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I fear you, as one in the desert fears the sun

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There is a reason the sultan keeps his daughter in the palace, a reason he employs a wizard as vizier, a reason every room has a window to let in the sun. He knows what she might be.

And so it happens. All of his prayers are for naught.

.

There is an ancient evil who seeks out the warriors of the light in order to feed on their power. Its name is not known, nor its origin.

When she steps into Agrabah, the ground beneath her feet trembles.

.

Jasmine does not know why she is suddenly so strong; she does not know why her sleep is suddenly filled with nightmares. She whispers all her fears to Rajah and mentions none of it to her father or her tutors or even Jafar, who Father had said was not only for guidance but also magical protection.

Protection from what, Father did not say. Had he –

.

Every night for two weeks, Jasmine dreams of a foreign woman, with pale skin and golden hair, with eyes bluer than the sky. She sings beautiful songs that Jasmine wants to hear more of. Just before she wakes, every time, Jasmine sees the woman hold out a hand and hears her murmur, “Come with me, darling.” Green fire wreathes around her as she smiles.

On the seventeenth morning she wakes from the dream, Jasmine escapes from the palace.

.

It is a face she has worn before, the shy peasant woman in a land she does not know, with a language she can barely speak. But she is charming, and beautiful, and she listens attentively. Vendors and townsmen both fall over themselves to earn her smile, this woman like none they’ve ever seen.

There are those who would not believe that she stands in the sun, unveiled. Her kind are said to turn to dust in the light – she tilts her face to the sky, hair glinting gold, and smiles.

.

Jasmine wears dirty robes, veils her hair, covers her face. There is a voice (from her dreams?) guiding her as she moves through the market. She sees things she has never before seen, hears things she’s never before heard, and it is as frightening as it is exhilarating.

There is one man who follows her, calls after her, tugs at her cloak; she shoves him away and he hits a stone wall, falling. She stares as he does not get up and then she runs.

.

There is a slayer in Agrabah. The last slayer was a pretty girl in the countryside of France. In London, the Watcher Council does not understand why none of the potentials they’ve identified and claimed are being Called.

Ever have they underestimated their enemy, from the moment she stepped out of the shadows, all the power of Hell behind her.

.

Jasmine finds a dark corner and folds herself into it, horrified and frightened, in tears because she is almost certain she just killed a man. She doesn’t know where she is, and does not want to wander around until she sees the palace in the distance, because what if someone else –

“Miss?” a musical voice calls. “Miss, are you well?” The words are hesitant, with an accent Jasmine has never heard – and when she looks up, there is the woman from her dreams.

.

Jafar watches through the magical glass as she steals the princess with a song.

But Jafar is no fool. He is too young yet to meet her in battle and win. There will be other slayers and other princesses.

.

The slayer is young, gazing up in wonder; her shudders lessen as she kneels beside the girl. “My name is Aurora,” she says, weaving the spell just below a human’s hearing.

“Jasmine,” the slayer replies, caught unknowing.

.

It has been a long time since a slayer could claim a nation as her own.

She smiles at the girl, rising to her feet and offering a hand. “Come with me, darling,” she murmurs, and the princess-slayer reaches for her.

.

In London, there are men who wonder why no new slayer is called.

In Agrabah, there is a sultana who rules with the guidance of a golden woman named for the dawn. The surrounding kingdoms think the sultana weak, for she is only a woman – and as each falls, Agrahbah grows in power and in wealth.

.

“You don’t think we’re overreaching?” Jasmine asks, stroking a fingertip along Aurora’s shoulder blades. Her skin has never darkened in all the years since they met. Her beauty is still unmatched in Jasmine’s eyes, as it has been since the first dream. (She wonders –)

“We can take the world, empress,” Aurora promises, surging up for a deep, warm kiss.

.

There is an ancient evil growing in the desert, and there is no slayer hunting it.

In London, they watch the portents and do not understand.