Dread are creatures so profoundly alien that they cannot be understood. They are the drinkers of Life and the stealers of Souls. They can be viewed as the ultimate antagonist of the Riftwar series.
They appear as blackness with two red eyes that glow like hot coals. It is said that should they appear on Midkemia the very grass beneath them would wither and die as they draw life from the world around them.
The Wraiths are minor cousins to the Dread.
Where they come from is controversial. At first they are stated to come from the seventh circle of hell, then the sixth, but then they are stated to be anathema to all the circles and that they come from the Void.
The Valheru had one major encounter with them in a place called The Boundary which lies between The Void & reality. Many Valheru fell to the Dread & the Valheru returned to the universe barely keeping the Dread at bay.
The Great UprisingEdit
Pug and Tomas encountered a Dreadmaster during their search of the The City Forever and they where only able to best it through guile & confine it. Unable to kill the Dread, they left it in confinement, despite the Dread's protestations that it would wither and die of hunger only after thousands of years.
More powerful than Dreadmasters, are Dreadlords. During the Battle of Sethanon, a Dreadlord entered the Lifestone chamber and was met in battle by the golden dragon Ryath. The Dreadlord defeated the dragon, and was about to attack the Midkemian defenders, when a burst of energy from the Lifestone, caused by Tomas, absorbed it.
During the time of the Chaos Wars, a Dreadlord managed to gain access to the Fourth Circle of Reality, and through time, devoured all life within that layer, and the layer above it. By the time Pug and Tomas discovered the existence of the Dasati in the Second Circle, the Dreadlord had deposed the gods of the Dasati, twisting their religion into that of death. Its' ultimate goal was to devour all life within the Second Circle, and move up into the First Circle, where Midkemia is located. Near the end of the Darkwar, the Dreadlord became strong enough to create a rift which ended up on Kelewan. While attempting the transition however, Pug dropped Kelewan's moon from his end of the rift, while Nakor used the Godkiller, a fragment of the dark god Nalar, to crush the Dreadlord from the other end of the rift.
It was discovered that Dreadlings (the children of the dread) had discovered a breach in the fabric of reality near The Peaks of the Quor and where using Dreadmounts and Void Darters to flush out game. It was only through the intervention of Miranda and Tomas that they where cast back into The Void.
While the Dreadlings, Dread, Dreadmasters and Dreadlords are the only known 'levels' of Dread, a creature glimpsed through some Taredhel rifts, having the appearance of a huge Dread with a fiery crown, has been speculated to be a Dreadking.
The Dread were the drivers of the demonwar saga. Somehow, an entrance was created from the void into the centre of the Fifth Circle of Hell, and appeared as an expanding blackness that withered and killed any that it touched. It was said by the demons that those who are touched by the darkness do not return to the spawning pits, as usually happens when a demon dies.
The dread incursion caused the Demon King Dahun to seek entrance into Midkemia in order to flee from the dread.
The dread sought to replicate their incursions in the lower circles of hell, by invading Midkemia, and with that the whole of the Midkemian universe. The Regent Lord of the Star Elves had succumbed to their influence and created a rift from the void into Midkemia through which the dread could enter. Only the intellect of the taredhel magicians could keep them at bay in their city of E'bar, by creating a massive sphere of energy containing the dread inside.
The Gods' knew that the Dread do not see time as we do, as a drop that moves through the flow of time, but rather they see the whole stream, and thus can see everything happening at once. The only way to stop the dread, at least for a time, was to focus their attention on one point of the timeline and fix them into it, channeling their focus to a single drop of the stream for as long as possible. To this end, many pieces were moved in order to let Ashen-Shugar, the Valheru alter-ego of Tomas, regain control of Tomas's body. While Tomas had many of the Ancient One's power, only Ashen-Shugar himself would be strong enough to face the entirety of the dread.
Pug and Magnus conspired a way to stop the dread incursion, by linking up all significant sources of magic power on the world of midkemia, and channeling that all to the dome to collapse it into itself, while closing the rift. The plan of the Gods to use Ashen-Shugar as a weapon to fix the Dread in battle was joined here as well. Pug and Ashen-Shugar entered the rift into the void, and while the Dread battled the Dragon Lord, Pug used all the power given to him to destroy the rift.
Pug succeeded at this task, but at a great cost, transforming a large part of Midkemia forever and giving up his life to save that of Magnus. A small part of the dread lingers in what is now called the Sunken Lands, but it is said that it would not cause trouble for a considerable time.
Creatures of the Dread Edit
Motives of the DreadEdit
The reason the Dread are so destructive because they are the opposite of Mind. Mind is a great entity of the higher heavens, and it is the curiosity of Mind which uncurled the grey, featureless mass of beginning into the strands of universes and life. The Dread is that part of reality which does not like this change, seeing it as an anomaly, and wishes to return all of reality to the great peace of the grey, featureless, dimensionless void in which time does not exist and all that has ever happened, will never have happened. The Dread (partly) succeeded in this in the third and fourth circles of hell.
Like Mind, the Dread is not a mass of multiple beings, rather one mind with a single purpose, returning to the balance it once knew. It has been suggested by Nakor that the entire fabric of reality as we know it is part of the mind of a god, and this god is an infant learning about itself through curiosity. Whether this theorized all-encompassing god and Mind are the same, is not made clear. However, it is clear that the Dread stand against everything that is reality itself.