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The Eres'al, also known as the Eres, the Eres witch,[2] or N'eres,[1] was an Elder Goddess or spirit of the Eres people, an ancient race existing before the Imass.[3]

She was a tall, lithely muscled woman with large and pendulous breasts and wide, full hips. She had a fine umber-hued pelt with long, shaggy hair reaching below her shoulders.[2] The hair on her belly was downy and paler than the rest of her.[4] Her face, which was far more human than ape, had a solid brow, prominent flaring cheekbones, beautiful dark brown eyes, and a broad, full-lipped mouth.[4][2] It was filled with expression.[2] Her movements were as graceful as a deer's, full of careful and watchful motion.[2][4] Her body showed obvious signs of childbirth in her past.[2]

She spoke a glottal language filled with clicks and stops and lard barking grunts.[4]

In House of ChainsEdit

The Eres'al appeared suddenly before Trull Sengar as he, Onrack, Monok Ochem, and Ibra Gholan exited the warren of Tellann on their way to the First Throne. Trull shouted as everything went dark and time folded in on itself. When Onrack could see again, they were in the crevasse of the First Throne and Trull was unconscious. He observed smears of blood and three parallel cuts below the Tiste Edur's belly button and determined they were left by the Eres'al. The Bonecaster, Monok Ochem, confirmed that the Eres had stolen Trull's first seed, although her reasons were unfathomable as he said the Eres had minds of beasts. The sorcery the Eres'al projected was a barely formed warren on the edge of oblivion that temporarily sent Trull's mind elsewhere.[5]

The Eres'al appeared later within the Tanno Spiritwalker song for the Bridgeburners playing within Fiddler's blood. As Adjunct Tavore Paran's 14th Army made preparations to face Sha'ik Reborn's Army of the Apocalypse, Fiddler found himself nearly overcome by voices in his skull and fire in his limbs. Bottle moved to help him and discovered the Eres'al amongst the other spirits. The mage and witch shared minds granting Bottle some knowledge of her people before the witch granted Fiddler the mercy of silence. Fiddler soon recovered his senses.[6]

In Midnight TidesEdit

Eres'al by Dejan Delic

Eres'al by Dejan Delic

Acquitor Seren Pedac and Hull Beddict discussed the creation myths of the Nerek people of Lether. Hull said the Nerek believed they were all born of a single mother who was the thief of fire and who walked through time. Her journeys were to satisfy a need that consumed her but which she never understood. She took within her a sacred seed that led to the birth of a girl through which all of the Nerek were born.[1]

When the Kingdom of Lether embarked on the subjugation of the Nerek, they made sure to destroy the Nerek holy sites to weaken their connection to their goddess and their spirits.[7] The Letherii exploited the Nerek's weaknesses so that the goddess never truly awoke and defended her people.[8] After their subjugation, the Nerek lost their dreams and the knowledge of the old paths that made travel swift.[9]

The merchant Buruk the Pale brought a group of Nerek Indebted to guide his wagons over the mountains into the lands of the Tiste Edur. At the Hiroth village of the Warlock King, they suffered and starved while awaiting an official welcome from the Edur. Seren Pedac convinced the Edur noblewoman, Mayen, to provide a welcome, but Mayen instead blessed their presence and inadvertantly sanctified the ground below them.[10] This seemed to awaken the Eres'al to her people's plight to some degree.[8] When the Letherii destroyed the Hiroth village with devastating sorcery, the Nerek that huddled on consecrated ground survived. At the same time, dreams returned to one of the Nerek youths and he could once again walk the ways between worlds.[9]

In Letheras, Silchas Ruin probed the memories of the undead girl, Kettle, in search of her origins. Nerek witches had told Kettle that Eres was her mother, and Silchas Ruin promised to discover who her father was:[11]

Kettle: "I guess this Eres was my real mother."
Silchas Ruin: "Yes."
Kettle: "And soon you will know who my father is."
Silchas Ruin: "I will know his blood, yes. At the very least."
Kettle: "I wonder if he's still alive."
Silchas Ruin: "Knowing how Eres plays the game, lass, he might not even be your father yet. She wanders time, Kettle, in a manner no-one else can even understand, much less emulate. And this is very much her world. She is the fire that never dies. She will choose— or has chosen— with great deliberation. Your father was, is, or will be someone of great importance."
―Silchas Ruin talking with Kettle about her mother[src]

In The BonehuntersEdit

The Eres'al often appeared to Bottle in his dreams. As the 14th Army moved across the desert to Y'Ghatan, she showed him the ancient hand-axes spread throughout the land nearby.[12]

Outside Y'Ghatan, Bottle had a waking vision of the heavily pregnant Eres'al approaching him across a grass covered savannah of long ago. She gripped his wrist and placed his hand on her belly and Bottle sent his sense questing into her womb. He sensed that the Eres'al's child was a counter-balance to an abomination in her distant future. To make the once-innocent, but now corrupted, intruder from another realm a part of this world, one of its kind must be born through her. The Eres'al was chosen as the last innocent ancestor of the human line.[13]

The father of the child was a Tiste Edur, and the child would be the only pure candidate for a new Throne of Shadow commanding a healed Kurald Emurlahn. Bottle felt that the Eres'al was putting her faith in him and praying to him as if he were a god. The mage was ashamed and refused to participate. But the much physically stronger woman him down and forced him to relent. When he accepted her faith, there was a flash of light and she was gone.[13]

Later, Quick Ben reluctantly asked Bottle's assistance in a divination he was struggling with. Bottle was half asleep, but quickly deciphered the ritual's meaning, determining that Quick Ben's sister, Torahaval Delat, was in danger and Shadowthrone was involved. As Bottle slipped back into sleep, Quick Ben realised that the Eres'al had been working through him, working magic that went back to the birth of awareness.[14]

Eres disguised herself as a human, acting as an aide and lover to Adjunct Tavore. She disappeared once her identity was discovered.

QuotesEdit

"In the oldest, most fragmentary of texts, will be found obscure mention of the Eres’al, a name that seems to refer to those most ancient of spirits that are the essence of the physical world. There is, of course, no empirical means of determining whether the attribution of meaning—the power inherent in making symbols of the inanimate—was causative, in essence the creative force behind the Eres’al; or if some other mysterious power was involved, inviting the accretion of meaning and significance by intelligent forms of life at some later date.
    In either case, what cannot be refuted is the rarely acknowledged but formidable power that exists like subterranean layers in notable features of the land; nor that such power is manifested with subtle yet profound efficacy, even so much as to twist the stride of gods—indeed, occasionally sufficient to bring them down with finality…
"
―Preface to the Compendium of Maps
Kellarstellis of Li Heng[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Midnight Tides, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.227
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.747
  3. House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.745
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.248-250
  5. House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.747-748
  6. House of Chains, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.755-758
  7. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.430
  8. 8.0 8.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.416
  9. 9.0 9.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.545
  10. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.220-226
  11. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.447
  12. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.96
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.248-250
  14. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.606-608
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