The Burning Sultans
AJB's player character. Halfling Bard.
Zeemo was born in Kaff in the majority Human nation Nizbathan of what is now known as the Sandsea Confederacy. A curious youth, he would often sneak to nearby army encampments and observe their drills and camaraderie from a high hiding spot. Eventually, he was discovered by a squadron who, rather than angered, were impressed with how close he approached before anyone noticed. An officer and an infantryman returned him to his home and negotiated with his parents for his recruitment into the army as their newest (and possibly smallest) scout. Zeemo did not mind that his parents sold his livelihood to the army for a bag of gold. In fact he relished it, because as an adolescent, he would soon need to take on a profession, and he had no ambition for anything less exciting than a life of adventure.
Zeemo spent years as a scout, swiftly navigating the landscape, using his size and nimbleness to deftly observe the enemy’s movements. He mostly watched battles from the sidelines, taking in glorious victories and demoralizing defeats. He witnessed gruesome monsters, terrifying magic, and ingenious machines of war.
On a mission to determine the number of Dwarven troops of the Red Canyons amassing in position to cut off Nizbathan’s route to the Oasis, Zeemo scrambled over a large boulder and found himself face to face with an enemy scout. After a brief moment of mutual stupefaction, they drew swords and lunged at each other. Zeemo was not a fighter, but he had often sparred with the valiant solders he idolized. However, his opponent was also skilled, and as they locked hilts, he kicked Zeemo to the ground, sending Zeemo’s sword skittering off the edge of the boulder. He sprung forward and with two hands thrust his sword downward at Zeemo’s heart. At the last second, Zeemo rolled to dodge the attack, and the Dwarven scout’s blade slipped into a narrow crack in the rock. Zeemo seized the opportunity and tackled the enemy, snapping the sword in two. With his bare hands, he grabbed the broken blade and pierced the Dwarf’s neck.
As he kneeled in exhaustion, Zeemo realized just how young the Dwarf was. He couldn’t have been more than 15. Zeemo had seen many horrors of war, but had not previously confronted the direct consequences of his own actions. He had also seen how pointless war had become, with both sides endlessly struggling over a pittance of resources and water.
Zeemo abandoned his army and the war, taking with him only the slain Dwarf’s broken blade as a symbol of his broken spirit. He left a note with his parents while they slept, detailing his reasons and his intentions, but not where he was headed. Zeemo spent the next 10 years wandering from town to town, contemplating life and his part in its destruction. He acquired the skills of music and poetry to deal with his trauma. He felt as if perhaps he did enough good deeds and swayed enough people against evil, that he might atone for his past. For the wind, the sand, and the sun could wear away all the was good about the world, and though Zeemo knew he could not prevent the forces of erosion, he could help shape their reckless paths, and maybe thereby shape the fate of the world.
In the town of Ambershade, he joined a water caravan, with hopes of singing for his supper, spreading his message, and helping the desperate souls who so often took to nomadic life among such excursions.