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I am the truth and the Way. I am master of fire. I am ruler of the Forest!
~ Thiazzi during an incantation

Thiazzi is a Soul Eater and one the main antagonists of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (which takes place 6000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age). He is the Oak Mage, appearing in Soul Eater and Oath Breaker, serving as the main antagonist of the latter book.

History

Before Soul Eater

Thiazzi's past is mostly unknown. What is known is that he's from the Oak Clan — one of the Deep Forest Clans — and became one of the Healers. At some point all the other members of his clan died of sickness, leaving Thiazzi as the last living Oak.

Soul Eater

During winter time, 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 a Far North mountain called the Eye of the Viper that is containing many demons. They intend to release the demons, bind them to their will and make all the Clans to submit to them.

Thiazzi helps Nef and Seshru in hunting down predators they require as sacrifices for protective spells against the demons. They capture Wolf and set out toward Far North with Torak and Renn 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 tormenting Wolf beyond that.

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 upon seeing the Oak Mage torturing the young owl sacrifice (which Torak is forced by Nef to sacrifice). Thiazzi also seals the entrance of the cave system with a boulder, forcing Renn to find another way out.

While Torak reunites with Renn and frees Wolf (in addition to cutting off his necrotic tail tip), the Soul Eaters slaughter two more sacrifices — a lynx and a polar bear. Thiazzi wears the bear's pelt while keeping away the predators' vengeful souls. After Nef raises the alarm upon the release of the sacrifices, a fight ensues between the Soul Eaters and Torak, Renn and Wolf. Wolf jumps on Thiazzi and bites off two fingers from his left hand. Renn steals the Fire Opal and flees with Torak and Wolf, though not before Seshru opens the portal for a moment and releases a big herd of demons.

Thiazzi sets out with Nef and Seshru (along with Eostra's eagle owl) to reclaim the Fire Opal. They catch up Torak who's been separated from Wolf and Renn, and the furious Thiazzi is just barely convinced by the others not to beat the boy to death. Nef recognizes the ceremonial knife Torak's father passed to his son, and the boy's identity finally dawns on the Soul Eaters. They force Torak to take them to Renn who has the Fire Opal, but not before Seshru forcefully tattoos the Soul Eaters' mark on his chest. While this happens, Thiazzi holds Torak still.

When they reach Renn, she's about to jump into a crevasse in order to destroy the Fire Opal's power. Having lured a polar bear there with the scent of his blood, Torak spirit walks into it and battles the Soul Eaters. Wolf herds the released demons there with an arctic wolf pack, narrowly convincing Torak not to kill the subdued Thiazzi with the polar bear's strength. Suddenly Nef takes the Fire Opal from Renn and does the sacrifice 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. Seshru and Thiazzi flee to fight another day.

Oath Breaker

About one year later, with Seshru killed and the second Fire Opal fragment destroyed, Thiazzi finds the last piece of the Fire Opal (which Tenris possessed before his death) hidden underneath the altar of the Crag situated in the Seal Islands. He's caught in the act by Bale, Torak's kin from the Seal Clan. Thiazzi overwhelms Bale, throws him off the edge and steps on the young man's fingers, sending him to his death. He then sets out toward the Forest, with Torak swearing to avenge Bale with Thiazzi's death.

Thiazzi paddles among the Forest's rivers toward the eastern Deep Forest. Torak, Renn, Wolf and Fin-Kedinn follow him. At one point Thiazzi sets a nearly invisible line across the river, with the pursuers getting nearly killed by it as they paddle among the river.

When they reach the Deep Forest's entrance, Torak spots Thiazzi entering. Recklessly he runs after the Oak Mage and sets loose another trap. The logs rolling down the Burning Hill injure Fin-Kedinn badly, forcing him to return to the Raven Clan. As Torak, Renn and Wolf enter the Deep Forest, they slowly realize how Thiazzi has caused roiling among the Deep Forest Clans lately.

Thiazzi's influence

The Oak Mage has kidnapped several children from several Clans (both from the Deep Forest and the Open Forest) to turn them into tokoroths, leading the Clans to blame each other for their children's disappearances. He placed a marking that declared the surrounding area as that of the Forest Horse Clan, leading the Auroch Clan to burn it. He then murdered the Forest Horse Mage, becoming the new Forest Horse Mage. Presenting an arrowhead from his predecessor's body, he blamed the Aurochs of the murder. The Lynx Clan has sided with the Aurochs and the Bat Clan has sided with the Forest Horses, with the pacifistic Red Deer Clan remaining neutral.

Thiazzi murders the Auroch Mage as well, with the clan not finding it out due to the mage's reclusiveness. He instills in the clans the teachings of the harsh Way, leading them to think that the other clans' ways to ignite fire are wrong, mutilate themselves for not following the Way and cut human hands (which has not been done since the evil times following the Great Flood). An insane and pyromaniacal Red Deer woman who calls herself the Chosen One spies on Torak and Renn on Thiazzi's orders.

Thiazzi declares as the Forest Horse Mage the Sacred Grove to be secluded. There he kills predators with fire and places the bodies to hang from the ancient giant oak's branches. Torak faces him there and Thiazzi has the upper hand, but when Wolf drives a bison herd to pass through the Grove, Thiazzi vanishes.

The unifier & warmonger

After the Chosen One sets loose a devastating forest fire, Torak is captured by the Forest Horse Clan and 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 speech rod of the Auroch Clan, claiming to have spoken with their mage and returning it as the sign of respect. Then he claims that both mages have had the same vision that declares that the Deep Forest Clans must no longer war with each other, but unite against a stronger enemy.

He preaches that the Clans outside the Deep Forest who don't follow the Way have caused all the misfortunes, reminding of the previous actions of the Soul Eaters (the demon bear, Tenris' plague, the demons released in the Far North and the flood in Lake Axehead) and placing the blame on the other Clans. Torak is brought forth and is unjustly blamed of igniting the forest fire, trying to bring forth Tenris' plague, removing the Soul Eaters' mark on his chest in order to hide his evil and being accepted back to the Clans after being branded as an outcast. His execution is narrowly postponed by a sensible old Auroch man who declares that the Auroch Mage must agree to the decision. Thiazzi says that both mages shall appear together the next day and should they agree, Torak will die.

During the following night, Torak escapes with Renn's help, but he leaves her to hunt down Thiazzi, leading her to be recaptured. She convinces herself to be taken to the Auroch Mage's secluded hut, leaving her and the disguised Thiazzi alone. He reveals himself to her after a while of pretending to be the Auroch Mage. She tries to threaten him by saying that Eostra will come to punish him for keeping the Fire Opal for his own purposes. He decides to let Renn live until he has caught Torak. He destroys Renn's belongings before her, leaves glues for Torak to follow and takes her to the Sacred Grove.

The final confrontation

But I have it!
~ Thiazzi's last words

In the Sacred Grove, Thiazzi drops the tied up an gagged Renn inside the great hollow yew. He fills it with smoke, putting Renn in the danger of suffocation. Eventually Torak arrives to the Grove on a black forest horse. He 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.

During the fight, Thiazzi tricks Torak to think that Renn is inside the giant ancient oak next to the yew, having set a ladder to rest against the oak. Torak climbs the ladder, only to realize he's been tricked. Nonetheless, he tells the Oak Mage that the Deep Forest Clans are coming to the Grove, and Thiazzi climbs after him. Renn, who has managed to get out of the yew, appears in its branches. Torak kicks the ladder against the yew, securing Renn's way down and sealing himself and Thiazzi to the oak. Disarmed, Thiazzi chases Torak across the branches, eventually reaching the top branch. Renn throws Torak a burning brand of wood. He hits Thiazzi with it, but the Oak Mage is protected from the fire by the Fire Opal.

However, as Thiazzi brags about having the Fire Opal, Eostra's eagle owl appears suddenly, snatches the stone and flies toward the High Mountains in the east. A burning ember sets fire to Thiazzi's hair, causing him to lose his balance and fall to his death.

Legacy

The Deep Forest Clans are made aware of Thiazzi's manipulations, and they abandon the Way as eagerly as they took it up. 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, gaining the Raven Clan's respect for it.

Thiazzi's soul appears briefly in Ghost Hunter, summoned by Eostra and under her control through his hair the Eagle Owl Mage possesses. He vanishes as the spell is broken.

Appearance

Thiazzi is a very large man. His face is hard like a ground burned by the sun. His cruel eyes are as green as a raw leaf. He has a long and tangled yellow-brown hair and beard. His teeth are yellow due to his habit of chewing spruce resin.

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 his chest. Wolf bites off two fingers from his left hand in Soul Eater, which is why Wolf refers to him afterwards as "the Bitten One" instead of "Pale-Pelt" as before.

In Soul Eater Thiazzi wears massive reindeer pelt clothes, but his clothing changes much in Oath Breaker. In his disguise of the Forest Horse Mage, he wears a long horse pelt cape and a mask worn by the clan's mages. It's carved from wood and resembles a horse's face with its length, mane made of horse tail hair, eyes painted ember red and the open mouth adorned with black feathers. He hides his left hand and his real clan tattoo in a long sleeve. In his disguise of the Auroch Mage, he wears a hooded leaf cape and a nettle-made necklace adorned with spruce resin pieces. He hides his size by hiding under leafs and sprigs while talking with Renn before he reveals himself. Under both of these disguises he wears on his chest a wreath made of acorns and mistletoe with foggy white berries that resemble blinded eyes. He keeps the last Fire Opal shard in a small pouch in the wreath's center. In his final confrontation with Torak, he takes away his cape and shows himself to wear many pelts gained from many predators (including a fox, a lynx, a wolverine and a bear) to give him strength.

Personality

To offer a hunter to the fire is to give it the noblest death of all. It is the Way.
~ Thiazzi justifying himself

Thiazzi is the most sadistic and violent of the Soul Eaters, loving to frighten and hurt any living creatures, whatever they are children or animals that can't fight back. He can hurt both physically and psychologically, like when he destroys Renn's belongings before her eyes and even snaps 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 before anything else in his own power. He's not as interested in Torak's power as a spirit walker as the other Soul Eaters, probably thinking that he doesn't need it when he has the Fire Opal. At most he views Torak's power as 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 it despite his fear of her and better knowledge. He instills in the Deep Forest Clans the teachings of the Way that has traits from customs unpracticed since the dark times following the Great Flood. These customs include dismembering and self-mutilation, killing predators with fire and having certain ways to ignite the 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. He claims that the Clans are weak for stepping out of 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 was eager to learn the mind 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. He's regarded the strongest man of the Forest. In Soul Eater, he pulls a boulder five times his size as if it was merely a willow curtain. When Eostra summons Thiazzi's spirit in Ghost Hunter, the Eagle Owl Mage describes him as "mighty as the oak, the strongest one". He uses the largest knife and axe Torak and Renn have ever seen. He also uses a whip, using it to skillfully disarm Torak.

While in Soul Eater Thiazzi comes off as a brute, 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.

Trivia

  • In Norse mythology, Thiazzi (Þjazi) is a powerful storm giant who could disguise himself as 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 and their caretaker Idunn (Iðunn). Loki rules Idunn with her apples outside Asgard, allowing Thiazzi to take her away. After the gods press the truth of Idunn's disappearance from Loki, they force him to bring her back. In a hawk's form, Loki takes Idunn after turning her into a nut, but Thiazzi follows them. The giant flies through a wall of flames set by the gods of Asgard, hits the ground and is killed by the gods.
  • Thiazzi happens to be related to Torak, because Torak's maternal grandfather was from Thiazzi's clan.
  • 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.

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