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Polyam
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"I'm not pretty. A wirok doesn't need looks. People are very happy to give me what I want cheap and send me away, rather than have me about."
—Polyam to Trisana Chandler when they first met[src]

Polyam (pronounced POHL-yam) is a member of Tenth Caravan Idaram and daughter of gilav Chandrisa, the caravan's leader. By 1039 KF Polyam was badly scarred and the caravan's wirok. As such she was a despised person and only got her fellow Traders' leavings and scorn[3]. Daja Kisubo and her friends met her when both the caravan and Duke Vedris' company were staying in Gold Ridge.

Biography

Early life

When she was younger she was the best handler of horses, mules and camels in any of the Idaram caravans. However, around early 1034 KF, she was badly injured in a rockslide in Karang, when Tenth Caravan Idaram was crossing the Osar Mountains, badly scarring her body and losing most of her left leg. This left her unable to work with horses--the caravan usually had only half-broken horses as to enable the new owners to form them to their wishes--due to her inability to balance without two good legs.[4] She became a wirok for the caravan, one who brings no profit to the caravan, but instead spends the caravan's money with blacksmiths and food sellers and is scorned by the rest of the caravan.

The caravan passed regularly through Gold Ridge--mostly every two years. On one of those visits in 1033, when she was still doing better, Polyam bought a valuable copper plate, worth at least two silver astrels, which she later wanted to give to Daja as a token for their bargain, but which was eventually consumed by Daja's living metal creation.[5]

1035 visit to Gold Ridge

The Tenth Caravan Idaram visited Gold Ridge Valley at the same time Duke Vedris visited with the four child-mages and their teachers from Winding Circle. She meets Daja in the local smithy but, once she realizes that Daja is trangshi, refuses to acknowledge her presence. However, Daja soon accidentally turns some iron on the forge into a living metal tree in front of Polyam. When Polyam returns to her caravan with the news of this creation, they make her qunsuanen so that she can negotiate a trade with Daja, without Daja's trangshi luck sticking to her. This is a huge insult to Polyam, who is upset because she believes she will never be able to acquire enough zokin to erase the qunsuanen from the books of the caravan. She even has to use her own belongings like tea cups while bargaining with Daja and Daja suspects that they have later to be cleansed or even destroyed[6].

While Polyam begins negotiations in a hostile manner, she quickly warms to Daja and the other visitors from Winding Circle. Also, as Daja's creation exhibits more impressive behavior, she begins to be treated better by the rest of the caravan; only she can negotiate with Daja because she is qunsuanen. She gets better food than she would otherwise see for weeks, normally only given the leavings of the rest of the caravan. She is also given access to trade goods to help with negotiations with Daja.

Daja eventually trades her living metal tree to the caravan for two gold majas and three gold astrels, significantly less than Polyam indicated that she thought Daja would trade it for to the rest of the caravan, so that it would seem like Polyam bargained well for an excellent price and would earn her more zokin with the caravan. Daja did not feel that she deserved full price for her creation, because she did not make it on purpose. This considerate gesture solidifies the friendship between Polyam and Daja.

When Polyam and Daja bring the living metal tree back to the caravan as the caravan leaves the valley, they are all surrounded by an out of control forest fire that had been growing for most of the day, unbeknownst to everyone, hidden under the dead wood that had accumulated after years of no wild fires. Polyam helps Daja convince the caravan of the danger, and realizes that the caravan has become completely surrounded while Daja tried to control the fire to give them enough time to get away.

After Daja and the other mages manage to put out the forest fire, Tenth Caravan Idaram remained in Gold Ridge for another month to allow those wounded in the fire to heal. While they wait, the mages work together to make a replacement leg for Polyam to thank her for giving Daja the chance to wipe her name from the trangshi book. By using the living metal Daja inadvertently produced while putting out the fire and the skills of the four child-mages, the leg acts just as a real limb would. It is warm to the touch, water-proof, and responds to touch. It also shapes itself to Polyam's flesh and responds to the muscle commands Polyam gives it, allowing her to once again ride horses and be of use to the caravan.

Both very grateful to the opportunities the other gave them, Polyam and Daja swear that they will always be friends, although Polyam continues to live with Tenth Caravan Idaram, while Daja returns to Winding Circle to continue her studies.

Physical description

Polyam was injured roughly twenty months before the events of Daja's Book while working with her Caravan's horses. She fell on sharp pieces of shale that tore up the left half of her body, taking her left eye and cutting her leg to the bone. Her injuries were too severe for her healers to help, and her left leg was amputated at mid-thigh and replaced with a wooden leg to help her walk. The left side of her face is a "ruin of shiny brown scars" and Polyam indicated that her "whole left side looks just like [her] face." All that remains of her left eye is a lumpy pit and scars drag at one side of her mouth so that she seems to be forever sneering. Her nose is unscarred, but "something had broken it enough to make it nearly flat." Both of her eyebrows are thick and her good eye is dark and heavy-lidded. Her skin is the color of bronze. She is described as being no older than 25 by Daja.

When Polyam is made qunsuanen to trade with Daja, she is painted with a bright yellow paint tracing down the center of her scalp, lining her one good eye, as well as her mouth, nostrils and both ears. Her toe and finger nails were also tinted yellow. She wore small wooden charms painted with a design in bright yellow on her neck, wrists and ankles. Yellow thread was wrapped around the top her her staff and also bound one legging to her wooden limb.

Appearances

She only appears in Daja's Book.

Notes and references

  1. Daja's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 10; Scholastic paperback)
  2. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 101; Scholastic paperback)
  3. Daja's Book, Cp. 7 (p. 126; Scholastic paperback)
  4. Daja's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 137; Scholastic paperback)
  5. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 99; Scholastic paperback)
  6. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 100; Scholastic paperback)

See also

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