The Path of Hands was a mysterious convergence of Soletaken and D'ivers to the holy desert Raraku on the continent of Seven Cities. The Tanno Spiritwalker Kimloc called it a prophecy that would draw shape-shifters to a particular, but unspecified, warren's gate like moths to a flame. He suspected the gate promised a method by which the Soletaken or D'ivers who seized it could achieve Ascendancy. The winner of such a prize would achieve domination over its own kind.
In Deadhouse Gates
Painted inhuman hand prints began appearing in cities all over the Seven Cities continent. Imperial Historian Duiker spotted them in Hissar while Kalam saw them in Ehrlitan. The hands pointed a trail leading into the Raraku desert. Icarium and Mappo encountered Messremb walking the Path in the Pan'potsun Odhan. The Soletaken bear knew only that the Path offered him answers.
The warlock Sormo E'nath discovered that the Path plagued the warrens and prevented anyone in Seven Cities from accessing them. Travelers in Raraku risked a bloodbath as hordes of shape-shifters killed anything in their way, including each other.
Icarium and Mappo took shelter at Tesem, a temple of Shadow overseen by the high priest Iskaral Pust. In the temple's catacombs they discovered an unusual chamber likely of First Empire origin carved with symbols. They were from an Elder version of the Deck of Dragons that used Holds, not Houses. The symbols were defaced by gouges and scoring and Icarium thought the room stank of old sorcery that felt like Kurald Galain. The pair realized they had found the gate.
Pust revealed that he had followed the orders of Shadowthrone and painted the false trail of hands away from the true gate and instead aimed towards the Azath House, Tremorlor. The shape-shifters converged there, each growing in power as they slaughtered their rivals, until all were dead or imprisoned by the house. Until the convergence's end, Shadowthrone feared the ruse would fail and his "precious realm" would "become very crowded indeed".
In House of Chains
High Mage L'oric reported that Togg and Fanderay had taken control of the Beast Throne making them masters of the Soletaken and D'ivers. He smiled thinking of "all those poor fools who followed the Path of the Hand. The game was won far, far away—", suggesting that the Beast Throne had been the Path of Hands' ultimate goal. Fayelle, a fellow mage and Soletaken, complained that her kind had been victims of deception by the minions of Shadowthrone.
- "And all came to imprint
On the path,
To scent the dry winds
Their cloying claim
- ―The Path of Hands
- "I stood in a place
where all shadows converged
the end of the Path of Hands
Soletaken and D'ivers
through the gates of truth
where from the darkness
all mysteries emerged."
- ―The Path
- "This path’s a dire thing,
the gate it leads to
is like a corpse
over which ten thousand
their fruitless claims."
- ―The Path
Notes and references
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.64
- Deadhouse Gates, Glossary, UK MMPB p.938
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.48/67
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.75
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 4, US HC p.119
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 10, US HC p.255
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 4, US HC p.114-115
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.291
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 14, US HC p.372
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.417
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.305-306
- House of Chains, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.306