Burning Witches: Heresy & Sand

Journey to Halach - Day 1

From the Writings of Imad Kel Tahan, Kaldi

Grand Archivist,

I know this is a subject of great personal interest to you, so I will do my best to keep you informed as the work is completed. The process is slow, but, as you say, uncovering history is like rebuilding a mountain from broken stones. I may be misquoting you, as usual. I hope you’ll grant me your customary indulgences, Old Friend.

We have uncovered this in the Hajj, the journal of one Imad Kel Tahan, which appears to date from the days of Faiz Zulfaqar Kel Keendem’s Pogrom of Witches. I have done my best, Grand Archivist, to keep the pages intact. The desert has done an excellent job of preserving it, but it is still old and fragile. Much of it has been lost, but hopefully, it will give us some valuable insights into the events of that time.

From Imad’s descriptions, I suspect that the earliest entries were written sometime in the late spring or early summer, but it is impossible to tell for sure. More research will be done, of course. I will have Initiates pay close attention as they reconstruct the journal. What we do believe, from corroborating evidence, is that the document is authentic, and that the author was, indeed, one of the Kaldi tasked with the purging of Halach.

I prattle on, as usual. Blame it on the wandering mind of an old man. I will send an Initiate with an update as soon as I can.

Your friend, always,

Sifal Tanzir Kel Nazari, Master Librarian of Massat

I have been granted my first assignment, and it shall be glorious!

The messenger arrived shortly after midmorning as I ran blade drills with some of the other recruits in the yard. I knew that, eventually, I would be sent out, but to receive a missive from the Vizier, herself! Honor beyond words.

Our meeting was brief, but I have been instructed to travel to Halach to track down a witch who calls itself Yasmine. I am sure that such a creature should be easy enough to track down, despite my brother’s claims of the Witches’ adeptness at concealment.

And speaking of my brother, he had his own mission, it turned out, to Halach, as well! The One Above must have been smiling on us today. He mentioned that Menefer was to travel with us, too. Also a fortunate thing. A three-day trek across the burning desert will be much less worrisome with a physician of her talent with us. I have not seen her yet, though. I heard a rumor that she had some fool of a patient to check on before we were able to leave. Problems with his foot, I think.

In any case, I take my leave to secure some mounts before we leave, since Tsul wishes to wait for Menefer to arrive. Perhaps Zaynab will be willing to lend me the camels, or at least the money to procure them myself?

Initiate’s Note: From some of Faiz’s personal writing, we suspect that the brother that Imad mentions was placed personally in charge of dealing with Halach’s Gifted. Other records show that there was, indeed, a doctor working either as, or closely associated with, the Kaldi during this period. Additionally, there was a fourth member of the Halach party, a former Ellinikan slave called Solano. It suspected that the Vizier took an interest in this person as well, judging by the journal of one of Sa’ida Kel Nazari’s servants, though the extent of that relationship remains unclear. It is more clear that one of the priests of Massat, Bishr Cortus Kel Keendem, was a friend or mentor to Solano. There are several instances in his letters and writings of conversations between these two.

It seems Imad’s journal has, perhaps, given us the last links we need to get a clear picture of what was happening in Massat during Sa’ida’s reign.

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