The Seti were a northwestern Quon Tali tribe which were thought to have long since ceased to exist except in name, so thoroughly had they been assimilated into Quon culture. Traditionally they had inhabited Por Seti and divided themselves into warrior societies and assemblies named for the native animals such as the jackal, ferret, wolf, dog, eagle,[1] and plains lion.

Culture[edit | edit source]

Dwellings and Clothing[edit | edit source]

The Seti resided in a variety of structures, including felt and hide tents as well as wikiups.[2][3] Lands were carefully controlled and apportioned amongst the tribes for grazing rights, although the demarcations were invisible to outsiders.[4] They wore clothes of natural materials including deer skin and leather.[5]

Fetishes[edit | edit source]

Many Seti adorned themselves with various fetishes tied to their armour and hair including strips of coloured cloth and various animal bones.[6] Other types of fetishes included tufts of grass and leafy branches. Fiddler identified the practice as a form of camouflage.[7]

Body paint[edit | edit source]

Seti sometimes decorated their bodies with natural pigments. A warrior might cover his or her face in white ash, for example. When going into battle, a warrior painted death lines through the ash.[8]

The Child Death Song[edit | edit source]

The Child Death Song was a right of passage from whelp into adulthood for boy and girl alike that involved a Seti youth being interned in a crypt of the bloodline in a hollowed out log.The child was then buried alive, as it was believed that the child had to 'die' for the adult to be born. The Seti believed this to be a test against the spirits of madness or 'worms' that lived at the base of the skull of every person, eager to gnaw a path to the brain and cause insanity, and sang a song while buried to combat their building terror and insanity. Only by defeating the worms and surviving the night could one progress into adulthood.[9]

Seti Shamans[edit | edit source]

The full regalia of a Seti shaman would include at least one, long, tufted lance, a headdress, and a full draping fur cloak of the pelt of the patron animal of the Shamans society.[10] Shamans were said to communicate with the Seti spirits and might follow the advice of the spirits over their own judgement.[11]

Government[edit | edit source]

Each warrior society had an ataman (chief). Communal decisions were made at the 'Urpan-Yelgan', a tribal high council of atamans and shamans.[12]

Half-bloods[edit | edit source]

Mixed race Seti were despised by both their Seti and non-Seti kin. In Seti tradition, they could call on no gods and were segregated from Seti activities. In some ways, this allowed the half-bloods to hold closer to the old ways. Young full-blooded Seti went off to fight wars under the Malazan banner, and when they returned they thought like Malazans, not Seti.[13]

Horses[edit | edit source]

Like the Wickans, the Seti were accomplished horse riders. They were valued as mounted scouts and skirmishers. The Seti used blankets as saddles, and they made use of reins and thin leather strap stirrups.[14] The Seti dependency on horses was a relatively recent occurrence in their history.[7]

Food[edit | edit source]

Seti preferred their meat slow-cooked and smoked. When time did not allow, meat could marinated in vinegar, a cooking process that was an old Seti delicacy.[15] Grouse stuffed with bull-berries and sage was another delicacy.[16]

Language[edit | edit source]

A sample of the Seti language (translation unknown):

Ehra: "Ullar yesh 'ap?"
Ullen: "Aya. Tahian heshar?"
Ehra: "Nyeh."
Ullen: "Bergar, sho."
―Ehra's scouting report to Ullen[src]

Burn[edit | edit source]

The Seti believed Burn slept beneath their lands.[17]

History[edit | edit source]

The Seti may have once resided in or invaded the lands of the Fenn in northern Quon Tali. Quick Ben once remarked that the sorceress, Nightchill, had been involved with the Seti expulsion from Fenn nearly 2000 years before the start of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.[18]

More recently, they had warred with the city-states of Quon Tali and Li Heng for centuries in order to defend their barely habitable homeland. Outnumbered by their enemies, their culture evolved to favour horsemanship, mobility, and stealth. But they had ultimately lost this battle. By 1164 BS, their lands had been pacified for around sixty years and the various tribes had intermingled into single nation of mixed blood.[7]

Sometime before the rise of the Malazan Empire, but still within living memory, had been an event known as the Seti Tide. Bottle's grandmother included it among a list of wars and conflicts instigated by ambitious tyrants and youthful zealots that were finally brought to an end by the might of the Empire.[19] It was unclear if this referred to the Seti's wars with Quon Tali and Li Heng.

In modern times, young Seti lance warriors and female archers served the Malazan Empire and went to war under their banners.[13]

In Return of the Crimson Guard[edit | edit source]

The Seti formed an army under the leadership of Toc the Elder. They would fight on behalf of the Talian League on the promise that they could take Li Heng when the civil war had been won. At the last moment however, they refused to fight and left. With their old patron Ryllandaras set free, they were confident they could take the city without any outside help. The Seti had no further need for Toc and killed him on Imotan's command.[20]

Notable Seti[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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