Spoilers for Trailor's Knot, Stormed Fortress and Initiate's Trial
We know there are three cults of necromancers (SF and IT). Arithon has already destroyed Grey Kralovir (TK) and is headed for a showdown with the Koriathain (IT). So ... who / what is the third cult? Is it even on Athera, given the age of the Biedar and their (relatively) recent arrival?
I don't have a speculation of my own - just finished a WoLaS reread and nothing caught my attention as a clue.
Interesting...even with all the times I've read the books, I never really thought of the Koriathain as necromancers. I guess one could make the argument that much of their magic and knowledge is bound up in the Waystone, in the form of trapped imprints of past matriarchs, but that doesn't seem the same as the way that Arithon's soul was almost imprisoned by Kralovir. Annette? Sleo? Others with minds like steel traps here who forget nothing (I don't fall in that category!)? Koriathain as necromancers?
What Morriel did to Seledie is definitely necromancy. I'm not sure if enslaving crystals without their willing consent constitutes necromancy but that's what the Koriathain are most guilty of doing. That and essentially blackmailing people before they help them.
The Koriani definitely practice necromancy. The imprisonment of souls in the crystals, the thing Morriel did to Selidie, and I suspect whatever they do to prolong lives has some kind of necromancy involved. I believe it's stated outright in a conversation between the F7 at some point. Also, there's the Koriani that left the service and remained under the protection of the F7. I can't remember her name, but if you recall, one of the F7 had to be there at her death to help the transition to the afterlife of all the souls released when she died
It was only implied up to Iniate's Trial, where it's stated point blank. To quote where Sethvir is watching Selidie work to regain control of the Waystone:
Above all things, Sethvir hated the hideous practice of necromany! The wicked working beneath the Prime's aegis steamed his blood to a boil.
Ahh, yes. Thank you all, and I remember that section now, Judy. Must be time for a re-read! ;-)
I would expect the third branch to be in Erdane. Erdane sent out the emissary that started the corruption of Lysaer's first priesthood with talent, there were a few hints of necromancers in Erdane, the necromancer the clans killed was traveling from Erdane, Ath's hostel near Erdane had been abandoned for some time before CoTM, and when the Grey Krolovir were wiped out, none were found in Erdane. So whatever was there that was affecting the surrounding area, is still there.
The True Sect is based in Erdane, and possibly already corrupted, if not they soon will be.
Dakar gave a further hint during Daliana's trial.
"You’ll find nothing interesting tucked in my rump cheeks. Not a splinter of bone, or a plucked wisp of hair tied in cloth and infused as a fetch to bend anyone to my purpose."
The hair was the Koriani construct, which Dakar already suspected he had, why mention the slither of bone? Do not the Fellowship cleanse a necromancers remains with white mage fire to ensure not even a slither of bone would remain to lead to further dabbling. Maybe Dakar already knows about the other necromancers.
The Grey Kralovir used a blood bound tie of compulsion.
And did not Lirenda only just escape becoming a mindless husk as punishment for her acts, and Selidie would still do the same to Elaira if she could get her hands on her. That would be similar to what was done to the ones being used as Lirenda's proxies while mapping the changes in the Waystone. Koriani healers already knew how a spirit could enter the body of another. So the means was always there, but their own rules would have prevented such a use. Morriel seems to have broken a few important Koriani laws in her chase for power, both as herself and as Selidie. Seems once you become Prime you can make your own rules and everyone else is too afraid or not free to speak up and object. Any who did would not last long.
There is also something else that came up during Elaira's healing a few times, that Dakar was thinking on. The way their healing is done, the pool of power used for their works, something about staking life. How the Koriani Prime can draw from her initiates if she needs more power, sucking the very life out of them might be have something to do with it. How Selidie preserved her good looks without a binding to crystal might have been done a similar way, others would notice, but there were two that could maybe be used that could say nothing in protest, Lirenda and Arithon.
And what almost happened to Enithen Tuer is another angle, the devouring shades that came for her spirit. She had given up the knife that had protected her all those years, and it seems something was still seeking her and would have prevented her spirit crossing the wheel if she had not been protected. The Prime can even prevent a spirit crossing the wheel, which is also what a necromancer does. And what were the shades, did they not seem similar to the Mistwraith shades?
There were hints there all along, there was another vague one some where about a necromancer bringing spirits to this side of the wheel and then leaving them to winnow away. The Biedar can commune with the spirits of their ancestors, their ancestors are dead, so there must be a way for a spirit to make the crossing back. Arithon might already know that secret.
As he said back in Stormed Fortress, if pressed Arithon might need to use the knowledge he knew about necromacy, but he would not use it as a necromancer would, against the will of another.
Of course as far as we know Arithon cannot yet survive as a free spirit without a body. And Davien has so far seemed to want to keep Arithon away from any entanglements with dragons. Maybe transcendent mastery is what is needed. Must be some reason why a transcendent initiation was part of the later challenges in Kewar.
Morriel is the only one doing all the bad stuff so I didn't think of the entire Koriathain as a cult of necromancy, just led by someone who will resort to that in order to preserve the order.