|Age in 1556||8|
Prince Yuraan Kamai is the legitimate ruler of Akmahar, soon to be its Sultan. Since he is only 8, the actual man in power is the Holy Regent Samail Ghaani, who is the prince's advisor as well as his guardian and protector. Prince Yuraan's short life has been marked by tragedies in threes. Three years ago, the boy became the sole surviving son of the former Sultan, who was poisoned. A bloody and futile coup erupted upon his father's death. The prince had three elder brothers and two elder sisters, all of whom perished during the factional bloodshed, which lasted three weeks. Fearing the worst, the vizier Ghaani had wisely spirited little Prince Yuraan away to safety. When the other heirs were dead, and word began circulating that armies from Qadat were approaching to "restore order," the priest returned to Akmahar with his ward. Persuaded by the threat of a lopsided battle and a cry of public support for the prince, the surviving factional leaders recognized Prince Yuraan as heir to the throne, and recognized the Ghaani as the boy's regent and vizier.
Prince Yuraan is just eight years away from his majority and the throne. At the moment, he does not want to be Sultan. He wants to be a desert rider, a hero of the old tales who blazes a legend across the wastelands, freeing people from tyranny and defeating great monsters. His guardian is distressed by this, but none of the prince's tutors has been able to sway him from this idea. They have eight more years to work on it. The prince, however, may take matters into his own hands and run off to join the desert nomads, even though he is unaware of the harshness of such a life.