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Hrathen

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Hrathen
Sel-5-Hrathen.jpg
by User: Botanicaxu
Died [1]
Abilities Dakhor
Profession Derethi Gyorn
Nationality Fjordell
World Sel
Featured In Elantris

Hrathen was a high priest of Shu-Dereth, and an accomplished statesman on Sel.[2] He was forty-two years old when he entered Arelon.[3]

For most of his life, he was a devout follower of the Derethi religion, although his devotion was more a product of logic than of faith.

Hrathen was a graduate of Ghajan Monastery,[4] and rose quickly in the ranks of the priesthood. His talent for public speaking made him an invaluable tool of Wyrn in Wyrn's attempt to conquer the world through the spread of the Derethi religion. Hrathen's particular talent lay in destroying the kingdoms of those who did not convert, and he had a hand in both the destruction of the Duladel Republic,[5] and the simultaneous invasion of Arelon and Teod. During the invasion of Teod, he came to a full awareness of Wyrn's corruption of Shu-Dereth, and was instrumental in stopping the complete destruction of both kingdoms. Unfortunately, his efforts to save Princess Sarene resulted in his death at the hands of Dilaf and Fjon.[1] For his efforts, he was buried with the rest of the heroes of the battle just outside of Elantris.[6]

History[edit]

Early life[edit]

Little is known of Hrathen's youth. He was a citizen of Fjordell, and from a young age was determined to enter the priesthood. While still a boy, he appeared to have an intense ardor for Shu-Dereth. This passion would define the rest of his life, although it would be extinguished in his first experience at a monastery.

Dakhor Monastery[edit]

Dakhor monastery was the most elite of Fjordell's Derethi monasteries. Hrathen proved both his talent and devotion by being accepted into its ranks. However, the experience there was not the one he had expected.[4] The priests of Dakhor wielded a power not unlike that of the Elantrians, though the monk's powers were much more adapted to battle. The most remarkable difference, however, was in the requirements to gain powers. Where the Elantrians gained their powers in a seemingly random fashion, the priests of Dakhor used human sacrifices and strange rites to alter themselves.[7] For some powers, such as the ability to travel great distances instantaneously, a secondary sacrifice was necessary to activate the power.[8] In many ways, their powers are similar to Hemalurgy.

Hrathen weathered the early stages of the training with mixed success. He was able to complete the beginning stages of the transformation -- a reshaping of the bones in his right forearm.[9] The exact powers that this bestowed are unknown, though it seems likely that it enhanced his physical capabilites, given the prowess he demonstrated later in life. His time there deeply scarred his psyche, however, and when Dilaf, the leader of the monastery, sacrificed a monk to transport himself a short distance, Hrathen left Dakhor.[8]

Ghajan Monastery[edit]

After leaving Dakhor Monastery, Hrathen was still resolved to progress in the priesthood. Accordingly, he went to Ghajan Monastery to finish his training as a Derethi priest.[4] Not one of the three specialized monasteries, his training there was a combination of religious instruction and military training. Hrathen excelled at both disciplines, and rose quickly in the ranks of the priesthood. In a relatively short period of time, he ascended to the rank of gyorn. As a gyorn, he was one of a group of twenty men that stood nearly at the top of the religious hierarchy of Shu-Dereth. Only the leaders of monasteries and Wyrn, considered the voice of God, stood higher than Hrathen, and neither was often a presence in Hrathen's day-to-day actions.

Conversion of Duladel[edit]

Soon after rising to the rank of gyorn, Hrathen convinced Wyrn to send him on a mission to convert the Duladel Republic. At the time, Duladel was a republic not unlike the Roman republic--a relatively small, aristocratic republican class, and a much larger group of ordinary citizens. The Duladel Republic was also the home and only major representation of Jesker, a naturalistic religion that taught of a powerful, natural force. The strict definition of conversion would have required the conversion of most of the republican class to Shu-Dereth, but Shu-Dereth's strictly ordered power structure would not have worked well with the republican political philosophy.

Understanding this, Hrathen moved in with the intent of overthrowing the government of the Duladel Republic. He was soon able to establish a large following, thanks to his training and natural skill as an orator. Hrathen's intent seems to have been limited to establishing a king with Derethi sympathies, but in the process of instigating a rebellion, he accidentally threw the country into a bloody and prolonged civil war.[10] His training was such that he could not fail to use the opportunity to firmly ensconce Shu-Dereth in the resulting kingdom, but he regretted the bloodshed he caused there for the rest of his life.[11] Ultimately, his failure to protect the people of Duladel, more than any other event, would shape his reaction to Wyrn's planned destruction of Arelon and Teod.

Conversion of Arelon[edit]

Wyrn himself charged Hrathen with three months to convert Arelon to Shu-Dereth or the Fjordell Empire would invade.

Arriving in Arelon, Hrathen assumed control as the head of the Derethi religion there, dismissing Fjon - the previous leader - and suggesting he would find renewed faith and purpose back in Fjordell. He saw the zealousness of Arteth Dilaf and hoped to make use of it, viewing his ardour as something dangerous if left unmonitored. He proceeded to make Dilaf his hroden.

He conducted sermons denouncing the Elantrians as Svrakiss and being unholy, damned by Jaddeth, working to make the people hate them. His intention being to unite the people in their hatred for Elantrians and use that to convert them. He began preaching atop the Elantrian wall and this is where he first encountered Sarene. She was able to ask questions that would embaress him in front of the gathered nobles he was preaching to. Rather than be annoyed he was actually very impressed by her shrewdness and felt invgorated by the promise of a worthy opponent.

Despite his humiliation, several of the nobles still agreed to attend his private meeting where he offered them vague promises of power from Fjordell should they convert to Shu-Dereth. The most power noble among them, Duke Telrii, he met in private to offer the chance to be King of Arelon.

Wishing to closer inspect the Elantrians, he bribed the captain of the guard at the Elantrian wall to bring him an Elantrian. He questioned the Elantrian and decided that he couldn't allow the populace to actually get close to the Elantrains and see how mundane they really were. He ordered for the Elantrian to be put back into Elantris but Dilaf instead tortured the Elantrian to madness and tried to burn it alive during one of Hrathen's sermons. Fearing retribution from Iadon, Hrathen interrupted the sermon, swayed the audience to his side and burnt the Elantrian to death later in private to end it's suffering.

At this point Hrathen began to truly question his faith. He saw his way of doing things was based entirely on cold, calculating logic whilst Dilaf had burning passion. Envious of Dilaf's speeches being more successful than his own as they connected to the hearts of the people better. In the end his attempts to make Arelenes fear and hate Elantrians was foiled by Sarene, who performed charity work in Elantris to prove they were harmless and pitiful. Hrathen accepted the Arelenes would not hate what they pitied and abandonned this plan.

Hrathen suffered constant guilt over the violent uprising in Duladel and fought against Dilaf's more aggressive attempts to spread hatred, hoping to convert Arelon as bloodlessly as possible.

Instead, he focused on making Telrii the new king of Arelon, then pay him to convert to Shu-Dereth and hope the rest of Arelon would follow. He had Fjordell forces attack Iadon's ships, crushing his income which would make him too weak to be the ruler in the eyes of the economically-centric nobility of Arelon, whilst simultaneously offering Telrii easy deals in Fjordell to boost his profits above Iadon's. However, this was also foiled when Sarene arrange a contract between Iadon and Teod to secure the king's finances.

Defeated once again, a shipment of potions he ordered from Forton arrived. Hrathen drank one and it simulated the affects of the Shaod, making Hrathen look like an Elantrian. For five days he was thrown into Elantris until the potion wore off and he was returned to normal. He returned to Kae, announcing that it was a miracle caused by Jaddeth, increasing the number of Shu-Dereth followers in Arelon.

Following his release he learned Sarene had accidently stumbled upon Iadon committing ritual sacrafice for the Jeskeri Mysteries, leading to the king's arrest and eventual suicide. Now that Arelon required a new king, Hrathen plotted once again to put Telrii on the throne. He became aware of Sarene's plan to marry Duke Roial, combine their wealth and announce Roial as king. To prevent this Hrathen had a Derethi assassin take one of Forton's potions and slip it to the princess before her wedding. When Sarene lifted her veil at the wedding, she appeared to have become an Elantrian and was thrown into Elantris. Over the next five days, Telrii consolidated power and was coronated King of Arelon.

Whilst satisfied with Sarene's removal he hoped she came to no harm and knew that the potion would be temporary. During her internment in Elantris, he contacted her father - King Eventeo of Teod - and claimed he could heal Sarene if Eventeo swore an oath to convert to Shu-Dereth. The king did and when the potion wore off, Sarene was released from Elantris and distraught to realise her father's decision. Hrathen tried to shake her hand as a sign of respect for her cunning but his ultimate victory but she was confused and repulsed by him. Eondel drew his sword and held it at Hrathen's throat to make him back off. Hrathen effortlessly disarmed the elderly general but decided it best to leave.

Hrathen's plan was coming together but he forgot to account for the foolishness of King Telrii; he refused to convert unless Wyrn paid exponential amounts of money and he had Duke Roial killed. Eondel, his sense of honour dictating that Roial must be avenged, stormed the palace with his legion of soldiers and died killing Duke Telrii. Hrathen was witness to this and realised once again he had gone with the logical approach, not caring about actually converting Telrii's soul to Shu-Dereth and only caring pragmatically about bribing him enough to say he did, blaming his defeat on this.

Hrathen was present at Raoden's coronation and was disgusted when the Arelene nobility still accepted him as king after he was revealed to be an Elantrian, realising if he had continued his plan to make the Arlenes hate Elantrians this never would have happened.

At this point he learnt Dilaf was actually a Dakhor monk and that several of them had infiltrated Kae. Dilaf revealed that Wyrn never wanted Hrathen to succeed, instead sending him in as a distraction. Their enemies spent so much time focused on Hrathen and foiling his schemes to convert Arelon they did not notice the monks preparing to commit genocide, wiping out the people of Arelon and Teod to prevent any more dissent from Shu-Dereth and stopping anyone else from becoming an Elantrian. Hrathen was horrified at this, having wanted to save souls not cause a massacre. But before he could take any action, the monks began the invasion of Arelon.

Invasion of Arelon[edit]

Accompanying the monks during their assault on the city, Hrathen was in a constant state of disgust and shock. He was witness to Sarene being taken captive by the monks and learnt Dilaf's beloved had been driven mad by an incorrectly drawn Elantrian Aon causing Dilaf's hatred for Elantrians.

Dilaf and Sarene were placed in a circle with Dilaf and several monks. A monk in the centre was burnt up, body and soul, to allow magic to transport them to Teoin.

Battle of Teoin[edit]

Meeting with Eventeo under the pretence it was time for him to convert to Shu-Dereth the monks prepared to assassinate the King of Teod. Hrathen became aware that Dilaf planned to murder Sarene in front of Eventeo before they killed the king and finally realising that his feelings of respect and rivalry with Sarene were in fact love he saved her life by attacking Dilaf.

Eventeo escaped while his guards fought the monks and Hrathen and Sarene retreated into a alley. They managed to avoid the monks and disguise themselves as peasants. Walking among the masses, Sarene questioned why Hrathen chose to change sides. Hrathen revealed still followed Shu-Dereth, still prayed to Jaddeth and still thought the Derethi teachings were correct, he just couldn't agree with Wyrn and his interpretation of them. At that point, Hrathen was stabbed in the chest by Fjon who had been sent by wyrn to assassinate the gyorn.

Hrathen died in Sarene's arms his final thoughts being: "Goodbye, my princess. Jaddeth be merciful to my soul. I only did the best I could."

Hrathen got back up and saved Raoden and Sarene from Dilaf. He used the reshaping of the bones in his forearm to block Dilaf's sword strikes and expresses no pain when stabbed in the side. He grasbs Dilaf and snaps the monks neck. His eyes are unfocused and look to the sky and his arm begins to glow. With Dilaf dead, Hrathen tosses his body aside and topples forward lifelessly. Sarene theorises that both the wounds inflicted by Fjon and Dilaf should've been instantly fatal but Hrathen clung to life through his Dakhor markings.

Legacy[edit]

Hrathen's body was ferried back to Elantris and buried in the memorial barrows for heroes who fell during Fjordell's invasion. He was buried alongside Eondel, Karata, Saolin and Roial with his bloodred armour stacked alongside it and his cape draped over his sword. His funeral was performed last. Sarene speaks at his funeral saying that she thought she understood the man as her enemy by his sense of duty, his powerful will and his determination to save people through religion but she had no knowledge of his internal conflict or that he'd place the lives of everyone else over his own ambitions and how if it hadn't been for him then Dilaf would have killed both her and Raoden. She implores the people to remember Hrathen not as their enemy but as their saviour.

Attributes & Abilites[edit]

Due to his training in various monasteries, Hrathen is a skilled unarmed combatant, capable of disarming a seasoned soldier and disabling several attackers with ease. His official gyorn's set of full plate armor, unlike that of many of his colleagues, was fully functional, and since he wore it at all times he was in public--most of his waking hours--he was in excellent physical condition.

Hrathen is also a talented speaker and strategist, capable of winning people to his cause and accurately predicting his opponents motives and creating potent counters to such moves.

Hrathen's only power linked to the Dor is a bone in his forearm, the only remnant of being trained at the Dakhor monastery, although the abilities of this bone are not extensively revealed, it was shown to be practically indestructible and granted him the strength to break the neck of a full Dakhor monk.[1]

Quotes[edit]

Someday they would call him their savior.
— Hrathen's thoughts as he arrives in Arelon, which turn out to be prophetic.[2]
He was not a zealot; he would never be a man of extreme passion. In the end, he followed Shu-Dereth because it made sense. That would have to be enough.
— He comes to terms with his faith.[12]
I still believe Dereth's teachings. My problem is with Wyrn, not God.
— Hrathen explaining to Sarene why he has turned against the monks.[1]
She would never know that he had come to love her.
— As Hrathen dies, thinking of Sarene.[1]
Goodbye, my princess. Jaddeth be merciful to my soul. I only did the best I could.
— Hrathen, as he lays dying.[1]
Let it be said that after all else, Hrathen, gyorn of Shu-Dereth, was not our enemy. He was our saviour.
— Sarene's words at Hrathen's funeral.[13]

Notes[edit]

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