Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Arab Travelers: The Head of Badr

One of the marvels that occurred during that battle with the Franks [Baldwin II's attack on Damascus in 1129] was the following. In the army of Hama, there were two Kurdish brothers, one of them named Badr and the other named 'Annaz. Now, this 'Annaz had bad eyesight. And when the Franks were defeated and killed, some of the men cut off their heads and hung them off their saddle-straps. So 'Annaz cut off a head and hung it from his saddle-strap.

A group of men from the army of Hama saw him and said to him, 'Hey, 'Annaz, what's with that head you have with you?'

'Glory be to God,' he replied, 'for what happened between this man and me - I killed him.'

'Oh, man,' they told him, 'that's the head of your brother Badr!'

So he looked at the head, examining it. Sure enough, it was the head of his brother. And so in his shame before the men, he left Hama. We never knew where he set off for, nor did we ever hear any further news of him.

-Usama ibn Munqidh, The Book of Contemplation, p. 128. Trans. Paul Cobb, Penguin 2008.

Head from Lone Wolf Effects
The shame 'Annaz felt for both his lies and the mutilation of his brother's corpse wound up imbuing Badr's head with strange energies. Badr was slain in defense of Damascus, and still seeks to do so from beyond the grave, but the actions of his brother torment Badr's spirit.

The head of Badr projects a 30' radius bless spell around it when held aloft by a member of the Faith or by someone defending a position. The person holding Badr's head is incapable of telling a lie. For every five rounds that Badr's head is held aloft, all persons affected by the bless spell must save or take 1d2 damage/level, as the pain of 'Annaz's betrayal cuts deep, and severe cuts appear around their necks.

The head of Badr may only be buried when Damascus is safe.

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