- 1 Description
- 2 Biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Home
- 5 Character Information
- 5.1 Notable Items
- 5.2 Abilities
- 5.2.1 Miscellaneous Abilities
- 5.2.2 Elf Abilities
- 5.2.3 Feats
- 5.2.4 Wizard Abilities
- 5.2.5 Wizard Spells
- 6 Quotations
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
Essek is a very handsome male drow who holds his head high. He has very short white hair on the sides that come up to a half curved coif to one side. His eyes are violet-blue. He wears an elaborate mantle and deep purple and black robes that almost entirely obscure his body. Under the mantle, he wears comfortable, sleek, well-trimmed Xhorhasian-styled clothing.
Essek moves in a unique way, described as gliding or drifting. His cloak falls to the floor, obscuring his feet. Although in the Mighty Nein's initial meeting with him, they heard and saw his footfalls as he moved, later Jester peeked below his cloak and saw his feet weren't touching the ground. Once, when he came to the Xhorhaus, the party scattered ball bearings on the floor, which separated out around his form like there was some invisible force pushing them outward and generating a strange force keeping them at bay. At Mythburrow, he left two grooves in the snow behind him as he moved, from his toes. At Matthew Mercer's Stockholm Comic Con panel, he clarified that Essek can walk; he simply chooses not to. Later, the party learned that Essek floats because when he was young, he used it as a means of impressing people and now it has become expected of him.
During the battle with Cree in the tunnels beneath Cognouza, Essek acquired a red eye on his right shoulder blade. He acquired four more eyes during the final battle with Lucien, one of which was on his throat. Upon Lucien's death, all five eyes on his body disappeared.
When in disguise as Dezran Thain, Essek takes on the illusion of a young, pale-skinned elf with short dirty blonde hair coming to a point at the front. His illusory robes are silver and teal.
Essek is quite charming and hardworking; however, he is elusive. He isn't fond of interacting with strangers or giving away information unless he respects the individual or needs them for something. He is arrogant in his abilities. Although he may be concerned about the Mighty Nein, as a person with his training, station, general persona, and how he likes to present himself, he would never openly show that concern.
Essek has expressed frustration with the Dynasty's religious beliefs concerning the Luxon beacons and The Luxon. He feels they are based on myth, interpretation, and assumption, and distract from the effort to pursue the power contained in the beacons. His beliefs cut him off from others of the Dynasty; he does not trust anyone and feels like he doesn't belong. Therefore, he spends much of his time alone.
Essek is a member of Den Thelyss, one of the three main Dens of Rosohna. He told the Mighty Nein he is consecuted, but has not gone beyond his first life yet and is part way into his second century. He in fact refused to be consecuted, though this has not been revealed in-game. He considers that Den Thelyss was very kind to accept one as comparatively young as himself. He holds an apparently high position in the Xhorhasian government, going by the title "Shadowhand", but it is unclear the specifics of his job.
Essek has claimed that he believes the worst thing he's ever done is anger his father to the point where he went unprepared into the depths of Bazzoxan and didn’t return. He believed that his father wasn’t a great man and had little aspirations. His mother, however, is the Umavi of Den Thelyss.
"In Love and War" (2x57) Essek was in attendance when The Mighty Nein received an audience with the Bright Queen, and returned the beacon to the Kryn Dynasty. When Nott inquired about her husband Yeza's whereabouts, it was Essek as Shadowhand who confirmed that Yeza was in fact in their custody. Before the Bright Queen dismissed the Mighty Nein, Essek was assigned to be their steward while they were potential allies to the Dynasty. Afterwards, Essek took the Nein through the Shadowshire to the Dungeon of Penance where Nott and Yeza reunited. Though coy at first, he did agree to release Yeza after a small interrogation and then continued to show the group around Rosohna, to the Dim's Inn and their new lodgings.
"Agreements" (2x61) Essek returned to the Nein to show them to their new home, courtesy of Den Thelyss. It was raining, but the raindrops did not touch him, instead falling around him while he remained dry.
"Domestic Respite" (2x62) Essek dropped by the Xhorhaus and remarked on how the Mighty Nein were settling into their new home. Beau invited him in for drinks, but he declined. After some polite conversation, Caleb asked after ways to learn dunamancy. Essek asked him to demonstrate his magical prowess, and Caleb cast Cat's Ire. Essek then decided to begin teaching him the basics of dunamancy, offering to let him transcribe two spells from his spellbook, Gift of Alacrity and Fortune's Favor.
"Intervention" (2x63) Essek vouched for the party in their meeting with the Bright Queen sharing information about the upcoming attack on the Ashguard Garrison and the meeting at the Overcrow Apothecary.
"Causatum" (2x70) Essek was present for the Mighty Nein's audience with the Bright Queen following their return from Bazzoxan and said he could transport the group to the Flotket Alps. When Caleb sought him out afterwards, Essek agreed to do what he could to see that the captured Scourger's execution was not accelerated.
"Family Gathering" (2x71) When the Mighty Nein were ready to leave for the Flotket Alps, they sent to Essek to come to the Xhorhaus, where they introduced Dairon as their house sitter. After a brief mishap, Essek successfully transported them all to the Greying Wildlands.
"Manifold Morals" (2x74) The Mighty Nein Sent to Essek asking him to Teleport the party to Mythburrow and he agreed. When they returned to Rosohna, he also helped Caleb by using Dispel Magic on the stolen book page, unlocking its contents, and told Caleb he had been able to delay the execution of the Scourger for two weeks. Reani found him very attractive and was overawed and shy around him. Essek then successfully Teleported all of them to Mythburrow.
"A Tangled Web" (2x77) Essek escorted the party to the Dungeon of Penance to interrogate the captive Scourger, and when she attacked Caleb, Essek used magic to lift her still-living body off the ground and magically crush her central torso inward, killing her instantly and mangling the body. Essek later taught Caleb two new dunamancy spells, Immovable Object and Resonant Echo.
"Through the Trees" (2x79) Essek transported the party to the Lotusden Greenwood, but there was confusion over their intended target and they then asked him to teleport them further south in an attempt to intercept or get ahead of Obann. He was extremely reluctant. When Caleb placed his hand on his forearm and apologized, he pulled away. However, Essek agreed and teleported the party deeper into the forest. When Beau asked if he was mad at them, he said he was just ready to leave, reiterated that he had not forgotten that the party now owed him a number of favors, and told them to be careful and safe. He exited by casting a spell that sent him flying up through the canopy.
"Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) The party returned to Rosohna and met with a weary-looking Essek, who told them of the captured Adeen Tasithar, and that Adeen had been being interrogated for two days. Essek agreed to taking a disguised Fjord into the prison to see if he could learn anything further. When the party told Essek they thought Adeen was mind-controlled, Essek went to check if he had a mark on his neck similar to Yasha's. He was insight-checked on his return by Nott, who later told Caleb that Essek seemed "funky".
Sam Riegel later revealed that, on that insight check, Matthew Mercer had whispered that Essek was being weird and was lying about something about the prisoner, and that he was "completely not himself."
"Stone to Clay" (2x91) Essek accepted the Mighty Nein's invitation to dinner at the Xhorhaus. He was the most open and honest with them he had yet been, removing his floor-length mantle for the first time and explaining to them that he began levitating when he was young in an effort to impress people. He told them a little about his family and asked them about their own goals, sharing his frustration with the religious interpretation the Dynasty puts on the Luxon beacons. Caleb gave him the vial of dunamantic power the party recovered in the cellar of the Brenatto Apothecary in Felderwin. Essek offered to help Caleb with his research into Halas's notes on transforming bodies permanently, and the next day, the party went to Essek's home where he, Caleb, and Nott were successful in creating the Transmogrification spell. The spell ultimately failed because of the lingering curse on Nott.
"With Great Power..." (2x94) Essek Teleported the party to the Whitedawn Lagoon. After Jester saw him flinching at the bright sunlight, she created a parasol for him using her magic paints. Essek was very grateful and touched by this gesture, and he brought the parasol back to Rosohna with him.
"The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) In Nicodranas, Caleb discovered Essek secretly meeting aboard a ship of the Cerberus Assembly. The Mighty Nein soon confronted Essek, and he confessed that he stole the Luxon beacons from the Dynasty and for research purposes gave the beacons to certain members of the Cerberus Assembly (Ludinus Da'leth and Trent Ikithon, with Vess DeRogna commanding the research), setting off the war. Essek claimed that, when the Mighty Nein returned one of those beacons, he tried to stay close to them to lead them away from the truth, but he grew to care for them. Now that the Assembly had a freshly unearthed beacon, the conspirators were content to return the remaining stolen beacon to the Dynasty and continue studying the new one, sharing their research with him via correspondence. Essek claimed he and his co-conspirators were trying to ensure that "outside interests" did not disrupt the attempt to return the beacon and end the war.
"Dark Waters" (2x98) The discussion between Essek and the Mighty Nein continued on their ship. Essek confirmed that the plot concerning the beacons had been going on for three years, and urged the party to reveal as little as possible, particularly to Da'leth. He was released by the Nein to resume his disguise as Lord Thain.
"The Tortoise and The Dare" (2x117) On the island of Foren on Eiselcross, Jester used Sending to contact Essek about their dilemma with the Tombtakers, and it turned out Essek was fortuitously already near Foren, at the mobile Vurmas outpost.
"A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) The party stayed in touch and met up with Essek at a Kryn Dynasty outpost at the ruins of Aeor. They shared almost everything they knew about Lucien, the Tombtakers, and the Cognouza. They withheld information about the eyes on Caleb's shoulder and Beau's hand. Essek told them he feared his life was in danger from the Cerberus Assembly since he was no longer of use to them and knew too much. He seemed ashamed and could not meet the party's eyes, particularly Caleb's. He suggested a possible link to Aeor for the Luxon beacons and the possibility of using a beacon to manipulate time to "undo mistakes". He urged them to seek more information and help from knowledgeable allies.
"Into the Eye" (2x131) The Mighty Nein reconvened with Essek. They suggested an alliance with Trent Ikithon, and Caleb and Beau revealed their eye tattoos. Essek was worried that Trent would take the powers of Cognouza for himself, and feared that his own involvement would make the alliance messy. He offered to follow the Mighty Nein and Trent from a distance to give more indirect aid. After a discussion, the Nein decided to ally with Essek rather than Trent. Essek was moved by the Nein's trust, and joined them as they continued their journey.
"Aeor" (2x132) Essek accompanied the party to the entrance to Aeor, where he gave Dagen a Sending Stone with which to warn the Mighty Nein of the Tombtakers' approach. Essek nervously joined the battle against the Frost Giant zombies, and later used Ray of Frost to repel the Brown Mold in the Aeorian ruin and carve a path for the party.
"Hunter and Hunted" (2x133) Essek continued to assist the Mighty Nein, setting one of the Intuit Charges used to trap the Tombtakers. He was invited into the Nein-Sided Tower, where he and Caleb discussed their goals and mistakes. While the party rested, Essek’s rangers alerted him via Sending Stone of the Tombtakers' approach. At Fjord's prompting, Essek ordered the rangers to engage the enemy.
"The Genesis Ward" (2x135) Essek kept watch while Caleb raided the records room in the Genesis Ward, and told him that he was worried about the increasing eye markings on him and Beau. He urged Caleb not to become distracted from their goal.
Later on, the Mighty Nein came across the Rejuvenation Chamber, within which Essek and Caleb sensed dunamis energy. Essek inspected the purple gem on the cylinder marked "Terminal RE 02" and called Caleb over, pointing out that within it appeared elements of space and drifting possibilities, like a smaller, weaker Luxon beacon. Essek then used magic to destroy the damaged cylinder, releasing the diamond-shaped dark purple gem, which he gave to Caleb.
As the party fled downward through the crater, Caleb "showboated" as he Flew past Essek, prompting the latter to also cast Fly and showboat along with him.
"Hell or High Water" (2x136) Essek was fascinated by the Temporal Dock discovered on floor B-9. He found the possibility of changing time and correcting mistakes alluring, though dangerous, and suggested that he and Caleb return later for further study. He successfully escaped the fight with the leviathan guarding the Immensus Gate, traversing the portal to the Astral Sea along with his friends.
"Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) As the Mighty Nein explored Cognouza, Essek joined Veth's investigation of one of the buildings. He incinerated a screaming Cognouza resident before it could become a threat.
"Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) During the battle with the transformed Cree, the fractal patterns flashing across her body made a red eye appear on Essek’s right shoulder blade. When the Mighty Nein were concerned about having no time to rest before facing Lucien, Essek suggested using dunamancy and the crystal from the Rejuvenation device to create a skip in time, granting the group the benefits of a long rest. With Caleb’s help, Essek completed the spell, destroying the crystal and reinvigorating the party.
"Rebirth" (2x139) As the Mighty Nein prepared for their final confrontation with Lucien, Essek thanked them for trusting him. He was Charmed by Gaudius during the battle, but Caleb freed him with Dispel Magic before he could be forced to harm the party.
"Long May He Reign" (2x140) Despite being struck by Luctus and wracked with grief for his crimes, Essek continued to fight for his friends and survived the battle with Lucien. He was distressed when the initial attempt to resurrect Mollymauk failed, saying that it was unfair after the Nein had come so far. After Molly was successfully resurrected, Essek returned to the Material Plane with the rest of the Nein.
"Fond Farewells" (2x141) Essek stayed with the Mighty Nein as they rested in the Blooming Grove. He turned down Jester's offer to paint new clothes for him, though he accepted a new parasol and rose-printed gardening gloves. Though frightened by Trent Ikithon’s arrival and resistance to damage, Essek helped to subdue him. He then spent some time helping in the Clays’ garden. With Trent captured, Essek was free to return to Vurmas Outpost to take care of his responsibilities there, since the Scourgers would no longer hunt him. He decided to travel back by way of Uthodurn and perhaps visit Reani. Essek bid the Mighty Nein a grateful, emotional farewell.
Months later, Essek and Caleb returned to Aeor together. After travelling to the Genesis Ward, they both decided against using the T-Dock to change their pasts. Essek eventually had to leave Eiselcross after the Dynasty began to suspect him, but found ways to make a new life using illusions and multiple false personas. He and Caleb shared a romantic relationship for some time, and a lifelong friendship. Essek stayed in close contact with all of the Mighty Nein.
- → Main article: Relationship between Caleb and Essek.
Caleb and Essek are lifelong friends, and are romantic partners after the end of the campaign. Their friendship began after the Mighty Nein were assigned to Essek’s stewardship, and Essek agreed to tutor a curious Caleb in dunamancy. A connection soon sparked between them thanks to their shared passion for magic.
Their relationship became complicated after the revelation that Essek had given the beacons to the Cerberus Assembly. However, Caleb saw deep similarities between their mistakes, and encouraged Essek to make amends for his crimes. When they reunited at Vurmas Outpost, Essek showed new regret for his actions, and couldn’t make eye contact with Caleb at all.
The two wizards rebuilt their bond during their time in Aeor, discussing their past sins and working together. Some months after Lucien and Trent were defeated, they returned to the Temporal Dock in Aeor. Essek said he didn’t want to change a thing about his past, since his mistakes had led him to be here with Caleb. Caleb destroyed the T-Dock, and the two later began a romantic relationship. While they eventually separated due to the differences in elven and human aging, they remained close friends for the rest of Caleb’s life.
Jester and Essek are friends. Soon after meeting Essek, Jester told him he seemed like "a really cool guy" and that she hoped they could be friends. When Essek presented the party with the Xhorhaus, Jester thanked him with an awkwardly long hug.
Jester regularly cast Sending to Essek during the party’s travels, asking for information and assistance. Essek accepted the Uthodurnian cupcake Jester gave him on one visit to Rosohna. He was, however, uninterested in her offer to teach him her own magic.
Jester was "really happy" to have Essek visit for dinner. He was interested in her goals and called her desire to find where she fit in "very noble".  Essek was touched and grateful when Jester created a parasol with her magic paint to shield him from the sun after he teleported the party to the Whitedawn Lagoon.
After learning of Essek's presence in Eiselcross, Jester continued to Send him updates on the Mighty Nein's progress, sometimes adding friendly compliments to her messages. She ran to hug Essek immediately on reuniting with him at Vurmas Outpost. Essek was startled, but told her it was very good to see her again. Jester suggested that the party take Essek with them after defeating the Tombtakers and alter his appearance with Transmogrification to protect him from assassins. She was open about still trusting Essek. When Essek joined the party to travel through Aeor, Jester tried to make him feel welcome and included.
Verin is Essek’s younger brother. He was the only familial bond Essek had prior to meeting the Mighty Nein, since he alone understood and got along with Essek in a family that Essek was otherwise at odds with. Essek named him as one of the potential allies he would trust to assist with fighting Lucien.
Essek lives in a gated community within the Firmaments District of Rosohna. His home consists of three towers of different heights connected by walkways. At the top of one tower is a weather-vane type mechanism that tracks the shifting ley lines. It is built of slightly iridescent grey brick.
- Two Parasols
- Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location
- Warming orb
- Sending Stones
Essek is a self-proclaimed "prodigy" of dunamancy, and a graviturgist, a person who specifically focuses in dunamancy's study of gravity. His spellbook is apparently kept in a pocket dimension, and apparates into a hand when needed. Essek's demonstrated abilities and limitations make him a 15th- or 16th-level wizard, and has abilities consistent with both the Graviturgy Magic and Chronurgy Magic subclasses.
- Essek can magically levitate a few inches above the ground at will. This doesn't impede his ability to move across the ground, as the spell Levitate would.
- Essek falls slowly, similar to the effects of Feather Fall.
- Keen Senses
- Fey Ancestry
- Subrace: Drow
- Superior Darkvision
- Sunlight Sensitivity
- Drow Magic
- Dancing Lights cantrip
- Faerie Fire spell
- Darkness spell
- Drow Weapon Training
- War Caster
- Arcane Recovery
- Ritual Casting
- Spellcasting (Intelligence-based ability)
- Adjust Density
- Arcane Abeyance
- Fire Bolt 
- Mage Hand
- Minor Illusion
- Ray of Frost
- "The Luxon is the basis of how we've been able to free ourselves from the binds of the lineage the Betrayer Gods left for us and to carve our own fates, choose our own paths and sidestep these destinies placed upon us nonchalantly by gods that use us as playthings." (Essek explaining the significance of the Luxon to Dunamis power)
- "Time is one of my specialties." (When asked why he isn't affected by the dunamantic time distortion in the Dungeon of Penance)
- "I think religion is a....I would say a crutch to some spaces. I mean the Dynasty is so focused on this Luxon, this religion, and the possibility of what it means, but it's distracting them from what other good things they could do with the time and focus, maybe."
- "The Dynasty-- I've lived here my entire life, and while there are benefits and there are other places that are much more challenging to live in, I find it frustrating at times. I find that the obsession with this Luxon entity belies what the truth may be, that these artifacts, I theorize, have nothing to do with a divine being but are just perhaps artifacts designed in the Age of Arcanum that have been misread. In which case, it is being misused or at least only the surface has been scratched of what's possible. So. My interests leave me not trusting anyone, not feeling like I, in some ways, belong. And as such, I spend a lot of my time in solitude."
- "Maybe you should try friends sometime." (explaining himself to the Martinet)
- "I've never really been trusted and so I did not trust. And I never let anyone close. I have been clouded in my judgment many times for a lot of my life. When I- when you gave me trust, it gave me a perspective that was so agonizingly striking. So easy to see that I refused to acknowledge it at first, even. I would be lying if I said that our paths crossing hasn't shaken me to the core. And I'm appreciative." (explaining how the Mighty Nein have changed him)
- "Thank you, Mighty Nein. I could never return the favor... for what you've done for me."
- "I have spent my life in the pursuit of the ability to control one's future, and that path has led me to making many mistakes. And my shift begin to wander the possibility of fixing one's past, and since we found this, I've thought of it often. A possibility of retracing one's lifeline. Adjusting things. But such pursuits are selfish. For the more you understand time, understand you cannot see the ramifications of changing such things. Were I have found this before I found you, perhaps I may have done some incredible, terrible things with it. But I accept my regrets, my faults now, and I'm here today with this knowledge, in this moment with you, because of those mistakes. And as much as they hurt me, I don't want to change a thing." (spoken to Caleb in the T-Dock chamber in Aeor)
- Essek's favorite foods are simple soups and stews.
- Essek created the spell Resonant Echo.
- Essek has been confirmed to be both attracted to men and either demiromantic, demisexual, or both by Matt Mercer on Twitter.
- Essek appeared on a card in the Critical Role release of the Munchkin tabletop game, although his surname was misspelled "Theyless".
- Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Rammaru (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Shadowhand Essek and Taskhand Verin of Den Thelyss, by @JustHustina (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by @porzio art (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Vicious Mongrel (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Elliott (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek, by Eleonora Nascimbeni (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek in Eiselcross, by saturdaysky (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Caleb and Essek, by shalizeh7 (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Jester greeting Essek, by heidzdraws (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Verin with Essek, by Giulia Valentini (kurocyou) (source). Used with permission.
- See Matt Mercer's Tweet.
- Fan art of Essek casting Magic Missile, by Kiyoko (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Essek casting Haste, by Giulia Valentini (kurocyou) (source). Used with permission.