Khayman is a fictional character in The Vampire Chronicles universe created by Anne Rice. One of the oldest vampires at nearly six thousand years old, he appears in very few of the books in the series, but is nevertheless considered a powerful force among their number.
As a human
As related during the history of the vampires related in the book The Queen of the Damned, Khayman was the chief steward in the palace of King Enkil and Queen Akasha of Kemet (now Egypt) circa 5000 BCE. Of Egyptian descent. He was tall and strong as a mortal, with very tan skin, dark eyes, and black hair. (After being transformed into a vampire, his skin whitened and smoothed considerably.)
As head steward to the King and Queen, Khayman was forced to rape the twin witches Maharet and Mekare after the witches incurred Akasha's wrath. Gentle and kind by nature, Khayman was horrified to do so, but was unable to refuse the Queen's demand. From his rape he unintentionally fathered a child with Maharet, named Miriam, who began the bloodline of Maharet's "Great Family" that would later spread to every nation on earth.
When Akasha and Enkil become vampires, they made Khayman bring Maharet and Mekare back into Egypt to find out how their insatiable bloodlust can be mitigated. Maharet replies that the evil spirit now inhabiting the Queen is too large to be contained in her human body; only when more vampires are made (and the spirit thus diluted more and more) will the bloodlust become tolerable. Akasha then betrays Khayman's loyalty and forcibly turns him into a vampire against his will, to verify the witches' claims.
As a vampire
Angry at his fate, Khayman secretly makes the twin witches into vampires as well, in hope of them one day rising up against Akasha and defeating her. After the twins became vampires, Khayman also makes other vampires to fight against Akasha and Enkil (who now present themselves as the gods Isis and Osiris). His "treason" results in a great increase and multiplication of the vampire population, who created the vampire wars that he dreamed of. Eventually Akasha and Enkil would remain in a trancelike state for almost 4000 years.
Khayman survives into the twentieth century, ultimately forgetting his own origins during his wanderings.
When Akasha is awakened from her trance in the 1980s, she rises and drains Enkil completely of his blood, as he has reached a point of lassitude from which he will never reawaken, and begins tracking down and killing her vampire progeny worldwide. Khayman encounters her by chance in Athens, Greece and, in that instant, he suddenly remembers how he became a vampire and what crimes he had perpetrated in Akasha's name. Discovering that he is immune to her attacks, Khayman follows her to San Francisco to attend Lestat de Lioncourt's rock concert.
Since Khayman has been studied by the Talamasca under the name 'Benjamin the Devil,' he recognizes David Talbot and Aaron Lightner at Lestat's concert. He tells them who he is and warns them to leave because of the mounting danger for them there.
He sees the vampires Mael and Armand (the latter to whom he is strongly attracted, although Armand offers no friendly gestures in return). Khayman advises Mael to shield his thoughts from Akasha, since Akasha can find and kill her vampire progeny through mind-reading.
While Akasha slaughters most of her vampire children worldwide, Khayman accompanies Louis and Gabrielle to Maharet's house in Sonoma as one of the 13 surviving vampires who plan to stand against Akasha in The Queen of the Damned. Here he indicates several times that he believes in Mekare's prophecy of Akasha's doom, and awaits Mekare's coming as he conspires against his former queen.
After Akasha is finally destroyed, Khayman becomes the oldest vampire in existence. He is briefly mentioned at the end of Blood Canticle, when he takes away the fledgling vampires Quinn Blackwood and Mona Mayfair to Maharet and Mekare's sanctuary.
|Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles tree|
Powers, abilities and personality
Khayman's flesh is hard, smooth and white as marble, and he is no longer vulnerable to the sun's destroying rays. He no longer experiences the blood thirst either, but enjoys the refreshment and clarity it provides. He now has the power to kill humans and animals through telekinesis, but will not take blood from any mortal who has made a friendly gesture toward him, preferring to take only anonymous victims. At 7000 years old, Khayman can also kill any vampires weaker than himself by telekinetically igniting their combustible blood.
Another interesting vampiric gift of Khayman is the astute understanding of mechanisms at a mere glance. In The Queen of the Damned, it is stated in his point of view that he understood everything in a machine he sees operating, even down to the level of quantum physics. With this gift, he is aware that the vampiric blood inside him works to change the human tissue in a vampire into something else, and that his body is now entirely made of that something else.
Khayman is generally gentle, optimistic, and friendly, inviting mortals to his rooms and entertaining them with poetry, music and conversation, although he sometimes appears somewhat lonely or even shy. Although powerful, he dislikes wanton brutality. He lives by various guises in many different places, and when he stops having fun or feels pain, he fades out and forgets who he has been. Attempts to think back to his origins are painful, and so he avoids doing so, eventually forgetting entirely.
Appearances in other media