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Wither, as he insisted on being called,[1] was a shadow wraith, a dead Tiste Andii enslaved by the Tiste Edur.[2] Kettle observed him to be uncommonly tall with red eyes.[3] He spoke in a sibilant whisper.[4]

In Midnight Tides[]

Wither approached Udinaas after the slave's blood was infected by a Wyval during one of Feather Witch's castings of the Tiles. The wraith communicated telepathically with Udinaas, offering to hide in his shadow and to serve as "your eyes behind you, whom no-one else can see or hear". Together they would seek retribution against the Edur. To seal the bargain, Udinaas collected an ancient arrowhead from the sand of the bay that had once belonged to the wraith.[5] Later, Udinaas realised that the wraith hid within the blood of the Wvyal and the Wyval hid in the shadow of the wraith, effectively negating his Edur masters from detecting either.[6] This likely spared Udinaas from execution.[7]

Wither whispered truths into Udinaas' ear and sent him visions of the past giving the slave knowledge far beyond that of a mortal man and drawing Feather Witch's suspicion.[8][9] When Rhulad Sengar declared himself emperor of the Edur, Wither was somehow able to resist the call of the Crippled God's sword that commanded the rest of his brethren.[10] The shadow wraith helped Udinaas ingratiate himself with the troubled emperor making sure the slave was there to aid Rhulad even before the emperor himself knew he needed him.[11] After a time, Udinaas began to suspect that the ever laughing voice in his head was merely a sign of madness.[12][13] But when accusations were made against Udinaas' loyalty, Wither masqueraded as one of Emperor Rhulad's wraith servants to declare the slave free of the Wyval taint.[14]

The shadow wraith knew the Edur meant to capture Letheras and was determined to see Udinaas accompany them.[15] Once the conquering Edur armies had taken the city, the Wyval hijacked Udinaas' body in order to reach the Azath Tower where Silchas Ruin was entombed.[16] Udinaas' body was left severely damaged in the process and Wither held the dying slave's body together long enough to seek aid from Kettle, the Azath House's guardian. He told the undead girl Udinaas did not deserve to die while the Wyval clawed its way into the ground to free their master.[17]

When Ruin was finally freed, Wither knelt at his lord's feet identifying himself as Killanthir, a High Mage who fought under Ruin against the K'Chain Che'Malle. While Ruin set off to defeat the escaping Seregahl, Wither begged leave to aid the Wyval who still fought the emerging Sheltatha Lore in Ruin's tomb.[18]

Both Wither and Wyval survived. Wither pulled Udinaas' unconscious body behind him when he accompanied Ruin and Kettle to the home of Seren Pedac. The Acquitor agreed to guide their group, also joined by Fear Sengar, out of the captured city.[19]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Wither accompanied Silchas Ruin's group in their search for the Finnest holding Scabandari's soul. They travelled into the Bluerose Mountains where they discovered a ruined K'Chain Che'Malle city. He explained how it had been destroyed by a group of dragons when the K'Chain Che'Malle plotted to annihilate all of existence. The wraith spent time away from the group journeying "into the heart of the stone" from which he could shake loose the memories of the rock. Ruin warned him that the frozen blood could still take him. Wither agreed it could trap him like an ant to sap, but admitted it was seductive.[20][21] When Ruin attacked a Letherii fort blocking the mountain pass, Wither ranged ahead to mock Ventrala, the K'risnan hiding inside.[22]

Ordant Brid of the Onyx Wizards sent Clip to fetch Ruin's group and bring them to Andara. As Clip approached Ruin's camp, he sensed the wraith watching. The two traded insults and Wither decided Clip would fit in well with the others at camp.[23] After visiting Andara, Clip became their guide and led them north through the ruins of a K'Chain Nah'ruk city. There a suspicious Wither confronted Udinaas over the former slave's sudden depth of knowledge regarding the place's ancient history. The wraith demanded to know who spoke to Udinaas in his dreams, but Udinaas would only admit to using his imagination.[21]

When the group passed through a gate into the Refugium where Scabandari's soul was held, Fear made his move to slay Silchas Ruin to protect his god. Clip killed the would-be assassin while Wither swarmed over Udinaas and began choking him to death with his shadowy hands. Kettle's blows were helpless to stop the wraith before Seren Pedac struck him with a bolt of focused Mockra that exploded him into shreds. Udinaas struggled to breathe through his damaged throat for a time, but shortly recovered.[24]

History[]

Wither had once been Killanthir, Third High Mage of the Sixth Cohort serving Silchas Ruin.[25] He had been among the Andii and Edur legions brought to invade the Malazan world by Ruin and Scabandari. After the Tiste had defeated an army of K'Chain Che'Malle, the Edur had betrayed their allies by imprisoning Ruin and slaying the remaining Andii. Wither had been killed and left to rot in the mud until Gothos' ritual to seal away the battlefield had torn loose his spirit. Then his Edur killers had enslaved him.[26][27]

Notes and references[]

  1. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.189
  2. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.158
  3. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.728/737
  4. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.53
  5. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.157-160/180
  6. Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.474
  7. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.170
  8. Midnight Tides, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.228-233
  9. Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.474
  10. Midnight Tides, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.515-416
  11. Midnight Tides, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.352-353
  12. Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.475
  13. Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.568
  14. Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.570-572
  15. Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.572
  16. Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.699-700
  17. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.727-728
  18. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.891/914
  19. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.756/765
  20. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.53
  21. 21.0 21.1 Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.384-385
  22. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 4, US HC p.105
  23. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 6, US HC p.153-154
  24. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.732-734/737-738
  25. Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.737
  26. Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.157-158
  27. Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.19-25
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