Windsinger of the Stormtamer
A young woman, somewhat tanned and with long, slightly curly red hair, so dark as to look almost black in poor light, hanging loose about her shoulders. Her blue-grey eyes seem always to dance across her surroundings, only ever settling on a subject for brief times even when speaking to someone. She’s somewhat slight of build and a little in excess of five and a half feet tall.
She wears a crimson bandanna and here and there are beads and small feathers braided into her hair. Small gold hoops hang from each ear. A blouse of green silk, with short, wide sleeves and generally kept unlaced to barely decent levels allows one to see a small blue-silver medallion hanging from a gold chain which, on closer examination, seems to be a coin of some sort. Intricately worked golden armbands in the form of coiled snakes extend down from under the sleeves of her blouse, and her forearms are covered by large metal bracelets that barely fail to qualify as full bracers, decorated with precious stones and an elegant, flowing script. Her hands and arms are heavily decorated with intricate henna tattoos, some faded by time and others apparently more fresh.
She wears loose, dark red-brown trousers tucked into soft black boots and a dagger peeks up from the right boot, her only visible weapon except for a leather sling wrapped around her right arm. A small pack hangs at her back from a leather baldric, but other than this she seems to travel rather light.
She speaks softly but clearly, and when she moves is accompanied by an almost musical jingle of jewelry and rustle of silk, seeming too melodic to be anything but well practiced intent.
I am Safana Arun, of House Jathir of clan Illistyn. My mother is the lady Safiya Arun of House Tayele; my father is Khilij al-Amra of House Jathir, and I am sister to Taritha, also called Arun. My mother is a sha’ira, a sorceress and adviser to the clan lord. My father is a faris, a champion of the lord and a Paladin of Sekhmet. My sister is young and had not chosen a path when I set out from home.
I was born in Arslanshaar on the coast of the Drossian Sea, an inland ocean of no small importance in trade. It was a rich city, grown fat upon the wealth of its merchants and the importance of its fleet. It was a good life and a fortunate childhood, and I wanted for little as a child of the military elite. I was trained by my mother to take up her role as sha’ir, for a people as reliant upon the sea as we cannot have too many seers, and also as rawun – storyteller and lorekeeper – for what are a people without their history and the wisdom of the past?
It was a good life, as I have said, and perhaps another in my place may have been able to settle for such a life. As I grew older I longed for something more; the allure of a life of idle luxury, punctuated by prophesying and singing songs of glory for a doting husband faded when I grew out of my childhood, replaced by a desire to wander. I reached the earliest age of adulthood, fifteen winters, and went before the lord to plead for my release from my family.
The lord of the Drossian March in those days was Sebekhtigan II, “the Hawk,” may the blessings of Sekhmet and Tanit be upon him! I know not if he still lives, for he was old even then, as wise and learned as he was experienced in war. He heard my request with some reluctance, for he was a friend to my family and my parents were much loved by himself, but so too did he love my sister and I, and it is true that he had had a daughter, too, who desired to wander and see the world for herself.
Perhaps he remembered the days before, when we Illistaani were yet a nomadic people, untamed by the ideas of settled folk, for Sebekhtigan was an old man then, though still spry enough in the saddle to best any who may have challenged his authority. He heard my plea and he granted it, severing my obligations to my parents and granting me leave to pursue my own desires. My mother was heartbroken to hear that I meant to leave, and my father raged as well, though I suspect largely for my mother’s sake, for he had been a wanderer as well in his youth and I think had long desired a male child in hopes it might take after him.
My wanderings led me to the plane of Elemental Water, almost a paradise for one who had lived all her life on the coast. Here, aboard a ship one could ply the waters of nearly all the planes, from the crystal waters of Arvandor to the grim tides of the Styx itself. I have spent time aboard merchant vessels, carrying goods from one end of the Multiverse to the other, and yes, other vessels as well.
I have sailed with merchants carrying spices to the Upper Planes and carried slaves to the dark cities of the Abyss, smuggled arms to the Doomguard and even, once, served on a ship hauling prisoners for the Red Death. I have sung for princes and danced for pirates. I have entertained traders and beat the drums that marshalled corsairs to the slaughter.
I have done things for which I should be ashamed should any of my family hear of the deeds, but I have never killed out of malice. Is it not better to advance by the grace and guile of Tanit than the wrath and courage of Astarte? Though they may look contemptuously upon me in the histories, at the least they will not say, “And thus speaks the tale of Safana Arun, who littered her path with the bodies of the fallen!”
Only time will tell.