Harking back to the post on Emigration and Exile, the core of The Tale of the Hostage Prince is Yosua’s struggle with identity.
Mikal’s parting words to Yosua in Amok are: “I hope you discover who you need to be.” And that’s something that Yosua has been mulling over again and again.
Who is he? Where does he belong? How can he find out?
At some point in the novel, Yosua decides where he’s supposed to be. But to get to that point, he needed to discover who he’s supposed to be. And obviously, when you’re stuck on a question, you sometimes need a little help.
Here’s a little intervention that takes place at the Mahan Temple. A priest that Yosua doesn’t recognise (and assumes doesn’t know who he is) is lending a listening ear when the conversation veers off into something else.
Chapter 25 excerpt
Note: This scene is in Yosua’s point of view.
“How long can you deny who you are?” [Farouk asks.]
“How do you know who I am?” Fear races in my heart, closes my throat. “Why does it matter?”
Farouk gives me a long, cool look. “Identity is a funny thing. If you believe in Kudus Maha Esa, if you believe in an Almighty God who reigns above all things, then you must believe that every drop of blood in your lineage has been accounted for. There is a reason you were born in your family, a reason you were born where you were, a reason you’ve been given these choices at this time.”
“You know who I am.”
“You are Yosua ayell Garett, descendent of Baya’s line, Raja of Bayangan.”
Names often form our earliest understanding of who we are and the world we live in. They usually carry cultural indicators. Like who your family is. Where you come from. Which is why it’s often an affront or a microaggression for someone to decide to give you a nickname because your real name is “too difficult to pronounce”. It's not just giving them something easier to say, it's telling you that everything you've grown up with is not valid, not normal, not enough.
But I digress.
Here, Yosua has his name affirmed to him, not just because of his lineage, but because that is who he is. That is his identity. Even if his uncle had been trying to form him into something more Bayangan by calling him Yosett Regis Baya.
That's it for today!
Head back to my theme reveal and master list.
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The Tale of the Hostage Prince (Book 1.5) – Releases 14 April 2022
But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.
With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?
It's release week!