Withal was a Meckros weaponsmith and swordmaker from the Third Meckros city. He was described as a huge man, who was bald and muscular with massive hands and wrists scarred and puckered with weals. He was a war veteran who worked hard to avoid speaking of his experiences. He despised religion and hated gods, and he thought Ascendants worse than rabid beasts, just as capable of appalling evil as mortals, but immortal and more powerful.
Withal first appeared as the lone survivor of the disaster that destroyed his city. He was rescued and brought to an island holding the tent of the Crippled God. The god enslaved him but told him that he would be set free once he had fashioned a sword of the god's devising. To assist with his task, Withal was given the company and service of three Nachts: Rind, Mape, and Pule.
Two years later, the sword was given to the Tiste Edur of Lether, its location shown to Warlock King Hannan Mosag in a vision. Rhulad Sengar perished while holding the sword and his spirit was brought to the Crippled God's island where he was found by Withal and brought to the god's tent. By this time, Withal also noticed that the Nachts engaged in a regular performance in which Pule built a nest, Male destroyed it, and Rind watched with hilarity.
The patterns of Rhulad's returns and the Nacht performances repeated again and again and Withal began to fear he was losing his mind. The god had lied about his freedom and promised everything would be made clear if only Withal worshipped him. The swordsmith began to believe that the Nachts were trying to communicate some obvious lesson that he failed to understand.
Concerned for the well-being of his captive, the Crippled God resurrected the Tiste Andii, Sandalath Drukorlat, in order to provide Withal with female companionship. Withal was disgusted by the god's gesture, and despite his loathing of the gods, began praying to Mael, ancient god of the sea. Sandalath and Withal did not get along and quarreled constantly, their mutual dislike leaning towards hatred. Withal dedicated all his efforts to praying, hoping Mael took pity on him.
Finally, a storm appeared off the coast of the island, and Withal had an epiphany regarding the Nacht's performances. He toppled the Crippled God's tent upon its shrieking occupant and a boat bearing Mael arrived on shore. The god offered the boat for Withal and the others to escape stating he would see Withal again soon as he had things for the swordsmith to do. Then Mael went to beat the Crippled God senseless.
Withal lived in Malaz City and was a regular at Coop's Hanged Man Inn where he was known as Foreigner. Fellow regular, Banaschar, was intrigued by the man's mysterious background and unplaceable accent. The priest refrained from prying too deeply but learned that Foreigner was not troubled by a lost love, was not unfamiliar with drowning, and had been waiting years for something. Foreigner enjoyed sitting with Banaschar and Braven Tooth listening to them argue with each other. He was also friendly with Mudslinger and Gentur. He rarely met anyone's eyes when speaking with them.
When Nimander Golit and his band of Tiste Andii castaways visited the bar, Foreigner decided he could not sit with his usual friends while the Andii were there. With a tremor of fear, he realised he needed to make an important decision upon which rode his destiny.
On the night that Adjunct Tavore Paran arrived in Malaz City with her 14th Army to meet with Empress Laseen, the Adjunct commissioned Bottle to find an unnamed person and bring him back to the Froth Wolf. The mage carried only a doll in the man's likeness that T'amber helped him construct to identify him. The doll had a sliver of iron in its gut that caused constant pain. Its eyes were marked by pain and its forearms were seamed with scars.
The mage went to Agayla who told him she would help him "save the world" and directed him to the Hanged Man Inn. The doll's arm twitched in Foreigner's presence and Bottle delivered the message, "Your long wait is at an end." When Bottle explained they had to leave quickly, Foreigner left to gather his things.
Bottle had not returned back to the ship when it was time for the 14th Army to leave the island. Tavore said that unless Bottle returned with his charge, they had failed. But before the Froth Wolf exited the harbour, they were approached by Cartharon Crust's vessel, the Drowned Rat. Aboard were Bottle, Foreigner (now revealed to be Withal), Sandalath, the three Nachts, and the castaway Tiste Andii. Withal introduced Sandalath as his wife.
Withal and Sandalath travelled and stayed at the island of the Shake.
Withal accompanied Sandalath as she pursued the Shake into Kurald Galain where she was once held hostage.
Withal tried to keep Sandalath sane as she relived the horrors of life in Kharkanas before the Andii exodus. Her crippling memories and the loss of her son proved to be too much for him to heal, and Withal left her on the throne to help defend the First Shore with the Shake. He fought during the final stand of the Shake, surviving with Yan Tovis to witness the return of the Tiste Andii to Kharkanas.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Dramatis Personae
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.26-28
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.26
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.586
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.679
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.273-274
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.506/520
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.587
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.586
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.26-28
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.270
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.506-507
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.515/519-520
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.584-587
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.663
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Epilogue, US SFBC p.769-771
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.826
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.677-679
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.861
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.855
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.887-888
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.922-923
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.951-953