In our previous post on the setting of The Grey Mage, we met Cassian the Grey, leader of the unaligned mages who refuse to choose sides between Rive and Kelloccio. Now we turn to his second in command, confidant and lover, Vanaja of Tarishtia.
The Infinite Caliphate looms large in the anxieties of the people of Carurlonia, and its territories seem to stretch on forever, so much so that few realise that beyond the Caliphate, to the west, is an empire that rivals it in size.
The Tarishtian Raj has long been at odds with its neighbours, who regard the faith of the Tarishtians as a primitive form of idol worship. This belief was tested in a disastrous invasion where the forces of the Caliphate were shattered. While the faithful of Qarld is not ready to admit the existence of the Tarishtian Mother Goddess, the grandees of the Caliphate are wise enough to admit that something powerful dwells within the Forbidden City.
Wars as such ended between Tarishtia and Qarld, but raids and border skirmishes continued. After the Forbidden City itself was breached Qardleeans became aware of an assassin in their midst, one named the Vengeance of the Goddess, with a hatred of Qarld and all it stood for.
Few would have guessed that such an assassin was a young woman, scarcely more than a girl, orphaned by Qardleean raiders and using her newly discovered talent for the Art to wreak havoc across the lands of the Caliphate.
Eventually, she chose a target beyond her – the great wizard Kelloccio. Though Ralomish by birth, Kelloccio lived in the Caliphate as a guest of the great sorceress Fatima al’Naif. It was indicative of Kelloccio’s great charisma that he was able to turn Vanaja from an enemy into an ally and so she joined his retinue at the same time as another wizard, Cassian, arrived after breaking from Rive.
When Kelloccio would not allow Vanaja to continue her private quest of vengeance against her perceived foes, Vanaja left the wizard, taking Cassian, her new paramour with her. It was to the Tower of the Magi in Goriinchia they went. Here Cassian promised Vanaja the power to see her dream of revenge come true.