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Sajani Adida, the Pirate Queen

Sajani Adida

Birth and Childhood

Sajani was born on 15 Chandra 30 BH in the Vharkil Mountains in a small village called Adido to Malita Adida and her father, whose name isn't recorded anywhere and who apparently prefers it that way. Her last name is a hereditary name from her mother's side and obviously has some attachment to the village, but the chiefs of the village have had a different surname for all of their recorded history.

Like all vykati in even the smallest of towns, villages, or cities, she received a basic education up until about age ten. She doesn't talk much about this era of her life, possibly because of how her childhood abruptly ended, but she did have two friends that she spent a lot of time with: Kralala Effanga and Fita Howl. Sometime around 23 BH, Kralala died in a rather gruesome farming accident, to which Sajani was a witness. His death weakened her friendship with Fita and prepared her for what was to come later.

In Ramisi 21 BH, Sajani's mother received a promotion in the Vharkylia Army and the family moved to Drtithen while she was given her first major command assignment at Altaza. At the time, families did not accompany the soldiers there, as it was considered a too dangerous and unpredictable assignment due to it's close proximity to the Rhidayar border.

The Death of Malita

On 24 Chandra 20 BH, Rhidayan forces sieged the chapel complex at Altaza where Sajani's mother had been stationed for about a year. The action was part what is now known as the Rhidayar Border Skirmish and resulted in the death and destruction of the remains of all of the defenders.

Benayle Ramisa himself, accompanied by the priest, West Lamarr, visited the Adida family to inform them of the death. This experience had two lasting effects on Sajani. As her father refused to shed a single tear over the death of her mother, it placed a strain on her relationship with him. Her father defended this behavior by saying that he would "face her death with the same courage she did." The visit also led to her meeting Westa Lamarr, the priest's daughter.

To say that the death of her mother affected the future pirate queen constitutes the penultimate understatement. Every life decision from that time forward was, at the very least, influenced by that experience, if not comprising the sole decision on its own.

Schooling and Rebellion

Within a year of her mother's death, at least according to her own accounts, Sajani became unmanageable with a temper that could explode into near violence at the slightest provocation. Under the advice of Benayle, her father attempted to send her to girl's boarding school in, of all places, Rhidayar. This proved to be a bad decision on his part, as Sajani blamed the nation as a whole for the death of her mother. After only five days at the school, she broke out of her room and made her way back home with the help of a sympathetic merchant caravan.

Benayle would later talk about his recommendation as one of the most serious lapses of judgement he'd ever made.

Given the complete failure of this attempt, Sajani's father had her sent to a religious school in Zenache. The school, the Zenachen Institute of the Ramisi Order of Equality, proved to be a much better choice. After three unsuccessful attempts to leave, Sajani settled into the routine the school offered and began to immerse herself in her studies.

The Order of Equality is a paladin order dedicated to ensuring equality in the world, at any cost. Controlled vengeance and retribution are qualities that the Order encompasses and these were values that the youngster felt like she could get behind.

Since her father is mostly unknown, it can only be speculated that being a foreign order, it is quite possible that he did not completely understand the full scope of the order's practices. Sajani has called his decision "inspired" and "preordained." She continued at the school until her graduation at age 17, when she took the vows of the order and became a fully fledged knight.

The Adventuring Years

After leaving school, Sajani briefly returned to [Drtithen] where she met up with Westa Lamarr, with whom she had corresponded and occasionally visited while in school. Westa had made acquaintance with a dwarf named Mauro Solis while she had studied at the University of Vidava in Rhidayar. The three agreed to travel together to seek their fortune, but before they were able to leave the city, Sajani caught a street performer trying to pick her pocket.

Accounts of what transpired next vary greatly between versions, but according to Sajani's journal, the street performer (whose name was Simon Francis), agreed to donate his earnings to the local temple in exchange for her not taking him to the local authorities. She wrote that she was concerned that the local vykati officials might not be agreeable to a human pickpocket in their city and she was concerned for his safety.

Simon agreed to travel with them until they left Vharkylia, but at some point, not disclosed in any account, the con artist became a permanent member of the group. According to one statement made by Mauro, Simon was smitten by the calm confidence that Sajani exuded and decided that not only would he be safer in her company, but he would even find it enjoyable. Mauro's account has been roundly disputed by the other three of the group, but none are willing to offer any more insight, saying simply that they don't recall exactly how it happened.

Rhidayar Adventures

The group's first three years were spent throughout Rhidayar with occasional short sorties into Dargaleck. Sajani's journals from this time period are sealed and won't be released until after he death, but a book by Vaeman Chass considered to be a highly romanticized version of her time as the pirate queen, says that he was told that the time in Rhidayar was spent hunting down corrupt government officials and bandits. He claims that the group left the country after they had traced down a notorious bandit leader and ended his influence in the national government by disposing of him.

The group then returned to Drtithen, where Sajani received extensive training in woods craft and archery from a feral vykati living in the slums of the city. Simon claims that there were a few attempts while there on Sajani's life, but she discounts those as being a biased exaggeration.

What is clear by all accounts is that after leaving Rhidayar, Sajani did not return until long after her days of traveling were over and forced the group to take to the sky or the seas rather than travel over that land.

Zenache Adventures

The group's time in Zenache has nothing to really distinguish itself. Almost all of what transpired during their five years there happened in small towns and in remote areas of the heavily forested country. After she became the Minister of Defense for Vharkylia, there were quite a few people that stepped forward and claimed that her and her companions had righted a wrong for them or had ridded their area of some monstrous nuisance or another. The group mostly keeps low key on these and seems to have made some prior agreement to keep quiet about it. Sajani has not released any journals from this era or the previous.

The Death of a God

One exploit of the group while there is very well documented and talked about, although most of that story is considered more folklore than history. In the southern part of what is now Therfass, on the island where the city of Corole is located, a powerful wizard began, with a nefarious combination of mind control, fast talking, and magical prowess, to convince the local population that he was in fact a God and not just any God, but one of the Holy Three, Shahamuri. He told them that he had taken on a physical form to punish them for their unbelief and for turning away from the truth in order to embrace the rapid expansion of atheism.

Given the growing body of "proof" that the wizard was able to generate, many came to believe him. Those that didn't either disappeared or had a sudden change of heart. He forged these believers into a makeshift army and planned on using them to "punish the wicked non-believers."

Sajani's paladin order, the Order of Equality, contacted her, despite the fact that by this time, she no longer considered herself a member, and asked her and her companions to investigate.

Posing occasionally as believers, but mostly through double talk and deception contrived by Simon Francis, they were eventually able to learn the truth of what was happening, track down the rogue wizard to his remote hideout, and free the local citizenry from his influence.

Most accounts claim that Sajani stripped him of his magic and changed him into a vykati as punishment. They say that he wanders the streets of Drtithen, first in person, but eventually as a ghost, and that he speaks her name into the wind if frost ever touches the ground there.

Sajani just says she killed him.

The Final Stretch

All four of the group agree that the main reason they broke up was because they really didn't want to be around each other anymore. Publically, none of them would ever say anything bad about the others, but those close to the group say that they did have rather cruel nicknames for each other and that there was usually some kind of bickering going on. If it wasn't between Mauro and Simon, it was between Sajani and Simon. Westa usually entered the bickering only as an attempt to end it, but ended up in the argument when the other parties complained about her getting involved.

None of them recall an exact moment when they agreed to part. Apparently, it just happened.

Military Career

According to one account by Simon Francis, Sajani tried to retire with the money she'd earned during her adventures, but this didn't last for more than a few months. Given that her journals are pretty much devoid of any events for that time, it is possible that he was correct. There is a three month period of time from Choli through Ramisi 5 BH where she has no entries.

Commissioning

At some point during that period of time, Sajani requested a Wolf Pack officer commission. As is customary, she offered a monetary amount. No one that knows how much she offered has ever mentioned the amount, but it wouldn't have been impossible for her to commission as a Lieutenant Colonel, the highest purchasable rank, which cost about 50,000 gold at the time.

Benayle took her request straight to the Drtithen Council and urged them to give her a government paid commission as a Colonel. While the vote was not unanimous there was strong support, given her mother's sacrifice. The opposition was willing to take a lower rank, since Sajani had not shown any military skill that they could quantify, but in the end Benayle Ramisa's request was accepted and she became the second wolf and the youngest in the history of the country to commission in at that rank

Controversy

While nearly all of the Drtithen Council voted their support for her commission, nearly all of the military command structure did not. While only one was actually vocal about it (Lord General Crore, who was a colonel at the time).

An unsigned brief was sent to the council stating that such an arbitrary commissioning of a person who had spent so much time outside of Vharkylia, especially since so much time was spent in Rhidayar, constituted a severe breach in national security. It went on to state that placing a person in such a high position without taking a monetary amount devalued the entire military structure and opened the door for a rash of unqualified individuals entering command positions in exchange for political favors.

The letter was read before the council, but no other action was taken on it. A motion was made for discussion, but the motion did not carry.

Benayle took great exception to the letter, particularly to the fact that it was submitted anonymously. His response, rather than going through political channels, was printed in all three newspapers that circulate in the capital and it didn't take long for that news to reach Riteyai and from there, the rest of the country.

In classic form, the vykati leader made light of the military's refusal to accept the daughter of a national hero. He argued that she was every bit as qualified to hold such a position as any noble that inherited a post in government. If it was assumed that such qualifications could be properly transferred through birth alone, then it stood to reason that the daughter of a military leader of Malita Adida's caliber would prove herself very quickly following in the same footsteps.

In addition, Benayle included a list of every officer in the current Vharkylia Army who had been granted a commission privately in exchange for political favors. It was a long list.

Within a week another anonymous letter arrived at the council from the military command retracting their prior statement. Sajani's first assignment was given.

Assignments

Outpost 3

Sajani's first assignment still showed great disdain for her commissioning. The command position was usually held by a Major and the outpost itself was not in the most auspicious of locations.

Outpost 3 is famous as one of the two other military bases that were guarding the border during the Rhidayar Border Skirmish, the others being Altaza and Fort Gust. It is situated about 40 miles from the Rhidayar border and had to have almost all of it's supplies, including fresh water in the dry season, brought in from other areas. It guarded a narrow pass in the hills to its north and is no longer an active military post.

At the time, two companies of the 2-24th Infantry were stationed there, with the other four and the battalion's leadership located at the other side of the pass. This left Sajani under the command of the very newly promoted Colonel Crore.

The assignment ended a year later, with Colonel Crore recommending her for an assignment that would make much better use of her full potential. Apparently he, at least, had changed his mind about her qualifications as an officer.

Air Command

In 5 BH, the Vharkylia Army began experimenting with flying machines as weapons. Aircraft at the time relied heavily on magic and steam to stay in the air and were slow and hard to maneuver. Newly discovered runes made them more cost effective, but the airbase just outside of Riteyai was the frequent site of crash landings and mid-air collisions.

By the time that Sajani arrived on 33 of Mohi 4 BH, there was talk of scrapping the entire command. The cost of production of the air ships was very high and the life span of the equipment was very short.

Sajani's first action as commander was to ground everything, except herself and the crew needed to train her. Her soldiers took this with mixed emotions as many of them had joined up specifically to fly, but didn't have the same feelings about dying while trying. By mid-Choli 3 BH, she was flying solo and preparing official policy and tactics for her command. She also was meeting with the sparks and technicians that were designing her equipment to see what could be done about some of the problems she'd encountered during her training. By the end of the following month, air ships were back in the skies and the fatality rate had dropped significantly. Prior to her taking command, they lost 3 airships and 1 pilot on most weeks. During the next year, they lost a total of 3 airships and no pilots.

Her success got her noticed in military as well as political and commercial circles and lead directly to her next assignment: Minister of Defense of Vharkylia.

Minister of Defense

On 13 Indira 2 AH, the country's current Minister of Defense, Lord General Adibee Fys, resigned from the post he'd held for almost 50 years, citing failing health and chronic fatigue. As is still common among retiring Ministers, he submitted his suggestion for his replacement. The only thing known of whom he suggested is that it wasn't Sajani.

Benayle made his suggestion and the council eventually approved it, with only a few voting against citing worries about having such a young Minister of Defense. Sajani would become arguably the most well-known Minister the country ever had and in some areas is better known than even Benayle himself.

Naming Conventions

Sajani was not the first female vykati to hold the position. Roughly half of those before her were also female. The title however, like most things in the native language, was devoid of a generative. So no matter what sex the Minister was, the title of Lord General was granted. With an expanding international presence and the influx of many other languages, some vykati had begun to be sensitive to the nuances of generatives and requested that she be granted the title, Lady General.

Heated debate followed, with the smaller villages and feral communities opposed to anything, no matter how far away from them and their own culture, that seemed to buck tradition and put gender on unequal footing. The Riteyai Lords (half of whom are female) also logged an official protest to the change. That being one of the few times they ever bothered with any politics in Drtithen.

Benayle only made one official statement on the matter. He said, "While I am pleased that so many are showing concern and interest in further acceptance by the people and cultures outside our own, I think that some measure of weight should be granted to our traditions and the culture that has given rise to them."

His critics pointed out that it was at least the fifth time he'd used the exact same statement to refer to a cultural change sweeping through the country. Those in favor of the change pointed to the first part of the statement as being supportive, while those opposed pointed to the second part of the statement as a nod to their side.

The National Alpha's opinion causing more stalemate than direction, the public turned to Sajani to get her opinion, which she refused to give. Some suspect that she kept quiet under the advice of Benayle and she did have several meetings with him during this time, but then again, that is true of every Minister that he is getting approved.

During all of this, the vote to have her approved was delayed while the issue of what to call her was debated. The indecision caused no end of stress to the military leadership, which did not like the idea of being without a head for an extended period of time. This was due to the fact that in the absence of a Minister of Defense, the military took its orders from both the Drtithen Council and the Riteyai Lords, a process that was not very streamlined to say the least.

One month into the issue, on 10 Sahja 2 BH Sajani did grant a single public interview with a reporter from the Drtithen Times. The questions had all been submitted beforehand apparently, because several times during the interview she refused to answer a question saying that the reporter had not submitted it in advance and once she answered by saying that she had specifically told her that she would not answer that question.

The interview was a popular talking point for wolves across the nation and the Times even issued a special edition stand alone copy for 25 cp. The interview has become known as the Adida Appointment. Inside of Vharkylia it is better known than the Pact of Ten.

While most of the questions centered around her qualifications and future plans, there was one set of questions that she allowed concerning her future title. She was asked, "What is your opinion on the title? Would you rather be known as Lord General or Lady General?" Sajani's response did nothing to alleviate the debate when she said, "I am proud to serve the people of Vharkylia under any title."

On 33 Sahja 2 BH, the Drtithen Council finally reached an agreement on her appointment. It was decided that there would be two votes in succession and the first would determine if she would be the next Minister of Defense and the second would secure her title. The first vote passed with a strong majority. The second passed by only three votes and decided that her title was to be Lady General.

Court Appeals

On 34 Sahja the Riteyai Lords filed an official legal challenge to the Drtithen Council's right to change something so steeped in tradition. On the same day the panel of judges serving on the court there (all of whom were also part of the Riteyai Lords) unanimously stuck down the name resolution as being Unconstitutional.

On 35 Sahja the Drtithen Council appealed the lower court's decision which brought the case to the court of the current Queen, Queen Zarlay Finnase III. The king and queen agreed with the decision of the Drtithen Council although not with their authority to make drastic changes. As such, they took full responsibility for the change in title and "Lady" officially entered the country's vernacular as a noble title.

It is interesting to note that the way the decision was made forced the Riteyai Lords to accept the new nomenclature unconditionally. They could no longer fall back on the argument that Drtithen Council was taking too much power for itself. The power of the King and Queen in judicial and cultural matters was and still is, by the longest standing of traditions, completely undisputed.

Appointment

On the 36th day of her namesake month, Sajani officially became the Minister of Defense for Vharkylia. In the past, most appointments made during times of peace were grand events attended by representatives of the nobility and politicians across the country. Benayle would later reassure the council and the general public that Sajani did in fact take her oath of office, but that only her, himself, and her father was present. Given that the identity of her father is still unknown (although it is known that he passed away sometime between 52 BH and 55 BH), Sajani probably felt like she would rather have him present, than have a large crowd of people she did not know.

Service and Policies

Sajani felt that the current military of Vharkylia was about the size needed to protect them from the threat of any other nation, provided they could respond quickly enough. To aid in this she slightly increased the size of the navy, mostly with transports and formalized Drtithen's relationship with the militia of the feral vykati throughout the jungles and mountains.

Some of the Vharkylia Army already had a background with these communities, as enlistment was seen as a way for the more restless to find employment that better suited a wolf's disposition. Sajani created a program that encouraged rural recruitment and the fruits of that program were used as envoys to the villages they came from. She classified this new position as part of the Signal Corps and within a year of the program's conception, these envoys were able to pass messages to just about every village in the country within a day's time.

At her first yearly report to the National Alpha, the Drtithen Council and Riteyai Lords, she was nearly overcome with emotion when she stated that, had such a system been in place 20 years earlier, Altaza would not have fallen.

Resignation

With the sudden fall of Zenache during the early weeks of the Conquest of Steel and Lightning, Sajani made a presentation to the Drtithen Council urging them to commission privateers to fight the coming threat. She did not feel that such a war could be won with standard military tactics. In addition, she requested the they activate all village militias and ready them to protect the country as best as possible. Less than a month later, she tenured her resignation and announced her intent to take on a new profession: that of a privateer.

Benayle received a great amount of criticism from the papers, from the Wolf Pack, from the Riteyai Lords, from the Drtithen Council, from the general population, from the Dwarven Empire and even from Sajani's replacement, Lord General Crore for allowing their Minister of Defense to resign just prior to a major conflict. Benayle faced this criticism with his usual calm confidence. His most frequent response was simply, "And I suppose you think you could have stopped the daughter of Malita Adida?"

Legend

Not everyone believed that she had truly resigned. Some, including Lord General Crore and some members of the Drtithen Council, publically stated their belief that she had merely gone into hiding for her own protection and that at a time of great need, she would return to protect her country as had her mother before her. This legend, although her whereabouts are actually known now, continues to this day. Even when it became obvious that she was, in fact, engaged in privateering, the population still clung to the hope that if the country was in danger, she would be there to protect them.

The Pirate Queen

Historical Records

There are three differing accounts regarding Sajani's exploits in privateering: the works of Fenther Black (0 AH - 7 AH), the books of Professor Vaeman Chass (87 AH - 95 AH), and Sajani's own journals (released 100 AH). Up until Sajani released her journals, Professor Chass's account was considered a fictionalized and romanticized version of the events and Fenther Black's account was considered the authoritative source.

In an interview with the Riteyai Tribune on 27 Indira 103 BH, Sajani said that she had released her journals to let people know that the works of Fenther Black were less than accurate and that Vaeman Chass had served as her second mate and his accounts were much more true to what had transpired. She stopped short of saying that the professor's account was 100% accurate and admitted that there were things in her journals that she had removed before printing. This has led to the continued debate of what work most accurately reflects each event.

Most scholars agree that a goodly amount of Sajani's journals were written long after the fact in an attempt to protect Vaemon Chass. The members of her crew that were still alive at the time keep quiet about their time with her. Of her original staff, only Vaeman Chass, Westa Lemarr, and Mukta Veranis are still alive today.

Getting Equipment

Sajani started her days as a pirate with literally nothing but the clothes on her back. The airship she was traveling on crashed and she would have arrived in the Rhidayan city of Xahusha empty handed, had she not first defeated a squad of high elf soldiers and commandeered their equipment. Her initial crew came from a Wolf Pack platoon that investigated the crash and followed her tracks. It was from this original platoon that most of her leadership was recruited. Vaeman Chass, Kaeya Tess, Arlis Onha, and Pol Harg. At one point Simon Francis claimed to have financed her starting equipment, but Sajani denies this and says that most of what she had came from the people of Xahusha.

Monikers

Sajani was known as the Pirate Queen, the Copper Wolf, and the Lady of Rust. There is no written evidence that she was known as the Pirate Queen until after the Conquest of Steel and Lightning. The final book in the Sajani Tails series by Fenther Black says that she took to calling herself that just before the final battle, but those of her crew that have been willing to say anything about it, have denied that she had.

Copper Wolf was a nickname she inherited from her mother. While copper colored fur is not unheard of in the Varkyll Mountains, it is pretty rare. Sajani is exceptionally tall and her mother very short, even by human, let alone by vykati standards. Sajani stands over 2 meters tall and between her height and her fur color, gained nearly instant recognition if people had heard of her.

The title Lady of Rust was first coined by Ambassador Rass "Claw" Ghenis while Sajani was in Xahusha recruiting her crew. Sajani favors the color rust for her clothing as it (in her own words) "is a little more subdued than copper."

The Pirate Ship, "The Wisp"

Sajani did not start her privateering career with the now famous gray and red airship, The Wisp. It arrived about four or five months after she left Xahusha. The iconic ship sports three decks and can house up to 50 sailors and ground troops. It made use of rockets made by dark elves and had to be returned to the Western Continent on at least five different occasions to repair severe damage from high elf artillery. The ship is now on display in Drtithen at the Museum of Aviation History. Special tours are given twice daily to small groups (first come, first served) and they are permitted to walk through the vessel and even directly handle a disarmed rocket.

Retirement

After the high elf troops retreated fully back to Therfass, Vharkylia terminated all privateer commissions as part of the Janah Accord. Lord General Crore announced that he was prepared to step down as Minister of Defense if Sajani wanted the position.

Sajani, however, said that she was done with being in the public eye. She has a small apartment at the Drtithen Palace and occasionally goes to public events, usually accompanied by Benayle or, if he is in Drtithen, by Vaeman Chass. Gossip columns are always quick to print where she has been sighted and people still come and ask for her to sign something for them. She rarely ventures out of the city, but does, once a year, visit Adido to place flowers on her father's unmarked grave. She has only left Vharkylia once in the last 50 years. When Vaeman Chass received his doctorate from Vidava University, she traveled there to see him.

And legend still follows the copper wolf wherever she goes. A common held belief is that if the nation is ever again in trouble, like it was nearly seven decades ago, she will take up her saber and bow and not hesitate to, once again, defend the wolves of Vharkylia. Not many 97 year old wolves could do much, but in the public's eyes, she can shed the last 57 years at will and even death can not stop the daughter of Malita Adida.