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A desert on the subcontinent of Seven Cities. Also known as the Holy Desert.


Holy Desert Raraku: a region west of the Pan'potsun Odhan - (DG, Glossary)


"The Pan'potsun Odhan and the Holy Desert Raraku that flanked it to the west were both home to countless such remnants from long-dead civilizations." -(DG, UK mmpb, p.44)
"'Raraku was once a sea,' the Tano said. He withdrew a bleached white conch shell. 'Such remnants can be found in the Holy Desert provided you know the location of the ancient shores."
- Kimloc - (DG, UK mmpb, p.94)


'the ways into Raraku...Of the countless trails that passed through the hills, all but a few led only to death. The false routes were cleverly directed away from the few waterholes and springs. Without water, Raraku's sun was a fatal companion...the Holy Desert...Raraku shaped all who had known it' - (DG, UK MMPB, p.198-9)


"...the road angled southward, deep into the heart of Raraku. To the northwest it would reach the Pan'potsun Hills within ten leagues. He stared down at the road to his right. The heart of Raraku. It is said an oasis lies there. Where Sha'ik and her renegades are encamped. How far to that oasis?...Surely a road crossing the desert would be constructed to intersect sources of water...Tremorlor...If the gods will it, this track will lead us to that legendary gate. Raraku has a heart...Tremorlor, a House of the Azath." - (DG, UK mmpb, p.258)


'Quick Ben's knowledge of the Holy Desert is, uh, vast...he spoke of the Vanished Roads...an ancient road that sleeps beneath the sands and appears only occasionally - if the winds are right, that is.' - (DG, UK MMPB, p.348)


'Raraku reshapes all who come to it...What you were falls away, what you become is something different...Raraku's gifts are harsh...' - (DG, UK MMPB, p.584)



Sha'ik's Oasis


The edge of the oasis was marked by low, crumbling mudbrick walls and a thin scatter of palms under which sand crabs scuttled through dry fronds...The endless ruins revealed that a city had once stood here, a city of spacious gardens and courtyards, pools and fountains, all reduced to stumps and low ridges...


Heboric: 'This city’s destruction was anything but peaceful.  Ancient invaders, crushing the last of the First Empire’s island enclaves. The thin sky-blue potsherds under our feet are First Empire, the thick red ones are from the conquerors. From something delicate to something brutal, a pattern repeated through all of history.'



: 'The oasis is vast...There are areas that hold true soil, and these we have planted with forage and crops. A few ancient cedar stands remain, amidst stumps that have turned to stone. There are pools and lakes, the water fresh and unending.’ 

(DG, UK Trade, p.537-8)


Raraku's connections to Kurald Emurlahn


The key to understanding lies in the unknown nature of warrens. Can they be torn into fragments? Oh yes, oh, yes indeed. And that is the secret of Raraku! They wander more than one world, all unknowing . . . and before us, ah, the slumbering giant that is the heart!

The true heart, not Sha’ik’s grubby oasis, oh, such fools abound!’ - Iskaral Pust - (DG UK TPB, p. 878)


‘The land remembers every struggle played out on its surface, on all its surfaces, from the very beginning.’ Nether grimaced, then shivered, her eyes squeezed shut. ‘The goddess is as nothing to this power – yet 

she would . . . steal.’

The Adjunct’s voice was sharp. ‘Steal?’

‘The warren,’ Nil replied. ‘She would claim this fragment, and settle it upon this land like a parasite. Roots of shadow, slipping down to draw sustenance, to feed on the land’s memories.’

‘And the spirits will not have it,’ Nether whispered.

‘They are resisting?’ the Adjunct asked.

Both Wickans nodded, then Nil bared his teeth and said, ‘Ghosts cast no shadows.” 


For Raraku was answering the summons, a multitude of voices, rising in song, rising with raw, implacable desire – the sound, Sha’ik realized, of countless souls straining against the chains that bound them.

Chains of shadow. Chains like roots. From this torn, alien fragment of warren. This piece of shadow, that has risen to bind their souls and so feeds upon the life-force. 


‘Blindness, wilful and, indeed, spiteful. Even when the fated new House was laid out before me, I did not realize the truth. This shattered fragment of Kurald Emurlahn, Claw, shall not be the plaything of a 

desert goddess. Nor of the Empress. None of you shall have it, for it shall become the heart of the new House of Chains. Tell your empress to stand aside, assassin. We are indifferent to who would rule the land beyond the Holy Desert. She can have it.’

‘And Sha’ik?’

‘You can have her as well. Marched back to Unta in chains – and that is far more poetic than you will ever know.’

The shadow-wraiths – torn souls from Kurald Emurlahn – were drawing closer round Kalam, and he realized, with a chill, that his otataral long-knife might well prove insufficient. ‘An interesting offer,’ he rumbled. ‘But something tells me there are more lies than truths within it, Bidithal.’ (HoC)


Kalam : He had found the source of the threat to the Realm of  Shadow. Or at least confirmed a host of suspicions. This fragment of Kurald Emurlahn will be the path to usurpation . . . by none other than the Crippled God. (HoC)


Raraku, Emurlahn and Icarium


The legends claim that Icarium emerged from this place, strode out from Raraku. A warren torn to pieces – Raraku changes all who stride its broken soil – gods, have we indeedcome to the place where Icarium’s living nightmare was born? - Mappo - (DG UK TPB, p.878)


See The Holy Desert for some Raraku-themed poetry

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