The Shadows of Katapesh
My family fled from Cheliax during the civil war that tore that country asunder. During the war my family had backed House Davian, and my great-grandfather and his wife fled to Sargava with only the clothing on their backs.
Once they had reached the colony, they were given a small farmstead as a reward by the leaders in the government. This farmstead was near the city of Freehold. My family settled on the rich grasslands and prospered through the cattle business. As my great-grandfather prospered, he continued to by land until he finally had a huge spread – several thousand acres in size. The O’Keefe name became well-respected around the Freehold area.
My grandfather inherited the ranch of his father, by this time it was given the name of the Hammerstrike, and he continued to prosper. His second son, my father, was born at Hammerstrike. When my father was old enough to start help running the ranch, he had a falling out with my grandfather. Poor calving season after poor calving season began to take a toll on the prosperity of Hammerstrike, and my father believed that we should start using the Mwangi as slaves as others did in Sargava. In a bitter argument, my father was banished from Hammerstrike.
My father moved north of the Bandu Hills and started a mining company. He was quite prosperous, in large part because of his use of Mwangi slaves. My family home of Quintessa – named in honor of my mother- is one of the largest in Sargava.
It was here in Quintessa that I was born. I am the sixth of seven children, and being one of the younger children taught me the value of always being the quickest, especially when it came time for dinner or time to play. I have five older brothers who all went into the family mining business. Mining had no interest to me. I spent my time always riding or practicing my fencing or spear throwing. I read volume after volume of military history. I would send my Mwangi servant Hicho to fetch armloads of books from Crown’s End or Fort Bandu on military tactics or types of weapons.
The youngest of my family, Tesna, was the only daughter my parents had. She was lavished with even more gifts than we boys had gotten, but that was alright with us. She was a special girl who always had a smile on her lips and words of wisdom on her tongue. The only thing greater than her wisdom was her beauty. She fell in love with a traveling merchant that my parents forbid her to get involved with, in part he was much older than she. She snuck away with him one night, leaving Sargava behind.
We received word that Tesna was last seen in Katapesh. Her former lover was nowhere to be found, but she was wandering the streets and hopelessly addicted to pesh. Gathering up my gear, I have set off for Katapesh to find my sister and return her to the family that loves her.