|Astaribo of Khopshef
|Title(s)||Lady of the Sands|
|Class||Tempest of Set|
Astaribo has not had a life of hard labor or brutal warfare, and her body reflects the easier lifestyle. Depending more on hiding, running, or the blessings of gods than her strength, what muscles she does have are virtually unseen. She appears to be more fit for staying within the sanctuary of city walls for the rest of her life--the exception being her hard, distant gaze and zealous resolve.
Her travel through the slaving trade has made her cold and somewhat disinterested in the affairs of others. Set and spreading the god's will are the most important aspects of Astaribo's life. She travels with others and does 'good deeds' in hopes that others will recognize the power of Set.
Astaribo was born to slaves in the Khopshef Province. Her parents, who spent their days from dawn till dusk laboring, were given little other choice than to leave Astaribo unattended in the servants' village for much of her childhood. As the years passed she struggled daily to survive. The first skill she learned was theft, and how to hide in the small spaces well enough to quickly eat whatever she could find.
Several days past her thirteenth birthday she was discovered by the slave owner, Kashif. Noticing her red hair--a sign of Set's favor--he took her as a house slave. He demanded that she make his daily offerings to the Snake God, and so each day she walked to the local shrine and gave sacrifices in his name. For over four years she gave praises to Set for her master, handling snakes, and burning food, spices, and slaughtered animals upon the alter. The priests there closely watched her, giving grim approvals to the devotion they perceived. With each day she felt growing gratitude toward the Snake God for his allowance of her life. Secretly, she began to give more offerings not for Kashif, but in her own praise of the god.
On her eighteenth birthday, Kashif called her into his quarters. He dressed her in elaborate silks and gave her a circlet of colorful flowers. As he adorned her with gold he told her that on that day he was to give Set his greatest offering. Alas for the master, his lusts overtook him, and he deflowered her in his chambers that afternoon. After his act, he took Astaribo to a pit of cobras near the local shrine of Set and, with much fanfare and praises to the Old Serpent, pushed his slave into the snakes' den.
The serpents slithered over her body. She welcomed the fate--after all, to die of a cobra's venom would be a blessing from Set. She was given no venom; however, Kashif felt the bite of a cobra upon his ankle and fell into the pit, whereupon Set's children took revenge for Kashif's theft of a virgin sacrifice.
The first wife of her deceased master's estate was stricken with grief, anger, and fear upon Astaribo's return. Though she blamed and loathed the slave girl for the death of her husband, she did not wish to kill her and risk further divine punishment. She quickly sold Astaribo to a local slave trader. Through several years, transactions, and dead slavers, she eventually stood alone at a dock in Kashif, her latest master dead and herself freed by default of no owner left to claim her.
Now free, she devotes her life to Set and preaching the importance of submission to the Old Serpent's will.