Ashja, AKA The Grand Vizier
Look: North African, Male, Expensive Clothing
Part 1: Straight Outta Faerie
The spirits of the Erg Chech are of fire and air, in two forever warring courts. Amon, King of Winds, leads one - and it's there that Ashja's story begins.
Yes, the jnun are long-lived creatures; yes, Ashja was among those who served at Solomon’s beck and call; but for much of his existence he was little more than one among a hundred winds.
Time passed, and Ashja rose to favour in the Court of Winds as a talented musician and fervent participant in the Lila, night-long festivals of music and dance that were dedicated to prayer and healing. As Ashja led the musicians, so did Rayah - daughter of Amon – lead the dancers.
Time passed… and centuries after the death of Solomon freed the Jnun from their servitude, an alien sort of music caught Ashja’s attention as he drifted across the dunes of the Erg Chech; alien, yet strangely familiar.
Fascinated by the rhythm, he followed its back across the rolling sand to its source: a group of teenagers on the edge of the desert, gathered around a car to listen to a scuzzy, low-fi recording of the Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet on the dashboard tape deck.
Ashja was enraptured by the energy of the music, feeling something like revelation as it flowed through him. As the years passed, he snuck away from court again and again, riding the wind across the sands to the settlements of humans, to listen fascinated to their music.
But like a serpent, it never stayed still. Rock and roll was becoming this bloated, ornamental horror, and he felt the music’s hold on him – and his on it – slipping away. Then the Sex Pistols’ Pretty Vacant came on the radio - whose radio? Just some unassuming human, out in the world. But it was everything he needed.
Ashja returned to the Court of Winds a whirlwind; snatching up a sintir from the old Maalem who led the Lila, the devotions to Amon, and leading the band into three minutes of such raw, snarling energy that all but Amon himself were compelled to rise and dance.
When Amon did rise, it was to tear the instrument from Ashja’s hands in a climactic squeal of discord – and to banish him from the Court forever.
Stats: (Added 1 to Mind) Blood -1 Heart 1 Mind 1 Spirit 1
Factions: (Added 1 to Mortality) Mortality 1 Night -1 Power 1 Wild 1
Questions Who are you? I’m the Grand Vizier, my friend – master of the decks, turntable magician. No? You’re not that into music? Ah, well. My name is Ashja, then.
How long have you been in the city? Since grunge was still a thing. That was true street music – I remember stepping off the bus and feeling its pulse through the soles of my shoes. That’s when I knew I was in the right place.
What do you love most about humanity? Aside from their bottomless capacity for self-deception? The music, of course – it’s the distillation of all a person’s dreams and fears, poured out on the floor in public. It can be so pathetic you want to weep, or the most beautiful lies imaginable. Sometimes both.
Who is your closest confidante in the city? Miss Susannah – I won’t give you her full name, for fear of embarrassing her. She was a wild one, when I first met her – so angry at everything, at the world. So determined to make a difference! And her lyrics… ah. Shall I tell you a secret? I started Communion Records for her. I wanted to share what I heard, what I felt. What she felt. But I didn’t know what I was doing, and of course nothing came of it. She’s married now, children. A good job, in the real world. But still angry inside, I think.
What do you desperately need? Why? Are you offering me something? Are they old school, funk, psychedelic? The old beats just aren’t doing it for me anymore - I need something fresh, something different. Tell me what you’ve heard.
Gear A nice big studio apartment near Judkins Park. The neighbourhood was pretty sketchy when he bought the place, but the people who lived there came from all over. These days it seems Judkins Park and the Atlantic are the next up and coming thing, and the rich white kids are starting to move in. Prices are on the up, services are improving, crime’s falling… but as the minorities move out, they’re taking their music with them.
A lease car – shiny and expensive-looking, with very good theft cover. A car is a car, so the make and model varies… but it’s important to look the part.
A smart phone – something up-to-the-minute, with decent built-in speakers.
A relic from your homelands. A sintir (three-stringed lute) Ashja played as part of the Gnawa band in the Court of Amon. In his day he and the band could stir the Court into a frenzy of emotion when they played, or drive out evil, poison or madness. Now he mostly uses it when meditating, or when remembering better times.
A symbol of your court. Amon’s court is that of the Wind, and a carved driftwood windcatcher – hand-painted by the King’s own daughter, back when he was a favourite of her father – hangs limp in Ashja’s kitchen. If he ever actually cracked a window and allowed in the wind, it might spin hypnotically and produce an low, droning note. It might call across the skies to the Other Realm, to its maker the Princess of the Wind... if you believe in that sort of thing. And if he ever.
Debts FNU broke her promise to keep away from a musician you had high hopes for - he died as a result, and she swore to make it up to you. She owes you two Debts.
You are keeping Malachi's secret. He owes you a Debt.
You entrusted Sam with a dangerous task. He succeeded, and you owe him a Debt.
You bear responsibility for FNU becoming a vampire. You owe her a Debt.
You relied on Pete for his knowledge and connections over the first few years in Seattle. You owe him two Debts.
Sam is leveraging dirt he has on you to get your help with the Wild. He owes you a Debt.
You are helping Malachi understand his dreams and visions. He owes you two Debts.
Moves Faerie Magic: Whenever you use a faerie power, choose 1:
- Mark corruption
- You owe your monarch a Debt
- Suffer 1-harm (ap)
Faerie powers Wild Fury: You summon an element of nature capable of striking your enemies (2-harm close area or 3-harm close/far). Glamours: You create illusions to fool the senses. The effects don’t last long. Bedlam: Touch a target to place them in a specific emotional state (your choice). Mark corruption to have that emotion directed toward a target of your choosing.
Words Are Wind: When someone breaks a promise to you or lies to you and you find out, they owe you a Debt and you take +1 forward against them.
Scales of Justice: You may cash in a Debt with someone to use a power from faerie magic (including powers not normally available to you) on them at no cost.
Corruption Move When you break a promise or tell an outright lie, mark corruption.
Intimacy Move When you share a moment of intimacy —physical or emotional— with another person, demand a promise from them. If they refuse you or break the promise, they owe you 2 Debts.
End Move When you die or retire your character, choose a character and bestow the favour of your court upon them. They can choose either to take faerie magic and two of your faerie powers or to advance persuade an NPC.