Kahina took a deep breath and fell into her tale.
“The land was once ruled by King Ben’eshmoun. It was a time blessed by the heavens. The King was benevolent and good and to him were gifted three sons. The youngest son, Hannibal, was a wise prince and student of sorcery, but the elder brothers were forever rivals, and their minds thought only of war.
When Ben’eshmoun passed away the older sons split the kingdom, and thus a civil war began.
The land was devastated from years of fighting. The foolish brothers had salted the earth and destroyed one another so fully that the kingdom ceased to exist but for the capital cities of the warring Princes.
Meanwhile Prince Hannibal remained unaware of this, for he had retreated to the desert when his father died, and lived as a hermit, studying the arcane arts.
When news of the destruction reached the prince’s ears he fasted for three months in the heart of the desert and communed with the spirits. And he achieved what was thought to be impossible.
Hannibal had captured the heart of a mighty djinn, the queen of the Marid, and bent it to him. With the heart in his possession he could work true sorcery, not the chamber magic of the Magi today, but great and terrible magic.
The sorcerer prince wove a mighty spell and rent the earth, destroying the cities of his brothers and swallowing them into the abyss.
From the survivors of their two cities King Hannibal gathered the most worthy and led them into the sandy wastes.
There in the desert, where once nothing had grown, a great lake appeared, and the earth became lush and fertile. It was at this oasis that King Hannibal built his kingdom of Iram, where he ruled for centuries.
But while the gods are slow to anger, they are quick to pass judgment. In their fury at his actions they tried to destroy him, but no matter what calamity they summoned, his might was great and he repelled even the gods. But no man, not even the mighty Magi king, is invulnerable.
Hannibal eventually lost the heart and was rendered mortal once again; and the gods, seeing their opportunity at last, combined their powers and overcame the king and sunk his nation into the earth.
I know where the final resting place of Iram is… for I am the last descendant of King Hannibal.”
Sebastian and Hanno sat dumbfounded after Kahina completed her story and said nothing for a time.
“Yep, she is definitely crazy,” Hanno said, then he brushed his pants off and went to brew some tea. “I want nothing to do with it.”
“Agreed,” said Sebastian, and he stood to join his friend.