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I'm going to rip out your spine. I'm going to grind you skull beneath my heel till your eyeballs burst. No more Spirit Walker buzzing round me like a gnat round a bison. I am the Oak Mage! I rule the Forest!
~ Thiazzi threatening Torak during their final confrontation.


Thiazzi is a Soul Eater and one the main antagonists of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (which takes place 6,000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age). He is the Oak Mage and first appears in Soul Eater. He serves as the main antagonist of Oath Breaker, becoming the second last Soul Eater to be vanquished.

Biography

Before Soul Eater

Thiazzi's past is mostly unknown. What is known is that he comes from the Oak Clan, one of the Deep Forest clans. In addition to becoming his clan's mage, he had developed great physical strength by the time he joined the Healers. At some point, all the other members of his clan died, leaving Thiazzi as the last living Oak. Thiazzi also happens to be a distant relative of the main hero Torak whose maternal grandfather was from Thiazzi's clan.

Soul Eater

During wintertime, Thiazzi joins up with EostraNef and Seshru in a new plot to take over the Forest. With one of the three Fire Opal shards in their possession, they locate the Eye of the Viper, a mountain in the Far North. The mountain contains a Door, an underground place where the layer between the mortal world and the Otherworld is thinnest. The Soul Eaters intend to find and open the Door to release demons from the Otherworld. They would then bind the demons to their will with the Fire Opal and use them to force all the clans to submit to them.

Requiring predators as sacrifices for protective spells against the demons, Thiazzi starts hunting them with Nef and Seshru. They capture Wolf and set out toward the Far North, not knowing that Torak and Renn are pursuing them. While capturing Wolf, Thiazzi steps on his tail-tip so hard that the unattended tip is affected by necrosis. The Oak Mage also enjoys teasing Wolf and watching as he weakens and no longer rejects the meat Nef offers him.

When the Soul Eaters have gathered all the nine predators in the Eye of the Viper, Torak takes the place of a White Fox boy brought in by Nef to serve as the Soul Eaters' acolyte and one of the sacrifices. He manages to fool the Soul Eaters who have hardly seen the White Fox boy's face. Torak begins hating Thiazzi immediately when he sees the Oak Mage torturing the young owl sacrifice (which Torak is forced by Nef to sacrifice later). By the time Renn sneaks inside the cave system, Thiazzi seals the entrance with a boulder, forcing Renn to find another way out.

After the Soul Eaters locate the Door, Torak reunites with Renn and frees Wolf, cutting off his necrotic tail-tip. The Soul Eaters slaughter two more sacrifices — a lynx and a polar bear — for the ritual to open the Door. Thiazzi wears the bear's pelt while he keeps away the predators' vengeful souls with Seshru. After Nef raises the alarm over the released sacrifices, a fight ensues between the Soul Eaters and Torak, Renn and Wolf. Wolf knocks Thiazzi down and bites off two fingers from his left hand. Renn steals the Fire Opal and flees with Torak and Wolf, though not before Seshru manages to release a number of demons.

Thiazzi sets out with Nef and Seshru (along with Eostra's eagle owl) to reclaim the Fire Opal. They catch Torak who has been separated from Wolf and Renn. The furious Thiazzi is about to beat Torak into giving the Fire Opal's location, but the two female Soul Eaters warn him not to kill the boy yet. When Nef finds and recognizes the ceremonial knife Torak's father passed to his son, the boy's identity finally dawns on the Soul Eaters. Thiazzi is the most displeased to know that Torak's father was the Wolf Mage who turned on them. Nevertheless, the Soul Eaters force Torak to lead them to Renn who has the Fire Opal. When Seshru forcefully tattoos the Soul Eaters' mark on the boy's chest before that, Thiazzi holds Torak still.

By the time Renn is reached, she is about to jump into a crevasse in order to destroy the Fire Opal's power. The Soul Eaters corner her against the crevasse while pointing arrows at her. A polar bear (lured at the place with the scent of Torak's blood) appears, and Torak spirit walks into it. He then fights the Soul Eaters, breaking Thiazzi's arm and having him at his mercy. Wolf herds the released demons at the place with an arctic wolf pack. He then convinces his pack-brother not to kill the helpless Thiazzi with the polar bear's strength. Nef takes the Fire Opal from Renn and sacrifices herself to repay her debt to Torak's father. The demons follow her and end up being sealed under the ice, with the Fire Opal's power dying in the process. Thiazzi and Seshru flee to fight another day.

Oath Breaker

Becoming hunted

Thiazzi doesn't appear in Outcast in which Seshru is killed and the second Fire Opal fragment is destroyed. He is implied to be in the Seal Islands, searching for the last piece of the Fire Opal which Tenris possessed before his death. In the beginning of Oath Breaker, when it is more than a year since the events of Soul Eater, Thiazzi finds the last piece of the Fire Opal. He goes to the Crag and lifts the altar, finding the Opal hidden underneath. He is caught in the act by Bale, Torak's kin from the Seal Clan. Thiazzi overpowers Bale and throws him off the edge. As Bale hangs over the edge, Thiazzi steps on his fingers, and the young man falls to his death. The Oak Mage then sets out toward the Forest, and Torak swears to avenge Bale by killing Thiazzi.

After crossing the Sea, Thiazzi navigates in his canoe through the Open Forest's rivers, heading east toward the Deep Forest. Torak, Renn, Wolf and Fin-Kedinn follow him. Knowing he is being pursued, Thiazzi sets a nearly invisible sinew across the river. The pursuers come close to getting their heads cut by the sinew as they paddle among the river.

When the heroes reach the entrance of the Deep Forest, Torak spots Thiazzi entering there in his canoe. He runs after the Oak Mage recklessly and triggers another trap. Logs roll down the Burnt Hill, injuring Fin-Kedinn so badly that he is forced to return to the Raven Clan. As Torak, Renn and Wolf enter the Deep Forest, they slowly realize how Thiazzi has caused discord among the Deep Forest clans lately.

Thiazzi's manipulations

Thiazzi has used the tensions between the Deep Forest clans to drive them into warring each other. He planted a curse stick to declare the area between the rivers Blackwater and Windriver as the range of the Forest Horse Clan. Displeased with this, the Auroch Clan burnt the curse stick. Thiazzi then murdered the Forest Horse Mage and became the new mage of the clan. Presenting a dart from his predecessor's corpse, he blamed the Aurochs for the murder. The Auroch Clan then sided with the Lynx Clan against the Forest Horse Clan which has the support of the Bat Clan. Only the pacifistic Red Deer Clan stays out of fighting, but one of their members, an insane and pyromaniacal woman who calls herself the Chosen One, becomes Thiazzi's minion. She spies on Torak and Renn on his orders.

Thiazzi murders the Auroch Mage as well, with the clan not finding it out due to the mage's reclusiveness. He influences both sides of the war by making the zealous Deep Forest people to follow a set of teachings called the Way. Each clan starts believing they have the only right way to ignite fire and the other clans are wicked. The Auroch Clan members scar themselves to punish themselves for not following the Way. The Deep Forest people also start practicing a forbidden punishment from the bad times that followed the Great Wave: cutting off hands. The Oak Mage also kidnaps several children from several clans (both from the Deep Forest and the Open Forest) to turn them into tokoroths. The clans blame each other for the disappearances of their children without any proof or discrimination. When Gaup from the Salmon Clan enters the Deep Forest in search of his daughter, the Auroch Clan blames him of stealing their children and conspiring with the Forest Horses. They cut off his hand and drive him away from the Deep Forest, using his severed hand in the curse stick they plant at the Forest's entrance.

In his disguise of the Forest Horse Mage, Thiazzi forbids anyone to go the sacred grove and takes it as his place of fasting. In the privacy of the secluded grove, he kills predators with fire and places the corpses to hang from the the branches of the Great Oak. Torak tracks Thiazzi down to the grove and challenges him. Having expected Torak, Thiazzi has the upper hand during the entire confrontation. However, when Wolf causes a bison herd to run through the grove, Thiazzi vanishes.

The Unifier & the Warmonger

After the Chosen One sets loose a devastating forest fire, Torak is captured by the Forest Horse Clan, while Renn is captured by the Auroch Clan. The warring Deep Forest clans gather near the sacred grove. In his disguise of the Forest Horse Mage, Thiazzi presents the speaking staff of the Auroch Clan. He lies to the surprised Auroch Clan that he has spoken with their mage who has given him the staff in token of trust. He then returns the staff to the Aurochs as a sign of respect.

Much to everyone's surprise, the Forest Horse Mage then claims that both he and the Auroch Mage have had the same vision. He declares that the Deep Forest clans must no longer war with each other, but unite against a greater enemy. He blames the clans outside the Deep Forest of all the misfortunes, twisting the previous actions of the Soul Eaters (the Demon Bear, Tenris' plague, the demons released in the Far North, and the flood at Lake Axehead) and pinning the blame on the outsiders. This preaching convinces the previously hostile Deep Forest clans to embrace each other as brothers-in-arms.

Thiazzi then has Torak brought forth and unjustly blamed for the following list of transgressions: igniting the forest fire, trying to spread Tenris' plague to the Deep Forest, removing the Soul Eaters' mark on his chest in order to hide his evil nature, and being accepted back to the clans after being branded as an outcast. Thiazzi declares the boy to be executed, but a sensible old Auroch man says that the Auroch Mage must first agree with this if the truce is to stand. This comment brings some sense back to the fanatic Deep Forest clans. Knowing that he must agree to this demand for the sake of his goals, Thiazzi says that he shall appear with the Auroch Mage the next day and should they both agree, Torak will die.

During the following night, Torak escapes with Renn's help, but he leaves her to hunt down Thiazzi. She is recaptured, but she convinces herself to be allowed to speak with the Auroch Mage. She is taken to the Auroch Mage's secluded shelter where Thiazzi is impersonating as the mage. After they are left alone, Thiazzi pretends to be reasonable and listens to Renn for a while. He then reveals himself to her and seems to be prepared to kill her. However, she tries to threaten him by saying that Eostra will come to punish him for keeping the Fire Opal to himself. The Oak Mage decides to let Renn live until he has used her as a bait in luring Torak back into his clutches. He destroys Renn's belongings in front of her, leaves clues for Torak to follow and takes her to the sacred grove.

The final confrontation

In the sacred grove, Thiazzi imprisons the tied up an gagged Renn inside the hollow Great Yew. He leads smoke inside the tree, putting Renn in the danger of suffocation. Eventually Torak arrives to the grove on the back of a forest horse. He throws away his weapons and breaks his oath to avenge Bale so that Thiazzi would let Renn go, but Thiazzi merely taunts him. The Oak Mage sets the surrounding junipers in fire, sealing off the grove's entrance.

During the fight, Thiazzi tricks Torak to think that Renn is inside the Great Oak that stands next to the Great Yew. Torak climbs up the ladder Thiazzi has set to rest against the oak, only to realize he has been tricked. Despite this, he tells the Oak Mage that the Deep Forest clans are coming to the grove. Deciding to kill Torak quickly, Thiazzi climbs after him. Renn manages to get out of the yew and appears in its branches. Torak kicks the ladder to rest against the yew so that Renn can climb down, but he and Thiazzi are trapped in the oak.

Thiazzi chases Torak through the branches, eventually cornering him at the top branch. Renn throws for Torak a burning brand of wood. He hits Thiazzi with it, but the Oak Mage is protected from the fire by the Fire Opal. Though Torak loses the brand and is weaponless again, a spark remains in Thiazzi's hair. Torak tries to distract him by claiming that the Oak Mage won't get the Fire Opal. Thiazzi then brags about already having it and shows the pouch in which he keeps the Opal. Suddenly, Eostra's eagle owl appears. It snatches the pouch from Thiazzi's grasp and flies toward the High Mountains in the east. No longer having protection against fire, Thiazzi's hair is set ablaze. He loses his balance and falls to his death.

Legacy

The Deep Forest clans are made aware of Thiazzi's manipulations, and they abandon the Way as eagerly as they embraced it. A peace treaty is made with the Open Forest clans, and almost all the children kidnapped by Thiazzi are found and taken under treatment. The Deep Forest slowly starts to recover from the forest fire, and the Oak Mage's body is secretly buried in a hidden valley by the Deep Forest clans. The Chosen One is captured and judged by Torak. After losing one of his tail feathers while fighting Thiazzi, Rip the raven grows a white one in its place. He gains much respect from the Raven Clan for this.

Thiazzi's spirit appears briefly in Ghost Hunter when Eostra summons him with the other deceased Soul Eaters. He is under Eostra's control because the Eagle Owl Mage possesses his hair. He vanishes when the spell is broken.

Appearance

Thiazzi is a very large man. His face is hard like sun-cracked earth. His cruel eyes are leaf-green. His hair and beard are both russet, long and tangled. His teeth are yellow due to his habit of chewing spruce resin, which he reeks of. He also has a deep voice.

Thiazzi's clan tattoo is situated on the back of his left hand. Like with the other Soul Eaters, he has a three-pronged black fork tattooed on her chest. Wolf bites off two fingers from his left hand in Soul Eater, which is why Wolf afterwards refers to Thiazzi as "the Bitten One" instead of "Pale-Pelt" as before.

In Soul Eater, Thiazzi wears bulky reindeer-hide clothes, but his clothing changes drastically in Oath Breaker. In his disguise of the Forest Horse Mage, he wears a long horsehide mantle and a graven mask worn by the clan's mages. The mask resembles the face of a horse by being long and having a mane made of horsetails. The eyes are painted scarlet, and the open mouth is adorned with black feathers. Thiazzi hides his three-fingered left hand as well as his real clan tattoo in a long sleeve. In his disguise of the Auroch Mage, he wears a hooded green mantle of leaves and a necklace of spruce resin pieces hanging from a nettlestem string. He covers his size by hiding under foliage and sprigs before he reveals himself to Renn.

Under both of the aforementioned disguises, Thiazzi wears on his chest a wreath made of the tokens of the Oak Clan: acorns and mistletoe that have white berries as misty as blinded eyes. He keeps the last Fire Opal shard in a small black pouch that hangs from the wreath. In his final confrontation with Torak, he takes away his mantle and shows himself to wear hides of many predators (including a fox, a lynx, a wolverine and a bear) to give him strength.

Personality

Thiazzi is the most sadistic and violent of the Soul Eaters. He loves frightening and hurting any living creature, even if they are children or animals that cannot fight back. He can hurt both physically and psychologically, like when he destroys Renn's belongings before her eyes, even snapping in two her beloved bow. He also provokes Torak into rage by taunting him of the deaths of his parents and Bale.

Thiazzi is quite arrogant and haughty, trusting his own strength before anything else. He is not as interested in Torak's power as a spirit walker as the other Soul Eaters, probably thinking that he does not need it when he has the Fire Opal. At most he considers Torak's power to be a bonus and is more interested in having Torak killed.

Thiazzi desires in Oath Breaker to become the sole ruler of the entire Forest, leaving Eostra out of his plans despite his fear of her and better knowledge. He instills in the Deep Forest clans the teachings of the Way that have traits from the customs unpracticed since the dark times that followed the Great Wave. These customs include dismembering and self-mutilation, killing predators with fire and having certain ways to ignite fire. Thiazzi claims that being sacrificed with fire is the most magnificent death a hunter can receive.

In both of the books he appears, Thiazzi claims that the World Spirit is on his side, like the other Soul Eaters do. He claims that the clans are weak for forsaking the Way and that he will put an end to all the disagreements, clan totems and clan mages, with him as the sole ruler.

Thiazzi knows how to sow discord, as he demonstrates throughout Oath Breaker. He can create lies out of truths like he does with the previous actions of the Soul Eaters and Torak while uniting the Deep Forest clans he had driven to fight each other. While sadistic, he can focus on the task at hand when needed. According to Fin-Kedinn, Thiazzi wanted to know the minds of trees when he joined the Healers, like the other Deep Forest inhabitants.

Powers and Abilities

Thiazzi's special ability as a Soul Eater is his great strength. When Eostra summons Thiazzi's spirit in Ghost Hunter, the Eagle Owl Mage describes the Oak Mage as "mighty as oak, the strongest one". He is indeed regarded as the strongest man of the Forest. In Soul Eater, he moves a slab of rock five times Renn's size as easily as it were a wicker screen. He also moves the polar bear Seshru anesthetizes. In Oath Breaker, he raises a fallen spruce tree as easily as if it were a twig. He wields the largest knife and axe Torak and Renn have ever seen. He also wields a rawhide whip which he uses to disarm Torak.

While Thiazzi comes off as a brute in Soul Eater, he shows his full cunningness in Oath Breaker. He skillfully builds several traps and manipulates entire clans to fight each other and then to unite. When Thiazzi possesses the last Fire Opal shard, he can control fire while remaining safe from it.

Quotes

He has a knife! (*seizes Torak and laughs as he makes him scream*) Should I be frightened, Seshru? Does he mean to threaten the Oak Mage? Does he mean to threaten?
~ Thiazzi meeting Torak for the first time.


So he's shaken, is he? Nef, he's a coward! I hope that won't affect the charm.
~ Thiazzi discussing with Nef about Torak.


Listen to him whine. Like that wolf when I stamped on his tail. Whining like a cub.
~ Thiazzi commenting about Torak being forced forward by Seshru.


I am the truth and the Way. I am master of fire. I am ruler of the Forest!
~ Thiazzi incanting in the sacred grove.


So, Spirit Walker. You obeyed my summons. (Torak: Take up your weapons, Thiazzi. You killed my kinsman. Now I'm going to kill you. You won't get away from me this time.) (*Thiazzi laughs*) I, get away from you? You're here because I want you here! I wondered you dared follow me from the islands, so I sent my minion to find out. Since you entered my Forest, I've known every step you've taken, every breath you've drawn. Now it ends.
~ Thiazzi being confronted by Torak in the sacred grove for the first time.


My power is greater than yours! See, even the fire obeys me! But since the World Spirit has delivered you into my hands, I shall add your power to my own. (Torak: How can the World Spirit be on your side? Killing hunters! How can that please the Spirit?) To offer a hunter to the fire is to give it the noblest death of all. It is the Way. (Torak: It's not the clans' way, and it's not your Forest.) I am the Master! I have taken the Deep Forest for my own! (Torak: The war between the clans. You started it. You set them against each other. You planted the curse sticks. You murdered the Forest Horse Mage and blamed it on the Aurochs. You made them fight) They wanted to fight. They needed to fight! The clans are weak. They've forgotten the True Way, but I will unite them. That's why the World Spirit gave this land to me: to root out differences, to return the clans to the Way! No more clan guardians, no more clan Mages. One way. One Forest. One Leader!
~ Thiazzi gloating about his goals to Torak.


I cannot be hurt! The deathless heart of the oak shields me from harm! I am invincible! But come, try your luck. Let's see if you can break me. Or shall I break you, as easily as I broke your mother and your father? As I broke your kinsman. As I threw him over the Crag and spattered his brains across the rocks...
~ Thiazzi provoking Torak into attacking him.


For a moon I have fasted in the sacred grove, and the Auroch Mage has fasted in his prayer shelter. To both of us the same vision has been sent. We must fight no longer! Auroch. Forest Horse. Lynx. Bat. Red Deer. We must unite! We must unite against a greater foe! Many winters ago, the clans turned their backs on the True Way. They were punished. Whole clans died out. Roe Deer. Beaver. Oak. Since then, more evils have assailed the people of the Deep Forest. All have been caused by outsiders — by unbelievers who spurn the Way. Three winters ago, an Open Forest trickster duped the Red Deer into sheltering him, then repaid them by creating the demon bear. Two summers ago, the people of the Open Forest sent the sickness and the tokoroths... only our vigilance kept them from the True Forest. The winter before last, the Ice clans sent hordes of demons to invade us. Last spring, the Otters tried to drown us in a flood. This spring, outsiders stole our children and sent the great fire to destroy us. They failed! Until now, we have only resisted! But now... Now we must fight! All evils come from the outsiders! They seek to destroy us because we follow the Way, but we of the Deep Forest — the True Forest — we shall unite! We shall unite and crush the Open Forest! Cast off you headbands! Embrace your Deep Forest brothers and unite against the outsiders!
~ Thiazzi, as the Forest Horse Mage, uniting the warring Deep Forest clans to turn their weapons against the Open Forest clans.


To kill an unbeliever is to do good. And this is no ordinary unbeliever. See the scar on his chest where he tried to conceal his evil nature. See the tattoo on his brow. The mark of the outcast. (Renn: He isn't outcast any more! Fin-Kedinn took him back, all the clans agreed!) The Deep Forest never agreed. The Raven Leader sought to change clan law. Clan law cannot be changed.
~ Thiazzi unjustly incriminating Torak.


By his own mouth he condemns himself! Here's proof of his wickedness! (Torak: What's wrong with you all? Have you forgotten how to think? Doesn't it seem odd that your new Mage has suddenly grown so warlike? Can't you see that he's not one of you?) (*Thiazzi laughs*) See how desperate he is! He knows he is condemned!
~ Thiazzi using Torak's rage to make the Deep Forest clans mistrust him.


And you came here to defeat the Soul-Eaters. (Renn: With your help, Mage) Ah. To defeat the Soul-Eaters. (*laughs as he removes his hood*) And how do you intend to do that?
~ Thiazzi discarding his disguise of the Auroch Mage in front of Renn.


Yes, maybe this way is better. Maybe live bait will be more effective that dead. (*binds and gags Renn*) You've got something to do before you die. You're going to give me the spirit walker. (*Renn shakes her head*) Oh yes. You're going to bring him to me at the sacred grove.
~ Thiazzi deciding to use Renn in luring Torak into a trap.


And what do you want, Spirit Walker? Revenge for your dead kinsman? Well, here I am. You have only to come and take it, and your oath will be fulfilled. If you so much as scratch my hand, Spirit Walker, the Raven girl dies. But if you give yourself into my power, she goes free. (*Torak fully disarms himself*) (Torak: I renounce my vengeance. I break my oath. Take me. Let her live. Let her live.) It's all for nothing, Oathbreaker. You'll never see your girl again.
~ Thiazzi lying to Torak about letting Renn go.


Your wolf got a chunk of me once, but not this time! (*sets on fire the junipers at the grove's border*) Even the fire does my will!
~ Thiazzi sealing the entrance of the sacred grove.


Not as clever as you think you are, Spirit Walker. Now I've got you like a a squirrel up a tree, while she chokes to death. (Torak: Don't wait too long. The clans are on their way... And you don't have your mask. They'll see you for what you really are.) Then I'll make it quick.
~ Thiazzi starting his chase of Torak up the Great Oak.


I am the Master! (Torak: You'll never be Master. Even if you kill me, you'll never get what you want!) And what's that? (Torak: What you killed my kinsman for: the fire-opal.) But I have it!
~ Thiazzi saying his last words shortly before his death.


Gallery

Trivia

  • In Norse mythology, Thiazzi (Þjazi) is a powerful giant (Jötunn) who could shapeshift into an eagle. He captures Loki after tricking him, keeping him in air and demanding one thing in exchange for his freedom: Loki must deliver Thiazzi the golden apples that give the gods of Asgard (Ásgarðr) eternal youth as well as their caretaker Idunn (Iðunn). Loki lures Idunn with her apples outside Asgard, allowing Thiazzi to take her away. After the aged gods press the truth of Idunn's disappearance from Loki, they force him to bring her back. Taking the form of a falcon, Loki turns Idunn into an acorn and flies off with her, but Thiazzi follows them as an eagle. The giant flies through a wall of flames set by the gods of Asgard, hits the ground and is killed by the gods.
  • According to Michelle Paver, Thiazzi lets his hair grow long because he believes that it holds part of his strength. In the past, shamans and witch doctors have held this belief in order to prevent their power from draining away. This belief ultimately proves to be Thiazzi's undoing.