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Azad the Free was a former champion gladiator from Calimport who led a slave revolt and escaped into eastern Tethyr where he founded the Island of the Free on an earthmote. Azad was tricked by the Pasha of Calimport, Marod el Arhapan, into killing the Pasha's wife in the arena. After this, the Pasha made Azad a household slave whose primary job was to read bedtime stories to the Pasha's son Cephas. When Azad escaped Calimport, he abducted young Cephas who he trained as a gladiator to fight in the island's arena. Azad continued to read stories from the Founding Stories of Calimshan to Cephas from time to time prior to Cephas' escape. When Cephas returned to the Island of the Free after killing his father and destroying his palace he confronted Azad and forced him to explain the circumstances of his mother's death.
Azad used a great two-headed flail in the arena which he later gave to Cephas.