PLAYED BY: Ezekiel Hellerud
CHARACTER NAME: Al Shaheen Al Ghamdi Bint Batool Adilah Amtullah
HAIR: Dark Brown
EYES: Dark Brown
OCCUPATION: Body guard for hire, Bard.
KNOWN SKILLS: Archery, cooking, sewing
APPEARANCE: Dark skin, with a sharp hawkish nose, high cheek bones, and a slight build.
NOTABLE TRAITS: Never seen without a hijab
RELATIONSHIPS: She gets along well with Al Sydly
RUMORS: Nothing of note, other than that she is rather quiet.
BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY: Shaheen, sighed and rubbed her temples. Her elbows were sore from pressing for so long against her desk and her neck was starting to ache. She looked down at the blank piece of paper and gave the smallest of huffs. She lowered a hand and reached once again for her quill and ink. Writing had never been her strong suit, talking about herself even less so. “Self-reflection is necessary for self-improvement,” said her mother’s voice in the back of her mind. Shaheen shook her head, pulled the quill from the ink well, and set the tip against the parchment;
Anyone, who saw me would immediately know my origins. I was born in the beautiful land of May’Kar. Those that have not seen it, are fortunate. For those that have, know what beauty and majesty have been lost. As a child I was often lulled to sleep by the sound of my mother’s lullabies and the whistling of the sand and wind.
I was born on the edge of a small village. My parents felt a simple rigorous life was the surest path to humility and patience. I wish I could say that those were two things I had in abundance as a child, but I cannot.
My mother was a Kae’Rim and my father a soldier. Our family was technically speaking, just the three of us. But so many travelers and traders rested at our home that I had too many uncles and aunts to count. I had never lived in The Faedrun of old. I only knew the land of the dead and the struggle of the living. I cannot say that I truly understood though. I only heard stories from the traders while I sat upon my father’s knee. “Such and such has been swallowed up,” They would say. “The undead have taken this place,” They would whisper. I did not understand the fear until the day my father left. I remember in the gray light of dawn, right after prayers, he donned his old armor and left, never to return. I remember my mother’s tears as she held me and rocked me. It was my first taste of sacrifice.
For several years, it was only my mother and me. The traders became less and less. The few that stopped in had only more depressing tales and as I grew older I began to comprehend them better. My mother was a soft and kind woman. She would attempt to cover my ears or send me off to do some chore. During the nights though, I would tip toe outside into the desert and practice with my toy spear and bow. I would run to our well and back or do the exercises I used to watch my father do.
With the dwindling of traders, the coin slowed to a trickle. I quickly learned to be useful to my mother. I traded out my toy bow and spear for real ones. I took over my father’s duties as provider for the family and began farming. When the few traders would come, I sold my toys and pretty dresses. Any trinkets that I had were traded for rice, oil, and information. Our lives were hard, but with my mother, I wanted for nothing. I was perfectly happy to live with the little we had in our small house on the edge of the stars and sand. When I turned 13, that all changed.
One day I went to gather water from our well. The day started out as any other. The sky a lapis blue and the sun was a golden disk in the sky. Its hard to believe that I had been in a good mood. That something did not warn me… When I returned, there were two camels tied to the post by our door. It was only then that a foreboding feeling crept into my heart. I don’t remember dropping the bucket of water, I don’t remember stringing my bow. I only remember stepping through our broken door to see The Penitent and my mother.
Shaheen laid down her quill and buried her face in her hands. The candle on her desk spluttered for a moment and cast a dark shadow across her hands. She lowered her them and picked up the quill once again.
After strapping our meager possessions onto the camels’ backs, I burnt the bodies of the men in our home. My mother recovered neither in body or spirit and staying there would have only deepened the wounds. I swore that day to never wield a sword, to never harm an innocent creature, to actively seek to protect the weak, and to strike down all undead I came across. We journeyed to Aldoria where I set up lodging for my mother with other May’Kar refugees. I did odd jobs here and there to earn any money that I could. When I became older, I fell in as a body guard. The money was decent, and I greatly enjoyed the work.
Life in Aldoria was better in regard to possessions and money, but it was grim, very grim. My skin and my cloth immediately marked me as a May’Kar. We were all traitors to many and were treated as such. Some shops would speak coldly to my mother and I and our trips out were seldom. Most days though, my mother hardly had the strength or will to rise from her bed. During my eighteenth year, my mother’s soul left the world.
Things became considerably darker after that. It seemed that my mother’s fire had been one of the few things that was holding back the sea of strife and despair. I began to partake in unsavory activities. I drank and fought. Many a tavern brawl was caused by a slight (real or imagined) on my person. When I discovered that ships were leaving for the new continent of Mardrun, I immediately booked my passage. There was nothing for me in Faedrun.
When the ship touched down on Mardrun, I immediately fell in with the few other May’Kar. My martial skills set me apart as someone useful. It wasn’t long before I became a guard for the settlement of Serai. It was there that I began to tame the fire in my heart. Being around other May’Kar was comforting. We all had a place that we could be ourselves. I learned to quell the ever-present rage and divert the energy to more useful activities. I continued to train with my bow and spear. I also came across a new love, music. The nights around the fire with my brethren were some of the best nights of my life. We would sing and talk of many things and sometimes when I looked up at the sky, I thought I could see the desert stars. I grew into full adulthood in Serai. It took some time, but I gave up the drink (although a friendly tussle was occasionally had).
When I reached the age of thirty-four, there was talk of a new order and it wasn’t long before The Bos Mezar were formed. I won’t lie to you, I found them very attractive. They seemed to embody everything that I held dear and believed in. Their armor was bright, and their colors were of our beloved home. I would have fit in well with them and yet… Perhaps I did not feel worthy of joining their ranks, perhaps I wasn’t sure how I would do under authority, but I decided to put it off for a time. I trained often with them and considered many to be my friends. Which only made their betrayal so much worse.
I remember when the undead shambled through my new home. I remember doing what I could to aid in their destruction. I remember the burning shame as once again; all eyes fell on the May’Kar. I could not understand the Bos Mezar’s reasoning. I still do not. More importantly, I do not understand how I had not realized what was going on. Perhaps I did not wish to see? Perhaps I was too comfortable to search for the truth. Now I know that a painful truth is far better than a pretty lie.
Over the period that The Order of Arnath occupied Serai, I became interested in them. I learned more of their God, his hatred of undead and his love of justice and goodness. I could not help but fall in love with his ways. I decided at once to become one of His own. I am certain now that Arnath had set me away from the Bos Mezar to become a servant of His will. I now serve as an instrument of his goodness and mercy to the people of Mardrun. I atone for my sins and the sins of those in Serai who either actively experimented with the undead or were merely complacent. I wish to become a lantern for all. A light in the darkness which they may follow onto safe paths.
I cannot say for certain whether I will join the Order in any official capacity. I have seen firsthand what happens when groups mindlessly follow. While I believe that Arnath is a force of goodness and strength, I know that the hearts of man are quite fallible. For now, I seek only the best way to discipline myself and help those who cannot help themselves.
Once again, Shaheen put down her quill. She picked up the papers, leaned back in her chair, and propped her feet onto the desk. She frowned as she read it her customary furrow present between her brows. It was rough writing for certain. Nothing to be proud of. But then again, she gave a smile, it was really meant for her eyes only. It would make an excellent start to her new journal.