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"I have heard too many people talk about glory, doorkeeper, and usually they meant their own. Normally when you hear an elf talking about glory and the spilling of blood, they mean their glory and your blood. I am telling you this, doorkeeper, because I suspect you will turn out like me. I suspect you will end up spilling a lot of your blood and other people's for causes not your own, in places you would rather not be. Because you are already very good with weapons and you will become very much better unless I am greatly mistaken. And our rulers have need of warriors, our world being the sort of place it is."
Korhien Ironglaive to Prince Tyrion of Cothique.[1d]
Warhammer Chrace

Korhien Ironglaive was the Captain of the White Lions tasked with bringing Princes Tyrion and Teclis to the city of Lothern. Born a commoner in a barn in the mountains, his father a freeholder and his mother the local archery champion, he fell in love with the Lady Malene of House Emeraldsea,[1f] and was good friends with Arathion, as well as a master of chess.[1b] He would later become Tyrion's mentor in the ways of the warrior.[1e] And even Teclis would come to respect the warrior for his insight into Asur politics, the White lion joking to the young mage that not everyone who wields a blade is brainless. Teclis appreciated the subtle irony.[1f]

Overview

Korhien is described as having a voice with the clarity of a great bronze horn intended to ring out over a battlefield, and his laughter booming. Taller than most Elves, the broad shouldered White Lion can carry a great axe, a short sword strapped to his side, and a long lance with ease.[1a] Meteor are his hands, and, unlike most Asur, Korhien has no sourness to losing, as was made clear when a youthful Tyrion bested him multiple times in a row at chess, a game that Korhien is known for excelling at within the Phoenix Court.[1b]

The White Lion awed at how Tyrion was able to take the perfect stance and grip with the longsword he gave him, despite Tyrion saying he'd never wielded a blade before - his father having sold all theirs to continue research. Korhien then asked the youth to wield his enormous axe, the White Lion saying he would not normally allow anyone else to wield it. Tyrion shrugged and took the weapon, holding it two-handed across his body, feet apart, left in front of right. To this, Korhien muttered "Like you had been training with it for years." Remembering that Tyrion claimed to have trained with the bow and spear, the White Lion demanded to be shown, despite Tyrion's confusion. Nevertheless, the prince brought his bow and strung it, strapping on his quiver and aimed at the target he had set in the villa's western wall. He breathed easily and loosed three arrows one after the other, placing them easily in the central ring he had made. They weren't difficult shots, but Korhien was impressed, telling him his technique was perfect. At long last, he ordered the youth to take up a spear and cast it at the target. Tyrion smiled and turned, throwing the spear as part of the same motion he had taken the weapon. The spear landed in the central ring of the target and buried itself there, among the arrows.[1d]

When Tyrion was told he'd be easier to teach than his father, Korhein responded to the prince's eagerness to start by asking if he was anxious to learn how to kill. To this, Tyrion explained he already knew how to kill, that he was anxious to learn how to use a sword. When asked whom he'd killed, the prince became embarrassed to admit deer. Korhien explained to him that killing another elf, or even an orc or a human, is not the same thing. The White Lion explained that, for one, they were intelligent beings who knew how to fight, that they would try to kill him in turn. Tyrion countered by claiming he'd killed mountain lions and monsters that came down from the Annulii. By monsters, he meant the "mutated creatures with the forms of animals all mixed together," or so the huntsmen assured him. This took Korhien aback. In truth, when he set out to meet Arathion's twin sons, he expected to meet sheltered, scholarly princes, like their father once was, not someone who speaks so casually of killing. When Tyrion asked if it was a bad thing, the White Lion assured him by saying "not in the world we live in".[1d]

As time went on, with the death of Lord Emeraldsea and decades of politics, Korhien and Melene would drift apart. Tyrion believed the White Lion still had interest in his aunt, and perhaps she him, as they still remained friends in XI 110.[2a]

On War

Korhien believes it is to Arathion's credit he never learned how to kill. To Tyrion, he warns that anyone he fights will be someone's father or mother, someone's son or daughter or brother - that's what makes it so hard. Because the loss of any elf life is something to be mourned. Even the druchii (though on this last he could only bring himself to nod when Tyrion asked, rather than say aloud). When Tyrion said it was a pity the Dark Elves did not feel the same way, Korhien asked "who was to say they don't? We are all still kin after all, even after all these centuries of Sundering." When Tyrion said "Perhaps someone should tell them," the White Lion said "Perhaps someone should. Or perhaps they already know." Tyrion points out that it hasn't stopped them from raiding Ulthuan. But again, Korhien points that it hasn't stopped the High Elves either, that it's worth remembering that it takes two sides to make a war.[1d]

Trivia

  • On Tyrion's sixteenth birthday, Korhien gave Tyrion a sword, sheath and leather strap. The sword itself was a true elven blade; long and straight, keen-edged and glittering in the mountain sunlight. Runes were etched in the metal. A blue sunstone inscribed with a dragon glinted from the pommel. For Tyrion, the blade was heavier than expected, even though he held it in one hand with such ease. Though the prince wanted the sword, his pride would not allow him to take such a magnificent gift from a stranger. Korhien countered by saying he'd loan the sword till they reached Lothern. In the meantime, he would train Tyrion to wield it.[1d]
  • "Doorkeeper" is a nickname Korhien gave Tyrion, the two having first met with the prince questioning the White Lion from behind the gate of Arathion's mountain villa.[1a]
  • Tyrion admits that Korhien does not sound much like what he expected a warrior to sound; that he is one who talks less of glory and more of reasons.[1d]
  • Arathion claims Korhien is perhaps the greatest warrior on Ulthuan, if only because the prince knows people whose business is to know such things.[1e]
  • Tyrion suspects Korhien lies when it comes to hiding how much he reads, the White Lion wanting to be seen as the bluff and not-too-intelligent soldier, rather than being something more. It didn't surprise the prince, as Korhien was companion and a bodyguard to the Phoenix King. Korhein went on diplomatic missions for Finubar. He acted as a go-between for the king and both the great houses and princes of Ulthuan. Such is the advantage of being underestimated by one's enemies.[1g]

Sources

  • 1: Blood of Aenarion (Novel) by William King
    • 1a: Chapter 1
    • 1b: Chapter 2
    • 1c: Chapter 3
    • 1d: Chapter 4
    • 1e: Chapter 5
    • 1f: Chapter 9
    • 1g: Chapter 19
  • 2: Sword of Caledor (Novel) by William King
    • 2a: Chapter 13

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