Zhaspahr Clyntahn was a Vicar of the Church of God Awaiting, holding the office of Grand Inquisitor, head of the Office of the Inquisition. As with all members of the Council of Vicars, he was also a Knight of the Temple Lands.
His power and offices enabled him to serve as one of the so-called Group of Four, acting as the cabal's enforcer. In the de facto Church heirarchy, Clyntahn was second in prominence only to Zahmsyn Trynair. However, by the Year of God 895, Clyntahn had arisen to effective absolute personal domination of power in the Church.
Clyntahn was one of the most corrupt and venal officials of the Church in the Ninth Century of God, in a time where such traits ran rampant throughout the Temple. His vast and ruthless abuse of power was made worse by the fact that he genuinely believed himself justified in these excesses in what he viewed as the Service of God. He considered any critical thought to be disloyal and heretical, worthy of being struck down without hesitation and sadistic severity. His colleagues noted his ability to engage in blatant dishonesty and distortion and then, by all external appearances, convince himself that his conduct was honest and in keeping with his responsibilities. (OAR)
Clyntahn also displays many other personality traits, ranging from indolence and slothfulness to great vigor and determination (BSRA). His belief in his own supremacy is absolute and his willingness to maintain that supremacy (and that of God's Church of course) is equally absolute. Yet while he is merciless towards those whom he feels are "spiritually weak", he is remarkably understanding towards other moral weaknesses, turning a blind eye towards those of his colleagues who engage in morally questionable or outright proscribed behavior, such as fornication, graft, theft, extorsion and pedophilia (BHD). Indeed, he quite probably sees such behavior as acceptable for those in power as a way to reinforce the "necessary" image of God's Church as being the true ruler of Safehold (AMF).
Physical appearance Edit
Clyntahn was described by the Earl of Coris as a stereotypical figure of corruption and evil. He was said to be overweight, unkempt, and absolutely indifferent to any problem or threat that did not immediately concern him. His physical characteristics were said to be such that he might be easily underestimated, but for his well-established reputation for ruthless cunning and ability to go to any extent to achieve his desires. He is further described as having silver hair and heavy jowls.
As with all Vicars, Clyntahn typically wore a priest's cassock and cap colored solid orange, with his sleeve featuring a badge depicting the flame-encrusted sword of the Order of Schueler. However on official occasions, such as the execution of Archbishop of Charis Erayk Dynnys, he wore the purple monk's habit of most Schuelerites, retaining the orange priest's cap. His clothing was often marked by various food stains. (OAR)
Clyntahn ascended to the Vicarate some time before the Year of God 890. He was a member of the Order of Schueler, employed as with most of his order in the Office of Inquisition. He narrowly defeated Vicar Samyl Wylsynn to gain the office of Grand Inqusitior, an event that Wylsynn and other members of the Circle viewed as a personal failure that occurred under suspicious circumstances, as the cleric in charge of the election Archishop Wyllym Rayno was later made adjutant of the Order of Schueler, Clynthan's second in the Inquisition heirarchy (BHD)
Charisian Schism Edit
Clyntahn took an extremely conservative approach to the interpretation of the restrictions imposed on innovation in the Proscriptions of Jwo-jeng and other Church doctrine. He had a near-fanatical distrust of any realm which he judged as outside of the Church's direct control, most prominently Siddarmark and Charis. This led him to push his colleagues on the Group of Four to back Charis' destruction using the combined strength of all of the maritime nations of Safehold. He also was the source for the impetus to scapegoat Dynnys after this plan failed. (OAR)
Clyntahn viewed the Charisian victory and subsequent Schism as proof that Charis had been planning to attack the Church all along, despite the fact that it had been him, with the Group of Four's support, which had decreed the island Kingdom's destruction without cause. He became even more incensed when Queen Sharelyan of Chisholm, one of the pawns the Group of Four had forced to attack Charis, married King Cayleb of Charis and created the new Imperial state which quickly absorbed a willingly capitulated Emerald.
Embargo on Charis and the Ferayd MassacreEdit
He successfully pushed for a decree from the Grand Vicar for the closure of all mainland ports to Charisian shipping, and gave orders for Charisian ships docked in the respective mainland harbors to be seized by the constituent authorities under Inquisition direction, by any means necessary. When crews on Charisian ships in the city of Ferayd in the Kingdom of Delferahk resisted this order, it provoked a massacre which killed many civilians, including children. Clyntahn initially attempted to conceal the full extent of the tragedy from his colleagues. Clyntahn also ordered Archbishop Rayno to have the Charisian survivors of the massacre secretly brought to Zion and tortured by the the Inqusition into false confessions of heretical behavior. (BSRA)
When Chancellor Vicar Zahmsyn Trynair learned the truth, he was greatly angered over Clynthan's recklessness and dishonesty. As part of a conciliatory compromise, Clyntahn arranged for an inquiry that would reach the pre-determined conclusion that he personally bore some responsibility. Clyntahn then reluctantly accepted a minor penance handed down from Trynair through his puppet Erek XVII. As part of the deal, Charis was held responsible for exacting justice on the priests who caused the massacre, drawing the prospect of Holy War ever nearer.
Clyntahn reacted to Charis' invasion of Corisande and the subsequent rapid defeat of Prince Hektor's forces by ordering that Hektor was to be assassinated by Inquisition agents as soon as he sought to surrender to Cayleb. After this order was carried out, Clyntahn laid blame for the act at Charis' feet, an accusation that was accepted by most of the world, though the truth became apparent to various entities such as the Regency Council Cayleb appointed govern occupied Corisande and Clynthan's own colleagues in the Group of Four.
Great Purge and Absolute PowerEdit
In late Year of God 893, Clyntahn was informed of the existence and plans of the reformist Circle by the Archbishop of Hankey, who bargained for his own safety in return for the information and his testimony against the involved clerics. (BHD) In the following year, Clyntahn planned and unilaterally executed a vast purge of the Council of Vicars of every member of the Circle and every official with any ability or drive Clyntahn believed could pose a threat to him and the Group of Four. The full Punishment of Schueler was visited upon many Vicars and lower ranking clerics and their families, and only the youngest children were spared. More than 2,000 were killed.
Clyntahn's actions drew him into an increasingly open confrontation with his erstwhile Group of Four colleague Treasurer General Vicar Rhobair Duchairn, though Trynair brokered a deal between the two that preserved the Group of Four's public unity as the Holy War on Charis began in earnest. Clyntahn became one of the most hated and feared men in the world, and was marked for death by Merlin Athrawes at the earliest opportunity, though these plans were hampered by Clyntahn's habitual residence within the Temple where Merlin could not venture. (AMF)
"Rakurai" and the Holy WarEdit
Clyntahn reacted without the sort of shock and confusion that gripped his colleagues after the Battle of the Gulf of Tarot, and he let slip that he had been aware through some means prior to the battle of the decisive new Charisian weapon used there. He continued to have an increasingly adversarial relationship with Duchairn, and his power had grown to dominate the Group of Four, with Trynair primarily concerned with protecting his own person and interests, Magwair openly serving as his lackey, and Duchairn forced to accept his primacy.
Clyntahn recognized that for at least the immeadiate future, Charis' tactical innovations had rendered any attempt to engage them at sea a suicidal proposition. Thus, he worked with Archbishop Rayno to plan a campaign of unconventional warfare against Charis. These plans were ultimately realized in Operation Rakurai, where Inquisition sleeper cells used stolen gunpowder to eliminate several key Charisian officials in a coordinated string of suicide bombings throughout the Empire of Charis. Clyntahn characteristically disregarded the massive colateral damage among civillians and other bystanders these actions caused.
Clyntahn became concerned over the political success that had developed for Charis in occupied Corisande, and after Empress Sharleyan made great inroads toward securing her realm's credibility there, he decided to assassinate the Corisandian royal exiles under the stewardship of Earl Coris in Delferahk and pin the murders on Charis, to re-inflame the Temple Loyalist resistance. However, the plan was detected and prevented by Merlin Athrawes and the Imperial Charisian Navy, who rescued the Corisandians in late Year of God 895.
Jihad on Siddarmark Edit
At the same time, Clyntahn launched the long-planned operation known as The Sword of Schueler. Inquisition agents had fomented intense resentment for Charis and the government of the Republic of Siddarmark throughout the Siddarmarkian provinces. Under Inquisition direction, turned Siddarmarkian Army forces and well-organized mobs of Temple Loyalists launched a massive coup. Atrocities against Charisian and other Reform-oriented communities were rampant as a large portion of the Republic fell to Temple control. However, due to the intervention of Aivah Pahrsahn, the government retained control of most of the country.
In launching the Sword, Clyntahn expanded his Jihad to the previously untouched mainland, and committed the Temple to a protracted land campaign. Merlin Athrawes predicted that if the Siddarmarkian government managed to survive, the combination of failures would produce ultimate collapse for the Inquisition and the Temple. However, Clyntahn had the momentum in Siddarmark, and with the rapidly enroaching assistance of the Temple Guard and aligned forces, he was poised to salvage the situation there. All involved forces anticipated the upcoming grave test for Siddarmark's foundation. (HFAF)
- ↑ The name is spelled "Zhaspyr" in Off Armageddon Reef, but changes to "Zhaspahr" in all following novels.