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Etiqad Ceyunli, the light of the Desert

I am naught but a farmers daughter, at the end of it all. They paint me in pictures with golden paint, and speak of me as if I were a creature of legend. But allow me to assure you of this; I am the simple daughter of a farmer, who loved her people.
— Etiqad Ceyunli

Mental characteristics

Personal history


Her mother, Gulbala, was a cactus farmer wed to a hunter of the Saltsong clan. As their fifth child, little was expected of the young Etiqad. If she were to spend her life as naught but a farmer, or even a fisherwoman, birthing children, she would have fulfilled her role within orcish society. Alas, it was not to be. The little orcish girl had better plans . Despite her complete lack of magical aptitude, Etiqad would sneak her way to the shaman's hut, to listen to the wise woman's stories. Learning tales of Paros, The Dream Keeper, the history of her people and the land in which they lived filled her heart with wonder. A need; a yearning for tales and stories and lives of others.
To her mother's dismay, this need did not wane with age. In her adolescent years, her clan saw Etiqad as a woman without direction, lazy and unmotivated. Instead of taking up a trade, she would speak to the tribe's slave wives, and ask them to regale her with tales of their stories - of worlds beyond the desert, of people so very different than her own. She would keep them company, and they would teach of their homes and their tongues.

Etiqad, the witch of Hareth

Etiqad herself has claimed that her life did not truly begin until the death of her clan's shaman. Amongst the orcish people, only a woman of magical talent could become shaman, and the Saltsong clan had none. The clans whispered between one another. Spoke of a war incoming. The red folk from the stone cities held a hatred against the orcs, they said. Disrespected their rights, their customs. Young Etiqad imagined herself a shaman. Lack of magical aptitude, arcane or divine, was not going to stop her, however. For one of the slave wives of her tribe was a Farene woman, who had told her stories of witches, so prevalent in her homeland.

It amuses me; the tales I hear of that night. The scholars of the red folk have put that eve into beautiful words, filled with an almost erotic mysticism. What a fascinating thing. In some versions, I can barely recognise myself. In truth, I was not some savant of the magical arts. Not by any meaning of the word. In truth? My hands shook like the wrath of the hells was upon me. The ritual circle was pitiful, the offering was a disgrace, and my sight was taken from me by force. To this day I am surprised any entity answered at all. But those versions of that night are not supposed to convey the truth of the matter. If anyone wished for the truth, they would have asked me, after all. No, those stories are for young ones; to be inspired and to believe in their own potential. And I am okay with that.
— Etiqad Ceyunli

On a night of a full moon, beneath the stars, Etiqad called forth to the void beyond Garatha. Within a perfect circle of chalk, she called forth in wonderful prayer to the gods. What she had hoped for, was that Paros, the patron of her clan would answer the call. Her call was answered in shades of violet and grey. She stood from her circle gifted with arcane power, but stripped of sight.
She and the new chieftain were wed by the end of the year.

The role of a shaman was admittedly different than what Etiqad had expected. Her predecessor lived in times of peace, and had two and a half centuries of time to gain the trust and favour of her people. Her predecessor also had the support of her husband; a luxury Etiqad was not afforded. Under normal circumstances, the shaman and chieftain are given time- their relationship is allowed to blossom into love and companionship before they take their rightful roles. But the clan was under strain. Skirmishes with the red folk were a normal occurrence, and the clans were preparing for all-out war. There was no time for delicate matters.

The war was a time hard hitting for the Saltsong clan. Etiqad was taken as prisoner of war by the Toruvajan army. Alongside her, the slave wives of her tribe were freed by the soldiers, a few of whom remained by Etiqad's side. It was this time in captivity, that marked her as the diplomat mother of the Ea'Vagt people.

Accomplishments & Achievements

Etiqad was taken from her tribe during a raid on her village. The supposed aim of taking her prisoner was to have her husband surrender to the Toruvajan army in exchange for his wife's rescue. Of course, the generals had no way of knowing that Etiqad and her husband were not close; that he would not drop anything for her rescue.

Etiqad becomes a witch
Etiqad becomes a witch by Josh Hutchinson
And so, the shaman was at the mercy of folk who thought her to be naught but a monstrosity- barely capable of independent thought. There was another surprise to befall the Toruvajan soldiers, however. The women freed, the beaten and abused slave wives stood in defence of this woman. They spoke of her with kindness and heart. They spoke of their friendship. Of Etiqad's curiosity and sweetness, of her loneliness. It is said that the soldiers, one by one began to converse with the seemingly brutish woman. One by one they would begin listening to her stories, and one by one, grow to care for her wellbeing, and she for theirs.

When it came time for her captors to return to the capital, they took Etiqad with them, and petitioned for her to be heard by the Farastuch council. It was seemingly not to be. The council did not appear to wish to listen to the words of an orcish woman. In fact, she was taken prisoner by the council and held until her civilised companions paid to set her free. Whilst the soldiers and slave wives alike felt this was the end of things, Etiqad had managed to create a flame within them. A need for change. Each day, she would gather her friends who would surround her in a protective circle, and she would tell the stories of her home and her people. Of the love between her parents, the peaceful life of a farmer her mother led.
At first, her speeches were met with disgust and open hostility. Folks throwing anything from spoiled fruit, faecal matter and even projectile weapons her way. This hostility turned into mocking audiences, to quiet frowns and disapproving murmurs. To silence, to questions, to crowds of supporters, to active protests outside of the council chambers.

It was the treasurer, the black dragon Ramantis, who invited Etiqad to a soiree in her home. She was akin to an exotic fruit. Many looked at her as if she were an elephant in a fancy dress, not a woman. Many mocked her, many refused to speak to her. But her words grew within the hearts of a few.

And this was enough.

With time and more demonstrations growing in numbers, Etiqad found herself in a position of an honorary diplomat of her people. She managed to successfully push the Farastuch council to recognise her people as sapient, intelligent creatures, and within the year, she began peace talks between her people and the Toruvajan Tieflings.
Thanks to her diplomatic efforts, the orcish people of Toruvaje have autonomous access to their holy site; the city of Uga-Tora. Etiqad has been named as the keeper of the city, and has been on several diplomatic missions since. Whilst there is much work to be done, the Light of the Desert has created a solid foundation for the generations to follow.
I have been told I gesticulate rather heavily. What can I say... Speaking to large crowds is almost akin to dance. It requires the whole body. I would wish it upon every creature in Garatha to feel so strongly about a cause that they feel compelled to move not just their hands but their whole bodies, their souls.
— Etiqad


Family Ties

Today, Etiqad has no real family. Her parents both perished in the war, and her husband is a man who stands by her side out of necessity; if he is without her, he is nothing. A concept extremely humiliating to an Ea'Vagt man. They share cold, passionless bed; a quiet table in the evenings. It does not help matters that Etiqad was sterilised during her short imprisonment; a common practice amongst Toruvajan soldiers. After all, the desert orcs were no better than dogs. It is no longer done thanks to Etiqad's protests and actions, but her husbands line will end with them.

Social Aptitude

Long gone are the days of her raised voice in the streets of Farastuch. Nowadays, Lady Etiqad speaks in a hushed tone, and entire rooms go silent just to hear her speak. Those who have met her personally claim she still holds the fire in her heart; her words whilst quiet, demand to be heard. That when angered, she still becomes animated, her whole body moving to accompany the emotion of her words.

Whilst Lady Etiqad rarely leaves the holy city these days, she has been known to often wander the streets, talking to foreign dignitaries, children and warriors; listening to their tales, watching the work she has done come to life right before her eyes.

True Neutral
Current Location
Honorary & Occupational Titles
The Light of the Desert, Diplomat of the Dunes, The Orcish Queen
Year of Birth
2823 PA 214 Years old
Circumstances of Birth
Born under a waning moon, after an unexpected pregnancy
Biological Sex
Milky white
Long and sleek, black in colour with greying roots
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Tanned green, with several burn marks
Ethnicity | Sep 28, 2019

The desert orcs of Toruvaje

Geographic Location | Sep 25, 2019

The golden desert of the north

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24 Sep, 2019 20:32

If this isn't placed on the shortlist, I'm going to be very disappointed. This was a very enjoyable read.

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24 Sep, 2019 23:30

Oh gosh, thank you, so much, I am glad you have enjoyed it!

25 Sep, 2019 22:38

This is thus far my favorite entered article!! Your writing has brought the character to LIFE and it emphasizes what kind of person she is so incredibly well. You captured benevolence while still enrapturing mass amounts of relatability and sympathy for this character. Her dialogue is some of the most natural sounding lines I've ever read thus far. The flow of the article is paced very nicely and doesn't overwhelm the reader nor bore them. I was entirely invested in the goals, ambitions, and fate of this character as her early life was described. Overall, sincerely amazing work, and as Jaime said, I sincerely hope this is AT LEAST placed on the shortlist if not awarded more tbh!

25 Sep, 2019 23:44

I am... honestly welling up a little, thank you. Seriously it means so much.

26 Sep, 2019 18:51

This article reminds me of the sort of ironically hateful relationships people in my own world have towards others they see as monstrous, except in this case both sides are what would technically be considered monstrous by normal societal definition. It really plays to the fact that neither side generally wants to me monsters to one another, and would rather be kind and generous if only there were not so much misunderstanding between them - perhaps a cautionary tale. Wonderfully done!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
30 Sep, 2019 05:36

Alas, it was not to be. The little orcish girl had better plans however.
Repeating the same thing a bit here, I'd suggest dropping the "however" at the end there!
In her adolescent years, her clan saw Etiqad as a woman lazy, without direction.
I'd swap these two words to read "lazy woman" or— add a comma after "woman." (Which I assume is what was typo'd out here.)
  I'm liking the buildup here of her being fascinated by stories in her youth, seems to flow really well, and set up what I assume will be her main drive if not an important part of her later on. (By the way this is being written as I read through!)
wonderful prayer to the gods.What she had hoped for
Missed a space after the period there!
  The Lady of Mirrors makes a move, now I am curious as to why she may grant someone power when she collects powerful souls. Can arcane power grow within someone after it has been granted? Something akin to grafting a cut limb from one plant to another so that it may grow anew?
It was this time in captivity, that has marked her as the diplomat mother of the Ea'Vagt people.
Past and present tense mix a bit here, I'd suggest switching "has" to "had" as this happened previously. Tweaking the sentence to "as today's diplomat mother" can flow better, as well. The comma also makes for a somewhat odd stop in the flow of the sentence, I'd drop it.
  I love how the soldiers were slowly converted here!
...began to converse with the brutish woman.
I'd add "supposedly" or another similar word in front of "brutish" there. At least from the article so far, she is not actually brutish— but the soldiers believe her to be.
Many looked at her as if she were an elephant in a fancy dress, not a woman.
ACE line there! Loving the peaceful change going on!
And this was enough.
  I love it! The emphasis on slow, gradual, change as OKAY is a great thing to leave with the reader. Etiqad seems like a truly great leader!
  And this was enough [feedback].

30 Sep, 2019 16:33

Ah, I can always trust you to help me see where my English lacks, thank you! I'll get to fixing those. I wanted to make a comment as to why Hareth responded, because there was quite a lot of thought as to why it was her who answered Etiqad's cry. Despite what historians may say, Etiqad barely managed to pass the threshold required to reach the void. Very few entities were interested in her. But this is a setting built for D&D, and I have made Hareth the closest creature that there is to a dungeon master. An entity I can imprint on, whose view would be the same as mine; not some kind of want for power or more worship. Just one, singular question; "Wouldn't it be interesting?" She reached out to Etiqad because she, just like I when I created her as a character in my world, was curious about what she, such a gentle creature would do with it?   I hope that makes some sense.   To answer your question about power: When an individual successfully reaches out to the void and an entity responds, its like someone plants a seed within them. This seed will grow with time, if nurtured.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
30 Sep, 2019 18:52

Glad to be able to have helped!
  That makes good sense to me!
  As does the answer to my power question!

30 Sep, 2019 21:55

There's a story of dreamy, almost fairytale like quality to the content. And, the art choices are very strong. Great work

2 Oct, 2019 17:59

Wonderful work!   Your writng is captivating, it really sucked me in and made me want to know even more! Your artwork is a really nice touch and the flowers in the portrait just give it that extra little something.   Your quote CSS is wonderful btw, is it from a theme or did you make it yourself? ^-^

2 Oct, 2019 18:51

Thank you so much, I have worked very hard on Etiqad and her story, she has become something of a love of mine. The quote is a tweaked one from the dnd theme, until i figure out how to make my own one!

4 Oct, 2019 03:09

Etiqad is a very interesting character, and I like that her end of life is a bit bittersweet. I love her quotes, and your artwork is fantastic.

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14 Oct, 2019 18:55

A beautiful story to say the least. A story of breaking stereotypes and never surrendering even under the roar of public ridicule. You wrote out the content beautifully and you sold her legacy fantastically.   This is a straight up masterpiece! Great job and thank you for submitting to the Premier Politicians Challenge.


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