blood ties

Genealogy and History of the Tal-Madge clan of Zinyini

The current patriarch of the clan is Hakim, second-eldest of four sons (none of whom remain alive). In his youth, Hakim married Amira, who bore him a daughter (Malia) and two sons (Jarsath and Ouran). In addition, Hakim fathered a son (Tarkan) on Malak, the clan’s temple whore. Zinyini tradition holds that children born to temple whores are considered particularly blessed by the gods, since they came about through an act of worship, and they are raised by the father or some other worthy family so that motherhood does not interfere with the temple whore’s devotion.

Ouran, the eldest, had a strong head for business, and made the clan relatively wealthy and popular through his shrewd trading. He caused a slight scandal among the clan by arranging his own marriage, to the sister of one of his prime trading partners, and many feel it was no coincidence that Ouran’s partner later came courting Malia once she was of age. Ouran’s wife (Acala) soon bore him a son (Azis).

A few years after Ouran married Acala, Tarkan met and fell in love with Rashell. She, like him, was a “blessing child”, and had even been studying to take her own vows and become a whore-priestess. Tarkan swept her off her feet, though, and she left her clan as his bride instead.

Less than a year after that, the War of Heaven and Hell broke loose in the Vale. The invading demons took special pains to seek out and slay those among the Zinyini with spiritual significance, as this would not only demoralize the Zinyini, but actually weaken their gods. Malak and Tarkan both perished in the onslaught of demons, and Rashell was wounded before Jarsath could rally the remains of the clan to protect her.

In accordance with Zinyini tradition, Ouran married his brother’s wife, thus taking responsibility for supporting her. Rashell was already pregnant with Tarkan’s child, and when she gave birth to a son (Seraph), Ouran took him in as his own.

Ouran was a kind husband to Rashell, but she mourned too deeply for her fallen husband. She eventually bore a child by Ouran (a daughter, named Malak at Hakim’s suggestion) in order to cement their marriage, but never felt love in her heart for him. Ouran sadly kept a respectful distance afterward, and went on to have three more sons by Acala (Tarkan, Khamsa, and Sita).

When Seraph was fourteen years old, Ouran began planning to train him and his younger brothers in the ways of desert survival, to prepare them for their rites of manhood. At about the same time, word also reached Jarsath’s ears of an approaching caravan that would be ripe for raiding. Attending to both would mean leaving the Tal-Madge camp vulnerable, with most of the menfolk either teaching or raiding, but Ouran convinced Jarsath and Hakim that the clan had sufficiently little to lose in the way of valuables at the time, and thus it was worth the risk. The clansmen went their respective ways, each planning to return in two weeks’ time.

They returned to find the camp devastated. Many of the women and small children were missing (Rashell among them), waterskins had been slashed open, and the few horses and camels that had been left behind lay slaughtered in the sand. Ouran’s wife Acala had been spared, though, probably because she was very pregnant at the time. Sobbing, Acala said that the camp had been raided by a band of heretic Zinyini known as the Jackals.

As horrible as the situation was, it was almost possible to hear Acala’s words as good news. Only the Jackals or Valites would so blasphemously and cruelly violate Zinyini tradition with respect to raiding, but at least against the Jackals it was feasible to contemplate revenge. Prior to the War of Heaven and Hell, the Jackals had been called the Ahmari (for the red robes they wore), a clan fervently devoted to the high god Norebo. When Norebo was killed by the demons, the Ahmari lost all their faith and effectively went mad, no longer trusting in anyone or anything save themselves and their swords.

The clansmen conferred and planned. When they felt they were ready, they promptly sent Seraph off to undergo the trials preceding his rites of manhood. They also sent Tarkan and Khamsa and Sita, even though normally they would all be considered too young, so none of them would do something foolish like try to come along as part of the war band.

The Jackals only controlled one oasis anymore, and the Tal-Madge clan descended on it with righteous fury. The Jackals’ menfolk began screaming that they had done no wrong, but then a young girl’s voice came piping over the sands. It was young Malak. Azis spotted her nearly a half-kilometer away from the oasis. He rode swiftly to scoop her up, and she began crying that the others were being taken away. In the meantime, Ouran had spotted one of the Jackal women wearing a silver and jade bracelet he had given to Acala as a bride-gift. The oasis erupted in bloodshed, and in the end not a single Jackal man was left alive. The Tal-Madge also killed any women who dared to fight them, taking the rest as wives or slaves, and the young children were also taken to be raised by those families who had lost children to the Jackals’ raid. Sadly, they had lost a good number of their own men as well, including Ouran. They tried as best they could to find where the Jackals had taken their own women and children, but to no avail. Again in keeping with tradition, Acala was married to Jarsath, who then formally adopted all the children except for Sita, who never returned from his trials. Ouran’s last son, Salam, was born only three days after the new marriage.

Nowadays, with Hakim as the clan’s patriarch, Jarsath is considered to be next in line to lead the clan. He is hard-headed and gruff, but he is also fair and is tremendously helpful to the elderly Hakim. Jarsath is disgusted with the number of Zinyini who have begun allying with or at least pandering to the Valites, and has strongly supported Azis and Seraph leading raids against them – in his eyes, it is a very honorable thing for them to do. It also gets them out from underfoot – with three other wives besides Acala, he has no shortage of other children to care for!

Of Ouran’s children, the only ones left are Azis, Seraph, young Malak and Salam. The young Tarkan later died in battle when a planned raid was surprised by a patrol of Valite Amazon Knights. Khamsa perished defending the clan when they were themselves raided. Young Malak is nearly of age to be married, and Salam is about five years old now.

blood ties

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