Name: Rannon ZanTaoyaka
Title: Sati-rehu, Prince of Kayalana, Sati-rama, King of Kayalana
Birthday: January 2nd
Celestial guardian: Dragon
Ethnicity: Ititshi (Kayalana)
Eye Color: Grey
Hair color: Dark Brown
Skin color: White
Rannon is the second son of Queen Na-Merate and King Tenotaka ZanTaoyaka of Kayalana, his complicated premature birth costing his mother her life in labour. The King blamed the child for the death of his beloved Queen and could never find it in himself to love his youngest son.
When disaster struck and his older brother Shayari died alongside his family while on a quest for peace, Rannon was unexpectedly thrust first in line for the throne. And when the loss of his beloved firstborn caused the King to die of a broken heart just a short while after, Rannon found himself robbed of all family and crowned king of Kayalana at age 14, with no experience or preparedness to rule.
A heavy crystal crown upon his head, his father’s ring upon his finger seemingly heavier yet, the young King was still wise enough to surround himself with trusted advisors. Tajkhan Dashkarisna, Shantu of the Lion, leader of the warrior caste of Kayalana stepped up as his closest mentor and supporter. Determined to live up to his family legacy, Rannon dedicated himself wholly to be a great ruler, and for the first ten years of his reign, Kayalana flourished.
Then came the drought. For two consecutive years, Kayalana suffered, her harvests failing, her people starving, the rivers turning into dust on the wind. Helplessly Rannon watched everything he had built beginning to crumble, and no matter how hard he worked, resources kept dwindling, people kept dying and the cruel skies granted not a drop of rain. In final dogged desperation, he drafted a grim plan to salvage what could be saved, sacrificing what couldn’t, so that Kayalana as a whole might survive.
But refusing to uproot entire communities and intentionally leaving others to die, the Karakali warriors tasked with carrying his orders out rebelled. Even Tajkhan, his valued mentor, opposed his king over the dark directive. Challenged and desperate, Rannon reacted with fury at their blatant disobedience, feeling betrayed by the one he trusted most. Lashing out, he named his once-friend a traitor and struck him down.
Enraged by the death of their leader, the Karakali declared war upon their king, and Kayalana was sucked into a maelstrom of Civil War.
For ten years the war raged, the kingdom crumbling into ruin as both sides placed blame with the other, refusing to stand down.
Then, impossibly, rumours began spreading that a rightful heir to the throne, long-dead Shayari‘s son Rylerion, had returned to lead the resistance. Furious that the rebels would sully his honoured brother’s memory with such a cheap ploy, Rannon nonetheless soon faced a nation united against him. Not even his strategic mastermind could counter the force of the entire people turning against his rapidly dwindling forces. Then, as the enemies reached the capital and stormed the palace itself, he came blade-to-blade with the pretender. Stunned, he realized that the man before him really was his nephew, Shayari‘s son, impossibly returned from the dead.
Even as he was reeling from the shock, he felt his strike hit home, his blade buried in Rylerion‘s heart, just as the man reached out for the ring upon his finger. In a blaze of lightning, the world went white, then dark.
And dark it remained. Slowly regaining consciousness, unsure of whether he was even dead or alive, he woke into absolute darkness. The chains at hands and throat seemed real enough, but even as endless time passed by, he wouldn’t succumb to thirst or starvation, somehow always waking right back up into that merciless dark. Unable to make sense of this undying decay, his sanity began to slip, and in the dark the voices of all those failed and betrayed kept him cruel company.
Then at last Rylerion came to his dark cell carrying a merciful light, and offered him his freedom on the simplest of terms – to never hurt anyone again.
Longing only for a clean death, having no wish to live on in disgrace as a pitiful testament to the new king’s mercy, the first thing he did once his beloved blades were back in his hands was to attempt ritual suicide. But as in that dark, he soon woke up again. To his anger, confusion and increasing dread it was becoming painfully apparent that no matter what he tried, the honourable end he craved was forever denied him.
Confronting Rylerion about it, his somber young nephew confirmed it – the flash of lightning had seared him immortal. Always sharp-sighted, Rannon immediately realized this was also why the young king was still alive, despite the cut to his heart – he himself was clearly not the only one unable to die.
Assigned a former street grifter turned kitchen boy for his personal servant, Rannon was less than pleased, but lacking better options he reluctantly accepted the boy Akari into his service. Often frustrated with his irreverent familiarity, Rannon still grew to appreciate his new servant’s unwavering loyalty and clever mind, and before long he recruited the rest of Akari‘s former street gang to supply him with intelligence. Outright forbidden to interfere with the politics of Kayalana, he still couldn’t help himself from getting involved. Secretly applying pressure to those still opposing king Rylerion‘s claim on the throne, he did what needed doing to bring an end to the long, destructive war at last.
Surprised to have his last adversaries suddenly turn and swear him fealty, Rylerion soon realized who was responsible for their change of heart. Annoyed at the former King’s infraction, Rylerion nonetheless appreciated the result of his intervention, and decided that he would rather have this skilled politician at his side than going to waste – or meddling behind his back. He named the overthrown Tyrant one of his advisors on the king’s Council – a development disliked by many, but Rannon’s counsel often turned out invaluable to the untrained king.
Warily the two former enemies began meeting for the occasional conversation, both having lived for many lonely long years without any known family alive. Rannon yearned desperately to know what fate had really befallen his brother, and Rylerion hungered as much to learn of his own lost family. Though not always seeing eye to eye, their initial mistrust slowly grew into mutual respect, even guarded affection.