Rise of Nations
Silence and Lost Omens
Ishava was born over a hundred years ago, in a time of peace and accord between the Rashalzar and the humans in the region. Much of this was due to the strong leadership and wisdom of her mother, who was esa-kira of the tribe. In her twelfth year, Ishava began to exhibit sorcerous abilities of her own, heralding her as her mother’s successor. Furthermore, not only had Ishava inherited her mother’s talent for magic, but her prophetic abilities as well: she sometimes dreamed true dreams. Not long after, she began to have nightmares where the screams of a dying god ripped through her mind and soul, granting her no rest. She consulted her mother about these horrible visions but her mother merely counseled her to inaction, saying that the doings of gods were not meant for mortals to intercede in. Still, Ishava had always been the most headstrong and wildest of her siblings and she felt she could not sit by and do nothing. So, in her fourteenth year, she snuck away with her human friend Oriedesme— for this was a human deity she dreamed of— to save a god. Their adventures were long, exciting and exhilarating at first, but as the girls drew closer to their goal and the stakes grew ever higher, their quest turned dark and deadly, fraught with pain and treachery. Ishava lost her friend on the banks of the river Cocytus, when Oriedesme sacrificed herself so that Ishava might reach the Boneyard first, ahead of the cultists pursuing them. Ishava has never spoken of what happened there, save to comment that she failed in her quest. Aroden died, the Age of Enthronement ended, and his clergy was left in confusion and disarray. Heartsick and despondent, Ishava returned home, only to find a world she no longer recognized.
For though she had been away for two years by her own reckoning, time passes funny between planes and for her people, a full sixty years had passed. Her mother had died less than ten years after Ishava left; had died calling her name, with the healers standing helplessly by because her sickness was not one that could be healed with spells or potions or medicines. With their leader and sorceress gone, the humans took advantage of the centaurs’ turmoil and dismay and waged war upon them, driving the Rashalzar nearly to the edge of the Dunsward. Ishava’s family had all been killed or enslaved, her home razed and turned over to human colonists. What remained of her tribe were dispirited and harried, forced to eke out a precarious existence in the rocky wastes of the Rashaldin or serve human masters as beasts of burden on their own ancestral lands. A white-hot fury rose in her heart and she walked among the two-legs, raining fire and lightning upon their heads. Those who stood before her were cut down like wheat before a scythe, as were those who tried to run. She rallied what was left of her people and swept through the Dunsward like a scourge, scouring their lands clean of human habitation, until finally, the Swordlords of Restov sued for a truce. She reigned as the new esa-kira for the next several years even though her rage and hate made her an unstable and inexpert leader because there was no one else. In time, she trained an esa-hencha, a protégé that would rise to take her place, which turned out to be Aecora’s mother. When this was done, Ishava faded into the background, to a quiet life of contemplation, content to leave the task of rebuilding to others while she wrestled with her own demons. Her people treat her with respect, but also with reserve, for they, too, fear her after seeing her in the fullness of her wrath. These days, she lives simply, done with dreams and done with weeping, and she does not call upon her sorcery unless absolutely necessary. It is too painful.