by Max Barry

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by The Dutch Democratic Republic of Knootoss. . 10 reads.

Krenintra Teken'viir

Knootians in Profile: Krenintra Teken'viir.

At first glance, Krenintra Teken'viir might be considered attractive. His slender body moves graciously, he is urbanely dressed and he has an even skin and long black hair. It is only when he conveys his loathing with a cruel smile and a fierce gaze while he hisses words at you, sounding angry and duplicitous, that you realise that he is as alien and unwelcoming as anyone who ever served in a diplomatic position.

The Teken'viir Embassy in the Beastling States is proof that the mans' tastes are just as disagreeable, seeing how it is designed to intimidate or scare away potential visitors. The décor of the offices are garish, with the walls painted in clashing pastel colours and covered with repulsive abstract art that has been lifted from various obscure museum archives. Paper lanterns float around inside the building even though there is a room labelled 'munitions depot'. Whenever the Ambassador is actually in the Embassy, which is rare, the staff is generally unhelpful and loath to do anything that might cause trouble.

Little is known about Krenintra's early history, though some things can be surmised from the culture of his people and the occasional attempt at his life by assassins from the Underdark. The scion of House Teken'viir is an immigrant, hailing from a matriarchal and militaristic society that is heavily influenced by religion. Blood feuds are common, and as an ambitious male it is likely that he is subject to one (or several) of those. Whatever his past may be, he claims to have found his new homeland the moment he breathed in the poisonous, slightly acid tang of industrial Knootoss' air.

The ambassadors' relationship with the spoken language is another interesting aspect of the way he goes about his business. The guttural inflections of the Dutch language as it is spoken in Knootoss and his mother tongue have much in common, and he speaks Dutch with nary an accent. He has found English much harder to master, and speaks it only with a snake-like hiss that may appear to some akin to a lisp. Finding this effect intolerable, he usually avails himself of a translator when the spoken language in a given environment is English, rather than Dutch. Of course, this only serves to make talking to him a slower and much more theatrical affair.

So why does the government continue to employ this man? One suspicion that has been reported during the interviews for this article is that he is the personification of hatred and contempt. Nothing except the suffering of others makes Krenintra happy, and so he is doggedly determined to spread that suffering wherever he goes. Certainly the appointment of a Drow as the official government spokesman on non-human affairs was a big thumb of the nose at the metahuman powers, with whom relations have never been entirely productive. It may even be that he is sent to places that certain powers within the Ministry want to retain as enemies or rivals. Others hint at an explanation that fits better with Knootian and Drow cultures: that Krenintra has some dirt on his superiors and that his being retained as a government official is the consequence of blackmail, or bribery.

His tenure has certainly been incident-filled. So far he has named a foreign head of state a "harlot Queen" in print, has referred to the representatives of Libraria and Ausitoria as a contentious and unpleasant people whose ramblings are best ignored and has made statements that imply a level of personal support for war crimes, non-consensual sex and slavery. He also tries to insist on being personally armed with poisons, throwing knives and daggers at all times, in addition to the normal security measures that are taken to protect diplomatic staff.

Despite his bluster the Drow diplomat remains an outsider, even among his adopted people. In a postmodern, secular and politically apathetic society, his heartfelt devotion to the Goddess of Hate makes him an object of amusement rather than an object of fear. One wonders whether he might some day act out to prove that ancient devotions are no laughing matter.