Adventure Seed

Thursday, May 21, 2009 - 9:24 AM

Some additional information for my players, on a person who has been in the background for a long time...

The Nakibs of Jundo Anha serve two primary purposes. They are wise women and men who offer counsel and a sharp eye to the rulers of their people. They are also mystics who study and watch over the swamp-riddled verdant land, and gather threads of power from the earth. Nakibs (or Nakibas) do consider themselves custodians and wardens of the natural world, but there is nothing rustic about them. They are as clinical as they are reverent about increasing their understanding of the world, often cultivating libraries as well as greenhouses, and carefully studying the interlaced balance of animal and plant.

Most Nakibs begin as scholars, members of the aristocracy, and as they advance in understanding and skill, they are usually assigned regions of land to watch over. Most find some individual facet of nature to focus on, and they often share information with one another.
A handful of Nakibs have achieved extraordinary skill in their craft, and gather no little fame. Many of these Nakibs still attend the plutocratic court of Jundo Anha, but a few have wandered far from home to study and understand other parts of the world.

Nakiba Hafsah al'Kabir was one of these. Daughter of a merchant who traded in art, rare flowers and books, Hafsah had access to a high level of education and sophistication. Her family did not have a Nakib, but her father did keep a greenhouse, and she showed an aptitude for horticulture early on. Originally, her father had hoped she would become a Hakima, a truth-sayer and magician, but Hafsah lacked the subtle wit and unrelenting self-awareness for that lofty position. However, her exhaustive knowledge of local plants and animals attracted the attention of another Nakib, who appealed to her father to allow her the Seven Tests of Empathy. Hafsah passed them easily, showing the proper sensitivity, perception and insight to weave the threads of a Nakiba.

After her induction, she rose quickly in skill, and was named Nakiba within a year's time. Her apprenticeship to a Nakib was cut short with the sudden death of her father, who died in a shipwreck while en route to the port of New Ombos. Being eldest in the family, Hafsah had to make decisions about the family business. Wealth is extremely important for status in Jundo Anha, and Hafsah preferred to maintain high standing above and beyond the quiet recognition as Nakiba. She spent a few years acquainting herself fully with all the trade routes her father used, branching out the business and doing some exploration of her own. After securing and refining her family business, Hafsah returned to Jundo Anha and resumed her studies as a Nakiba.
Her social status and considerable talent won her the plot of Andira Laa, a particularly humid pit of old swamp, which Hafsah spent a couple of years overseeing. The richness of life in such a fertile but hostile environment was fascinating to her, and she experimented heavily with alchemy using processes and materials from Andira Laa. Some of her experiments won considerable accord from her Nakib peers, but Hafsah would be known for transplanting flowers from other places.

Specifically, during her travels Hafsah had been exposed to the rare and peculiar flora of the Shemshir basin. Flowers and plants grow there which will not grow anywhere else, due to some elusive quality of the earth or the weird sorcery of the Par'hu who live there. Hafsah became aware of plants there which could revive the recently dead, allow sight into the future, and create other wonders. She experimented with crossbreeding and grafting in the Andira Laa, seeing if these plants could fit into ecosystem there, but only had limited success.

The bizarre and potent drugs from Shemshir also caught Hafsah's attention, and she began to make use of some of them recreationally. But she also found one in particular which increased her sensitivity and awareness to the plants she was working with. She could hear their growth like a form of soft music. This subtle level of perception allowed her to make leaps and bounds of progress in mystical horticulture, and by the time she started to study what little was known about Par'hu garden sorcery, the other Nakibs came to her with concerns about her extensive use of Shemshir drugs. They were grudgingly surprised by what she'd done with the Andira Laa, but also pointed out that she'd broken several rules about transplanting species.

Choosing to withdraw honorably, Hafsah publicly apologized for her failings, gathered up her merchant business, and relocated to Korai, where lack of strictures on imports and exports caused her wealth to increase. She began to heavily invest in the small but potent market for Shemshir plants and products, and quickly became known as a seller for them. Her experimentation continued, and eventually she became fascinated with the ability of certain Shemshir plants to overcome or transform the effects of death, as well as those which behaved more like animals.

Eventually, Hafsah's studies branched further into arcane practices, looking at the patterns of necromancy and the concept of ecology created in conditions where necromantic forces were prominent. Her erudition and magical skill grew, as did her wealth, as did her level of experimentation. Her original affinity for swamps did not fade, and she continued to study the fecundity of an environment that was so full of death. Much of her experimentation at this point was performed on herself, or under tightly controlled conditions. She did not introduce her work to any natural environment at that time, and traveled a fair amount to collect books, materials and information to expand her work.

Hafsah developed a reputation as a remarkable apothecary, a talented necromancer and a skilled herbalist and horticulturist, as well as a clever and influential merchant. In the recent days of her career, she has grown increasingly reclusive, and purchased a large swath of forbidding sub-tropical swamp in the Purayu islands, presumably as a home. Particularly recent findings are a bit troubling, however; indications show that she had been doing extensive work with the frightening Shemshir ochre tilia, a beautifully colored but rather mangy clinging plant whose pollen puts animals into a deep hypnotic state...which the plant uses to slowly consume them.

What is happening on Hafsah's island is still a mystery, but many of the local populations have suddenly ceased contact with neighboring islands.

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At May 22, 2009 12:29 PM, Blogger C Hanson said...

"...eventually she became fascinated with the ability of certain Shemshir plants to overcome or transform the effects of death, as well as those which behaved more like animals."

Zombie Swamp Monsters! People would stare in disbelief and horror... just stare... for hours...


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