Veznara Kezondo, Hand of the Dead
Veznara was born as the second daughter into the Kezondo, a noble house of Taizi, after her older sister Menali, in the lakeside city of Fuvuri. While not especially wealthy or well-connected to the imperial family, the Kezondo have a proud history and have managed to maintain and even expand their traditional lands along the northern shores of Lake Bunduga. Early in life, it was expected that she would marry into another noble family of the realm, in accordance with Taizi custom. Discussions for her betrothal began almost immediately, and she was pre-betrothed (so to speak) to the son of a similarly noble family, Khumos Mulduvasi.
She soon displayed remarkable intelligence, and a forceful personality. Her parents did their best to direct her energies into the pursuits deemed appropriate for a young girl of noble lineage.
As her parents continued to produce girls, they began to worry about finding suitable marriage prospects for all of them. It was actually something of a relief when Veznara began to display an aptitude for study, as it opened up other avenues for her. Then, after four daughters, her parents finally produced a healthy son to be their heir. He immediately became the darling of the household.
When she reached the age at which betrothals are normally formalized (12 or 13), Veznara was instead committed to study with the Hand. This was something of a disappointment for her proposed match, with whom she had become friends in childhood; but he was soon betrothed to her next youngest sister instead, so the tie between the two families was maintained.
As a novice of the Hand, Veznara proved to be a capable student. She added esoteric studies of religion and the occult to her repertoire, but her main interest was the history and geography of the fallen Empire. She developed a particular interest in Marshal Kezand, her lineage’s apical ancestor and a patrician military leader of the early Imperial Omban period who had been famous for his bold risk-taking - one of her own distant ancestors. Kezana’s remains are held in a place of honour at the chief temple in Fuvuri, where Veznara was occasionally able to visit and ask questions through the intermediaries of the priests.
Veznara's natural charm and forceful personality, combined with her noble standing, often persuaded her teachers to grant her access to sections of the Hand libraries that were usually off limits to students. Unfortunately, she abused her noble standing and social gifts in other ways. Although she lived up to the responsibilities of her new position, she was often the ringleader in assorted naughtiness. She usually avoided any major punishments for these incidents.
However, that changed a few months ago. Shortly after finishing her Novitiate and joining the next stage of her priestesshood, Veznara was embroiled in a scandal. She ran up some large debts gambling, and although her religious and noble status was enough to protect her from the penalties that a less well-connected person might have had to pay, it was still a very serious matter.
After separate dressings-down by both the temple leader and her own lineage elder, her great-uncle Umurt Kezondo, Veznara was shunted off to Ashnabis. There were strong hints that this was as much for her personal safety as for punishment. She has since become skeptical of this implication.
The severity of this punishment came as quite a shock to Veznara. The blow has been softened somewhat by her family's granting of a suitable allowance (Wealth 2) and allowing her to continue to hold onto a family heirloom of some worth (Special Gift 1). Still, she is all too conscious of the disgrace.
Fortunately for her, Veznara does have friends in Ashnabis (Allies 2) who can be counted on to help her get settled. The Taizi consul, Zeba Mopister, is eager to earn her gratitude, and Dezmali Jesha, the high priestess at the main temple in Kaskind, sees her potential and wants to help her develop it.
It remains to be seen whether the change in her circumstances motivates Veznara to change her behaviour. However, she is determined to make the best of her new situation - either by performing admirably and earning back her family's and the Hand's trust so she can return to Taizi, or by striking out and making a permanent place for herself here in Ashnabis.
Veznara is a striking young woman, willowy and tall, with even dark skin and an attractive figure. Her hair is long, but she usually wears it in a tight chignon to keep it close to her head, and often covers it with some sort of cloth. This is a common hairstyle among the Hand, as it is said that otherwise hair picks up the scent of death easily.
Beyond her physical appearance, she radiates a strong sense of personality that can be difficult to resist (Cha 18). She is skilled at capitalizing on this natural gift, and can be alternately charming and/or imposing (Diplomacy and Intimidation both +9) as the situation demands.
She has never had to perform physical labour (Str 8), but moves with a certain amount of grace (Dex 12) and demonstrates fair physical resilience (Con 12).
She is very well educated. Veznara has studied a great deal of the Empire's geography, and even honed a skill for making maps. In the course of her devotion to the Hand, she has also learned much of the Arcane arts and of religion. However she continues to study history above all else, perhaps hoping that it will lead her to rediscovery of lost treasures of the Ombesh.
Veznara still displays some of the vices that got her into trouble. She can be selfish, self-indulgent, and impulsive. However, she does take her responsibilities seriously. She pursues them with energy and sincere devotion, and hopes to prove herself worthy of the important role that the Hand plays in society, particularly the administration of justice.