Temertain gets a deservedly bad wrap as Prince, but let’s look at the guy a little sympathetically. Temertain was born in 1570, in the Holy Country. He was third-generation Kethaelan – his father was born there as well, and his grandfather Jotisan had lived in Karse for most of his adult life. His great-grandfather was Eonistaran the Sage, who was a stabilizing figure in Sartar for generations.
Temertain, like the previous three generations of ancestors, was a Sage of Lhankor Mhy. He specialized in Brithos and in particular was the foremost scholar of pre-Second Age iron statuary. He was in his 40s when a bunch of Colymar adventurers persuaded him to return to Sartar as the fabled Philosopher King.
Now Temertain had no practical experience in politics or governing. He might have known some of Terasarin’s heirs before they were murdered, but he was a distant relative. However he was a solid scholar, who had mastered Western, Jrusteli, Old Brithos, Brithos Lore, Malkioni Lore, and the mysteries of Iron. He knew far more about Malkioni Law than Orlanthi, and could communicate better in Old Brithini than in Theyalan.
No doubt Temertain figured that he could bring the full measure of his wisdom and scholarship to bear as the ruler of Sartar. I kind of imagine he thought he was in the movie “Dave” where every problem had a simple, rational solution and it just took a careful application of logic and scholarship to get there.
Temertain was of the sacred bloodline, and was protected by a Royal Guard of fierce werewolves, and was expected to perform sacrifices to Orlanth Rex, mediate between the tribes, prove his potency to the Earth Goddess, show his prowess through hunting and battle, and all that kind of stuff. Feel sorry for the guy – he was basically Miskatonic University’s Dean of Oriental Languages appointed to rule Kafiristan. He performs his sacred rites, and gets nearly killed by Chaos.
No wonder after a year or so, Temertain gave up on trying to rule. He fell in love with a Tarshite Princess (and fellow scholar), let his Lunar advisors do whatever they wanted and spent his time studying ancient art and writing poems about his love.
Until eleven years later when a bunch of Death-worshiping fanatics hunted him down and killed him in his own palace.
As a Prince, Temertain was even more incapable than Fazzur could have hoped. His only source of authority was his sacred bloodline – he was neither warrior, hunter, mason, lover, magician, or hero. He was a hopelessly out of his depth, a Prince by nothing but a distant connection with greater ancestors. But by some accounts, he still possessed some wit and charm, and may have even been aware of his predicament.
He reminds me of Einhard’s description of the later Merovingian kings:
There was nothing left the King to do but to be content with his name of King, his flowing hair, and long beard, to sit on his throne and play the ruler, to give ear to the ambassadors that came from all quarters, and to dismiss them, as if on his own responsibility, in words that were, in fact, suggested to him, or even imposed upon him. He had nothing that he could call his own beyond this vain title of King and the precarious support allowed by the Mayor of the Palace in his discretion, except a single country seat, that brought him but a very small income.
I can imagine how impressed the Orlanth lords and priests were when Temertain quoted from ancient Brithini sources in order to explain the logical workings of society.
“The characteristics of the Philosopher King include love of knowledge, good memory, love of learning, love of truth, dislike for sensual pleasures, dislike for amassing wealth, magnanimity, courage, steadfastness, eloquence and the ability to light quickly on the middle term.”
Besides, Temertain studied nothing so interesting as Arkat. Brithini statuary and related cultural lore.
We could imagine an alternate timeline where the Colymar adventurers didn’t try to find a missing heir. All those Sartarites atop Larnste’s Table ended up being killed or sold into slavery, but Temertain got to live out his days as scholar in the Holy Country. Until he was killed by Wolf Pirates.
Temertain’s father was cousin to Prince Salinarg, which is the closest anyone was to a Prince. Unless you were willing to go out to New Pavis…