Character Interview: Kien Lantec
Happy Tuesday, readers. Today I have the pleasure of introducing to you Kien Lantec, from R. J. Larson’s award-winning series, Books of the Infinite.
Hello, Kien! Welcome to Red Lettering—it truly is an honor to have you here. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Kien: Thank you. I’m honored to be invited to Red Lettering and to be in such excellent company. My name is Kien Lantec, and I am a citizen of the Tracelands and Siphra—and that dual citizenship has led to a legal quagmire, considering the hostility each country harbors for the other. I’m a former ambassador to Istgard, a duty which once landed me in prison, and I also trained as a judge-advocate specializing in treaties for the Tracelands. Amid this, the Infinite, the Creator, once recruited me as a prophet. I don’t mind admitting that I failed spectacularly as His servant, and He should have reduced me to an oil blot for that disaster. However, He was merciful, so here I am.
Kien: As far as personal tastes, I enjoy reading, mock battles, joking with family and friends, fighting my monster-warhorse, and eating properly cooked food. Unless my wife, Ela, is off in another country—nothing’s enjoyable when she’s away.
A pleasure to meet you in person, Kien. Thank you for being here, and it is I and my readers who are in excellent company. To begin at the beginning—or, at least as near as we can get—what is the first thing you remember?
Kien: The truth? I’m unsure. It was probably the time I decided to run away, but I couldn’t carry enough food. Furthermore, my father’s sword was displayed so high upon the wall that I couldn’t reach it. Naturally, I couldn’t run away without weapons to fight off monsters, so I gave up, for that time at least. I don’t even remember why I wanted to run away; it seemed logical at the time—a protest against my living conditions, which I later realized were excellent. However, when you’re three years old, and a Lantec, you dispute everything. Most likely I was too puny to open the hall’s door.
I think when you’re three years old you dispute everything regardless of who you are, but most three year old’s don’t attempt to run away. Ah. *winces* You gave up “for that time”? I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but you must have been such a joy to live with as a child.
I’m sorry if this isn’t a question I should ask, but… Your wife is a Prophet of the Infinite. You must be aware of the fact that all previous Prophets of the Infinite have died young. This is something of an open question, but what do you think of that?
Kien: I’d like to say that I’ve fully accepted the fact that Ela risks her life whenever she acts on behalf of the Infinite, but that wouldn’t be true; I’m still overly protective of her. She’s my wife and my dearest friend—I can’t imagine living without Ela. Yet I can’t anticipate every danger she faces in every situation, and neither can she. Prophets don’t foresee every personal threat each time they leave home to serve the Infinite, which is probably for the best—we’d both be paralyzed by fear and unable to complete our work. Instead, we’ve resolved to make the most of our time together and simply trust our Creator with our lives.
Kien: We’re all mortals here, facing the same risks. Let’s live to serve others and make a difference in this fallen world!
You say you wish you had fully accepted it, and perhaps you haven’t, but it seems to me that you’ve got the gist of it down. If you could go back in time and change anything in the past, would you do it? If you would, what would it be?
Kien: Several years ago, I would have snatched that chance without hesitation, in order to prevent a massacre that cost several friends and servants their lives. I now know that if I’d attempted defensive measures we would have all died together that day. I think of my friends often…
I’m sorry. It must be hard having that experience in your past. …I know that there are many things to be valued, so perhaps this will be a difficult question to answer: What do you value the most?
Kien: People. Other’s souls—Ela and the Infinite have had that effect upon me. Mortal wealth and power can’t buy eternity.
Indeed, that is one of the most precious things in existence. If you answer this without even blinking, I shall be impressed. Few men are willing to admit readily that they fear anything, but even fewer still are without fear. What do you fear?
Kien: Total isolation of my soul. If I were separated from the Infinite—existence would be torture beyond endurance.
Ah, well, you hardly blinked, so I shall be impressed slightly; consider me thus. As for your answer, it’s always good to know that the Infinite doesn’t want that for us, either, so if we and the Infinite are on the same track when it comes to that, we haven’t much to fear. I understand, though. As humans, it’s natural to fear, even when our heads know that we’re safe.
When you have free time, what do you do with it?
Kien: I hunt, and I attempt to train my destroyer, Scythe. The brute has no manners at all. Even a monster warhorse ought to be civilized. However, he’s unrivaled in battle, and we’ve forged an understanding: I keep him well-fed, he saves me from being hacked to bits, and we’re both happy. Or, rather, I’m happy. Scythe is an inherent grumbler.
I’ve heard from some credible sources that he has basically the same opinion as you. Or, he certainly implies he does, as you do about him…
I know your time is valuable; thank you for agreeing to spend it with us! For a last question, who would you consider a hero? Why?
Kien: Excluding Ela? I’d have to vote for Akabe of Siphra. The man was forced to become Siphra’s king—he’s virtually imprisoned by his duties and by tradition, yet he works day and night to serve his people, and he will continue to do so for the rest of his life. That’s a true hero—a man of honor who protects and serves others without a thought of accolades. This world would be a better place if there were more like him.
There are more like him. I can think of one in particular right now who I had the privilege of speaking with very recently. Thank you so much for being here, Kien. Continue to serve the Infinite, and if you have any more adventures in the near future, be sure to contact us, for we would love to hear about them.
Many thanks to R. J. Larson, who put me in contact with Kien; I couldn’t seem to find his contact information to set up a meeting until she intervened and gave me her help and her time. Thank you!
R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as The Women’s Devotional Bible, and Seasons of a Woman’s Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons, and is suspected of eating chocolate and potato chips at her desk while writing. The Books of the Infinite series marks her debut in the fantasy genre.