Author Topic: Who is Tsujatha?  (Read 9415 times)

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Who is Tsujatha?
« on: April 06, 2005, 08:24:55 PM »
This post contains an excerpt from The Jewel of Tamar, the book which introduces the character of Tsujatha.  The physical description of Tsujatha comes later in the book.

   Tsujatha rose slowly, for he was in no hurry.  What need have I for hurry? he thought bitterly. There is nothing welcoming about an empty house.  He popped the last of the traveling biscuit into his mouth.  It is good that I reach home today.  Breakfast was the last of my provisions.  He flexed his tired muscles and kicked dust over the fire, putting it out.  Tsujatha looked up at the sky.  The sun was well above the horizon.  Just another hour or so, then I will be home.  Home?  The word was bitter to him.  Perhaps I ought to leave Sorjoba.  Perhaps in the Silbrios I might find—  “Fool!” he interrupted his own thoughts by speaking aloud.  “What place is there for you in the Forest of the Stars?  Even your own mother rejected you!  Sorjoba has been good to you.  Stay there, fool-boy!” He clambered onto his grey stallion, clucking to him. “It’s time we were off.”
   He rode for a few minutes, but his thoughts did not let him rest.  Another fruitless journey.  The words were unwelcome in his mind.  This was Tsujatha’s third journey from the Dylak Thana to the lands of Men, and he had yet to find what he sought. Why did you think that the Jarad would know of Truth?  Or that they would share with you what they knew if they had? He sighed.  The Jarad, the Gypsy-Men, had been his great hope.  They mistrusted all governments, and owned no King, no lord.  But to his disappointment, they had been more interested in his wild demeanor, in his outlandish Elven dress, and in his strange way of speaking Fihdal, the most common tongue of Men, than in his search.  Truth was Tsujatha’s goal, the prize which he sought, hoping that it would explain the injustice of his life.  But he had never found Truth.  Sorjoba has been kind to me, he thought. The kindness of being left alone.  At least in Sorjoba no one mocks me.
   His mind slid back into memory, despite his attempts to hold it in the present. He saw again his father’s angry face as the man struck the boy. “Bastard!  Son of a whore! You are no son of mine!  Bastard!”  The kick that had accompanied that last epithet had plunged the boy into merciful unconsciousness.  The bruises had healed, and his broken arm, but the pain of the curses had never faded.
   Now that image was replaced by the image of the children surrounding him, mocking him.  Tsujatha had been a large child, head and shoulders above the other children his age, and the children had always teased him.  Children can be cruel, and they are quick to sense the disapproval of their elders.  He seemed to feel again the stones as the children pelted him with rocks.  There had been too many for Tsujatha to resist, but there had finally come a day when their torments had ceased.  Two of the largest boys had been holding him down while a third punched him in the chest.  The anger had surged in Tsujatha’s breast, and his fingertips had flamed with blue fire.  The flames had burned the two boys holding him, and the third had run in fear.  From that day he was let alone.  The ostracism was so total that he nearly preferred their torments.  But they feared his magical abilities.  I never knew before that day that I was the only one who could do that.  I did not know then that I had the Gift.   
                These memories, too, drifted out of his mind, only to be replaced with still another bitter image, this time of his mother.  “You are no longer my son!”
   “Mother?”  Tsujatha could still hear his own boy-voice.
   “I am not your mother anymore!  You have been nothing but trouble and pain to me since you were laid in my arms!  Get out!”  And she, too, had struck him with her open hand.
   That had been the last day.  Though only an adolescent, merely eighty years old, Tsujatha had left his village that day, left Vilohnar behind him. He had wandered from his home, just east of the capital city of Halchek, wandering eastward, ever eastward.  He had gone aimlessly for three years, until he had reached Sorjoba, northeasternmost of all the settlements of the Dylak Thana.  He had hesitated there, pondering whether or not to leave the Golden Desert.  In the end, he had settled in Sorjoba, and there he had dwelt for forty years.
   Tsujatha, finding himself unable to banish the black memories that ruled his brain and having no memories that were not bitter, reached into his saddlebag and pulled out the tan, leather-bound volume that was within it.  This was a book of magic, detailing the harnessing of the Gift that flowed as raw power in his blood.  Where the thick volume had come from, Tsujatha did not know.  It had been in his father’s house as long as he could remember, but neither his father nor his mother had possessed the Gift of magic.  This book was the only thing he had taken from his father’s house when he had departed, forty-three years before.
   The young Elf opened the book and forced his eyes to the page.  He concentrated on the arcane lore within, willing his mind to stay focused on the enchantments.  The sun rode higher in the sky, but Tsujatha did not note it.  It was over an hour before he was in control of his thoughts enough to replace the book, slipping it back into his saddlebag.
   It will soon be noon.  Tsujatha suddenly became aware of the time, alerted by the rumblings of his stomach.  Sorjoba ought to be visible when I reach the top of that dune.
    The grey stallion, well-used to desert travel, made good time, and Tsujatha was soon at the top of the dune.  He looked out toward Sorjoba, but all he could see was a heavy black cloud.  Sorjoba was burning.  He stared at the thick smoke, unable to grasp what it must mean.  In a daze, he directed his mount toward the smoky ruin that had been his village.
   He rode to the northeasternmost quarter, where his own hut had stood. It was burned; nothing remained of all his possessions.  He felt his rage beginning to rise.  Everything I had gathered over forty-three years!  Everything gone!  He dismounted and tied his horse to a sooty rock.  He began to make his way through the village.  Everywhere he saw the bodies of Elves, people he knew, faces he had seen daily.  The stench of burning flesh was strong, and Tsujatha had to choke back the bile that rose in his throat.  But amongst the Elven corpses, Tsujatha now saw the bodies of black- and red-armored soldiers wearing massive helms.  Enraged by the sights before him, Tsujatha picked up the nearest black-armored body and ripped off the helm.  The face of a Man with light blond hair was revealed.  The blue left eye was open, fixed in the glassy stare of death, but the right was destroyed by a deep gash running down that side of the face.  The wound went to the skull, obviously the Man’s death-wound.  The blood was congealed and sticky, but not yet completely dry.  This attack could not have been too long ago, realized Tsujatha.  He threw the Man’s body down in disgust.  It stirred up the dust where it fell, but nothing else in all the smoldering village was moving.
   Tsujatha made his way to the fountain in the village square.  It was cracked across the bottom, but the water was still flowing.  It poured over the broken lip of the fountain to mingle with the blood and dust in a red-brown ooze.  The fountain seemed to Tsujatha to symbolize the ruin and desolation he saw all around him.  In frustrated rage, he threw himself to the ground, sitting cross-legged in the dusty center of his burning village.
Can you accept a necromancer? Can you trust a murderer? Can you love Tsujatha?
If you like Tsujatha, you should read his novels.
Natha ssin'urn lu' dwalc ilythiiri noamuth wund l' rivven: Yasraena zhah ghil!
Saerileth's bounty is as boundless as the sea; the more  she gives to you, the more she has, for her love is infinite.