Welcome to stop number twenty in the #exploreleira blog tour where we’re celebrating the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world.
If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles … and we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below! You can find a list of the stops and dates here: #exploreleira tour. (Links will be updated once each post becomes live.)
Today, we’re looking at the letter …
T is for the Takhran
Who is the Takhran? That’s a question that Birdie asks in Orphan’s Song and one I found myself asking again when I sat down to write this post. In fact, I put off writing this post for as long as I dared because I knew it would not be a simple one.
Or a pleasant subject.
Jirkar fiddled with a dry twig for several seconds before snapping it between his fingers. “What do you want to know? He’s a murderer. A tyrant. Look as far back in history as the records go, and you’ll find his black name marring the pages. He seems to have just always been in his fortress in Serrin Vroi.”
The Takhran is a warlord and tyrant who rules in the north of Leira from the city of Serrin Vroi. His fortress is built into the base of Mount Eiphyr and is considered nigh impregnable. Massive stone walls segmented with battlemented towers broken by a single gateway guarded by a four-towered gatehouse and a double portcullis. And yet, so great is the Takhran’s strength and power, he will not allow the gate to his fortress to be closed or the portcullis lowered.
A closed gate, in his eyes, is a sign of weakness.
The gaping hole, rather than appearing to be a chink in the impregnable defenses of the wall, seemed a warning that here was strength too great to fear attack. Arrogance, perhaps, but the Takhran’s armies stood unopposed.
Even if an army managed to breach the wall or an enemy dared brave the open gateway, rumor has it that a network of tunnels and caverns lay beneath the fortress, and there the Takhran houses his army. He commands a vast horde of Khelari soldiers, and their ranks are swelled by the Shantren—an order gifted with abilities to withstand the Songkeepers—and his raven spies and hounds. And other fouler creatures.
Although Leira has historically been people by distinct tribes each ruled by their own leaders, the Takhran desires to bring all under his rule. From Serrin Vroi, his armies swallowed the Nordlands to the foothills of the Whyndburg Mountains, and then continued to push farther westward and southward. Five years before Orphan’s Song begins, the Khelari reached and occupied Kerby on the border of the Westmark.
Slaves toil to clothe, feed, army, and equip the Khelari. From each occupied city, the soldiers take what they will. The conquered lands lie broken and bleeding beneath their feet. And ever the Takhran’s word drives them onward. Ever hungry. Never satisfied. For he will brook no limitation.
He will be content with nothing less than complete dominion.
“Don’t be blind, man! There’s bigger game involved. The Takhran has already taken the northern tribes. Up there, just beyond Dunfaen Forest, his soldiers patrol the streets, his hounds haunt the woods, his dark spies cover the skies. He’s goin’ t’ come south soon. We’ve always known that. It’s only a matter o’ time before all of Leira is in his grasp.”
When we first catch a glimpse of the Takhran in Orphan’s Song—SPOILER ALERT—he is only a shadowy figure that speaks to Carhartan from the depths of the Pit. We do not see his face. We are left only with a sort of delightful shiver skating down our spine as we anxiously await our first chance to bolt from the scene with Carhartan.
“I have already been apprised of your failure.” The Takhran’s voice hissed beside his ear, and it was all Carhartan could do to avoid starting. The torch sputtered, and the flames fizzled out until only a tiny spark remained. Wings fluttered overhead. The croaking cry of a raven tumbled down.
In a vague sort of way. And yet, I knew that I couldn’t get away with the same thing in Songkeeper. (Minor spoiler alert?) The Takhran eventually assumes center stage as the antagonist, and I knew a disembodied voice floating out of the darkness of the Pit wasn’t going to cut it.
So in Songkeeper, we get to see the Takhran in flesh and blood, and can I just say that I wish we could see his steed on the big screen. As odd as it may sound, I think I’m most excited about the addition of that creature! Yes, I promise, I am trying to avoid spoilers. So for now, all I will say is that you should read Songkeeper if only to find out what I’m talking about.
And I will leave you with a final quote from Amos on how the Takhran assumed power. It reminds me of Edmund Burke’s statement, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I don’t know about you, but it’s something that I think about a lot in the midst of the world that we live in today.
It was because of men like Dalton that the Takhran’s power had grown so much in recent memory. Because of men who sat idle, refusing to act, while the Takhran ventured forth from his city-kingdom in Serrin Vroi where he had ruled for ages past, and the northern tribes fell.
It was because of men like Dalton …
Men like Amos …
Men who had fought and failed and forgotten that the Takhran marched across a land of ashes—a broken people at his feet, the united banners of Serrin Vroi and the northlands at his back.
Want to find out more about the Takhran? Check out the links below to purchase the books:
And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Open to international entries. Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.