What about Kristark? Who’s he?
Today, with just fifteen days to go until the release, we’ll be looking at the other main character of Jake’s Last Mission, the Mugdaran emperor, Emperor Kristark Zadeem Hulvim kir Pladeen, which, translated into English roughly, is Emperor Kristark Most Honored Battle-proven Warship Commander son of Pladeen. I think it sounds better in Mugdaran, personally.
Kristark, which is the only part of that that’s his given name, was born Mirtelo 5, 255 (Sweytzian) to a spaceport prostitute and a merchant captain. His father was not involved in his life.
Kristark completed the tagreeth, the Mugdaran coming of age ceremony that involves the bare-handed killing of a large predator for food, days after turning twelve. Most people are closer to thirteen or fourteen before completing it. Being a bit of a traditionalist, he got the usual tattoo done the old-fashioned way instead of with modern tattooing equipment.
He joined the military two years before the Second Mugdaran War, which Mugdarans group with many other small wars under the name “Lorkik’s War”, after the emperor who started them. Before Kristark was sixteen he’d earned the title zadeem for his actions in the Battle of Gentha, where he disobeyed orders and didn’t attack a ship that was already rendered helpless. To most Mugdarans, there are few things more contemptible than attacking someone who can’t fight back.
After that, his rise through the ranks was meteoric. Two years later, before he was even eighteen, he was already a hulvim, meaning not only was he in command of a warship, but he’d proven in battle several times to be a highly competent warship commander.
By the time Harjort wrested the makayitay of state from Lorkik and beheaded him, ending his war, Kristark was a very respected young hulvim and it was no surprise at all that one of the many young women who’d tried to gain his affection had succeeded. They were married three years after the war ended and had their first child, a daughter, a year after that.
Kristark continued to have an impressive military career, now commanding one of the best ships in the Empire’s fleet. He and his wife had three more children before her early death in a sporting accident. After the loss of his wife, he devoted himself as equally as he could to his children and his career. Emperor Harjort, it became clear, was very impressed with him. So it came as no surprise to many when Harjort chose him as his successor instead of one of the older hulvim, fithin, or fithia. Fithin and fithia are the leaders of the traditional Mugdaran clans. The titles are almost entirely ceremonial these days, so it is has been a long time since one who wasn’t also a hulvim was named successor to an Emperor.
Shortly before this story starts — Jake doesn’t even know it’s happened yet, that’s how shortly — Harjort died, and Kristark became, while not the youngest emperor the Mugdarans have ever had, one of the youngest ones. This is a source of some tension as many believe the position should’ve been given to someone older and that Emperor Harjort was clearly showing signs of senility when he chose Kristark. Kristark has brief moments where he wonders if they might not be right, but for the most part is confident in his ability to lead his people. There is that small matter of those pressuring him to declare war on Sweytz though . . .