Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

The Eres, or the Tall Ones,[1] were a humanoid people in existance before the Imass, who were said to be the first species given the spark of awareness by the spirits.[2] They were the first makers of tools and the first shapers of their world.[3] An individual of the Eres people was known as an Eres'al.[4]

The Eres were a tall, dark skinned people whose bodies were covered in fine hair.[2] They were far taller and more ape-like than an Imass, and more human in height and proportion. The skulls behind their faces were smaller than an Imass', as well.[5] They possessed sloped foreheads, solid chinless jaws, and heavy brow ridges that formed a contiguous shelf over deep-set eye sockets.[5] The hair on their heads was slightly longer than the hair on their bodies, and was dark brown and wavy.[5]

They lived on warm savannahs and occasionally the fringes of jungle,[2] and wore no clothing.[5] They were capable of working stone, but at a lesser skill than the Imass.[2] For unknown reasons they spent days carving large, disc-shaped hand-axes out of stone before flinging them into lakes. Some sites of former lake beds in Seven Cities were littered with such artifacts.[3]

According to Monok Ochem, every member of the species was akin to a Bonecaster.[2] They did not fashion holy sites of their own, but rather brought their dead to sites where death gathered, such as bone fields where leopards or hyenas brought their kill. They understood that power gathered in layers in such places, forming the birthplace of the sacred.[6] The Eres pre-dated Hood, and were thus not bound to the death god.[6]

"Nor are they strictly death-aspected. Their power comes, as Monok Ochem said, from layers. Stone shaped into tools and weapons. Air shaped by throats. Minds that discovered, faint as flickering fires in the sky, the recognition of oblivion, of an end…to life, to love. Eyes that witnessed the struggle to survive, and saw with wonder its inevitable failure. To know and to understand that we must all die, Trull Sengar, is not to worship death. To know and to understand is itself magic, for it made us stand tall."

The landscapes of the Eres filtered into Tellann as their lands existed in the memories of the T'lan Imass.[2] Eres holy sites were too old to be resisted and burned their way through the barriers of Tellan. The T'lan Imass sometimes used such areas as gates back to the Malazan world.[6]

Though enclaves of Eres survived into the time of the Imass, it was stated that they were extinct at the time of the Malazan Empire.[2][3]

The Eres language was considered "The First Language". It was a complex language characterised by clicks and glottal stops as well as rhythmic gestures that provided punctuation.[7][8] Their songs could awaken deep memories or disturbing sensations within modern listeners as they recalled the roots of language and produced sounds such as a mother might make to a baby. Depending on the song, the accompanying gestures could transform into a sinuous and sensuous dance.[9]

Monok Ochem said the Eres had the minds of beasts.[10]

In House of Chains[]

L'oric entered a warren he thought to be Tellann while searching for his father, Osric. Instead he found himself within a world that was Raraku's most ancient memory. He stumbled upon a bear-sized hyena scavenging the corpse of a naked humanoid that bore some resemblance to T'lan Imass and humans. In the distance he saw a panicked herd of huge beasts similar to cattle running in flight from a pack of Deragoth. More of the humanoids followed in their wake like subservient scavengers. After the pack killed a K'ell Hunter, the Hounds and humanoids mingled together over the kill site.[11] Later, Osric, who had spent time in the warren studying the K'Chain Che'Malle, said the Deragoth had domesticated the humanoids, who would one day be Imass.[12]

An Eres'al ambushed Trull Sengar as he, Onrack, Monok Ochem, and Ibra Gholan exited Tellann through an Eres holy site. The woman took his seed with time twisting sorcery before disappearing.[13]

The same Eres'al later appeared within the Spiritwalker song that inhabited Fiddler's blood. The song threatened to overwhelm the Bridgeburner with the voices of spirits until his squad mage, Bottle, communicated with the Eres'al. She granted Fiddler the mercy of silence, ending his torment.[14]

In Reaper's Gale[]

While standing on the banks of the Lether River at Rautos Hivanar's estate in Letheras, Bugg recalled the life of a mated pair of Eres'al who had been there millennia before. For three seasons they had come to the bank of the vast marsh to prepare flint for tools. Some of these artifacts turned up when Hivanar excavated the shoreline. Eventually the female had died in childbirth and the male wandered with the baby until both died of starvation. He had been unable to find any more of his kind because wildfires in the great forests and plains had scattered them.[15]

In Dust of Dreams[]

While describing the visions that the Eres'al sent to Bottle, he told Quick Ben that the Eres lived for the seas and oceans. They had made many different types of boats, and that at some time, they conquered the entire world. However, Bottle insinuated that the Eres were pushed away by the appearance of humans. However, they had indeed explored the entire world.[16]


In response to a fan question, author Steven Erikson described the Eres as resembling "[Homo] erectus, as shore dwellers who eventually got pushed into the forests."[17]


"...she, [an Eres'al], is the last innocent creature, the last innocent ancestor of our line. After her… the degradation of spirit begins. The shifting of perspective, the separation from all else, the carving of borders – in the ground, in the mind’s way of seeing. After her, there’s only… us."
Bottle's thoughts on the Eres and their human descendants[src]

Notes and references[]