Kury Mazdi is one of my favorite imaginary characters. I wrote part of his novel The Cold Fury and part of his nonfiction travel journal The Expedition, and I really wish that his books existed, because I’d love to read them!
|Full name||Kury Lorioc Mazdi|
|Resting place||Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa, Skanlikia, Canarsia|
|Notable works||The Expedition, The Cold Fury, The Water the Ice and the Snow, The Deuteragonist, Once Again Rain, The Emergence of Stars|
|Children||Teir Mazdi, Seira Esmalok, Keiry Lyscha, Amalee Nuireen, and Nureir Mazdi|
Kury Lorioc Mazdi was a political activist and Jacian writer famous for his novels and account of the 1336 worldwide expedition. He lived in the Canarsian colony of Skanlikia most of his life, and most of his political work was for Skanlikia or Canarsia in general. He also set several of his books there, and so has become famous as the first Canarsian writer. Mazdi’s novels are famous for their quirky and humorous prose, unique characters, and complex plots. Today, they are frequently read in Canarsia and Jacia as classics. Mazdi also started a library in Skanlikia, now named the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa, and a major newspaper, the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, which is still in operation today.
Kury Mazdi describes himself as a 25-year-old:
As for me, my name is Kury Lorioc Mazdi, and I am 25 years old. I am a very normal looking Jacian, with darkish hair, and skin, and eyes; not black, but brown, in the Jacian way. My friends say, however, that while I am very plain looking, I have a distinctive face, and I suppose that I agree with them. My face is small, and very round, that it looks more suited to a 5-year-old than a 25-year-old.– Kury Mazdi, The Expedition
Dyrlo Jangari, another member of the expedition, describes Kury as “a small, merry young man, with a round, boyish face, and shorter than the rest of us.” A visitor to the World Union, Eward Esech, describes Kury when he was forty-nine: “He looks like a stereotypical brown-skinned, round-faced, somewhat wrinkled old Jacian, but he has the smile of a mischievous young child.” There are no surviving representations of Kury that were made during his lifetime. The earliest representation, a statue of Kury, was made in 1389, seven years after his death.
Kury Mazdi was born in Nafting, Jacia in 1311, the son of the businessman and scholar Ensakek Mazdi and the daughter of a prominent politician, Nida Apolbi Mazdi. Ensakek Mazdi had died several months before, and Nida Mazdi died when Kury was two years old. For the rest of his childhood, his uncle Sadek served as his formal guardian, but Kury was raised by a large staff of servants. He received his elementary education at the Uniatic School of Nafting, learning the Uniatic language from an early age. Kury also showed talent in writing while he was young.
When he was seventeen, Kury entered the Golden Dome University in Poyyeizy, Jacia’s most prestigious university and one of the best universities worldwide, to study writing and literature. He did not have any scholarship, and paid his whole way through. During his time at the Golden Dome University, he joined a club of students and other educated Jacians called the Malcanars (Unknown Lands) Club. These students discussed the politics, history, geography and so on of other countries, arranged interviews with people who had traveled widely, and wrote short articles about other countries that appeared in the Journal of the Golden Dome. Kury soon took on the entire job of writing these articles. He also wrote short stories during his studies at the university.
In 1335, the chairman of the Malcanars Club, Nirokh Belbi, announced that he was going on an expedition, with several friends, to visit all Sheesanian countries, and invited the other members to join. Nirokh recruited his cousin, Vicansakak Belbi (usually called Vic), to help lead the expedition. In the end, seven members of the Malcanars Club went: Kury Mazdi, Dyrlo Jangari, Mazi Elonda, Saruk Rakneki, Kamek Thurius, Milti Nemembi and Lemest Sharpar. Two friends of Nirokh, Thomost Tralel and Satuf Fendeki, went, as well as a friend of Dyrlo’s, Samyth Kerkythea. Kerkythea would later become the first non-Uniatic World Minister, an incredibly powerful position that was a catalyst for Jacia’s later worldwide power.
The expedition began in 1336, when Kury was 25 years old. Along the way, Kury kept a detailed journal of their experiences, which was later published as The Expedition. This work has become a classic of Sheesanian travel journals. This journey also inspired much of Kury’s later writing. The expedition returned to Jacia in 1338, and Kury returned to his home in Nafting, where he worked on editing and publishing his account of the expedition.
Early life in Canarsia
After publishing The Expedition and remaining in Nafting for a few months, Kury traveled to the Jacian colony of Skanlikia in Canarsia to do research for a novel he was planning. He lived with a Canarsian family, eventually marrying Myrsel Nelenna, the daughter of the man who was hosting him. In 1342, three years after arriving in Canarsia, he finished writing his first novel, The Cold Fury. The same year, his first daughter, Teir, was born. Over the next few years, the rest of his children were born: Seira (girl) in 1343, Keiry (girl) in 1344, Amalee (girl) in 1347, and his only son, Nureir, in 1349. From the publication of The Cold Fury to when he began writing his next novel, The Water the Ice and the Snow (1343-1345), Kury wrote a collection of short stories which he later published under the name Canarsian Sketches. Though he had originally intended to spend his life traveling and researching novels, Kury remained based in Canarsia for the rest of his life because of his marriage.
Civil war era
In 1350, civil war between Egeldish and Sengorian colonists in Canarsia broke out. Gourish settlers in the colony of Far Sweema quickly got involved, allying with the Sengorians against the Egeldish. At first, the Jacian colonists, including Kury Mazdi, tried to negotiate peace, but most eventually got drawn into the conflict too. Kury Mazdi had been working on a novel later published as There and Back Again, but as the Canarsian civil war became out of control and his efforts for peace seemed hopeless, he turned to working on a new version of The Cold Fury. In this version, he revised some passages and inserted several others, between chapters, from the point of view of Torek during the time he is narrating the story. After publishing this second edition of The Cold Fury, Kury managed to get the rest of the colonists in his settlement to sign an agreement to stop fighting.
The conflict had subsided enough by 1351 that Kury was able to start a Canarsia-wide newspaper (though it was primarily read in Skanlikia), the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, which is still in operation today. In 1353, Kury started a small library that he called the Canarsa Library [yes, it was Canarsa, not Canarsia]. From 1351 to 1359, Kury wrote several novels and other works that remain less known today, including The Strangers, There and Back Again, The Tale of the Sparrow and Letters to a Particularly Young Gentleman. He also continued to work for peace in Canarsia, as the civil war continued between bouts of uneasy truce.
In late 1359, Unia took advantage of the chaos in Canarsia to invade, hoping to establish a colony herself. But in 1360, Samyth Kerkythea, who Kury had met and come to know during the worldwide expedition, became World Minister. In part because of urging from Kury, Kerkythea worked to establish peace in Canarsia, defying Unia in the process. While many Jacians were horrified by Kerkythea’s defiance of Unia, this set a precedent that led to growth in Jacian power later on. In this way, the Canarsian civil war had effectively stopped by 1361.
Travels and later life in Canarsia
From late 1359 to early 1361, Kury wrote another of his famous works, The Deuteragonist. He then traveled to Jawswina with his daughter Teir, who was then 20, in order to research what would become Once Again Rain. In 1367, he traveled to Egeld with his son Nureir (18 years old at the time) to gather information for The Emergence of Stars. For the rest of his life, Kury worked to expand and improve the Canarsa Library, served as editor for the Canarsia Weekly Messenger and taught at an informal school he had started for his children, grandchildren and neighbors.
Kury Mazdi was confined to a wheelchair after an accident in 1380. He died in 1382 at the age of 71 from a lung disease. His ashes are housed in the library that he founded, now called the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa.
When Kury Mazdi began writing, Jacian novels were usually written in a grave, formal style, rarely focused on anyone other than upper-class Jacians and Uniatics, and tended to sacrifice action and suspense for “meaning.” Kury went against protocol with his colorful, quirky and comedic prose, highly varied and often low-class characters, and complicated, suspenseful plots. He often satirized, played on, or outright mocked the stiff Jacian literary conventions of the time.
While Kury used unusual words and complicated sentences as many of his fellow Jacian novelists did, he also made liberal use of metaphors, which were rare in Jacian literature at the time. Additionally, Kury “abhorred” the sentimentality that he found in most Jacian novels. Because of this, he noticeably balances emotional moments with amusing, even silly, comments. For example, this quote from The Cold Fury:
“My name is Menna [a girl’s name meaning ‘not owned’ or ‘not watched’], but if I were a boy, I would be Mennen [a boy’s name meaning ‘found’ or ‘kept’],” [said Menna.] “Well, yes, but your name is only a shell, a label, that doesn’t affect who you actually are, yourself!” I said. “I once knew a boy named Lemest [‘clean’] who always had dirty hair. And a man, Mr. Hokas [‘mild’], that once whipped me for smudging my math paper.”– Kury Mazdi, The Cold Fury
In this quote, Kury states his point (a name is only a label that does not affect the person), but then immediately diverts to two humorous examples. This is one example of the most noticeable difference between Kury’s work and the standard novels of the time: his frequent use of comedy. One Jacian literary critic wrote of Letters to a Particularly Young Gentleman, “Mazdi is silly and playful, yet he communicates real meaning…One gets the feeling that his works are a combination of folk nursery tales told by the wittiest of nurses and the dark, deeply thoughtful classics of Thuldani.”
Kury also used memorable characters, many of which are still famous today. These include Torek Hamabi (The Cold Fury), Lunain (The Cold Fury), Lekia Erin (The Water the Ice and the Snow), Mazelel (The Deuteragonist), Mawka (The Deuteragonist), Yardek Lilan (The Strangers), Tresi Nisut (Once Again Rain) and Enani Rudros (The Emergence of Stars). Kury’s quirky, metaphor-heavy descriptions and often exaggerated character traits added to the interest of these characters. Interestingly, Kury never admitted to taking inspiration from people he knew in real life. Some Jacian critics found strong resemblances between his characters and famous figures (for example, the scheming Balar Suffa fromThe Cold Fury is very similar to Lusak Elenun, a corrupt administrator of the Golden Dome University), but Kury always ignored or denied them.
Finally, Kury’s novels have complex and suspenseful plots, often revolving around action and tangible events, which was fairly unusual in Jacian literature at this time. Most Jacian novels were “studies in the interaction of upper-class Jacians.” While some critics complained about his frequent use of coincidences, most praised his storylines, especially how fast-moving and interesting they were.
I’ve read many such tomes as The Lord of Kaldar Province, which in the hands of Kury Mazdi could probably be reduced to short stories, since they have so little action and so much ponderous reflection…Mazdi’s work is a breath of fresh air…The plot moves along quickly and is so lucidly interesting that you can think of the ponderous reflections yourself, instead of needing to be told them.– Kadek Shulari, reviewing The Deuteragonist
Many of Kury’s works criticized the pride and corruption in upper classes, particularly the Jacian upper class. These include the novels The Cold Fury, There and Back Again and The Emergence of Stars, as well as the short stories “Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek,” “The Golden Loaf,” “The Accidental Detour” and “Places Without Names.” Kury also often attacked war in his writing, though it was rarely a main theme. The Deuteragonist and The Water the Ice and the Snow are some examples. As most of his novels were set in non-Jacian cultures and locations, with major and positively portrayed non-Jacian characters, Kury also indirectly fought prejudices against non-Jacians.
Because they defied literary conventions of the time, Kury’s works were fairly controversial for Jacian critics. These high-class Jacian reviewers described his novels as both “petty,”“mocking” and “rushed in pace,” and “insightful,” “revealing” and “refreshingly easy to understand.” Many critics thought that Kury’s issues with Jacian society were unfounded and communicated mockingly in his novels. Additionally, they often complained that his writing style seemed foreign and strange, and his descriptions were unbalanced and awkward. Finally, they decried his characters and plots as exaggerated and unrealistic, and took his humor as irreverent. But many other reviewers loved Kury’s works, praising them for their unique style and genuinely new insights into the downfalls of upper-class Jacian society. One reviewer writes,
Honestly, I did not really care for the overall plot of The Cold Fury – it was too folkish, too petty, almost, and seemed to me to detract and distract from the theme instead of bringing attention to it. And none of the characters particularly grabbed me, unlike in such books as The House Above the Trees, where most of the characters are very similar to me and are therefore easy to relate to…But oh, Mazdi is so funny! I may not be able to relate to Torek, but I can laugh with him; and this makes me willing to listen to what he has to say, and Mazdi has a lot to say. I don’t agree with some of it…but besides [those points], I am astonished at the originality of Mazdi’s ideas. A part of me wishes that I could see him writing his thoughts as essays, instead of padding them, obscuring them and putting them into novels. But the other part of me loves his playful, almost silly style so much that I would be very sad to witness such an occurrence.– Remek Sholari, reviewing The Cold Fury
Some reviewers were even more positive than Sholari, calling Kury’s works “a new era in Jacian literature” and praising them for “revitalizing the Jacian novel.”
Kury’s works were not terribly popular in Jacia in his day, but the controversy over them did lead to more sales. In Jacia, his writing only became accepted as classic after his death. In 1401, nineteen years after his death, Kury’s novel The Water the Ice and the Snow was added to the “Introduction to Classic Jacian Literature” course at the prestigious Golden Dome University. Eight years later, The Cold Fury was added to the “Revolutionary Jacian Literature” course at the GDU – an ironic choice, since a fictional dean of the Golden Dome University is a major antagonist in this novel. In Canarsia, on the other hand, Kury was one of the very first fiction writers, and his works were extremely popular with the colonists there. However, Kury did not charge much money for his writing from Canarsians – if at all, since he often gave them away, lent them, or printed them in serialized form in his newspaper. His works were read widely in Canarsian schools, and today they are considered some of the greatest classic Canarsian literature. In the present day in Jacia, also, Kury’s works (usually only his novels, however) are frequently read in schools and universities as unique and revolutionary works.
Popularity and readership of short stories
While Kury’s novels are well known in Jacia, his short stories, which usually are set in Canarsia, are not very widely known. In Canarsia, on the other hand, a typical schoolchild will read 30% of the corpus of Kury’s short stories during his career.
Influence and legacy
Kury Mazdi was highly influential in his home colony of Skanlikia and in the rest of Canarsia due to his widely-read newspaper and stories, his work for peace during the Canarsian civil war and his status as an upper-class Jacian (it was unusual for Canarsian colonists to be from the upper classes). He served on various councils that helped govern Canarsia, and occasionally traveled to the World Union to speak on behalf of the colonies. Additionally, Kury had an ongoing correspondence with Samyth Kerkythea, even while he was World Minister, and in this way often advised or made suggestions to him.
The library that Kury founded is currently the largest library in Canarsia, and now is called the Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa. It lends books to any Canarsians and has several exhibits relating to the Mazdi family as well as the history of Canarsia in general. Also, Kury’s newspaper, the Canarsia Weekly Messenger, has the most subscribers of any Canarsia-focused publication, and now is sold in Deisororgree, Sisaac and New Frencha, among other countries, as well.
A statue of Kury Mazdi was erected at his library in 1389. There are also statues of him in the Jacian Hall of Culture in Nafting, Jacia, the Skanlikian Forum in Sarana, Skanlikia, and Tolosi Square in Mitzduran, Jacia. A 1447 print of bank notes in Skanlikia featured a picture of Kury Mazdi drawn by Anani Mazdi-Leineen, who was descended from him. In 1480, Crescent Studios in Jacia released a movie version of Kury’s life, entitled The Peculiar Qualities of Snow: The Story of Kury Mazdi. Finally, in 1489, a letter written by Kury to Samyth Kerkythea, advising him to stand up against Unia and try to bring peace in Canarsia, was put on display in the World Union Museum.
The works of Kury Mazdi were revolutionary in Jacian literature, and they inspired many later writers, including Kamek Lossi, Sharlana Rekeksi, Risel Mabi and Y. Ulandeska. Kury’s humor, his characters, his complex plots, his descriptions and his concern with lower-class and non-Jacian people all inspired these writers. Kury’s works may also have opened the eyes of some of the Jacian upper classes to their weaknesses and to the importance of foreigners and lower classes.
Unless otherwise noted, the year given is the year of publication.
- The Expedition (1339). An account of the expedition visiting every Sheesanian country that Kury went on from 1336 to 1338, describing his fellow travelers, the places they saw and the things they did. This book was not the first in the genre of travel journals, but Kury’s casual tone, humorous descriptions, and thoughtful musings made this book unique and popular.
- The Cold Fury (1342). Ten-year-old orphan Torek Hamabi is suddenly adopted by Canarsian colonists who believe that he is their nephew and brought to their home in Skanlikia. Torek, who has been well educated and therefore is grounded in the prejudices of educated Jacian society, must learn to adapt to life in Canarsia. This book, Kury’s first novel, became famous for its provocative ideas, vulnerable and memorable narrator, and comedic style. It was the first widely-recognized novel to be mostly set in Canarsia, and is still read today in Canarsia and Jacia as a classic.
- The Water the Ice and the Snow (1347). A Sinkilian woman escaping from conflicts between Sinkilians and Colish in her homeland and a Colish spy escaping from northern Jacia experience parallel journeys. Both are fiercely loyal to their people, but remain out of place in their cultures, the Sinkilian due to her independence and the Colish man due to his lack of manly courage. Both nationalities were looked down on in Jacia during this time, but Kury portrayed his protagonists sympathetically. This book is famous for the way it challenged Jacian prejudices, and its introduction of the motif of parallel journeys into Jacian prose literature, which had formerly only been in poetry.
- The Deuteragonist (1361). A retelling of a Deisororgreei legend about Erenein, who defeated barbarians invading Deisororgree. The story is set after Erenein has defeated the barbarians and is traveling home, and is told from the perspective of Mazelel, Erenein’s brother and faithful sidekick (or deuteragonist). The book is mostly faithful to the original tale, except for a few surprise twists. This novel became famous for its unique background, fascinating tale, and skillful use of details of the original story to add depth and foreshadowing. It also became known for its discussion of the unrealistically idealistic tendencies of stories.
- Once Again Rain (1367). As the families of two Jawswinish Mawian brothers struggle during a drought, they must face the choice of whether to travel to Latrigle or not. Most of the book is a character study of the two families and their interactions. Once Again Rain was the first Jacian novel to prominently feature Mawians, and it was lauded for its realism and complicated, interesting characters. However, it was also one of the most somber of Kury’s novels. Today, it is well known among Mawians, especially those who immigrated to Jacia.
- The Emergence of Stars (1369). A poor, but extremely intelligent, Egeldish girl embarks on a quest to liberate her village from its oppressive lord (or hač) and be accepted at a university to study astronomy. This novel became famous for its exciting plot, clever but also very vulnerable main character, interesting narration and unique message. While Kury had written books before about corruption in high classes, he had never before sympathetically portrayed a low-class main character trying to depose a member of the high class. This book was highly controversial, but became very popular partly due to its interesting plot.
The date given is the year when Kury finished the story, since many of these stories were published posthumously or much later than they were written.
- “The Man in the Black Silk Hat” (1348). A Jacian tax collector comes to Skanlikia in order to try to collect taxes, and is resisted by Canarsian colonists. This story brought up provocative issues relating to Jacia’s treatment of her Canarsian colonists, pointing out that Jacia did very little for them but often subjected them to restrictions.
- “She Had Black Eyes” (1353). An Egeldish man and a Gourish woman, both living in Canarsia, fall in love and marry. However, once the news gets back to their families in Egeld in Gourisson, their relatives are angry that they married people from enemy countries and seek to annul the marriage. This short story discussed problems relating to pointless animosity between countries and peoples, praising Canarsian colonists for usually disregarding these boundaries.
- “The Accidental Detour” (1358). Two high-class Jacian sisters are traveling through Mitzduran in order to get on a cruise ship, but get lost and find themselves in a poor neighborhood. The story focuses on their differing responses and how they eventually react to the experience. It became widely read due to its accurate descriptions of these Mitzdurani neighborhoods and the plight of poor immigrants.
- “Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek” (1361). Borrowing an idea from his novel The Cold Fury, Kury writes the mocking response of an illegitimate son to a statue of his high-class father. In this story, Kury described corruption in the Jacian upper classes, a controversial subject which earned his story wide attention.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 “About Us.” Canarsia Weekly Messenger Online
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 “Kury Mazdi.” The Complete Jacian Encyclopedia, 1500 Edition
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 “The Expedition.” Planet Literature
- ↑ The Collected Writings of Dyrlo Jangari. Torek Eril, Editor
- ↑ “A Visit to the World Union.” Planet Literature
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Kury Mazdi: Analyzing His Work by Shalara Hamabi
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 “The Malcanars Club.” Canarsia Monthly, 1487
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 The Works of Kury Mazdi by Sidan Erenerk
- ↑ “Canarsian Civil War.” Encyclopedia of the Northern Colonies of Canarsia, 1489 Edition
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Kury Mazdi Memorial Library of Konsa Official Website
- ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 “Jacian Literature and Kury Mazdi.” Suitura Nymaboi, Monthly Journal of the History of Literature, 1455
- ↑ Collected Letters of Kury Mazdi. Enein Mazdi, Editor
- ↑ The Cold Fury by Kury Mazdi, 1498 printing by Colōn Press, pg. 241. Translated by Numia Hananki
- ↑ “The Deuteragonist is a fresh outlook on old legends.” Kadek Shulari, Newspaper of the Golden Dome University
- ↑ “Review of The Cold Fury.” Sterlain Nimobi, Jacia Weekly
- ↑ “The Strangers by Kury Mazdi: Outright Mockery.” Sahek Warashdi, Nafting Literary Informer
- ↑ “Review of The Deuteragonist.” Noslok Ermani, Mitzduran Weekkly
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 “The Cold Fury is a new era in Jacian literature.” Welek Erensek, Daily Paper of Nafting
- ↑ “Review of The Water the Ice and the Snow.” Amandi Yarandi, Mitzduran Weekly
- ↑ “Review of The Strangers.” Liluk Sameri, Jacia Weekly
- ↑ “Reviewing The Cold Fury: Spectacularly Unique.” Remek Sholari, Weekly Jacian Review of Culture
- ↑ “Review of The Deuteragonist.” Sabek Alorn, Nafting Weekly
- ↑ “The Works of Kury Mazdi and Canarsia.” Canarsia Weekly Messenger, 1491
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Works by Kury Mazdi, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu, sold on Bookula.jc
- ↑ The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 3 – The Man in the Black Silk Hat / The Robber / Choices in the Snow / There is Sun in the Wind / A Fretoriod’s Heart, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 5 – She Had Black Eyes / The Golden Loaf / A Pound of Gold for a Pair of Partridges / The Accidental Detour, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu
- ↑ The Short Stories of Kury Mazdi: Volume 6 – Places Without Names / Ode to a Statue of Saral Ransasek / General Wansalek’s Old Blue Coat / The Unmeaningful Confession / A Terror Within, reprinted by Hamabi, Stra & Ferlu