About Cahal ud'Din
Pouch, Belt (1 gp, 0.5 lb)
Backpack (2 gp, 2 lbs) -Bedroll (0.1 gp, 5 lbs) -Rations (7 days) (3.5 gp, 3 lbs) -Waterskin (1 gp, 4 lbs)
Choosing mobility over protection, Cahal favours a simple and light suit of armour that allows her to move freely. The armour is really nothing but an apron of bronze plates, protecting her legs and lower stomach. She tends to favour linen shirts cut at the shoulders. Those shirts were once white, but sweat, sun, and worse have long ago shifted their colour to more ochre shades.
Deep down, Cahal is a protector. She will step up if she sees someone being harassed or in danger. When challenged, she just smiles and ignores the taunts, which she knows only infuriates the other and makes them rush. A grave mistake, but she is happy to teach a lesson once in a while.
Another motivation is for Cahal to find a place where she belongs. Ever since she knocked that bull down with a single blow, she was seen as different and excluded. It is not that people rejected her, but they were different. Afraid somehow, that she would harm them, while all she wanted to do was the opposite. As a result, she built up a bravado in her persona. A social set of armour to protect her from the pain of exclusion. The armour has grown heavy with the years, and she is ready to take greater risks, for her and for her daughter, to have a shot at a better life, a life outside Bargetown.
Her only moment of fame came at fourteen, when she brought down with one punch a bull that was threatening to eat through her basket. From that moment on, she became famous, but she also became sort of of an outcast to the other children who felt threatened by her sudden fame.
A few days later, a professional wrestler named Bak Saled bought her from her father and took her away from the field to teach her wrestling. The man wished to retire and saw promoting Cahal in fights as a way to pay for his old days. The fights were held at night in a warehouse Saled had bought in The Veins. She trained for a year before her first fight, where she lost in a few seconds. Strangely enough, Saled did not get rid of her after the fight, but kept training her. His mistake, he told her, was to focus too much on a few good moves. It did not work for her. She was too small and too green compared to the other fighters. He taught her instead cunning and improvisation. He taught her a multitude of ways of fighting, how to see what would work best against an opponent, and how to keep inventing new ways. She never lost after that.
She met Garad al'Deb during one of the fights. At the time, Garad made ends meet by patching up fighters after the matches. He was a promising young priest of the Old Gods, but he was also married. Passion turned to a long affair and love, but Garad never left his wife. They stayed together for many years, but never spent a whole night together, Garad always leaving before sunrise. He taught her Old Osirion. He showed her the power of faith. She studied alongside him the mysteries of Osiris, but never really caught on anything. And then he took faith away when she became pregnant. He just stopped coming, and she decided not to ask. She stopped fighting, returned to her father, and became a mother.
It is the miracle of giving birth on the banks of the Sphynx that revealed to her the first deeper mystery lying underneath the cult of Isis and Osiris. For the first time, she felt something powerful in her heart when she heard her baby draw her first breath. Death to life, she taught, and things became clearer. Little Meria challenged her every day like only an innocent and helpless child can, but she gave Cahal a purpose greater than anything she had ever felt before.
Her father was now too old to make a living, even by Bargetown standards, and working in the field just did not cut it for Cahal, so she went back to Saled and started fighting again, leaving Meria in the care of her aunt on her mother's side, an elder named Tehifa. While she seemed to be going in circles, Garad had moved on, from a novice to a priest with a bright future in front of him. For three years she fought, her opponents, but also her sense of loss and the dull pain that comes with it, until she heard that the Necropolis would be opened for exploration. People will get rich, she thought, from Wati's heritage. Why shouldn't she also profit from this? She started seeing outsiders arriving, most of them unfit to survive very long, or so it seemed to her.
So she decided to go to Garad. She threatened him to reveal his secret. He finally gave in, and offered Cahal a great sum of money to make her go away. He did not see the tears in her eyes as she walked away from him, as her last hope for a life of love with him he had torn apart. However, he also missed the grin that gradually grew on her face as she let go of the past and embraced hope once more. From this little death, perhaps a great life could grow? She was Osiris born again she thought as she watched the sun set on the Sphynx.
Some excerpts from a historical text, largely intact, feel somewhat topical though you’re not sure why.
To construct a proper tomb to house a pharaoh eternally, a mountain of stones needed to be cut from the earth.
Working day and night, slaves carved massive blocks from quarries in the hills and mountains. These quarries were often miles away from the pyramid site, so they had to be carefully ferried down the Sphinx River on sturdy barges. Some of the stonecutters employed magic that effortlessly cleaved stone from earth, but most of them labored in dangerous conditions, working only with copper tools.
One team of stonecutters split the blocks from the walls of the quarry, and a second team shaped the blocks with copper saws. The shafts into the mountains were large enough only for the human slaves, and they worked in large teams to drag the blocks outside to be given to giants, who would then drag the stones downhill to be loaded onto barges.
And in another section,
In the vast desert stand ruins of Osirion’s First Age.
Statues of pharaohs tower proudly in the desert in places where ancient cities once thrived. Many of these statues are nameless today, victims of the long march of time. Osirionologists venture into the desert to study these monuments, believing they can unlock the great power the empire once held.
These scholars claim that statues of the pharaohs were once enchanted with great power and would bestow boons upon those who showed the proper respect. If the proper offering was presented at the feet of these statues and the correct phrases were spoken aloud honoring the pharaoh, the supplicant would be granted luck, health, and prosperity. Osirionologists have identified some of the statues, but a vast number of them remain a mystery.