At the time of Melokai, Ramya is thirty-two years old. Born in Riaow, the capital of Peqkya, she was placed in the pen led by Kafya, as Peqkian custom dictates ‘No baby will ever know it’s parents and no parents will ever know their baby’.
From an early age, Ramya showed great promise as a warrior and entered the profession at age fifteen. She quickly became known as the greatest warrior in Peqkya due to her skill at chariot warfare, multiple opponent combat, and archery, as well as her endless energy and how she never seemed to tire in a fight.
Ramya’s first campaign outside of Peqkya was to accompany a trade delegation north through the Jagged Canyons. Here, the delegation was attacked by pygmies.
Ramya lost half of her left ear and two fingers on her left hand in the fray, and the decimated delegation returned home. Not many know that she saved Gogo’s life during this pygmie attack, and is consequently why Gogo is steadfastly loyal to Ramya (more in upcoming novella, working title The Clash at Jagged Canyon).
At twenty, Ramya was selected, along with three others, by the Stone Prophetess Sybilya to take part in the Melokai Choosing Ceremony after Melokai Naranya died.
(Side note: Melokai Naranya, and her counsellors all perished at the same time, murdered by the High Courtesan Laya who, in a fit of madness, had locked them in the council chamber, set the room ablaze and then set fire to herself. The council chamber at that time was on the ground floor overlooking the city and the devastating inferno killed another three hundred people and laid waste to an entire quarter of Riaow. They are still rebuilding parts of it during the time of Melokai. The courtesan’s betrayal was abhorrent to Ramya, but many believed it was a good thing. It was rumoured that Mad Laya acted after a vision from Sybilya. Melokai Naranya had been a teller rather than a warrior and her short, six-year rule had been destructive and cruel, consumed by greed. Naranya had authorised more executions in her first year of rule than Ramya had sanctioned in her entire twelve-year reign.)
The Melokai Choosing Ceremony saw the four women identified by Sybilya put through a gruelling day of fighting, academic tests and ruling trials, all in front of the masses. Then the people choose their Melokai. This had been the tradition since Peqkya was born, power isn’t hereditary or to do with bloodlines. Rulers of Peqkya are chosen for their ability to reign fairly and kill only when necessary to protect the nation. Most selected by the Stone Prophetess are the best warriors, like Ramya, but occasionally are from another profession. Ramya was unanimously selected by the people as the new Melokai and welcomed by Sybilya in Year 988. After, Sybilya never spoke to her again.
Her close friend is the Head Courtesan Hanya (Hanny) and, to a lesser degree, she is close to her Head Scholar, the eunuch Chaz. Ramya is a loner. She was a very angry, aggressive child and finds it hard to make friends. She controls her temper by throwing herself into leadership and training so has little time to cultivate friendships.
She considers her mentor to be her pen-Mother Kafya, who inspired her to be more lenient towards peons. Kafya also taught the young Ramya how to control her temper. Coincidentally, Kafya became the Mother of Mothers and Melokai Ramya’s counsellor.
In terms of appearance, Ramya has black skin, cropped hair, bright green eyes. She dresses in warrior’s garb with a small dagger strapped to each bicep plus a short sword at her waist. Ramya is not considered beautiful by Peqkian standards, she does not have the favoured feline features of oval face, almond eyes, small nose and delicate, pointed ears. She has wide features, and even her teeth are wide. She is short and squat, not long and lithe like so many fellow warriors.
Her favourite meal is spicy chicken and lentils, rice, crisp bread and pickles with hot lemon, ginger and honey to wash it down with. She relaxes by reading poetry and her small indulgence is bathing every morning in goat’s milk to soften her skin.
Ramya has achieved a great deal as Melokai, and is innovative and visionary. Her greatest achievements include:
- Welcoming pitches for new methods of working, improved techniques, innovative ideas at public assemblies, and granting land/resources to those that impress her with sound thinking and clear vision
- Building the House of Knowledge. For the scholars to record the history of Peqkya, keep track of nature and the world around the country. The stone building is also a huge library and centre of learning that is open to every Peqkian resident, and under Melokai Ramya’s decree, to the peons. Education is compulsory in the pens, but after it is up to the individual if they want to continue studying although Ramya encouraged all her citizens to continue their learning
- Building huts to home every Peqkian and recognising that the majority of her people outside of the city are nomadic, roaming the vast mountainous plains with their herds, she built traveller huts in Riaow for those who were passing through or needed to rest up in Riaow for a few nights
- Setting up infrastructure and irrigation works with fresh water channels for drinking and to fill new public baths, as well as improving the underground sewer system
- Commissioning new, wider, tree lined streets and creating more green spaces and leisure areas for residents to relax, exercise and perform their daylight dances and meditations
- Establishing new hospitals to not only heal the sick and offer medicinal facilities for everyone, even the peons, but also to learn about new ways of treating illness
- Ensuring every Riat has a job by introducing a method of forecasting and then allocating the correct number to each profession based on various figures/records
- Creating a swapping system where produce and goods can be exchanged for items of a perceived equal value, so there is no need for money, lessening any temptation of her people to hoard or honour it. Ramya is intolerant of those greedy for coin
- Increased the peon quota, allowing more peens to pass into peonhood
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