Hamza Husayn ibn Shams (a.k.a. Abu Khader) is a character roleplayed by Trotsky22. Hamza is the Sheikh of the Bani Shams, a tribe of Bedabin nomads currently camped south of Al-Kharid. With the already-dry Kharidian Desert experiencing a severe drought, Hamza has been forced to abandon his tribe's traditional self-imposed isolation in order to provide for his people.
Hamza ibn Shams was born forty-one years before the establishment of the Caliphate in Al-Kharid. Hamza's father, Husayn ibn Shams, was the brother of Uthman, the sheikh of the Bani Shams before Hamza, and the tribe's shaa'ir (a mystical poet who maintains the tribe's oral history and performs certain religious functions). His mother Aminah, the daughter of a prominent trader from Pollinveach, was given to Husayn in a marriage alliance between the Bani Shams and Pollinveach.
Raised in the ways of the nomadic Bedabin, Hamza's childhood education mostly consisted of the practical skills necessary to survive in the harsh Kharidian Desert, like archery, hunting, and riding. Academically, he was limited to the solid instruction in Bedabin lore, customs, and poetry he received as the son of a shaa' ir . Subjects like magic and runecrafting were little more than stories for him and, as such, he has no discernible magical ability. Despite his mother's urgings for him to learn more, he did not and has not learned how to read and write and is only functionally fluent in the common tongue.
Although never looked down upon or excluded due to his non-Bedabin mother, Hamza was not his father's favored child. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he excelled at the Bedabin lifestyle from an early age, devoting himself to embodying the virtues of the desert. As he aged, he became known as a capable warrior, an unmatched marksman, and a calm and just leader. This exceptionalism to his uncle Uthman, the then-sheikh of the Bani Shams whose only son had died in battle, to take a keen interest in Hamza, eventually grooming him as his successor. Uthman arranged for Hamza to sit in on war councils, to lead raids, and arranged for him a marriage to the daughter of the sheikh of the prominent Sahra tribe. Upon Uthman's death, Hamza was elected sheikh by the Bani Shams shura (a council composed of the tribes elders and leading men) without dispute.
Hamza led the Bani Shams for twenty years before the establishment of the Kharidian Caliphate, proving to be a capable, if somewhat cautious, sheikh. Beloved among the Bani Shams, he was known for his firm sense of traditional Bedabin justice (i.e. 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'), generosity, and personal virtue (although he smoked, he did not drink alcohol and took only one wife, Maryam bint Hassan Sahra, an irregularity for a wealthy sheikh which earned him the nickname 'Al-Taahir' or 'the Saintly'). He launched several wars against rival Bedabin tribes and conducted countless raids against desert villages and caravans.
Roughly a year before the establishment of the Caliphate, the Kharidian Desert was struck with an abnormal drought (even for the arid landscape). The Bedabins' traditional oases dried up and there was no rain for the entire year. Countless camels were slaughtered for their water. The Bedabin tribes, always at either a state of uneasy peace or perpetual warfare, were forced to fight over the limited resources, with their already notoriously-brutal conflicts reaching new levels of savagery. Shortly before their migration north, the Bedabin were ambushed by the Webdeh tribe in a night raid which resulted in the death of over 100 (compared to the tribe's total population of 1,500), including Hamza's eldest son Husayn. Struck with grief and war weariness, the proud Hamza resolved to retreat north in the hopes the Bani Shams might find refuge and water for their herds there.
Upon reaching Al-Kharid, which was recently established as a theocratic Caliphate under the protection of Misthalin following unrest due to food shortages, Hamza approached the newly-proclaimed Caliph, Rahman al-Mustafa, and requested that the Bani Shams be able to graze their herds in the lands south of the Shantay Pass which were still well-watered and plentiful with cacti. Rahman granted his request at the cost of 100 camels (a hefty price for a culture which measures it's wealth in camels). Hamza informed Rahman of the rumours that had been circulating through the Bedabin that Menaphos was preparing for war, and offered some of his best Bedabin fighters for the Al-Kharid militia on the condition that he be granted a seat on the Caliph's war council.
Shortly thereafter as he was trading in the city, Hamza came across a dispute between the desert goblin Smegface and the crooked financier Nepnesten IV, which the High Priestess Sabree and her escort Mantid were trying to mediate. Hamza, due to Smegface continuing threats of violence, was forced to intervene and, with the help of Mantid, Sabree, the city guard, and several of his own kinsmen, was able to subdue Smegface and force his armored battle-pig to flee. Following the battle, Hamza's kinsmen exclaimed shock and disgust at the High Priestess Sabree's presence due to her affiliation with the river goddess, Elidinis. Although Hamza shared their distrust and fear of the 'river witch,' he felt it went against the Bedabin code of honor to be so openly disrespectful of a person of god, particularly a woman. To rectify this, he invited Sabree, Mantid, and Nepnesten (who would not end up coming) to dine with the Bani Shams at their camp the following evening.
On his way back to his encampment, Hamza came across Smegface in the Shantay Pass prison. Despite earlier explaining that such a wild creature would be killed in the desert, he expressed a certain sympathy with what he perceived of as a pathetic animal. Hamza offered to let Smegface go free if Smegface agreed to never return to Al-Kharid, an offer Smegface refused. Consequently, Hamza went on his way to prepare for the following evening's feast, where he received Mantid and Sabree with traditional Bedabin hospitality. During the meal, Hamza explained his tribe's origin story, in turn explaining the Bani Shams' rooted dislike of Elidinis and her followers. Sabree made some headway in this field through her personal charm, which impressed some of the Bedabin elders.
Hamza next fulfilled his promise to Caliph Rahman, leading a column of one-hundred camels and thirty Bedabin warriors into Al-Kharid to offer as payment for the Bani Shams' refuge near the city. In return, Hamza calmly demanded and received a seat on the Caliph's war council.
Bani Shams (The Sons of the Sun)
The Bani Shams are a large, relatively wealthy, Bedabin tribe (ashaa'ir) comprised of roughly 1,500 individuals. Its name translates to 'The Sons of [the] Sun' and tribe members' non-honorific names follow the syntax <First Name> <Father's First Name> ibn Shams (which translates to 'Son of the Sun') or bint Shams (Daughter of the Sun) for women. The tribe's denonym is Shamsi (for males) and Shamsia (for females). The Bani Shams are renowned among the Bedabin for their staunch devotion to the old Bedabin way and their fierce martial capabilities, two attributes which made Hamza's retreat north considered abnormal, even inviting derision from some of the tribal elders. They are currently led by Hamza Husayn ibn Shams (Abu Khader).
According to the lore of the Bani Shams, Shamsi history allegedly dates back to the Fall of Ullek during the God Wars, when the survivors of the city's fall fled into the desert wilderness. Among these refugees was a woman named Haditha, who had been renowned throughout Ullek for her beauty and vitality. The Sun God Tumeken, infatuated with her beauty, came and laid with her in the night. She became pregnant with and gave birth to his son, who Tumeken tried to keep secret from his wife, Elidinis. However, the child's cries were so loud that Elidinis heard him and discovered Haditha. Enraged, Elidinis demanded that Tumeken cast the boy and his mother into the desert to die.
Under pressure from Elidinis and most of the Menaphite pantheon, Tumeken cast his beloved and his son out. However, without Elidinis's knowledge, Tumeken gifted Mira with the first ugthanki to provide everything she would need to survive. After three days of riding in the deep desert, Mira and her son were near death