The Jackal

Deep within the heart of the Zahara, high in the Ahaggar Mountains, behind the mud brick walls of an ancient castle, another fire smoldered beneath a cauldron. Louar, the One-Eyed Jackal, chewed the knuckle of his left forefinger, then opened the vial of yellow liquid, given to him by the red-eyed djinn, and forced himself to drink. Immediately, he dropped the vial, shattering it into a thousand pieces. His face contorted.

Holding his abdomen, he collapsed onto the stone floor, twisting and writhing in pain. Meanwhile, a strange scurrying sound echoed against the castle walls. Untold numbers of scorpions were clawing their way along darkened passageways. A wave of delight coursed through the suffering Jackal. "Hurry! The end is in sight!" exhorted the djinn, as he intoned a secret incantation.

Anshakh l'ul mak 'mfteh qa'l 'al

The creatures continued to clamber over each other, fighting their way out of the clammy dark toward the unforgiving heat of the desert above.