Liam Howell (born 29?? - died 298?) was an infamous Khan of Clan Snow Raven during the Golden Century. Howell was killed in a Trial of Grievance after he freely admitted that he sought personal revenge against his rival, Clan Sea Fox.
Justifying the Means
Shortly before Damon Clarke ascended to the position of Khan of Clan Sea Fox in 2984, Clan Snow Raven declared a Trial of Possession for the oil fields on the Sea Fox planet of Priori. However, the Sea Fox defenders on Priori used one of their greatest inventions, the Chatterweb (the Clan analogy of the Internet), to discover the attack plans of the Ravens. With this strategic information on hand, the Sea Foxes used it to soundly defeat the Raven attackers, who were personally led by Khan Howell. The Sea Fox victors then used the Chatterweb to insult Clan Snow Raven and in particular, Howell's lackluster fighting ability. Angered by this personal attack against his honor, Howell plotted revenge against Clan Sea Fox.
Avatar of Vengeance
Howell realized that the freshwater oceans on Strana Mechty were dominated by the sea fox, an aquatic predator native to that planet. He further realized that if he were to somehow make the sea fox extinct, his enemy would be permanently disgraced as they would no longer have a totem symbol. When Howell attended a Clan Grand Council meeting on Strana Mechty, he was informed by his Scientist Caste that they had genetically engineered a predator that was superior to the sea fox: the diamond shark. The shark got its name from the diamond-hard spines that ran down its silvery-grey flanks; when hunting its prey, the diamond shark would use these spines to make its victim bleed and cause it great pain, thus weakening the prey and making it easier to kill. Howell confiscated one of the diamond sharks and released it into Strana Mechty's ocean, correctly believing that the shark would hunt down sea foxes.
The Plot Thickens
A few weeks after Howell set his vengeance plot into motion, Damon Clarke was elected Khan of Clan Sea Fox. Khan Clarke set sail on Strana Mechty's ocean to conduct the initiation ritual of a new Sea Fox Khan. Clarke patiently waited for many hours for a sea fox to appear (mystifying Clarke and the ship's crew, who knew the sea fox was quite common) so that he could make his ritual offering to it; when a sea fox rose out of the water to take Clarke's fish, the aforementioned diamond shark leaped out of the water and swiftly dispatched the sea fox. A horrified Clarke returned to shore and told his story to his Clan's bloodnamed warriors, who later captured the shark and turned it over to the Sea Fox scientists for study. After analyzing the dead shark, the scientists informed Clarke that the same shark was solely responsible for making the sea fox an endangered species. Clarke then ordered some of the remaining sea foxes be transported to other Clan Sea Fox-held worlds so that the species could once again flourish.
Clarke mulled over the fact that a single diamond shark nearly wiped out his Clan's namesake. He finally conceded that the diamond shark had proven its superiority, and was thus worthy of being eternally honored. Clarke travelled to the Hall of Khans and called for a Grand Council meeting to boldly propose something that had never been done before: the renaming of his Clan.
- Bid the Sea Fox farewell;
- Noble he was, but not strong enough.
- The diamond shark has devoured him;
- The shark is the greater warrior.
Khan Damon Clarke made the audacious proposal before the Grand Council that Clan Sea Fox change its name to Clan Diamond Shark. Khan Liam Howell suddenly realized his revenge plot had failed and that he had to do something, anything, to prevent his enemy from taking advantage of his actions. Howell immediately opposed Clarke's proposal, stating that Nicholas Kerensky himself had named Clan Sea Fox, and to change that Clan's name dishonored Kerensky's memory. Howell's next words of fury sealed his own fate:
Howell: I cannot believe what I am hearing! This freebirth scheme to sidestep their Clan's dishonor makes me sick! Never since the shame of the Not-Named Clan has Kerensky's vision been so twisted by the deeds of his own people.
Clarke: We merely wish to acknowledge the...
Howell cuts off Clarke.
Howell: Spare me your mercantile prattle! A true warrior would admit his dishonor and beg the council's mercy. You seek to turn this disgrace into a victory!
Clarke: I am sure an appropriate trial would...
Howell rudely cuts off Clarke again.
Howell: To declare a Trial of Refusal is to admit that a valid case is before this council. And I would not give you the satisfaction of a Trial of Grievance! The loss of your namesake to a greater predator is merely an ironic testimony to the pathetic state of your Clan's warriors. Khan Clarke, have you been purchased by your own Merchant Caste?
Sukhanov: The loss of their namesake? Has the sea fox actually become extinct?
Clarke addresses Sukhanov.
Clarke: Yes, it is true. The sudden appearance of a great new predator, the so-called diamond shark, in the sea foxes' waters has driven the species so near to extinction that it will surely be gone before the end of the year.
Clarke turns his attention back to Howell.
Clarke: But how did you know about that? We have not yet announced the facts of our case to the council.
Howell's anger starts to get the better of him.
Howell: More trickery! The facts are there for all to see in your own contemptible Chatterweb! Fellow Khans, see for yourselves...
Howell has just slipped and fallen, so to speak. Sukhanov is growing more and more suspicious of his Khan's motives.
Sukhanov: I have not heard of any such information on the Chatterweb!
Sukhanov has finally figured it all out. He confronts his Khan.
Sukhanov: You knew of this treachery all along, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU??
Howell can no longer hold back his guilt.
Howell: Yes...YES! I know all about it because I did it! My scientists created the glorious diamond shark! I myself deposited the sharks in the waters of Strana Mechty! Yes, my fellow Khans, I killed the sea fox! Was it any less than they deserved? They have dishonored us all with their shameless profiteering and complete disregard for the ways of Kerensky! I call for a Trial of Annihilation against Clan Sea Fox! Let them be destroyed as their namesake was, by my own hand!
Everyone in the Hall of Khans has been shocked into silence by this absolutely heinous confession and Howell's cowardly demand. Nicholas Kerensky must be spinning in his grave.
Sukhanov can no longer tolerate his Khan's dishonor, as it will undoubtedly affect all of Clan Snow Raven as well. Sukhanov must save his Clan from its own treacherous Khan.
Sukhanov: ENOUGH! Your sickening crimes defy belief! I challenge you to meet me in a Circle of Equals! Let us end this quickly, before your shame stains all of Clan Snow Raven!
In the subsequent Trial of Grievance, saKhan Niamh Sukhanov killed Khan Liam Howell. Sukhanov was then elected as the new Khan of Clan Snow Raven. Khan Damon Clarke won the right to rename Clan Sea Fox, which changed its name to Clan Diamond Shark in September 2985.
It is possible that Liam Howell was originally a Smoke Jaguar warrior who was captured by the Snow Ravens and made abtakha. Before Clan Smoke Jaguar was Annihilated in 3060, the Howell bloodname had become widespread among the bloodnamed warriors of that Clan, implying that the Jaguars may have taken at least one of the Howell genetic legacies from the Ravens in a Trial of Possession.
|Khan of Clan Snow Raven
29?? – 2985?
| Succeeded by|
- Invading Clans, p. 134
- Invading Clans, p. 135
- Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 36-37 - Clan Smoke Jaguar & Clan Snow Raven bloodnames