Arithon vs. Necromancy

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 3: Alliance of Light: Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy; Peril's Gate & Traitor's Knot: Arithon vs. Necromancy
   By motley on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 10:45 am: Edit Post

Neil raised an interesting question in another post:

***Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers for PG*** WARNING

Did Arithon's efforts against the Necromancers, break his vow of not to kill?

That's an interesting debate.

Let me give this a stab: (accidental pun! Truly!)

Necromancers live off the life-force of others, increasing their longevity far past the natural lifespan in a way that doesn't balance with nature. By removing a necromancer, you help the shades cross over, you release others from subjegation, and you reduce the influx of dark energy to Athera's energy field.

So, you're removing a parasite, restoring balance.

If the F7 couldn't do anything without causing a break in the LoMB, then it must still be murder.

But then, Arithon simply used his Name to restore himself to his body - and that was him returning to Prime Source, which like the paravian rituals restores balance - and THAT is what 'cleaned out' the necromancers. So, then it's not killing, it's like Paravian housekeeping.

Nope, I don't think he broke his vow.

   By Neil on Friday, June 06, 2008 - 02:03 pm: Edit Post

Certainly there is no guilt on Arithon's part.

Did anyone ever spot the earlier references to Necromancers? I only remember a reference to Luhaine (in Warhost I think, settling a shade). Never saw anything in COTM (where I have searched) or ships (where I have not yet...)

   By Clansman on Saturday, June 07, 2008 - 04:42 pm: Edit Post

Nothing in CotMW. I re-read last year and was looking for this reference. Also nothing in FP. I am going to read Ships this summer. Let you know.

   By Neil on Friday, January 18, 2013 - 10:05 am: Edit Post


There was the stick in GC.

I am now seening this "not to kill" as not to kill unaware/innocent/misled people on a false cause.

If you step in Arithon's way and it is a fight to death and therefore him or you then he might have to make sure it is guilt. Could his bloodoath still force his hand when in a tight corner? In TK, when he states this, would he theoretically still be obliged to kill since he is blood-bound?

Anyway, back to my point...necromancers clearly got what they deserve so Arithon/Biedar/F7 viewpoint. What I do not understand is that despite being around for a very long time they did not assess the risk in attacking Arithon or recognise his awareness level (Davien hid it I suppose?).

Janny would you be willing to explain how the Kralovir made a fatal mistake in attacking Arithon? Could they not resist the opportunity? Did they think they had almost "won" the battle to control the alliance? They left a gambit in 2 other towns but assumed etarra would be theirs. I am *asking*. Surely they should have realised or were they powerful without sufficient awareness/perception. i.e. F7 can fool them where compact is threatened? The necromancer master(s?)never made themselves vulnerable before this?

I see in FP (early on) that herbwitches are seen as "slightly" unclean by Lysaer's council since they deal with magnetic forces / love filters etc. And their knowledge is stated as "proscibed" (which seems to be a work applied to koriani knowlegdge and anything threatening to compact). Are they a milder form of nercomancy? Certainly they are small fry bt Elaira has learn things form them no? Kralovir were the "worst of the lot" (F7 quote?)

   By Sleo on Friday, January 18, 2013 - 11:06 am: Edit Post

@Neil: "And their knowledge is stated as "proscibed" (which seems to be a work applied to koriani knowlegdge and anything threatening to compact)." Question - 'proscribed' by who? Lysaer's people forbid any kind of 'magic'. I don't believe it's 'proscibed' by the F7. The only Koriani practice the F7 abhor is their 'forcing' spells and their necromancy (as practiced by Morriel with Selidie in order to prolong her own life. 'Forcing' does violate the LoMB.

   By Neil on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 02:48 am: Edit Post

Gc quote from elaira that Moriel hates herb witches and N.s - M sees them as undisciplined.

   By Annette on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 07:47 am: Edit Post

Morriel's morals leave a lot to be desired considering how low she has stooped in her grasp for power. Lysaer burns talent out of ignorance and hatred, but is quite willing to make use of talent if he thinks it is under his control. Morriel probably does not mind the alliance getting rid of anyone else who has power, and Lysaer is so blind he never notices the darkness breeding under his own nose. Neither seems much at judging fairly. Lysaer proscribing something is as reliable an indication of truth as his assertion Arithon is evil incarnate.

And Dakar's meeting with a herb witch while informative, might not be that reliable when it came to his opinions.

Maybe the magic the herb witches use is not as light as some, or maybe they just got a bad reputation with all the charlatans and dabblers and having to resort to other means just to survive. Being dark does not make something evil, and evil often masquerades as something all righteous and white and full of the Light. Best not to judge anything in the WoLaS by it's colour.

The tricks Elaira picked up from a hedge witch (which seems to be the same as a herb witch) might only be simple things, but they seemed pretty useful. The witch Dakar went to for help had no trouble sorting out the truth of his situation. And even the almighty Fellowship make use of blood oaths and ceremonial magic. Earth mysteries and blood magnetism (if that is the right phrase)seem pretty useful.


Before the Mistwraith invaded Athera, your order did not trifle with nursing the sick. They peddled no petty charms for iyat bane and let herb witches attend birthings and sick livestock.
Ships of Merior pg 512 current PB edition

It would seem the Koriani are now doing what was traditionally the work of the herb witches and I bet the herb witches enslaved no one, would never ask for an unfair oath of debt and took advantage of no one unfairly.

We have yet to see of what use the Koriani were in the past, although their reputation like others who use magic seems to have fallen on hard times. Some of their bad reputation might be deserved considering what we know of Morriel. She might have started out with good intentions, but she certainly went seriously wrong waiting all that time for a successor.

Still waiting to see if Janny answers that question on necromancy, she might not.

   By Janny Wurts on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 10:09 am: Edit Post

Neil I will certainly answer this, you asked.

Your question seems to be several questions, so let's get the first two clear before I finish up in full:

Did the Necromancers realize their danger when attacking Arithon?

Could they not resist the opportunity? (did you mean, what did they stand to gain?) -- For one thing, they have to feed their 'immortality' from somewhere....and the richer the source in mage talent - the bigger the kick and the larger the pay off. This is mentioned....that feeding upon a higher initiate is gourmet power....

Did they almost think they had taken control of the Alliance at this point? - they were gaining power and had infiltrated Etarra's governing council to the point where they would have ALL the resources, and access to the coast via the towns under their thumb, so it was coming to that - but they had not taken the southern strongholds. You saw evidence they were moving on the Eltair bay coastal towns, it's in the story....can you find the reference? ;) If they had command of Etarra's troops and the influence it wielded in trade, and if it had unrestricted access over the Skyshiel passes to reach the coast, it could not be stopped from moving its army and twisting the war as they wished, even IF Lysaer was removed from their influence.

Why the gambit in 2 other towns? (Clue: power base/look for where Cerebeld had placed his other 'initiate' priests and where there was that wierd telepathic connection - it was based on necromancy/Cerebeld was spearheading the infiltration of Lysaer's establishment)

Those bits seem obvious, but not the following reference, that the knowledge of herb witches is proscribed - - from Whose viewpoint are you looking in the passage described? Lysaer's/the Alliance? That's what the reiteration would seem to indicate; but I can't see the actual reference you are looking at through your post....the Fellowship Sorcerers do not repress herblore or hedge lore, nor would they disapprove UNLESS it was used on someone against their free choice/without their knowledge, then it would run counter to the law of the major balance.

Lysaer's religion would indeed 'proscribe' any use of magic lore they could stamp out with impunity....they'd certainly Want to stamp down the Koriathain, but that's a bit above their pay grade....anything more powerful has to be seen as higher up in the pecking order. You're not gonna twist that tiger's tail and survive...and as the Religion grows, of course, it corrupts in that, if it sees its own greater good served, it will overlook means to get the desired end.

Hedge witches and minor players are NOT connected with necromancers - not normally. They could become corrupted, however if their practice led them to usage or if they went for it to gain power/control/sick thrills - whatever....

If I have perceived the first bits you wanted answered as you intended, confirm....and I'll address the other point, directly too.

   By Annette on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 01:48 pm: Edit Post

Thanks for the answer Janny. The point of view for the proscribed herb witch practices was an alliance one. Lysaer's bit of manipulation to get Arithon arraigned without trial.


On orchestrated cue, the shriveled little man in scholar’s robes started up from his unobtrusive dreaming. “The premise is not without precedent,” he affirmed in a drilling, treble quaver. “There are proscribed practices that herb witches use to tap forces of animal magnetism.”

A stunning truth. Every common man-at-arms who ever bought an illicit love philter had observed the filthy practice. “These distasteful creatures will slay a live animal, then cast binding spells from the spilled effervescence of its life essence.

Fugitive Prince pg 26 current PB edition

   By Neil on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 12:48 pm: Edit Post

Thanks Janny.

I meant why did the kralovir not understand the risks in attacking Arithon since this meant their extinction after 1000s of years of practice/survival? I suppose Davien already proved that he can fool practically everyone and probably hide anything that might have been useful to them to know to assess risk.

Assume the other necromancers have noticed the fall of the kralovir? Seem to recall everyone on Athera for a moment noticed "on some level".

Herb witches I had started to see them as a potential cult (although a coven was mentioned taking action against the alliance so I was beginning to wonder...)


1. Fugitive prince early on where Havish representative attends the meeting with Lysaer, they mention herb witchery but while I understood the perspective/bias I wondered whether use of certain words, e.g. proscribed might give hints.

2. In GC, Elaira tells Feylind (I think?) that Moriel hates herb witches (and necromancers )which seemed a little "strong" at least on the poor herb witches. I assume Moriel therefore probably knows all 3 cults too? (I am not asking...)

3. I found a meeting of a herb witch with Elaira where the herb witch was seen to be supportive / "nice" so this started to put holes in the theory.

4. A meeting of herb witch and Dakar, Dakar perceived some of the herb witch's practice to be less clean/straight (forget the exact wording) than koriani and this started me wondering...

But now I assume we can rule them out...oh well there goes a theory...


   By Annette on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 08:18 pm: Edit Post

Maybe you should actually start looking at Morriel's little cult? How she has entrapped in her web all those potentially enslaved spirits, who's lives can be expended at need, "for the greater good". She can just strip an awareness out of its body leaving only a husk as her mindless servant. Does not sound very good to me. If she can halt a spirit as it crosses fates wheel
I would definitely be looking in that direction. And then there was another reference brought up in Stormed Fortress, as Elaira was using ciphers taught by the Koriathain to heal Sidir (pg 320 in the mass market version). And then there is what happened to poor Selidie.

Lysaer's little necromancy problem seems to have started with the ambassador that Erdane sent to Avenor, Koshlin, yet Erdane seems to have not had any Kralovir problem, so something nasty might still be hiding in Erdane. There have been hints throughout the books something might remain in Erdane of an earlier brush with necromancy.

   By Neil on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 08:05 am: Edit Post

If there are 3 cults, why 3 I wonder? I understoof Arithon to mean there were 3 offshoot from koriani leaked knowledge so whilst they are also an issue they are not of the 3.

Koshlin was from Erdane, yes? He tended not to have good relations with Hanshire (where Sulfin Erend came from since they had links with koriani?) Assume he not still around now or is he?!? hey hey? :-) Think he funded the headhunters but I read that as commercially/trade orientated land grabbing but he was ambitious to try to break compact via long-term planning.

Erdand is certainly somewhere the koriani do not visit typically (COTM).

Cerebald I think was seen in Erdane at one point?

Raitt had the dragon wards - where did he get those from again? Koriani? If there were 4 are there more? Is this an issue that humans have stolen dragon skulls? Humans are allowed to live on athera but dragons seem to have in the main moved on? Or are there not that many?

I am confused that Janny says an active thread has necromancers in definitely missing something.

Will the other necromancers be more careful now? They are not the "worst of the lot"...(the kralovoir were...)

Dragon and paravian influences put this into insignificance for non-humans?

The crystals are not human but are arguably enslaved...but do they not choose to shatter where they are not happy?

And Koriani swear oaths...they are not completely enslaved as per active necromancy link?

I am not sure I can face rereading alliance of light to find out... a very long read :-(

When is destiny's conflict coming again? 2015? ;-)

And I never liked Jaelot...

   By Sleo on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 08:39 am: Edit Post

I believe the Koriani are one branch of necromancy. And they certainly ARE enslaved. If they don't obey orders, their brains are turned to mush. And Morriel takes over Lirenda. She doesn't kill her first, but still. As Elaira points out at one point, she is 6 years old when she is asked for permission or for her oath.

   By Neil on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 09:09 am: Edit Post


I know where you are coming from...and the koriani drive a hard bargain...but free will is granted otherwise F7 could just free them all perhaps?

Enslaved Off-world crystals are outside compact not sure how this may play out? Not an F7 problem...

Presumably Arithon will meet with other 2 cults but he met the Kravoloir at the request of F7. Sethvir has a scar on his arm so he must have had trouble with them at some point in the past?

Elaira confides to Traithe that she believe Koriani get recruits them while young and biddable (and desperate? like US army recruitment if you believe some documentaries?).

Koriani were more popular/respected in the past...not sure whether this was pre-uprising or pre-alliance of light? If pre-uprising, did they lose popular opinion there?

I seem to recall that Janny once mentioned that "if only we knew what we were looking at" re: Koriani. And actually in Earth terms, maybe this is a "cult" answerable to 1 leader (who has plenty to hide...).

Now I wonder what all the seniors do? They do not help or manage the hostels...and to have 9 this like an army structure where rank 1 answers to a 2 then to a 3 giving a large hierarchy or something like a martial arts grade where specific expertise is needed and why so many different ranks I wonder?

Certainly the Biedar have a knife to knife with them :-)

   By Neil on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 09:25 am: Edit Post

I suppose you could argue that the Drakes have bound the F7 into destiny of Athera and that Athera only lives on to this day because they are the entire planet and lives on it are indebted to F7 protection/stewardship, unfortunately made even harder these last 500 years due to the mistwraith invasion

Whilst the drakes can bind F7 into this role, the drakes cannot or do not want to take responsibility for Athera themselves? Or can F7 do things drakes cannot or do not want to?

(sorry - losing the focus on thread here s little :-)

   By Annette on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 04:15 pm: Edit Post

The Prime Matriarch has enslaved her minions with that prime sigil they are all marked with when they swear oath over crystal. So not only is it the oath swearing on crystal, the tie to their personal crystals, (which are also enslaved), and the second tie to crystal if they are seniors, but there is the prime sigil binding them as well. She can draw life from her initiates if she needs to, kill them, force them to do things they might not want to do, keep their spirits enslaved even after death. And if you read the Stormed Fortress link, the very way the ciphers they use for healing work also affects life. They are the third and final group of necromancers. And Arithon is likely to get the job of clearing all three cults. The Koriani being the most powerful would be last, most likely after Arithon's execution. I will leave you guys to speculate about that.

If these are the tempering experiences Arithon needs to get what he wants, presumably he is going to learn or gain something from each encounter. And then another tempering experience will be those wraiths awaiting his attention at Rockfell, and probably even the methsnakes as well.

The Fellowship can do nothing to help off world enslaved crystals, they are not covered by the compact. From what happened with Fionne, we can see if the individual swears oath, no matter how young, they have chosen of their own free will, the Fellowship can only help them if they ask for Fellowship help. Not many Koriani are going to be asking to be freed from their vows. Obviously Elaira's crystal knows something Elaira does not, since its choice is keeping Elaira Koriani.

There was a throw away flippant hint about that in one of the books, Elaira as Prime Matriarch, tied by love to Arithon. Well she cannot become Prime Matriarch, unless she is still in the order. Once she has the power, she can do what she wants with their rules, sigils and cyphers. And those Seniors will probably be in for a shock, I doubt Elaira will have much use for them unless they are going to get their hands dirty and do some actual work.

I think the Dragons felt so bad about what they had done, they just decided to sleep (and not create any more trouble) or leave Athera, they let the Paravians have the place. Then the Paravians let mankind settle, and later vanished when the Mistwraith turned up.

The dragons were being killed off as well by their own aberrant creations, the Fellowship were bound by their guilt I believe, such masters of destruction were called to fix the problem, so the Paravians could survive. So it seems the dragons themselves could not get rid of their own creations.

   By Sleo on Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 10:26 am: Edit Post

I just finished rereading Fugitive Prince and watched carefully throughout for references to necromancy because of this discussion and other discussions about whether or not the Koriathain are necromancers.

Annette's quote above re herb witches and herb lore came from a conversation that Lysaer was having about Arithon and the possible reasons for the slaughter at the Havens--that he possibly used the deaths as a means to raise 'dark power'. And the discussion included a bit about herb witches using the deaths of small animals for that purpose -- death to raise power being the commonality relating things to necromancy.

One herb witch told the person who came to her -- can't remember if it was Lysaer or Dakar -- that she only killed animals to give that impression, as people seemed to expect it from her.

It seems to me to be only a small aberration to conclude that the Koriani are using a form of necromancy... the way they pledge people to them with death as the result if they rebel. The young girl who died in Morriel's grand construct in Fugitive Prince is a horrifying example. And the way they join forces in a circle to raise power...with anyone who makes a mistake in that process at forfeit. I mean, how creepy can you get?

   By Neil on Monday, January 28, 2013 - 06:05 am: Edit Post


Koriani have the knowledge sure...but Koriani would not categorise themselves as "necromancers" (the pot calling the kettle black perhaps?) - Moriel seems to see some of her people as expendible (a military culture view?).

So where are the 2 other necromancer cults?Presumably they cannot attack and "take" Arithon now with his level of awareness? Maybe the biedar knife is a needed stop-gap for now, a little help from Biedar to someone helping them out (whilst he recovers to full strength)?

Maybe in a contest of straight force the Biedar cannot deal with necromancer masters?

   By Annette on Monday, January 28, 2013 - 09:09 am: Edit Post

The Biedar having the straight power to do something, does not mean they are going to use it against any necromancers. Like the Fellowship and Ath's adepts the Biedar follow similar beliefs to the Law of the Major Balance. Any of them would have more than enough power to do away with the necromancers, and none are going to misuse their power that way. Arithon also is not going to be attacking any necromancers.

Arithon was well aware of the problem last time, he set himself up as bait to stop the Grey Kralovir. His level of awareness is probably not going to make much difference to his tactics.

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