The Golden Sands of Irukhtir
Ochrek din Whah edin Whih
Tall, 6’4, heavily muscled.
Dingy brown-tan skin speckled with small scars and cuts from battles and injuries
Tattoos of dots across his face given to him by the Lizardfolk Matriarch as a symbol of acceptance to the clan and to Mumelakiu.
Brown-Black hair tied in many small braids and pulled back from his head in to a larger braid.
Born in to a very traditional nomadic Auruk tribe, Ochrek was taught from a very early age to revere all life. Sentience and intelligence were a rare gift, one which should not be marred or destroyed in any way. This belief brought him through life, though he struggled always with a feeling of helplessness and fear whenever meeting strangers from outside the tribe. Some were peaceful and treated the Auruk with respect, while others would treat them no better than domesticated animals. Their meager property meant nothing, nor did their safety or desires. He watched cousins taken for slaves while his parents hid him behind a rock at the young age of eight summers. His parents trembled in fear. He trembled in rage.
It wasn’t long until he began questioning his people’s peaceful practice. In a perfect world it would be ideal, but the world was far from perfect. He soon got a reputation among the tribe for dangerous questions, as well as angry rages. It was a few years until one of the passing adventurers his people led in to the desert described to him the concept of ‘cowardice’ and ‘shame’, concepts that rooted themselves deep within him and plagued his devotion.
At the age of twelve summers, his family was attacked by bandits. Races of all kinds roared down upon his tribe’s tiny caravan, laughing as they torched wagons, slaughtered animals, and stole possessions. A particularly gruesome human took hold of his sister and yanked her out of his arms, while his father held him back. “It is life son. The desert is cruel. We must not be.” His voice was perfectly steady with belief, while Ochrek trembled in rage. Striking his father’s hands away from him, he reached for a broken axle and smashed it over the slaver’s head. As the man fell to the sands it seemed everything stopped. His family, the bandits, and even the desert wind stood still in disbelief. Instead of feeling shame, Ochrek felt good. His blood roared. His family stood and ran as if he was a djinn from the desert sands come to burn them alive. The slavers took what they could and quickly left, staring at the small boy in disbelief. Four days of wandering through the desert later he found his family, but they treated him as a ghost who was already dead. They would not allow him food, they would not look in his eyes, they would not speak his name among themselves.
Ochrek wandered the deserts alone for years, surviving by the skills he had learned, but no longer fearing any strangers. Avoiding yes, but not fearing. Distrust sowed itself in to his being. When he reached the northern coast of the desert it was with hopelessness he looked upon the great salt water. Thirsty and desperate he attempted to sneak by night in to the camp of a tribe of lizardfolk. They quickly caught him, and while he attempted to fight back with the sharpened hunting stick he had, they quickly subdued him. He found it odd that while they were fighting and capturing him, they treated their violent antics almost as a game. Their teeth flashed in the firelight in rictus smiles, and their guttural speech was almost affectionate as they avoided his clumsy attacks.
The next morning brought surprises. Not only was he still alive, his captors had left a gourd of water and an entire dead iguana at the foot of his cage to eat. He didn’t understand a word they said to him, but in time learned the routine of them. They would tie his hands to a camel to follow behind them during the day. At night they would let him free of his bonds, and the females of the matriarchal society would toss him different kinds of weaponry to fight with them while the males set up the camp and prepared meals. He thought at first they were teasing him, toying with him while he tried to earn his freedom. They never demanded he do any work like normal slavers would, but after beating him playfully they would treat his wounds and let him eat. After a full season of this treatment had passed they began to not only play with him, but actually stop the nightly fights and began to teach him how to use the different weapons they handed him. He had trouble understanding at first.
One of the lizardfolk who watched him the most was an older lizardwoman. She had trouble walking the long distances required by the hunting nomads, so would sit on the back of the camel he was tied to and would watch him. After a while she began talking to him. At first he had trouble understanding her, but as she knew a little Aurufar she was quickly able to teach him Southard, the common language of the region. Once he was able to communicate with his captors they quickly adopted him in to the band as if he had scales himself. The nightly fights became training sessions and playful combat instead of the torture and beatings. He found himself not just fighting to survive, but enjoying himself.
The old one showed herself to not only be knowledgable, but the shaman matriarch of the entire tribe. She taught him of tradition, of defending oneself, of violence, but most of all of Mumelakiu. They prayed to Mumelakiu when they shed the blood of animals, when they playfully fought and trained, and on the very rare moments where they met another of the northern coastal tribes they prayed in the fighting of their enemies. Confused at first when he found a conquered tribe also shared a similar idol, he asked the shaman Akrinth why their enemies would also cry to Mumelakiu while they killed each other. “The desert is not cruel, child,” she said, “And neither must we be. Mumelakiu is not evil. Violence is not cruel, it is simply survival. Violence is life.” Understanding came over him with years, and he learned a love for battle and violence. Praying to Mumelakiu each night as his new patron, it seemed that life was finally complete. He could begin to come to peace with himself and the shame he had carried for all these years.
Time passed quickly, and within what felt like a short time after joining his family and becoming a Paladin of Mumelakiu, he began to have troubling dreams. In the dreams Mumelakiu would come to him in various guises and forms, each time attacking him and shaming him in his inexperience and weakness. He would be told he was a coward like the rest of his people, and that he must prove himself if he wished to keep the God’s favor. Knowing his life must truly begin Ochrek left his adopted family. He has since sought to find ways to face every fear he has and dominate any contest that comes his way. He begins his journey by traveling on the great salt water that has been a boundary to his life, seeking to find new peoples to fight, new challenges, and to prove himself to his deity and his pride.