The Holds were similar to, but precursors of, the Warrens and their Houses.[1] 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.[2]

Bottle called them "older, raw, way too close to Chaos."[3] The mage, Corlo, likened the use of Hold sorcery to riding a wagon with square wheels.[2]


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 Letherii Empire, 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.[citation needed]

Known HoldsEdit

Divination of the HoldsEdit

To predict the future, an adept could use the Tiles of the Holds.

Magic of the HoldsEdit

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 Letherii Empire was the Ceda, Kuru Qan, with Ceda being the title equivalent of a High Mage.

In Midnight TidesEdit

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.[5][6][2] Whereas in other places these Holds would evolve into the more refined magic form of warrens, sorcery in western Lether remained based on Holds.[2] 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.[7][6]

In The BonehuntersEdit

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.[8]

In Reaper's GaleEdit

Another magical attack using the Holds on the Malazans was performed on the Letherii 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.

See also Edit

Notes and referencesEdit

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