Shahid was Embraced during one of the darkest times in Cairo’s history. A long period of famine followed one of the city’s many great plagues, and food was so scarce during this lean time that cannibalism became a way of life. The paradoxical laws against cannibalism that subsequently arose further perpetuated the crime, as all convicted cannibals had their ﬂesh torn apart and distributed to the people. It even became common practice for starving households to send for deliveries and then attack and devour the delivery boys.
Shahid was one such delivery boy who suffered one of these gruesome attacks. In his hunger, the man who beat him for his ﬂesh failed to actually kill the boy, and Shahid managed to escape after being only partially eaten. When the man left to acquire his daily bread, Shahid limped away with part of his right arm and calf missing, and he ﬁnally collapsed in a side street. Knowing that he would die, he prayed to Allah and gave thanks for the life that he had been given. Shahid would have been powerless to stop his assailant from ﬁnishing the job, had he even been aware that the enraged cannibal was even now following the trail of blood to where the poor boy lay.
Ibn Ja’far, who had been trying to keep the city’s rampant cannibalism from deﬁling Banu al-Hajji, came across the dying boy while out on one of his patrols. The leader of the Hajj expected to ﬁnd the boy cursing Allah for his fate, but when he heard Shahid giving thanks and praise to Allah with his ﬁnal breaths, Ibn Ja’far was moved. Even after such a hideous fate, here lay someone with a faith unshaken — a rare thing in those dark and godless times. Shahid’s attacker found the boy, but he failed to notice Ibn Ja’far who had concealed himself from the attacker’s eye. As the attacker grabbed Shahid’s half-eaten leg, Ibn Ja’far acted with righteous fury, smiting the sinner into a barely recognizable mass of pulped ﬂesh. Then he turned to Shahid and, upon hearing the boy’s prayer to Allah for salvation, Embraced him.
Since that time, Shahid has served the Hajj and Ibn Ja’far humbly. He understands that he must atone for his sins as a Nosferatu, but he does not curse his fate at becoming one of the Damned. Instead, he gives thanks to Allah for the second chance that he has been given. Ibn Ja’far ﬁnds Shahid’s faith and humility inspiring, and the sire has come to envy the childe’s acts of sincere and simple worship. For his part, Shahid admires Ja’far, seeing in him a genuine (if somewhat fallen) servant of Allah. He knows that Ibn Ja’far currently struggles with a crisis of faith, but he believes that his sire will overcome this doubt and grow even closer to God.
Shahid is his sire’s closest conﬁdant, listening quietly night after night as Ibn Ja’far pours his distraught soul out to him in prayer. Shahid understands that Ibn Ja’far himself doesn’t even realize how much he gives away when the two pray together, and he has come to view his talks with his mentor as a sacred duty. He has sworn himself to eternal secrecy regarding his sire’s thoughts and insecurities, and he hopes only that he will have the opportunity one night to save his sire as his sire once did for him.
Although it pains him to do so, Shahid has a secret that he keeps even from Ibn Ja’far. Shahid has encountered Petra, a faithful Coptic Christian Nosferatu whose clan disﬁgurements appear as divine stigmata. She is the childe of Ibn Ja’far’s greatest rival, Shagaret al-Durr, but Shahid felt irresistibly drawn to her nevertheless. They have met many times to discuss the nature of faith in the clan, and, although they disagree on certain dogmatic matters, both have come to admire and respect one another. Indeed, beyond even that, they have fallen in love.
Despite Petra’s Christianity, Shahid feels that he has never met someone so close to the divine — whatever it may be called — as Petra. Shahid wants to conﬁde in Ibn Ja’far about his feelings for her, but he believes that even if his sire could understand his attraction to a Nosferatu outside the Hajj — if he could understand a Muslim and a Christian sharing a love that is pure and true — that it would only add to Ibn Ja’far’s current crisis of faith. From what Petra tells Shahid of her own sire, he believes that Shagaret would ﬁnd the couple abhorrent as well. Nevertheless, Shahid believes that Allah meant for the two of them to ﬁnd one another, and their love endures. The secret relationship gives even more strength to Shahid’s already potent faith, and he will ﬁght to defend his love, should anyone discover the truth.
Thanks to his powers of concealment, Shahid keeps his true form mercifully hidden from view. Even for those who can see through his Obfuscate, however, Shahid always wears a full-body galabiyya, concealing the terrible abomination beneath. His naked form is a latticework of gray-green musculature — ragged and torn in some places, missing entirely in others. When he walks, he does so with a severe limp, as the majority of his right leg was removed and consumed before his Embrace, and what is left of his right arm appears much the same. Despite all of this monstrosity, however, his gentle eyes remain remarkably humane.