The smell of rare spices, the trumpet of exotic birds, the call of the auctioneer at the Slave Blocks, the promise of long life and prosperity if you only buy this lucky trinket.
No where in all of Erinnal is the traveller more accosted than here, the Khadra’khal Bazaar. However, it is this same bustling environment that lures these travellers for fortunes fantastic and untold glory. While it is true that many come to gain wealth through adventure or to challenge others in the Pit, the Bazaar is also a place of great danger… and some are brought to the Bazaar for other reasons.
Sa’Jai the Beautiful, Sa’jai the Agile, the Delicate, the Deadly. Sa’Jai, the one woman about whom many true stories are told and even more fabricated, the greatest dancer ever known and the personal property of Cerl Hamad, the head of the Bazaar.
Rumors over the past years have circulated about Hamad and his Deh’nari slave, the devastatingly beautiful Sa’Jai. The story goes he wanted to take a wife and hired thugs to search Erinnal for her. For twelve years they returned with hundreds of women captured from neighboring nations. None would sate Hamad’s desire for nothing less than perfection but those captured would be the basis of the Deh’nari. So much so, he agreed with a deadaly smirk when the Captain of Guards made a sarcastic remark that Cerl wouldn’t be pleased unless a goddess were captured.
No more than one month passed before a new search was assembled. Clerics and Inquisitors were released into Erinnal in search of a goddess. Given instructions to not return untill she was found, they returned almost one year later with one woman: a Staabri seeress called Sa’Jai.
Hamad was smitten upon first glance. She was immediately taken in to Hamad’s compound and not seen again for some time.
Cerl, in the meantime, had undergone some changes. No longer was he morbidly obese, his horseshoe of graying hair came in thicker, his skin grew tighter, his mood was happier. Rumors flew of Sa’Jai’s power to return some to youth that others came for her. Hamad slew any individual who would dare to speak her name in his presence, let alone wish her for themselves.
While youth and strength came to Hamad, rabid jealousy and paranoia did as well.
Hamad single-handedly slew his entire guardsmen ranks because their captain, the one who originally made the goddess comment, had a wife whom someone had compared to Sa’Jai in beauty.
For five years no one saw Cerl and his enslaved “goddess”. Word spread of his misdeeds with her, her screams of pain rang out through the night, his wicked laugh filled with torturous delight bounced off the city walls. No one knew what was happening but no one dared to do a thing.
During the annual Festival of Faiths five years ago, the crowd parted and the cheers stopped. Sermons ceased, idols were dropped. Sa’Jai, wrapped in beautiful flowing Deh’nari silks, walked silently down from Hamad’s compound, smiled at each person she passed and stopped before the southern entrance to the Alleys. There she performed a dance that enthralled all who watched: men remained silent, women were inspired, the sick returned to health.
When the morning sun shone down on Sa’Jai after a full night of dancing, she stopped and bowed to her audience. With a graceful turn of her heel, she walked toward the western gate of the Bazaar and left, the glowing tattoo on her left ankle that bound her to the Bazaar faded into nothing.
Someone looked up toward the eastern gate, where the high arch was crowned by the single pennant of House Hamad. All noticed the broken (but youthful) figure of Cerl impaled.
While no one has seen Sa’Jai since, rumor states she returned to her tribe in Staabri and was a remarkable woman, but a mortal nonetheless. Others believed she was indeed a goddess for no other could make men silent for so long.
Whatever she was, the Bazaar was never the same. Sickness returned five fold, death hovers in the air and the Hamad compound, once her prison, has now become a fortress filled with the undead captain of the guard, his family and all the guardsmen.
The citizens have reached out to any who listen to find Sa’Jai or else somehow end the curse inflicted on the Bazaar of Hamad.