The Saga of Nafisa bint Al-Safra

  • Ankhapur - City of Opportunity! Its pearls famed throughout Faerun for their quality. Ankhapur - Its Noble Houses blessed by the Lady of the Lanceboard, gifted in local politics. As with all cities, there are the fortunate and wealthy. There are also those less fortunate, and less wealthy.

    Nadia and Nafisa, born to parents unknown, and sold for scraps of meat and a small helping of eggplant and legumes to Henrik the Cunning in Ankhapur just east of greater Calimshan. The merchant and his wife were happy to have such pleasant children as the twin girls, and their lives looked to be more promising for a few years.

    The Cult of the Crimson Blades, a small sect formed of followers of the Red Knight obsessed with training a perfect mortal weapon, got wind of Henrik's twins, thinking them ideal test subjects. The cult split the twins up, taking one to be trained under their fist, molded by their "nurture", the other sent into the far east, followed by a minder but left to her own devices to let "nature" run its course.

    That is when the girls last saw one another, as Nafisa was removed from the family home and placed in a receptive academy of military arts, and that is where their paths diverged...

    The instructor looked at the child and said:

    "There is always conflict. There is never a shortage of people willing to use arms or words to preserve their lifestyle, or the comfort of their elders. They will always be willing to kill, and to die. There will always be idiots who fight.

    We are different. We are the ones who -win-."

    A vigorous training montage of the growing girl reading, studying maps, archery, riding and fighting with a variety of melee weapons. With other troops, or singly, all is under the watchful eyes of a red-robed observer.

    An older, greyer instructor looks at the young woman and says:

    "There’s a saying: ‘War is a long cliff.’ You can avoid the cliff completely, you can walk along the top for as long as you have the nerve, you can even choose to leap off, and if you only fall a short way before you hit a ledge you can always scramble back up again. There are always choices.

    Nothing is inevitable"

    Nafisa sighed and rubbed her forehead while the Village Elder yelled at her. Behind them, the wheatfields were flooded, but she was pretty sure they'd drain in a week or so. Pretty sure. The goblin camp had been swept away, further up the gorge so -they- wouldn't be troubling anyone again. And it had been much less hassle than trying to organize a militia of farmers to defend the indefensible perimeter.

    The beers for the mineworkers and bribes for the powderkeg had cost far less than the budget for village defence she'd been allocated. The dam was not sturdy and the numbers of goblin scouts had made a stealthy solution impossible with the people she had.

    She played the last couple of weeks over in her head, considering, before something the man said cut through. What? Not get paid? Nafisa waves off the man's protestations and mounts her horse. She rides away slowly, followed by a serious man in a red robe who looks after the baggage and debriefings. The robed man leans over and says, with a rare smile, “The Sword summons you”

    Nafisa pauses, smiles back to the robed man. As an afterthought, she calls back cheerfully to the villagers:

    "It was never about your money! It was about removing the goblins, quickly and cheaply!"

    Their initial training complete, the Cult of the Crimson Blades moved their experiment to field testing in the northern wastes of Narfell. And that is where our story begins...

  • Narfell DM

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