Pathfinder: The Kingdom of Darkness
This unusually tall keleshite woman smiles with pride. She pounds her fists occasionally, ready for anything.
Born in Katapesh as a child of slaves, Zarishu’s life was the inside of a cage. She lived in deplorable conditions, trying not to rest her head on waste while she slept, receiving food when the slaves screamed loud enough, and being sold from owner to owner, and cage to cage.
Zarishu’s mother had long succumbed to the despair of such a living, and her despair eventually took her. Her father is unknown to her. Without guidance from a parent, she continued to be bought and sold like cattle. Her unusual height made her appear older, and her early developing body did little to aid her when the more decadent slavers watched her work, and not so occasionally interrupted her work.
She continued to fight when she could, when the slashing whip was dulled by numb skin she would grab the nearest object and attack her captors. She had to be controlled through magical means after giving one of her owners a broken nose. Even in chains, she would flex her muscles to remain strong. She would not buckle beneath the pressure.
By the age of 20 she was considered a beast by most owners, and she was difficult to sell.
One day, she was visited by a devious man named Gabadan Graes, a greasy Garundi man with a mind for business. Her reputation spread from stories her most recent owner shared with a friend of Gabadan’s, and he began to wonder.
He spoke of some kind of “challenge” that no sane man would undertake, hidden in the Stonespine Mountains north of Okeno, the slaver’s paradise. He planned to see if this “beast” could attempt this challenge, and bring Okeno, and himself unbelievable riches.
So she was sold to Gabadan, and was placed on the Stable Investment, bound for Okeno. They fed her well on the trip, and gave her the biggest sparring partners they could spare, or not care to lose, to get her to the top of her game. Even with nourishment and exercise, she was kept under heavy guard. They even lied to her about a Pactmaster being aboard the ship to discourage any rebellions.
Zarishu only fought harder.
When Okeno was finally in sight, she was placed in chains big enough for giants. Guards surrounded the “beast” to guide her to what Gabadan called the “Tomb of Gods”. Zarishu would be sent in to brave the traps, guardians, and other horrors that had slept for millenia, and she would make the slavers of Katapesh rich beyond their worldly conceptions of the word.
The harbor of Okeno came into view, and Zarishu tried the chains. They were heavy as a house, and she could only move on the cart they had placed her on. Completely immobile, she also had to endure the frisky hands of audacious guards who had been stuck on the boat with her for days. She would suffer her greatest indignity on the shore.
Slavers from across the continent behind them had gathered to place bets once they saw her. Thousands of gold pieces rested on her success and failure, and surely more would be waiting at the end of the Tomb of Gods.
Not an inch from the gangplank, the ship rocked beneath the feet of the sailors. The guards went flying over the rails of the ship and into the ocean, as the battering ram of a clearly Andoran ship, the Eagle’s Glare plowed into the Stable Investment_. Eagle KnightsKnights of Andoren leaped to the deck of the Investment and took the Katapeshians by surprise. Zarishu was borken free by a quick-thinking woman in light leather with a set of tools. Once freed from her bonds, the Eagle Knights were surprised to see the slave leap for a halberd and nearly outdo them in combat. The men she didn’t cut she gutted; those she didn’t gut, she beheaded; those who weren’t beheaded were sent to the ocean without legs.
The Eagle Knights had to pull her back to the Eagle when her dark skin had become stained with drying blood, and they whisked her away as quickly as they had arrived.
They brought her to Andoran, where she was clothed and fed and rehabilitated. It was here that she learned to speak, because no slaver wanted “the beast” to talk back to them. She learned to read and write, and how to be civilized and kind to others. The Andorans proudly shared their philosophies, and Zarishu could see no better life than one of her own from this point. She was hired for actual pay in Andoran, where she became a barmaid first, then a lumberjack, and then a soldier. Her skill with the halberd was impressive, like a bloody dance. She was given a halberd of great make and sent on her way when she made the decision to go to Absalom, the biggest city in the world, to loose her pursuers and truly be free by Kellish law. She would need a husband.