Khakhanate Book 2: The Crow HTML version

propensity to stand very still and very straight making him look more like a slab of dressed stone than a man.
He was a man of few words, and those were mostly barely audible grunts, further contributing to his lithic
aspect. Goa was very reserved and very polite. She was expressionless and impossible to befriend since one
could never feel any warmth from the woman. It was impossible to tell if they were happy together, but they did
remain together until their deaths and had four children who were nearly as inscrutable as they were. I never got
to really know them and was guilty of wondering if they even knew each other. Sarah had married a local man,
Tepeyolotl, a Tlahuica merchant who took her on many of his travels. She was a cheerful person, with a sturdy
build and a well-developed sense of fun. She teased all of us, but especially and unmercifully Ignace, whenever
he was around. She always brought me something back from her many travels. Tepeyolotl was a wonderful
man, tall and strong; he would toss me up on his shoulders and tell me all about the strange lands he had visited
and the various things for which he had traded there. They eventually had five children with whom I became
more acquainted between exiles, but more of that later. Theodore had become a healer like our father and had
married Mahwissa, a Dzitsiista whom he had met during his travels in the north. He was very kind and
thoughtful, although he also was very quiet. He was often lost in thought, much like our father and also
undertook many journeys. He was the most patient with my questions when he was at home. He eventually
moved to the Blue Sky Khanate and I rarely saw him as a child. Mahwissa was a very sweet and quiet lady.
She, too, was most kind to me and with the utmost patience taught me her native language. They had three
children, but I only met one of them once when he was an adult.
My mother’s children were Sealth, Taiwit, and Mathilde. Her first husband had insisted on naming the boys, but
allowed her to name the lone daughter. Sealth, and Taiwit were both soldiers, the former stationed with his
father’s old Ordu, the Salmon and the latter with the Pelicans. Sealth had married Kudeitsaakw, a ‘Lingit
woman he had met while on patrol off the coast north of the Ordu. (This alliance would serve me handsomely
during my second exile.) Sealth was a tall, broad-shouldered man who seemed to radiate quiet strength and self-
confidence. Kudeitsaakw was a cheerful though shy and self-conscious lady who was very fond of me and
always made a big fuss over me when they visited. They had two children after a long barren time and I didn’t
meet them until after my second exile. Taiwit had married Simahi, an A’palachi woman he had met when he
was taken to her town after a fall while he was serving as a courier. He was much like Sealth, except that he was
friendlier and had a weakness for strong drink. Simahi was a strong woman who did all she could to cover up
Taiwit’s weakness, but things eventually caught up with them. They had no children. Finally there was
Mathilde. She was only nine years older than me and had returned from her sojourn among her Salst relatives
when I was five, just before Grandfather’s death. She taught me to read and write the old language as well as
Mongol and Nahual. She also taught me Salst, Nimipu, and Siksika and together we prepared dictionaries of all
the languages I had learned using the Uighur script. It resulted in some awkward pronunciations at times, but
helped me remember the languages well enough to converse in them. She was a wonderful girl, always eager to
teach me and help me find the answers to all my questions. We both spent many hours together pouring over
my father’s books.
Because of his rather narrow medical focus, one would not have expected my father to have as many books as
he did. He did, indeed, write down his discoveries in his field, and he would get a copy of any musings from a
colleague that had been written down, but by far the bulk of his library was nonmedical. He had kept all of
Grandfather’s books and treated them with great respect and made sure we did as well. Grandfather didn’t
mention it in his book, but after he retired, he spent most of his time making sure that all the things he had
learned in the old land were written down. His remarkable memory was as sharp as ever and had filled many
books, all in Mongol, covering the many subjects he had studied and mastered. Copies of these had been made
and sent to the Khakhan and both southern Khans. It was a bewildering mass of information. Grandfather had
even compiled a dictionary of the Hanjen picture writing, but after spending a little time comparing it to that of
the Nahual and Maya, I decided the latter were easier to figure out and gave up on the former. Another
remarkable thing I remember was a book that had plans for many different things including a kind of weapon
that hurled fire through the air at the enemy. This weapon required a kind of fuel with which I was unfamiliar,
but he included instructions on finding such a fuel and preparing it for use. As it happened I was not the only
one impressed with this device, and it was eventually made and kept secret until its surprise use at a most
opportune moment.