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"Mistwraith" is the common name for the fogbound entity, Desh-thiere, which invaded Athera and choked out the sunlight.


The Mistwraith initially invaded through the South Gate in Third Age 4993, but was cut off from the larger portion of itself when Traithe heroically sealed the gate. It is conjectured that knowledge of the Mistwraith's Name damaged his continuity of function.

The Mistwraith was fought and contained on the West Shand penninsula for twenty-five years until the rebellion in Third Age 5018. The High Kings were forced to withdraw from the front lines to tend to their kingdoms, allowing the Mistwraith to cover the entire planet (and not just the continent of Paravia). Diffused in the fog, the effect of the wraiths was also diffused, and they did not have enough strength to choke the entire planet.[1] The Mistwraith's bane was predicted in the West Gate Prophecy in Third Age 5061.

By the time the story has started, the Fellowship has had 500 years to study the Mistwraith. It is outside the Law of the Major Balance, and is, in many ways, a blind side entity. The Paravians, known to have the deepest powers and the deepest grasp of the mysteries extant upon Athera refused outright to Name the creature. They gave way before it, and vanished from the continent, for reasons which are still unknown.[2]

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Warhost of Vastmark.

When Kharadmon travels to Marak to learn more about the Mistwraith, he discovers records in the gutted shells of libraries. The Mistwraith was created as a weapon of mass destruction by a faction who built on the laws of physical science, then meddled in theories that unbalanced the axis of prime life force. The creators intended to create the ultimate synergy between the mind and a physical construct to transcend the limits of flesh. Instead, the ionized fields of mists that contained the captive spirits drifted their awareness out of self-alignment and the weapon turned upon its creators.[3] The world of Marak also lacked the electromagnetic forces to support the creation.

As the Mistwraith killed others, it assimilated the spirits of the dead into itself. It now reacts as a body, with an insane purpose to devour life. We learn that fogbound wraiths who cross through the stars to reach Athera become free wraiths, because the mist sublimates away under vacuum.

The Curse

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Curse of the Mistwraith.

The curse is an auric patterning -- a shadowing of the energy field that is interwoven with the self, an amplification and manipulation of the stuff of self. It cannot be "removed" without erasing those parts of the pattern it has amplified. Such a change would alter the being of the victim; and also, by extension, impair the body, since the flesh is the condensed, precipitate form that flows out of the auric pattern.

The Mistwraith assessed both half-brothers at Ithamon and then acted to exploit their character flaws. In the case of Lysaer, the Mistwraith used that character flaw in concert with the royal gift of Justice inherent in the s'Ilessid family. The combination "locked" the Mistwraith's manipulative entry because the sense of justice tended to blind Lysaer, or bend him toward seeking a higher order. This is analyzed clearly in the scene in the Etarran armory in Curse of the Mistwraith, when the Fellowship admits their culpability in the ease of the Mistwraith's entry.

Lysaer, possessed, delivered the "packaged" pattern that cursed Arithon, when he was diverted, open, and acting in compassion to save Raven. Arithon was guarded on the wrong quarter -- the packaged pattern was precisely designed from his own auric imprint. Arithon is trained enough to notice and correct course for the gross distortions but the littlest, the insidious, and the subtle, did slip through, as the curse gained strength.

Each time the Curse "activates", its tendencies burn deeper into the self. The shadow in the pattern strengthens, much as water flowing through a channel "erodes" deeper and wider after a storm.

Those areas of self that were "cursed" by pattern are not accessible any longer to "free choice" which impairs the natural impetus for the spirit to grow, change, and evolve with experience. The curse "fixed" the flaws in place. Reason can question them. Will can fight their imprint. Choice can accept whether or not to ACT ON the imprinted impetus of the curse - or to resist. The prompt is ALWAYS there to seek out and kill the other brother and it waxes and wanes with thoughts, attention, proximity. It activates into compulsion when the two auric patterns approach contact. The compulsion grows with each encounter.

Choice is heavily influenced, but not totally fixed, unless the Curse is granted free rein. How long it remains active, overwhelming the character under siege -- whether the surrender was passive, or actively fought makes a difference also. The curse impairs growth toward change ONLY where it has fixed the pattern. This would leave a lot of latitude, as Arithon later demonstrates.[4]

Role in the Story

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.

The Decoy

Third Age 5018: Just before the rebellion, the High King of Tysan and his entire company has fallen at the defensive line at Earle, which is just barely held together by the Fellowship.

Reins of Destiny

Third Age 5018: At the time of the rebellion, the Fellowship have a defensive line established in Falwood.

Child of Prophecy

Third Age 5033: The Mistwraith breaks through the defensive line at Silvermarsh.

Third Age 5036: The Mistwraith breaks through the defensive line at Spire, and survivors regroup to form a muster at Firstmark.

Curse of the Mistwraith

Third Age 5637: At the start of the story, Desh-thiere has covered Athera for five hundred years. Since then, it has been a constant but inactive presence on the continent.

Third Age 5638: When the half-brothers begin battling from Kieling Tower, the Mistwraith increases its concentration around the tower, revealing sunlight in far corners of the world like Corith. When the half-brothers leave the Tower's protection one night, the Mistwraith attacks them, causing Lysaer to fall unconscious. Asandir effects a rescue, but rather than engage him, the Mistwraith disappears into another dimension. It is later revealed that the Mistwraith did not harm the half-brothers that night -- it only studied them. In the aftermath of the attack, Asandir and Arithon realize that the mist is just a boundary wrought of dampness. The wraiths that comprise Desh-thiere move freely within the mist, and show traits not seen by the Fellowship for the first time during this attack.[1] Asandir notes that to destroy the mist would be to set the Mistwraith free as free spirit. The Mistwraith is actually thousands of spirits, bound captive in hate.

When Asandir collapses the Paravian wards around Kieling Tower, the Mistwraith is harried inside and the wards are reactivated. The half-brothers then battle it into a warded stone flask. During the final moments, the Mistwraith has contact with the bare flesh of Lysaer's hands, planting the seed that will later become a full-fledged curse in Etarra. Trapped in the flask, the Mistwraith is taken to Skelseng's Gate for temporary storage. It is moved to Rockfell Pit after the failed coronation at Etarra and warded behind Fellowship spells from both a corporate and discorporate Sorcerer. Sethvir notes that Arithon could build upon his training to unravel the wards, but would be least likely to meddle with the Mistwraith.

In the closing triplet of Curse of the Mistwraith, the Mistwraith is depicted in Rockfell Pit, languishing in unquiet hatred.

Warhost of Vastmark

Third Age 5646: When Kharadmon returns from Marak, he states that he encounters the larger body of the Mistwraith there. Kharadmon returns to Athera, pursued by nine entities, and the Fellowship worry that the larger body could somehow use their beacon spell as a way to return to Athera.

Third Age 5647: Before the ransom exchange, the Fellowship note that the drive to seed destruction is intensified each time the half-brothers encounter each other. During the exchange, they realize that the curse has a self-aware radius of proximity that circumvents wards.

Fugitive Prince

Third Age 5653: The Koriathain use spelled fetches to trigger the curse at their whim. In Riverton, Arithon is on edge from the encroachment of the Koriani fetches. When Dakar prevents him from leaving the safety of an inn room, the curse becomes active. In the resulting conflict, Dakar's permissions are revoked, Caolle is gravely wounded by Arithon, and only the wards in Alithiel are sufficent to restore Arithon's sanity.

Grand Conspiracy

Third Age 5654: When Arithon learns of Cattrick's plans to destroy the Riverton shipyard, he physically fights Parrien to assert his need to return to Tysan to stop the plan. Parrien, guessing that the curse might also be swaying Arithon's judgement, orders both of the prince's legs broken to prevent his interference.

Peril's Gate

Third Age 5670: After Morriel launches an attack on Athera, an echo resonates across the remnants of the beacon spell. Two dozen wraiths from the larger body on Marak follow the echo towards the star ward that the Fellowship have created and monitored since Kharadmon's return from Marak. While in Kewar Tunnel, Arithon realizes that the curse is amplified through each reliving of past events. Later, he discovers that the Mistwraith had no control over his Masterbard's talents, which he learned after the curse took effect. By capturing the tones used in Alithiel's starspell, he is able to dampen the effects of the curse at will.

"Desh-thiere's geas was not undone, not gone; yet its rooted effects had lost their unbreakable purchase. Curse-bound cords of compulsion could nto set false ties, or twist any knot through his being, that sound of his making could not tear their vile urges asunder."[5]

Traitor's Knot

Third Age 5671: Lysaer is afflicted by the curse in the dungeon of Avenor when he faces his necromancer-suborned council. Only mention of Lady Talith allows him to retain his sanity.

When Sulfin Evend questions Lysaer's plans to recruit in Shand, the curse is triggered again. The Prince attempts to kill Sulfin Evend, who knocks him unconscious.

The curse is triggered again when Lysaer is rejected by Princess Ellaine at the hostel in Spire. Sulfin Evend orders the state galley to depart before Lysaer can return to attack the hostel.

The curse is triggered again in Lysaer on the moment that Arithon defeats the Kralovir in Etarra.

Stormed Fortress

Third Age 5671: Through a petition to the Athlien Paravians, the curse is cleansed from Arithon's aura.

Thwarted in her attempt to manipulate Elaira or Sidir through Alestron's warded walls, Selidie Prime afflicts Lysaer with nightmares to accelerate an attack on the citadel. The first attempt is prevented by Sulfin Evend, who knocks Lysaer unconscious.

The curse refires when Arithon protects the Evenstar with shadows. Sulfin Evend is able to guide Lysaer back to sanity with help from the gift of his s'Gannley heritage which allows him to see Lysaer's life aura.

Initiate's Trial

Third Age 5923: On the first moment that Arithon rediscovers his mastery of Shadow in Taerlin, Lysaer feels the curse's draw in Etarra. The distractions of Daliana sen Evend allow him to last the night without losing his sanity.

Daliana destroys a Koriani fetch while investigating the retinue of the Light's Hope, triggering another fit. After Lysaer makes the sudden decision to transfer governance of Etarra to the True Sect, Daliana theorizes that a second fetch was brought into his presence by the Light's Hope.

Lysaer's retinue is intercepted by Dakar on Mathorn Road. The Mad Prophet warns him of the third spelled Koriani fetch hidden in his saddlebag.

Enroute to challenging the True Sect, Lysaer narrowly avoids a curse-driven episode while interceding on behalf of innocents affected by the planet's shift in resonance. He, Dakar, and Daliana visit the condemned in the tavern's cellar. Lysaer refuses Dakar's offer of a basic ward of protection and slips away, leaving the other two trapped in the cellar on his orders.

Under influence of the Curse, Lysaer drives his horse to exhaustion. He is knocked unconscious and breaks his collarbone when the horse collapses. After Daliana convinces him to talk about Lady Talith and his regrets, Lysaer remarks that the curse is a steady influence, not individual incidents. The curse strikes again in Morvain after Arithon uses Shadow in Lanshire. While Daliana strategizes for ways to subvert it, the Koriathain trigger another spelled fetch. Lysaer fully succumbs to the curse and rejoins the cause of the True Sect.

Destiny's Conflict

Third Age 5925: In Ciladis' journals, Arithon finds sketches of the Mistwraith. They reveal that Ciladis had learned of the Mistwraith's true nature as separate entities centuries before the rest of the Fellowship. The Sorcerer also invented a way for the sound of Athlien flutes to allow Athera's flora and fauna to persevere under the blight of the fog.


  • The wraiths dislike the smell of sulfur.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Forum Post, February 23, 2005
  2. Author's FAQ
  3. © Janny Wurts, Ships of Merior, p. 530 (US-Hardback)
  4. Author's FAQ
  5. © Janny Wurts, Peril's Gate, p. 643 (US-Hardback)