About Ali Al’Zahrid
Feats Power Attack -1/+2, Cleave, Rapid Shot
Flavor Feats Additional Traits, Skill Focus: Knowlege (Planes),
Traits Dangerously Curious, Scholar of the Great Beyond: Knowledge (Planes), Gnoll Killer, Genie Blood: Fire
Languages Common, Kelish, Gnoll
SQ Enemies: Humanoids (Gnoll) (+4 bonus) (Ex), Track +1, Wild Empathy +2 (Ex)
Backpack, Bedroll, Belt pouch, Clay mug, Dagger, 2 Fish hooks, Flint+Steel, Sewing Needle, Signal Whistle, 50ft String, 50ft Thread, Waterskin, 1 Week of rations, Whetstone, 2 candles, chalk, hammer, 4 pitons, 50 feet silk rope, 3 sunrods, 2 Alchemist fire.
Potion Cure Light Wounds (2) - 100 gold
Gold on hand: 3 gold
Backstory, Personality and Appearance:
The defining moment in young Ali’s life came just weeks after his twelfth birthday. While scouting out the dunes ahead of his tribe’s caravan a terrible dust storm blew up, unforeseen by the tribe’s seer. Ali was caught in the fringes of the monstrous storm, disoriented and without shelter. For three days Ali waited for the storm to subside while his water slowly ran out. Finally on the fourth day, tired, battered and near death from dehydration, the storm broke and Ali could just make out in the distance a large pall of smoke rising from the horizon. Gritting his teeth and summoning his last reserves of strength he stumbled towards the smoke.
When Ali arrived at the smokes origin, he was devastated. All around him, he found the bodies of his tribes men, weapons strewn about, and intermixed with the bodies of anthropomorphic dog like creatures. Frantic he called out his father’s name, hoping against hope that his father would be alive. His father never responded to the cries of help. But something else did. From the wreckage of a half burned tent emerged a huge doglike creature standing on two legs, holding a wicked axe and cackling like a hyena at the boy. Frightened and exhausted Ali knew that he was going to die, but he refused to go without a fight. Grabbing a falchion from the wreckage near his feet, Ali felt a great and furious anger well up inside him. Screaming out his father’s name he charged the beast
The fight was a blur, lost in a haze of rage and hatred at the creatures that had murdered everyone Ali knew. When it was over Ali was covered in blood and caked in ash and something had died inside of him. Ali spend the next two days gathering up the bodies of his kinsmen and then built a great pyre to send their souls onward to the great city of brass that awaited the dead in their next lives. The gnolls he left to the sun and the bloat flies. Whispering a final prayer to Sarenrae for his tribe, Ali wandered alone, off into the great desert.
In the years since them, Ali has found himself wandering from place to place, rarely staying in one spot for more than a weeks’ time. The sun and his hatred toward gnolls have made him strong. Where some might wither under the harsh sun’s embrace Ali seemed to become harder and stronger because of it.
Ali still carry’s the same falchion he used as a boy to kill his first gnoll. Like him it has become weather-beaten and rough, but it still has a core of strength, forged by the same tribe that forged Ali. Perhaps in desperation to learn more of the history of his lost tribe, Ali uses his wandering to seek out clues about his heritage. Often making long treks to the cities of Katapesh and Sothis, while serving as a guide and caravan guard, Ali spends his free hours researching anything having to do with the Keepers of the Flame. It is during one of these trips that Ali was recently contacted while in Ipeq to guide a group to into Katapesh. With his gold running out, and having exhausted all possible leads, Ali accepted the job offer.
Of Gnolls and Men:
The wind gusted though the desert as a man cloaked in shadow sat before the flames.
"I can hear you out there, so you may as well come out.” Rasped the man. “Come closer boy, I won't hurt you. You can warm yourself by the fire and nights in the desert get cold.” Leaning forward the man took out a long knife and cut a piece of sizzling meat from the rabbit haunch and offered it forward to the child. “Eat some, it looks like you haven't had a good meal in a week and there's plenty here to share, just make sure you thank Sarenrae for her bounty before you do.”
Shivering from boy tentatively reached forward and took the food from the careworn man. “What are you doing out here?"
What am I doing out here? That’s one hell of a story. "I suppose I could ask you the same thing child. I assumed you’re from Fal’shiran? Well that makes sense since its few miles over that dune. Then you know about the problem your village has with Gnoll raider lately.
Spitting, the man leans in closer to the fire. And for the first time the child can see a vicious deep scar almost like a dry riverbed running from the right side of the man’s chin up to the wraps of his turban. “I can't stand the vicious mongrels myself. Ugly, stupid and cruel, and that’s if your being generous. This scar here, that’s a personal lesson not to treat them lightly."
With a sigh the man leans back and cuts himself a slice from the rabbit. “I was a boy, about your age when I learned that lesson. Anyhow, answering your question, the caliph has a bounty for each gnoll killed. I grew up along the dunes and can't stand the ugly mongrels, so it’s hard to beat the offer."
“But why do you hate them so much?” asked the boy, fidgeting.
The man shrugs. “That should be obvious, just look what the beasts are doing to your village, they kill without provocation, whenever they have the opportunity. Oh don’t mistake me, alone they aren’t so dangerous, cowards mostly, but when they group up , well... when I was about your age I lost my tribe to their attacks. We were known as بأمين اللهب or Keepers of the Flame and now I am the only one left. Almost makes you wonder about the gods... almost.
Turning away the man rises and looks over the endless dunes. "Lets get you back to the village. You shouldn't be wandering out here alone. besides..." The Ali pauses as if collect his thoughts. "I would prefer if we didn't speak any more about it."
The Songs of Shazathared:
The Fisherman and the Jinni
"Long ago, before the coming of the Inner Sea, in a land far away there was an old, poor fisherman who cast his net four times a day and only four times. One day he went to the shore and cast his net. When he tried to pull it up, he found it to be heavy. When he dove in and pulled up the net, he found a dead donkey in it. Then he cast his net again and netted a pitcher full of dirt. Then he cast his net for a third time and netted shards of pottery and glass. On his fourth and final try, he called upon the name of Sarenrae and cast his net. When he pulled it up he found a copper lamp with a cap that had a golden seal of on it. The fisherman was overjoyed, since he could sell the lamp and seal for money. He was curious of what was inside the lamp, and removed the seal with his knife. A plume of smoke came out of the lamp and condensed into an Ifrit. The fisherman was frightened, although initially the Ifirit did not notice him. The Ifirif thought that Sarenrae had come to kill him. When the fisherman told him that Sarenrae had not been seen in the land for many years the Ifirit was overjoyed and granted the fisherman a choice of the manner of his death.
The Ifirit explained that for the first hundred years of his imprisonment, he swore to enrich the person who freed him forever. For the second century of his imprisonment, he swore to grant his liberator great wealth, but nobody freed him. After another century, he swore to grant three wishes to the person who freed him, yet nobody did so. After four hundred years of imprisonment, the Jinnee became enraged and swore to grant the person who freed him a choice of deaths.
The fisherman pleaded for his life, but the Ifirit would not concede. The fisherman decided to trick the Ifirit. He asked the Ifirit how he managed to fit into the lamp. The Ifirit, eager to show off, shrank and placed himself back into the lamp to demonstrate his abilities. The fisherman quickly put the cap back on and threw the lamp back to the sea."
Talib and the City of Brass
Creation of the World
Or rather, most of them were. Rovagug saw the creation of things, and at first he smiled, for he was newly risen as well. But then he gazed upon the land, and felt an itch to scratch the stones, to see what was inside a genie. His thousand feet must have claws of adamantine for a reason, and like a jackal with a bone, Rovagug tore and chewed and howled and spit, as if the earth were his to despoil.
The other gods looked on, and spoke the first divine anger. “How dare he destroy what we have made? Why does he kill and claw and break the shining harmonies of creation? We must stop him.”
The gods spoke to Rovagug of peace. He ignored them, and vomited forth the bones of a forgotten race.
The gods spoke to Rovagug of beauty and the harmony of new-made creatures. He ignored them, and tore open the sky with stones hurled from the heavens, setting fires across the world.
The gods tried to pull Rovagug away as he climbed to the heavens, clawing at the moon. He turned and snapped at their hands. His teeth ripped the robes of Sarenrae, and shattered the shield of Abadar, and devoured the weak among the gods’ servants.
The gods’ new rage made their former anger seem as nothing; they gathered their strength and fought Rovagug in a fury, and they were all cast down.
No fury can stand before wrath, and nothing can destroy destruction.
Then dragons and genies did battle and the people hid in fear of Rovagug’s hordes, their prayers went to Sarenrae, goddess of light, compassion, and healing. A thousand times, the Dawnflower bound their wounds and gave them courage.
But, after a thousand and one answers to the wounded and the dying, Sarenrae ignored their pleas. Instead, the Dawnflower spoke to the other gods. “Rovagug sinks entire lands and buries cities. No healing can help the dead, and we owe no compassion to the Rough Beast and his endless slaughter. I have a plan.”
With her sword of light, Sarenrae cut a shining hole in the world, in a distant region of the Windswept Wastes where even the genies wandered friendless and alone. To that place, the archdevil Asmodeus lured the god of destruction and wrath, promising greater power, greater chaos, and an end to all things.
Asmodeus said, “Behold, a hole in the world. If you examine it, you may learn how the world was unmade here, and then you may unmake it yourself.” Rovagug reached forward with worm-like limbs and sightless eyes; his million teeth picked at the ragged edge of the hole.
Sarenrae pushed Rovagug through the hole with the help of the other gods, for none of them alone could hold the beast for long. Asmodeus sealed the rift of light with a key of darkness that only he could hold, and thus was made the Pit of Gormuz.
The gods celebrated their victory over the ravening madness that might have destroyed creation, but Rovagug yet lived. It is said that the Prince of Hell, Asmodeus, god of slavery, smiled and was content from that day forward. For whatever else might come, he held the only key to Rovagug’s eternal prison, and thus, held the fate of the world in his dark, clawed hands.
“You destroy and maim too quickly!” they cried. “We cannot devour all the meat you give us! Please, destroy the people of the earth more slowly.”
“What?” shouted Rovagug, in a voice that toppled pillars. “My glorious destruction shall never cease nor slow!”
Yet in the dark, delighting in the destruction god’s slaughter, watched Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, and she heard the base things cry. In those black days when all the land was covered with death and all the air stank, she watched as a few tribes of men her followers and devout worshipers, ate the flesh of corpses as the crows did, plucking out eyes, savoring the bloodiest cuts. To these cannibals she led packs of hyenas, and their ways became as one. Of those louse-ridden beastmen rose the first gnolls, half-hyenas who love the stench of carrion and praise each corpse as an offering to their dark mother. And the demon queen delighted in her own perversion and reveled in these monsters’ terrible howling songs.
Born of devastation, and insanity, and the corrupt of soul, the man-beasts spread upon the world, and where they prowled they indulged in their hunger for murdered flesh. Surely, they are to be despised by any sane god, and so we make ceaseless war on those who seek to feed on the bodies of heroes and innocents. And somewhere in the madness between the stars, the Mother of Perversion and the Mistress of Insanity still laughs her wicked laugh, as her ravening spawn, the bone gnawers and carrion eaters, grow fat off our flesh.
Gnolls are among the first abominations, and their death is a blessing. Remember this when their laughter haunts your steps."