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Topics - Kazim al-Latifh

Pages: 1
1
Kazim stepped into his room, feeling dusty and tired from the day’s work.  He hadn’t had guard of Dinah today, a fact that had bothered him, but doing his shift along the walls of the city with the rest of the guard had been enough to distract him from that for a little while.  He knew Dinah had been preoccupied all the day with Court matters and dealing with the growing strain of the Clan being confined inside city walls and would probably be equally as tired.   Aisha, darling girl, looked up from her seat on the worn rug that adorned the equally worn floor of his small room, and gave him a bright smile.  She held a weaving in her hand, a simple thing made with a number of colorful strips of old rags.  He recognized it very well, it was a common enough lesson for young children who were starting to learn how to harness their craft.  The exercise had them moving the strips of cloth over and under each other without touching them.  It required concentration and as they mastered the wider strips of cloth, they worked with smaller, narrower, and more material until they were able to accomplish the same goal with string passed through a wooden backdrop.

“Uncle!” she said happily and sprung to her feet with the agility that only the smallest children seemed to possess and flung herself into his arms.  He obliged her with a happy swing upward until he lifted her to the ceiling and held her there. “Hello there little bird!”   He had started calling her that when he learned of her affinity for being held up over his head.  She giggled and flapped her hands in a mock wing-like gesture and he spun her around so she could “fly” before setting her onto his hip.   “I see you’ve been working on your lessons,” he said, looking over at the weaving.   Her dark hair bounced as she nodded her head forcefully.

“Basira showed me, brought me the ribbons.  I want to make Lady Dinah a Winsol present,” she said with childlike pride.  He smiled and leaned his head against hers, kissing her hair.  “I think that is a wonderful thing, I know she will love it.”   She rested her head on his shoulder and and got very quiet and very still for a moment, something that was very uncharacteristic for his overly energized niece before she said, “Mama and Baba went to the Darkness, didn’t they?”

He hadn’t gotten around to talking to her about her parents, he should have.  It had been weeks since the attack on Onn and he had been doing his damndest to distract her with lessons and play and anything he could think of to keep her away from talk of the dead and especially on her parents.   In the beginning she had cried out for them and he had hugged her and let her cry but he had never actually addressed what happened with her.  She just had been told that they were gone and she wouldn’t see them again, but the talk of what that really meant, he wasn’t sure if even he was ready to talk to her about it.

“Where did you hear that?” he asked, moving over to sit on the edge of a cushioned seat so she could perch on his knee and look at him.

“Mama told me about the Darkness, that it was the place we call came from and that when we went away, that’s where we went.  I didn’t know that it meant forever.”  Kazim sighed and placed his hands on her slender shoulders.   “Yes Aisha, they are in the Darkness now and one day so will you.  Everyone, Blood and Landen return to the Darkness eventually.”   She looked solumn and sad, “Even you?”

Kazim nodded, “Someday, but I don’t plan on going for a very very long time.  I have too much work to do.”

Aisha nodded her head emphatically, “You have to take care of me, and you have to take care of the Queen.”  She seemed to ponder that a moment and tilted her head.  “I’m a Queen, like mama and Lady Dinah.  Is that why you take care of me?”   Kazim felt tears sting the back of his eyes. 

“No little one, I take care of you because you are blood of my blood, your baba was my brother and you are my family.  I would always take care of you, even if you weren’t a Queen.  I take care of Lady Dinah because she is a Queen, but more importantly she is MY Queen.  Did your mama tell you about that?”   Aisha shook her head and Kazim pondered how to explain the thing that even he sometimes couldn’t properly explain to himself.

“Dinah is Queen of the Tabur, that is all of us.  But to me, she is very special.  The Darkness chose me to be a special person to her,  it’s like we have an invisible rope that ties us together.  I can always feel where she is, and if she’s sad or happy or scared.  It lets me take care of her better.  She also has Lord Ebra, who is also tied to her.  You remember him right?”  At her nod he continued, “Someday, you might meet a male who has his own invisible rope tied to you, and his job will be to take special care of you and keep you safe, so you can do Queen things for the Latifh.”

Aisha turned her dark soulfull eyes to him, “Can’t you be one of those special people for me?  I don’t think Lady Dinah would mind if we shared!”  Kazim couldn’t help but grin at her expression and genuine tone.  “Well, no I don’t think she would because knows how much it would mean to you but you don’t get to pick who it is but you’ll know when you meet him.  You’ll feel like suddenly…” he pondered a moment trying to explain his own reaction to her, “you’ll feel happy and surprised and suddenly like you just realized that person had been away for a long time and just came back.   At least, that’s how it felt for me.  You’ll have to ask Lady Dinah what it was like for her.”   Silently he offered an apology to Dinah for thrusting a questioning child in her direction.   Aisha seemed to think about this, and he watched his own brother’s look cross her young face.  His brother at his most pensive, held his eyes in the same manner.

Finally after a few moments of silence she said, “So what sort of Queen things will I do for the Latifh?”   

“Well, every Queen is different, just like every member of the Blood is different in the different skills we can do. Queens have special talents that no one else has.”  Aisha piped up in awe, “Even you?!”

Kazim laughed, “Yes, especially me.  But you little one, you will have special Queen things you can do that I can’t.  They might be the same as Lady Dinah or they might be something else.   Some Queens can make things grow, some Queens can make people feel happy or peaceful with their touch.   I heard,” and he ducked his head softly to whisper at her, “that the Queen of the Jinan can talk to horses.”   Well, that was probably a gross oversimplification of what he had heard, but for a five year old, it was more than enough to elicit a look of awe and excitement.

“Oh wow!” she said, “Maybe someday she can show me her Queen thing too!   I want to learn all the Queen things so I can be a good Queen like my mama!  She was the best Queen, everyone said so.  Baba did too.”  She lost some of her excitement as she fiddled with her tunic.

“Baba gave me to you, because Mama needed him and she was his Queen.  If something bad happens again, would you leave me alone because you have to protect Lady Dinah?”   There it was, the question he had hoped she would never think of but she was so blasted smart and quick witted.  He was so proud of the way her mind drunk up information and shaped it into what worked for her.   He slid his hands down her small arms and took her little hands in his.

“If Lady Dinah was in trouble, I would go protect her because to me she is the most special woman in the world.  Special like your mama was to your baba.  But I promise you Aisha, I would fight with everything I had inside me to come back to you.  Just like I know your baba did, just like I know your mama did. Your baba loved you so much, he gave you to me to protect you.  He didn’t want to leave you alone, but he knew that I could get you away from the Sandworms and keep you safe.  He protected both of his Queens, and that is what all males are supposed to do.  It is the honor and the promise we make.”

She didn’t meet his gaze, looking down at her hands, his hands and just nodded quietly.   Feeling a little uneasy at brutal honesty, he squeezed her hands gently once before picking her up and placing her on her feet. 

“I have an idea. Why don’t we go up to the rooftops and look at the gardens.  The Sabbah Queen, who is very good at growing things, shared with Lady Dinah the idea about making gardens on the roofs of the buildings so we can have food to grow.  Helping the land and the plants is one of those special Queen things you might do when you are grown.  Would you like to go see?”  She brightened then, and grabbed his hand, eagerly dragging him towards the door of their shared room.   Glad for the change of mood, though regretting not having changed out of his dusty clothes, he let her ‘pull’ him up the stairs that lead to the rooftop of the central building of the Tabur district.  There were many buildings that made up their section of Onn but it had been decided that Dinah and her court would occupy the largest and most central of the buildings to conduct their business and live in.   

The sun was nearing the horizon, though it wouldn’t fully set for another couple of hours, still plenty of time for the young girl to explore the rooftop that had been transformed into a field of food.  He watched her hurry over to the first set of vines, her tiny fingers delicately picking up on strand and studying it and he bent over to look at it.   Based on the pods that were budding, he guessed a type of bean but truthfully he wouldn’t know which kind just looking at it.  His eyes scanned over the few people who were crouched over the far end of the room and his eyes on a familiar shape.  He might have been fully distracted by his niece but as soon as he cast his eyes on her, his attention was all for his lady.

“Aisha, look” he said pointing in that direction and Aisha sprang to her feet so quickly she almost hit him in the chin with the top of her head.  Without further required invitation, she ran across the rooftop towards Dinah, drawing up short beside the other lady and fell into what might have passed with a curtsey if she had been in less of a hurry.   Kazim just chuckled to himself as he took his time walking over, hands folded behind his back and giving Dinah’s assigned guard a recognitive nod of the head.

“Ah my Lady, I was just discussing with young Aisha about some of the things that Queens do for their people and thought she should see the result of your own Craft.”

2
Pruul / When you least expect it...
« on: Jan 07, 17, 08:44:17 PM »
Kazim slipped easily from the saddle of his mount, handing the reins over to a small boy who looked no older than ten.  “Get him into a cool shade with water and feed.  Don’t try grooming him until after he’s eaten or he’ll try to take a finger for your trouble.  He doesn’t like to be disturbed when dining.   Just get the harness off so he can eat unhindered, the rest of his tack can wait.  Don’t worry about being gentle, put some strength into the grooming, he won’t mind the scratching and his coat needs it.”  He patted the horse's dusty coat, a faint shade of yellow from the sand that was coating his normally ash colored pelt.  “Behave yourself,” he reminded the horse before the boy carefully led the mount away.

He looked around the gathering of tents, large and small, all the colors muted by their exposure to the ever constant sunlight of their desert land.  Not that there were many colors to mute.  The tents of the tribes tended to stay towards the lighter pale or the thicker dark.   It was the season of winter, which in Pruul only meant that the heat was uncomfortable, but not so deadly even in the fullness of the day.  The nights were much much cooler as well, which made the thicker tent covers a necessity for warmth when the winds picked up in the chill of the midnight.   Dark or muted, the cloth was resilient, craft enhanced to withstand the pull of strong winds, the scratches of harshly thrown sand, and the wear and tear of constant assembly and disassembly.

Kazim unwound the bright yellow scarf that he had wound around his head and lower face to protect his skin from the travel, looping it loosely around his collar.  It was the mark of his tribe, the yellow a sign of his identity in the eyes of anyone who saw him approach.  Even with the wrapping and his burnoose, he knew he was almost as dusty as his horse had been.   He needed to find a lodging, a place to clean up and change out of his travel gear before he requested to see the Queen.  Meet, greet, uphold his end to his mother’s request, spend the night resting and then continue on to Oon to look for his next contract.   Maybe he might find work within the Queen’s entourage, after all they would be needed an extra guard as continued to bring in supplies and gear for the upcoming Winter festival that the Tabur clan was famous for. 

He began wandering through the tents, looking for something that might suit his needs.  There had to be a least one sort of lodging arrangement for visitors, surely they didn’t expect everyone to come carrying a tent with them.

3
Pruul / Kazim al-Latifh
« on: Dec 29, 16, 10:37:42 PM »
The Basics

Character Name: Kazim al- Latifh
Nicknames:
  • Hyena: A cruel nickname given to him by some of the boys of his tribe at a young age.  He was always smaller than the others, with a laughing look to his face that always seemed as if he were thinking of a joke that he hadn’t shared yet.  It was meant as an insult, but Kazim instead took it as a challenge and made sure that he was never less than any other male in training or skill.

Age and Birth Year:  37 (AP 157)
Race:  short lived
Caste:  Warlord Prince
Birth Territory: Pruul
Home Territory: Pruul

Birthright Jewel: uncut Opal
Offering Jewel:  cut Sapphire

Role: Defender of the Clan Queen
Faction: Clan Tabur

Appearance

Play By: Rodrigo Santoro
Distinguishing Features:

Kazim is shorter than the average Pruulian man, small and lithe instead of large, tall and very muscular.  That shouldn’t be interpreted as being weak, because Kazim prided himself in his tight, firm physique and agile flexibility.  He never acquired the dark tanned skin tone of his clansmen either, remaining dark in hair but a shade or two fairer in skin.   He prefered to keep a beard or neatly shorn rather than be clean shaven, because he found that it made him look closer to his true age then the youth he appeared when clean shaven.

Personality



Personality:

Appearance is everything.  If Kazim had a motto, that would be it.  His life was dictated by his appearance, from his small stature, to the constant look of amusement on his face, he was used to being taken less seriously as a warrior than all of his peers.  Except by those who knew him. Kazim uses the deception of his appearance like a well-constructed costume, letting others make assumptions about him until the moment they realize their fatal error.  It was the way he lived his life, seeking the truth of others in the way they treated him.  Behind the joking curve of his mouth, one would only need to look into his eyes to see the steely resolve beneath. 

It took only one bout on the training ring to know that Kazim was a prized fighter, a skilled warrior and trained to the highest level in wielding his Khanjar.  His small stature and tight musculature aid him in being swift and agile, able to move and evade as quickly as he could sweep in and attack.  He revels in the fight and when he is at home with his tribe he attends regular practice sparring sessions with his brothers or other males of the tribe.  On more than one occasion he has been called to use his skill to help train the younger males, still before their Offerings but he has no true calling to be a teacher of combat.  He indulges the request to keep his own skill up, and to burn some of the hunger for a fight that simmers always beneath his skin.

Kazim is a private man, never one for boastful arrogance or needless flaunting of his skills.  He enjoys performing his sword dance, but this was not a display of ego but rather his own style of honoring the skills of his tribe.  In truth, it is only under special request, or special occasion that he performs for a gathering crowd; preferring instead to practice alone.   Not the most spiritual of Prullians, he views his dance as his own way to give worship to the Darkness with the skill he worked so hard to accomplish.

Kazim has no Queen, has never met a Queen he wished to bond to.  It was a most disturbing trait to his family and his tribe whose males were honed with the desire to serve the Queens of the Tribe and the Clan.  All of his brothers had gone on to find service in a court, dedicating their lives and their Khanjars to the heartbeat of one woman.  Kazim feels that the assumed rights of so many tribal Queens, who demanded the loyalty and service of their males had become lazy and arrogant.  Yes, it was a male’s duty to serve and protect, but that didn’t mean that the Queens could forget the honor and sacrifice of that duty. 

Kazim has the body and heart of a warrior but deep within has the soul of a poet.  His expression in dance is a blending of both but alone, he finds solace and comfort in deeper truths.  He is a lover of literature, especially epic poetry and has taught himself the deep, melodic tunes of the windpipe.  For any who might have chanced upon him in one of those private moments, would have heard the soft, deep baritone of his voice reciting with the practiced rhythms of a stage performer for no other audience and pleasure but his own.

These traits are not simply of his own enjoyment but have become a necessity of discipline through his years.  True to his jewels and his caste, Kazim in his youth was a much different man than the Kazim of present.  He was an angry young man, prone to the violence inherent his nature and these outburst lent themselves to a dark defining moment of his life.  He still feels the surges of anger, but has forced himself to channel such things into his passions.  It is also the way he controls the natural sexual element of being a Warlord Prince.  While he can and has sated his need to enjoy the body of a woman, he is careful to choose women with no attachments.  He visits Red Moon houses on a regular basis to keep his thirst for sex quenched to never again be taken by surprise by his Rut, but has never started a relationship with any women of his tribe. 

In his solitude, Rodrigo has found a touch of arrogance.  He sees himself as incorruptible, unfazed by the goings on of tribe and clan.  He judges the faults in others too quickly at times without realizing that some of the very things he finds so irritating in others are traits that he manifests himself.   In the sparring ring he will taunt and infuriate his opponent to spur them on, driving them to attack and fight harder which only gives him more of a target to wield his own skill against.  At times he can be condescending, but has wisely learned to keep some of his ideas in his head instead of being openly vocal about all of it.


Likes:
  • Sword Dancing:  All the men of his tribe were excellently trained in the art and use of their Khajar, but Kazim chose to turn his skill and physical prowess into an artform.  A beautiful display of dance and martial skill, it is his subtle reminder to anyone who watches him that under the beauty of the movement, is the deadly skill of a warrior.
  • Women:  Not an unusual like for a Warlord Prince with a healthy libido, but for Kazim it is more than just for sex.  That , of course, is a beautiful thing, but with his exception of his concern of meeting and bonding to a Queen who is unworthy of him, he genuinely enjoys the company of women.  There is a soothing element to their presence, and he will often take contracts that require the escorting of the very young and the very old over a contract with an attractive adult woman, even if the pay is minimal or even non-existent.   It could be argued that this is merely a manifestation of his gender and castes desire to protect, but don’t tell him that.  Kazim doesn’t appreciate being told that the things that are most important to him are simply because of some overwhelming compulsion.
  • Epic Poetry: Usually the epically long tales of heroics, mythos or some grand quest, Kazim can recite in his soothing melodic voice some of the longest stanzas of his favorite passages.


Dislikes:
  • The politics of a court: Kazim is a man of action, the extension of his arm was the extension of justice in Pruul.  He could not, would not become one of those who sat around growing fat and lazy as words were used as weapons instead of embracing the natural manner of a male to use his body and physical skills to resolve issues.
  • His parents attempts at social climbing:  Six boys, all trained in the arts of war as any true Pruulian male would be, all groomed to be distributed among the Tabur clan, to make their way into the various tribes and achieve status in the service of a Queen.  Kazim has known since he was a boy, the hope his mother had to birth her own Queen and was ultimately disappointed in not only a last boy child, but one who was so small and weak from his first breath.  She is the driving force to push him into service, to push all her sons into service that will hopefully result in a Queen daughter in law and the court position of favor that she desperately wants to achieve.  Kazim finds her manipulations disgusting and refuses to indulge her wishes.
  • Being confined to the cities:  They were noisy, crowded, with no freedom to move with so many people in such a small confining space.  He knew that it wasn’t really small, but compared to the expanse of the desert, the freedom of open sky and sand, the walls and tents and enclosures of Oon and Little Citadel always made him feel caged in and tied down.  If he was required to defend himself or his charge, the press of people and psychic scents impeded his movements and blocked his full potential to source out any and all threats that might sneak up on him and that could be the difference between someone’s life and someone’s death.

Fears:
  • Bonding to an inadequate Queen:  He had some of the spoiled bitches that his brothers had dedicated their lives to and refused to become one of those enslaved to whatever joke that the Darkness chose to force into servitude.  He resisted the pressures of his family and his tribe, insisting that it was the natural order of the Latifh to seek out a Queen to serve, to protect and to honor.  Kazim felt the ache in his soul, the emptiness that came from being a Queenless Warlord Prince, but better to wander the desert a million cold nights than serve even a day under a woman who did not deserve his sacrifice.
  • The spoiling of Pruul:  He might not like the politics of the tribes, but he wasn’t ignorant of it.  He heard the elders talking of the changes across the desert, the disappearance of the Mother, the false Mother born in the mines, the rising power of the Sabbah who were wielding the power of this new Queen and the strange prophecy of children who were supposedly destined to bring the miraculous rains that would save the land.   Kazim scoffed at the idea of prophecy.  There is no fate, only what a man or woman makes of themselves.  Still, he respects the power of the Black Widows and the things they see in their tangled webs.  His greatest concern is that too much faith is placed on interpretations of visions and dreams and that in an effort to either bring such prophecy to light, or to quell the chances of success; those who lead the Clans will create a future that none of Pruul will ever survive.
  • That his small stature was actually the disadvantage so many claimed:  It is a silly stupid fear, a remnant of a child’s thoughts in long forgotten cold desert nights when Kazim believed just for a moment that he was weak because he was small and that someday, despite all his bravado and hard work, his physical inadequacies would spell the downfall of the one he swore to protect.  His honor bound word of protection and service would be shattered by the one thing he was unable to truly change.

Craft Strengths:
  • Telekinesis:  A true warrior uses all the tools at his disposal, and the Jewels when wielded properly were a unique weapon of their own, meant to be forged and harnessed with time and training.  Thus Kazim has dedicated his focus to transforming both of his jewels into a razor edged craft sword, to be used as swiftly and purposefully as his Khajar when the time called for it.
  • Combat Shielding:  A shield protects, but a shield is a weapon of its own able to disarm and disorient an opponent in the right time of battle.  As well as using his jewels on the offensive, he is capable of creating an offensive shield, a battering ram of power to push back and deliver blunt blows to his opponents. 

Craft Weaknesses:
  • Battlefield Healing:  In the heat of true battle, Kazim fights with a singular focus to maim or kill his opponent and in the maddening drive to attack, he is unable to divert any energy or skill into healing craft.  A dangerous weakness, especially for one who can be called onto a Killing Field, Kazim counters this weakness with his training in agility and skill.  After all, if you avoid the blows, you won’t have to worry about healing them in the heat of the fight.
  • Long Distance Communication Craft: A hindrance in a land like Pruul with no Winds to aid the speedy travel of messengers, Kazim’s ability to communicate on the staff thread at any level is limited to an immediate area.   A useful skill for a Master of the Guard or a commander of tribal forces, it is one of the failings of his abilities that Kazim hates to acknowledge.  Instead, he must employ the skills of one who can pass along messages mind to mind or pay for the expense of a traditional messenger. 

Life Story

Family:
Mother: Sa’dia al-Latifh,   Summer-Sky  - Green witch AP 126 *
Father: Mahfuz al-Latifh,  Rose- Opal Warlord  AP 121 *
Brother:Suhail al-Latifh,  Tiger-Eye- Rose Warlord  AP 147 *
Brother:Hasib al-Latifh,  Tiger-Eye- Rose Warlord Prince  AP 149 *
Brother:Sa'id al-Latifh,  White - Rose Prince  AP 151 *
Brother:Riad al-Latifh,  Tiger-Eye- Rose Prince AP 153 *
Brother:Firuz al-Latifh,  Yellow- Rose Warlord  AP 155

*indicates jewels were rolled


History:

Kazim comes from a long and respected line of the tribe of Latifh, a bloodline spanning back to the origins of Pruul and renowned for their skill in combat and service.  There has been a member of his family serving in the inner circles of every Tabur Queen as far back as there had been males called to service.   It is a badge of honor and pride for his family that has remained unblemished.

Until now.

Sa’dia is the daughter of this illustrious line, tasked by her own family to continue the honor and legacy of her family’s blood.  The only child, and a girl child with no skill as a warrior, Sa’dia was raised with only one purpose and goal embedded in her mind; to marry well and produce more honored warriors.   A stubborn and strong witch, Sa’dia held her own secret desire, to produce not only the finest warrior sons but to give birth to the family’s first Queen who would rise up protected and cherished by her brothers to perhaps even the ranks of the Tabur Queen herself.

Five sons she brought to light, five healthy and strong boys who proved themselves the embodied legacy of their heritage.  All her sons tall, strong and handsome, and when she found herself once again pregnant, she made offerings to the Darkness for the girl child, the Queen she rightfully deserved.   Instead, she birth another boy child, one so small and weak that the Healer pronounced it a miracle that it had survived to its first breath.   Sa’dia was enraged at this, for she had done all that was expected of her tribe and her clan and this last chance of a child had been a disappointment.   It was a disappointment that Kazim would never live down.

She passed him to his father and gave him none of the maternal affections that his older brothers’ had received.  Instead, he was left to fend for himself.  Instead of being protected as the youngest, his brothers saw him as weak and easy prey and as soon as he was able to walk began their own brand of torture upon him.   They called him Hyena, a scavenger who wasn’t even strong enough to bring down its own prey.  Hyena because the shape of his mouth always seemed like he had found something amusing even when his dark brown eyes were almost black with determination and rage.

Kazim learned quickly that the only way to gain any respect from his larger siblings was to rise up and stand to the line against their taunts and attacks.  He studied furiously at his warriors training, determined that what he lacked in stature and strength he would make up with his own unique physical attributes.   He was swift, able to outrun every boy in his training group.  He was agile, deftly dancing and dodging away from any attack that was aimed at him, quick even to slip between the legs of an opponent before they could adjust and correct their momentum.  His instructors praised his ingenuity, but his brothers fumed as he quickly outshone them.

Then came the time of his Birthright.   Kazim attended the ceremony with his age group, expecting to receive a lighter jewel as all his brothers had recieved.  Instead, he stepped from the partitioned altar with a bright uncut Opal in his hands, the fierce look of pride glowing on his young face.   His brothers fumed, furious that he had stepped so far into the abyss to a place that not even their Offerings would take them.   Kazim was no fool however, for he knew that it wasn’t his Jewels that would finally redeem him with his family, but his dedication to the warrior’s path.

One by one he watched his elder brothers receive their Khanjar, perform the rites of manhood and step from their Offerings.  Each year Kazim worked harder and harder, determined to eclipse all those who once thought him weak and useless.  He took a mild gleeful pleasure in the failures of each of his brothers to win a place in the new young Tabur Queen who sought males to form her court.  When his parents confronted him and asked why he too had not gone to offer his services, his response shocked and infuriated them.

He would not serve.

Kazim had decided he would not serve simply because it was tradition.  He would not serve merely to placate some need of his family to have distinguished connections within the tribes.  He had watched as each brother, failing to place himself within the Clan Queen’s court seek out other contracts, even bonding with other Queens.  Kazim would not bind himself through contract and blood to anyone who thought it was their right to have men fall that their feet, instead of recognizing the honor that the service provided.   He had not trained his whole life to serve so petty a cause.   He would serve at the right time, in the right place and perhaps if the Darkness was so inclined to present her, to the right Queen.

But Kazim didn’t truly believe she existed.   After all, the great Mother of Pruul was supposed to be the savior, the one who spoke for the Darkness and was mother to all.  She had abandoned her children, disappeared without a trace and without warning and left her children in the hands of liars who placed false Queens in her place, a girl little more a child who wasn’t even old enough for her Offering.   

Kazim wore his arrogence and self importance like armor, flaunting his skill to overcompensate for the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his brothers.  He never lost an opportunity to remind them that the “runt” was a Sapphire Warlord Prince, the pride of their family and deserved better than to be chained to anyone who didn’t deserve his respect.   

He wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming surge of anger and need that boiled through him when his first Rut crashed upon him.  It swept him up like a violent sandstorm and it was all he could do to leave the camp before his bloodlust found a focus to unleash against.  He pushed himself into the hot sands, nearly mad with need for blood or flesh when he came across Sephira.   A young widow, a White jeweled witch travelling with a band of merchants back to her tribe in the mountains.  Her scent was intoxicating, fear and recognition of what he was and what he needed.   To their credit the merchants did not attempt to stop him and moved their camp far enough away from her tent so that her cries would not reach their ears.   When he emerged from the red-tinted haze of his own manic lust, she was bruised and used, and regarded him with a sense of ...disgust.   She hadn’t been his first lover, but the purity of that emotion shook him to his core.   

He was ashamed, horrified by his actions and his complete lack of control.  He realized then that she had been lucky, they had all been lucky.  If she had fled, if they had intervened, he might have killed them in his need to satiate the boiling of his blood.  He offered her what little money he had on his person, restitution for what he had done but she spit on him and threw the marks back at him.  He left her there, left her to be tended to by the others and returned back to his tribe a changed man.   Never again would he allow his basest nature to overtake his better judgement.

So Kazim left his family, hired himself out as escort and guard to merchants and vendors alike, offered protection on their long treks between the cities for the coin he needed to survive.  He lived lean, a spartan existence, forgoing the luxury of his family and his tribe.  He studied the art of the sword dancers, marvelled in the level of discipline that combined the fluidity of swordplay with the focus and control of the art.   He worked to tame and hold back the beast that lived beneath the skin but knew deep down that the only thing that would truly temper him, the one creature that was created to hold that leash was the one thing he feared falling victim to.  He found some redemption in his work, finding each successful transport a small coin he paid to his own guilt over the actions against the one woman who would never forgive him. 

Still, blood called to blood and one day he answered a missive from his mother.  He knew it wouldn’t be a pleasant meeting but he was honor bound to the matriarch of his family and she rarely if ever called for him to be in her presence, usually relegating any messages through his father or brothers if it was important enough to seek him out.

So it was that she presented Kazim with an ultimatum.  Present himself to the Tabur Queen in any capacity, even as a member of the guard.  Something, anything, to continue the family’s honor of service in the Clan Queen’s court.  She was old now, and did not have the energy or the hope that any of her son’s would continue their family legacy.  He was her last option, her last lingering hope of redemption.  Surely an Sapphire jeweled Warlord Prince would find some place among the rank and file of the Clan Queen, even if it wasn’t in the higher circles of trust.

He saw then, the years and the weight of his own mother’s trials.  He saw reflected in her dark brown eyes, the mirrors of his own, her own struggles to rise up and live up to her fullest potential when she had seemed to have failed.  So he had agreed, he would go to Oon, to the Festival where the Queen and her court were sure to be attending.  He would seek out the Master of the Guard and find a place among those ranks.  His mother’s hopes would be realized through his reluctant filial compliance.

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Kazim packed his bag, taking only a few sets of spare clothing and other necessities.  This wouldn’t be a long trip or an extended one.  He had one task; seek out the Master of the Guard and get himself placed somehow within their ranks, or fail to do so.   It mattered little to him.  He had promised to go and present himself, but he did so grudgingly.   It was a small matter of his own pride.  How many years had he been treated as so little, ignored or put down.  No matter how high he had achieved, he was still the “runt”, the least of them.  Honor was the only thing that kept him on this path, the honor he held more tightly to his breast than anything else.

Hasib stepped into his tent without the courtesy of even asking for permission.  But that was Hasib, cocky and handsome and he knew it.  Women threw themselves at his feet and some men as well.  Hasib had bedded both without any qualms outside of his own pleasure and release.  He was married, his wife already on their third child and quite round, and yet he was knowingly taking to warming the bed of his Queen’s Seer.  He sneered at Kazim as he pulled the tent flap closed behind him to keep out the heat of the day.

“So, the little Hyena is off to fetch himself a Queen?” he purred, helping himself to Kazim’s breakfast tray that had been untouched, tossing a date into his open mouth.

“I’m going to keep my promise to Mother, that is all,” Kazim said softly, carefully folding his formal garb into the bag.  He laid the ornately embroidered yellow bandana above it, his Offering gift after he had passed the rites of adulthood and recieved his Khanjar and become a fully fledged warrior.

Hasib laughed, chewing rudely so that Kazim could see the bits of chewed fruit on his teeth, “Oh come now, do you honestly expect me to believe that you don’t WANT a position with the Clan Queen’s court?   Even you aren’t so foolish as to turn that opportunity down little brother.”

Kazim slipped his windpipe in between his clothes and turned to face Hasib full on.  “No, I don’t.  You know I don’t.  I’ve been telling all of you for years now that I do not desire the court life, I do not desire to lick the boots of some woman simply because she was born with a particular scent and has done nothing to earn it.”  Hasib’s eyes smirked. 

“No brother, not her boots.  Aim for something a little higher and that is the way to earn favor with the ladies.  I would think that by this age you should have learned that.” Hasib gave him a look of mock astonishment, “Or has our little Kazim not tasted of the nectar of a woman in the throws of passion?”

Kazim snarled at him and refused to dignify the taunt with any sort of verbal response.  Instead, he gave Hasib a cold, calculating look.  “Why the sudden concern in anything I do Hasib?  Perhaps you are worried that your little brother might actually succeed in the one thing you so desperately craved and failed at?  Perhaps you are worried that I might not only get a position, but get the attention of the Queen herself?  Little Kazim, the scrawny runt.”  Kazim stepped up to his brother, not quite nose to nose because Hasib was a good hands span taller, but close enough. “Oh how that must irk your fragile pride.  I heard how you desired the young Queen, the talk you made about how one look at you would have her panting and begging to have you in her bed and in her court.  I heard she didn’t even give you a second glance when looking through the selection.   I heard,” he lowered his voice to a faint whisper, “I heard she didn’t even remember your name.”  He stared down his brother, one arm rising to point to the tent entrance.

“Get out of my tent Hasib.  Go screw your wife, or your Black Widow lover, or a Sandworm for all that I care.  I’m leaving and if the Darkness is at all merciful, you won’t have to see me again for a very very long time.” Not that he hoped to earn his position, but having this excuse to travel so far from his family, he hoped perhaps to find work that took him to other parts of Pruul and away from the greedy ambitions of his blood.

Hasib’s scent rose, Warlord Prince to Warlord Prince in a pissing contest of tempers, but in the end Hasib walked away.  Kazim knew he would.  Skill to skill they might be matched, but Kazim’s Birthright Opal far outstripped his brother’s Rose that it wouldn’t even be a challenge to knock him down a peg or two.  No, Hasib would never risk that sort of public embarrassment, not in front of the family or the tribe.

Kazim turned back to his bag, placing in his favorite book of epic tales before covering everything in a sheer cloth.  It would keep any stray grains of sand from dirtying his belongings on the travel ahead.  Slipping his Khanjar against his hip, he pulled his burnoose up over his head and stepped out into the light to begin his journey.


Player Name: Lene

Pages: 1

 

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