Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven

Name: Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven
Race/Gender: Male Maha'i
Class/Levels: Cleric 3
Alignment: Lawful Good

Game Statistics

Bio / Backstory

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Childhood

Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven, as his name asserts, is of the Mawkhavi Maha'i tribe, whose lands straddle the border between the Niktean Wastes and the Savannah of Terztefr in central Gallidus. As per Maha’i naming convention, Khaska is his given name. Nzaidullek refers to the semi-nomadic matriarchal tribe to which he belongs within the Mawkhavi clan, and Tereshkven is a title indicating that he is a lower-level acolyte of Teresh. Though he is close to his father, Mevna, there are no patronymics in Niktean Maha’i society save in the case of particularly notable patriarchs. Mevna had been adopted as a seasoned adult and, like the vast majority of Maha'i fathers, was not deemed worthy to have his children named for him.

From a young age he, like his peers, acquired an extensive understanding of the ways of the desert, including finding food and water where other races would find only sand and forbidding cacti. Frequent contact with marauding – or trading – goblins provided the most common glimpses of outside languages and cultures, as even the great oasis city Artabbek, which though barely a city was the largest settlement near the Mawkhavi, was seldom visited by foreigners. He would often go on trading excursions with the other males of his tribe, as well as learn their traditions: the epic poems of Marqos and of Tawru, basic magic, the scimitar, the Leavetaking, the Dancing. It was all preparation for the time he would reach Maha’i adulthood and face his most difficult test yet.

He was a relatively quiet child, even amongst Maha’i children, who have instilled in them from a very young age an instinctive respect for their elders. Male children, for example, would not talk to females without express permission; Khaska rarely spoke amongst the men. He was more content to observe, catching mannerisms and turns of phrase, unique gestures and patterns of behavior. He would guard these things away in his mind as curiosities to ponder, and had he any desire toward or skill in manipulation, he could have been exceptionally successful. True to Maha’i stereotype, however, he often found himself pointing out these weaknesses to his fellows, something that bought him no great love amongst the proud and little appreciation from the commoner. To Khaska, they were simply peculiarities, and he would chuckle (mentally) at the self-consciousness he inspired in his companions.

His greatest tutor was his father, for though Kuazden had not been stellar in any pursuit as a youth, his hardships and final triumph had imbued him with humility and uncommon grace of personality. Suspecting that Khaska would not be selected to remain with the tribe after his coming of age, Kuazden set out to teach him skills beyond the normal level, especially teaching him the subtleties of scimitar battling and the complexity of the Dancing, as well as how he could make the best impression on his watchers. Khaska loved his father more than is usual for a Maha’i, perhaps due to his age and wisdom and not only because he was not, after all, a competitor.

The day came, however, when Khaska and those his age were gathered together. Each performed before the clan and declared their names. However, as his father had forecast, Khaska was marked to leave the Nzaidullek Mawkhavi and make it on his own. He left with little but the small amount of money given to the departing males and his father’s scimitar, Shekrad.

The Leavetaking

It did not take long for the melancholy of separation to fall upon him. Though he had been prepared for this day, leaving behind all he had ever known was mildly traumatic – but he did not show it. Travelling westward with others, he eventually reached Artabbek, and alone joined a caravan farther west than he had ever gone before: to the glimmering white riverside city of Jevereshk, of strange-accented people, strange-colored dress, and strange creatures outside the walls.

Upon his arrival, he was impressed into the services of a shopkeeper, who appreciated his quiet and exact manner. It was here he first caught glimpses of the peculiar flat-faced people from the north and south and caught snippets of their language. His tongue stumbled over the foreign words, but eventually they came more smoothly, and he quickly began offering his services as interpreter, saying little but the words of others – which he absorbed.

It was from these conversations that he began to learn the histories that had been songs in his childhood, rhymes about the Dark Times, the praise of the dragons, the eulogy of Markus the Noble, and he found them to be just as enchanting in foreign tongues as they had in his own to the small child in the desert. Rumors passed quickly around that the thousand years were almost complete, and that Arkenos loomed dreadfully in the sky, and that Pressen would cease to glow and that the other moons were ominously interacting. Taking leave of his position as shopkeeper and interpreter, he entered the high walls of the city and sought out the seminary, where he could learn the secret of these songs and the stars.

The university was like nothing he had experienced before: it was incredibly stimulating, and he found himself devouring codex after codex of the collected songs of the Maha’i, which reached farther back than Marqos, to the Gods and the first Maha’i and Dragons, back before there were people to remember. The scrolls spoke of magic, and he learned it. He dreamed of the dragons and wondered at the maps in the books, maps of lands he did not know existed and names that were altogether foreign. All the while and over the years, he practiced his Dance in private, preparing for the next concourse.

The day finally came, and he had polished his skills to the finest they had ever been; however, there were others stronger and more nimble, more lyrical in their motions and more poignantly expressive who caught the onlookers’ eyes, and Khaska was passed over.

Though his face was steeled and would not show his discouragement, he completed the first stages of his learning in haste and disquiet. After another equinox and another failed attempt at attracting a clan to take him in, he resolved that he would need to seek his answers in meditation.

Departing Jevereshk, he strayed out into the desert, where he underwent tests of will and endurance in solitude, imploring the gods whom he had studied to direct him in some way.

As he lay awake one night gazing at the stars in exhaustion, they seemed to reshape themselves into a shape he had only seen in illuminations – a dragon, which blew a straight line of fire to a point on the horizon and then turned to look at him. When Khaska awoke the next morning, he decided that whether waking or not, it had been a vision, and followed the trail to the Atwar Maha’i town of Faryaitir. As per his personality, he did not speak a word of what he saw to anyone, even though they asked him what a Mawkhavi was doing so far from his territory. And there he awaited, interpreting for traders on their excursions to various small trading posts, until he could find out what force and what purpose had brought him here.

Mannerisms / Attitudes

Khaska’s bodily motions and speaking style are probably best characterized in musical terms. When relatively at ease, they are legato; from there to more agitated (whether by anger, fear, or other dramatic emotions) it builds from tenuto to accented to marcato. His gestures and speech, thus, are never staccato: never jerkily fast, but rhythmic and measured. This does not mean his poise is impeccable; he can still stumble at times, but it’s not due to an inherent clumsiness.

As said above, he is soft-spoken but forceful and pointed when he does comment.

He rarely allows emotions to show on his face save they be at the extremes; however, the intensity of his emotions can generally be judged by his talkativeness: depending on his relationship to those around him, he could become even more withdrawn or more loquacious than normal.

Khaska will also probably be very uncomfortable and reluctant around females. Even though there is a much larger amount of gender egalitarianism amidst other races, it is still rather shocking to the traditional Maha'i; other races, knowing this aversion, rarely send women traders to do business with the Maha'i. Thus, this adventure will probably be Khaska's first significant interactions with the opposite gender.

As mostly all Niktean Maha'i, Khaska has an acute and deep sense of reverence toward his tradition and belief, and tends to hold that above all else. Other's authority, in his eyes, does not supersede the things the Maha'i regard as sacred, and he hangs his honor on adhering to the codes of conduct he learned as a child and the subsequent years. However, his unusually close relationship with his father constitutes a minor breach of that body of custom, and he can sometimes justify unconventional action within his moral framework. In addition, he often marvels at the great deeds of yesteryear, which inspire a sense of wanderlust and a subtle, subdued longing for adventure.

Goals

  • Khaska's primary, and longest-term, goal is to be adopted into a clan and thus assume the most respectable place for a male in Maha'i society. Hence…
  • He figures that he must perform some extraordinary act so as to not get passed over by the clans in Jevereshk (which often are biased against outsiders like Khaska), and though he does not know what this will be, he is open to consider things that would be noticeable, all the while not transgressing traditional laws and customs
  • Curiosity is a way of life for Khaska, who often takes time to ponder and explore, whether physically or philosophically, in order to gain a greater understanding of the world, cultures and peoples around him.
  • Knowing that when he leaves the Wastes he will probably be the only Jevereshk Maha'i outside its borders, he will seek to be a stellar example of all he sees to be good in his home culture while educating others who are curious about it.