The people who called this province home were irredeemable. The iniquities adulterating their souls were far-reaching. Tahira, head inquisitor to the Eternal House, had seen the true face of the empire. While hidden from most, its odious essence had reared its grotesque head. Her life was a cluster of fabrications, sutured together by a family that no longer existed. Rakash and Faaria were dead, and Mazana was an enemy of the state. For decades she wielded her blade in service to Samara.
Tahira shouldered the atrocities of her motherland for the good of the people. Not once had the mer challenged her actions, not once had she faltered in her resolve. Yet, the purpose that steered her blade was a lie. The nation knew of her rearing; they invested in her birthing. Outwardly the mer appeared normal, but in truth, she was a blemish upon the natural order. And while the citizens may have remained oblivious, those that governed them weren't faultless. Her retirement might have taken Samara by surprise, the false queen was ignorant of what her prized possession had unearthed.
Within those arcane-tinged eyes, there was no rebutting the truth. That facility tucked within the Ashlandian mountains contained many secrets, many horrors, and crimes against the planet. The inquisitor had beheld it and ended it. Hundreds of replications, each increasingly malformed, lamented in utter anguish. They implored for her to terminate their wretched existence, not out of hate but kindness. Tahira Quil'Kovesh perished that day within the heaps of cancerous corpses. She died not once but a hundred times over.
Each time that sword plunged into their hearts, she felt a fragment of her wilt along with them. That facility, its men of science, were butchered like cattle. That great beacon of advancement was set ablaze, along with the village alongside the outskirts housing the employees' families. Wrath unbridled was let loose. For the first time, Tahira listened to the drumming of the planet's heart, beckoning to its exclamations for blood. The dried sands were saturated that day. Their white hue besmeared red as the cerulean welkin was blanketed by blackened smog.
The detective knew it would only be a matter of time before her crimes were known. And while the Eternal House could never hunt her publicly, given it would divulge their experiments. The inquisitor expected the coming game of cat and mouse to be carried in secret. Yet another war from the shadows, a crusade meant to vilify what the shortsighted citizens anointed as a "hero." There was no escape, no quarter from that coming judgment. And rather than slink away and burn out within obscurity. Tahira selected to confront it fearlessly and go out in a dazzling conflagration.
The renowned champion of the desert, the state's fabled ashen hound, had cast aside that collar. She'd meander through the streets of Emerald. The people beside her failed to register, as she felt wholly alone for the first time. They were so divorced from one another that she couldn't dream of forming a lasting bond. The white sands, its residents were not her kind of people. After all, how could an imitation ever hope to relate to what they were engineered to parody? No, their mere permeance was a rancid reminder.
Tahira Quil'Kovesh was nothing. She had nothing. And what she had known were fantasies planted within her mind since birth. And so, she took the moniker of Zero, a befitting designation. Her wanderings ended as she blundered across a gathering throng—the behemoth of an elf standing above most in stature as she investigated: Valerna Jorgenskull, another inquisitor, and some kitsune runt. Interesting, so the enemy of her enemy had arrived?
Silently, the mer abided, waiting for them to vacate themselves out of her way. She had to find her sister, Mazana. Only she could provide answers and possibly closure. Those before mentioned questions that had helmed her stride repeated ever so prevalently within her mind. Before, she sought such material solutions to immaterial quandaries with the hopes of furthering her understanding of the world. Now, the seven-foot elf endeavored to uncover them to find meaning in what was a pointless existence. What is a life? She knew not the answer, but Tahira believed before she died, she'd glean the solution.