Azeem bin Fahad Rab-ul-Salaam (1660-1728 AS) was a southern warrior who gained great fame through his exploits as a member of the Company of the Crescent Moon. Famed for his deep wisdom Azeem was equally famed for his lightning speed with a blade and skill with locks and traps of all kinds.
Azeem bin Fahad Rub-ul-Salaam was born in 1660 AS to Fahad, a nomadic shepherd, and his wife Fatima bint Abu Saharah. As a child he learned to care for his father's flocks; by his early teens Azeem was responsible for his family's presence at the local markets. It was at this time that his father died during an attack by a rival tribe. Azeem's mother disappeared at this time, along with the family's possessions, and was presumed dead. Homeless at the age of thirteen Azeem began ekeing out a meager existence in the streets of Jableen. He was a boy of exceeding brightness and wisdom and was able to survive well enough. Within a few months the young Azeem was taken under the wing of a local rogue known only as Surooq. Under Surooq's tutelage Azeem learned a great deal concerning the opening of locks and disarming of traps, as well as moving stealthily and climbing seemingly unclimbable walls. During this time Azeem worked closely with al-Yad al-Sa'udah, an underground network of criminals and black marketeers. By the end of his teens the young man was an accomplished cutpurse and rogue although he disliked the illegality of most of his activities.
By the age of twenty, in 1680 AS, Azeem had become fast friends with some of the members of al-Yad's inner circle. As he pieced together more of the activities of the secretive group he realized that assassination and political machinations were part of its portfolio. He also discovered that the attack on his family had been orchestrated by a rival tribal chief who was also a member of al-Yad. Seeking righteous revenge Azeem offered prayers, pledging to leave his criminal life if his longed for vengeance was granted. In 1683 AS, after a period of lying low and intelligence gathering, Azeem's revenge on the rival chieftan, Yazid ibn Dhahab, was within his grasp. Slipping into his camp one moonless night the young rogue was able to subdue ibn Dhahab's guards and enter his tent. Finding his quarry awake, Azeem prepared to attack but stayed his hand when ibn Dhahab offered to take him to his mother. Shocked by the idea that his mother might still live, he offered ibn Dhahab a stay of execution pending a reunion with his mother.The two travelled across the northern reaches of the desert, from Jableen to the mercantile city of Shatiulbar some eighty leagues away. There, surely enough, Azeem was reunited with his mother. After the attack on the family Fatima bint Abu Saharah had been taken into slavery by ibn Dhahab's warriors, told her family was wiped out, and sold into the service of a kindly and wealthy merchant named Walid ibn Fadlan al-Tajir. A few years later al-Tajir freed her and offered to marry her. Since then Fatima had been instrumental in the running of her husband's businesses, and since his death had become quite wealthy in her own right, turning her inheritance from her husband into a thriving business. Mother and son were overjoyed at their reunion. True to his word Azeem offered ibn Dhahab his freedom only to see his own mother strike down her former captor. Concealing the body, his thirst for revenge sated, Azeem prepared to rejoin his mother's household. It was 1683 AS and Azeem was a man of 23 years.
Years in ShatiulbarEdit
The life of a merchant was comfortable for Azeem, who much preferred his honest dealings and transactions to the criminal life of his adolescence. Quickly earning a reputation for fair-dealing Azeem's honest character allowed the family business to grow. In 1686 he married Su'ad bint Abdulqamar al-Bahaar and fathered a daughter. Life during this period was peaceful for Azeem, who was becoming a man of some renown in Shatiulbar. His reputation for wisdom was growing as well and he was often called to advise the Emir of the city on economic matters. This golden period would end in 1696 when the Red Plague ravaged Shatiulbar and the surrounding lands. Azeem lost his entire family to the disease; his mother first, then wife and daughter within the following fortnight. Azeem himself seemed almost immune to the disease but in the aftermath of the month long plague lost everything; much of Shatiulbar was looted by bandits and even his home destroyed in the great blaze that engulfed much of the city.
Escaping with only small cart of possessions Azeem began to journey back towards Jebleen. He had completed only half the journey when he was beset upon by the forces of the local emir. The possessions he had saved were taken as evidence of theft and the young man imprisoned. The local court refused to believe his claims to be the celebrated Azeem of Shatiulbar, citing his age, and found him guilty of theft. Azeem was dragged into the public square and his right hand chopped off. The young man did find his luck, however, for an observant priest in the crowd recognized Azeem for who he was. This priest's father had benefitted from Azeem's advice many times in the past. Bribing the guards, the priest (known as Abu Khalid) rescued the severed hand and sent his temple's servants to bring the wounded rogue to him. Abu Khalid was a holy man and possessed the healing powers of his order; although it cost him dearly he restored the hand of Azeem in payment for the debt of honour owed by his family. Forever after Azeem would be marked by an ugly scar ringing his right wrist.
Finding his innocence revealed before the local courts, Azeem was granted a parcel of land and a moderate sum of money in token of apology. Electing to return to the simple life from which he had come, Azeem bought a herd of sheep and one of camels and turned his hand back towards shepherding. Life remained somewhat quiet for him for the next few years, although he did occassionally use his rogue skills to help the local villagers. Notably, Azeem fell into high demand as an arbitrator of disputes; his sense of fairplay and honesty continued to serve him well in this capacity.
Company of the Crescent MoonEdit
In 1705 AS the Company of the Crescent Moon passed through the region of Jableen. There, through a serendipitous occurance, they met Azeem, who agreed to serve as a guide to the region for them during their stay. Soon after the members of the company began to realize that Azeem was not the simply camel herder he claimed to be; his skill and swiftness with scimitar, dagger and spear as well as his silent movements and manual dexterity convinced them that he was far more than he appeared. Proving himself valiant, wise and useful during his employment with the Company, Azeem was offered (and accepted) a position within it, He quickly proved his worth over and over again, forming close friendships and strong bonds with the rest of the Company. Dale of Havan quickly became Azeem's closest friend within the Company; indeed, Azeem was one of Dale's earliest instructors in the art of the sword. He also proved a mentor to the young warrior in the civilized arts, teaching him to read; appreciate literature and poetry; ride horses and speak with wisdom.
Azeem's role in the Company truly involved his great wisdom; in later years Kyriana (as Selviliya) would speak fondly of Azeem's role in teaching her much of the wisdom she later used in leading her people.
Near the end of the Company's time, in 1727 AS, the band undertook a great quest remembered by bards as the Quest of the Sevenfold Staff. At the climax of this great adventure the Company found itself engaged in battle with a mighty demon of untold might. During the battle it became clear to Azeem, who knew many tales of the denizens of the Underworld, that a noble sacrifice would be required to gain victory. Hurling himself before the demon Azeem took the brunt of its masterful attack and in so doing was killed, struck down by a magical attack that froze his heart. The Demon, unwilling to miss a chance to enrage his foes, used its magical might to animate Azeem's body and send it forth against his friends. Paralyzed for a moment by indecision, the Company nearly fell to the demonic onslaught until Dale of Havan, tears streaming from his eyes, smote Azeem's corpse and struck him down again. The full fury of the Company was the unleashed upon the demon, who soon fell before a might he had not sensed within his foes.
Burial and LegacyEdit
Azeem bin Fahad Rab-ul-Salaam was interred far from the land of his birth, in the forests between Havan and Kindem Hua. No elaborate tomb was constructed for the humble southern warrior, whose grave is shown by a simple stone marker and inscription. According to the bards Dale was known to visit the grave of his friend and mentor annually, on the anniversary of Azeem's death, until death too claimed the noble knight.
Stories told by the bards usually emphasise Azeem's wisdom, cleverness and martial prowess. Rarely are his abilities as a rogue showcased in song or tale. His portrayal is rather that of a wise mentor to the Company rather than a later though honoured addition.