each with five hundred thousand Marids. The child has been left at a homeless shelter in the City of Ash. He has sworn to take revenge against you and he is another who you must hope will never learn your name.

    SIXTH You have wrought a great evil William. In accordance with my compelled agreement here I recommend that you first take immediate steps to escape, as the police will soon be at your home. Perhaps use the Directional Confusion of Marcus Greacus. Then if you follow the Latin rite you should Confess to a priest and perform whatever acts of contrition he recommends. Finally, I would recommend learning a great deal more and practicing such basic skills as literacy in ancient Greek and basic lateen metalworking for a lengthy period. Perhaps, if you can manage it, retire to the Philosopher’s Cottage for a period of several years.

    I Barqan, have spoken.

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