“We cannot choose how we are born, only who we become.”Kaydrienne Lindelle
• O R I G I N S •
Malaika was born in Abunai, on the Sea of L’Heye. Her parents were merchants, and she had two brothers and a sister. She remembers this life in brief flashes, usually centred around her eldest brother, whom she idolised. He was one of the venerated morat’torm, and Malaika always believed she would one day follow in his footsteps.
She was thirteen when her life changed, and yet that significant day is a blur of muddy memories to her mind, even now. Only the indifferently disgusted faces of her family as she was taken away rise any feeling in her subdued recollection.
And so it was her old life was abolished and her new life began.
• I D E N T I T Y •
S H E A: Born among the Seanchan, Malaika spent many years leashed as a battle damane called Shea, before the Wheel wove her path to the White Tower. A neglectful sul’dam and a treacherous journey across the eastern ocean led her to Tear, where she found herself uncollared for the first time in years. She does not speak of the details of her escape, but the fear and guilt of her actions has long since been accepted. She eventually found herself escorted to the Tower and after a rough start settled into her new life quickly, if her mental scars took much longer to heal. Long years of soul searching marked her novice years and, she battled against procuring an identity for herself .
K O H A N A: Aided by Broekk Sedai of the White Ajah, she eventually stabilised and began to grow and accept herself as a person rather than as property, and at Broekk’s behest renamed herself as Kohana. For her remaining novice years she fought to truly identify herself as Kohana. The renaming was important, for she felt it helped to disassociate herself with what she once was, and yet it only really ever remained a veneer.
M A L A I K A: The Arches revealed her birth name and some of her previously unremembered history. While she was keen to reject much of her past, she accepted this as her true name, and from this point was known as Malaika. As an Accepted, she was a quiet but diligent student, remaining without an Ajah aspiration for a good number of years before she finally found her calling. Many years followed her first tentative steps within the Tower, and when she was finally raised she chose the Brown Ajah.
• F A M I L Y •
C H A K A I: The Arches revealed details of her early life that Malaika pursued as Aes Sedai. Her older brother, Chakai, had been morat’torm — a title Malaika had herself coveted as a girl, before the ceremony that saw her collared instead. She eventually tracked Chakai down to Ebou Dar, where he had married and had children; a son, Kasimir, and two daughters, Jahzara and Kataria. An injury to Chakai’s leg had ended his career years before. Malaika found no welcome from him, and in fact he attacked her, resulting in her scarred hand. Years later it was revealed that Chakai had never accepted Malaika’s loss. It was his outspoken nature that led to his career ending injury and exile to Altara, and upon seeing her as Aes Sedai he never forgave the sacrifice he had made trying to find her.
• H I S T O R Y •
The oldest of four children, born to a merchant class family in a remote Seander village called Abunai, but chosen to train among the morat’torm. Chakai always had a way with animals, so it was no surprise when one of the fickle beasts chose him for its rider – a great honour, and one that took him away from home at only sixteen.
As a young man Chakai was larger than life; always in trouble and expertly charming his way out of it. Once, on a rare visit home, he secreted a lopar in one of the caves by their village. The creatures were used to guard children of the Blood, and were born in pairs, but usually only one survived. This twin had been left for dead, and he professed that he just couldn’t bring himself to leave it. He planned to use a contact to place the beast where he could be trained, but needed Malaika to care for it whilst everything was arranged. She agreed wholeheartedly.
In her mind’s eye she saw him in the black and brown uniform of morat’torm, grinning for all the world like a fool with his jet-black hair wind-tousled and in dire need of a good trim. Bright eyes sparkled some untold secret, and undoubtedly he was hiding some new war-wound sustained by his love for Seanchan’s exotic beasts. She had shared that love, if only because it had been his first.Malaika Sedai, The Seanchan Spy
Malaika, spirited and independent minded herself, idolised her older brother, and planned to follow in his footsteps before the ceremony that saw her collared instead at thirteen. Chakai was away on duty and did not witness her being taken. When he discovered she was damane he struggled to accept it, wavering for the first time in his own loyalty to the Empress.
He was outspoken in his beliefs, and it proved his undoing.
After a career-ending injury to his leg, which left him reliant on the use of a cane, Chakai ended up in Ebou Dar, where he has remained ever since. Here he met his wife Sharain, and had three children; the eldest, Kataria, now grown and married with children of her own; the middle, Kasimir, a young man much as Chakai had been as a boy; and Jahzara, the youngest. His relationship with his son is strained, perhaps in part due to their similarities. But Chakai is a much different man from his youth; he is a tyrant of a father, strict and ruthless.
The older man turned awkwardly, heavy-set frame reliant on a thick cane. His fingers curled around the cat-like head of a torm, two of its glinting three eyes winking rubies and the centre-most polished white. He was grizzled and far into his middle years, with a heavily lined face and black hair greying silver at the temples. Dark tilted eyes and the soft lines of his features marked him as Seanchan, and pure blooded at that.
“At least show the honour of sei’taer, boy. Look at me when I speak to you!”
Malaika noticed the young man’s eyes spark under a mop of ebony hair, but when he raised them they were nothing but solid black pools. “Yes, father,” he intoned.
“Hierarchy, Kasimir, protocol, honour, respect. The Wheel would not have made you my son should it not have intended for you to obey my word. And yet here I find you have stolen from me.” He waved at the empty stand and Malaika remembered the gilded insectile helm. “In Seander you would have your arm shortened by a hand for such a disgrace.” The man’s fingers were white about the torm head cane, and Malaika sensed he might have struck the boy if he could’ve.Malaika Sedai, The Seanchan Spy
When the Wheel wove his younger sister Malaika back into his life, now an Aes Sedai and not the damane he thought she was, Chakai reacted with venom. He banished the Sisters who had returned his errant son, calling them witches and ridiculing how they could have possibly believed Kasimir was truly a spy for the Empire. He verified the armour as his own by identifying marks upon it, and vowed to punish his son for the theft.
“The day comes when the Empire rises, marath’damane. And when it does, I shall rejoice.”Chakai
When Malaika later returned alone, suspecting this man for the beloved brother of her childhood, Chakai refused to acknowledge that he had any family at all. He was so incensed he foolishly attacked an Aes Sedai, resulting in the scar Malaika bears on her hand to this day. The altercation was witnessed by Kasimir, who had been watching quietly from the shadows. Chakai had never spoken of his past to his children; nothing beyond his pride to serve, and the torm who had been his world. It was the spark that caused the young man to leave for Tar Valon and answers.
“What manner of trick is this? I HAVE no sisters!” Chakai pulled back his fist, glinting with metal. Instinct and saidar flooded her senses, but it was her old damane training which directed the threads. Light! She faltered mid-flow, stopped herself from releasing a weave she’d long since promised would never surface again. The internalisation left her gasping, and the hesitation cost her. Without thinking she had met the Ebou Dari blade with her hand; it sliced deeply into soft palm-flesh and the searing pain wrenched saidar from her control. In some desperate corner of her mind she heard Lythia Sedai’s instructing voice, and would later thank the light that she ever braved the Green Halls in search of defensive tutorage. She drove her other fist into Chakai’s chest, then thrust her knee up hard. He lurched backwards, whacking his head on the mantel and crumpled with a heavy crunch on his lame leg. The glass of whiskey followed him down, smashing to a thousand glittering pieces on his face and neck.Malaika Sedai, The Seanchan Spy
The revelation that Malaika was Aes Sedai privately devastated Chakai, for it later transpired he had gone to great efforts to find her in Seanchan, and was punished for refusing to give up his search. It was not one of the torm that had ruined his leg, as he had always said; it was the retribution he had faced for his persistence, for stepping out of line.
And now he realised the sacrifice had all been for nothing. As an Aes Sedai he perceived Malaika to have both freedom and status; everything he had lost. Worse, now she was here to take his son.
Kasimir left for the Tower. Meanwhile, Chakai took a turn for the worse; barely leaving his room, and needing more support from his wife and daughter. His health was already failing, and now his spirit was too. Eventually he reached out to Malaika at the White Tower, asking for her to return his son.
“You stole my son, you blasted witches. Poisoned his mind in a terrible way such as I cannot even fathom. But you cannot have him, witch. You cannot.”Chakai
He finally confessed the truth to Kasimir in an effort to dissuade him from pledging himself to the White Tower, after Malaika did indeed return him home in exchange for information on Zurafai’s whereabouts. Life and legacy weigh on his mind often, these days. It is unlikely he and Malaika will ever reconcile.
“I was morat’torm, boy. In Seander. And I would never have come here if they had not broken my leg.”
“The beasts, I know.” Kasimir had heard this story before, a dozen and more times; of how the creatures his father loved and trained had turned on him, and ended his career. How Chakai had then crossed the ocean. Had met Kas’ mother.
“No.” Chakai sighed, painfully. “Not the torm. Never my beloved torm. The Seanchan, boy. In recompense for my violations. I never would have taken a wife if not for my leg, never had a family. Glory, duty, honour. These were the things that mattered to me.”
Seanchan. Violations. The words swam. “Why did they punish you?”
“Not the point, boy. The point is I understand why you need to leave.”
It was as close to permission, as a blessing, as Kas was likely to get. He should take it and preserve it and move on. But he repeated the question, quieter: “Why did they punish you, father?”
Silence; again. Seconds trickled to minutes, until the brief glimmer of hope was consumed by the darkness. A sigh whispered past his lips, and he pulled himself to his feet. This conversation was over, and he should take what positives he could from it. His fingers grasped the door handle, twisted; Chakai’s last words whispered from his bed.
“Family, Kasimir. Family undid me. They took Malaika while I away on duty, and I never believed she was what they told me. Damane. It was an unhealthy obsession, and it ruined me in the end. Leave, if you must. But stay away from Tar Valon. Stay away from her.”Kasimir, Unrest
The scar in her palm flared pain, hot as the day Chakai’s blade had sliced through her flesh. Love overflowed for the brother she had idolised, for the tragic man he had become – all because of her and her cursed gift – then regret for the pain she had caused him, and would always cause him because now he knew she alive. That she was Aes Sedai. She had to shutter it out, to maintain control despite the fatigue and the grief. Her Tests, her training, they all culminated in the way Malaika’s expression glazed over, that she was able to simply close her emotions down, deny them all.Malaika
Z U R A F A I: With information received from her brother, Malaika later sought to find her younger sister, suspecting her to be damane and wishing to release her. It transpired instead that she was sul’dam, and intended to capture Malaika and return her to her rightful place in the Empire. Chakai had betrayed her. But following their meeting Zura was captured instead. Rather than take her to the Tower, Makaika chose to release her with the knowledge that she was in fact a channeler.
• H I S T O R Y •
Zurafai was a late child to the Niele family, still small when Malaika was collared. The memory of her was something that sustained Malaika through much of her life, as a damane and beyond, for she had been too young to understand what she had seen happen. It was Malaika’s last memory of honest and accepting love.
“I remember how love for me withered from our parents’ eyes. How Assaru stared, suddenly afraid of the young sister he had always tormented. Do you remember that you cried, Zura? That you reached out your arms to me, because you did not want them to take me. That memory has fuelled me for much of my life. That I was loved, even at the height of my shame.”Malaika
When, years later, Malaika discovered their elder brother Chakai in Altara, she believed his refusal to admit to having any sisters meant Zura had also been taken as a damane. She began a new search, intending to rescue her baby sister.
“The only family I have is here. I have no others. No sisters.” That frown seemed to deepen further, but something piqued in his eyes. He did not welcome the conversation, she could see that, but he was curious, if more than a touch wary for it. Still, it was the only advantage she had to manipulate, and — for all her usual reticence — she met him gaze for gaze in that shadowed doorway. No sisters. The way he continued to repeat that stung deeply and she thought of Zurafai, still small when she had been taken. It did not fill her with hope, this all encompassing renouncement, but neither did he mention their brother Assaru. He said no family, not just no sisters. She watched as he crossed the room with an erratic step, slumped into a high-backed chair and poured himself a glass of amber liquid. The angry, grizzled man she saw with her eyes was not the same as that which she saw with her heart.Malaika Sedai, The Seanchan Spy
After Kasimir fled home a second time, this time for Tar Valon, Chakai fed the necessary information for them to reconnect, stating that he did so only so that Malaika would prevent Kasimir from returning to the White Tower. She did not make that promise, for he had gone there willingly in the first place, and in fact only returned to his father’s summons at her behest. But her parting words discouraged that he follow.
“If the Tower is where you truly belong, Kasimir, then the Wheel will Weave it so. But make your decision wisely. The Tower requires the dedication of heart and soul. It is not a place for young boys to escape an overbearing family, nor a tool to frustrate a family that loves you.”Malaika
A meeting with Zurafai’s sul’dam was arranged at an inn off a trade route in Altara, and despite better judgement, Malaika went alone.
The woman was already seated, legs crossed, arms loose on her knees. The bracelet on her delicate wrist glinted like fire, drawing Malaika’s eyes dangerously in that one moment before her barriers strengthened. She was not here to address fears, or be made senseless by them. Cold as stone, she turned her gaze to the leashed one by the woman’s feet. The damane sat on the floor, arranged in a way that made her seem both servile and graceful, her grey dress pooled like water. Her long black hair was brushed to a glowing sheen, her eyes cast down at the floor.Malaika Sedai, Sister Mine
It transpired that Malaika was correct about Zurafai’s abilities, but wrong about what they made her, much to her sister’s clear delight. Chakai had utterly betrayed her.
“Oh – my – goodness, he didn’t tell you.” The sul’dam’s eyes, fallen to the damane Malaika studied so avidly, rose and widened. She began to laugh, and an awful sound it was. The serving girl returned with drinks, hesitating at the sound of that cruel merriment. Her hand shook as she delivered the glasses from the tray, but not a drop spilled. Malaika tried to pass some kindness with a look, but the girl scurried away without a glance at either of them. The sul’dam wrapped slender fingers about the stem of her glass, tipped it in a toast, and seemed to lavish in her triumph. She clearly thought this matter was finished, was only a matter of slipping the collar about her neck.
“His beautiful, golden sister, and he did not tell you!” The Seanchan woman sipped her wine, glorifying in the taste, or in the splendour of her words, or both. The phrasing, this time, struck a chord, and the ferocity of Malaika’s thoughts calmed like a world suddenly held in a vacuum. Realisation dawned like ice in her blood, cooling her from within so she felt nothing but the pain of it.
“You really are rather dull, Malaika.” She said the name like purr, with all the fondness of a pet. The way she spoke the name of her damane, Tula. Malaika’s skin prickled, and something inside her closed like a vice. “Do you not have words to spar with me? I must admit I expected more. It does not take an ordinary woman to escape the leash, and the way Chakai always spoke of you, one would have thought the Light shone out of your backside.”
“Zurafai,” she realised.Malaika Sedai, Sister Mine
Zurafai is implicitly loyal to the Empire; she has grown up enmeshed in its teachings, and was greatly honoured to be chosen to serve the Empress as a sul’dam.
“That Tower is a monolith of lies, and it spreads its heinous deceit to justify the freedoms of channelers.”Zurafai
At their meeting, Zura was intent on what she considered her duty to return Malaika to her rightful place in the Empire. In the altercation that followed the damane was killed and Malaika injured, but Zura was successfully captured. While she was being held she shattered whatever illusions Malaika had held about her baby sister.
“Life continued without you, marath’damane, as it always does when a girl is collared. I forgot you quickly enough. Whatever my memory was to you, you were never anything to me. Not even the whisper of a memory, not even a dream.”Zurafai
She also revealed that it was she who was responsible for Chakai’s punishment; this betrayal being the final reason he disowned his family, and become so embittered a man.
“I looked for you when I earned the right to be called sul’dam, but by then you were long gone – in fact, I thought you dead until recently, and would never have given you a second thought, but for Chakai. He never believed; he thought I hid you from him, wanted to see with his own eyes what you had become. He could never… accept, and that is an ill quality for a person to have. It was far below his station to even think on a damane, let alone worry about one. It concerned me. I am a dutiful citizen, marath’damane – in fact duty is very important to me. Everyone has their place in the Empire, and must shoulder their responsibilities accordingly. He asked me for a favour, blood to blood. He wanted to see you, to put his final ghosts to rest.
So I reported him.”Zurafai
Malaika had never considered the possibility Zurafai would be a sul’dam rather than a damane, and did not know what to do with her sister then.
“You are a channeler, Zurafai. Given the right training, you would touch the One Power as effortlessly as me.” Zura stared blankly – looked as though she may have tried to shrug the statement away – but her eyes flashed fear, denial. She already knew. Malaika felt a grim satisfaction at the way the tables had finally turned. She locked away the feeling stirred by Zura’s words, buried it for now as if it had never happened, and circled back to Zurafai’s initial question: ‘So, what now, dearest sister?’ She held the woman’s eyes, stretching the silence in cruel mockery. “You realise that it means you belong to the Tower.”Malaika Sedai, Sister Mine
But the Tower is not where Malaika took her. She released her with the additional knowledge that it was men driven mad by the taint on saidin that had broken the world. That the Empire was forged on a lie.
What Zura did next, and where she went, is yet unknown.
K A S I M I R: Chakai’s son followed Malaika back to the Tower, wishing to train among the warders. He stayed with Malaika for a time, until she received word from his father demanding his return home to Ebou Dar. Malaika suggested Kas ought make amends while he had the chance. She did indeed return him to his family, in exchange for the information she used to find Zurafai. Kasimir reminded her much of the miscreant Chakai had been as a boy. Predictably, he did not stay in Ebou Dar despite his parents’ wishes.
See: Kasimir for more and current whereabouts
• A E S • S E D A I •
Malaika continues to struggle with identity and meaning in her life. Her studies have begun to encompass the lives of ordinary people, a sphere she has never felt she belongs to. For a while she taught novices struggling with unusual blocks, but this work has slowly tailed off. She spends little time in her rooms, and can mostly be found in the library, where she does not seek company but neither shuns it.
She has suffered quietly since discovering the truth about her sister Zurafai, and wrestles with the guilt of abandoning her rather than bringing her to the Tower — and her selfish reasons for doing so. Her despair over Chakai’s fate also weighs a heavy burden. She desires reconciliation but knows he will not accept it.
In an effort to temper a distraction for herself, she approached Eleanore Aramorgran for private sword-form lessons, completing them away from the training grounds. She does not spar, but practises the Oneness and uses it as a way to tire her body. Since the woman’s return north, Malaika continues to practise in her rooms.
Intentions to travel, sparked after her first meeting with Byron Gaidin, never came to fruition after his disappearance. Instead Malaika witnessed the suicide of Andreu Kojima in the city, and it has spiralled her sense of melancholy. Recent attentions from a gleeman only seem to have pushed her father down the path of sorrow.
• D E S C R I P T I O N •
With a quiet voice and countenance, she is (at most times) the epitome of gentleness. Determined, with an occasional stubborn streak, she is ardently passionate in the projects she undertakes, if these are not qualities one perceives upon first glance. Her demeanour may often be described as slow and cautionary; one prone to observing those around her with a thoughtful expression, rather than joining in the discussion. Malaika is also skilled at reading others — mostly in the intonations of voice, an ability gained as a damane — and is known for being sensitive and sympathetic in light of what she perceives.
Her hair is long and dark, usually worn simply. Her clothes, too, tend towards simplicity. She has a scar on her right palm from a knife-wound, sometimes causing her hand to spasm or curl into itself due to residual nerve damage. Another is a slash down the back of one shoulder, seldom seen, but fresher. This one has healed naturally and not with the aid of the One Power. A third, much older, is from childhood, and located on her forearm. Unlike the other two it was not cause by a weapon, but one of Seanchan’s beasts.
- Fate Zarine Dark: As a then-Accepted, Fate taught Malaika to read and write. It is part of what fostered her love of the Brown Ajah’s library, somewhere she has always considered a sanctuary.
- Broekk Calanal: An Aes Sedai of the White Ajah who took Malaika under wing as a new novice, and helped her to discover the humanity lost to her after all her years spent in the collar. She taught Malaika to ride on a grey gelding called Storm Dancer, among other things like culture, society, games and hobbies. Since Malaika’s raising she has seen little of Broekk, though she knows the woman’s door would always be open to her.
- Brenna Celet: The Brown who helped Malaika track down her blood family in exchange for information on Seanchan culture. Brenna and the Council facilitated the first meet with Chakai, intending to support their sister through it, citing they did not wish her to end up the way of the “other” sisters the Tower had freed from Seanchan.
- Eithne Sedai: Malaika’s mentor in the Brown Ajah, who accompanied her to Ebou Dar when they investigated the “Seanchan” spy.
- Kasimir Nevaren: Her nephew, who reminds her strongly of the Chakai she recalls from her childhood. He lived with her for a time. She has not seen him since she returned him home to Altara the second time.
- Lythia Krean: Malaika implored the Green for defensive lessons as an Accepted, and maintains a polite if distant friendship. Upon her Raising, Lythia gifted her a necklace set with a gem mined from the Mountains of Mist. Malaika values it; it is the only piece of jewellery aside from the serpent ring she wears.
- Byron Calanail: A gaidin Malaika mistook for a gleeman out of motley while out in Tar Valon, whom she ended up spending the rest of the evening with in a teahouse run by Mistress Osilia. He shared much of his past, and managed to coax Malaika from her shell in a way seldom seen. He later took her on a tour of the city; not of its sights, but of its people.
- Kekura Sedai: Mistress of Novices when Malaika first came to the Tower, who has shaped Malaika’s life from a distance, and for whom Malaika harbours great respect.
- Vladamir Armendariz: A gaidin who is often in the library.
- Eleanore Aramorgran: A veteran of the Borderlands who was teaching Malaika sword forms before apparently returning home.
- Zahir: A gleeman newly arrived at the Tower, who reminds Malaika of Byron. He has been working his way into her confidences and manipulating her fears about the Seanchan’s continued press east, and the White Tower’s failure to stop them.
• R P • H I S T O R Y •
- The Seanchan Spy
- The Familial Mutt
- An Early Evening Run
- Full Circle
- Tea and Books
- A Dear Sister
• O T H E R • L I V E S •
Throughout the Ages she is possessed of a gentle soul, always desiring of peace and simplicity, which she either spends her life protecting or in search of. In each rebirth she is born with a close sibling, usually but not always a brother, and with an affinity for animals.
1st Age: Born as Chihiro Matsumoto, a former Atharim hunter defected from the organisation upon discovery that she is a channeler.
3rd Age: Malaika Sedai, former damane and Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah
5th Age: Born the princess Miao Shan, a daughter her parents wished had been a son. After refusing to follow convention she is exiled. In myth she is remembered as Kwan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion.
6th Age: Born a huntress in the wilds, preferring the company of animals over most people. She offers sanctuary to escaped slaves at her refuge of Lake Nemi. In myth she is remembered as the Roman deity, Diana.