Najaf Shuja

A Nawab Turned Templar Turned Traitor


Najaf the soft-hearted they called him, before he was sent into the shadow of Guistinal. A young noble who had come to love the boundaries and clarity brought by the traditions of caste, family, and duty, until his talent for weaving arcane energies was discovered by the Grand Vizier. He was plucked from all he knew and cast in among the bullies, perverts, sycophants and psychotics that were Abalach-Re’s templarate. It didn’t take long for him to prove he didn’t belong there.

One evening an invitation came to him, to attend a party in the Grand Vizier’s honor (so many parties for so little honor). The details were shockingly bare of pretense. He would be expected to find his pleasure among the other templars, those castoff from every caste, for the amusement of the Vizier. It seemed just another shuffling step away from the honor and purity of his childhood, but he could not bring himself to go. As the others primped and prepared he sat in silence. The party raged, and still he sat. At dawn, when the others returned stinking of decadence and degradation, he received the order that he would be headed into the wastes for a ‘special assignment’.

For years he lived as a smuggler, operating out of Fort Cromlin. A smart smuggler must know all he can of his surroundings, so it is not odd when he pays to learn what is happening in and under the silt to the east. He sweltered in the heat and choked on dust and watched for signs no one truly expected to appear. Most of the time his men found nothing. Sometimes they wandered too close, and came back babbling of the Caller in Darkness, whose voices they could still hear echoing in their minds.

When he heard rumors of the strange wanderers, thickly robed creatures with their faces concealed that were sometimes spotted heading into or out of the ruins of Guistinal, he was elated. It was as if some part of him could sense that things were finally going to change. It did not come quickly. The wanderers followed no discernible pattern or schedule, and had potent magics to prevent themselves from being followed. But Najaf had no other hope, so he continued. He was there when an odd collection of travelers arrived, and booked passage on the skimmer of a mad dwarf. As they headed into the silt he could still hear him babbling about the Caller.

Word came of eldritch storms striking the ruins. He could sense that the time had come for him to stop being an observer, and he headed into the silt and toward the ruined city. Whatever the Caller was, it had been driven out when he arrived. Instead he found power, revenge, and a future. An army prepared to march upon Raam, to lay low the Grand Vizier and take all that belonged to her. Najaf set aside all that he had learned of clever words and careful discourse; He spoke of his hate, he spoke of his knowledge of the Vizier’s defenses, and he spoke of his loyalty to any who would lay her low. He offered his hand unhesitatingly to the Dray and Dead alike, and marched side by side with them as he returned home.

The Unclean
The King


Najaf Shuja

The Reign of Dregoth dspaulding