Zja (prime)

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Zja Baba
Race Human
Culture Tehir
Profession Wizard
Affiliation(s) Hand of the Arkati
Likes bugs, stories, little birds and sneaky jackrabbitses

The story of Zja is a tall tale indeed. She says you may come or go now or before or even later; it is all relative and nothing really matters when you've died this many times.

In the beginning...

Qoobaba died at Caligos Isle, the night Charl's fury swept over the island. Perhaps on land, perhaps in the temple, or even in the ocean. Ghezresh did not technically save him from the Ebon Gate, for there was another to repay. Cast aside, the halfling's soul was consumed by lowly eels, who shredded and slurped him down like a wet, wriggling sardine. When day heralded the end to the Eve of the Reunion, that body did not belong to him any longer.

This kindness Ghezresh lent unto the sky was not one of reward for devotion, no. It was a contract, a contract like any malevolent being might craft with a mortal: The sky would provide [translation unavailable], in exchange for [results hazy, try again]. Thus, it was done. Rote and written, fate sealed. Days turned to weeks as the sky battled the body that now housed her soul. The sky could not cry in this form. The sky could not run or fly either, for everything was a baby step in this toddler's body. The deal was unacceptable, but there was no going back now. Or was there? What's another contract to the damned, anyway?

As the gates closed before her mortal soul yet again, Zja was reborne from the apoptosis of Luukos's maw. It was she who had risen the sky of the-sky: Zja. But her mind was not the same, and she most definitely was not alone.

Longer Or More Ago

"Why do birds fly instead of run?" asked the child. The woman leaned in close to tell the child a story she once heard...

"You see...

In the beginning, Avocet was thirsty.
She was a small creature, vulnerable as prey.
But Avocet dared not try, for between them
Lay Jackal and Serpent in the sand and in the reeds.

One day, Avocet noticed the sky had no jackals.
The sky had no serpents either, so Avocet, she took the sky.
Avocet took sky beneath her fingers
Avocet took the sky beneath her feet.
And so, Avocet did soar above them.

She could see the whole of the oasis.
All around, Avocet could see.
But around the water's edge, stood Yierka.
The Jackal and Serpent did not dare come near Yierka.
Avocet could see everything so clearly now.

So Avocet landed on Yierka's back, though he did not notice.
From his back, she was led to the water's edge
Where a cool drink rewarded her.
Then back up his snout and crown she skittered,
When Avocet's thirst was quenched.

From that day, Avocet knew that as long,
That as long as she kept the sky beneath her feet,
Jackal and Serpent cannot attack.

This is why Avocet flies, girl-child."

Why do birds have beaks?" asked the child. The-sky leaned in close to tell the girl-child a story she once heard...

"You see,

In the beginning, Avocet was hungry..."

The story continued on for some time, until the woman completed the route of her tale, from a struggle progressing to victory. Story complete, the-sky stood up to go. But the child beside her said, "Why do birds have feathers?"

The woman chuckled to herself, deep laugh lines accentuating a jaunty grin.

"You see girl-child,

In the beginning, Avocet lived in trees..."

But there was something to the story that the girl-child didn't know: far beyond where the sand met the sky, a massive oasis licks at the earth. In that pool, where unfathomable dangers lurk. They were not of the sky as Avocet, nor were they of the land like Yierka, Jackal and Serpent. No, no this creature was of the sea, zhi-zio, qut-qoritz hozh zhi zome. The Big Waters past the sand were infested with creatures just like Her.

On a recent day

On a recent day when the-sun shone upon the sands, Zja Baba spied a curious hare. Not just any hare, nor the wiry type from her own head, but a mystical jackrabbit whose eyes radiated a blue aura, not unlike her own. His ears were so very long, that they cast funny horned shadows upon the ground, which wavered in the heat bearing down upon them. As he sprinted away, so too did the imagined antler-shadows, the dark stripes flopping in concert with their creator. And when he returned, so did his antler-shadows. Thus, Zja wanted to believe this jackrabbit had antlers and she vowed to stand by this accidental misdirection. But what should a Tehir name her new friend? To what would such a magnificant creature respond, she thought? The creature sped through the area like lightning as she contemplated, and thus the answer was born: Sekema. Zoomy, in the commoner's tongue.

Sekema is a gold-throated antelope jackrabbit. If you can catch him, you will see:

Though dense, the jackrabbit's brindled grey and brown fur does little to disguise his rangy musculature. His long legs are slender and sinewy, and his oversized ears stand tall and alert, with dark pink veins standing out against the paler translucency of his skin. Rusty gold fur covers his throat and chest, lightening to a creamy hue along his thin belly. His wide, round eyes, aglimmer with iridescence, are an unnatural gradient of rich blue deepening to violet. The jackrabbit appears to be a magnificent specimen of his kind. A barely perceptible aura encompasses him and a distinct look of intelligence fills his glittering eyes.

He is called by a columnar cholla wood fetish impaled by a slender fulgurite shard:

Sun-bleached and riddled with irregular holes, the skeletal husk of cholla cactus is slightly curved and bears a coarse and fibrous grain. Sandy hemp cords wound with thread-fine gold and silver wires are knotted into one end of the dry wood tube. A long, crooked shard of fulgurite lies suspended at an angle through its core, precariously supported only where the pink-tinged lightning glass has lodged against the gaps in the wood.