Naseem Samawi Character in Istralar | World Anvil

Naseem Samawi

Champion Naseem Samawi, of the Shepherd's Flock (a.k.a. Naz)

Rarely is one made for death. Naseem was made for the silent grave.
— his father
  Naseem Samawi is a dhampir vigilante and the Champion of Ceyannan, a psychopomp usher. His name rises from the grave on scattered occasions through history, with no respect or regard for the consistency of time, and indeed, even Naseem himself does not remember how old he is.   Death has ever touched his life, its corpselike fingers snarled around his pallid wrists. Coroners knew him by name before he could write, and funerary tradition provided a constancy through his youth that the tumultuous nature of home could not. When it first took him, he greeted Death as an old friend. To be later called back as a mockery, a walking undead, was to have the tapestry of his soul practically set alight - and of course, that was what happened. Most vampires would never willingly seek out psychopomp aid for their state, and almost none would enlist the death-wielding outsiders to aid with an undead massacre. Naseem, though, has never enjoyed being normal.   In his current life, Naseem has taken more of a shine to living. Each moment is embraced, for each is a step on the pathway that will one day lead him to rest, and what is a destination without a journey on the way? He wears faces as easily as hats, letting guise and conversation lead him to all manner of intriguing people and places, and shares his strange philosophies as he goes. Most notably, his establishment of Goth Club has now begun to sink into certain subcultures as an entity all its own; when before there were simply goths and those wearing black, now, they stand united.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Naseem is tall and slender, with broad shoulders and a more narrow waist. Though he occasionally mentions times where his proportions were far more normal, he possesses a gaunter, thinner form than many, with only scars and bone structure remaining of the man he may once have been.  
Naseem Samawi by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
His skin is sallow with the hint of undeath his dhampir nature has bestown, and his burgundy eyes are often unsettling to look at. His hair is thick and black, like many of Ahtiraqi heritage, and he keeps it a little longer than many. It usually ends up styled to fan out over one side in a fringe, draping half of his face in shadow. He tends to think this looks very cool, often attributing it to his love for Goth Club.   Underneath the dark coats and armour, Ceyannan's Champion mark winds its way up his left arm, across his shoulders, and partly down the sides of his chest. It usually resembles oddly circular geometric shapes interspersed with oddly feather-like shapes, though does sometimes shift in motion when using his powers. When his powers are in active use, his fingers are often stained pitch-black, much like Ceyannan's own.

Specialized Equipment

She's a proper beauty. You don't want to be hit by her.
— Naseem, on his scythe
  Naseem wields a +5 heartseeking spiresteel scythe that possesses a few names, many of them known to only Naseem. Most commonly, he refers to 'her' as the Soulguide - for his scythe's blade has returned many souls to the River, and shall doubtless return many more. The scythe is also rare for its ability to even drain mythic power from mythical beings - to this end, it may even be used to combat gods.
Naseem's Portrait by Hanhula (via Heroforge)

Mental characteristics


Naseem's early education was at the hands of his mother and the church: his mother taught much of the world, and her church taught him respect for the dead and a strong love for life. His undeath life was instead painted scarlet - all his prior teachings made mockeries by his father's twisted sense of humour, and combat skill instilled into him as a common murderer.   His second life was when he took the fractured, fragmented remnants of himself and forged them anew, learning the skills of a vigilante and putting them to bleak uses known to few aside from himself.   His third life began with teachings from Ceyannan and many other psychopomps, in countless lost hours spent within the many towers of the Boneyard. He is one of few mortals to have received such instruction, and largely considers his deity to be his primary mentor in life and death.

Morality & Philosophy

Death is the final arbiter of morality. Who are mortals to decide what should be?
— Goth Club poetry
Morality is a complex question for one shrouded so heavily in death and undeath. Undead are largely considered to be inherently evil - but Naseem is undead no longer.   He's largely given up on the concepts of law, good, chaos, and evil - they exist and are important, yes, but much of his life is guided by the certainty of what is. Fact over thought, logic over emotion, neutral forces of the grander universe over mortal squabbling. It should be of no surprise that the fate of one who spends time with a psychopomp demigod is to learn to think like the ever-complex beings, and to see the universe through their rather amoral view.   With that said, Naseem isn't totally disconnected from mortal morality. He tends to lean more generally good than evil, but when the darker solutions are more practical - well. He does wield a scythe - one known to be remarkably good at reaping.
Psychopomps of the Boneyard by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Personality Characteristics

Virtues & Personality perks

Don't ask him for jokes! Whatever you do, don't get him on that.
— Tejika, being weirdly helpful
  Perhaps one of Naseem's more significant virtues is the way he tends to care for others. Despite what many think of the psychopomps, their care for mortal life seems to have inspired Naseem to truly try to connect with those he deems interesting, and he can often be found listening to the woes of his friends or - if left unchecked - finding them surprising and potentially impractical solutions.   He is an incredibly easygoing individual, despite all that has happened in his life. The desire to help in no way seems to affect him; most comments are taken seriously in the moment, and are then allowed to pass on into the aether. It is rare for Naseem to hold grudges against other mortals, or to pick fights - in most cases, he seeks a path of understanding and occasional humour.   His humour is odd, however, even for someone in his position. It can be hard to tell when he's turned on (or off) the sarcasm or humour; he shifts between joking and serious from sentence to sentence, and his jokes often are dark or illogical to most mortals, thanks to his long periods of time away from the Material Plane.

Vices & Personality flaws

Mortals cannot handle so much. The burden we have placed on you has grown too heavy... we have failed you, my Champion.
— Ceyannan to Naseem, in the wake of the Lament's events
  Though he prefers to keep many of his vices quiet, Naseem is not free of flaw. He lets the identities and personalities he crafts shape much of his interactions, oftentimes covering his darker aspects with their light humour and letting little of his true self shine through. In truth, doubt and guilt are ever-present for him, and claw constantly at the remnants of a long-warped conscience. His life has been ever so long, and ever so full of shadow - it is no wonder that it has left flaw in its path.   He rejects much power because he knows what will happen if he obtains it - he has seen it in his father. True power, uncontrolled and without limit, is an endless temptation for Naseem, especially now that he can see so many easy paths to it. He knows well how the mania would take him, and has attempted to put some measures in place in case the lust for more ever takes him. After all, though the desire may be his flaw, he does not need to fall victim to it.   He did enough of that to fill many lifetimes during his time as a vampire, after all.  
This mortal barely counts as one. You don't need to worry about me, Ceyannan. It's not failure until we've ceased existing.
— Naseem, trying (and failing) to reassure his deity
True Neutral
Current Location
Date of Birth
he/him, they/them
Male / NB
Dull crimson
Black as night
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Other Affiliations

Okay, what is Goth Club?

Goth Club began as a joke about Naseem's tendency to wear dark clothes, likening him to the dark-clad folk of distant Gothadrun. He took to the name, adopting it as a descriptor, and began to share it with those like him.   Over time, this spun into regular meetings of those with similar aesthetic taste, who often also shared a taste for the morbid. They would meet in graveyards and similar dark places, and stories of their gatherings attracted unwanted attention from suspicious locals or religious nuts.   Though nothing occult is known to have happened at any Goth Club meeting, the club did indeed turn into a true club, and the new organisation began to spread as an entire subculture. Though almost certainly not entirely started by Naseem, he has nonetheless had a decent amount of influence on goths throughout Takawaoku by sheer coincidence.   Meetings are generally on a monthly basis, invitations to be delivered by raven.
Memitim Psychopomp by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


Like any self-respecting goth, Naseem writes poetry and literature in his free time, though prefers to keep such things to himself. He has dabbled in drama before, and if gotten sufficiently drunk, will more than happily launch into soliloquies and monologues from old plays that he has - rather embarassingly - memorised.   He's passable with a few stringed instruments - his personal favourite is the oud - but should not be allowed to sing, even when drunk. Though his singing voice is passable, his singing inevitably summons Tejika's, and the ifrit's singing voice is enough to make one's ears bleed.   Naseem's other favourite hobby is people-watching. Find him on the rooftops watching the clouds above and the people below: he thinks it's interesting.
Watching the World by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Personal History

Vampire's Feast by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Earliest Days

Every child deserves a childhood.. but some are denied it by those that should protect them.
— notes of the clergy
  Naseem was born human in rain-drenched Ahtiraq at the scene of a massacre. His mother was one of few spared by his father's merciless reach, and she would later survive long enough to make herself invaluable to both men as a traitorous cleric formerly faithful to psychopomp ideals. Though his father was not biologically his, his true father was dead before Naseem ever drew breath.   He was raised free of his father's iron grip, with his mother passing on the teachings she had once held dear to him whilst secretly offering ruthless aid to his father's undead hordes. For Naseem's father was not some common necromancer - no, he was a powerful vampiric wizard by the name of Hashir al Faisal, scourge of the light. Naseem grew up ignorant of the death that hung heavy around him, but nonetheless spent a majority of his time surrounded by death of his own choosing in his initial role as an acolyte dedicated to the psychopomps.   His father was not a patient man. Naseem's first death came in his mid-twenties, side by side with his mother, knelt on the stone floor of an abandoned temple that Hashir had claimed in his bloody path. At the time, Naseem thought it to be a ritual of his church - down to the dark robes his father wore, and the strange figures that waited patiently at the edges of the hall. He and his mother took their first steps into undeath together: she with a sad grace and lingering regret, and he with optimistic hope for what this might mean for his future.

The Blank Years

I don't know what you want me to say. I lived and died in blood and murder.
— Naseem
  There are many reasons Naseem will not share his age. For one - he is no longer certain of it. After being turned, after drinking his first mouthfuls of blood - much was blank. Years passed in a bloody smear, most glimmers of memory only being heedy rushes of emotion within the depths of his father's fell command.   Hunger was rare, then. It was a tool of control, one that would drag the dregs of his personality from their rotten depths. He remembers those moments best: starved to the point of agony, writhing on the floor for some slight he could no longer remember committing, offered the chance for redemption only when his father deemed his suffering enough. And from that redemption - satisfaction. Utter bliss, to taste when the sensation had become an old memory.   Over time, the memories stayed - all of them. He spent his days studying and learning, ever sharpening skills to be a deadly blade in battle, and yet ever reduced to a quivering mass when his missteps displeased his father. The cycle continued in sharp relief, Naseem's own awareness of his circumstances hanging over his head in deathly shadow.   All vampires attempt to rebel against their masters eventually. Naseem's rebellion was far more subtle than most.
Scarlet Path by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Vampire's Surrender by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Death's Watch

All undead must be destroyed.
— tenets of the psychopomps
Many in the position of slave would seek rebellion for the sake of revenge, or to take control. These were the obvious possibilities, often joked about by Hashir to his minions - biological or not - as far too predictable. Naseem, as the model child, wouldn't want to be predictable.   So instead of either, he sought a different form of escape: death. His mother's books on psychopomps had long been filed away in his father's libraries, and over the years, he'd only uncovered more of the texts in the libraries of victims or from the lips of the dead and dying. Psychopomps, he knew, despised his kind. They also had a tendency to gather around places of death, aiming to eliminate the threat of undeath from where it might be first invoked.   Years of devoted service had only won him so much leeway, but it was just enough to find occasions to slip into graveyards that he passed, ever seeking their patrons. Months of searching paid off eventually, and whilst pinned to the ground by a morrigna more than happy to extinguish his undeath and send on his soul, he begged her to allow him to offer her one more service: he would gladly lead any amount of psychopomps and their clergies to his father's lair, so that he could see the undead threat purged before his own death.   Cold wings heralded the arrival of others. Sharp, otherworldly silver burned his skin as they restrained him - and set about fulfilling his bloody revenge.
  They brought him along with great caution, leaving him at the entrance to the lair to watch the threat be dismantled. If he had lied, his life and soul would be forfeit, but this - it was a chance to do some good in his last moments, even giving him leeway enough to warn the terrifying beings of vampires who were absent, or of incoming attackers he caught flickering in the shadows. When the slaughter was done, they dragged him before the psychopomps' leader, an angelic spectre of death.   He knelt gladly, their chains searing silver scars into his skin, and smiled as their silvered scythe reaped his soul.  

Halls of the Dead

My judgement was swift, at Her hands. I had done terrible things, yes, but with what choice? When I had the chance to choose, I chose death. So with Death, my soul would stay.
— Naseem on his judgment
  A soul, once judged, cannot be restored to life save through the direct intervention of an incredibly powerful spellcaster - or, as it may be, a deity. Naseem's death was the end for him, or so he thought. His soul was judged to be of neutral cloth, and thus to remain upon the Boneyard. A peaceful end to a bloody life, and one he was thankful for.   It should have been his end. And yet - it was not. The picture of his life blurs, here. Naseem was dragged back to the Material Plane from his rest not once, but twice. The first time is shrouded in secrecy, but some aspects can be gleaned. It was in this second chance that Naseem's identity shattered, split between the guises of his vigilante training. He travelled, then, with far more freedom than he had ever had before - he speaks well of places throughout Takawaoku and beyond, sun-drenched and pure.   He does not speak of what happened in that second life. Not of who brought him back, nor how he again met his end. Those are secrets few living or dead hold, and he would prefer to keep it that way.
The River of Souls by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Unto Reality, Once Again

We have a duty to ferry every soul we can to their afterlives. Something this big? We couldn't ignore it. I just wish we'd known what we were dealing with. For our sake - and for that of every soul we failed.
— Naseem
Gaia's Lament by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
His third chance - once more beyond judgment, to the displeasure of every deity of prophecy and fate - was at the hands of a psychopomp, strangely enough. The demigod Ceyannan sought out the faint soul in the early days of his afterlife for some intent known only between the two. The decades of friendship and understanding between the former mortal (for one that was dead could hardly still refer to themselves as such) and demigod were odd even to others of Ceyannan's tier - psychopomps did not oft take to counselling the deceased.   When he accepted their offer of Championship, few on the Boneyard were surprised. Ceyannan's subsequent tour through the cosmos to land upon the Material Plane itself, though? That was unexpected. Naseem returned to Istralar before his deity, establishing his identity as Naseem Samawi (and this time, his previous lives were reflected in his reincarnation as a dhampir) and seeking adventurers to travel with. This was, unfortunately, when his paths crossed with Tejika Atandhakar.   Some time later, through mishap and misadventure, he and Ceyannan reunited upon Takawaoku - and Gaia's Lament claimed both. Trapped and lost to time, with little understanding of their foe or even how long the Lament had been brewing, they sought to end it at its source - a dark entity that endeavoured to spread corruption.   Naseem had never heard of the Shards. Ceyannan was mislead to the signs for too long. They mustered their forces, gathering the allies Ceyannan had travelled with, and struck. The Earth-Mother's Gift revealed itself too late for them to react. The defeat was crushing, and had Naseem not been a Champion, his soul would have been consumed much like those of their mortal allies. Instead, he and his deity - and a number of their kin - were locked away within the Shard's grasp in a torturous hell of grief and madness, their resolve shattered like glass under the yoke of their new master.   For Naseem, this was a story he had been part of before. He watched the suffering play out, and acted his part when the Lost Ones were dragged in to face him. Like the puppet he had been for his master before, he readied his scythe to spill their blood. Yet this story had a different ending. By their power, his strings were cut. By their strength, both he and Ceyannan were freed.
  The story is not yet fully told. He stands at the side of the Goddess of Death's own Champion, Aniks Aliforn, ready to once again strike at the Shard with all the might he can muster. All signs point to their victory - but Naseem knows how easily one might snatch defeat from victory's own jaws. He will not rest easy until this chapter is closed, so that he may again move on.

Cover image: Naseem cover by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


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Dec 28, 2023 18:04 by Keon Croucher

Such a detailed and wonderful character, so much depth and so much that could be worthy of praise and I love it all. This is an amazing piece really giving true depth to someone clearly of notable importance. An enjoyable and knowledgeable read that really lets one feel like they know Nazeem on some level by then end.   Also Goth Club is a wonderful humorous part of his story, and an amazing little piece to come up with, I love it so much, that is quality writing Han!

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Jan 9, 2024 09:11 by Han

Thank you! Goth club was one of the first details he mentioned after the party managed to stop fighting him; they've been poking at him for more details since x) Had to add it in here!

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Dec 28, 2023 22:35 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I kind of want to give him hugs. Does he accept hugs?   Lovely detailed character article. You are an inspiration.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jan 9, 2024 09:12 by Han

He does! He doesn't usually get them, on account of hanging out with generally-emotionless psychopomps, but he does like them.   Thank youuu <3

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Jan 7, 2024 15:55

Would it be macabre if I described this article as “to die for”? A wonderfully in-depth text about a tragic figure, written with a lot of feeling despite the dark subject.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.
Jan 9, 2024 09:12 by Han

Bahaha, very in-keeping with the tone of this one - he'd appreciate it ;) Thank you for the praise!

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Jan 26, 2024 14:49

I'm always a fan of characters that went through a lot and yet they manage to keep a positive outlook on life. And the goth club part is hilarious.   Good job!

Feb 4, 2024 07:43 by Han

I feel like I run into the trap of making more traumatised characters all the time because dark backstories are so common in a world like Istralar, especially when these characters live SO long. It was really refreshing to get to write someone who's been through the wringer and healthily processed it all!   (Goth Club is his most iconic moment. I adore him for it.)

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!