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Malazan Wiki

Kettle was an undead, human girl, forever nine or ten years old, who inhabited the grounds of the Azath Tower in Letheras.[1] She was pale-skinned and naked, with long hair clotted by blood framing her heart-shaped face. Her black eyes were covered with a dull film.[2] She had no memory of her life before her death.[3]

She served as Guardian of the Azath House by killing "bad people" in Letheras and feeding their bodies to the House's grounds.[4][5] She preferred dispatching her victims by biting out their throats because she enjoyed the smell of blood, and when it coagulated it kept her hair out of her face.[4] The House's choice to make her Guardian was a sign of its advanced age and faltering power as she was unready for what the role fully entailed.[6] The House communicated with her using thoughts and feelings.[7] She could see in the dark.[8]

She was given the name Kettle by the undead thief, Shurq Elalle, who Kettle desperately wished would be her mother.[9][10] Shurq had no interest in being anyone's mother, but regularly visited the girl and attempted to discover the origin of her curse.[11]

In Midnight Tides[]

Kettle aided the Azath Tower in Letheras while it slowly weakened and died. Despite her efforts, the Azath continued to decline and several of its prisoners began communicating with her. While some like Sheltatha Lore promised rewards, others like the Seregahl promised that they would tear her to pieces when they escaped.[12][13]

The House knew the girl would not be ready to defend herself against the hundreds of creatures that would be released upon its death, so it made a bargain to free one of its most powerful prisoners, Silchas Ruin, for his aid.[14] As Silchas slowly worked his way free, he spoke with Kettle regularly and showed her visions of other places. The man who she referred to as uncle told her that she bore the soul of a Forkrul Assail which was not entirely awake. Kettle also recalled that she had once been an adult priestess of the Nameless Ones from Seven Cities. She had journeyed to Letheras with five Nerek witches who prepared her and the body of a dead girl to accept the Nameless One's soul. She recalled her child body being wrapped for burial and her 'other body' observing. The witches told her that she had been prepared from birth and that she was a true child of the Eres. She was also told that she was the answer to the Seventh Closure because she had the blood of kin.[15] In effect, she bore two souls, neither of which was the child's original. Ruin promised to one day find her a body of her own.[16]

Kettle found herself drawn into the plans of Shurq's friends who she named Father Tehol, Uncle Bugg, and Uncle Ublala.[17] Bugg visited her regularly and discovered she was slowly returning to life. Her heart began to beat several times a day and she began to feel aches and twinges where she had only been numb before.[18] Bugg sought out additional help in case Ruin was unable to free himself in time.[19]

The girl was also visited by Brys Beddict and later Ceda Kuru Qan. Kettle introduced Uncle Brys to Ruin, who asked for two swords to assist him in defending the Tower grounds. After the House's death, Kettle provided the Ceda with a new tile for the Cedance representing the Hold of Death which had begun manifesting in the House's place.[20] Kettle's skin began to repair itself with new pink skin and she once again knew thirst.[21] She helped Shurq recruit thousands of ghost volunteers gathering around the new Hold's grounds for the thief's raid on the Tolls Repository.[22]

When the five Seregahl finally did break free, Ruin was still struggling to free himself from his barrow. Fortunately for Kettle, Bugg returned with the Crimson Guard Avowed, Iron Bars, to challenge the Tarthenal gods.[23][24] They were soon joined by Udinaas, the human host for a Wyval and Wither, the Shadow wraith. The Wvyal burst from Udinaas' body to burrow into the earth to rescue its master, Silchas Ruin, while Wither convinced Kettle to save the dying Udinaas with a drop of her blood.[25] With his servants' help, Ruin was able to escape and slay the Seregahl. His task complete, Ruin readied to leave the House's grounds and Kettle asked to join him. Ruin promised Shurq he would keep the girl safe, and they found their way to the home of Seren Pedac. The Acquitor accepted their request to guide them out of the city which had just fallen to Emperor Rhulad Sengar and his Tiste Edur. Their party was joined by Fear Sengar, Wither, and a still unconscious Udinaas.[26]

In Reaper's Gale[]

The Travellers by Autumn Tavern

After escaping Letheras, Kettle travelled eastward with Silchas Ruin, Seren Pedac, Fear Sengar, Udinaas, and Wither for months with Edur and Letherii hunters in pursuit.[27] Silchas sought the Finnest of Scabandari Bloodeye to destroy his betrayer, while Fear sought the Finnest to redeem the Tiste Edur people and reclaim Kurald Emurlahn.[28] The journey taught Kettle that being alive was hard--she was always hungry, her feet hurt, and she was not used to feeling small. Also, she missed tearing people's throats out with her bare hands.[27]

She and Udinaas were briefly captured by Edur and Letherii slave-trackers near the Bluerose Mountains when trying to steal food from a farm. Their captors planned to bring the escaped slave back to Letheras before Silchas Ruin violently intervened. While the Tiste Andii dispatched most of their captors, Udinaas used his chains to strangle a Letherii guard who had raped Kettle during their captivity. When Ruin learned that the other Letherii guards had watched the attack in amusement, he killed them.[27]

The girl unnerved Seren Pedac and Fear by relaying information given to her by the dead and those trapped by the Azath. They told her the Crippled God was the true power behind Rhulad Sengar's throne and that the vast wheel was about to turn once again.[29] But as the days passed, she became more and more like an innocent young girl who could not understand why her friends were always fighting.[30][31]

When they entered the Refugium where the Finnest awaited, she walked beside Udinaas, holding his hand. Fear made his move to protect Scabandari by attacking Ruin, only to be killed by Clip. Wither attempted to strangle Udinaas as Kettle ineffectually beat the wraith with her fists. Ruin seized the Finnest, which was in the form of a stone dagger, from Ulshun Pral, its Imass guardian, and plunged it into Kettle's chest. It was then revealed that Kettle was the seed of an Azath in the guise of a child, and that Ruin had secured his freedom from the Azath Tower by promising to bring it the power of the Finnest. Kettle's body took root, killing the human aspect of her and anchoring the dying illusion of the Refugium into reality. Scabandari's soul became its first prisoner and the House eventually took control of the Refugium's Gates of Starvald Demelain. Udinaas wept over her death.[32]

In Dust of Dreams[]

(Information needed)


  • There is some debate about Kettle's parentage:
    • Kettle recalls travelling with five Nerek witches who tell her she is "a true child of the Eres," seemingly implying that her mother is the Eres'al.[33]
    • Kettle's father may have been Trull Sengar, who was raped for his seed by the time traveling Eres'al long after Kettle's birth.[34] This seems to be confirmed when the pregnant Eres'al visits Bottle, and he senses the child's father was a Tiste Edur.[35]
    • Alternately, it has been speculated that Bottle may be the father of Kettle as a result of the time travelling Eres'al raping him for his seed, though she is already pregnant the first time he meets her and there is no indication of intercourse, beyond his erection after she leaves.[36] In 2020 a fan asked if "Bottle is Kettle's father via the Eres'al" and Erikson replied, "Yes, I think so."[37] The resemblance of the names "Bottle" and "Kettle"--both in appearance and in function (something that holds water)--may be another clue that they were related. (Though perhaps it merely references the altercation between the pregnant Eres'al and Bottle, in which she seems strangely awed by/enamored with him, if also seemingly angry. It's possible she named the child to honor him. And perhaps "kettle" is the closest analog to "bottle" in her language.)[38]
    • When asked who Kettle's father was, on the "Not A TSACast" podcast in May of 2020, author Steven Erikson said, "I probably [knew] at the time. I can't remember now."[39]

The Travellers by HiHaFiZi

  • Udinaas traveled to a tower buried beneath the ice fields of Lether in one of his visions. Inside he found the frozen form of a Forkrul Assail standing over the murdered bodies of a Jaghut family. The back of the killer's head had recently been stoved in by a fist and a set of bloody child-sized footprints led from the body to the tower's doorway. The child may have been Kettle and the Forkrul Assail may have been the source of one of her souls.[40]

Notes and references[]

  1. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.153
  2. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.153-154
  3. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.145
  4. 4.0 4.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152-155
  5. Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.385
  6. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.155
  7. Midnight Tides, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.308
  8. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.444
  9. Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.201
  10. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.153
  11. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.145/153-154
  12. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.429
  13. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152-155
  14. Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.155-156
  15. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.539-542
  16. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.448
  17. Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.379
  18. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.428
  19. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.428-429
  20. Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.534-536
  21. Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.534
  22. Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.532-533
  23. Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.704-705
  24. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.716
  25. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.727-728
  26. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.756-757/765
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Reaper's Gale, Chapter 1, US HC p.40-46
  28. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.723
  29. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.71-72
  30. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.722
  31. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 4, US HC p.101
  32. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.721-725/732-742
  33. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.539-542
  34. House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.747-748
  35. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US MMPB p.300
  36. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US MMPB p.300-301
  37. Amalgam Podcast - See 1:08:25
  38. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US MMPB p.301
  39. Not A TSACast: Fireside Conversations with Steven Erikson Ep#3 podcast - See 1:46:50
  40. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.171-172
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