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ENOUGH! I am God-Emperor Sun!
~ Emperor Sun Hai revealing his power.

Emperor Sun Hai is one of the primary antagonists of the video game Jade Empire. He serves as the main antagonist of the story's first half, but he is not the main antagonist of the entire game.

He was voiced by Armin Shimerman who also voiced the Keeper from the same game.

Biography

Early life and the Long Drought

Sun Hai was born as the eldest son of the Jade Empire's previous ruler and as such, inherited the throne. He had two younger brothers named Sun Li the Glorious Strategist and Sun Kin the Hand of Heaven. Sun Li served as the Imperial Army's commander, while Sun Kin was the head of the monastic Order of the Lotus. Hai also had a daughter, Sun Lian the Heavenly Lily, who was born about twenty years before the start of the gameplay. Hai's wife died in childbirth.

Thirty years before the start of the game, the Empire was struck by what was afterwards known as the Long Drought. For ten years, scorching heat and limited rainfall killed crops, costing thousands of lives. Even opening the royal granaries couldn't help. Emperor Sun Hai couldn't accept that his Empire would end in the face of the natural order, so he demanded his ingenious brother Sun Li to find a way to prevent this.

The Sun brothers directed their gaze west toward the Temple of Dirge in the mountainous Land of the Howling Spirits. It was the home of the Spirit Monks, servants and protectors of the Water Dragon, the goddess who oversaw the distribution of water in the mortal realm and guidance of the spirits of the dead to afterlife and rebirth. Having found a way not only to end the Drought but also steal the Water Dragon's divine powers thanks to Sun Li, Emperor Sun Hai set out to conquer Dirge.

The heavenly crime and aftermath

The Imperial Army assaulted Dirge and slaughtered thousands of Spirit Monks through superior numbers. By having several bribed Spirit Monks to taint Dirge's holy waters with human blood, the Sun brothers weakened the Water Dragon, allowing them to enter her temple unopposed. There Emperor Sun Hai struck the Water Dragon through the portal to the spirit world, killing her and stealing her power by seizing her heart. His brothers, having plotted to take the power for themselves, attacked him, only to be overwhelmed by him. Sun Li managed to escape, leaving Sun Kin to be killed by Hai.

While escaping, Sun Li found a baby who'd become the last living Spirit Monk. Realizing that only a Spirit Monk could have a chance to defeat his brother now, he took the baby with him to train it as his pawn. Hiding in the village of Two Rivers at the Empire's borders, he shook Emperor Sun Hai off. Hai found Li's discarded armor and decided to taunt his traitorous brother by using his stolen powers to bind Kin's spirit to the armor, creating Death's Hand, the unrelenting and unquestioning enforcer of the Emperor's will. The Lotus Monks were disbanded and reestablished as the Lotus Assassins under Death's Hand. Over the following twenty years, the Lotus Assassins were assigned with brutal tasks by the Emperor, including silencing anyone who questioned his will.
Emperor Sun Hai 02

Emperor Sun Hai holding the Water Dragon's heart.

Before leaving Dirge, Sun Hai executed Xian Wu and the other Spirit Monks who had been bribed to betray their order and bound their spirits to guard Dirge's fountains. What Sun Hai didn't know was that through his acts of deicide and defilement of Dirge he had provided for an unnatural evil incarnate a chance to take root in the sacred place that exists both in the mortal world and the spirit realm. He left it to savor in the misery he had wrought in Dirge.

Within weeks of Dirge's siege, Hai ordered Sun Li's wife and newborn daughter to be killed by a Lotus Assassin squad. While Li's wife was killed, the baby was saved by one of the Assassins who was later known as Sagacious Zu. The baby went on by the name of Dawn Star and ironically ended up in Two Rivers to be raised alongside the last Spirit Monk by her father Sun Li.

The Emperor had the Water Dragon's body transferred to the burial chambers of the Imperial Palace and cut open to provide water across the Empire. The people hailed the Emperor as the hero who ended the Long Drought, ignorant of the heavenly crime. Without the Water Dragon and the Spirit Monks to guide the spirits of the dead to rebirth, ghosts began to appear gradually across the Empire in two decades with increasing rate, driven mad by their trapped state. The Emperor was aware of this, but he didn't care.

Emperor Sun Hai spent two decades draining the Water Dragon's power for himself, having to be gradual about it due to the process' toll on his body. He tried to find the Dragon Amulet, a focus tool of the Spirit Monks which would make the draining of the Water Dragon's power easier and faster. However, the amulet had been shattered, and the Lotus Assassins could find only one of the three pieces. Having become a ghost, the Emperor made less and less appearances in public and had Death's Hand to act on his behalf, making it appear like the head of the Lotus Assassins was amassing power and influencing the Emperor negatively.

The present and demise

Emperor Sun Hai 07-0

Emperor Sun Hai revealing his undead state.

In the beginning of the gameplay, Sun Li the Glorious Strategist is found in Two Rivers by the Lotus Assassins who destroy the village and take him captive. His student, the last Spirit Monk, follows their trail to the capital, the Imperial City. The Emperor's daughter, Princess Sun Lian the Heavenly Lily, agrees to take them to the Imperial Palace where their master is being held in exchange for helping her to uncover the Lotus Assassins' shady activities. Much to her shock and disbelief, it turns out that by the Emperor's will, the Lotus Assassins have been taking people across the Empire — through slavers, for one thing — and used their spirits to create an army of golems as solidification of his rule in the mausoleum built originally for him.

Princess Lian takes the last Spirit Monk to the Imperial Palace to question her father. They confront him in the throne room where he's questioning Sun Li about the whereabouts of the Dragon Amulet, now fully restored and in the possession of the last Spirit Monk. Enraged by the challenge to his authority, Sun Hai reveals his ghostly state and knocks out with a shock wave everyone else but the Spirit Monk. After his soldiers and Lotus Assassins fail to kill Sun Li's student, they engage in an extensive duel that ends with Emperor Sun Hai's death.

Personality

Emperor Sun Hai is a highly proud man, feeling himself entitled to rule the Jade Empire. He doesn't care for causing the Spirit Monk genocide, the disruption of the natural order, the increasing rate of the restless dead, or the current suffering of the common folk. He feels that all of this is justified to keep his rule over the Empire eternal. He doesn't tolerate insubordination and questioning of his authority, including from his own daughter Sun Lian, leading him to knock her out with a shock wave. He also demands her and others to remember where they stand in the order of things, ignoring his own heavenly crime of killing the Water Dragon for her power and stepping beyond his own mortal station.

Sun Lian remembers that her father used to be warmer in her childhood before becoming cold and distant. Apparently he also used to be a more active and responsible ruler before retreating from public. Twenty years of draining the Water Dragon's power have rendered him insane with delusions of godhood. He has allowed the unused parts of the ancient Imperial Palace to decay and the mausoleum built for his honor to be used as his secret golem factory, reflecting the extent of his corruption and lack of respect for the past along with the atrocities he allows his Lotus Assassins to commit across the Empire. He underestimates the last Spirit Monk in his arrogance, which leads to his demise.

Powers and Abilities

At the height of his power, Emperor Sun Hai is a formidable opponent with the stolen powers of the Water Dragon. Even when he had just taken her heart, he survived a piercing from the large sword of his brother Sun Kin and was able to use crimson energy beams to throw Sun Li across the temple chamber, telekinetically move Sun Kin and crack the stone floor. Having learned the Spirit Monks' secret spells to bind spirits, he used them to force the traitorous Spirit Monks to guard Dirge's fountains following their execution and trap Sun Kin's spirit in Sun Li's armor to create the unquestioning minion Death's Hand.

In combat, Sun Hai uses a staff, the White Demon and Viper martial styles and the Tempest magic style. By switching between these four styles he can render himself immune to different styles, excluding the transformation styles.

Quotes

My child, remember your place. I have no patience for anyone who challenges my authority. Not even you.
~ Emperor Sun Hai to his daughter.
In my youth I ruled dutifully, but nature does not respect titles. Withering drought, not battle, threatened to take my throne. But I would not allow it! I assaulted the underworld and claimed the great Water Dragon, and neither the treachery of my siblings nor my failing body could stop me! I am no longer a slave to time's decay! My actions have brought the Empire great strength and its Emperor endless power! Who among you would dare challenge my right to rule?
~ Emperor Sun Hai justifying his actions.
What did Li tell you? That I murdered your people and caused the restless dead? Side effects! Afterthoughts! This is about power, and I will add yours to what I have stolen! Even if you are impervious to my sorcery, it changes nothing. I am a god! Come, student of Li! Your quest for death is at an end!
~ Emperor Sun Hai gloating to the last Spirit Monk.
Fools! Can you not dispose of one defiant peasant? Very well, I will face you myself! No matter your destiny, you will fall here today!
~ Emperor Sun Hai beginning his duel with the last Spirit Monk.
This cannot be. I am Emperor Sun. I am a god!
~ Emperor Sun Hai's last words shortly before his death.

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