Jandri Black-Tongue, the divine child of Kolis and the Voiceless King (see First Gods), was the principle figure in Hother's The Cannibal King. The Erissan historical epic is a dark and dramatic play about the insanity and madness of the titular character. Jandri is eventually slain at the hands of Sharza, the Whispering General. The play alternates between the storylines of the two characters, with each scene shifting between the two story arcs.
Plot of the Cannibal KingEditJandri was born in passion to two gods, and their mortal child grew in life to become regarded as an abomination. Standing nearly 8 feet tall and with a bull's horns growing out of his head, the man-beast feasted on raw flesh in the courtyards of Erissa, where the elders of the city fed him their rejected dead as a means to appease the semi-divine monster. Mothers of the city would tell terrible tales to their children to make them behave, lest Jandri would come eat them in the night if they were unruly. One such child, Sharza, would be told the same tales. He was born the child of Senator Drannus, and he watched his own father be consumed by the terrible beast after the Senator was killed and then fed to it as punishment for a crime he did not commit. The child Sharza fled from his home and posed as an orphan boy in order to avoid a similar fate to that of his father. He would come under the tutelage of a Mallorean tea merchant, where he would learn the arts of guile and deception from the shifty businessman. Sharza would set his life upon slaying the beast and bringing the false accuser, Senator Lazco, to justice. Sharza builds alliances and makes deals to outmaneuver the equally clever Senator Lazco. The tale culminates with Lazco's corruption being exposed by the machivellian Sharza and Sharza leading an open revolt against the corrupt Lazco.
The parallel arc of the play focuses on Jandri. The ramblings of "the cannibal king", or so he is referred to as, are a mixture of nonsensical babbling and hidden wisdom, are peppered throughout The Cannibal King and remain a popular part of the play. Although he commits several acts of poor judgement, they are clearly a part of the nature of his existence instead of some blatant desire to do wrong. Jandri kills no living creature, but only consumes the remains of those that are already dead. A brief friendship with a small girl causes outrage and painful retribution from the cityfolk, forcing him to be chained and put on display in the city center. Foreigners flock to see the man-beast as if he is some sort of local attraction on display at the city center. Hother builds sympathy for Jandri throughout the play and highlights the intolerance of those around him.
Jandri's death at the hands of Sharza highlights a shift in Sharza's personality from righteous avenger to unmerciful butcher. Sharza goes on to claim divine blood for killing the godborn beast, and begins a war of conquest to expand the domains of Erissa under the guise of the "Whispering General".
Some left-wing scholars see the play as early socialist propaganda, with the tea merchant representing the corrupting influence of capitalism on the Erissan youth named Sharza. Jandri's plight represents the criminalization of the poor, with the harsh treatments for his crimes and relatively few punishments (mere penalties and fees) for the crimes of the wealthy merchant. Conservative literary critics do not share such interpretations.
Created by Lady Diana Aster.