- "Itamen is the Shadow Carja's figurehead... Beyond that, he's just a boy who clings to his mommy."
Prince Itamen is a minor character in Horizon Zero Dawn. He is the youngest son of the late 13th Carja Sun-King Jiran. He and his mother Nasadi were taken to Sunfall by Jiran’s champion Helis after the Carja capital Meridian fell to Avad’s liberating army, where they were forced to remain as the Shadow Carja figurehead royal family. Eventually they defected to the Carja with the help of the Carja spy Vanasha and the Nora huntress Aloy.
Itamen is the youngest son of His Radiance Jiran, 13th in the Line of Luminance, and his presumably second wife, Queen Nasadi. He has two older half-brothers: the late Prince Kadaman and the current Sun-King Avad, Jiran's other, older sons, born to him by another wife (as the Carja appear to be monogamous, this woman is likely deceased), and both of whom are older than him by at least two decades.
Taken to Sunfall
When Jiran sensed the battle would be lost during Liberation of Meridian, he ordered Helis to take Itamen and Nasadi to his summer residence at Sunfall. Helis fanatically obeyed, taking with him Jiran’s loyal Sun-Priests, his civilian loyalists and their slaves and servants. At Sunfall, Helis and the High Sun-Priest Bahavas organized these civilians into a Carja splinter tribe called the Carja in Shadow, or the Shadow Carja, as they are referred to by the other tribes.
Though Itamen is still but a child, and was no older than six at the time of Liberation, he was Jiran's chosen heir and was therefore crowned the Shadow Carja's Sun-King. With Helis and Bahavas, Jiran's highest-ranking officials, serving as regents, Itamen was little more than a figurehead to legitimize the Carja in Shadow.
Life at Sunfall
Instead of being honored with deference, Itamen and Nasadi were guarded like prisoners in the Citadel, the palace at Sunfall.
Itamen had no desire to follow his father’s example. Indeed, once when Helis had him observe a human sacrifice in the Sun-Ring, a practice that Jiran had instituted and extensively engaged in, he averted his eyes, and Nasadi came and shielded him from the sight, much to Helis’ annoyed consternation. Some time after, they both appeared before an assemblage of bounty hunters called by Bahavas to track down and kill the Shadow Carja army captain Uthid, whom Bahavas had falsely accused of trying to kill Itamen to cover up his own crimes. In front of the assemblage, Itamen stood and “commanded” Bahavas to speak on his behalf before sitting and resting his head on his mother’s breast in her comforting embrace, his fear and sadness plainly evident.
Defection to the Carja
However, he and Nasadi eventually got and took the opportunity to defect to the Carja. The opportunity came in the form of Vanasha. Vanasha had long been undercover at Sunfall in service to Avad, who had taken the Carja throne. She became Nasadi’s handmaiden. They both bonded with her; indeed Itamen made her a Grazer doll, while Nasadi trusted her enough to confide in her that she wanted to defect to the Carja with Itamen. Presumably after extended observation, Vanasha revealed herself to Nasadi and offered to help her defect with Itamen, and Nasadi accepted. Eventually Bahavas was killed by Uthid, granting Vanasha the opportunity to enact the defection by spiriting Nasadi and Itamen out of the Citadel in the resulting chaos. She escorted them from Sunfall on a route through a gorge to the Branded Shore, where a barge waited to take them across the Daybrink to the Carja settlement Brightmarket. To eliminate expected complications such as pursuit, she had asked the Nora huntress Aloy to clear the route before their arrival. Indeed, complications arose, first in the form of a Rockbreaker that prowled the gorge, then pursuit, first by Kestrels and then Eclipse cultists with Corrupted Machines. However between Vanasha and Aloy, all these complications were eliminated. Nasadi and Itamen were ultimately taken across the lake between the Branded Shore and Brightmarket, where they were welcomed by Avad and brought to Meridian.
Itamen's defection served an additional blow to the Shadow Carja, de-legitimizing their sovereignty and worsening the power vacuum left in Bahavas's death.
While Itamen is seen but a few times, all accounts indicate him to be a good-natured boy who is nothing like his father. He was resistant to Helis' attempts to shape him in Jiran's image, as evinced by his reaction when Helis showed him a human sacrifice. His fear and sadness at being held prisoner at Sunfall were very evident. When he met Sun-King Avad at Brightmarket, some of that fear and sadness appeared to morph into cautious relief.