The Widow Harun
Second Son of Jebe Khan, Father of Mongke
Like his older brother Jochi, Batu was raised Shaaran, and even today his dress and mannerisms are more southern than Tuigan. A very thin, wiry Tuigan with a clever, calculating expression, he wears his long black hair pulled back in a Shaaran ponytail, tied with a thong of leopard skin. He is also a shapeshifter and is often found in the form of a Shaar leopard. He sometimes uses the leopard form to test the intentions of strangers.
Born in 1381, Batu was two years old when he was sent south into The Shaar in 1383 to be fostered by allied Hyena tribesmen there, in an attempt to protect him from The Demonwar, just as had been done with his older brother Jochi. Batu grew up Shaaran, learning the language and customs, becoming a famous warrior, and eventually marrying Ouattara, a princess of his adoptive Hyena tribe, in 1397. His son Mongke would become chieftain of the Hyena, one of two Shaaran groups whose traditional territory abutted the border of The Tuigan March at that time (1410). Mongke in his turn would also marry Artusas, a princess of the Lion tribe, in 1411 and Shatila, the youngest daughter of Drasna Bluemantle, then King of Ulgarth, in 1415. Their son Drasna, born in 1416, soon became King when his grandfather died in 1417, just weeks before Jebe Khan. In this way Ulgarth was dynastically united with The Tuigan Empire, though Mongke remained regent until the present day. In the politics of The Golden Family, therefore, Batu can be seen as one of Mongke’s partisans.
No sooner had his son become a chief than Batu assembled a horde of the Hyena tribe and great numbers of Tuigan for the second of The Great Raids against the border cities of The Shaar. Delzimmer, Three Swords, Channathgate, Rethmar and Kormul were sacked. Batu would take to the field again in 1418, 1419 and 1420, when his brother’s grandson Yakub was leading the horde, and again in 1424 for the final sack of Sheirtalar.
Years ago, Batu’s men rousted an old, half-crazed hermit from a cave in the area of former Unther. In return for his life, the creature agreed to prophesy for the prince. He told Batu that one day ‘a Calimite will cause problems for your daughter-in-law’ and if not handled properly, the issue could lead to war. The prophecy fell to the back of his mind until shortly before the Shaarmid horse fair of 1427, when his men uncovered a Ring of Three Wishes that was being used by Sabi, the most prominent breeder in the town, to enhance his entry in the big race – a Calimite called Spirit of Fire. Batu quickly recalled the old man’s words.
The race that year had already become a potential flashpoint when Artusas learned that her bitter rival Anawat intended to enter aboard West Wind, her favorite Lhesperan. Anawat was wife of Mongke’s brother Arigh Boke and mother of Yakub, the Khan of All Shaarans, for which the childless Artusas bitterly resented her. Artusas therefore entered her favorite Dambraai in the race so she could challenge her rival. Tempers flared, and unwise wagers were made. The winner between the two women was therefore likely to get a leg up over her rival in future power struggles between the branches of The Golden Family.
Batu correctly guessed that Sabi‘s cheating, if exposed, would be a match in this tinderbox, so he directed his men to steal the Calimite, which would knock Sabi out of the race and also spare the horse’s life. He was unaware that Llewellyn and the two Raptorans had already been hired to investigate, and the three crossed paths with Batu’s rustlers, three Half-Tuigan Hyena tribe Werewolves, fatally wounding two before the last escaped aboard Spirit of Fire. The Raptorans tracked the horse to Batu’s rendezvous point, where the prince put a stop to their investigation by revealing his own role. But he was impressed with Llewellyn and the two Raptorans nonetheless and persuaded Kerri to enter the race aboard his own Raurin, Sheik of Sheiks, in place of the Calimite. Batu seemed amused by the whole episode and now considers himself their ally.