Note: Author Rachel Hartman uses both she/her and they/them pronouns for Pathka, although in the book, only she/her and the quigutl pronoun ko are used. The author of this article is choosing to use she/her pronouns but recognizes that Kikiu is, in Hartman's own words, genderfluid.
Kikiu is a character in Tess of the Road. She is the offspring of Pathka, with whom she has an antagonistic relationship. Throughout the novel, Kikiu continually reappears and disappears. However, at the end of Tess of the Road, she has joined Pathka and Tess in their search for the World Serpents.
Kikiu's egg was laid by Pathka when Tess was six. Her egg almost killed him, which was why he named her Kikiu, meaning "death" in Quootla. At some point, she moved to Trowebridge with Pathka when she was younger. Despite Pathka's strong opposition to the new quigutl way of life, which centered on trade and human relations, Kikiu sought to be assimilated into society in Trowebridge.
Kikiu follows Tess and Pathka while they are on their journey in search of the World Serpents. Initially, she comes for her fatluketh, but after it fails, she continues to struggle with her bond to Pathka, her Mother. By the end of Tess of the Road, Kikiu has joined Tess and Pathka on their search and is going on their journey with Countess Margarethe.
Kikiu is very rash, impulsive, and aggressive. She resents Pathka for being a bad Mother to her and for rejecting the quigutl trend toward trade and human relations. Her relationship with Pathka echoes Tess's with Anne-Marie, and, in turn, her character echoes Tess's.
Kikiu and Pathka both resent each other. Kikiu hates Pathka for being a bad Mother, and Pathka resents Kikiu for nearly killing him as an egg. However, despite their violent interactions, they seem to love each other on some level. Since their fatluketh was a failure, they are strangely bonded to one another.
- Kikiu's name comes from the Quootla word kikiu, which means "death."