Enticing chatter about a possible Khan-Ur was rampant in the Icebrood Saga’s prologue. With NPCs discussing who could fit the role and areas in Grothmar Valley referencing the legendary figure, it was as if the writers were drawing the player’s eye to this particular slice of Tyrian lore.
For those unaware, ‘Khan-Ur’ is the title given to the supreme leader of the charr. Historically, there has only ever been one who truly fulfilled this role in uniting the charr under one banner. After his assassination, the Khan-Ur’s four cubs fought each other in an attempt to succeed him and failing that they split into the High Legions of Flame, Blood, Iron and Ash.
Cut to the present day, and the charr are again warring amongst themselves, with cries of ‘One Charr’ being used by both sides. Is there someone among them capable of uniting the legions again? Let’s have a look at the candidates.
Spoilers up to Episode 4 of the Icebrood Saga, ‘Jormag Rising’.
Born of Flame Legion, she rose to become Blood’s head of security and has now moved from being “acting” Blood Imperator to an imperator in truth. Her son may have gone off with the enemy, but Crecia is unshakeable in a crisis. She never pursued him with anything like Rytlock’s paternal panic. Cool, but not cold, it’s easy to see why she’s well-suited for leadership.
Her repertoire of political moves include returning Flame to the High Legions, keeping Malice and Smodor on task during salty war meetings, co-opting the enemies cries of ‘One charr’ (with Efram, sure) and who knows, maybe she could have brought Steel back to the fold if it weren’t for a certain stabby imperator.
If you look closely, all the choices she’s made for the charr have a common theme: Unity.
However, some charr may find it difficult to see beyond her fire elemental abilities and Flame Legion birth. Historically, the legions have sworn never again to be led by shamans after the charr rebellion threw off the tyranny of the Flame Legions shamans and their gods centuries ago. It’s unclear whether a regular spellcaster equates to a shaman, but the charr are known to be suspicious of magic-users regardless.
This Blood Legion Tribune does not have a head for politics, but when you’re as high up the chain of command as a Khan-Ur, maybe it’s no longer a debilitating condition. Rytlock can simplify any goal to: “(growl) What are we doing standing around? Let’s do this already.” There will be no more bickering at the table, but if there is, he doesn’t need to hear it. He’ll be out there, leading from the frontlines, in whatever mess is currently exploding the world.
His friends will help, of course. With his connection to the Commander and Aurene, a spin doctor could easily announce Rytlock has his own personal dragon. Charr love that kind of thing, right? And let’s not forget his relationship with bestie, Logan Thackery. Rytlock could herald a new era of peace and love between charr and humanity. Though, things might get dicey once he declares all mice to be their blood-brothers.
The name ‘Malice Swordshadow’ might not be one much used in conversations surrounding the next Khan-Ur, but perhaps that’s how she wants it. One could speculate that she’s worked out that the other legions would never trust the Imperator of ‘sneaky Ash’, leading Malice to approach the Khan-Ur seat from a different angle. Instead of throwing her name into the debate, she could instead quietly back another candidate; a puppet Khan-Ur. Add in a network of spies feeding her intel on allies and enemies alike, and Swordshadow’s shadow government could well become a thing.
It wouldn’t be the worst fate for the charr either, because despite what around two-thirds of the legions may think, the art of subterfuge deserves more than disdain. Malice was secretly helping the truce faction amongst the charr before “Smodur’s” Ebonhawke Treaty was even a thing. Who knows what other arrangements she might be working out for the benefit of the charr behind closed doors?
He’s the face of the new Flame Legion and it’s a good one. Under his leadership, Flame accepted Blood’s offer to rejoin the legions. It came with costs of course, but Efram is all about redeeming Flame’s historical sins. There’s a gentleness in Efram that’s not wholly there in the other imperators. Perhaps it’s in his acceptance of sending Flame cubs to Blood fahrars or in his interactions with his own young daughter, Prisca. He has a new vision for Flame. One without the warmongering and war crimes (thank you, Smodur) of the past.
But Efram is charr, and to be charr is to fight. Idealistic as he is, he still leads the United Legions’ push forward on the beach side of Drizzlewood Coast and later to the Frost Citadel, as little as he wanted to see a charr ‘on the wrong side of [his] sword again’. When meeting Ranoah in battle at Lighthouse Point, he tries to convince her to surrender. A compassionate warrior (or elementalist) could be a great Khan-Ur, but only if the rest of the charr can accept being led by a Flame Legion shaman after centuries of fighting to prevent exactly that.
Listen, the election to be in the Captain’s Council didn’t go well, but that doesn’t mean being the next Khan-Ur isn’t the perfect job for Evon. Think of all he could accomplish with all that wealth from the Black Lion Trading Company. New swords for Blood. Cogs and spanners for Iron. Soft shoes for Ash. He could even throw in some lava rocks for dear old Flame. And think what he could do with even more gold, like say…all those piles just sitting there in the Vault of the Khan-Ur. A vote for Gnashblade, is a vote for prosperity.
When the time has come to lay down your sword, and you stumble to find the comfort which has been denied you for battle after battle, who better to catch your weary body, than Snargle Goldclaw, the greatest writer of his age. With you, his muse, in his arms, he can spread the sensual message written in his tales of interspecies connection, to the battle-hardened warriors of his people. A message of which you already have intimate knowledge. So dawns a new era of peace, cooperation and candid delight.
Bangar Ruinbringer, the Voice of Jormag
All this business concerning the fate of the charr started through the machinations of the former Blood Imperator, so it’s only right we consider him for the title. His plans went awry with the cock-up of the century, but perhaps it worked out for the best. After all, Jormag wants the preservation of all of Tyria, including the charr lands. Though, having a literal puppet for a Khan-Ur, isn’t going to be easy for the charr to swallow. But how is corrupting Bangar to be eligible as Khan-Ur any different from Evon Gnashblade buying a ship so he could meet the requirements for the Captain’s Council?
Yeah… In the end, having Jormag as Khan-Ur is probably the charr’s best option if they’re to survive the coming age. Because ice protects.
So there you have it, one of these seven candidates could be the next Khan-Ur. Or maybe some other notable charr will steal the show. There are certainly cases to be made for Smodur’s successor: Mia Kindleshot, Ryland Steelcatcher (i.e. Jormag again) and even the lead vocalist of Metal Legion, Varus Chainrazor, because music is what we need in these trying times. Whoever becomes Khan-Ur, they better be up to the task of healing the strong divisions threatening their people.