|Start of Reign|
|End of Reign|
|Years of Service|
|Nationality||Stone Tree Nation|
|Affiliation|| Queen Barzha|
Maura of Dunlath
|Tortallan Universe character|
|Last Appeared||The Realms of the Gods|
Rikash Moonsword (pronounced rhee-KAHSH) was a Stormwing lord of the Stone Tree Nation. After the being released from the Divine Realms along with many others of his kind, he allied himself with Yolane of Dunlath to overthrow King Jonathan. He was the caretaker of Maura of Dunlath, and was very fond of the girl.
Rikash likely was alive before immortals were sealed in the Divine Realms. He was released in the years before the Immortals War. He was also an aristocrat, and described his family of being sentimental for taking the surname Moonsword.
As part of a conspiracy instigated by the Emperor Mage of Carthak, Rikash works with Yolane of Dunlath and Tristan Staghorn to secure the valley fief of Dunlath while they and five mages worked on their plan to kill the king, many of his highest ranking officers and advisors, and a large chunk of his army. While there, he developed an avuncular relationship with Maura, since like most Stormwings he holds children dear. Maura says that he occasionally takes her flying in a large sling. He also appears to be on decent terms with the cook and the nurse of the castle, as they also care deeply for Maura.
When Maura attempts to escape, Rikash and his flock attempt to locate her before her sister notices. When he finds her with Daine, he warns the younger girl that should find better company, disliking Daine for killing several Stormwings (including a queen). He calls her a hypocrite for judging Stormwings when humans kill more humans than all immortals combined. When Maura refuses to return with him, he becomes exasperated, but does not actually force her to return, a fact that amuses Daine greatly. He and his flock consider capturing Daine, but she summons a massive flock of starlings to threaten them. They fly out through the barrier enclosing Dunlath to attack Numair, but the mage has developed a bomb that creates an explosive blast scented like onions (which Stormwings ironically hate) and drives them away.
Later, as Daine spies on one of Dunlath's forts in the body of Flicker, Rikash discovers the squirrel looking through papers in an office. Suspicious of a squirrel who enters a building and reads, he attacks. However, Daine and Flicker are able to escape.
The mage Gardiner is later told to use Rikash as a messenger to the mercenary captain Blackthorn.
When Daine flies to the southern Dunlath fort to ask the local animals to help, she flies in the body of the eagle Huntsong. They come across three Stormwings, including Rikash. While the other two are willing to leave it at insults (Huntsong having successfully fought them after the murder of his mate), Rikash once again notices a discrepancy in the behavior of an animal harboring Daine. He and the other Stormwings attack, but after flying into the trees to follow, squirrels jumperd on him as he was working hard not to hit the ground, and he runs into an elm tree, allowing them to escape.
During the climactic battle between Numair and Tristan, Daine implores him to leave the valley without further bloodshed. He agrees, recognizing that while Daine would be unlikely to survive the encounter, she would still kill him and several members of his flock. As he is leaving, two of the more stubborn members attack anyway, but he remians only long enough to watch the be killed by Daine before he leaves to inform Emperor Orzone of the failure in Dunlath.
Rikash is later encountered by the Tortallan ambassadors to Carthak. He is there as a guest of the emperor with the current king of the Stone Tree Nation, Jokhun Foulreek. He is not pleased to be there, although the exact reason for this is unclear. Upon recognizing Daine, he scowls. She teases him about his pretty surname, which is clearly a sore point for him. When the emperor explains that Daine is the reason that the animals of Dunlath acted so oddly, he is both amused and annoyed.
He later comes to speak to Daine and Numair. They discuss her magic, and he asks how Maura fares. He then gives a cryptic warning about the fate of Carthak in the near future. He also questions the wisdom of allying with a ruler who tried to kill their king. Daine calls him a hypocrite, saying that he has allied with the new king of the Stone Trees Nation despite the former queen and her consort being held in the emperor's immortal menagerie. Astounded, he does not believe them. When given the names of the two captured Stormwings, he leaves abruptly.
A short time later, Daine sees him arguing with an elderly slave on a terrace. The slave pulls out a silver dicing cup and rolls a seven. She states that he wins for the time being, then winks at Daine, having encountered her before. She then leaps over the railing and vanishes. Rikash is greatly amused by Daine's belief that the woman is a slave, but refuses to explain further. She then questions him about the feather on the railing beside him, and when he won't explain that either, she asks why he left so suddenly. He changes the subject, suggesting that Daine should attempt taking Stormwing form. She informs him that she is not foolish enough to try that, knowing that she would be trapped should she take the form of an immortal. He teases her about wanting to take dragon shape, then says that he has visited the two caged Stormwings. He then angrily explains that Jokhun has lied, saying that he killed Queen Barzha Razorwing and her consort Hebakh in combat, and the others believed him because they had tired of Stormwing battles. They are interrupted before he can explain more, and both feign dislike for each other. Rikash then gives the emperor a gift, the feather he removed before. He explains that should the emperor ever be in peril, he should push the feather into his flesh. It will carry him away from danger and make him immortal. He then departs.
Much later, during Daine's attack on the palace, Rikash appears again to inform her that some of her dinosaur skeletons have freed the animals in the menagerie. Daine questions why he is there at all, and after some evasion, he admits that he heard tonight would be interesting for Carthak. He expects the emperor to use his gift, and is keen on being there for it. In a moment of sorrow and rage, Daine mourns Numair, and Rikash expresses his awkward sympathies. He then agrees to carry Zek to Kitten's cage in the immortal menagerie, which is still sealed.
After Daine has finally run the emperor down, Rikash appears to witness the confrontation. Ozorne uses the feather, and it transforms him into a Stormwing. All enchantments tied to his life-force end, and the immortals are freed. Barzha demands that all attacks on him stop, as he is now subject to Stormwing justice. Rikash gleefully explains to the emperor that, as a Stormwing, he has no right to human magic or thrones. Numair then reminds him that once a human becomes an immortal, there is no return. Ozorne screams that he will use Stormwing magic to kill them, which Rikash sweetly asks if he knows how to use. The emperor then tries to escape, and Rikash gives chase with pleasure after thanking Daine for bringing Ozorne to justice.
Rikash is next seen after Daine has entered the Divine Realms. Daine was recently attacked by a Tauros, and enters her parents home to clean herself. She then comes back out with a perch and scolds the Stormwing for allowing Ozorne to escape, as he has been attacking her and leading armies to attack Tortall. He informs her bitterly that Ozorne killed Jokhun in a sneak attack and has made fugitives out of himself, his queen and her consort, and the few Stormwings who have remained loyal to Stormwing law. When it is decided that Daine and Numair must go to the Dragonlands to be returned to the Mortal Realms, he supports this idea and agrees to arrange for transportation across the deadly Sea of Sand. He then departs to do so.
When Daine and Numair reach the Sands, the Stormwing reappears with his queen and those still loyal to her. They have agreed to carry her to the Dragonlands in slings that Daine's mother helped make. During their travel, Rikash teases Daine over her recently revealed feelings for Numair. She is embarrassed and changes the subject, asking about the origins of Stormwings. He explains that they were dreamed up to be a deterrent against war, although their time away has made them less effective. After arriving at the border between the Divine Realms and the Dragonlands, Rikash wishes her luck before departing with the other Stormwings. Later, as Daine and Numair leave with the help of Wingstar and Diamondflame, Rikash and the others rejoin her to help them fight Ozorne and his armies.
Before the Battle of Port Legann, he and Daine joke about taking souvenirs from Ozrone's corpse, each being sure to leave enough for the other. During the battle, as Barzha duels a rival Stormwing queen, he and Hebakh fight to keep other Stormwings and flying immortals from interfering with the help of some starlings summoned by Daine.
A short time later, a trap is sprung, and a massive three-headed serpent made of Chaos magic attacks the army, devouring people whole. Rikash attcks the central head while Badger handles the left and Daine's starling blind the right. However, despite their success, the snake's final act is to whip its head hard enough to send Rikash flying. He hits a large rock hard and is killed. Daine, Barzha, and Hebakh all mourn his loss keenly.
Many years later, Daine and Numair honor the Stormwing by naming their second child, Rikash Salmalín, after him.
As with all Stormwings, Rikash is half human, half steel bird. His human parts are those of a blond man with cool green eyes. He braids bones into his hair (although exactly how he manages this is a mystery), and implies that each is a token of a kill. As a Stormwing, he is covered in filth and smells terrible.
While Rikash originally despised Daine, with mutual feelings from her, the reached an accord at the end of the events in Dunlath. Both wished to end the bloodshed. While in Carthak, their relationship improved even more, as they were no longer on opposite sides of a battlefield. He was willing to help her, although usually with cryptic warnings, and he greatly appreciated her revelation that Barzha was alive. By the time of the Immortals War, Daine no longer thinks of him as any kind of threat, and though she never names him friend, any rudeness between them is simply teasing. When he is killed, Daine screams his name over and over. She mourns his passing greatly, realizing that she did indeed have a friend in him, and names her son after him.
Maura of Dunlath
As Stormwings rarely have children of their own, they treasure the young of other species, particularly human ones who have been mistreated. Rikash forms an avuncular relationship with Maura, trying to keep her safe throughout the events in Dunlath. At one point Maura jumps in front of a crossbow to keep Daine from shooting him, and she argues with Daine, who originally hated Stormwings for a nature they could not change. After he leaves Dunlath, his obligations keep him from contacting or visiting Maura, but he asks Daine for news of her and wishes to see her again when he has the chance.
Notes and references
- ↑ Emperor Mage