“I have never known a thing that is not music”
-from Shame & Honor by Ekundayo
Ekundayo was a temple dancer in Thassal, of the third generation to be reborn in the kingdom. She was famed for her beauty and her skill at dance, especially the Enguni , or the Dance of Spears. She was so skilled that she performed for the Ffolmay (Emperor) of Thassal, eventually entering permanently into his service as one of his retinue. However, she broke her commitment and her vows of celibacy when a visiting dignitary from Ackenzal, after seeing her dance, offered her a small fortune to share his bed.
She accepted, though was later discovered. The vow of celibacy was of immense importance in Thassal due to their inability to breed true, and to break it, under the Ffolmay’s own roof was a great crime. As punishment for breaking her oath, especially with a foreigner of the nation that doomed their people, Ekundayo was sentenced to kukata, or the removal from one’s own phylactery, so after her death her soul would not be reborn into the world or even be absorbed into the Loom. Immensely distraught at the sentence, and the target of public shaming, Ekundayo sought a way to reclaim her position and to further the cause of her people. To this end, she attempted to pledge her services to the Ffolmay not as a dancer, but as his guardian, hoping to give her life to her king. He refused, not wanting a figure of disgrace to stand by his side, but offered her another way to serve the Thassali empire. She was to be a spy and assassin, to discover the interests of Ackenzali companies and, more importantly, to uncover the Kujeewa, noble families that were calling for the extermination of their own people, leading mass suicides and refusing to knit the souls of their newborns to phylacteries.
Ekundayo’s greatest accomplishment was when she uncovered a Kujeewa plot to destroy the Nascent Keep and the phylacteries within. She personally led the Tunba Azsiskari (Womb Guards) to eliminate the Kujeewa, and when she died in the battle, her soul rose as an Ascendant.