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Kemet is an Exekian who allies himself with the New Exekian Empire. He is a central character who makes an appearance in Hymns to the Sun, Fever, Book II, and Book III.

Description

Within the context of Book II, Kemet is designed to serve as a foil to Nechtan, who fills a similar role in the Clan. While Nechtan is a hero among his people and Zimreon's most trusted ally, Kemet has imposed a self-exile upon himself and has been shamed and mistrusted by the New Imperials, primarily due to his ambiguous stance in politics and his marriage to the human Sofia Belgrade.

Despite this, he is nonetheless renowned as a warrior, even though he avoids killing whenever possible. He is one of the few Exekian Vormundists, and believes humans and Exekians can and should coexist peacefully.

Kemet is described as having delicate, chiseled features, pale skin like marble, black eyes which have a faint amber glow in the dark, and long white hair. Among his race, he is not considered attractive; he looks "too human". He is missing his right hand. In all his appearances in the stories, he is depicted wearing a black cloak with a large folded collar.

Biography

Early Life

Approximately 500 years ago, Kemet was born in the city of Casca Dun. Like most Exekians, he never knew who his parents were. As a child he stayed at the house of Haya, the daughter of Empress Skoga, and was taught to fight by her lover, the soldier Skandar.

During a stint in the army, he met Matta, who would become his mentor. Their bond was forged when Kemet underwent his traumatic first kluuda.

He became a highly skilled warrior and gained fame for his combat prowess. Various emperors favored him because he faithfully carried out even the most gruesome orders or menial tasks. He eventually became a prince and built his own palace, where he kept numerous slaves.

During the Age of Shadows, Kemet was assigned to deal with a small group of runaway slaves hiding in the wilderness. His mission was to recapture most of them, but it ultimately turned into a massacre. Men, women, and children were brutally slain at his hands. When he returned, having killed them all, he was praised by the Emperor Rokanan himself and promoted to a higher rank. Kemet was confused by his shameful feelings at the time and repressed his guilt to save face, but he retained lingering doubts about what he and his race were doing to the humans.

The final blow to Kemet's loyalty to the Empire came when his old friend Matta rebelled against the emperor in Matta's Mutiny. Kemet was forced to kill Matta to protect Rokanan, an action he would always regret.

Downfall

In the years preceding the fall of the empire, Kemet grew increasingly withdrawn from public and military life. He privately carried on a kind of platonic romance with one of his slaves, Mary. An unknown Exekian woman bore him a daughter, Kaarina; contrary to custom, Kemet kept Kaarina's chrysalis in his home and was present when she was born. He vowed to raise her himself, causing some scandal. Kaarina was cared for by Mary and sent to the House of Life as soon as she was old enough to begin schooling; Kemet often visited her, further alienating him from the rest of his kind, who did not understand why he was parenting the child. Mary eventually died, leaving Kemet with only Kaarina to root him.

During the First Exekian War, Kemet lost everything. Kaarina was among those slaughtered in the House of Life. His property was destroyed and his wealth taken as spoils of war.

A Slave In Hiberia

Attempting to find safety, Kemet traveled to the city of Moloc Bal, which he believed was still under Exekian control. Upon his arrival, however, Kemet was immediately captured. The city, renamed Hiberia, had been taken over by the humans, who opted to keep the thriving system of slavery. Lower-class humans and captive Exekians alike were made to work for those in power or face death.

Kemet was enslaved until the city was overtaken by King Cassius Stirling I. Most of the slaves were promptly killed by their masters, but Kemet was among those who managed to flee.

Hunted

Kemet went into the wilderness, where he wandered the countryside for over a century. He was chased and attacked by the humans; those of his own kind whom he encountered were either driven mad or reduced to a bestial state, bent purely on survival. There were rumors of feudal warfare among those Exekians who escaped to the Shadowlands. He didn't dare follow them, realizing he could never return to his old soldiering ways.

The Cult of Vor

Kemet was beaten by a family of farmers after they caught him trying to steal their food. They punished him the way they punished all thieves: by cutting off his left hand. They then abandoned him, bleeding, in the woods.

A short time later he was spotted by an old man. After stopping the bleeding, the man carried Kemet with him to a cave, where a small community of humans lived. The man who had saved him was the prophet Vor, who believed in peace and friendship between species; he brought the Exekian to his burgeoning cult.

There Kemet recovered from his injuries and regained his strength. He was placed in the care of Sofia Belgrade, who nursed him back to health. He became close to her and her infant son Vormundus, and also befriended Gavin Zosimus, who arrived the day after him.

Gradually, Kemet was converted to the new religion, becoming the ninth of the original disciples. He also began to develop romantic feelings for Sofia. Another cultist, Rolfe, objected to their affections, believing Kemet was using her.

Following the murder of Lilia Merriman, Kemet overheard Heather Babbitt and Joshua Merriman plotting to kill Daniel Zuse. One of the ideas they suggested involved using some of Kemet's blood as a poison. Horrified, Kemet left the cave to ensure their plan never came to fruition. He was brought back by a pleading Sofia.

Not long after, King Tristan Stirling ordered the arrest of Vor, whom he saw as a threat. Soldiers arrived at the cave, demanding Vor come with them, but he was away at the time. Kemet hid from sight, and witnessed Sofia being attacked by one of the soldiers. He was on the verge of bursting out of cover to save her when Vor returned and submitted to the soldiers.

Vor was executed for heresy and treason. Fearing for their lives, the cult disbanded. Rolfe took a third of the Vormunds and formed the Eclipse; the other two thirds scattered to the four winds. With the help of Lord Gavin Zosimus, Kemet, Sofia, and Vormundus escaped to the south.

At the border, Gavin left them and returned to his home in Tyre. They continued on to the river Antoi, where they stopped and built a cottage in a clearing. They stayed there for several months, living as a family. Eventually Sofia agreed to remain there with Vormundus, while Kemet proceeded into the Shadowlands.

Apollo7

Kemet as he appeared before Callisto.

Dissolution and Unity

In search of other members of his kind, Kemet traversed the Shadowlands. His charisma and skill with a sword led to him gaining allies of his own. He swiftly learned of the situation among the Exekians in the south; two rival factions had formed, one led by Callisto, a banished princess from ancient times, and the other an alliance between the former prince Zimreon and his lieutenant Nechtan, who called themselves the Clan.

Kemet recognized that the Clan would never seek peace with the humans, but Callisto, who had been exiled to the south thousands of years ago for falling in love with a human slave, undoubtedly would. Kemet traveled to her territory and managed to meet with her. Offering her his allegiance, she tasked him with proving himself.

Kemet led his forces and Callisto's army against the Clan. They were victorious. After the battle, she agreed to join their forces permanently, forming the New Exekian Empire.

5th Kluuda

Kemet reached his fifth kluuda amid the turmoil and fear of an invasion by King Aldous. After delivering information to the Empress, he returned home to Sofia. Along the way, however, he gave in to the fever and mated with Nesrine. Ashamed at having betrayed Sofia, he forsook the marital bed, sleeping in the cellar instead. His refusal to mate made his condition worse, and in a fit of irrationality he stole a chrysalis, hiding it in the cellar.

Quotes

"Vor had carried him on his back from the forest, where he had been left to bleed out by vengeful villagers. He refused to speak for several days, watching them with sleepless suspicion, but eventually he gave them his name, Kemet, and admitted his hand had been cut off for stealing food. None of them asked what he was doing in Wallachia, especially so close to the border, but it was generally believed that he was in a kind of exile."

—Gavin meets Kemet

"She thought of the paintings she had seen in the houses of lords depicting the heroes of history with the faces of angels—features that were strong and robust, but also delicate and refined, almost feminine. His voice was too deep for him to be mistaken for a woman, but that long white hair didn’t help. Ah, well—she had always loved the pretty ones."

—Sofia on Kemet's appearance

Trivia

Kemet was what the ancient Egyptians called their country, meaning "black land".

The character's original incarnation was as "Prince Caspar of Thun". He appeared in a short-lived story called Entropy, which was published as part of the short story/fragment anthology The Old World Lives Anew!

In early drafts of Hymns to the Sun, he is called Apollo after the ancient Greek god of the sun.

Works Cited

The Old World Lives Anew!, 2017: "Hatchling"

Hymns to the Sun, 2017

Fever, 2017

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