Feather Witch was an eighteen-year-old woman of Letherii descent, who was born into slavery in a Tiste Edur Hiroth village located in the far northwestern region of Lether. She served as one of Mayen's handmaids and was destined to join House Sengar once Mayen married Fear Sengar.[1]

Feather Witch possessed the ability to cast the Tiles, the Letherii analogue to reading the Deck of Dragons. Her gift manifested before the age of four when her dreams walked back and spoke in the voices of the ancestors. A battered set of ceramic tiles of the Holds was exhumed from the grave of a previous talent and given to her, while ghostly ancestors took charge of her education.[1] When she publically cast the tiles, crowds of a hundred or more Letherii slaves came to witness.[2] The true extent of her power was far greater than her Tiste Edur captors imagined.[3]

She was loved by Udinaas, a fellow Letherii slave, but she did not reciprocate his feelings.[4] She was a virgin.[5]

Feather Witch was described as being beautiful with thick, long yellow hair, grey (or blue) eyes, heart-shaped features, and a small, child-like body.[6][7] She had the lean, cabled muscles of someone familiar with a lifetime of hard, repetitive work.[8]

In Midnight Tides[edit | edit source]

Feather Witch cast the tiles for an audience of fellow slaves on the same night Hannan Mosag addressed the Tiste Edur regarding the Letherii Empire's encroachment on their waters. Udinaas attempted to stop the reading after encountering the dire omen of a white crow, but was too late. During the reading, Feather Witch was attacked by an invisible creature called a Wyval. Udinaas leaped to stop the attack and was direly wounded in the process. As both slaves were restored to health by Uruth Sengar's magic, Feather Witch secretly warned Udinaas that the Tiste Edur's access to Kurald Emurlahn was changed and no longer pure.[9]

Feather Witch had no love for her mistress. When Mayen overstepped her station to bless the arrival of Buruk the Pale's Nerek Indebted, Feather Witch reported her actions to Uruth Sengar. Mayen repaid her slave's betrayal with a switching.[10] When the resurrected Rhulad Sengar declared himself emperor of the Tiste Edur he forced Mayen to become his wife. The horrified Mayen redirected her anger at Feather Witch and regularly beat her, once leaving her face bruised and swollen beyond recognition.[11][12]

Early on, Feather Witch was suspicious that Udinaas had been infected by the Wyval, especially when he carelessly revealed information from the Wyval's visons and Wither's whispers. She angrily revealed to Udinass that she had purposefully called the Wyval upon herself and resented his interference. The Wyval's curse was meant to be her own freedom, not that of some Indebted. She forced him to take her into one of his visions where they discovered Udinaas' son, Rud Elalle, living amongst the Imass of the Refugium.[13]

Feather Witch accompanied Mayen as part of Rhulad's entourage when the emperor and his armies invaded the Kingdom of Lether. At Udinaas' recommendation, Rhulad took her away from Mayen and gave her over to serve the Edur healers.[14] After the Edur seized Letheras, Mayen made her escape into the city where she ultimately committed suicide with a knife. It was later revealed that a vengeful Feather Witch had given her Udinaas' knife and she was pleased her former mistress was dead.[15]

After Rhulad's confrontation with King Ezgara Diskanar in the Eternal Domicile, Feather Witch helped her new mistress, Uruth, tend the wounds of Binadas Sengar. She also collected one of Brys Beddict's severed fingers left behind from his duel with Rhulad.[16]

In The Bonehunters[edit | edit source]

Feather Witch now wore one of Brys Beddict's blackened, severed fingers on a chain around her neck. She accompanied Preda Hanradi Khalag and his Merude warriors as part of a Tiste Edur fleet sent to Seven Cities by Emperor Rhulad. They had orders to "inflict atrocities upon all strangers they encounter[ed]".[17] The emperor had also ordered that an open invitation be made to any warrior to meet him in personal combat. The Tiste Edur killed and terrorised the Anibar people of the Olphara Peninsula until the shaman, Boatfinder, asked Karsa Orlong to be their protector.[18]

Karsa tracked the mysterious grey-skinned raiders to their camp and slew many of them before his companion, Samar Dev, convinced him to parley with the Edur. Feather Witch's magic seemed to have no effect on the Teblor, but she helped serve as an interpreter with the aid of a captured Taxilian. Samar Dev noted the witch directed looks of unbridled hatred at her commander's back during the negotiations. The Preda delivered Rhulad's challenge to the Teblor, which Karsa accepted without hesitation. Feather Witch's hidden glee at the exchange did not go unnoticed by Samar Dev.[19]

Aboard the Tiste Edur ship, Feather Witch approached Samar Dev and attempted to communicate in a rough version of the Seven Cities common language. She complained that Taxilian did not make a very good teacher and demanded Samar Dev teach her instead. Samar Dev refused and Feather Witch threatened to have her killed. The scholar warned that such an action would result in Karsa killing all on board but the slaves. Taxilian later revealed that he was purposely sabotaging Feather Witch's lessons by mixing together the languages of the Malazans, the Taxilii Scholar's Dialect, the Ehrlii variant of the common tongue, and obscure tribal Rangala.[20]

In Reaper's Gale[edit | edit source]

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Reaper's Gale.

Interpretation of Feather Witch by Dejan Delic

When the Tiste Edur fleet arrived back in Letheras,[21] Feather Witch abandoned Uruth Sengar and went to ground deep in the abandoned crypts of the Old Palace which Feather Witch had supplied with fresh water, food and other necessities in her days in Letheras before the long ocean voyage of the Tiste Edur fleet.[22]

Although Feather Witch was attacked by the elder god, Errant, she managed to gouge out his left eye. Nearly dead, she had swallowed the Errant's eye - which had the effect of binding him and some of his power to her, and of making her his Destriant[23] as well as the High Priestess of the Errant's cult.[24]

During the invasion of Letheras by the Bonehunters, Feather Witch was drowned by the Errant in the rising waters which were flooding her 'temple' sanctuary beneath the city.[25]

In Dust of Dreams[edit | edit source]

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Dust of Dreams.

Feather Witch's spirit briefly returned under the name Breath. She was part of a group of Letherii exiles who were wandering in the Wastelands of Lether and who stumbled upon Kalse Rooted, a seemingly abandoned K'Chain Che'Malle sky keep/nest. She was accompanied by Taxilian, Sheb, Asane, Last, Nappet and Rautos Hivanar.[26]

Breath was revealed to be Feather Witch, when Taralack Veed (who had been tracking the 'wanderers') explained that they were all part of Icarium.[27]

Feather Witch assisted Icarium in the final battle with the K'Chain Nah'ruk, by giving him the eye of the Errant with which to make a finnest – which constantly repaired Icarium's sky keep during the battle – as an Azath grew from it.[28]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.49-50
  2. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.44/49
  3. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.56-57
  4. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.50/55
  5. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.57
  6. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US TPB p.43-44/48
  7. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.663
  8. The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.702
  9. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.49-53/55-56
  10. Midnight Tides, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.225/240
  11. Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.490
  12. Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.566/568
  13. Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.476-486
  14. Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.642
  15. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.752/759
  16. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.759-760
  17. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US HC p.534
  18. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.483-491
  19. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US HC p.534
  20. The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.702-704
  21. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US TPB p.171
  22. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US TPB p.172
  23. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US TPB p.285/287
  24. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US TPB p.627
  25. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US TPB p.785-786
  26. Dust of Dreams, Prologue, US HC p.32
  27. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 18, UK PB pg.914-915
  28. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 24, US HC p.805-806/807-809
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