Fandom: Bartimaeus Trilogy
Characters: Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, Kitty
Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo
Word count: about 6000
Summary: An AU ending to Ptolemy's Gate. NatxKitty. Starts after the encounter with Lime/Gaspar.
“Oh it’s not too bad,” I lied. I could feel only bits of shattered bone where ribs had once been. A gaping hole had been cut into us. Blood ran out like a small waterfall, taking his life with it.
“You’re making a mess of the staff,” I scolded, and made a decision. He glanced down at the sticky staff woozily, but gasped with sudden clarity as he realized my intent.
“It’ll only hurt for a minute. (Actually it would be more than that, but he could tell I was lying anyway. One of the drawbacks of being so intimately linked.) We need to do this or you’ll be dead before we finish off Nouda.” Which I knew was the absolute truth.
He groaned but let me have my way. In a less desperate situation I would have relished the irony of the situation. Even as pressing as the need was, I couldn’t stop a gloating grin from covering our face.
As carefully as I could, (We still needed his body, after all) I applied a Shrivelling Fire to the raw wound, cauterizing the leaking flesh. He screamed and thrashed, coming painfully close to losing consciousness. (Pathetic. We djinn take such punishments with much more grace. Usually because being instantly incinerated leaves precious little time for shrieking and convulsions. Luckily for him, he was made of flesh and blood.) I kept my essence away from the wound, (No need to harm that by mistake) keeping a firm hold on his consciousness until I was sure it was closed. He moaned on the ground for a few minutes after, but it had worked. We were still battered and damaged but his body was no longer dying.
“Never again. Never again.” He gasped, blinking tears from his eyes as he rolled us into a seated position. He looked down, still sniffling, and grimly assessed the wound.
I told you so.
Thank you. I’m sorry. Never again will I threaten any djinn to that.
“You’d better not. Now where were we? Ah yes, Nouda.”
Luckily for us, the great Lord Nouda was still preoccupied with lumbering about feeding his gaping maw of a mouth, and bellowing for Farqual. The boy’s screams and moans, however loud they had been, had not attracted his attention.
So much for teaching me a lesson. I doubt anything short of a blast to the backside would have caught his attention.
Nathaniel gathered himself and stood up again, leaning on the staff only a little. I could feel his will harden with resolution as he watched the monstrosity uproot and consume a few trees, although his thoughts had turned to something that gave me pause.
“Now just a second here. You’re not that strong. You feel fine now, but once you dismiss me you’ll collapse within a couple of minutes. You might still be holding the staff but too weak to unlock the spells. Hell, when Nouda notices you, you’ll just be another snack first. Besides, Kitty will never forgive us.”
“Then I’ll tie you to the spells. Once I dismiss you, it’ll blow. But if I keep you in me both of us will die.”
I gnashed his teeth with frustration. There had to be another way.
“Stop that. You’ve been a good servant Bartimaeus. Make sure you say hello to Kitty for me.” He took a step towards Nouda. The situation smacked annoyingly of déjà vu. Not if I had anything to say about it. As I usually do. And I had just had an inkling of an idea…
“What are you still doing here?” Nathaniel demanded angrily. “Get away from here!” Anxiety over her safety warred with his feelings for her. He had never expected to see her again, and his eyes drank in the sight of her, although he wanted to shake her for not listening to him and then fling her as far away from harm as possible. His resolution to die nobly wavered only for an instant. I’ll never get to be her friend, even. But she’ll live. She has to live.
She scowled at him. “We got all the commoners clear. I was worried about you, although I see I didn’t need …Oh my god! What happened?” Her snappish tone changed drastically as she saw what Nathaniel had been trying to hide from her.
“Oh, just a small war wound,” I piped up, “Nothing a little judicious cauterizing couldn’t take care of.”
Now it was Nathaniel’s turn to scowl. I couldn’t help myself, and chortled at the memory. To my surprise, his expression turned slightly sheepish and he chuckled.
“Bartimaeus saved my life with the Shrivelling Fire. I would have bled to death otherwise. Although I’m not sure I’d be willing to go through it again,” he said with a wry smile.
The boy had changed. Well, if he was willing to die for us AND had a budding sense of humor, maybe there was something I could do to prevent that. With all of us getting out alive. Theoretically.
“Let’s get out of here. We’ll deal with Nouda once you’re in better condition.” Kitty said, looking queasily at the blackened hole in our side.
“Bartimaeus, What will happen if we leave Nouda now? Speak honestly.”
I told them my honest assessment. It wasn’t pretty.
“Kitty, I’ve got to stop Nouda now.” Nathaniel described his ingenious plan to unleash the full power of the staff, leaving out the noble sacrifice bit. He even promised to see her after it was over, lying like only a true magician could. Kitty fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Heh. I wouldn’t be fooled by your glib statements. Humans are so gullible. They believe only what they want to believe, eh?
Don’t you tell her, she’ll never go otherwise! He pleaded, clamping his lips shut as he watched Kitty leave.
Don’t worry. The way I’ve worked this out, we may all get out of this. How long do you think she’ll need? Nouda’s going to get restless soon, not much stuff left alive to eat. Besides, she’s got the amulet.
I didn’t get to relish telling him my plan because he perceived it before I could open his mouth. I know I’ve said this before, but sharing thoughts is definitely overrated. It’s like knowing the punchline before you hear the end of the joke. His astonishment, however, was highly satisfactory. After all, if he could change so completely, so could I. Despite my track record of turning tail at the last minute to save my own skin, I was surely a nobler spirit than he was. (Especially since he wasn’t even a spirit.)
“You would do that? Are you strong enough? What if I’m not in time? You’ll die.” He was hesitant, but as his brain turned over the new option, hope started to flicker in his chest.
“So what? I’m a slave whether I live for the next 5000 years anyway. This way, I may get to keep a master I’m starting to like for the few remaining years of his short life. And if I die, at least Nouda will go down with me. I do feel much better since the pain’s been gone, but I don’t know if I’ll feel quite as good outside the protection of your body. But I think I can hold it together for a few seconds at least. We’ve got to time this right.”
He grinned gratefully.
“Starting to like me, eh?”
“Don’t let it go to your head,” I sniffed. “Ready?”
He propped the staff against the tree. “Ready.”
“Hurry it up. Nouda’s out of trees and he’s caught sight of this one.”
“BARTIMAEUS! I see you!”
I guess he’d caught sight of us too.
With a few cleverly improvised incantations and gestures, (Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t bad) Nathaniel separated us. The pain washed over me immediately, and I could barely retain my form. I’d had so short a respite. But it was enough. Just enough.
The two Nathaniels looked at each other. I would treasure the look on his face forever. Dumbfounded would sum it up nicely.
“Go!” I grunted, grabbing the staff.
He nodded, an intense look of concentration in his face. “Count to three”, he gasped. Nouda rumbled closer, just meters away.
He kicked with the 7 league boots and disappeared, and I turned with the staff, unlocking the spells.
Nouda crashed closer, roaring. His feelers reached out…
Just one more locking spell, the beings in the staff straining as they felt their imminent release. I keyed it to myself and waited. Nouda drew me up towards his mouth…what a stench! Ugh. You really are what you eat. C’mon Nathaniel, I’m trusting you here...
I gratefully felt the familiar tug of Dismissal and disappeared. Perfect timing. The staff shattered the instant my hold on it was gone. 3.
It turns out Nathaniel was lucky Kitty was so near. Not only was he completely drained by the efforts of the incantations; he still had multiple injuries including the hole in his side, even if it wasn’t bleeding anymore. Without Bartimaeus’ essence in him, he was weaker than ever. His body and mind needed rest worse than either of them had expected. He couldn’t even control the boots for long enough to get a safe distance from the blast.
Nathaniel popped out of nowhere, gesturing and muttering strange words before collapsing just meters in front of Kitty as she stumbled away from the Glass Palace. She screamed and tried to run to him, only to be thrown off her feet by the blast from behind. She slammed into Nathaniel’s body and held him tight as white-hot energy pounded into her back. The amulet absorbed the blast, and with her body, she shielded him from it, although the grass burned in an arc around them.
She held him until the winds stopped tearing at them and opened her eyes- only to give a horrified scream. His left arm was gone, left out of the protective cover she had made, and he was quite still.
“No…no…Nathaniel…no…” she whimpered, sobbing as she laid him down. She couldn’t bear to look at the stump left where his arm had stuck out beyond her shoulder. And then she saw his chest rise and fall.
“OK…Hold on, just hold on,” she cried, tugging the boots off his feet and shoving them onto hers. Trembling, she pulled him up, cursing her own weakness. Before going to the Other Place she could have carried him piggyback easily. He was so skinny! And stupid. And noble.
“You better not die, you idiot! You promised!” she sobbed, and heaved him onto her back. She gritted her teeth and then opened her eyes again and resolutely set out for the hospital. “Hold on Nathaniel. Please hold on.”
“Bartimaeus!” he gasped, and his eyes flew open. He’d been unconscious for 3 days, insensate as surgeons and doctors sewed up his wounds, slathered ointment on his chafed skin and shoved tubes into him. He was still desperately weak. But he had been reliving that last day as vivid dreams for the past few hours and he just had to know how it ended…
“Nathaniel! Oh god! You’re awake!” Tears of relief formed in Kitty’s eyes and she pressed his hand to her face.
“Kitty! Nouda, Bartimaeus, did he… My arm, it’s on fire…”he gasped curiously, and she dropped his hand. “No, not that one, the other…” He dragged his eyes away from hers, to look at his empty sleeve. ‘Oh.”
“You weren’t far enough away when the Staff broke. Nouda was destroyed. The amulet protected me and I protected most of you but your arm…” Kitty broke off, torn. “Bartimaeus, is he still…you know?” Doctors, journalists and people in Ministry suits started bustling into the room. Nathaniel glanced around, mind racing, and then looked into Kitty’s eyes with a grin. “Trust me.”
Kitty was a little upset when Nathaniel told a tale of his loyal djinni, who had died to kill Lord Nouda. Ministers and journalists noted the name of the loyal demon who had volunteered to unlock the Staff’s power to allow his master to escape. “Not just any djinni would so selflessly go to his doom to protect his master. I want Bartimaeus to be remembered as the most loyal of servants.”
Nathaniel explained how Kitty had traveled through the mythical Ptolemy’s gate to secure his trust, while he had liberated Gladstone’s staff and the Amulet of Samarkand. The tale of how they had then shared his body and wielded the staff together was the stuff of legends. Unlike the hybrids, they had worked as equal partners and thereby prevailed.
Trusting a djinni with one’s birth name and body was revolutionary stuff. The press and the ministers and even the doctors hung upon his every word.
Kitty glared at Nathaniel the entire time, fuming. How could he? After all that they had sacrificed for each other. He’d still let Bartimaeus die! She held onto her tongue though, trusting him to tell her the whole story later. But she continued to shoot evil looks at him, which seemed to amuse Nathaniel, the way he smiled back at her. He could be so infuriating!
It wasn’t until his face turned a horrible green-tinged-white that the doctors insisted he be left alone to rest. They even tried to evict Kitty, until Nathaniel intervened in his most imperious tone.
“No! She is my girlfriend and I demand that she be allowed to stay!”
Stunned shock followed this statement. They did seem to be an odd couple. After all, Kitty didn’t look her age anymore. Kitty was shocked too, but shut her mouth and smiled, flushing. Nathaniel turned to her, blushing and suddenly awkward. “Well, you will stay won’t you?"
“Oh, you’re such an idiot!” she cried, but her kiss told him exactly how she felt. Everyone hastily left the room. After all, who wants to witness such a sappy tableau?
It was several months later before I felt the summons. Well, several months for them. Time works in a different way in the Other Place, where my essence was mingled chaotically among others. I was only mildly surprised to feel no pain at all upon being summoned and surmised immediately why it was.
Just can’t leave me alone can you, Natty boy? Nice scar where that hole was, but not too shabby. Hey, what happened to your arm? I flexed the stump experimentally. Nathaniel grinned.
Glad to know you made it too, Bartimaeus. We were worried about you, you know. I never knew if I timed it just right and, well, I thought you would prefer to feel no pain when summoned. I hope you don’t mind. The arm-
“That’s okay, I see what happened. That sucks. Harder to do those summonings without both hands, hey?” I opened his eyes, looked around, and smiled. We were in Egypt, which was a bit of a surprise. The young woman sitting next to us wasn’t. “Hello, Kitty.”
She beamed. “Hello Bartimaeus. We’ve missed you.”
“Hey, you look great! What have you been doing?” I asked, surprised. It wasn’t just her amazing aura, which if anything was brighter than I remembered. But she looked only a few years older than her body’s true age. Ptolemy’s body had been crippled with extreme age upon his return to it from the Other Place, and he had never recovered. To my consternation, both her and Nathaniel flushed with embarrassment, although sheepishly pleased smiles remained on their faces. Unbidden, images of just what they had been doing to restore her youthful appearance sprang into Nathaniel’s mind. His body also reacted predictably to those images.
I was thoroughly disgusted.
Yeugh! Don’t think about that sort of thing while I’m in here! Is that how you treat a guest? Oh, put that thing away!
Nathaniel stiffened with embarrassment. (His whole body this time, not just a certain part.) His face and Kitty’s were bright red, but he spoke in his primmest tone.
“It was a surprise to us too. I speculate that it’s because it is an act of life creation, so it puts life back into her body. It hasn’t worked to completely undo the damage though. The last few times Kitty’s surface appearance hasn’t changed at-“
Images of those last few times flashed through his mind. It was too much.
Get me out of here! I don’t care about the pain, as long as I no longer have to view your carnal adventures with Miss Jones! I howled.
I can’t help it you know! You were the one who brought it up. Don’t be such a prude. You’re sure about the pain? We won’t keep you for long. His earnestness broke through his embarrassment.
Positive. I trust you. I groused.
Nathaniel thought about the incantation and gestures carefully (less an arm now, he couldn’t use certain commands) and then separated us again. It did hurt a little to be out of the protection of his body, but it was worth it to be clear of his memories. Humans really are just intelligent animals, aren’t they? I took Ptolemy’s form to pay respect to my long dead master. If only he had known…but still, “I suppose it would explain why Ptolemy never recovered while it looks like Kitty has for the most part. He was too young for women.” (Or perhaps too wise. Who can say?)
Nathaniel nodded and sat next to Kitty, putting his good arm around her for a squeeze before setting his hand behind him to steady himself. Despite the missing arm, he too looked better than he had for years. (Certainly since his greasy locked, lace sleeved days.) He looked relaxed and confident, but also happy, which was something new to him. I might mention that very unconventionally, all three of us were in the same pentacle. They certainly trusted me completely. I smiled wanly and sat too, knowing that Ptolemy would have been very pleased by how it had all turned out. Who would have thought?
Kitty was holding a book, and had obviously recovered her usual aplomb. “We wanted to make sure that no one ever made you a slave again.”
“I’m afraid there’s not much you can do about that with your tiny lifespans. Don’t worry about it. A few years of not being enslaved will give me a chance to get back to my full capacity. Just don’t summon me too often. Or better yet, leave a clause that allows me free travel between Earth and the Other Place.” (Hey, it didn’t hurt to ask.)
Both Nathaniel and Kitty burst out laughing at that. “I told you so!” she said to him. This was obviously some kind of inside joke to them.
I pouted indignantly. After all, it was on my pleasure that they were alive at all while being in the pentacle with me. Obviously they had forgotten that normal behavior for djinn is to try to end their enslavement on Earth. Perhaps a small lesson in respect wouldn’t be abusing their trust…
“Oh don’t get huffy Bartimaeus. I told Nathaniel about the gifts Ptolemy gave you and we had planned to do the same. Well almost the same. But Nathaniel thought of something even better to add. Here. Look.”
Kitty spread open the book. “This is the latest edition of the Tables of Djinn. Perennial bestseller. Every magician’s favorite book.”
I knew of it. A sort of menu from which to choose slaves. Distasteful as it was, I looked. There it was, my name.
Bartimaeus. By-name of the djinni Sakhr al-Jinni, mentioned in Procopius and Michelot. A middle ranking djinni of ancient standing, great ingenuity, loyalty and no little power. First recorded in Uruk; later in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Prague and London. Fought at the battle of al-Arish against the Assyrians. Destroyed the entity Nouda during the London revolution. Known masters have included Gilgamesh, Solomon, Zarbustibal, Heraclius, Hauser. Exceptionally bonded to masters Ptolemaeus and Nathaniel.
Other names of power include: N’gorso, Necho, Rekhyt.
Linnean ranking: 6, dangerous. Sacrificed itself to destroy the entity Nouda to spare his master Nathaniel.
“What? What’s this? It’s missing most of my greater accomplishments! And I was certainly not sacrificing myself for you. We had an understanding. Revolution and not rebellion hey? Who’s writing the books now, the commoners? And what’s your birth name doing in here? You don’t appear suicidal, but I suppose I’m greatly mistaken.” My pride was certainly taking a beating with that little passage. Why, it should have been pages long! It never even mentioned my single-handed-
“My last act as Minister of Information was to change your entry in this book. As you should know, a little misinformation about a person’s death can go a long way. I’m hoping it can do the same for a djinni. After all, who will try to summon you now that you are known to be dead?” Nathaniel said, smirking.
I was floored at the implications.
I might never be summoned again. Never again.
I imagine my expression was slightly less than composed because the boy’s smirk grew wider. (Really, it made him most unattractive. I can’t imagine what Kitty saw in him.) Kitty was laughing softly too.
For perhaps the first time in my long and distinguished life I was at a loss for words. You can imagine how infrequently a being as articulate as myself is struck dumb. It was most disconcerting.
Nathaniel’s smirk disappeared. He smiled expectantly, and then finally, he laughed.
“You’re welcome already. The least I could do. You didn’t just save my life. You gave me a purpose for it. I’m not a magician anymore, you know.”
Now that was what I needed. Some ridiculous statement so that I could do what I did best. I could feel a snappy comeback at the tip of my tongue already.
“Is that so? Who drew this pentacle then, Mr. Chalky Fingers? And who summoned me with a crude but unfortunately effective incantation?”
He frowned. “That’s only today, really. I don’t-“
I jabbed a finger towards him accusingly. This was more like it.
“You’re still wearing your contact lenses! And is that rosemary aftershave you’ve got on?”
“Oh come on! I just used the same one as always! And I have to-“
“Oh would you two shut up? You’re as bad as before. Bartimaeus, stop baiting him. And Nat, stop letting him.” Kitty glared at both of us until we subsided reluctantly. She sighed.
“Actually, we summoned you for another reason.”
“I knew it!”
Nathaniel opened his mouth to protest hotly, but Kitty quelled him with a look. (Seriously, she could have taught even Nefertiti a thing or two.)
“It’s just a request.”
She nudged Nathaniel. He looked at her, sighed, and then looked at me seriously.
I knew it. Magicians never change. They always need their slaves to do one last thing. What would it be? Rebuild London? Fly them over the Nile? Repaint their house? Fight off a horde of afrit? To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded too much. I was feeling stronger and I did sort of care for these humans. (All right, I might have loved them. Yes, maybe even Nathaniel.)
“Will you come to our wedding? We would be honored if you could be there when we are married,” he said.
To be dumbfounded twice in a day is really too much for anyone, you know. It just wasn’t fair.
Turns out that he was telling the truth. He had for all practical purposes declared himself a commoner. After all, he had broken two of the cardinal rules to being a magician.
First and most importantly, everyone now knew his birth name. He had revealed it in a press conference when he had resigned from the Ministry. He had also told his one-time slaves as a gesture of trust, before apologizing to them for their slavery and setting them free, if necessary. The revelation of his birth name must have sent them into shock. They all accepted his reformed magician story and applauded his goal to campaign for djinn rights. (He could have caught it big time there, but he didn’t. The only retribution he got was a shock in the behind from the long imprisoned scrying imp, and he actually laughed when it happened.) He had little fear of human reprisals. As the “hero of the London revolution” he had the respect of not only commoners, but also the magicians. Hell, there was even a statue of us fighting off Nouda with the staff planned for the reconstruction of Whitehall.
Yes, that’s right. Us. My name will be emblazoned at the bottom next to his until it topples, I suppose. A little credit that was sadly overdue. A pity it had to be Nathaniel’s face on the statue, but nothing’s ever perfect, is it? It was to be “a monument to human-djinn cooperation.”
He was now working as a scholar, studying the history of djinn/magician relations to learn about more benevolent relations between the two. Rather lofty ideas in those days, and even Nathaniel admitted that although he had hopes of trying to raise understanding between djinn and magicians, a perpetual end to slavery would probably be too much to ask. “It would require burning every book in the world, and killing every magician. (I personally didn’t think that was too unreasonable, but he obviously did.) There will always be people wanting the easy way to power by enslaving djinn. (Hence my greatly exaggerated death to keep me out of unfriendly pentacles.) If there is better understanding magicians may change the way they treat them. I’ve learned that barbaric torments like the Shrivelling Fire are unnecessary. Ptolemy was the first to have such remarkable bonds with his djinn, but he needn’t be the last.”
Now that his body had recovered sufficiently from the damage wrought to it, crossing Ptolemy’s gate himself was one of Nathaniel’s short-term goals. He intended to write additions to Ptolemy’s Apocrypha that would make it easier for others to attempt the process. That was why they were in Egypt. Research. Boring, huh?
Kitty had less patience with sifting through scrolls and ancient tomes than Nathaniel. “I just don’t have the temperament for that sort of thing. I’m not any help at all with reading anyway. Nat can read anything like it’s written in English,” she said proudly, giving him an admiring smile. (I did my best not to be sick.) “Besides, I don’t think people need to live with magic at all. There are loads of people living in non-magical societies and they get along just fine. So I’m looking for things that they use to make their lives easier without relying on you djinn. Why, did you know that they’ve got devices that turn sunlight into usable energy here in Egypt? These are just the sorts of innovations that people need to make their lives easier without resorting to magic,” she said passionately.
Obviously her idealism had not faded a bit. “The reason they can invent these sorts of things is because of a higher standard of education, of course. So we’ll need to look into that as well, but rewriting the textbooks at schools isn’t really my cup of tea. I hated school. But it’s a goal for the new Information minister to change all that too.”
“So has the former Information minister given up on politics completely? Last I knew there was no real opposition for the role of Prime Minister…” I said, looking pointedly at Nathaniel. He nodded, looking a bit uncomfortable. If there was one trait that I had known him to have since he had first summoned me at the tender age of 11, it was that annoyingly wide streak of ambition.
“If I’ve learned anything from what’s happened, it’s that ultimately, power isn’t the answer. The patterns of history that you told Kitty about are all there in my research as well,” he said quietly, looking down at his remaining hand. A hand that had held Gladstone’s staff for a brief period of time. “What we really need to do is learn how to work together. Magicians, Djinn, and Commoners. The two of us are officially advisors to the new Council, but we don’t hold seats. There’s a new Council running the British Empire now, with both commoners and magicians on it. We occasionally get message imps asking for advice on situations.”
He grimaced. “One thing that hasn’t changed at all is the bickering that goes on whenever they meet. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be free of that,” he groaned. Kitty laughed and took his hand, her face lit with admiration.
This time, to my surprise, I didn’t feel so queasy. In fact, I might even have felt proud of the boy, unlikely as that may seem. As the last surviving member of the original magician’s Council, and as the “hero of the revolution,” it would have been easy to appoint himself Prime Minister. But he hadn’t. It appeared that the power hungry John Mandrake was truly gone. Unfortunately, his actually being respectable made it much harder for me to poke fun at him. Or so I thought.
After all, he had broken another magician’s rule. (You hadn’t forgotten, had you?) It turns out the wedding was a bit of a shotgun one. That’s right. Natty boy had knocked up Kitty, a fact that I found hilarious and made Nathaniel break out in a nervous sweat. (I was glad I wasn’t sharing his body to feel that. Gross.)
“What did you expect if you kept at each other like that?” I roared, rolling around on the floor.
“It was making her body healthier. And it just felt so- We weren’t thinking about- God, I don’t know anything about being a father!” He groaned, burying his face in his hand. He almost fell over- he had forgotten about the loss of his arm and pitched forward.
Quick as a flash, both of us reached to support him. I grinned and righted him before his face hit the ground. Kitty’s face was flushed again.
“We’re young but we have a decent living. We’re in love. It’s enough,” she said defensively.
The funny thing about Kitty is that it’s hard to disagree with her. I was sure she was right. There would be no grasping for power and wealth with them. They already had enough of everything that was important. Love. Respect. Security. And the trust of a practically omnipotent djinni.
Author’s (long) note:
This is my first fan fiction ever, so I feel like I need to explain why I wrote it. First of all, I wondered if it was even OK to rewrite someone’s work of fiction. “Revolutionary” has quotes that you will find in “Ptolemy’s Gate”, which belongs to Jonathan Stroud. I absolutely loved his books. So many fantasy authors take themselves SO BLOODY SERIOUSLY and there are never any funny bits in their books. “The Amulet of Samarkand” had me laughing aloud as I read it. So I ordered the next 2 on amazon and devoured them as soon as I got them.
I was completely devastated by the end to “Ptolemy’s Gate.” But I was also absolutely driven to write this new ending to give myself some closure.
The reasons I was so upset? Poor Bartimaeus! Unacknowledged for his actions and still condemned to be summoned by future magicians! And he again has no choice when a master he admires dies for him.
Poor Kitty! Nathaniel breaks his promises to her YET AGAIN even though he is no longer supposed to be Mandrake. And she’s left disfigured and aimless. Where’s that idealistic heroine we all read about?
And best of all poor Nathaniel! Redeems himself and then dies despite of it. And he doesn’t even get to kiss the girl first!
Stroud, you evil ship tease.
I was convinced that he should have been an instrument to change the way the djinn were enslaved. He was the only person since Ptolemy to treat djinn as equals and in a position to do something lasting about it. Sure, a split government happened, big deal. Some other country would have taken them over while they were struggling in the aftermath. History repeats in patterns in their world, and so all of their sacrifices were in vain. Ptolemy’s vision would never come to pass. The winds of change just weren’t strong enough in “Ptolemy’s Gate”.
I would have just kept this for myself, but when I was googling “Bartimaeus trilogy” I found ff.net and I saw some other “new endings”. I hope mine helps give you some closure too! I’m human, so I will believe what I choose to, despite hard evidence about the actual end to this trilogy!
There were also things that I thought I would see in the final book that didn’t occur. Such as Bartimaeus taking Nathaniel’s form. And Nathaniel getting some of his own medicine. How would he like an Unfortunate Hug? (Although I’m not sure he ever actually used a punishment on any of his slaves except for the scrying imp in the first book. IIRC he just threatens them, which isn’t much better, but is still a marked step up from other magicians.)
I admit I did google “Bartimaeus Trilogy” while I was waiting for “Ptolemy’s Gate” and on wiki I discovered that Nathaniel would die. So I was resigned to it. Hey, it happens in books all the time. Look at Dumbledore. Stroud even pokes fun at himself by saying: “According to some (Generally those that don’t have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.) heroic deaths are admirable things.” Sure it was admirable. But it was also unnecessary for Nathaniel's character development (and it forces Bartimaeus to remain static instead of grow too), and it didn’t really change anything in the long run, even though it saved London.
A few days after finishing the book, I still couldn’t get over it. So I wrote “Revolutionary”. I tried to stay true to Stroud’s style and the final events as much as I could. I have to say I really enjoyed writing it; Bartimaeus’ “footnotes” especially. I hope you enjoyed reading it!