Mord-Sith are an elite group of women warriors in
Terry Goodkind's " Sword of Truth" series. They first appear in " Wizard's First Rule", when Richard is captured by Denna, a particularly talented Mord-Sith.
The Mord-Sith were created to defend the
Lord Rahlfrom creatures or people with magic. A Mord-Sith has the unique ability to capture someone's magic and use it against him/her. Mord-Sith are always female (because men cannot handle the torture required as part of a Mord-Sith's training), although the Mord-Sith who trained Denna and Constaince was a male, and Cara has acknowledged Richard as a Brother of the Agiel. They must be only children, and they are only selected among the gentlest, kindest girls in D'Hara. They carry only one weapon: an Agiel. The power of an Agielis that it can inflict unbearable pain with only a touch. It can be used to cause only pain, or to draw blood, or even to break bones. If used correctly, it can even kill.
A Mord-Sith is trained on three levels. Each time, she must be "broken." The first breaking is a time during which she is tortured to the point of obedience so strong that she would do absolutely anything her master/mistress tells her, without question or hesitation. This part of the training breaks her of her sense of self and personal desires. During the second breaking, she is forced to watch as her teacher slowly and brutally tortures her mother to death. This is to break her of compassion. The third, and arguably the most difficult, breaking is when she is given the instrument of torture and must inflict pain and suffering upon her own father until she finally kills him. When she has completed this task, the
Lord Rahlinstills in her the magical ability to take the magic of anyone who uses magic against her. Once a magical being uses magic against a Mord-Sith, she can inflict intense pain upon him/her with a thought. He/she has no defense.
Weapons and Attire
Mord-Sith wear skin-tight leather outfits. They usually wear brown leather, but when they are training a captive, they wear red, because it hides the blood of their victims better. When a Mord-Sith has broken a victim, and has him completely obedient to her whim, and chooses her "pet" to be the her mate she wears white. The leather uniform always has a crescent and a star on it, as the symbol of the Mord-Sith. In addition, a Mord-Sith always wears her hair in a single, long braid.
When a Mord-Sith is training a captive, she wears armored gloves, with spikes on the backs of the hands. She uses these as a way of inflicting pain and teaching obedience. Most Mord-Sith prefer their true weapon, however: The
Agiel. An Agielappears simple. It is a plain red rod, about a foot long, and about as thick as a finger. When it touches a victim, however, it delivers agony. It also inflicts pain on the Mord-Sith in charge of the torture. Mord-Sith use the same Agielthat was used on them in their training.
Denna: The first Mord-Sith we encounter. She captures Richard Rahl(still known as Richard Cypherat this point) in " Wizard's First Rule", after he has redrawn the curse in the cave near Tamarang. He escapes from the deadly bind only to encounter Denna, dressed in her red leather. He uses the Sword of Truthagainst her immediately, and she captures him. After at least a month of brutal torture at her hands, he is broken and completely submits to her whim. He is able to overcome her, however, by partitioning his mind - an ability only a wizard could possibly have. He locks away a part of himself, vowing that whatever Dennadoes to him, his true self would be safely locked away in his mind. In this way, he is able to overcome his "training" and resist her urgings to answer Darken Rahl's questions.
During Richard's captivity,
Dennadecides to take him for her mate. The ordeal is very unpleasant, and is basically another way for Mord-Sith to inflict pain and torture on their victims. Mord-Sith mate for life. Towards the end of the book, after learning of the horrible cruelty inflicted upon Mord-Sith to make them what they are, Richard shows Dennakindness and finally forgives her. It is with this forgiveness that he is able to use the other side of his magic - the side Dennahas not captured - and kill her in order to escape. Before he does so, she gives him her Agieland asks him to remember her as Dennathe woman, not as the monster that was made of her.
In the following books,
Dennaappears several times as a spirit to help Richard and his beloved Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor, in their fight for Good. She unites them in a place between worlds, where Richard gives the Agielto Kahlan as a symbol of their love. Cara: Richard and Kahlan's friend and bodyguard. After defeating Darken Rahlin the world of the living, Richard frees all the Mord-Sith and orders their Agieldestroyed and their clothing changed to normal attire. In " Stone of Tears", he encounters four Mord-Sith still dressed in their leather and carrying their weapons. They are led by Cara, a tall, beautiful Mord-Sith with blond hair and blue eyes. It turns out the Mord-Sith have decided to keep their weapons and their uniforms, but will serve the new Lord Rahlwillingly and with pride. They turn out to be invaluable bodyguards. Caracontinues to be a presence as a committed friend to Richard and Kahlan, staying by their side, and often providing comical relief with her eagerness to kill the enemy. Her backstory is particularly gruesome, as we hear that when she was first taken captive at twelve years of age, she was left with rats around, and they bit her and caused her pain. She is later subjected to rats biting through her stomach and intestines by Drefan Rahl, an insane half-brother of Richard's who tricks them all into believing he is on their side, but really just wants power for himself. After killing Drefan, Richard is able to heal Carawith magic, making her whole again. Berdine: One of the initial Mord-Sith along with Cara, Berdine comes along to Aydindrilwith Richard. In " Blood of the Fold", it is revealed that she is one of the few left who knows any High D'Haran. She helps Richard to translate some old texts that become useful in solving the problems at hand. She also reveals herself to be a lesbian, in a committed relationship with Raina, another Mord-Sith. Raina: In addition to being Berdine's love, Raina is one of the Mord-Sith who go with Richard to Aydindril. In " Temple of the Winds", she becomes infected with the plague that is killing people by the thousands. She dies only days before Richard goes into the world of the dead to bring about the cure. Richard wears her Agielas a sign of respect for her life. Hally: One of the four who comes with Richard to Aydindril, Hally dies during an attack by Mriswith. Richard also wears her Agielas a sign of respect.
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