“A desert storm mercilessly claims all who are foolish enough to stand before it. This is no different for me, now.” she stated.
Intara, a slave to the Pasha Il’tarif, is serious and always about business. With great intensity and determination she does what she is commanded to do by her master, and will not compromise. She is also a servant of the spirit of the Final Storm, the spirit of a raging and world ending desert storm of fire, thunder, lightening, raging winds, psychic and necrotic energies.
== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ==
Intara, level 1
Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid) Option: Aegis of Shielding
Hybrid Talent Option: Swordmage Warding
Human Power Selection Option: Bonus At-Will Power
Explorer/Guide (Explorer/Guide Benefit)
Theme: Hordelands Nomad
Paragon Path: Storm Speaker
Epic Destiny: Storm Sovereign
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 12, INT 18, WIS 12, CHA 12
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 12, INT 16, WIS 12, CHA 12
AC: 17 Fort: 13 Ref: 15 Will: 14
HP: 26 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 6
Arcana +9, Athletics +5, Endurance +7, Nature +8
Acrobatics +1, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Dungeoneering +1, Heal +1, History +4, Insight +1, Intimidate +1, Perception +1, Religion +4, Stealth +1, Streetwise +1, Thievery +1
Common, Draconic, Primordial
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Wizard Utility: Light
Wizard Utility: Mage Hand
Wizard Utility: Prestidigitation
Wizard Utility: Suggestion
Swordmage Feature: Aegis of Shielding
Swordmage Attack 1: Booming Blade
Swordmage Attack 1: Arcane Lance (Human Bonus)
Wizard Attack 1: Witch Bolt
Wizard Attack 1: Darkening Flame
Wizard Attack 1: Arcane Whirlwind
Theme: Mounted Combat
Human: Heat Adaptation
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) x1
Saber (Rapier) x1
Flint and Steel
Jambiya (Widow’s knife)
== End ==
(heroic) Slave - embodies a significant part of her psychology… imagine that…
She is a slave and she accepts this and all that goes with it.Mistreatment, menial labor, having those who are not worthy to command and control her, etc is just part of the gig and she accepts this as just the way things are. Her psychology is part Stockholm Syndrome and part BDSM
She respects her master, the Pasha, and all that he has done for her. She, to an extent, willingly submits to his authority. He has looked out for her and has allowed her to train and empowered her pursue her destiny.
“We are all slaves in one form or another. My bondage is just more literal, than most.”
(heroic) Disciple of The Final Storm - at times she may be slow to anger, or a storm of anger may rage seemingly from out of no where when suddenly roused. Generally she is calm, controlled and collected, but when she is roused to anger she may attack agressively and with abandon, unleashing the hellish might of the elemental powers at her command (necrotic, psychic, fire, radiant, thunder, lightening).
(heroic) Loyal - She is loyal to her Pasha and his interests and will carry out his will in the best way that she can even if it means sacrificing her life. She will be loyal to those she has been entrusted.
(paragon)Freed from Earthly Bondage - have ascended and is no longer held back by her earthly slavery and has now dedicated herself to the spirit of the Final Storm
(epic)Embodiment of the Final Storm - Her evolution takes forward even more to be the physical embodiment of the Final Storm
Quick description: “I am a slave and I live, but to serve.”
She is a slave in mind, but also an strong and independent woman who will also broach no disrespect, without her desire. She is a slave through and through, and, really, her independence is just another way to serve her master, and to serve the Spirit of the Final Storm.
Greatest strength: “I have less lash marks than most other slaves because I am strong of mind and body, and I listen well.”
Loyalty and dedication to her master and to his will. She is willing to give her life for her master and his will if that is what is required
Biggest weakness: “I only know weakness at the end of a whip.”
Her single-minded dedication and loyalty to her master.
Distinguishing feature: “All Mufiri slaves are distinguished by tattoos , whip marks, and their broken wills.”
The tattoos on her arms that tell of her slave pedigree. The lash marks across her back, arms, and legs from the whippings she received in being a slave. The left arm tells of her life as a slave with her previous master. Her right arm tells of her slavery to her current master including her permission to wield all weapons and powers available to her when commanded to do so; and permission for walkabouts – to serve independent of direct command or oversight.
Why an adventurer?: “Adventures are for the free.”
She adventures because her destiny as a servant of the Final Storm requires it, and her master empowers and allows her to do so.
Closest family/friends: “My only companion is the crack of a whip, and the will of my master”
No family or friends to speak of. She is a slave through and through. As far as she is aware she was born as a slave and will die as a slave. She has not really ever known her family. The closest thing to a friend or family in her life would be her master – the Pasha Il’tarif.
Greatest loyalty: “I live to serve my master and his will.”
Loyalty and dedication to her master and to the will of the Final Storm.
The future: “Whether I live of die is at the hands of my master. My life is for him to command.”
Her future in the beginning shall be commanded by the Pasha, but her loyalty shall be claimed by the Spirit of the Final Storm.
Travel: “I go where I am commanded.”
She travels mostly in direct service to the Pasha. She has traveled around Mufir in her service. On rare occasion she has traveled independently in his service, but these moments are few and far between, definitely a large exception and not a rule.
Skills: “I do not have skills. I only know how to serve well enough to keep the whip at bay.”
She is knowledgeable in magic and nature, as well as being a hardy and hard working slave (Arcana and Nature; Athletics and Endurance); In addition to Common she also speaks Primordial and Draconic
Free time: “I do not have FREE time. I eat, sleep and serve. Those are my only options and I am told when to do all of them.”
Slave work; She has not really had free time per se. If she was given free time she would be confused and not really know what she should do with it. Having every moment command and filled is the life of a slave. Having choices is the realm of the free.
Magical desires: “Magic is for the free.”
She has a deep seated desire to gain in power and understanding of the Spirit of the Final Storm so the she may serve her master’s will and the will of the Spirit. Perhaps she even has a deep-seated and suppressed desire to be free like a desert wind raging across the dunes – without worldly chains, cares, or fears.
Hanging out: (not dignifying that question with a response)
Slaves do not hang out.
Legacy: “My legacy shall be to die in the service of Master Il’tarif, and, hopefully, set a powerful example for other slaves to follow.
Her legacy shall involve becoming the embodiment of the Spirit of the Final Storm. You can think of the Spirit of the Final Storm like a singular elemental spirit of wrath that wishes to be responsible for turning the world into a world not too unlike Dark Sun: oppressive, barren, violent, tyrannical, and deadly.
It is said in hushed whispers that Pasha Il’tarif received visions directly from the sprits of the desert which guided him to purchase Intara from her previous master. It is said the he paid more for her than some of his concubines or more than even one of his wives. It is said that he paid something like 3 war horses, 2 tuns of spice, and 2 healthy slave girls for her. This was the first offer which Pasha Il’tarif offered and her owner, Pasha Mir’ifi, who merrily accepted the hefty price that was being paid for his rather plebeian slave. If that is what truly happened it is not known. It is not something that is spoken about by the Pasha or his people. Perhaps his servants do not speak of such things out of fear, or perhaps they really do not know. In the shadows of fear and jealousy there is only conjecture and whispered rumors of a destiny to be revealed.
Subservience to Pasha Il’tarif
Shortly after Pasha Il’tarif purchased Intara she was sent to live with and serve his concubines for a year. The concubines objected because Intara was too plain to be worthy of a concubine or too serve them. She was too crude and unrefined, and too look upon her blandness depressed them. How could her lack of beauty and litheness’ please any man? Intara served them, and learned from them as much as she could for that year. A day came when the concubines’ objections were too loudly protested and the two who most loudly protested were given to two of the Pasha’s rather homely sons. The concubines’ collective objections stopped after that.
She was then cast to serve and train with the riders of his mounted troops for a year. The soldiers were mortified and insulted that a woman was to train with them. They objected, for combat was no place for a woman, especially a slave. Slaves were not allowed to wield weapons, and a death sentence was gifted to any that did. She received no end of hazing and disrespect from them until the day that the Pasha saw this happen in the open. He immediately had the two offending soldiers whipped almost to death for their lack of respect for his decision to put her there for servitude and training.
After those two years ended Intara endured no end of insults, mistreatments, and abuses while she was put to work as an normal slave working mostly with his wives, who, by this time, had heard plenty of the stories about the special treatment she was receiving from the Pasha. She endured this with gritted teeth and a stiff upper lip. She said naught no matter what the seemingly jealous and disgruntled women threw at her. After a few months of this the wife that was abusing her the most was sold off to a rather repugnant Pasha. The public abuses and mistreatments seemed to calm down or stop after that, but the glaring eyes and cold attitude were all very present. She felt it and did not care. She just served as she was commanded.
She endured all of that with a strong will and an unusual amount of dignity, due to a lack of disrespect given to her by her master. His lack of disrespect for her empowered her and strengthened her. She accepted that as a form of kindness and this gave her hope and the strength to maintain her will to survive. She saw very little of him, but when he did he was not mean or demeaning. He would show up every few months to check on her progress and that would be all that she would see of him. In those brief moments he pulled her alone into his tent and they would talk about seemingly nothing for a few moments and then she would be briskly whisked away back to her duties.
The Pasha’s Call
At the end of her third year of servitude with Pasha Il’Tarif, having survived serving with the concubines, training with the horse-bound soldiers, and serving his wives, Intara was summoned before him by guards who rather roughly dragged her into his tent and threw her down before the Pasha. She was stripped bare and then prostrated before him. She never uttered a scream or whimper as her back was whipped raw – blood dripped down her sides, and the raw shredded skin exposed the bloody meat of the muscles of her back and the bone of her ribcage and spine below. The whipping stopped and then the guards took a small urn and dumped its viscous and gritty contents upon her raw back, which then burned in pain as the fluid reacted with her raw flesh. Her eyes pulsed red with pain and her back raged as well. When the pouring was done and the guards had finished roughly rubbing the balm into her back, sending bolts of pain all through her body, they stepped back. The Pasha nodded in satisfaction and then waved the guards and servants away. Casually, he threw a full pack and a jambiya in front of her prostrated form and said “Journey into the desert to the Oasis of the Final Sun and then return when your business there has completed. You will not find the Oasis. It will find you when you are ready.”.
Intara, confused by this request, was attempting to hear his words through the pain that was pulsing and rampaging through her form, lancing through her back, and throbbing and splotching her vision. She knew nothing of this oasis nor when she was to return. She had no business anywhere that was not explicitly assigned to her by others. She knew not who was going to escort her or who she was to report to when she was there. She was not sure who she angered or if this meant that she was to die while it looked like she was attempting to escape. She did not know, but she was not about to die for a potential test of loyalty or some sick game.
“Stand!” the Pasha commanded firmly. “Dress yourself.” Intara slowly stood up, trying to allow herself time for the agonizing pain wracking her body to settle but it never did, and she slowly did as she was commanded. Intara opened the pack and pulled out the desert clothes and dressed herself, wincing through the pain. She could feel the top sticking to the gritty and viscous fluid that was still burning on her back, but she winced through it. When she was done dressing herself the pack still lay on the floor and so did the sheathed jambiya. “Don the pack and blade.” he forcefully commanded her. Not really understanding the meaning of all of this she hesitantly began. She kneeled down, not wanting to stress the open skin or ripped muscles on her back, stood up slowly with the backpack in her hands, and then slowly and carefully donned the pack, wimpering as pain coursed through her back and body, giving herself a moment or two to allow its pressure to settle on her back as well as allowing the a moment for the pain to simmer down to a strong pulsing throb.
She paused the longest before attempting to move to kneel to pick up the blade. Slaves, in no uncertain terms, were not allowed to have weapons, upon penalty of death, although an explicit exception was made for her while she trained with the Pasha’s mounted troops. She was not sure why an exception was made for her or why she, as a slave, was even trained to ride and wield weapons, and even more not sure if this moment is an exception or death calling to her. In that very long moment of consideration the Pasha flashed across the distance between them and forcefully backhanded her, snapping her head to the side, and the physical shock snapped her out of her doubt laden thoughts. She screamed out in surprise that the Pasha had struck her. Of all that has happened this evening, with the Pasha never having directly lifted a hand against her, now breaking that tradition, rocked her to the core. She was completely bewildered and lost. That strike did more than physically damage her, it stunned her with complete fear, humility, and desperation, more than anything else she had to endure as a slave. Not the whippings, the boot lickings, the forced dancing, the shit cleaning, the spiteful words, the cold shoulders, the demeaning and vitriol lade words or anything else has ever embarrassed her or affected her like the Pasha’s single act of slapping her has done.
His cold and powerful eyes were inches from hers and they seemed to peer through her and directly into her soul. “Put on the blade, slave!!” he shouted commandingly. Intara never sobbed or wimpered as the tears rolled down her face, her eyes never left his as she picked up the jambiya and stored it. In that moment she half expected guards to rush in at the ready so they could slay her for bearing a weapon, but none came. In the deafening silence of that moment all that Intara could only hear was the sound of her tears pulsing down her cheeks and dropping into the sand at her feat. All that she could feel was the Pasha’s piercing eyes ripping through her now shredded soul.
He stared into her for many long moments and she stood there, eyes and cheeks wet with tears of fear, humiliation, and an unflinching vulnerability. Power and command seemed to ooze from his being, not in malice or rage, just power like a fact of being. After many long moments his face quieted. Pasha Il’tarif then casually strode back to his chair, looked her over, and then said. “Intara, take the camel that is outside my tent and go. You will know when you need to return. Do not question this. Do not hesitate. Only perform as I have commanded. Your journey there and back again will reveal all.” He called her by her name for the first time and this fact tore through her teary eyed, fearful, and pain laden world like nothing she had ever expected. Intara with eyes and mouth agape, stared at him. Her total surprise worn on her broken frame like shirt. She had almost forgotten what her name was. She was usually referred to as slave or by her hair color, but never by name, and rarely by the Pasha directly.
She nodded slowly to the Pasha, turned around, and reluctantly started to walk out of the tent, each foot step a painful reminder of what a raw and bloody mess her back was. Just as she was about to exit the tent the Pasha said one final thing – “On the camel you shall find a sheathed blade shrouded in red silk. Protect it with you life, Intara. The time will come when you shall know its purpose. Now go.” With the surprise and confusion still coursing through her being, Intara nodded in acknowledgement, and fully left the tent. Upon seeing the camel that was tethered just outside the Pasha’s tent, she untethered it, mounted it, and rode off into the desert night hoping that this Oasis would find her sooner than later, or that this whole night would start to make semblance of sense, and perhaps the pain raging through her body might end.
An Unexpected Guide
Intara traveled in what she thought was a straight line into desert for many days and nights. She had very little food and only a wineskin or two of water. She tried to conserve it all as much as possible, but it was difficult to do so. Traveling through such extreme conditions required a lot of food for energy even more water. The weather was either too hot in the day or too cold at night so she tried to travel near dawn and dusk when the weather was not so extreme and was borderline tolerable. Her food supplies had long since gone, she was famished and weak, her water was now gone too, and the camel was looking weak and mighty tasty.
Weak from hunger, dehydration, and heat exhaustion Intara passed out in the sand next to the kneeling camel who was also tired and in need of water. Her last few moments of consciousness gave her visions of shifting sands rising up above her and she felt the gritty desert winds start to really kick up, in a manner that reminder her of an oncoming desert storm, as she faded off into darkness.
She woke up in what seemed to be a cold, dark, and windless place. She could see a light in what appeared to be the dark sky. Was she dead? Was she unconscious? For how long was she unconscious, or dead for that matter? Was this the light that points the direction to the spirits of the desert? Was this the Oasis of the Final Sun? She sat up slowly in the darkness. She was too tired and hungry for food to be able to feel her body. The light seemed to be closer than she thought. It was not that far up in the sky as she first assumed. It was a little over a meter or two or so above her head. She awkwardly moved her hand toward it and touched the light, as some sensation crept into her hand. When she did that the darkness seemed to pull away as sand seemed to creep down a transparent dome which seemed to surround her and her camel. As the bright light of the desert sun shined in she look around and saw nothing but sand, an ocean of dunes. Inside this clear dome of sorts was a small pool of water, some bread, and some cooked meat. There was also some water and a grass like substance for the camel. She devoured the water and food and filled up her wineskins, and her camel did likewise, their hunger and thirst sated for now.
As she finished filling her wineskins with the remaining water some of the sand inside the dome moved of its own accord and coalesce in one area, pulling together and raised itself up to form a rough sandy form barely 2 feet tall with sandy arms and rocks for eyes. She instinctively knew that this is what was responsible for saving them from immanent death. Intara nodded in thanks. She even said thank you out loud, but knew that it probably did not understand her words, nor did it desire thanks for its actions, of this she was sure.
Over the next few months the sand thing managed to help her understand how to survive in the desert: when to travel, where to look for food and water, what things to avoid, and it appeared that its presence even sheltered her from the most harmful affects of the ravenous sun. It was a great ally in these desolate conditions. They did not communicate directly to each other with words or other direct methods. It was more of a haphazard game of feeling and instinct. At some point they came to an unspoken agreement that it will be called Chrass.
The Oasis of the Last Sun
She lost count of the months she spent learning to survive in the desert and learning about her new companion. Each month passed by without mark and each month was part of the one before it, a seemingly endless and blurred stream of time. One day as they were traveling through an area with very tall dunes she saw what she thought was a tree top peeking up over the next dune. That could not be right. she thought to herself. A tree? Out here? She quickly worked her way to the top of the dune that the supposed greenery was poking over, and looked upon the most glorious sight, a sight more glorious than anything she has ever dreamed of. A pool of crystal blue water surrounded by palm trees and underbrush, she thought she even saw a bird flitting about. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen in her whole short and unfortunate life.
By the time Chrass was already half way there, Intara had just noticed that it was no longer by her side. It took Chrass’ form, which seemingly glided through the sand, about 10 minutes to reach the oasis. At first Intara jogged towards the oasis trying to follow her little elemental friend, but time passed and she was pretty sure that she had been traveling at least 20 minutes and she seemed no closer to the oasis, so she stopped. Perhaps it was a mirage. She did not think that she was in any sort of shape to be suffering from such things, but the oasis seems clearly not any closer than she was before. She kept traveling for what seemed to be an hour or more to no avail. No closer was she getting to this vision of an oasis.
Tired from the constant movement in the stifling heat of the unforgiving desert sun she closed her eyes and let her feelings reach out and try to feel the oasis, try to imagine herself closer and closer to the oasis as a means to refresh her resolve and gather herself. In those moments with her eyes closed she could feel the pull of her sandy companion, like a subconscious calling, guiding her in a direction. She let her feelings embrace Chrass’ guidance and started to concentrate on opening up her consciousness to her elemental friend. She followed where the feelings pulled her. With closed eyes she walked and walked in the direction that Chrass’ guidance directed her to. Moments of doubt and fear crept in her mind that she was going to fall over something or that a fiend of the desert would pop up and devour her where she stands, but that did not happen.
After a while of this “following of her feelings” the guiding feeling just stopped. The guidance just ended and she felt no other gentle mental pull or push one way or the other. She then feel a hint of a cool breeze on her skin. She opened her eyes and before her lay the clear waters of the oasis with its lush green trees and plants. It was beautiful and glorious. Perhaps she really had been claimed by the desert and this was its bitter and cruel way of continuing its torture after the fun of claiming her physical form. Somehow she had made it through whatever protections lay upon the oasis. Intara was elated, not only to have made to this oasis, but perhaps to also have the chance to take a bath and drink fresh water, and not water retrieved from cactuses or other water storing plants, and to find out the truth – if she really is alive or not.
As she stood there taking in the wonder and freshness of the whole scene a great and cool shadow dropped over her and the entire oasis. A great gust of wind seemed to pick up and she could feel a predatory presence about. All at once, as quickly as the shadow came it disappeared as a massive dragon with a sandy covered hide landed over the oasis. Its form was only visible due to the outline formed of its serpentine form against the backdrop of the greenery of the oasis. Had the oasis not been there she doubted that she would ever been able to see it. As soon as it landed, its eyes glared at her, and its form abruptly shifted into that of a older and very tanned human male with sand colored eyes. His eyes bore into her with an imperious anger and rage. Earthen and fiery colored dragonborn wielding swords and spears appeared from within the oasis to fan out forming a semicircle with the fuming man at the center, eyes red with rage, and the blood vessel on his forehead pulsing. Intara was frightened at the appearance of a dragon and the suddenness of it all. Most of all the man’s draconic presence scared her. His graceful and predatory movements were washed against a raw aura of pure power the likes of which she had never experienced. Even her experience with the Pasha pales in comparison to this raw power that this robed man exudes. She was frozen with pure fear of the possibility that all she has survived and over come would come to a screeching halt, which would greatly disappoint her master.
The man, red faced from anger, walked forward and stood at a distance from Intara and yelled to her “Trespass upon the holiest of sites is never forgiven. Who are you who would violate the sanctity of the Oasis of the Last Sun, mortal? Speak now and speak wisely for these may be you last words.”
Intara was quiet while trying to reconcile all that had transpired in the last few moments, as well as within the last however many months, trying to force pass the sheer terror that the man’s presence inspired in her. The last months have had go from slave to near death experiences, an elemental companion, and seeing dragons and none of that prepared her for this moment.
“I…. I… M.. My master told me ‘Journey into the desert… to… to the Oasis of the Final Sun and then return when your business there has completed. You… You will not find the Oasis. It will find you when you are ready.’, I would never had made it this far had Chrass not guided me here.”
Awaiting and preparing herself for a deadly strike, her eyes closed and terror embraced her, her body started to shake. Chrass, who was actually no where to be found from the moment she arrived at the oasis, formed itself up from the sand of the oasis and took its spot next to her. The man scrutinizes her quivering and fearful form taking in every detail, and then looked thoughtfully upon Chrass’ sandy form. He looked to one of the sandy colored Dragonborn who bore a staff and a sheathed sword of some sort and no armor to speak of.
The man nods to the dragonborn who then looks her over and then nods in kind. The dragonborn’ leaned upon its staff and then commanded “Open your eyes child.” and then it continued “We shall not kill you now. We shall kill you later. Your trespass requires restitution human. That thing that you have covered in red silk looks to be perfect for restitution for your crimes against this sacred site until we decide when to kill you.”
Intara’s eyes open slowly, and then once the realization of what it was asking set it, she glared at the Dragonborn and, pushing the omnipresent fear aside, says resolutely and somewhat forcefully “Only one man has the right to declare my life forfeit and that is Pasha Il’tarif. You shall lay your hands on the red silk and its contents over my dead body.” She snaps the jambiya out from its sheath, grits her teeth, growls ferally, taking a defensive stance while adjusting her position to put herself between the dragonborn and the camel bearing her silken package.
Knowing that this was going to be a short lived fight since all she bore was a jambiya and the rest bore swords, spears, and staves, and the man in the center she felt could think of her destruction and it would be so, she readied herself for the attack to come. She had practiced with the Pasha’s mounted soldiers quite a bit, but never dealing with combat as largely one sided as this was to be. If she was going to die here she was going to die carrying out the task laid out for her by her master in exactly the way that she was so nebulously instructed. As she was thinking those thoughts and preparing for the upcoming onslaught, Chrass glided its way up her leg and into her form, latching onto her in a way that felt like it melded with her being which was quite a strange and uniquely comforting and empowering feeling.
The human nodded to one of the dragonborn soldiers who wielded a longsword in his hand. The dragonborn moved towards the camel and attempted to pass by Intara like she was not even a threat. She moved to strike him but the he moved gracefully and brushed her aside. She stumbled forward opening a direct path towards the camel. She regained her balance and then lunged again. This time the dragonborn reflexively breathed fire upon her. Intara recoiled, but no pain came as the flame seemed to roll off her flesh like water. Emboldened by this moment she unleashed a flurry of slashes with her jambiya in an attempt to drive the dragonborn back, but his skill was much greater than hers. He blocked or deflected her attempts with little effort, but her attacks did halt his forward movement.
She continued attacking with the methods that the Pasha’s troops had taught her, but the dragonborn’s skill was too great for her. In the back of her mind she could feel Chrass’ thoughts guiding her to think about a raging desert storm and the booming of its thunder rolling across the desert. She allowed Chrass’ thoughts to mingle with hers as she attempted to assail the dragonborn. She could feel the raw magical power the dragonborn soldier wielded that assisted protecting him from her comparatively unskilled attacks.
As the moments of her ineffectiveness passed she grew angry and the thoughts of the desert storm fueled her more and then something happened that both surprised and frightened her. A feeling that seemed to roil forth from the innermost portions of her being… a raging storm… a peeling thunder rolled from inside her, along her arm, and down her blade. The thunder shook through the dragonborn’s guard and jostled him forcefully. She could see the physical toll it took on him and she kept up the attack. Attempting to take advantage of this moment to destroy the draconic challenger to her quest she attacked as fiercely as she could manage.
The dragonborn quickly shook off the effects of the thunderous assault and deftly blocked her attacks. Following that he shifted into a defensive stance and then retreated back to his place in the draconic semi-circle. Intara held her ground and waited for the rest of them to attack her. The soldier merely took his position and then nodded to the staff wielding dragonborn who then nodded to the dragon in human form.
“Intara, you have been accepted. Your trespass will be forgiven only if you complete the training to which you have been sent here for. The spirits of the desert have called you by name for many generations and they have guided you to me… to the Oasis of the Final Sun.”
Intara was confused. “What? What do you mean? How do you know my name? I did not come here for training. I came here for…..” Her thoughts and words trailed off, since she did not really know why she was here. She was following the orders that her master had given her, but she did not know what they really meant. His instructions were so cryptic.
As she stood there confused, the dragon in mortal form rustled around underneath his robe and pulled forth an amulet that bore a red field and a setting black sun. He showed it to her. “Look upon this symbol closely, child.” and after a moment he continued “Retrieve the silk shrouded blade from its resting place and look upon its pommel.”
She had not opened it up since the first moment she laid eyes upon it. She was not instructed to do so. If she was meant to look upon it prior to this she would have, but at no moment did the Pasha’s orders allow for it. He said the time would come that she would know its purpose. The time was now she felt. All of the signs definitely seemed to point to it.
Intara walked slowly to the camel and carefully brought out the silken mass containing the blade that had been sequestered within. She sat down upon her heels a put the silk shrouded blade upon her knees and then looked to the man, and then to the dragonborn. They all looked back at her. Their eyes showed a different emotion now, and thankfully so did the man’s. Instead of animosity and predatory tenseness their eyes reflected a sense of purpose and calmness. The man’s eyes and his presence having calmed greatly gave her the strength to continue.
She carefully pulled back the silks and the crude leather case that covered the weapon and she looked it. It was beautiful to behold, not a work of art by any means, but a well crafted weapon. A slightly curved yet thin blade which bore temper that reminded her of a stretch dunes. The crossguard was gold and the hilt was wrapped in a deep black leather. She looked at it and was not sure what to think. Her eyes drank in the blade’s curves and steely color. She carefully picked up the sword by the hilt, rotated it so that the blade was pointing down, and gazed upon the pommel. The pommel bore the same symbol as was on the man’s amulet. A red field beset by a black setting sun. She set the sword back down to rest upon her knees.
She closed her eyes and tried to understand what all of this meant, but she could come to no explanation that made any sense other that doing what they were saying. I have been sent here to train at the Oasis of the Final Sun she thought to herself. She did not know what that meant, but this seems like what fate has in store for her. It seems to be what the Pasha had in store for her. She slowly stood up and took the sword in her hand and said “If my master has truly sent me here for this, as all of the signs seem to point to, then will accept your charge.” The man and the dragonborn all nodded in acceptance. “So let it be witnessed, so let it be done.” said the man. “Gather your things child. You have much to learn.”
The next few years were a blur of training, feeling, and blood. Blood from mistakes she made, and blood from mistakes others had made, but no blood was ever drawn in malice, just born on the wings of competition, learning, and destiny. She learned of nature, of magic, of combat, and of the sheer and unbridled power of a merciless and raging desert storm. She had never felt so powerful or confident, and yet still unsure about what future lays before her. She was a slave trained to wield magic, trained to use weapons. She was not a soldier and yet she had learned those skills. She was nothing but a slave doing what her master had commanded. This is where she was, and this is where her master sent her. He commanded her to be both a soldier and a slave. She had no idea how that made any sense, or how that was going to play out, but she was intensely curious.
The Return to Pasha Il’tarif
A lone figure was walking over the dunes leading up to the Pasha’s camp, which was strange, since there was nothing for miles and miles in that direction, especially since just this morning a storm raged through that region for quite a few hours. The person came with a steady determination. Not fast or slow, just walking determinedly in this direction. The guard alerted the others and then they gathered together to get ready to greet this stranger walking alone through the deadly desert, and presumably through the morning’s storm. As the lone figure approached they all drew their weapons so they would be ready for anything, but what they received was not anything that they could have expected.
The first unexpected thing was the fact that the person approaching was definitely a woman. No man could call himself a man with those curves. Second, as her shaded form greeted them they caught glimpse of tattoos on her arms, which was most likely slave’s tatoos. Third, she bore a sword and a dagger sheathed at her side, which was a death sentence to all slaves. No slaves could bare weapons. Slaves were not generally freed, and if they were it was a release that only death could bring. Finally, fourth, her voice was something that was familiar, but they could not at all place it. The guards stared at her shadowed form for a while trying to place her, to no avail. She stood there waiting and assumedly, since they could not fully see her face, watching.
“Drop you weapons, slave!” commanded the lead guard.
“I am not yours to command, Izzan” said the woman quite forcefully, but without anger. The guards was taken aback. She knew his name.
“You are a slave. Drop your weapons or you shall be slain. I shall not ask you again.” the guard said.
“Slaying your master’s property is not going to be in your best interests. I will not stand for it and, most likely, neither shall OUR master.” she stated simply.
Izzan had enough of the games. He charged the woman, whose form slipped out of his arc of attack and to the outside of his sword arm. While he regained his balance the woman’s arms moved deftly in a strange pattern, and amidst the group of soldiers who stood there agape that the woman was still standing, a desiccating storm of sand, wind and flame erupted. The group of agape soldiers fell to the ground, their charred and deformed bodies were mangled with the merciless wrath of a fierce desert storm. Fear and anger gripped Izzan as he charged her while swinging wildly. The woman’s blade flashed from its sheath, blocked Izzan’s blade, and then gently slid down his arm cutting a deep and bloody line from his wrist up to his armpit. Izzan dropped to the ground gripping his sword arm, in pain and humiliation that he had been beaten, not only by a slave, but also by a woman.
She pulled back the hood of her cloak to reveal her face as the sun drenched it with its hot yellow rays. Izzan looked upon the slave named Intara that he once knew, but she had long since escaped from the Pasha, although he never made a big deal of it. Some of the guards or others who heard of this thought that the Pasha may be growing weak, but nothing else seemed to change as the years went by, with the exception of a unusual hint of a smirk that was caught sneaking onto his face whenever this escaped slave was mentioned. She looked different now. She did not bear the broken demeanor of a slave. She carried herself with confidence, respect, and power.
“Why… Why have you come back after having escaped so long ago, slave. You come for revenge don’t you?” the wounded Izzan rasped.
“I did not escape, Izzan. I was doing as our master had instructed me to, and I am returning as he has requested.” Intara pulled out a small pouch and from that she pulled out a patch of sorts. She sat down next to him and applied the patch to the largest portion of his bleeding wound. “This should help. Take me to OUR Pasha now. He will be expecting me.”
“What about my men. You killed them. You will die for that, slave.” he grimaced angrily, as the blood dripped from his arm at several spot to darken the sand below.
“A desert storm mercilessly claims all who are foolish enough to stand before it. This is no different for me, now.” she stated.
Intara started to lift Izzan to his feet “Arise. Our Pasha’s healers should be able to help heal your wound.”
“Give me your weapons first and then I will take you.” he said as he winced in pain. His off-hand, which was holding his bleeding sword arm, was now wet with his own blood. His life blood also ran a path down this arm too, and drop by drop spilled quietly into the sand. Izzan was flanked by small pools of his own blood. He not feeling to well do to the blood loss.
She paused for a moment to consider his request and his helpless state, helped him to his feet, and then removed the belts where her jambiya and saber were attached. She handed them to him, and then stated rhetorically “You know what will happen if you betray me, don’t you?”
“You mean no harm to Pasha Il’tarif?” he questioned angrily and accusingly.
“Why would I harm him? It is his generosity and foresight that has allowed me to realize and pursue my destiny. He could have uselessly fought against it and have been destroyed by it, or he could embrace it to be a part of it, to watch it unfold, and, wisely, he choose to embrace and empower the destiny that lay before us. Due to his wisdom, I have the privilege to serve the rage of the Final Storm. I have returned to serve Pasha Il’tarif in the best way I can – as the Storm demands.” she stated. “For the time being the spirits, who are presently sated, have demanded that our Pasha’s boundless generosity to me must be repaid.”
Even though Izzan really did not understand any of what she just said, he believed her words to be true, that she meant no harm to the Pasha. He nodded, trusting in his instincts and her vow, and began walking towards Pasha Il’Tarif with the woman, Intara, who was both a slave and not a slave at the same time, to accompany her on the next step that destiny has laid before her.