Wow, it seems like it's been a while since last I posted part of my series! Sorry about that, dear readers. I'm back now, though, ready to give a little inside scoop on one of my favorite characters in Veiled Rose. He is the supreme ruler of all her surveys, father of his people, the Imperial Glory of Noorhitam.
And he wanted clowns for his coronation.
Khemkhaeng-Niran Klahan, son of Molthisok-Khemkhaeng Niran, was only nine years old when his father died, possibly by nefarious means. The death of the father meant a subsequent coronation of the son, naming him once and for all the Sacred Father of the Empire. Rather a lot of responsibility for one small boy.
One small boy who should, according to his (quite possibly wicked) uncle be easy to control.
Sepertin Naga liked the look of that babyish face. It reminded him of his dear, departed sister. She had been a most pliable girl.
But there was a set to the emperor's jaw that his uncle failed to see. This jaw he had inherited from his father and a long line of emperors. Dynasties are not made of weak links. (p. 268)
Granted he's still a child. One might even say a petulant child given his insistence upon clowns at his coronation. Sepertin Naga, his uncle, sees nothing but a spoiled brat who, because he is the Imperial Glory, must be carefully catered to.
"We never have clowns," said Emperor Khemkhaeng-Niran Klahan. "Not funny ones. The only clowns I've ever seen always teach a moral."
"Such is the role and duty of those who strive in the comedic arts, to instruct and enlighten their Sacred Father."
"You, most Glorious One."
Nevertheless, if clowns the Emperor wants, clowns the emperor will have. So it is that Lionheart, under the guise of Leonard the Lightning Tongue, is brought to the Aromatic Palace and made to perform before the solemn seated upon a magnificent throne. He sees the boy and is at first ready to dismiss him as too young and too inexperienced to possibly fulfill the enormous task before him.
But one thing Emperor Klahan does not lack is courage. For though the mantel of the empire is far too great for him, still he sits under its weight, untrembling, unafraid. He knows the duty to which he was born, and he will fulfill it with honor.
Lionheart would probably have hated the boy had they met when the same age; everything about him was so carefully put together, ever word spoken with such care. At age nine, it was not a manner that would win him friends among his peers.
It might win the respect of an empire. (p.288)
I really like this character. He is full of unexpected depths, for all he is a child. He is wise beyond his years and extremely well educated. He speaks Lionheart's language with completely fluency that takes the poor jester-prince (who is himself desperately struggling to learn the complicated Noorhitamin dialects) by surprise. Klahan also knows many of the deeper, darker secrets of Lunthea Maly city, secrets his uncle does not suspect he possesses.
One cannot help but think that Emperor Klahan will have a difficult life, balancing the rule of his empire against the machinations of ambitious Sepertin Naga. And the temple, Ay-Ibunda, lurks at the very heart of his city, and it is more dangerous by far than any conniving uncle! Somehow, I think Khemkhaeng-Niran Klahan will prove himself a hero in the end, however.
And I think we all might just have to make a visit to Noorhitam again one day . . .
I shrieked with laughter over the peacock bits in this section of Veiled Rose. I don't suppose the bird will ever show its beak again in future stories?
I think you have every right to be pleased with the Emperor's character. He reminded me a little of Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time: much older than his years, but still markedly a child in some ways. The contrast of those two things makes for a brilliant character, and I, for one, would love to see more of Emperor Klahan.
(Curiosity question: how long does it take you to type out his full name?)
Considering I have to stop and check the spelling again every time . . . a lot longer than it should! I should set a stopwatch sometime. :)
Yes, the peacock was a funny but rather odd bit to add in. You see, in HEARTLESS, Lionheart tells Una about having been given a peacock as a symbolic gift, so I couldn't very well leave it out of VEILED ROSE! But what an odd little interlude to include it was. :) I had a lot of fun with it though. I don't think Lionheart, as a rule, is much of an animal person . . .
Now that Charles Wallace has been mentioned...oh man, how did I not notice that similarity before?
I was so glad you put in the part with the peacock! And I did love the character of Klahan, and hope to see him again!
Klahan was a great character. So wise! I honestly didn't expect him to be able to help Lionheart. Love it though that he knew exactly where to go and that he didn't betray anything in court.
And I agree, he and Noorhitam should be visited again one day. There's too much history, knowledge and power there to leave out.
I just discovered your work, Anne and simply can't wait to read the Tales of Goldstone wood! The book covers are incredible and are enough to make me pick up the book even without the intriguing plot lines!
Yes, I would love to visit Noorhitam again! I enjoyed reading about it!
I was like Abigail Hartman. I also read out loud the parts when Lionheart was trying to speak the foreign language to my family, and we all laughed histerically. Because of this, I've finally been able to convince one of my sisters to read the book Heartless.
I was actually impressed with the young emperor's maturity. For a child, he seemed to understand well the "secret" interests of his uncle. I seriously hope that we meet him again. Perhaps, in a story of his own?
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