D is for Diovi and Daxa

D is for Diovi and Daxa.

While only one word is usually assigned to a letter, in this case, there are two words that are intricately entwined: Daxa and Diovi. Both are from the novella “Fire and Ice” from the collection of novellas and short stories from the world of the dragshi that comprise First Change: Legends From The Eyrie.

Daxa means obey in the local language, and is the title given the men who serve in the temple of the god Tagachim. The head daxa is the temple leader and while he is only one step below the emperor and empress, his power comes from his position as servant to Tagachim, an authority which includes human sacrifice. Although officially selected by a lottery, those chosen to be given to Tagachim are usually non-believers or those who the head of the temple wants out of the way.

The one so selected is called the Diovi, which in the language the word was inspired by, means to burn. Chosen by lottery, carved ivory tokens placed in a wooden tube. The diovi is led out of town as a bride on her way to a wedding, only the ceremony is not to a man but to the mountain god, and the joining is achieved by sealing the woman in an ice cave. The ceremony is usually done in the late fall to ensure an early spring and to ward off hunger during the cold season. Whereas a spring ceremony to meant to ensure bountiful crops during the growing season and the sacrifice is supposed to leap from a rocky ledge into the lava at the bottom of the volcano’s crater.
Xelme dropped the green token into the tube. Making a show of his movements, he tied the lid in place with gold wire and held the container above his head. Despite the crowd of thousands, except for the pounding of her heart, Mirabeesh only heard the clatter of the diovi markers. Instead of reflecting the sun, the wood absorbed it. No longer a tube it became a black arrow, the symbol of destiny—and death.

A drumbeat and two acolytes stepped from the shadows. The youths carried a metal globe mounted in a wooden frame. Light flashed on the polished bands. Xelme adopted a solemn demeanor. “No hand of man will decide who will be diovi. Tagachim will select his own bride.” After the prelate’s gaze raked each of the women before him, he slid the container of tokens into a slot in the middle of the wire cage and secured it with more gold wire. Deft movements slid a long handle into an open slot in the frame. One by one, first the acolytes, then their masters took three turns at the handle. Rattles accompanied each spin of the globe.

Mirabeesh closed her eyes and wanted to cover her ears. Each clash of token against wood sounded like a death knell.
An eerie silence forced her to open her eyes. Xelme held the tube in one hand, the lid in the other. Smiling, he tossed the lid back into the selecting globe. His tongue licked his lips. “Let those presented for sacrifice prepare to meet their god Tagachim.”

Slowly, inch by inch, the temple leader tilted the container until a single cube dropped into his hand. He raised his hand above his head, but kept the marker hidden.

The name of the woman attached to the jade cube and who would become the next diovi, as well as the rest of the legend is revealed in First Change.

First Change: Legends From The Eyrie - universal buy link

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badgeTomorrow’s post in the challenge is also taken from First Change and contains more about Mirabeesh’s land, Eruichin. If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants.

~till next time, Helen


  1. I haven't heard of this series, but it was interesting learning a bit about it

    1. Glad you stopped by. A listing of all the books in the Dragshi Chronicles is at http://helenhenderson-author.blogspot.com/p/the-dragshi-chronicles.html. From there it's just one click to excerpts and a free read of the first chapter.

  2. How fascinating. I'll definitely be adding this book to my to-read list.


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