Shadowed informant and reputed guild leader
Nazuk was just 25 when she landed herself in enough trouble to discover who her parents were. She found that trouble was a shade that suited others better, Nazuk much preferred to listen to trouble than to become involved in it, and in the Palace of Thakur it was a very easy thing to listen to. Nazuk listened to the other servants troubles most of time, but, when she was performing to the high status Maurya-Rahm, she made sure to listen to theirs as well; The servants seemed to think that wealth would diminish their problems, but from what Nazuk could see, it only caused more.
Niswan is the capital city of Jalmuray, but more than that; it is the most beautiful port in the world, or at least, that’s what Nazuk had been lead to believe, having never seen another Port, or indeed another City herself. But she had seen the sailors, and their huge ships, which soon become tiny as they disappear into the horizon. She liked to listen to the sailors, and as long as she covered her skin, they didn’t notice her, left uncovered though and she became a rare spectacle; covered from head to toe in the dancing blue marks of the djinn. Even in a place like Niswan where there is a very high population of genie, there are very few Sylph, and at that point Nazuk had never seen another. To her, the blue marks meant only one thing; not quite human, not quite djinn and in a society where humans kept genies as servants and slaves, this was very problematic. Nazuk liked to listen to the sailors because they spoke about far away places where her genie blood would not make her a second class citizen.
Nazuk made a plan. She would save up as much money as she could and buy herself board on a ship, she would travel somewhere and start a new life free of prejudice. The only problem was, Nazuk was a servant, she had lived and worked in the Palace for as long as she could remember, her payment covered little more than board and food, there was nothing left over with which to save, so she started to think creatively. Nazuk had built up a very specific set of skills over the years; She was practically silent when she wanted to be, she knew how to blend into a crowd, to go unnoticed, and she was deadly fast, it didn’t take her long to realise the key to her escape was thievery. And for a while she was successful, she and the other acrobats of the Palace were popular entertainment for balls and feasts, and after the show, when most of the guests were half-drunk, she would pick their pockets. She never took much, and she never took more than she thought they would miss.
She was wrong of course, superior members of Maurya-Rahm were not used to finding themselves with empty purses, and rumors of a thief at court spread quickly and violently. Nazuk was aware of the consequences of getting caught, but the gravity of her dream held too much pull over her, and she found herself unable to give up. It wasn’t long before the court joined the dots, and realised that it was only after the acrobats had performed that things were going missing, Nazuk was never caught red handed, and for that reason, it was decided that the entire troupe should be punished. She was young and selfish at the time, and too terrified of the consequences should she step forward and reveal herself as the sole thief; Instead she sat in her cell, listening to her terrified comrades plead with the guards, silently torturing herself with guilt, and counting down the precious hours before the expressionless man with the machete removed her hands.
Nazuk’s turn came quicker than she had expected, the guard grabbed her roughly and marched her out of the dungeon, he grimaced as he regarded her blue marks, and muttered something about the genie filth in her blood. He led her up a long stair case, Nazuk was confused, usually punishments were held for all to see in the courtyard outside. The stairs came to an abrupt end in front of a large oak door, the guard pushed it open and inside the mostly bare room stood a stony faced Vudranhi woman, dressed in rags, but with the posture of someone who had the luxury of pride. She thrust a jangling leather pouch into the guards hand, he felt the weight of it and smiled, before exiting, and leaving Nazuk in the room with the woman, Nazuk was so perplexed by the situation, she found she was unable to speak, luckily she didn’t have to. The strange woman’s face cracked, and it occurred to Nazuk that she vaguely recognised her from the courts, although she was usually on the arm of a stern looking business man, and dressed in lavish silks; she didn’t have time to ponder it though, the woman was upon her, embracing her, and silently sobbing into her shoulder. Nazuk didn’t move, she didn’t understand what was going on, she didn’t know why this woman was crying on her, and she didn’t know why she still had hands.
“Nazuk…” the woman whispered, and for the first time looked directly into the part-djinn’s eyes. Nazuk pulled away at the sound of her name, uncomfortable with the eye contact; She had been taught a long time ago that a sylph servant should not attempt to hold the gaze of a human, particularly one of a higher station, and if she wasn’t mistaken, the dark skinned woman in front of her, was from The Heights, and was wife to a very prestigious member of the Maurya-Rahm. Imagine her surprise when, through sobs, the woman claimed to be her Mother.
It was too much to take in, Nazuk slumped to the floor with her back against the wall, she had never given much thought to her who her parents might be, but she had liked to imagine them as a kind but poor couple, who simply couldn’t afford a child, and who hoped she would have a better life in the Palace than on the outskirts of the City. The thin fantasy came crashing down around her, instead her parents were just selfish rich people, who couldn’t deal with the taint on their reputation if it became common knowledge that there was djinn in their bloodline. The woman who was Nazuk’s Mother continued to let tears fall down her face, but could find no more words for the daughter she had left alone in the bowels of the Palace 25 years ago, and who she had since watched over in silence from the comfort of the plush velvet chairs in the court. Instead, she pulled a second leather pouch from her skirt and placed it firmly into Nazuk’s hand, she almost managed a faint, wet smile as she kissed her daughter on the head and left the room.
It took Nazuk several minutes before she could bring herself to open the pouch, it was heavier than she had expected and when she opened it, she could feel her jaw drop. There was easilly more money in the pouch than the entire sum of Nazuk’s life’s earnings, and lying on the top was a neatly folded piece of perfumed parchment. She unfolded it, apprehensive, her hands shaking slightly, but there were only three words written; The Nala, Twilight. Her stomach lurched with disappointment, she didn’t know what she had been expecting, answers? That piece of paper was the only thing her Mother had ever given her, and she felt that after everything she deserved more than just three lousy words. That is, until she re-read the words and realised what they said, what they meant. The Nala, a huge and beautiful Merchant ship, leaving Niswan tonight, once again Nazuk was grateful for her time spent overhearing the sailors.
Nazuk has lived in Absalom for a long time now, specifically the rooftops in The Coins. Nazuk takes honest work as an acrobat inside The Grand Bazaar when it is available, and less honest work as an informer when it isn’t. She rarely steals these days, but the local guard are so lenient, they probably wouldn’t care enough to catch her if she did. The Winking Cyclops is the only place she frequents, and even then, she blends herself into the background and enjoys overhearing the cities secrets. Life in Absalom is not everything she had dreamed of, but it is infinitely better than living in the shadows of Jal Murray, and these days when she is ignored it is by choice.