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Branl within Revelstone, summing up what it is to be impassive.

Branl is a member of the hardy Haruchai race and appears in the Third Chronicles. As with all Haruchai at that time, he is one of the self-appointed Masters of the Land.

Appearance and Personality[]

It's damn hard to tell the Haruchai apart and so it is with Branl. Of average height, he has dark wavy hair and wears the all-purpose Haruchai umber-coloured tunic. However, as one of the three members of the Humbled (see below), Branl does have one distinguishing feature - two fingers have been lopped off his right hand - so unusually there's at least some chance of his being picked out of an ID line-up.

As to character, again Branl displays all the typical Haruchai personality traits for almost the entirety of the Third Chronicles. He is stoical and impassive for the most part (gee, there's a surprise). He is also equally and unshakeably convinced in the absolute moral rectitude of his people's moral judgement upon all things and it takes a whole 2,000+ pages of Chronicles for him to finally realize that hey, perhaps he and his fellow Bruce Lees might have got it a bit wrong after all.

Role within the Third Chronicles[]

We first encounter Branl at Revelstone, where it transpires that he along with Clyme and Galt comprise a special Haruchai trio called the Humbled. It is entirely unclear what actual benefit being a member of this elite group confers - apart from having one's right hand maimed to honour and resemble Thomas Covenant, the ur-Lord still held in the highest of esteem by the entire kung-fu nation. Despite involving the loss of two fingers (and thus presumably making chopstick rather hard to handle), being one of the Humbled is clearly a much sought-after status amongst the Haruchai, since it is something that is actively fought for during a wearying series of cage-fights over many days. Bunch of weirdos, if you ask me.

Upon meeting someone who they believe to be Thomas Covenant, Branl and his other two Humbled homeboys instantly attach themselves to him as his personal bodyguards. In doing this, they remain deeply distrustful of and antipathetic towards Linden Avery - which only goes to show that they are not entirely deluded.

Even after the original ur-Lord has been revealed to be a fake, the Humbled's loyalty to TC remains unshaken and Branl plus buddies latch onto the real TC once he's been yo-yoed back from beyond the grave, staying at his side throughout the entirety of the Third Chronicles.

Given the Armageddon-esque death toll that mounts ever skywards during the tale combined with the continual "no hope" perils faced by Covenant along the way, it's perhaps surprising that Branl actually survives the whole thing, albeit not at all unscathed. Admittedly he contributes his own fair share towards the body count, single-handedly being responsible for the demise of countless cannon fodder Cavewights, the occasional skurj and sandgorgon, a rock monster or two, plus memorably one Raver. To achieve dispatching of this latter, Branl is somewhat unfortunately obliged to turn his kinsman and fellow Humbled Clyme into a very messy non-vegan cole slaw, since Clyme has managed to at least temporarily imprison the unclean spirit within himself - very much à la Honninscrave, in fact. Branl turns to his task with impassive gusto, wielding Loric's krill with all the skill of a black belt sushi chef on amphetamines.

The last time we see Branl, it's clear that his various experiences during the Third Chronicles have dramatically affected him - hardly surprising, since the poor guy really gets put through the mill one way or another. At the narrative closes, we learn that Branl's decided to become a missionary and go off to perform charitable works amongst the Cavewights in the wightwarrens under Mount Thunder. Well, at least that's what he maintains, though there's a sneaking suspicion that he's actually itching to get his hands back on the slicy dicy krill, which got left down there. Ooo err.