Bottle was a squad mage, a marine of the 9th Company, 8th Legion of the Malaz 14th Army. He was described as a plain young man, who was thin as a spear and around twenty years of age. Fiddler's first impression was that he had all the diffident bluster typical of a young mage.
Bottle primarily dealt with the older magics of witchery and spirits taught to him by his grandmother, but was also able to access the Warrens of Meanas, Thyr, and Hood's Path. He found Warren magic fascinating and fun to play with, but he did not enjoy using it in combat when its mastery meant life or death. He preferred using the magic of his grandmother that enabled him to communicate and see through the eyes of certain animals. It also allowed him to perform divinations. He thought his style of magic suitable for scouting and quiet work.
Bottle's grandmother had been a witch, as had been his mother. Bottle and his family were from Jakata, a community located on the southwestern coast of Malaz Island. Bottle did not seem to know much about his father, only saying that 'there were rumours'.
Bottle often thought of his grandmother, or seemed to hear her voice 'speaking' to him. It was Bottle's grandmother who had taught him the ways of the 'old magic'. Her spirit was anchored to the old farm outside Jakata. Bottle thought that his grandmother had been "wise in the ways of mortals, seeing through to every weakness, every flaw, reading unconscious gestures and momentary expressions, cutting through the confused surface to lay bare the bones of truth. Nothing was hidden from her". He remembered that when he was about fifteen, living in Jakata, he was introduced by her to a whole other world called learning, knowledge, and magic.
His grandmother had nothing good to say about the Malazan Empire, but the Emperor had at least put a stop to all the wars between the even worse despots of Quon Tali like the Untan Confederacy and the Li Heng League. As a child, she had also lived thorugh the Itko Kan-Cawn Por wars, the Seti Tide, the Wickan migrations, and the Quon Hegemony. The ritual blade she used in her witchery was marked with Jaghut glyphs.
Not long after she had died, Bottle's grandmother's spirit had insisted that he join the Malazan Army, which he did. At the time, Bottle had been selling sailors charmed 'dolls' in Jakatakan - objects which were meant to appease the Stormriders, the 'demons' who routinely bedeviled the waters off the southern coast of Malaz Island.
In House of Chains
He used his magic to see and hear through the eyes and ears of animals and insects to spy on the meetings of his superior officers.
In The Bonehunters
After the Marines fell prey to Leoman's trap in Y'Ghatan, Bottle lead the escape of his squad and a few others of the marines. Through accessing the mind of a rat, given the name Y'Ghatan, Bottle managed to guide them through the underbelly of the city, escaping the conflagration.
When the 14th came to Malaz City, Bottle was tasked by the Adjunct to retrieve the man called Foreigner. He visited Agayla to ask for her help to find the man, calling on their family ties as his uncle had married the sister of her aunt's husband. Agayla drew the doll of his quarry out of Bottle's pocket and, after calling him a child and telling him off for dabbling in the old ways, told him that, yes, she would help him save the world. Bottle later reflected that it was just as well that she had not grabbed into his other pocket as it contained Y'Ghatan and the rat would undoubtedly have bitten her.
In Reaper's Gale
Bottle played a vital part in the push through Lether and the attacking Edur, towards Letheras, countering enemy mages, and providing intelligence on enemy movements and numbers by looking through the eyes of various animals including rats, owls, and other birds.
In Dust of Dreams
Bottle managed to control an army of Wyval that descended in a storm among the K'Chain Nah'ruk forces. This feat however tore Bottle's spirit into pieces through the numerous minds he had attached himself to.
In The Crippled God
Bottle got himself back together again about four to five days after the battle as Quick Ben had attached strings between Bottle and his rats who collected his fragmented spirits and Ruthan Gudd had rescued his body from the K'Chain Nah'ruk having 'sniffed out' that Bottle was still sentient. He and Gudd re-joined the Bonehunters.
- It has been speculated that Bottle may be the father of Kettle as a result of the time travelling Eres'al raping him for his seed. When asked who Kettle's father was, author Steven Erikson said, "I probably [knew] at the time. I can't remember now." In 2020 a fan asked if "Bottle is Kettle's father via the Eres'al" and Erikson replied, "Yes, I think so." The resemblance of the names "Bottle" and "Kettle"--both in appearance and in function (something that holds water)--may be another clue that they were related. (Though perhaps it merely references the altercation between the pregnant Eres'al and Bottle, in which she seems strangely awed by/enamored with him, if also seemingly angry. It's possible she named the child to honor him. And perhaps "kettle" is the closest analog to "bottle" in her language.)
- "Compassion existed when and only when one could step outside oneself, to suddenly see the bars from inside the cage."
- ―Bottle, a childhood memory of a caged ape
- "His grandmother. Well, an old woman, at least. Assumptions could be dangerous."
- ―Bottle on memories of his 'Grandma'.
- "There’s a point when there’s nothing left to say. When every word does nothing more than stir the ashes."
- ―Bottle's thoughts after a burial
Notes and references
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.284
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.407
- House of Chains, Dramatis Personae
- House of Chains,Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.301
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.337
- House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.413
- House of Chains, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.851
- House of Chains,Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.501
- House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.714
- House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.252
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.295
- House of Chains, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.850
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.115
- The Crippled God, Chapter 2, UK HB p.56
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.247
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.344
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.172
- House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.419
- House of Chains, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.900/901
- House of Chains, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.625-626
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.393-395/397-418/425-447
- The Bonehunters,Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1083/1084/1126/1127
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, BCA edition p.734
- Dust of Dreams,Chapter 7, UK HB p.226/227
- The Crippled God, Chapter 2
- Not A TSACast: Fireside Conversations with Steven Erikson Ep#3 podcast - See 1:46:50
- Amalgam Podcast - See 1:08:25
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US MMPB p.301