The Holds were similar to, but precursors of, the Warrens and their Houses. They were created in a world long gone where forces were rougher, wilder, and messier. Consequently, sorcery that made use of them was more raw and ugly, less subtle and refined, and open to fewer options than warren magic.
The First Empire discovered the initial Holds; the Empty Hold was a later manifestation. Although it was once used all over the Malazan world, its main usage was later limited to the continent of Lether, home to the Kingdom of Lether, a former colony of the First Empire. Outside Lether, access to the Holds seemed to be limited to non-humans or a few humans performing blood rituals.
- Azath Hold
- Beast Hold
- Dark Hold, observed by Heboric Light Touch
- Hold of Darkness
- Death Hold, observed by Heboric
- Dragon Hold
- Empty Hold
- Fulcra (unaligned)
- Ice Hold
- Life Hold, observed by Heboric
- Light Hold, observed by Heboric
Divination of the Holds
To predict the future, an adept could use the Tiles of the Holds.
Magic of the Holds
Hold magic was unrefined, raw magic unlike that of the warrens. It had never been said to be used individually; for example, using just the Hold of Ice, etc.
The inhabitants on the continent of Lether only knew of magic through the Holds, compared to the rest of the world who used the Warrens. The lead sorcerer of the Kingdom of Lether was the Ceda, Kuru Qan, with Ceda being the title equivalent of a High Mage.
In Midnight Tides
The use of an Omtose Phellack ritual by the Jaghut, Gothos, in Lether during ancient times had sealed the land and prevented the evolution of magic on the western part of the continent. Whereas in other places these Holds would evolve into the more refined magic form of warrens, sorcery in western Lether remained based on Holds. Additionally, knowledge of the Hold of Death became lost and the paths of the dead in Lether were obscured, making the region prone to loitering ghosts, shades, and the undead.
In The Bonehunters
Of the Malazans, the only known person that used the Holds was Bottle of the Malazan Fourteenth Army. His grandmother taught him to use the Holds and was the one who urged him to join the Malazan army. When facing an attack by the Third Edur Imperial Fleet in the Kokakal Sea, Quick Ben recognised the Tiste Edur sorcery as Hold magic shot through with the Chaos of the Crippled God. Bottle and the Eres'al helped Quick Ben fashion their own Hold magic to defend against the Edur warlocks.
In Reaper's Gale
It was the Errant's sense that the power of the Holds were all fading. But an encounter with Fener revealed that it was possible for Holds to reawaken as the Beast Hold had. Under the influence of a Demon spirit-god's lust and ambition, the Errant sought to initiate a war between the Holds and the Warrens to reclaim his own waning power back.
Another magical attack using the Holds on the Malazans was performed on the Lether continent against the entire 14th Army. The Letherii mages linked together and sent out a wave of Hold magic to destroy the Malazans and Tiste Edur, the Letherii's 'allies', in the valley. They were protected by Beak who used all of the warrens (Candles) to save them, but gave up his life in the process.
In Dust of Dreams
In The Crippled God
Notes and references
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 4
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.621-622
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.766
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 6
- Midnight Tides, Glossary
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 14
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.24-25
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.602-604
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.535-537
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 9, US HC p.227-230
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.282-288