With great power comes great responsibility. Where have I heard that before? That’s right.
Xiuhcoatl certainly has power. He is able to alter destinies. And he uses this power to surround himself by more power, in an effort to build power, so he can have more power, all so he can strip others of power.
Szandor, a wizard, and Lucien, a skilled swordman and battlemage, make up Xiuhcoatl’s closest and most trusted allies. But it’s easy to forget that Szandor and Lucien are very powerful people as well. They would have to be, otherwise Xiuhcoatl would never have bothered to bring them in on his plans.
But, Szandor and Lucien aren’t out to conquer the world. Exactly how they ended up working for Xiuhcoatl is for another post. But for this post, I will talk about the inner turmoil that both of these remarkable men suffer.
All either of them can do it hope. Xiuhcoatl has promised an end to the Civil Wars, which have plagued the region for more than 5 centuries. And he certainly means to do just that. So when they watch Xiuhcoatl do some terrible things, such as destroying the small, remote village of Kaennon, all they can do is hope that ends will somehow justify the means.
Little do they know….
I often wonder if this is how so many soldiers felt during World War II? Like they knew that they were doing these horrible things, and these bad things were happening, but all they could do was hope their leader was right?
This is most notable during the chapters in which Xiuhcoatl, Szandor, and Lucien find Celyna and lure her to Elendri. Through the destruction of Kaennon, Celyna’s plight during her test of resolve in the Temple of Chruill, and Celyna’s suffering when Xiuhcoatl finally purchases her off the slave-trading block in Elendri’s city plaza.
For added effect, Celyna’s thoughts about her father illustrate just how close and happy her childhood in Kaennon had been. Okay, she got teased by some of the boys – but there’s no question about how close she was with her father. So for all that to have been ripped away…
Well, let’s just say there is plenty to feel guilty for.
Unless you’re Xiuhcoatl.
Lucien takes his guilt and all but avoids Elendri for a while, showing up only occasionally. He covers his guilt with elaborate gifts for Celyna, much like an uncle would spoil his favorite niece. Szandor takes on a closer role, more like a father. Having lost his own daughter before, he is very protective of Celyna – so much so that it calls his loyalties into question by Xiuhcoatl.
No matter how they handle their guilt, the truth remains: they helped Xiuhcoatl kill thousands of people all in the search of one child. Lucien goes so far as to try to brighten the thought by saying they didn’t sacrifice those people for one child, but rather they sacrificed those people for the sake of the entire region – millions of people.
It’s their guilt, and the different ways they find to cope with or cover it up, that drives them through much of the beginning of Heir Of Elendri. And that’s how this song ended up on my list of inspirations for the novel. Because they can see the other’s halos; and they can feel those halos tightening around their necks.
So who does this song remind me most about? It could work for either Szandor or Lucien very well, but when I listen to the song, it brings me to Lucien most of the time. Perhaps because we spend so much more time with Szandor than with Lucien.
Szandor’s motivations for following Xiuhcoatl are easy. His daughter died during the last violent outbreak of the Civil Wars, and he fell into depression. Xiuhcoatl came along, preaching about how he could end the Civil Wars for good and help Szandor find the people who killed his daughter. Plus, as he lives and works in Xiuhcoatl’s stronghold, it’s more difficult for him to remove himself from those plans. Generally speaking, there’s only one way to leave Xiuhcoatl’s employ and it’s not usually voluntary.
Lucien is more of a mystery. We don’t know as much about him yet, only that he is a long-time friend of Xiuhcoatl. But he doesn’t live in Elendri – he rules over his own city. He doesn’t depend on Xiuhcoatl for anything. So we’re all left more than just a little curious about Lucien.