49. Hien Rijin
The renowned warrior-king of Doma—eldest son of the former king, Kaien, and his wife Mina—Lord Hien was conceived just before the imperial invasion of his homeland. By the time the infant gave his first cry, Doma was under the imperial yoke, and so did Hien grow up under the Garlean occupation. Allowed to learn traditional Doman culture and martial arts under the condition that he also received a proper imperial education, the young child immersed himself in his studies under his tutor Gosetsu, a loyal vassal of his father—mastering the swordsmanship of a samurai and developing a strong identity of himself as a man of Doma.
When still young, Hien took part in an armed uprising led by his father, an attempt that nearly succeeded in taking back Doma Castle until it was unceremoniously quashed by the XIIth Legion, summoned to the scene as reinforcements. In the struggle, Lord Kaien was tragically cut down by Zenos yae Galvus. Bereft of his beloved father, Hien fled desperately for his life to the vastness of the Azim Steppe.
Over time, Lord Hien would come to join forces with a hero come from distant Eorzea to the west. Together with loyal subjects Gosetsu and Yugiri, and with the unwavering support of his people, the Domans, Lord Hien would succeed in toppling the occupying Garlean army commanded by acting viceroy Yotsuyu, achieving independence for his homeland anew.
Painfully aware of the difficulty of resisting the might of Garlemald as a lone, isolated nation, Lord Hien entered into an agreement with the Eorzean Alliance, while simultaneously enlisting the aid of such independent-minded entities as the nomads of the Azim Steppe and the pirates of the Ruby Sea. Together with the forces of Nagxia and Dalmasca, recruited to the cause some time after, these would form the Eastern alliance that would stand against the Empire across the continent of Othard.
Before commencing their own large-scale rebellion, the leaders of the Bozjan Resistance paid a visit to Lord Hien, receiving from him a promise to offer military support as necessary, as well as inspiration for a method by which the internal conflict within the Resistance itself might be mediated—to wit, by the reforging and re-forming of Gunnhildr's Blades.
For Lord Hien's part, though he was heartened that his Eorzean friend had also promised to join the battle on the Resistance's behalf, lingering doubts remained. The Garleans were an invading force, yes, but were they not also men driven by their own sense of justice? A war waged between two mighty forces, the leaders of each believing their own cause the righteous one, would no doubt prove a bitter struggle, and one that would not end without considerable tragedy and suffering on both sides.
When he heard that, in fact, the new incarnation of Gunnhildr's Blades had been reborn into a tempered monstrosity, only to perish in the end, Lord Hien was deeply troubled. What was the meaning of his presence on such a nightmarish battlefield? A true hero should be a beacon of light to all, akin to the kami who illuminate the heavens. Yet all he could accomplish here was to lead the victor over the vanquished—leaving his hands stained with the blood of the fallen at battle's end.
And yet Hien understood that this, too, was a role that someone must fulfill—if not, a people would suffer indeterminately under a rule of tyranny. And so he would put an end to it, even if it meant bloodying his own hands. Better that he accept this now, than force a similar fate upon the next generation when they grew to adulthood.
If this conflict could be resolved without bloodshed, he would give anything to see it done—but sadly, that was not an option now, and mayhap had never been at all. No doubt his Eorzean friend, too, realized this—and no doubt it weighed equally as heavily on both their hearts.
My friend, if you would bloody your hands for this cause, then pray let me bloody mine with you. After all, it is no greater or less an evil than that which I once asked of you. Until the day when all the peoples of our world can live in peace, let us walk this path together...