Under the Steel Web
Shula bint Safiyyah
Scraver Bastard of al-Malik
Shula is an athletic young woman who tends to favor brightly colored clothes, even when scrounging in the deepest muck the city has to offer.
Among noble circles, when her existence happens to come up, she has the dubious reputation of being the idiot bastard child of the al-Malik.
Among guild circles, she is known to be a tech-savvy Scraver with a knack for getting into and out of some very tight
situations places that most scavengers avoid.
Shula has never known the City of Arad without its dome of steel webbing. She was born to Safiyya al-Malik two and a half years after the dome descended. Her bright blonde hair at birth confirmed the family’s suspicions that Tariq al-Malik, grandson of the al-Malik patriarch, was not her father.
Though her hair darkened as she grew, it did not endear her to Tariq, who treated her harshly and did not dissuade other family members from doing the same. She spent much of her young childhood desperately trying to gain his acceptance, not understanding the reason for his rejection. Finally, the unspoken was spoken and Shula, who apparently had to have the obvious pointed out to her, became the laughingstock of the family.
Since that time, she avoided the rest of her family, except for her mother and those few she met as she explored her way through the Old Palace. She spent countless hours wandering through the hundred rooms, often spending the night sleeping in some forgotten corner rolled up in an abandoned tapestry. She hunted for treasure, taught herself how to make maps, and pretended that she was exploring one of those off-world places of which her mother often spoke. Sometimes the servants would rouse her and lead her back to the lit hallways. Once in a great while, it was the old patriarch himself who found her. Sometimes he flew into a rage at her intrusion and chased her around in a furor. Sometimes he treated her like a favored daughter. And sometimes it was a little of both—she could never tell of which mind he was until their eyes met. During the favored times, he helped her refine her mapmaking and calligraphy techniques, taught her chess, and even taught her how to dance.
As early as they were able, Shula’s family tossed her toward the guilds and she quickly found her niche in the Scravers. As the only noble-born apprentice, the Guild was pleased to find that she needed no encouragement to delve into dark tunnels or sift through fungus-laden muck in addition to studying laws, numbers, and old Urthish letters. Although considered one of the best of the guild for her age, her recklessness keeps her from rising in the ranks, something that doesn’t seem to concern her in the least.
Near the Shadow Market, bordering on Scravetown and the Flood, Shula is known to have a residence and a shop, duly marked with the badge of the Church.