Shaa Kalthalaj was a resident of the windswept merchant town of Baerrel in Lindur, south of the Gulf of Ordren. His entire clan fled the onslaught of the armies of Manath as it marched its way across old Murmanityed. As were many other Linduri, Tribe Shaa was saved at Ulf Canyon when the ground was torn asunder, with the army of Manath on one ridge and the refugees on the other. Even among the refugees, however, the children of Shaa Bashsh stood out. While most of the refugees were humans, elves, dwarves or flen, the Shaa were not. For some, the infernal blood coursed strongly in their veins. Luckily for young Kalthalaj, his heritage could easily be covered. For a tiefling, his horns were short and swept back, and could easily be covered by a hood when he needed. The dull red of his skin helped him blend in among the Bronze elves, or the sunburnt humans. But kids can be observant and cruel, so most of the Shaa children found kindred spirits with the mephits who were the original inhabitants of the region.
Shaa Bashsh was close with the merchant Shaemaril, who invited the Shaanites to establish themselves in Baerrel in the first year of his rule as exarch. The tiny desert village of Baerrel was already gathering merchant traders and was establishing guilds, and Bashsh knew his family needed to join one or remain as outsiders among outsiders. Having no issue with the heat involved, Bashsh took up the art of glassblowing. This is the world Kalthalaj was born into. In a large tent inside the walls of Baerrel, surrounded by family and mephits, and twinkling with exquisite glasswork, Kalthalaj was taught of his history and his two responsibilities.
Shaa, son of Aermin, was a prominent bronze elf in the courts of the Murmanityedi city of Murdamiya. He fled the court just before those who became known as the Silent Heroes brought their wrath upon the Witch-Queen. As the city was being sacked by the armies of the Northern Kingdoms, Shaa huddled in his house and prayed to his gods for an escape. An avatar of Goz granted his request - but exacted a price. Shaa and his descendants to the third and fourth generation would be cursed with the mark of Goz, both on the body and in the soul. Recognizing that he had sold his soul for a few more years of life, Shaa sought to make sure that he would not give others an excuse to judge him. Though he had treated slaves cruelly and had practiced all sorts of abominations in Murdamiya, Shaa sought refuge among the tribes in the hills, serving them faithfully and humbly. This informs the first Shaanite responsibility: do not let the evil inside overpower the good you can choose.
Despite his work, few trusted Shaa at first, so he worked hard to earn their respect. If they could not trust his heart, they could at least trust his hands. So Shaa began to make things. His time in the court of the Witch-Queen had exposed him to much of the arcane arts, but the goatherds and barley farmers of the hill country had little use for his spells, so Shaa put his hand to spinning fibers. It took years, but Shaa became known as the finest spinner, turning even coarse wool into the softest yarn. This informs the second Shaanite responsibility: work with your hands always, and prove your value through your craft.
As much as any of his forebears, Kalthalaj took these two tenets to heart. His father apprenticed him to a dust mephit named Grine, who taught Kalthalaj to blow glass. At first, Grine taught him how to blow as the humans and elves do, but this was not good enough for the young boy. Grine's glass was always more clear, more colorful, smoother and more intricate, so he asked to be taught as Grine taught his mephit apprentices. It took years to master, but soon Kalthalaj's work could not be distinguished from that of his elemental coworkers. His pieces sold well, he had earned his journeymanship, and he was proud of his work, but he knew that he could be better. He worked day and night, storm and sun, but Grine's work always exceeded his own in quality. It wasn't until one night that Kalthalaj overheard two other apprentices whispering about how Grine had let slip in a drunken stupor that he was afraid that Kalthalaj would surpass him if he was ever taught the true mephit way. This enraged Kalthalaj, who stormed into his master's tent and demanded the truth. Grine denied withholding any secret techniques and, when Kalthalaj bristled with anger, begged the young man to believe him. Kalthalaj did not. In his anger, he struck his master, breaking many bones in his fragile body.
Immediately regretting his mistake, Kalthalaj turned himself in to the local guard. Pleading guilty to his crime, he was sentenced to two years in service to the Arend Perd. He was assigned to cleaning the stables and the latrines. True to his family's values, he ensured that none could say anything against him. His value as a servant quickly won him the favor of the priest-commander of the hippogriff riders, a paladin of Cheleria. Aluf Peretz named Kalthalaj as his squire, and taught him the ways of Cheleria. Peretz also taught him how and, most importantly when, to fight. After serving his two years with the Arend Perd, Kalthalaj was asked to sign on with the company. The boy became a man serving as a foot soldier in the air cavalry.
During times of peace, Kalthalaj kept his tent just inside the city walls, and blew glass to sell in the markets. He met his wife, Zaharat Alsahar, soon after he became the rishon of his company, and she bore him three children - Asha, Rueven and Shahessa. Kalthalaj teaches them the ways of the Shaanites and the way of the Linduri.
Levistus Tiefling Paladin
Stats: Cha = Con > Str > Int > Wis > Dex
Skills: Athletics, Insight, Persuasion, Religion (2 Paladin, 2 Guild Artisan)
Languages: Western, Infernal, New Skosian, Auran
Oath: Oath of Devotion
Background: Guild Artisan
- Guild Business: Glassblowing
- Personality Trait: I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing right. I can't help it - I'm a perfectionist.
- Ideal: Community - It is the duty of all civilized people to strengthen the bonds of community and the security of civilization.
- Bond: One day I will return to my guild and prove that I am the greatest artisan of them all.
- Flaw: I am quick to assume that someone is trying to cheat me.
Shaa Kalthalaj is a kind and quiet man, those who don't know him well might even describe him as meek. He keeps to himself and his family most of the time, but being cordial to everyone around him. There are only two things that shake his otherwise unflappable exterior: questioning the quality of his work, or threatening the security of his family.
He prefers to be referred to by his clan name, Shaa, rather than his personal name, Kalthalaj. As with many Linduri, each member of the family is thought to represent the whole family, and so they prefer to be referred to as such. Referring to him as Kalthalaj without the closeness of a familial bond is most rude. Only his wife may refer to him by any nickname - where she prefers to call him Thala.
Shaa is of a very average height and build for most humanoids, standing somewhere between five and six feet tall. Height can be difficult with tieflings because of the horns. Shaa's are near pin-straight black spikes eight inches tall. Behind this flows long blue-black hair pulled back and tied off low on his neck. His skin is a dull, rosy rust color, while his eyes are pure silver. If it were not for the pleasant demeanor he overtly wears on his face, one could not be blamed for finding him intimidating. As with all tieflings, Shaa has a tail that extends nearly his full height. When he walks, it flicks behind him; when he stands, he tends to wrap it loosely around his ankles.
Shaa never wears shoes, even in snow and blazing heat, or over rough terrain. He wears a long, loose tunic of blue and white linen. The hem is embroidered with stylized eagles and clouds. If the weather turns cold, he may don a black woolen cloak which drapes to his knees. On his right wrist he wears a small bracelet of glass beads. When dressed for battle, he drapes a pale blue tabbard over his armor, which he cinches with a black belt which bears his weapons, typically something blunt like a mace or hammer.
Though they are usually covered, his right arm, his chest, back, thighs and the ridge of his tail are marked with tattoos, mostly in light grey or dark red. Most are very stylized and contain meaning only to himself, but motifs of good over evil can be seen in some of the more obvious images and words.
Shaa speaks New Skosian to his children, Auran to his wife, and Western with everyone else. This is not because he wishes to keep secrets, but is his way of paying respect to those around him. New Skosian to his children, to remind them of their heritage, their duty, and their aspirations. Auran to his wife because only the language of the Most High Goddess could be worthy of his beloved. Western to all others because it is the common tongue that binds the people together. He does not wish to exclude any, but to welcome all.
Shaa is meticulous in all he does. His tent is immaculate. The work he shows bears no flaw he can see. His clothes are clean, his manner pleasant and words always intentional, even as they are few. Before any expedition, he will inspect every piece of equipment to ensure that it is in the best condition possible: weapons polished, armor oiled, pack tight and everything in its place. His preparation is not quite ritual, but it is definitely precise.
Shaa is devoted to Cheleria, and prays to her morning and evening. He is deeply religious, but fully understands that not all will make the same choice he did. He wishes others would seek to be uplifted by the Goddess of Air, but seeks unity above conversion. He especially appreciates the followers of Alyssa and Archgate, as their love of family and community flow from their mother and grandmother Cheleria.
Shaa and his family have joined the expedition into Tantathia so that he can further the reach of the Glassblower's Guild of Baerrel. Guildhouses have been working their way north since the fall of Manath. Shaa's house was chartered to set up in Aranor Pass. Since the collapse of Barloz, and the effective abandonment of Aranor, Shaa elected to go further north upon meeting up with Geldren. It seems the two struck up a friendship and their skills could work together to make a profitable venture, but Shaa still keeps a close eye on the talkative human.
Pillows are designed for relaxation. If they are fighting, what hope do we have?