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Joesh Valany, the Shang Falcon, is a wandering martial artist and was the teacher of Kylaia al Jmaa, the Shang Unicorn. He is even-tempered and self-controlled. After observing Kylaia fight at Nawolu trade fair, he agreed to pay her bride-price and take her as a student despite her "advanced age" of thirteen. His original nationality is unclear, but probably Tortallan or Gallan based on his name.
In The Woman Who Rides Like a Man it is established that he is friends with Rispah Cooper, whom he visits at House Azik in Port Caynn. Alanna also wanted to fight him, as she had never met a Shang warrior before; but George sent him on his way before Alanna got a chance.
Kylaia described Joesh in Student of Ostriches:
"This man was bronze on his face, hands, and forearms, while his jacket, open at the collar, showed a chest that was white.
He had brown-black hair, straighter than the hair of anyone I knew. His eyes were brown-black, almost the color of normal eyes. He didn't dress like a normal man, though. He wore a loose cloth jacket and, instead of a long skirt, a garment made of two cloth tubes that covered each of his legs. Instead of sandals he wore leather shoes that covered his feet and legs all the way to his knees. Only his hands looked right. They were hard, broad, and scarred, the hands of a warrior. His neck was muscled like a bull's."
Kylaia also described Joesh's hands as being "like iron" and his voice as "deep and smooth, like dark honey." He had a thick accent when speaking Dikurri.