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Blackwood was a rare[1] type of black-barked cedar tree sacred to the Tiste Edur of the Lether continent.[2] It was brought to the Malazan world from Kurald Emurlahn when the Tiste Edur first arrived.[3] Blackwood trees lived over a thousand years, towered over their surroundings, and were devoid of branches until their uppermost reaches.[2] The rings of the tree were bands of red and black.[4] Some thought the red flesh of the tree uncomfortably resembled raw muscle or meat.[5]

The Tiste Edur had many uses for Blackwood and used their Kurald Emurlahn sorcery to coax the will of its living wood. Blackwood was seaworthy[1] and used to construct the hulls and paddles of the Edur's K'orthan longboats,[6][7] creating ships that healed themselves, resisted magical attack, and possessed unmatched speed across the waves.[8]

It was also used to build furniture,[9] such as tables[10] and chairs.[11] Blackwood was valued for crafting spears because it was deemed resistant to shattering.[12]

The Tiste Edur planted Blackwood trees to line the important streets of their villages and ring their sacred sites.[2] Blackwood trees were lumbered to construct defensive palisades through which living trees were shaped to form tunnel-like entry gates.[2] Tiste Edur noble families used Blackwood to form the ridgepoles and beams of their longhouses and planted a single Blackwood tree near the hearthstone at their homes' centre. Weapons were bound to the tree so that over centuries they would subsumed into the trunk of the tree as it grew.[13]

The Tiste Edur often invested Blackwood with sorcery, casting a pall of gloom and shadow upon the trees' surroundings.[2] The Edur also carved crowds of wards into the Blackwood lumber used in their defensive fortifications.[2]

Tiste Edur burial rituals involved encasing the deceased within a layer of copper, then placing their body within a hollowed trunk of Blackwood. After six days, the bole would be buried in one of the sacred groves.[14]

It was suggested that Blackwood was closely related to bloodwood, with some calling it "black bloodwood".[15]

In Midnight TidesEdit

Members of the royal household of the Kingdom of Lether envied the living wood of their Tiste Edur neighbours and sought to go to war over control of its sources.[8]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Mappo Runt and Icarium explored a K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeep that had been trapped underground. Inside they found Sorrit impaled to a blackwood cruciform by an iron spike streaked with Otataral. They theorised that the Eleint had been killed by the Tiste Edur.[16]

In Dust of DreamsEdit

There were once whole forests of Blackwood in the realm of Kurald Galain, but all were used to fuel the great forges during the Tiste civil war. When the Shake returned to Kharkanas, they found that the forests had grown back again.

In Forge of DarknessEdit

The table within Draconus' Chamber of Campaigns at Dracons Hold had been cut from the bole of a three-thousand-year-old Blackwood.[4]

Notes and referencesEdit

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