The Ravers - and there are precisely three - are terrifying, malignant and nigh on immortal incorporeal entities that are foremost amongst the servants of Lord Foul. Given that a) the latter never seems to get out and about and that b) all three Ravers are highly skilled at possessing all manner of creatures, it is perhaps unsurprising that these unclean spirits are the most trusted of the Despiser's lieutenants. The Ravers have a deep knowledge of the most evil of sorceries, one that is only exceeded by their master.
This fearsome trio appears in all three Chronicles.
The three Ravers are known as moksha Jehannum, turiya Herem and samadhi Sheol respectively, a thing which gives etymologists serious stirrings in the groinal area. The three italicized names spring from Sanskrit and feature in the Hindu religion, whereas the three others originate from the Middle East, having significance in either Islam or Judaism.
Appearance, Powers and Nature
The appearance of any raver is both simple and impossible to describe - they don't have one. Yes, that's right. In their "natural" state - if so it may be called - the ravers are entirely incorporeal and thus are truly emanations of the purest malignity.
Ravers may have no physical forms themselves, but over eons, they have become frighteningly adept at possessing the bodies of others, then putting these to their own malevolent uses. Indeed, a raver may seize control of the will of almost any living thing. In fact, such is the power of a raver's evil coercion that any one of them is capable of possessing a number of lesser creatures simultaneously, whether a pack of kresh, a swarm of bees, a horde of rats or a shoal of eels, for example. This overweening eldritch mental strength is the reason why humans are helpless against such possession. the fact that they so often wear the guises of others makes ravers incredibly difficult to recognize, although for those with acute health-sense, the nearby presence of a raver will engender a sense of wrongness, a sick nausea that roils the stomach and grates up and down the nerves
Only the giants and the haruchai seem immune to being taken over - no doubt because of their natural obduracy and iron wills - and these stalwarts can only be involuntarily controlled by ravers if the latter have access to a more puissant evil bane to use as a catalyst - such as the Illearth Stone. Of course, should a giant or a haruchai voluntarily give himself up to possession, then that's a different matter altogether. The only creatures never known to have succumbed at all to a raver's possession are the Ranyhyn, those majestic Earthpowerful horses.
As to their nature, (tba)
Origins and Pre-history
The origins of the Ravers are never made entirely clear. In legend they are referred to as three "brothers", evil spirits engendered by the noisome vileness of the Sarangrave Flat - home to the Lurker - at the time of the One Forest, long before the coming of man to the Land. This is a feasible theory, given that the Sarangrave and the great swamp that lies therein have long been polluted by evil effluvia flowing down Defile's Course from the bowels of Mount Thunder. Let it not be forgotten that measureless depths beneath Mount Thunder have for eons been used as a sorcerous garbage dump for any noxious banes.
From their very beginnings, the Ravers harboured an absolute detestation of all living things, but especially trees. Their abomination of Earthpower is well-known, so it's very likely that the One Forest, which symbolized the natural essence of the Land, attracted their abhorrence. The Ravers' first scheming towards deforestation involved their teaching the Demondim to despise trees, shortly before tempting them to create the ur-viles. However, when humans finally arrived in the Land, the Ravers immediately seized upon this golden opportunity and exhorted the weak-willed immigrants to get lumberjacking as much as possible - a thing which resulted in the diminishing of the One Forest and its separation into five lesser parts.
The amount of overexuberant slash-and-burning and arboreal decimation attracted the attention of the Elohim - possibly because even at that distance, the faint acrid tang of smoke started to sully the balmy sea breezes that waft over Elemesnedene. The haughty fey folk would have considered this the height of bad manners, especially if any faintly blown ash were ever to besmirch their über-fashionable designer samite robes. So, as is typical whenever anything bothers the Elohim, they held a rigged ballot, singling out the unfortunate faery who was seen as being the least chic that week. This "volunteer" they Appointed to become eternally bored by being transmogrified into a large yet magical slab of rock, standing upon the upper edge of Landsdrop and entitled the Colossus of the Fall. The arcane emanations from this eldritch pillar served to repulse the Ravers and kept them from entering the Upper Land for many generations.
At the same time, the Elohim claim that they had a hand in the emergence of the five original Forestals - hippy-ish tree elementals of leguminous puissance, who were tasked with caring for and protecting the remaining forests of the Land. As has been noted elsewhere, it is uncertain if this is entirely factually correct, since the tricksy fey folk will always claim credit for any idea that they deem to be super-cool, but it is certainly true that the Forestals came into being at around the same time. Thus it is explained why Ravers and Forestals are the most ancient and the most implacable of enemies.
Role in the First Chronicles
Role in the Second Chronicles
Role in the Third Chronicles
Vulnerabilities and Eventual Fates
As incorporeal spirits, the ravers are effectively immortal and if the physical body that one is inhabiting is destroyed or otherwise dies, the raver will simply discard it and move on to possess its next victim. This is exactly how samadhi Sheol took control of the Clave for so many generations in the Second Chronicles, moving on from one na-Mhoram to the next as each died.
As has been mentioned, ravers detest all living things and as such, it is perhaps surprising that they are repelled by manifestations of Earthpower. Those they are possessing will wince as if stung if any of the seven Words of Power are uttered in their presence and they cannot abide the touch of either lomillialor or orcrest, the magical wood and stone of the Land.
A raver however may be destroyed - or "rent", as it is known - in the rare event that it attempts to take possession of a supernally strong-willed character and that individual is slain by eldritch means while the struggle for control is going on internally.
However, it is actually unclear how final such destruction is, because even after samadhi Sheol, imprisoned within brave Honninscrave, was apparently destroyed by Nom the sandgorgon as told in White Gold Wielder, the fragmentary remains of the unclean spirit were still having some malign effect upon the entire race of sandy behemoths some thirty five centuries later, a thing which serves to explain why they were largely so inimical towards the Good Guys™ throughout the Third Chronicles.
In the very same manner as the courageous giantish master of Starfare's Gem, Clyme the haruchai also sacrifices himself selflessly to effect the destruction of turiya Herem in The Last Dark, imprisoning the malignant entity within himself as he submits to being finely diced up by Loric's magical krill, wielded by his kinsman Branl.
At the culmination of The Last Dark, just one Raver remains unrent - and that's moksha Jehannum. First conquered then cast out by Jeremiah during an unsuccessful attempt to possess the erstwhile teenage rainmain, moksha is left to wander the earth as the curtain finally comes down on the Chronicles. It's unclear what mischief he'll be able to get up to, what with both his evil overlord and his two brothers now no longer around, but you should probably watch your back.
People and Creatures known to have suffered Raver possession
(In temporal order).
- The unnamed king in Berek's time
- The unnamed Woodhelvennin who attempted to spread fear about Covenant
- The ur-vile who fought Lord Mhoram in the Shattered Hills
- The three giantish triplets, sons of Sparlimb Keelsetter and Wavenhair Haleall (only via the extra power of the Illearth Stone)
- Korik, Bloodguard and haruchai (only via the extra power of the Illearth Stone)
- Sill, Bloodguard and haruchai (only via the extra power of the Illearth Stone)
- Doar, Bloodguard and haruchai (only via the extra power of the Illearth Stone)
- Unnamed marauder
- Yeurquin, a Stonedownor
- Triock of Mithil Stonedown
- Lal, a Raman
- Whane, a Raman
- Generations of na-Mhoram
- Gibbon, leader of the Clave
- Marid of Mithil Stonedown
- Unnamed victim of the Sunbane, half-human, half-salamander
- Venomous spider
- Stone creatures under Mount Thunder
- Linden Avery
- Grimmand Honninscrave, a giant (voluntarily)
- Joan Covenant
- The Lurker (only partially successful)
- Clyme, one of the Humbled and haruchai (voluntarily)
- Jeremiah Avery (unsuccessfully)