Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Character Background #6


Quote: “Death is the only reward for threatening Alīm, if you do not step back, I will bestow riches upon you.”

Description: You are larger than a human; even the largest gladiator does not reach your height. Your scales are a dull yellow streaked with grey and black, and to show your civilized nature you daily burnish them with oil and sand until they nearly glow. As a D’Kala you have a reptilian body complete with clawed toes, a thick tail, long snout, and a mouth full of sharp teeth. Your eyes are small and red, and have an extra eyelid allowing you to cover them to keep out sand. Likewise you nostrils can close airtight, allowing you to hold your breath in sandstorms or under water.
Lacking any external genitals, you have no need for modesty, but do wear a bleached white loin cloth for the comfort of the humans you deal with. That and a weapon harness are your only clothes, as you need no protection from the sun and heat. Besides this, you own a fine scimitar and a round leather shield called an adaba. Other possession are meaningless to you, though when away from the caravan you do carry a gourd of water and some dried meat.

Like all D’Kala your first sight after breaking through the shell of your egg was a human. Your race is one that they say once ruled all the Madras River Valley, and most of the land that is now the Caliphate. You know not if that is true, all you know is that when a D’Kala is born, he must love the first being he sees. In your case it was the young scholar Alīm ibn Bārí. You love him in a way that no human could understand, for he is your father, brother, and friend. Although just a small creature when you were born, you have spent every waking moment by his side, and you sleep near him as well. It is he who fed you, helped train you, played with you, and taught you many things. It is right that you should serve him; it is the way of your people and a driving force in your soul. By law you are not a slave, but also not a citizen, as only humans can be citizens in the Caliphate. This is not right, as you know that your heart is more pure and your soul more free than any scum dwelling freeman. As well, you know that by tradition you may leave your bound master’s service at any time. The mere thought of being separated from him fills your heart with dread, so this is one thing you would never do. When it comes to protecting Alīm, there is nothing you wouldn’t do.
Your training is as a warrior in order for you to better guard your bound master. A bound D’Kala warrior is an expensive and near priceless thing for a human to have, and you have had the best training that money could buy. Since you bound master is a scholar and apt to expound at length on a variety of topics, you have also had some formal academic education. This places you above most other D’Kala who are only good for fighting. Additionally, your bound master knows your value and does not pester you with the petty things that so many brave D’Kala warriors are forced to do. It is your hope that one day you will be chosen to stud a new generation, and that one of these may serve your master and his hatchlings.
After three years preparing to travel south of the Great Erg, you are at last on your way to Tibuk in Far Shonga, also, Alīm has packed more than enough supplies and tools to collect specimens and explore anything he comes across. You have fought many strange beasts and savage tribesman at your bound master’s side, and know that he is competent in battle, though somewhat clumsy.
The caravan you are traveling in is one owned by Alīm’s father’s trading house, and thus one you do not have to worry much about. It has been twelve long and boring days on the back of a camel crossing the sands of the Great Erg, and you still have at least thirty days ahead before you reach the first oasis at Mem-Kabur. As you prepared to mount your camel for another day of watching the endless sands, a scout ran into camp announcing that he has spotted something in the sands, a city uncovered by last night’s sandstorm. No doubt Alīm will want to risk exploring these ruins. You had best keep your scimitar handy.

About the Setting:
The Caliphate is a vast empire stretching from the Great Escarpment in the north to the Great Erg in the south. It is the center of trade for the continent of Alateff. The empire is rules by a hereditary monarch, currently Kahfir XI, of the house of Amara. The climate is warm with cool nights and little rain. Social structure is based around class, and the various classes (slave, freedman, freeman, noble) are forbidden to marry. Most citizens are human, though the D’Kala (lizardmen) and Sha’ir (Halflings) are often found in their own quarters of the cities. Outside the cities, the terrain ranges from tropical savanna in the north to arid plains and hills in the south. Tribes of nomads wander these areas, most notably the Hatari (wild elves).
Magic is rare and usually used for evil, thus most people fear any who use it. That said, most nobles employ a wizard or two for various purposes. People are also wary of any non-humans, especially hatari. Magic rarely can be bought or sold, but alchemy is very common, for the right price.

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