Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Havune and I sat at Cafe du Fronde, lapping at tisanes,
nibbling on little triangular pastries stuffed with little
dabs of this or that potent spice. It is the first
anniversary of the death of his great-uncle Darmian, and he
told me of the deeds of Darmian, and which of the wives and
mates and marriage-partners of Darmian still remain, and
many stories.

But that's Havune's story, for Havune's journal if he has

I don't have many ancestors at all. I think Havune is
engaged to more people than I have ancestors... My ~mother~
Eitharheinen and ~father~ Dzeriaunet; my ~mother~'s parents
Glikkonen and Verehinga; my ~father~'s parents Tnirvakuovvka
and Myrihaaveinen; and Tnirvakuovvka's parents Caathestaa
and Yylhauntra. Glikkonen, Verehinga, Myrihaaveinen,
Caathestaa, and Yylhauntra had no parents, unless Hren Tzen
counts. That's eight ancestors, so I'm wrong about Havune,
but not by too much.

Seven of them are still alive.

I never met Caathestaa. For that matter I have never met
Myrihaaveinen or Yylhauntra or Verehinga either, but most
likely sometime I will. They have, after all, lived for
4,260 years and some days. They know, better than anyone,
how to keep living, and why.

Caathestaa, I suppose, thought zie knew how to keep living
too, but almost two thousand years ago zie discovered zie
was wrong.

A digression on reincarnation

Hmm. I could even be Caathestaa. I don't know how
many Zi Ri have died on the World Tree -- a few hundred
perhaps -- or how often Hren Tzen chooses to reincarnate a
dead one as a live one. But I have read (in an introductory
theology book, for what that's worth) that the gods love
their first-created the best, and often reincarnate them.

Or perhaps that's just an excuse for all the people who
think they're someone famous who has been reincarnated. Not
very many people have the strength of magic to curl their
necks through time and see into a spirit's previous life,
and those that do, often have better things to do than
indulge random lunatics' curiousity.

(On some consideration: I would never admit this to anyone
for real, but one would think that a reincarnated
two-thousand-year-old would have some traces of
wisdom still remaining, even though their ancient memory is
entirely gone, so, well, that's a vote against it.)


The one-year anniversary of Caathestaa's death was two
thousand sixty-five years ago, give or take one depending on
what date zie died. I'm sure that my ~father~ knows the
date, but my ~father~ is not readily to hand, so I will
leave that as a mystery for the while.

Caathestaa was one of the first-created, but not one of the
most famous ones. Dustweed's copy of History of the
Firstmost Days
, by Ickserio ky Vernioff, mentions zir
name three times in the index. (I wonder what Havune would
say if he heard that I had to look up my great-grandparent
in a book. I can't imagine any Cani not knowing the color
and scent of a great-grandparent's fur, even if they had
missed each other by a long time ... but a long time for
Cani isn't a long time for Yylhauntra and Tnirvakuovvka and
Dzeriaunet. I rather suspect that Yylhauntra at least still
mourns on Caathestaa's deathday.)

Caathestaa was a Herbador mage who strengthened spears and
constructed catapults for the Herethroy and the Cani in
their first struggles against the cyarr. Zie was one of the
first Durudor mages who managed to do anything with actual
metal -- and not because of any great gift with Durudor or
metalworking, but because zie spent a hundred years making
pottery, seeking the little flecks of clay in thick soil
with Durudor, and from all that work got to be good enough
at Durudor to be able to work the little scraps of metal
gathered from nut-husks and the needles of certain bushes.
Zie wasn't the first one to actually create metal,
making smithcraft much more of an organized craft than the
haphazard amusement depending on the luck of the gathering
than it used to be. It was a Rassimel who first created
metal, a Rassimel whom ky Vernioff mentions by name three
times. It was another Rassimel who first developed a
pattern spell to create metal, a Rassimel who ky Vernioff
gives three whole pages.

Ky Vernioff doesn't say how Caathestaa died, since that
wasn't part of the firstmost days. There might be family
stories, but I haven't spent any great amount of time with
Dzeriaunet my ~father~, much less Tnirvakuovvka my
grandparent who is Caathestaa's child, so I don't know from them.

I was curious, though. The Academy library is open at
night, for Rassimel mostly, though the fee is a whole
lozen. There, if one looks around, one can find a Registry
of Zi Ri. (Incidentally, not a complete registry. This
version is three years younger than me, but doesn't list

Caathestaa never went very far from home. Zie was a smith
in Tauvane, only a handful of miles from the Birthing Field.
(Where could be safer than Tauvane?) In 2,196, some Cani
friends took zir skyboating. (What could be safer than
skyboating, for a Zi Ri?) Lightning touched the ship,
setting it ablaze. (What could be less dangerous than a
fire, for a Zi Ri?) The boat could not fly well; the
captain chose to crash it into the lake, either to put out
the flames or to cushion the landing somewhat, or because he
had no choice of where to land. And Caathestaa drowned from
that. Nobody else died.

There aren't any stories about zir I could find in the
Vheshrame Academy library, and I looked for two hours and
more. I suppose if I went to Tauvane, the ancient city
whose name means "New Town", I could burrow around in old
old records and find more -- or, perhaps, meet a scholar,
surely Rassimel, who knows a hundred times more about my
family than I do.

Darmian was nobody in particular. Havune's family is high
enough, but Darmian was nobody important in it. He used to
carve little toy guntries for his nephews, only they had
four legs because he wasn't good enough to make six. He
wore a plum-colored hat that his wife had knitted for him,
and when he grew old he would sit by the fire and sprinkle
pepper in his kathia, and everyone teased him for that. He
told silly stories about a talking enstarba, and his front
left canine tooth was made of meng, and ... oh, a thousand
things more. After hearing Havune talk for a while, Darmian
is practically an old friend of mine, whom I just happen
never to have met.

It's piss for brandy that I know Darmian better than

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