Karal Austreben is a young Priest of Vkandis and the current Karsite Envoy in Valdemar. As a Channel of mage energies, he was instrumental in helping to bring the Mage Storms to an end. He is romantically involved with Natoli, bonded to the Firecat Altra, and has a strong bond of friendship with the Companion Florian. He is also a good friend of An'desha.
Karal's father is the Stablemaster at an inn in Karse, and young Karal worked with him. His early childhood was nearly idyllic with parents who truly loved him and were proud of him. At that time, Karse was under the influence of a False Son of the Sun; many dark rituals were practiced, including the testing of children for Mage Gift and either burning those children or taking them away to become priests, if they were smart enough.
When he was nine, Karal was singled out as one who would be taken for the Sunlord, and so he began his training far away from his family. He quickly rose through the ranks of priest trainees, due to his studious nature, but was bullied often for it. Karal had a mentor in Ulrich, who was a high ranking Black Robed priest and a staunch supporter of Solaris when she came to power.
As an EnvoyEdit
When Solaris was chosen by a manifested Vkandis to become Son of the Sun, she used the position to begin putting an end to many of the bad things Karsites had been doing. Justifying her actions through old and forgotten passages from the Sunlord's Holy Writ, she put an end to the burnings and to the summoning of Demons performed by the Black-Robed priests. In ending the ways of corruption that infected the priesthood, Solaris had no greater friend and supporter than Karal's Master Ulrich; and when she chose to send envoys to discuss alliance with Valdemar and other nearby kingdoms, Ulrich was dispatched along with Karal as his secretary and protege. In doing so, Solaris ordered Karal to care for the aged Ulrich's well-being, and the young Sunpriest was quite adept at making sure his master would take breaks and other similar measures to ensure his health.
When the Mage Storms - which were herald of the return of the great Cataclysm - were just beginning to make themselves felt, the effects were widespread and profound. Tremane - a Duke of the Eastern Empire and heir to the empire's ruler, Charliss - believed them initially to be an attack stemming from Valdemar, due to Valdemaran involvement in the recent war with Hardorn (which had been partly at the hidden instigation of the Empire). In response, he ordered hidden agents in Valdemar to assassinate as many envoys at the negotiations as possible, in an attempt to break the fledgling alliance apart and bring an end to the storms. Through a combination of luck and swift action, most of the envoys lived. The Karsite delegation was not so lucky; while Altra was able to save Karal, the firecat was unable to prevent Ulrich's death at the assassin's hands.
In the wake of Ulrich's passing, Solaris sent word that Karal would be envoy in his stead. At first, Karal's embassy was overlooked by the other members of the alliance council, who ignored him primarily due to his youth and to his being Karsite. In particular, he found himself suspected and threatened by the one who had been sent to replace the Shin'a'in envoy Querna, who had been killed in the same attack as Ulrich. The new envoy publically accused Karal of being a spy for the Empire and responsible for the deaths of his predecessor and of Ulrich, which accusation was not immediately dismissed. Fortunately, An'desha was able to step forward and convince the envoy and other council members that Karal's role was as much a victim as the others, and that he had nothing else to do with the act.
In time, it would be Karal who was primarily responsible for convincing the alliance members that Tremane - who, with his army, had by that time been abandoned by the Empire as the Mage Storms increased in severity - was worthy of being approached by the alliance as the most powerful leader in a still-devastated Hardorn.
Karal is a channel. Although not mage-gifted, he is able to become a conduit for more magical energy than even an Adept can handle. Completely inexperienced at first, Karal was later trained by the former Imperial mage Sejanes in how to more safely use his gift. Three times he would be called upon for this; the final time - which quelled the storms and averted a second Cataclysm - resulted in permanent blindness for the young man. Karal remains a Priest of Vkandis and - at Solaris' personal request - the Sunlord's representative to the kingdoms of Valdamar and the newly opened Iftel, and now teaches Karsite culture and language at the Collegium.
Karal is the son of a Stablemaster at a Karsite inn. He has several sisters and a younger brother named Trenor.
He also has an uncle who retired from work as a merchant caravan guard. This uncle and his storehouse of fascinating tales, was Karal's favorite.
In the series Edit
Karal appears in the following works:
- Storm Warning, Mage Storms series, volume 1
- Storm Rising, Mage Storms series, volume 2
- Storm Breaking, Mage Storms series, volume 3