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Ruth N'Kweze

The Paramount Princess(no.46) of Kwa'Zululand, Her Royal Highness Ruth N'Kweze - the other sort of Howondalandian Assassin

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In Terry Pratchett's Discworld:-=== Ruth is not a canonical character and is completely the invention of fanfic author A.A. Pessimal.

In the Pessimal Discworld:-Edit

Ruth is an overseas student from Kwa'Zululand, studying at the Assassins' Guild School. A lesser daughter of the Paramount King, and a Paramount Princess in her own right (a factor the School regarded as benefiting her admission prospects), Ruth was one of the Chosen Ones of her generation, rigorously selected to face the rigours of what would amount to exile in faraway Ankh-Morpork so as to attend and learn from the Assassins' Guild School. On arrival, she was assigned to Raven House both as a test of her and of the Housemistress, Johanna Smith-Rhodes. At first a cautiously neutral and impeccably correct relationship between teacher and pupil, a mutual respect grew between Johanna and Ruth. Ruth was one of many factors that modulated and changed Johanna's ingrained attitude towards black-skinned people and slowly converted her views on white racial superiority over nine years. First seen as a student in Murder Most 'Orrible, Ruth re-appears as a fully graduated Assassin and teaching assistant (in Raven House) in Whys and Weres, where her relationship with Johanna has mellowed into one of friendship and mutual respect. Whys and Weres also - briefly - saw Ruth as a married woman, a state she then had to collude in resolving in a manner Vetinari noted made her, very literally, into a Black Widow and worthy of the Guild in every way. She also has a role in The Discworld Tarot: The Sun, where Johanna and Ruth combine forces to bring about a difficult and dangerous contract inhumation. In Let's Bungle In The Jungle she returns to Howondaland in the aftermath of the canonical novel Snuff as part of a multi-national team to sort out the issues arising out of Goblin slavery. A brief and bloody battle happens in which she and a White Howondalandian career soldier are forced to fight side by side and end up defending each other's backs. Neither finds this a complete trial, and both end up in Ankh-Morpork afterwards. Where Ruth reminds him he needs lessons in Black Howondalandian native languages. and her diary might just be free on some evenings. Where this romance will lead is anybody's guess as it's pretty much uncharted territory. Ruth might like to consider her shrewd former tutor Johanna Smith-Rhodes had something to do with engineering the opportunity.

As a direct result of her part in the Battle of the Tobacco Farm and her astute representation of her nation's interests in the political discussions which followed, Ruth now holds higher status in the bewilderingly complex internecine politics of her country. Her father, the Paramount King of Kwa'Zululand, received his adult daughter on her return from nearly ten years' exile. He had last seen her as a child; she took good care to ask for audience at the head of a full honour guard of impi soldiers who had escorted her from her landfall on the Border. the King saw a warrior woman who had fought and slain Matabele soldiers in battle. Quite a few. She beckoned forwards her bearers to lay shields and weapons and head-dresses at his feet, so as to honour the Paramount. Then she bowed low and simply said

"Your daughter has returned to you and does you obeisance."

Hearing her story of the goblin enslavement, the battle and the political aftermath - Ruth had learnt much from Lady T'Malia as to how to present a political case - the King summoned Ruth's mother, one of his lesser wives, to sit at his side, a sign of great favour. Then he named his daughter the Paramount Crown Princess, the First among Equals, giving Ruth a larger dowry to lay at the feet of a putative husband, more and better bling to wear, and the right to raise a personal impi. Being no fool, Ruth realised this great advancement meant she now had to watch her back among all her half-sisters, and to be careful in accepting a drink from any of them.

The King also had some sharp words to say about her poor choice of her first husband, genially noted she was now a widow and approved of the circumstances of her widowhood, which were in the best traditions of the Royal House. He trusted that the next son-in-law would be selected with more care and consultation, and gave her the task of selecting the nucleus of her own impi, the Paramount Princess's Royal Guard Regiment. Which, he trusted, gave her a reason to visit home more frequently, hmm?

The definitive picture...Edit

Searching on Google Images, I got a photo of a red-haired South African woman that was Johanna Smith-Rhodes to the very life - this within the first 200 images. Similarly, I got an illustration that was 90% my visualisation of Emmanuelle the Black Widow, and that adorns her page (until something 91% turns up.)

But not being gifted with a drawing talent, and having to plunder Google for images to go with the text, can I find a Ruth? Try it. Enter a term like "Zulu warrior women" or "black lady Assassin" and see what you get... it makes me despair, it really does.I want an image that isn't racially condescending, isn't pornographic, and fits the mental image of a trained black-skinned African assassin. But can I find one...

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