Otataral [Ō-tat-uh-rahl][1] was a rare, reddish ore which negated magic.[2]

It also prevented mages from accessing or opening their Warrens and prolonged exposure to refined ore could drive them insane. It is not clear if this was due to the Otataral itself or to the lack of access to their Warren. Even after long exposure, mages might be able to regain their powers as long as they were removed from the Otataral source, especially if the Otataral was of low quality.[3][4][5]

The attempt to access a Warren or use magic on an individual holding Otataral caused the magic to fail in a gust of chilly air.

The effects of Otataral could be circumscribed somewhat through encasing the metal in a dense material (such as a basalt box)[6] or a weapon's sheath. Iron and bronze were favoured materials for the scabbards of otataral swords as they negated the ore's effect.[7]

Elder racial Warrens such as Kurald Galain and Tellann were immune to the effects of Otataral.[8]

Some non-mage individuals who were in the presence of the ore for a long enough period, such as by carrying an otataral weapon or inhaling or absorbing otataral dust through skin, might experience unpredictable side effects, one of which appeared to be a transfer of the magic-deadening properties.[9]

Another side effect seemed to be an increased rate of healing. This was rather beneficial as it helped make up for the fact that a person thus affected by Otataral might be immune to the magic-based healing ministrations of a Denul healer.[10][11][12]

Otataral ore was not forged directly into weapons. Instead, most weapons were forged as normal, then quenched in Otataral dust at a late stage after their iron had lost its glow. Blacksmiths had quickly learned not to expose otataral to direct heat. The effect of Moranth munitions, particularly burners and flamers, on otataral was a closely guarded secret among the Malazans who survived its use. Attempting to counter magic with hot Otataral could cause catastrophic explosions.[13] If not for its magic-deadening properties, Otataral was also not an ideal metal for weapons. Otataral blades were slightly rough and made ragged cuts. They needed constant sharpening even when not in use, and grew brittle over time.[14]

The Imperial Adjunct traditionally wielded an Otataral sword.[15]

The characteristics of Otataral were well known in Seven Cities but less so elsewhere.[16]

Mining and control Edit

The Malazan Empire tightly controlled the mining and sale of Otataral.[17] It was usually found in powder form in layers, like sandstone.[14] The most prominent source was the mine at Dosin Pali, at the edge of the Otataral Desert just off the coast of the Seven Cities. The mining of Otataral there resulted in contact with several giant jade figures. Such contacting shafts were immediately closed as spending time in the jade figures' presence inevitably caused death.[18]

Otataral was mined from the Tanno Hills on Seven Cities.[2]

Other sources of Otataral were speculative, including the Teblor's mountain range in northern Genabackis. The Teblor used a red-rust powder scraped from cliffsides in their Blood-oil.[14] Had the Malazan Empire discovered these sources, it would have probably immediately moved to control them.[17]

Before the Malazan conquest, otataral supplies had been even more highly regulated by the highborn of Seven Cities. They had mostly used the ore in their armour.[14]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Otataral.

Origins Edit

Otataral could be formed due to the passage (or the portal) of the giant jade statues that periodically impacted the Malazan world. The ore appeared to act as a scab, isolating or minimizing the effects of these statues.

In Memories of Ice, it was indicated that the ritual at the end of the First Empire to create Soletaken went out of control, tearing a Warren to pieces and turning the eastlands into molten stone that cooled and became something that defied sorcery.

In The Crippled God, Ruthan Gudd revealed that Otataral was aspected and not merely an ore that devours magic. The dragon to which Otataral was aspected was named Korabas.[19]

Otataral was created when the magnitude of sorcery unleashed devoured all the energy it required, the resulting substance defying non-Elder sorcery in its surrounding area.

Significant plot details end here.

In The BonehuntersEdit

Mappo Runt and Icarium explored a K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeep that had been trapped underground. Inside they found Sorrit impaled to a Blackwood cruciform by an iron spike streaked with otataral. They theorised that the Eleint had been killed by the Tiste Edur.[20]

Ganoes Paran gave Adjunct Lorn's otataral sword to Karpolan Demesand as payment for the Trygalle Trade Guild accompanying him to the Nascent. The sorcerer shattered the sword and allowed Paran to keep a finger-sized shard.[21] Paran used the shard to pin the goddess Poliel to the world to keep her from fleeing before the Deragoth could tear her apart.[22]

Notes and referencesEdit

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