Where Tianise is concerned, the Demon War is the best thing that ever happened to the Ashken people.
Before the war, the Ashken were bound to Valenthia. When the two cultures first met, they found their differences irreconcilable and war inevitably broke out, a war the Ashken would lose along with the vast majority of their freedoms, rights and lands.
As a young girl, Tianise was told of her lineage: she was the descendant of Ashken royalty, legendary leaders without equal. Her grandfather would fill her head with stories passed down from his own grandfather: shining deserts and glowing forges, endless dunes of sun-sparkling sands and nights alive with drums and songs. They were tales that sparked a fire in her.
She sought her people's oracles and seers wherever she could, learning of her lost culture and dreaming of seeing it again one day. The more she learned, the hotter the fire in her grew, and the more she came to resent Valenthia and all it represented.
Then came the fateful day when a Valenthian ambassador visited her family. He was an arrogant man, treating them like children, speaking slowly and making vulgar remarks on they way they dressed. Despite being only thirteen summers of age, she confronted the ambassador and invoked the Trial of the Anvil, of which she had just recently learned. It was a trial where outsiders to the clan or family had to prove themselves through a series of challenges chosen by the challenger. In this case, Tianise chose a simply duel of blades.
The family said nothing as they formed a circle. The ambassador, confused at first, refused the challenge based on the fact that she was a thirteen year-old girl. As she approached with a sword, however, his protests turned to pleas and he was eventually forced to forfeit while on his knees with the tip of a sword at his throat. He left in a hurry.
This caused no small amount of diplomatic complications, but as word spread of her actions, more and more Ashken presented themselves to pledge their loyalty to her over King Leandro. More Valenthian ambassadors came, but with each failed envoy three more Ashken tribes turned their backs on Valenthia and her influence grew.
Another war seemed inevitable, but it would never come to pass. When the demons appeared, Ashken still loyal to Valenthia took up arms and fought. Tianise, however, took the fight back to her homeland, driving out the demons and reclaiming those places her grandfather spoke of so many years ago. Many followed her and many others declared their own independence, eschewing her rule in favor of their own.
It hardly mattered.
The fire in her roared.