Excerpt from the Life and Times of Jazanju Pavo, Bearer of the Peacock Feather Cloak

As told to Ernwright Carbru III in the year - and set down after him by Pirria Selestra

Transcriber’s note: as ever I have tried to keep a sense of the style and rhythm of the original language; and also as ever, we must consider how much of the oral histories are true, and how much embellished.

We have already heard how as a youngling Pavo ran with the Otask clan in the Third Homeland, called the Dathukrass. For his early years the Otask kept him well, gave him learnings of what the soft-skins might call ‘industry’, and were generally distant and permissive - as was the way in times past. Today, too much of the soft-skin influence has inveigled its way into our child-rearing. I maintain that freedom to roam is how younglings learn to keep their feet when the ground is uneven, to stand that ground when nature challenges them, to challenge those who would impart their will even against natural laws - ah, but I digress. In Jozanju’s time, the children would remain with their birth-parents only for a clawful of years, and then choose their own clan, for a time.

But in time again they would choose anew, as so did Pavo. We all know how mighty a shaman he was, how connected to the First Ancient, and other Ancients besides - though that is another, later, story. But was he simply born so blessed? Was he like the albino tiger, evident in his power and majesty from his very hatching time?

No, of course not. Even his Peacock Feather Cloak, the Pavo itself from whence he was named - that did not come to him until later in our stories.

The Otask Sulphur Grounds were always dangerous. Smokey, dark places of great effort and exertion, Pavo saw the One-We-Do-Not name there, amongst the sulfur melts that ran in rivulets down the hills. Here Jozanju learned not to fear that which simply appears to be hellish, that anything may be tamed or managed, with correct preparations. This would give him good ground on which to befriend the famed soft-skin Nalista, later in life.

Nevertheless, he lost friends. We are now, as I already said, too soft-skinned in our thinking, but perhaps it is well that we lose fewer younglings. Perhaps nature should be better selecting.

Jozanju spoke to me once, and I listened well, to his tale of seeing one of the Nsek younglings, unused to the gullies and crevices, so different to the Nsek waterways where they farmed leeches. That youngling ran freely in a game of catch-the-willowisp one night amongst the Sulphur runs, and breathed too deeply. Jozanju wept to see his friend pass on, and swore that day to study the arts of the shaman who came to collect the body for redistribution. Those bones lie still at the Nsek farm, the proper rites having been given, of course. You can see them if you want. No, not now. Yes, later I said.


That was the last day Pavo dwelled with the Otask clan. The next morning, he made for Chasrukao - yes, named the same as where we now sit. Have you forgotten yesterday’s lesson already? All temples of learning are named Chasrukao, for all are the same place, even when miles away… Look, it’s not that confusing- We’ll talk of this later.

Transcriber’s note: here Ernwright’s notes tail off into irrelevancies about food. Why he felt the need to record every word spoken, we’ll never know.