Monday, November 4, 2013

Misfits Origins: Ehlum (Sanna) Davusaam - Suli Summoner / Part 1

Part 1 - Peril Reveals a Blacker Purpose

Sanna Davusaam lived in Katheer, the capital city of Qadira, for most of his life. He grew up as a relatively poor citizen, but other than the occasional fight with other kids, he never faced much hardship. He was well liked by nearly everyone that knew him and his family, and they rarely went without food or friends. When he reached adulthood he worked a number of odd jobs, including many which benefited from his charisma and strength.

One of those jobs had Sanna acting as a courier, which often sent him to the homes of Katheer's nobility. While delivering a merchant's catalog of newly acquired goods to one of these noble's households, Sanna caught the attention of the beautiful, wealthy and powerful Baroness Lissi Besthana. The Baroness already had 6 husbands, but she was enamored by Sanna and pursued him for the following year. Sanna himself was beguiled by Lissi, and at the end of the year he agreed to marry her.

The next few years saw Sanna living a carefree life, and he enjoyed luxuries he never dreamed of. He quickly grew accustomed to fine wines and culinary delicacies, lavish wardrobes, and exotic pets. When he wasn't spending time with his bride, he would often hang around with the magic users in the Baroness's employ, learning simple tricks and bits of arcana. While they and most of the others in the Baroness's estate enjoyed Sanna's company, her other husbands did not. The favoritism and extra affection that she showed Sanna went on far longer than was typical following the acquisition of a new husband, and this made them jealous. The Baroness also refused to give Sanna any responsibilities, so the other husbands felt that he wasn't pulling his own weight.

Over time, Sanna realized that Lissi was not as kind to the rest of the world as she was to him. In fact, she was quite ruthless in her business dealings. She didn't place much value on human life, and even less on the lives of non-humans. This bothered Sanna some, but since he was never directly involved, he never did anything about it. Eventually this changed. Lissi decided she had other uses for Sanna after all. He was an imposing figure with a strong frame and taller than most men. She figured he might be useful for intimidating others, and since he was her husband she could bring him to the meetings which she could not bring guards. The first few of these meetings that Sanna attended went smoothly, and he did little more than stand in the back, observing. The following excursion, however, was different. It was there that Sanna first saw a real battle, and where he first came into contact with a djinni.

A genie binder named Kemaah Dakil had been working in the service of Baroness Lissi Besthana for many years. Until this day, however, Sanna had never met him. Kemaah spent the majority of his time with his crew of rangers and rogues, searching for information that would aid him in successfully dealing with or capturing djinn, marids, efreet, shaitans and even half-jann. On the rare occasion when he would come to the Baroness's home, they would meet in secret. She had no desire to reveal to the public that the practice of enslaving and binding genies was one of her sources of wealth and power. On this day they would meet far away from Lissi's estate, in the foothills of the Zho Mountains, near Gurat.

Baroness Lissi Besthana brought Sanna with her on the two day trip to Kemaah Dakil's camp, along with two of her other husbands, Terrak and Baemann, and a number of guards. Their journey along the Pashman River was tense. Lissi kept to herself, intensely focused on her thoughts and often sporting a devilish grin. Neither Terrak nor Baemann spoke much either, at least not to Sanna. He decided to ignore the others and began reading for the fourth time a book borrowed from a sorcerer back at the estate. It told of the adventures of a powerful caster who summoned great creatures to fight monsters and other evils in the deserts of ancient Qadira. Sanna was so focused on reading the book that he didn't notice the great commotion that was brewing. Baemann stormed up to Sanna, slapped the book from his hands and yelled at him. "Grab a weapon, fool, and let's keep the Baroness from becoming a meal for a river drake!"

Sanna stepped out to the aft deck armed with a couple javelins, where the bright sun blinded him. Guards were frantically scanning the length of the river, bows and crossbows at the ready. One guard at the back of the boat screamed "Astern, in the wa-." At that moment, an 8 foot long winged creature burst from the water and interrupted the man, knocking him back and landing on him. The drake's rear claws dug into the guts of the guard, and its jaw crunched down around the man's neck. Baemann lunged at the beast and swung with his scimitar, forcing it to take to the air. Arrows and bolts filled the sky above the boat, and one found a home in the drake's ribs. The creature screeched as it banked and turned back towards the boat. Bearing down on the archers at the front of the vessel, it opened its mouth and spit a ball of mucus, hitting one man in the chest. Sticky acid immediately ate through the man's leather tunic, killing him instantly, and splashed onto the archer next to him. The drake landed next to the second man as the acidic mucus started burning his skin. He tried to move but was stuck to the deck. The beast lashed out a claw towards him as Sanna sprinted towards the beast and threw a javelin, striking it in the neck. It screeched again and took off, back to the sky.

The men were scrambling across the deck, most reloading their weapons, but others were screaming in fear and trying to get inside the cabin of the boat. Terrak hissed at them from his post, guarding the entrance. "Grab your bows or that serpent won't get a chance to kill you, I'll do it myself!" Meanwhile, Sanna and Baemann watched the drake fly past the bank of the river, and behind row of sand dunes.

"Is that thing gone?" Sanna asked, standing at the edge of the deck, watching the sky.

Baemann looked back at the rest of the crew, took a step towards them, and saw that they were too busy to pay attention to anything he did. "Surely not, but when it comes back, perhaps it will do me a favor." Sanna turned to look at him, and Baemann surged forward and kicked Sanna in the chest, knocking him over the side and into the water. At the same time, the hungry drake re-appeared over the sand dunes, and saw the prey fall into the river. Like a hawk it dived towards the target. The guard who was caught earlier in the splash of the drake's spit, his face bright red from the acid burning his skin, raised his crossbow and fired at the incoming beast. His bolt sliced through the fin right above the creature's eye, causing it to veer from its course and to crash into the side of the ship. The boat rocked, and a number of men fell off of their feet. The beast hovered in the air next to the boat for a moment, flapping its wings. Baemann had fallen down, but was already getting to his feet as the creature looked directly at him. The drake swooped up, splashing the water with its wings and landed on the deck next to Baemann. A guard rushed the beast with an axe, but it whipped out its tail and tripped the man, at the same time dodging Baemann's scimitar once again. The river drake pounced on him, its claws puncturing both sides of the Baroness's husband's chest, and leaped into the air, carrying his body down the river.

Sanna was already climbing back over the side of the ship the moment after the beast took off. Simultaneously, Baroness Lissi Besthana stepped onto the deck, wielding an exquisite long bow that Sanna had never seen before. It shimmered in the sunlight like a jewel. Terrak pointed out the beast, which was already out of range of the Baroness's archers. As it dove into the water with its prize, Lissi raised the weapon without grabbing any ammunition. She pulled back on the bow string, and out of thin air a glowing arrow appeared. She held it there for a moment, letting the glow intensify, and then loosed it into the sky. Leaving a faint trail of light in its wake, the arrow defied gravity and flew in a straight line towards the spot where the creature submerged, and upon arrival, it dove into the water after the beast. The ship was silent. Sanna ran towards the edge of the deck and watched. After a very long ten second pause, both the drake's corpse and Baemann's floated to the top of the water. With no emotion showing on her face, Lissi turned to Terrak and said something inaudible to him. Terrak whipped around and yelled to the men, commanding them to retrieve Baemann’s remains and the drake’s hide.

The rest of the day was less eventful, though Sanna could not rest. After another hour the boat docked where a small caravan was waiting for them with more guards and servants. They traveled another three hours before setting up camp. Lissi shared her tent with Terrak that night, so Sanna set up a tent for himself. As the rest of the camp drank and re-enacted the day's events, the guard whose face was burned by the drake approached Sanna, who sat alone by his campfire. "I thank Sarenrae for your timely javelin, Lord Sanna. Your aim was true and you saved my life."

"I must say the same to you. What is your name?" asked Sanna.

The man paused for a moment. "I am called Merqett. I've heard you are different than the Baroness's other spouses. If it were they that I was speaking to now, they wouldn't acknowledge my presence."

Sanna stoked the flames of his fire with a thick branch. "Yes. Well, there is one less of them now that would disregard a courageous ally." Sanna looked at the man. "I am serious, you showed incredible bravery when you re-paid that beast for your newly acquired scars. You should be commended. I will talk to your commander during tomorrow's ride."

"Sir, please, I do not wish for attention to be drawn to myself. They may soon look to blame someone for Lord Baemann's death." With that, Merqett looked back towards the rest of the camp, and then back to Sanna. "I... I saw him kick you over the edge of the ship, sir."

Sanna waited for the man to continue. When he didn't, Sanna spoke. "I was fortunate twice today. Once when your bolt altered the serpent's path, and again when the beast chose Baemann as its meal. That man has hated me since I came into Lissi's home. I've been naive, though. The thought that he would see me dead never crossed my mind." 

The guard looked back over his shoulders again, and took a knee next to Sanna. He whispered "Lord Terrak witnessed Baemann's actions as well. Sir, he was smiling." Sanna stared into the fire, and after a moment stirred the kindling again, saying nothing. Merqett spoke quietly. "My lord, if I ever again see another one of your 'brothers' showing you that kind of affection, I will jump at the chance to help you repay it." With that he smiled, stood up and walked away, leaving Sanna to his thoughts.


Next: Part 2 - The Blood of Thunder Emerges 


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