Meet Latan, the “holy man” from The Warrior and the Holy Man, a pair of stories set in the same world as Chosen of Azara:
My name is Latan. I gave up my family name when I entered the order of Source Tiati.
2. How old are you?
I am thirty-two years old.3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have a mother and father, and a number of older brothers and sisters. My father is a farmer, not poor, but after providing inheritances for my older brothers and dowries for my sisters, there wasn’t going to be anything left for me. So when I was twelve my parents brought me to Source Tiati and had me sworn into service here. I know they did what they thought was best for me, but at times I’ve felt as if I was unwanted and cast off. I know that wasn’t the case, my parents just wanted to make sure I was provided for, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have the kind of life my older brothers are able to have.
I know my parents are still living and doing well, and that my brothers and sisters have successful livings and good families, because from time to time they send donations to the monastery of Source Tiati, along with a short letter to me. But I haven’t seen them in twenty years.
4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
As I said, I was brought to Source Tiati and sworn into its service at the age of twelve, before I had much interest in kissing anyone, or the opportunity. Celibacy is a requirement of those sworn to Source Tiati, so I haven’t had the opportunity to kiss anyone since then, either.
5. What is your occupation?
I am the Clerk of the order of Source Tiati. I keep the records and history of the order. The record-keeping includes such things as those who enter the Source’s service, those who pass away, the order’s supplies, receipts, and expenditures, the daily weather, and any events of note. I don’t have the ability to use Source power, so I can’t be a priest. But my temperament and talents seem to be well-suited to being a clerk.
6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m meticulous in my record-keeping. I also have something of a talent for languages. And I’m very loyal. As for my worst qualities, I tend to be a bit distracted sometimes, and I’m also rather timid.
7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
The option of having a sweetheart or wife was taken away from me when my parents brought me to Source Tiati. Mostly I don’t think about it; my life here is busy and I do appreciate the security of being a member of the order. But sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to have a nice wife, some fine children, and a home of my own like my brothers do.
If I had the opportunity to marry, I don’t think I’d be too picky in my choice of wife, as long as she was willing to put up with me. I would work as hard for my family and be as loyal to them as I am in the service of Source Tiati.
8. What is your favorite thing to do?
In my spare time, I enjoy translating and studying historical documents. I’m not a scholar, by any means; there are much more intelligent and learned men here at Source Tiati than I. But I do have a bit of a knack for languages, and I find old documents fascinating – a glimpse into other times and other places, a small piece of the wide world beyond the bounds of Source Tiati which I have never had the chance to see and probably never will. I receive a very small stipend for my services as Clerk, and I save up most of it for when a trader or other traveler comes by who happens to have an old book or document for sale. In fact, there are a couple of traders who come through regularly who make a point of keeping an eye out for old documents that might interest me.
9. What is your greatest fear?
I’ve spent my entire youth and adult life in the service of Source Tiati. Because of this, some things have been denied to me, but I’ve done my best to serve faithfully and well, and it’s now the only home, the only life, I know. So my greatest fear is that for some reason I would be cast out of the order and sent away.
10. What is your most treasured possession?
As a member of an order devoted to a Source, material possessions aren’t very important to me. But I do enjoy the small collection of historical documents I’ve amassed over the years, and I treasure the time I’m able to spend studying them.