Umbazi, a.k.a. Umbazi Isibindi, is a Human Warrior from Trauntor. He is a member of the Warrior Guild, a Master of the Order of Voln (as of the 5th of Lumnea, 5120), and House Phoenix. He has been promoted to full membership in the Order of the Silver Gryphon.
You see Lord Umbazi Isibindi the Gladiator.
He appears to be a Human from Trauntor.
He is tall. He appears to be youthful. He has deep-set ale-brown eyes and dark brown skin. He has short, curly black hair. He has a square-jawed face, a classical nose and well-muscled shoulders and arms.
He is in good shape.
He is wearing a visored eahnor greathelm crowned with gold-tipped flames, a silver and star ruby earcuff, a simple blue sapphire medallion, a silver crescent moon pendant, a crystal amulet, an ash grey greatcloak, a black enameled bracer with a silver gryphon set in a ruby circle, a white diamond phoenix pin, a Warrior Guild member pin, a lead-bound maoral badge, a garnet-eyed pewter skull buckle, a skull-buckled leather baldric with a vultite-edged steel hook-knife and a well-crafted vultite katar secured to it, a bone-clasped forest green backpack, a sturdy black forging apron, a plain soot black tunic, some gleaming vultite double chain, some iridescent triton hide gloves with black steel knuckles, a narrow morganite ring, a rose-engraved ruic ring adorned with red and black pearls, a plain gold ring, a soft orc hide belt, a superior mithril-handled vultite forging-hammer, a roughly textured ironwood hunting horn with suede ties, an extravagant light green sheath, some dark silver-buttoned breeches, and some russet caedera skin boots with black steel toes.
Umbazi (whose name means "carpenter") was born on the first of Ivastaen, the Day of Kuon's Blessing, 5099, in the city of Barrett's Gorge in the Barony of Trauntor. This was considered to be a good omen, for Kuon, the patron of herbs and flowers, believes that mortals should have ways of restoring themselves to health and life. Those of his family (and those loyal to his family) hoped that a child born on Kuon's day would aid, in some measure, of restoring health and life to the land as well. This would have been a vague hope elsewhere, but the Demonwall, which holds back monsters and demonspawn, begins at Barrett's Gorge. Umbazi was taught--and believed--that it was his duty to fight evil and monstrosity in all forms.
Umbazi's parents Lwazi ("knowledge" or "wisdom") and Philisiwe ("healed") are both warrior-scholars and itinerant judges. Each year, each of them travels their "justice circuit" in the spring and summer independent of the other; they reunite at the beginning of Imaestran and spend the fall and winter in their home in Barrett's Gorge.
Umbazi is the firstborn of his parents. He has one biological sibling, Iqili, "cunning fox", who, as of 5120, is now 16)) and three adopted ones (Medard, a South Hendorian youth (as of 5120, he is 20) rescued from an abusive Mularosian cult in Nydds at the age of ten; Zahra, who is a half-elven/half-Tehir girl (as of 5120, she's 19); and Amr (as of 5120, he's 8), or "long lived," the son of Philisiwe's widowed best friend who gave Philisiwe her infant on her death from a fatal illness), as well a cousin, S'bu (short for Sibusiso, or "blessing" in Zulu) who came to stay with them after his father, a guard near the Wizardwaste, was either killed or transformed. Whatever happened was so hideous that S'bu's mother saw the results and lost her mind. She is still alive, but despite the services of the best empaths and clerics in the Empire, she has never recovered.
S'bu is not legally the brother of Lwazi and Philisiwe's children--certain laws of inheritance and custody made full adoption impossible--but everyone in the family tends to forget that. Since Umbazi and S'bu are the same age and have been together since they were three, they usually refer to each other as "my twin."
Umbazi was married at sixteen to a girl of the same age named Thandeka. The marriage, arranged by both their families, was a very happy one. Tragically, Thandeka was killed by a rabid desert lion shortly before her eighteenth birthday. On that fateful day, she and Umbazi were having a contest, each one hunting alone but within earshot. Umbazi was perhaps a mile away when he heard Thandeka's screams, but despite his best efforts, he did not arrive in time to save her.
Shortly thereafter, Umbazi set out to be an adventurer. The reason is perhaps best left in his own words.
"After Thandeka died, I felt I had failed her. If I had just been stronger or swifter, I might have reached her side before she died in the jaws of a lion. And if I could not protect the woman I loved more than anything in the world, how could I protect Trauntor's people or its laws?
"So I told my parents and siblings that I would leave Barrett's Gorge, growing ever stronger until I was no longer a hapless youth but the strong, brave, seasoned Knight-Protector that Trauntor deserved. To be sure, even then I would not be able to forestall all from dying. But I could make certain that whatever killed them was unlikely to kill anyone else.
"Of my siblings, my brothers Medard and Amr were the most baffled. They felt that anything I needed to learn, I could learn from our parents. Though perhaps this is understandable, for Amr was only five then, and Medard…well, he was raised by a Mularosian cult until he was ten, and much preferred to be within the walls of our family home even seven years later. Home, to him, means "safe." My sister Iqili, who was thirteen then and resolutely practical, thought of this quest as 'more of Umbazi's nonsense' and loudly predicted that I would return home in three months, once my grief became more manageable. Well, she has never liked change. That did not surprise me. My then sixteen-year-old sister Zahra cast the sands for me. Among the Tehir, divination tends to be practiced by men and scorned by women, but there are few scraps of Tehir or elven culture that a half-elf and half-Tehir girl can cling to in the southeastern end of the Empire--so she practices what she can and tells tradition to go hang itself.
"She cast the sands three times. The first time, the sands fell in six wavy lines standing side by side. The second time, the sands formed a closely knit series of dots radiating outward. And the third time, a circle framed by two wavy lines on either side.
"She said that the symbols were called the People, the Spiral, and the Eagle. The People symbolized family, friends, and the world around me. It said that change in my life depended upon others, but that little was likely to change in the social groups I knew in Trauntor.
"The Spiral, she told me, represented wisdom and harmony achieved through patience, thoughtfulness, and moderation. At this point, she began to weep, for the Spiral showed that, if my quest was to have good results at all, it would take a very long time.
"The Eagle, Zahra said, spoke of success--usually worldly success, but she didn't know if it meant that in this case. There would be some benefit, she said, and some portion of my life would soar as an eagle does, though whether it would be my mind or my spirit or my finances, she didn't know. 'Search for wings that soar, and you will be where you belong,' she told me.
"My twin S'bu was the angriest at the news. He wanted to come with me and protect me--'as Isihlungu did with Voln,' he said. [N.B. Isihlungu is a cultural hero of Umbazi's people, traditionally viewed as a human friend of Voln.] And I was sorely tempted, for he's my friend as well as my brother. But in the end, I had to say no. I was going on this quest not to be protected but to learn to protect others. If S'bu came along, I would be much happier...but I would not learn. And I could not justify that."
Umbazi is primarily a follower of Kai, but his family's people (for there are many cultures in Trauntor) regard ancestors as spiritual guides to be revered. At the moment he is undergoing something of a crisis of faith, as he feels that Kai would not want anything to do with such a worthless fighter as himself.
Present and Past Affiliations
He is a Voln Master and (at the moment) a member of House Phoenix. He squired for the Order of the Silver Gryphons and eventually became a full member, but he learned to his regret that he was useless in any battle in which the Gryphons participated. Eventually, feeling that he was not really a true Gryphon (being forty trainings or more below almost all of them and therefore not someone they socialized or hunted with, and having no part in the ancient memories that the others all seemed to share) and knowing that he was worthless in any invasion, he resigned from the Gryphons on the 27th of Eorgaen, 2020.