When that kid groaned on the bloody steps, it echoed like thunder. We thought the priests had botched their execution. And I suppose in one sense, they did.
Annqyun Ulijwa was an elf
living on the island of Qariy
in northern Thurásin
. They lived a short but eventful life, being responsible for starting the riot at the Grand Church which ultimately led to the island being freed from the control of Xiy Kiiquldast
some 30 years after their death.
Annqyun was born in 46 Growth
in Iruva, the largest city on the island of Qariy, with their upbringing being similar to many Qarimii
living under the thumb of Xiy Kiiquldast. They were required to attend a school in which the curriculum glorified the republic and demonized the previous rulers of the island, and which stressed the importance of sailing and magical prowess in being a worthwhile citizen.
Unfortunately for Annqyun, they had a condition
which prevented them from casting any magic, and found themselves to be a mediocre sailor. When they failed an important test of their ability in 56 Growth, Annqyun was removed from their family to be sent to a specialist school in the island's west, with the goal of finding them a way to be useful to the vast fleet the republic demanded. The following years were spent in frustrated boredom, as every manner of topic was taught in the hopes they would show an aptitude.
This changed with an outbreak of Rainbow Plague
throughout the continent in 63 Growth, which quickly spread through the naval network to infect Qariy. Before most could even react, the disease had reached the specialist school, and its doors were locked tight in the hopes of preventing its spread in the rest of town.
After a few weeks the doors were reopened by the city's leader, expecting to find naught but corpses. To his surprise, a survivor emerged from the ravaged school - Annqyun. Their miraculous survival caused them to be brought to the Grand Church in Qariy to join its priesthood, to lead regular prayers and rituals designed to ask the gods
for aid. They were called upon to nurse many of the sick, and found this work the most rewarding, though their lack of magic made their work extremely difficult.
Though it seemed Annqyun had found a place, being a member of the priesthood did not suit the rebellious teen. Far from making them more loyal to Xiy Kiiquldast, seeing how its most powerful church operated served only to make them hate the republic all the more. When the books in the church library showed them the forbidden perspective of long-ago Qarimii writers, they resolved to remove the republic from the island and restore it to glory.
While their ambitions were grand, their efforts were quickly noticed by the higher-ups, and Annqyun was thrown out of the church. They returned to Iruva to find their family had perished during the peak of the plague. With nowhere to go they turned to pretty crime and odd jobs to get by, all the while keeping an eye on the movements of the Xiy Kiiquldamii officials and priests. Growing unrest on the island made for convenient chaos to hide Annqyun's actions for a time.
In early 2 Famine
, the robbery of a priest from the Grand Church sparked a fierce investigation. During its course, Annqyun confessed to the deed and returned some of the stolen goods, saying they had pawned the rest off for food. For this grave crime they were taken to the local church to be executed, part of a list full of petty criminals and rebels. When the day arrived, Annqyun caused such a fuss and ruckus among the prisoners that they were bumped to the top of the list. Taken to the top of the church steps before the deed, Annqyun's body was left to collapse onto the stairs and bleed on the stonework.
But when a priest went to drag their corpse away, Annqyun was not dead.
Suddenly missing their left arm and with their eyes alight with divine flame, Annqyun rose from the steps. Fire consumed the small church, and before the priests could begin to douse it, Annqyun had severed the chains of the prisoners awaiting execution and called them to run. Within moments, the only people left on the stairs were the confused church employees.
While many disregarded the events of the day as nonsense - after all, how could someone return from the dead? - some knew exactly what had happened. Annqyun had formed a pact
with one of the gods, exchanging a limb for magical power which transcended their magicless state and death itself. Divine assistance haphazardly acquired, Annqyun took a few days to recover before arriving to unleash similar power at another planned public execution. Prisoners of all sorts were freed en masse, with the priests never prepared to handle the arrival of the "demigod".
But Annqyun would not stick to small scale acts of arson and freeing prisoners. In mid 2 Famine, they riled up a crowd in Qariy's west and led them towards the Grand Church. As the largest monument to Xiy Kiiquldast's control over the island, Annqyun saw it as an insult to the local people. When priests attempted to prevent the riotous crowd from entering, they were harshly shoved aside, and Annqyun hurled divine fire at the building. Before long, the church was utterly ablaze, and its inhabitants were attacked by the rest of the crowd.
It was this act that finally brought them to the attention of the Captain of Xiy Kiiquldast, Thyan. Furious at the destruction of the Grand Church, she ordered her captains to search the island for Annqyun. When all attempts to apprehend them ended in injury and failure, a lower-ranked captain called Odha decided the only way to fight someone in a pact with a god was to form one himself. At the smouldering remains of the Grand Church, he made a request for power from the Duality of Knowledge, asking for the knowledge to find and defeat Annqyun.
With divine knowledge acquired, he and Annqyun began a cat-and-mouse game across the island, with Annqyun often humiliating the proud captain at every turn. Multiple traps were laid, but none were successful, until late in the year.
In the second last month of the year, Odha had a building's interior reinforced with iron coated with silver and gold to disguise it, and ordered a set of executions to be held there. As predicted, Annqyun refused to allow the event to continue, and arrived in disguise to attempt to crash it. When they realised their magic was being nullified they tried to escape, but they were captured by Odha and wrapped in chains.
They were taken to Captain Thyan's ship to be judged, though multiple attempts were made along the way to help them escape. Aboard the ship, Annqyun was branded as a traitor to the republic and sentenced once again to execution. This time, it would be at the burned steps of the Grand Church and take the form of a decapitation to prevent any possible chance of resurrection.
The deed was done on the final day of the year, despite the best efforts of the rebels Annqyun had fought for.