Onrack T'emlava, more commonly known as Onrack the Broken, was a clanless T'lan Imass of Logros. He had once been a Bonecaster but had relinquished that title to someone more gifted in the hidden arts. He was also a talented artist who used cave walls as his medium.
His mate was Kilava, though she was not his first.
He carried a two-handed, curved obsidian sword with a black rippled blade.
In Memories of Ice
When Itkovian acted as Shield Anvil to the T'lan Imass at Coral, he was flooded with the memories of those who stood before him. One of those present remembered Onrack of the Logros, who was last seen kneeling in the street amidst the corpses of his clan. They had all been slain while finally breaking the Soletaken.
In House of Chains
Before the Ritual of Tellann
- "The night before the Ritual, not far from this place where we now stand. I was to have been banished from my tribe. I had committed a crime to which there was no other answer. Instead, events eclipsed the clans. Four Jaghut tyrants had risen and had formed a compact."
In the time before the Ritual of Tellann, Onrack was the Bonecaster of his clan. He ultimately stepped down from this position and was replaced by Absin Tholai. Onrack was also a talented artist, painting mostly on cave walls.
Onrack was wedded to the woman who would eventually become the Whirlwind Goddess. While adultery was fairly common amongst the tribes of the Imass, Onrack fell in love with Kilava Onass. Shortly before the Ritual of Tellann, he painted an image of her on a cave wall, an act which was considered a great crime as depictions of people were forbidden among the Imass. Onrack's wife led the tribe into denouncing Onrack and Kilava.
Onrack was to be banished for his deed before the call came for all the Imass to take part in the Ritual. Onrack accepted the accusations but Kilava murdered her entire clan, except for Onos T'oolan, on the night before the Ritual. That night, an unknown woman came to Onrack's cave and made love to him in the darkness. Afterwards, Onrack had found himself covered in a dried powder which he first took to be his paint, but later thought to be the dried blood of Kilava's kin. Kilava then disappeared, defying the call of the Ritual.
Onrack would himself have been exiled on the eve of the Ritual, but an alliance of four Jaghut Tyrants arose in the area and the exile never occurred. Onrack joined the Ritual of Tellann along with the rest of the Imass and became a T'lan Imass of the Logros. Meanwhile, he believed his painting of Kilava had captured a part of her soul and made her timeless--able to defy the Ritual. Onracks' wife she carried her rage even unto undeath as a T'lan Imass. Her madness eventually defeated the Vow, forcing the other T'lan Imass of her tribe to shatter her body and imprison her in darkness within Raraku. The descendants of Onrack and Kilava and other Imass who did not take part in the Ritual would eventually become the first humans (See Author Comments below).
During the time of the First Empire, the Logros T'lan Imass intervened when the humans attempted the Beast Ritual. The clans under Logros hunted and killed as many of the insane Soletaken and D'ivers as they could find. All the surviving members of Onrack's clan were destroyed in the fighting with the shapeshifters, leaving Onrack clanless.
Pursuit of the Renegades
Onrack was among the forces Logros sent in pursuit of renegade T'lan Imass, the Seven of the Dead Fires. A large group of T'lan Imass, including Onrack, were scattered in the Nascent by the sudden arrival of torrential water into the Warren fragment. Onrack was separated from the other T'lan Imass and unable to escape.
In his explorations through the Nascent, he came upon and liberated the Shorn and chained Trull Sengar. The two continued traveling through the Nascent and later came upon the Nascent's enormous statues of the Deragoth. Noting that two of the statues were alive, Onrack destroyed one of the statues, which in turn caused the other to shatter and the two Deragoth emerged. The two Deragoth attacked Onrack and ripped off one of his arms before departing. Onrack had failed the Ritual due to the damage.
Onrack and Trull Sengar continued traveling through the Nascent to a nearby gateway into another Warren, Kurald Thyrllan. After they used Moranth munition to disrupt the wards guarding the gate, four Tiste Liosan, led by Jorrude, emerged from the gate. After an initially hostile encounter, the Liosan agreed to work with Onrack, Trull and four more recently-arrived T'lan Imass, including the clan leader Ibra Gholan and the Bonecaster Monok Ochem. The assembled groups worked together to fashion a ritual to open a portal to leave the Nascent. As the ritual was completed, Onrack swore his life to Trull Sengar and affirmed it using Trull's blood, while Ibra Gholan knocked the Liosan Seneschal unconscious. The T'lan Imass went into Kurald Thyrllan to kill the avatar of Osseric presiding within that Warren. Onrack and Trull returned to Seven Cities, as did the four Tiste Liosan.
Now in Seven Cities, Trull and Onrack continued pursuit of the renegade T'lan Imass. They first followed them to flint quarries on the northeast edge of the Jhag Odhan where they had a brief encounter with Karsa Orlong. Onrack used the dying fire made by Karsa in the nearby caves to attach to himself the arm of 'Siballe the Unfound, severed by Karsa a short time prior. Trull and Onrack then continued pursuing the renegades and, upon realizing the renegades' destination, awaited the pursuing Ibra Gholan and Monok Ochem to catch up. Through Monok Ochem, Onrack informed Logros that the renegades sought the First Throne to place a mortal Tiste Edur upon it as a pawn of the Crippled God. Logros accepted that Onrack was not a foe, and together Ibra Gholan, Monok Ochem, Onrack and Trull Sengar traveled through the Warren of Tellann to the First Throne. At the First Throne they met Panek, Apt and Minala and joined their defense of the First Throne.
In Midnight Tides
In The Bonehunters
The defenders of the First Throne faced numerous assaults from the Crippled God's allies, the Tiste Edur. Half of Onrack's skull had been shorn away in the attacks, along with his left upper hip and a few ribs. Onrack and Ibra Gholan took turns guarding the natural chokepoint in the passage leading to the throne room while Monok Ochem kept his power hidden lest the Edur attack in greater force. The children, Steth and Aystar, made a game of attempting to sneak up him as their favourite sentinel performed his duty. The T'lan Imass never failed to hear their breathing and disappoint them.
When Cotillion came to check on their status, Onrack asked why the god chose to waste his followers on a doomed defense. Monok Ochem complained that Onrack thought like an Unbound and fought only for his friend Trull, not to defend the Throne. Onrack agreed, saying he was now free to make his own choices and that Trull had taught him the nobility of fighting for a worthy cause. When the Bonecaster rejected Cotillion's request for T'lan Imass reinforcements because the clans were busy fighting in Assail, Onrack criticised his people's need to believe in their own supreme efficiency—to choose oblivion rather than see themselves bested in combat. Monok Ochem had to command him to silence when he seemed on the verge of divulging some detail to Cotillion about restoring the Throne's power.
Among the new emotions Onrack felt was impatience and anger. Their reawakening confirmed for him his sobriquet "The Broken". He was eager for the next attack and warned Trull he was tired of seeing friends fall. When the Edur came next, he would seek out their leader and they would face something few had ever seen—a T'lan Imass' terrible rage.
Eventually, the Tiste Edur came in force. The warlock, Sathbaro Rangar, opened a gate for two hundred Edur warriors and sixty Letherii archers led by Kholb Harat and Saur Bathrada. They were also accompanied by Ahlrada Ahn as well as the Jhag champion Icarium and his companion, Taralack Veed. The attack began when Steth was slain by an arrow to the head as he stood by Onrack's side. Monok Ochem veered into his Soletaken form and slew the warlock, but retreated when Icarium entered a rage. Onrack pushed through buffeting force of the Jhag's anger, identifying him as the Edur leader. The Jhag caught Onrack's first blow on his sword before breaking the T'lan Imass in his hands and crushing his body against the stone passage. Only the arrival of the Eres'al ended Icarium's attack and rescued the defenders. The healing light of her departure mended Onrack's body "more or less."
In Reaper's Gale
Cotillion brought Onrack, Trull, Quick Ben, and the other survivors of the defence of the First Throne to Shadow to recuperate. The god informed Quick Ben he was free to depart with Trull and Onrack, giving them access to a gate out of Shadow across a lake. But he warned that reality on the other side of the gate remained unresolved until they passed through. The nature of their destination would be determined by themselves. Trull demanded Cotillion summon Shadowthrone to provide a better explanation of what awaited them, but Ammanas was no more help.
Onrack, Trull, and Quick Ben travelled together by boat across the lake of Shadow until the water grew too shallow. They continued on wading through the water, engaged in conversation where Onrack revealed that Trull had risen to become the Knight of Shadow. At first Trull was angered by Cotillion's presumption, and Onrack momentarily considered whehter the Eres'al was responsible. But ultimately the T'lan Imass concluded that Trull had earned the rank by standing up to Icarium and surviving, something no warrior had ever done. Soon they realised they were being stalked by giant N'purel fish and Quick Ben was forced to hurriedly open a gate that brought them to a realm of tundra. There the Ritual's hold on Onrack loosened. He became burly and muscled with smooth and wind-burnished skin. His eyes, now small, green, and glittering, were buried within epicanthic folds beneath a heavy brow ridge on a heavy, broadly featured face. His oft-broken nose became broad and flat, and his voice took on a low reverbation. He had become a flesh and blood mortal Imass once more and the transformation moved Trull to tears. In wonder, Onrack identified the place as Tellann.
Onrack journeyed from the Shadow Realm to the Refugium along with Quick Ben and Trull. Upon crossing the borders of the dreamworld, the Rituals hold on Onrack loosened and he was returned to mortality. They were met by Hedge, who along with Quick stayed behind to hold off Menandore, Sheltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu.
Their arrival coincided with that of Silchas Ruin, Clip, Fear, Udinaas, Seren Pedac and Kettle. Onrack saw Fear cut down from behind by Clip and witnessed Trull's duel with Ruin. Onrack was knocked out before he could intervene.
Onrack was re-united with Kilava and found out that he had a son by her, Ulshun Pral.
In Dust of Dreams
In The Crippled God
Steven Erikson has clarified that the Whirlwind Goddess' vow to seek vengeance against the human children who were Kilava and Onrack's beget does not refer specifically to blood relatives but to the younger race that inherited the Imass' world.
Personality and traits
They are prone to mistakes...The Logros have killed them in their thousands when the need to reassert order made doing so necessary. With ever greater frequency they annihilate themselves, for success breeds contempt for those very qualities that purchased it...More than my kin, perhaps, the edge of my irritation with humankind remains jagged. ―Onrack on humankind • HoC, UK MMPB, p.331
...hide-wrapped feet...Clumps of mud clung to his ragged hide shirt and the leather straps of his weapon harness. Silty, souply water had seeped into the various gashes and punctures on his body and now leaked in trickling runnels with every heavy step he took. He had possessed a helm once, an impressive trophy from his youth, but it had been shattered at the final battle against the Jaghut family in the Jhag Odhan. A single crossways blow that had also shorn away a fifth of his skull, parietal and temporal, on the right side. ―Thoughts of Onrack • HC, UK MMPB, p.323
In truth, he was far less haunted by his immortality than most T'lan Imass...There was always something else to see, after all. ―Onrack • HoC, UK MMPB, p.323
From his shoulders hung the rotted skin of an en'karal, pebbled and colourless. It was a recent acquisition, less than a thousand years old • HoC, UK MMPB, p.323
All too often, Onrack had found his mind drawn to other things.
To raw beauty, such as he saw before him now. He was not one for fighting, for rituals of destruction. He was always reluctant to dance in the deeper recesses of the caves, where the drums pounded and the echoes rolled through flesh and bone as if one was lying in the path of a stampeding herd of ranag—a herd such as the one Onrack had blown onto the cave walls around them. His mouth bitter with spit, charcoal and ochre, the backs of his hands stained where they had blocked the spray from his lips, defining the shapes on the stone. Art was done in solitude, images fashioned without light, on unseen walls, when the rest of the clan slept in the outer caverns. And it was a simple truth, that Onrack had grown skilled in the sorcery of paint out of that desire to be apart, to be alone. ―On his own nature and Personality • HoC, Chapter 16
Fan art gallery
Notes and references
- House of Chains Chapter 6
- But he had stepped aside. No longer a bonecaster for his clan - Absin Tholai was far superior in the hidden arts, after all, and more inclined to the hungry ambition necessary among those who followed the Path of Tellann. All too often, Onrack had found his mind drawn to other things. ―Thoughts of Onrack • House of Chains, Chapter 16
- House of Chains, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.323
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.908
- House of Chains, Chapter 16
- House of Chains, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.671-674
- House of Chains, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.674
- House of Chains, Epilogue, US SFBC p.852
- House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.821
- See Talk:Onrack T'emlava
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.767/770/771
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.694
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.692/694
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.962
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.696-697
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.752-754
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.813
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.962-969/976
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 8, US HC p.188-192
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 10, US HC p.255-258
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 12, US HC p.316-319
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 12
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 18
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20
- Critical Conversations 01: House of Chains Chap 26 with Steven Erikson - See 1:03:30