Spirit Shaman of the Desert Tribe, Chosen of Water
Class: Spirit Shaman, Ghostwalker
Overall Level: 16
Armor Class: 40 (Touch: 22, Flat-footed: 33)
Hit points: 298 (17 body points)
Primary weapon: Ranseur "Spirt of Ashterak"
Secondary Weapons: Sling, Starknives, Javelin
The desert is a harsh task master, it is a brutal and unforgiving place to be born and raised. One has to become hard quickly in order to survive the ordeals of everyday life. That was the life of Desert Sage
The tribe would wake before the sun, when the cool of night was turning into the heat of the day, and prepare for living in their harsh environment. But that morning, there was a joy to the tribe. Two new souls had come from the Great Spirits to live among the humble. The woman that bore them labored long and hard through the cool of the night, to have her children born with the rising of the water column. The young ones could not have been more different, though they were born at the same hour, under the same signs from the heavens. One, the male was dark of color, like the rest of his tribe, in skin, hair and eye. The other, the female, was unlike any of the tribe, pale of skin, hair and eye. The old blind sage with spirits dancing in her eyes witnessed their birth, and called down their names from those within her.
“Your boy-child will be strong, a leader and a warrior. He shall be called Vordu Ashterak, the strong spear.” She said this with her hand over the newly born boy-child’s head. As she spoke, her hand shook and the spirits danced within her eyes, the boy stopped his cries and looked into the spirit of the shaman and took his naming.
“The fate of your girl-child is uncertain. She and her brother will be close, inseparable. She will be strong of will and mind, but her calling may be hidden from her. The boy will help her for as long as he can, but it will be unto the spirits to show her the true path.” The shaman shook, taking in a shuddering breath and shook her head, as if arguing with the name she was to give. With a heavy sigh, she laid a sprig of desert sage over the girl. “She shall be called Hashat Sabot-ha, the lost sage.” The girl-child looked into the eyes of the blind sage. The spirits dancing there fled and entered the eyes of the child. With a cry, the child shook, and when her eyes opened again, the spirits could not be seen and the old shaman had died.
Years past as the two were raised by the tribe, growing quickly. Vordu Ashterak indeed grew strong and quickly became a warrior of the tribe. He challenged those he saw weak, and respected those he saw strong. By the time 15 summers had past, he was the leader of one of the tribal war bands. Together with his people, he hunted and protected the tribe from the dangers of the desert. He guided his sister on the path in which he saw for her. One that lead away from the war bands, and closer to the shamans and sages.
Hashat Sabot-ha grew almost as quickly as her brother. Her pale skin darkened quickly in the harsh desert sun, though it never seemed as dark as the others that surrounded her. Her clear eyes and white hair never darkened to the shade that normally graced the members of her tribe. She spent most of her time among the shamans and sages, learning from them reluctantly. She spent whatever free time she had with her brother, learning as he learned; squatting at the fires, eating with the members of his war band. By the time she reached 15 summers, she had grown into a beauty. Her soft white hair fell in waves around her shoulders, and her clear blue eyes could capture the gaze of any man. The shamans of the tribe had begun to decorate her body with the signs and symbols of the desert and her people.
The summer of their 16th year, the tribe had moved to an oasis in the desert to graze their cattle and rest their bodies. The night before, the war bands had gone to pursue an attacking force from a rival tribe. They had stolen some goats and killed two of the tribe members. When the sun was still below the dawn horizon, the war band returned. Hashat Sabot-ha came from the tent she shared with her mother to meet her brother in his victory. She was met with silence as the war band returned without the accompaniment of the bells from the goats, and the laughter of victory. Her mother came from the tent and stood before the First Warrior. He bowed his head, and held out the spear of Vordu Ashterak. The tip was stained in blood, and the gore of its victim still held to it. The Second and Third warriors came behind, a liter carried behind them and placed it at the feet of the Mother. Hashat stared at the body and the spear, barely noticed her mother falling to the ground, and couldn’t hear her sobs for the screaming in her mind.
They washed his body and prepared for his pyre. His spear would be placed within the family tent, used to support it and protect those within, as Ashterak had done in life. As the fire column set beyond the great desert, the shamans placed fresh sprigs of desert sage around the body of the young warrior. They summoned the spirits to protect him as he made his final journey, and as the fire was lit and grew, the family mourned. The Mother wept and screamed her outrage to the heavens, the Father stood before the fire, Ashterak’s spear in his hand, staring into the flames. The heat from the fire did nothing to stem the tears that streamed down his face. It was Hashat however, that felt the loss most keenly. Something inside of her broke as she watched the body of her brother burn. The great spirits must have not been watching him, and if they did not watch and protect her brother, there was no point in her learning more about them from the shamans and sages. Hashat Sabot-ha died that night with her brother, and Desert Sage was born.
The next column rise, when the Father and Mother woke, they found the spear of their son gone; the soft waves of white hair of their daughter on the sand leading away with the morning war band. For the next four years Desert Sage raged across the sands of her people seeking death to join her brother. She fought with his spear, and fell into the rages that the tribal berserkers were known for. She knew that the spirits had left her, just as they had not been watching over her brother, and turned her back on all the training she had received from the tribal shamans and sages.
Four summers past quickly for Desert Sage, but slowly for the tribe. She sought death whenever the war bands left the tribe, and held nothing for the safety of those that fought alongside. The berserkers shared her rage and held her in high regard, the shamans and sages held sadness in their hearts for their loss. Desert Sage became a name known and feared amongst the desert tribes. Many knew the story of her loss, and felt the pain, but it was the spear in her hands that they feared. From each she sent on the final journey, she took a part. A pair of boots, a small wooden shield, a set of armor, always taking something from those that fell by her hand.
In the second summer, Desert Sage went to the Berserkers of the tribe to be initiated into their ranks. To do so, she had to pass their test. They knew she was strong, and her anger was great; but it was her commitment they sought. They opened her flesh with a burning blade to sear the flesh behind and leave a scar. Those undergoing the initiation chose what form the scar would take. Desert Sage chose the shape of the spear of Vordu Ashterak. The Mother and Father looked on as their girl-child fell into a darkness they were afraid to look into. The Shamans and Sages looks on as the dark spirits fed on their student and consumed her.
As the tribe moved to the plains for the season of rain, the Spirit Mother called Desert Sage to the Tent of Spirits. When she was still Hashat Sabot-ha, Desert Sage spent many hours within the Tent of Spirits, communing with those within her, and those without. Now, the Tent of Spirits was a place that brought forth the rage of her anger. But none in the tribe refused the call of the Spirit Mother.
“Desert Sage, the fallen one, your destiny has been foretold by the spirits. There is a thing you must do. You will run far across the plains to the Basin of the Moon. You will face a test there that you must pass. The ability to face this test comes only with the filling of the Water Column and thus the Basin. Once you have faced that test, there will be a trial that none have faced in our tribe before. There is an unraveling which you must help mend.”
“It is not my path any longer Spirit Mother. There is no reason for me to leave the tribe to follow what your spirits tell you.”
“You forget that you spent many days and seasons learning the ways of the Spirits. They are within you, and you must remember them. I can call them out of you now and your body will die, but you will not take the final journey. You will not join your brother with the Great Spirits. You will never be one of the Humble again. You will be nowhere. Do not think that you have found more power with the Berserkers than you would have found amongst the spirits. You will do this, it has been foretold. Take of you these things. A stone from the place of echoes, it will bring you luck. A bag of Spirit Sand, it will aid in dreams. Keep them; use them when you have found your path again.”
Desert Sage fought the rage that welled within her, but took the items the Spirit Mother gave her and left the Tent of Spirits. She gathered her belongings and left with the rise of the Fire Column. From the time the Water Column stood empty in the sky, until the night its full light would bathe the disk Desert Sage ran. From column rise to column set she ran. The desert held few secrets from her and she found food and drink to sustain her. At last she came to the Basin of the Moon. Her task stood before her, she would have to climb. The Fire Column was low in the sky when Desert Sage began her climb. The Water Column was almost at its zenith once she reached the top.
The tribe had come to this place before to gather water, when water was scarce in other places. This was a place where water could always be found, save the night with no column. The ground was awash in the blue radiance given by the column in the sky. The surface of the pool was smooth as glass save for a single droplet that fell again after stillness returned. Desert Sage circled the pool as though it were a Bulette. Her mind filled with rage, but it did not aid her. Her clothing fell to the side as she knew she would have to enter the water.
The time of her task was passing, she climbed from the pool and as the stillness came over her something came into her sight. A shape at the bottom of the pool. Desert Sage dropped herself into the water again, following the feeling to the center. There she engaged a creature from another world. The water came over the sides of the pool and fell from the basin as a fall unknown in the desert. It fell to her spear as she knew any enemy she faced would. The stillness that followed consumed her. Soon tendrils of white were being drawn up toward the column that filled the sky above her, the water pulled her and she followed the pull and found herself in a place of water that had never been seen before.
Her end became close; when she saw some spirits come toward her. They took the form of great armored lizards, adorned in the finest jewels. Desert Sage tried to fight them, but she was weak, her spirit was leaving her body. One reached out to lay a clawed hand upon her body. As it did, she felt life flow through her as she took a shuddering gasp, she breathed in the water as she would the warm desert air. They spoke a language that was strange to her ears. It was then that the years of training began to return to the mind of Desert Sage. Hashat Sabot-ha began to awaken. With fingers to her ears she called upon the spirits within her and found herself able to understand.
“Why is there a human child here in the Heart?” “I do not know. She is armed, perhaps we should remove her.” “If we remove the spell the human creature will suffocate.”
Desert Sage did not want to go on her final journey away from the hot sands of her home. She let the spear float beside her and surrendered herself. The lizard spirits came closer and she felt them come into her mind.
“Why are you here?” “This is no place for a human creature.” “We protect what is sacred.”
The rage filled her, but it would not aid her here. “The Spirit Mother told me that there was an unraveling that I would have to help mend. I am here for that.”
“Has the time come already?” “She is here for the Heart.” “We must see her.”
The lizard spirits motioned to her body, and the cloth that covered all that remained. She pulled the sodden cloth off to let it float around her. The markings of the desert and the tribe were revealed, the initiation of the berserkers was revealed. She was laid bare before the spirits. They swam about her, their long tails touching her body and turning it to their liking. Claws as sharp as the spear pressed against her but did not draw the water of her life.
“How did she get here?” “She has the markings.” “She must pass the test.”
Beyond the spirits, a darker part of the water became known. It swirled with its own life, but with the spirit’s touch Desert Sage knew she would survive.
“I will do what I must.”
“Does she know the price?” “She will do this with no aid.” “What she seeks lies within.”
At the entrance to the living water Desert Sage was left with her body and her spear. The spirit’s claw touched her again. The breath was gone from within her body, and the living water pulled her in as the desert sands can pull. Time passed slowly for Desert Sage, the water swirled, her breath began to fail and darkness clouded her vision. As the trial began to close, the water began to come together like a stone in the desert. It called to Desert Sage and with the last strength in her arms, she took it up and the darkness filled her.
Only flashes of light filled her memory. Flashes of Silver, wings, the sensation of falling, and finally warmth as the familiar heat of the desert welcomed her home. When the fire column rose once more, others had come to the Basin of the Moon brought by whatever tribal leader had sent them. Desert Sage slept, and Hashat Sabot-ha began to wake.