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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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