Essek Thelyss is a drow mage and a senior figure in the Kryn Dynasty. As an NPC, Essek Thelyss is played by Matthew Mercer.

Description[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Fan art of Shadowhand Essek and Taskhand Verin of Den Thelyss, by @JustHustina.[art 2]

Essek is a very handsome male drow who holds his head high.[7] He has very short white hair on the sides that come up to a half curved coif to one side.[8] He wears an elaborate mantle and deep purple and black robes that almost entirely obscure his body.[9] Under the mantle, he wears comfortable, sleek, well-trimmed Xhorhasian-styled clothing.[10]

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,[11][12] later Jester peeked below his cloak and saw his feet weren't touching the ground.[13] 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.[14] At Mythburrow, he left two grooves in the snow behind him as he moved, from his toes.[15] At Matthew Mercer's Stockholm Comic Con panel, he clarified that Essek can walk; he simply chooses not to.[16] 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.[17]

In Disguise[edit | edit source]

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.[18]

Personality[edit | edit source]

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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

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[23] and is part way into his second century. He is apparently not consecuted,[24] though this has not been revealed in-game. He considers that Den Thelyss was very kind to accept one as comparatively young as himself.[25] 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.[26] His mother, however, is the Umavi of Den Thelyss.[27]

"In Love and War" (2x57)[edit | edit source]

Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by @porzio art.[art 3]

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)[edit | edit source]

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)[edit | edit source]

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.

"Intervention" (2x63)[edit | edit source]

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.[28][29]

"Causatum" (2x70)[edit | edit source]

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.[30] When Caleb sought him out afterwards, Essek agreed to do what he could to see that the captured Scourger's execution was not accelerated.[31]

"Family Gathering" (2x71)[edit | edit source]

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.[32] After one unsuccessful attempt, Essek successfully transported them all to the Greying Wildlands.[33]

"Manifold Morals" (2x74)[edit | edit source]

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.

"Rime and Reason" (2x75)[edit | edit source]

When Essek moved away, Jester saw that instead of footprints, he left two grooves in the snow from his toes dragging.

"A Tangled Web" (2x77)[edit | edit source]

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)[edit | edit source]

Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Vicious Mongrel.[art 4]

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.

"The Folding Halls" (2x80)[edit | edit source]

Essek met with the Mighty Nein to discuss the break in that occurred the night before and his work being done researching the Angel of Irons cult.

"Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90)[edit | edit source]

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."[34]

"Stone to Clay" (2x91)[edit | edit source]

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.

"The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97)[edit | edit source]

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[35] 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),[36] setting off the war. Essek claims 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.[37] 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.[38]

"Dark Waters" (2x98)[edit | edit source]

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.

"High Seas, High Stakes" (2x99)[edit | edit source]

In his illusory form as Lord Thain, Essek joined the Mighty Nein on the deck of the Ball-Eater in order to observe negotiations between the Dynasty and the Empire.

Chapter 18[edit | edit source]

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 a mobile Vurmas outpost.[39]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Caleb Widogast[edit | edit source]

After the Mighty Nein were assigned to Essek’s stewardship, Essek found Caleb's demonstration of his unique Cat’s Ire spell "interesting" and agreed to tutor Caleb in dunamancy.[40]

At Caleb’s request, Essek agreed to do what he could to delay the execution of a captured Scourger. [41] Essek later escorted the party to the Scourger and allowed Caleb to enter the cell with her alone. When the Scourger attacked and wounded Caleb, Essek retaliated by levitating her off the ground, incapacitating her. At Caleb’s signal, Essek killed her by magically crushing her torso.[42]

Later that day, Essek shared more dunamancy with Caleb, admitting this might put him in danger but calling it an extension of his trust in Caleb and the Mighty Nein. When Caleb declared that they were friends, Essek responded, “I like that.”[43]

Essek was irritated by Caleb touching his arm while apologising for a miscommunication over Essek’s teleportation services, but was persuaded to re-teleport the Mighty Nein to their intended destination.[44]

While having dinner at the Xhorhaus, Essek said that he believed Caleb understood his desire for knowledge and discovery, and saw a "similar spark" in him. [45] He later helped Caleb and Nott develop their Transmogrification spell, and was grateful when Caleb agreed to let him make a copy of the spell for his own records.[46][47]

While disguised as Dezran Thain, Essek was visibly nervous in Caleb’s presence (as well as that of Caduceus).[48] After admitting to the Mighty Nein that his ambition led him to steal the Luxon Beacons, Essek was told by Caleb that the two were alike. Caleb kissed Essek’s forehead and told Essek that he had a chance to make amends.[49]

Jester Lavorre[edit | edit source]

Soon after meeting Essek, Jester told him he seemed like "a really cool guy" and that she hoped they could be friends.[50] When Essek presented the party with the Xhorhaus, Jester thanked him with an awkwardly long hug.[51]

Jester regularly casts 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.[52] He was, however, uninterested in her offer to teach him her own magic.[53]

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". [54] 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 White Dawn Lagoon.[55]

While disguised as Dezran Thain, Essek flustered when Jester spoke to him and made awkward attempts to lie to her.[56] She later held his hand while he confessed to his crimes.[57]

Home[edit | edit source]

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.[58]

Character Information[edit | edit source]

Notable Items[edit | edit source]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Essek is a self-proclaimed "prodigy" of dunamancy,[61] and a graviturgist, a person who specifically focuses in dunamancy's study of gravity.[62] His spellbook is apparently kept in a pocket dimension, and apparates into a hand when needed.[63] Essek's demonstrated abilities and limitations make him a 15th- or 16th-level wizard.[64]

Elf Abilities[edit | edit source]

  • Darkvision
  • Keen Senses
  • Fey Ancestry
  • Trance
  • Subrace: Drow
    • Superior Darkvision
    • Sunlight Sensitivity
    • Drow Magic
      • Dancing Lights cantrip
      • Faerie Fire spell
      • Darkness spell
    • Drow Weapon Training

Wizard Abilities[edit | edit source]

  • Arcane Recovery
  • Arcane Tradition (Graviturgy Magic)
    • Adjust Density
    • Gravity Well
    • Violent Attraction
    • Event Horizon
  • Ritual Casting
  • Spellcasting (Intelligence-based ability)

Wizard Spells[edit | edit source]

Cantrips[edit | edit source]
  • Prestidigitation[65]
1st-level[edit | edit source]
2nd-level[edit | edit source]
  • Fortune's Favor[66]
  • Immovable Object[68]
  • Misty Step[69][presumed]
  • Wristpocket[70][presumed]
3rd-level[edit | edit source]
4th Level[edit | edit source]
5th-level[edit | edit source]
  • Teleportation Circle[74]
  • Telekinesis[75][presumed]
7th-level[edit | edit source]

Quotations[edit | edit source]

  • "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)[77]
  • "Time is one of my specialties." (When asked why he isn't affected by the dunamantic time distortion in the Dungeon of Penance)[78]
  • "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."[79]
  • "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."[80]
  • "Maybe you should try friends sometime." (explaining himself to the Martinet)[81]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matt stated that Essek is a Graviturgist at the Stockholm Comic Con panel.
  2. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:32:22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 See  Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 41.
  4. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:23:07.
  5. See "Through the Trees" (2x79) from 0:20:42 through 0:32:32.  Essek casts Teleport twice but also indicates he can't do it a third time. This means he has one 7th- and one 8th-level spell slots, but doesn't have a 9th-level slot or a second 7th-level slot. This makes him a 15th- or 16th-level wizard.
  6. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 3:33:28.  Although Elves are canonically immune to Sleep spells, Matt appeared to look at Essek's HP to determine that the Manacles of Stasis, with a 15d8 roll of 73, would fail to put him to sleep.
  7. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 17:17.
  8. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 47:56.
  9. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 17:17.
  10. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:20:58.
  11. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 47:56.
  12. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 2:36:56.
  13. See "Agreements" (2x61) at 3:19:43.
  14. See "Family Gathering" (2x71) at 3:12:31.
  15. See "Rime and Reason" (2x75) at 0:13:08.
  16. Matt discussed Essek at the Stockholm Comic Con panel.
  17. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:21:36.
  18. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:43:29.
  19. Matt discussed Essek at the Stockholm Comic Con panel.
  20. See "Talks Machina #137: 'Lingering Wounds' & 'Bathhouses and Bastions'" (TMx137) at 1:00:13.
  21. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:37:37.
  22. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 1:20:37.
  23. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:09:24.  "Interestingly enough, while I am consecuted, I have not gone beyond the first life yet."
  24. See "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount Q&A and Fireside Chat with Matthew Mercer" (Sx53) at 1:30:23.
  25. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:09:51.
  26. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:58:37.
  27. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:23:07.
  28. See "Intervention" (2x63) at 33:47.
  29. See "Intervention" (2x63) at 40:37.
  30. See "Causatum" (2x70) at 2:50:51.
  31. See "Causatum" (2x70) at 3:24:31.
  32. See "Family Gathering" (2x71) at 3:12:59.
  33. See "Family Gathering" (2x71) at 3:17:47.
  34. See "Talks Machina #144: 'The Fancy and the Fooled'" (TMx144) from 42:00 through 43:11.
  35. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 3:53:57.
  36. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 4:06:57.
  37. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 4:03:06.
  38. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 4:05:55.
  39. See "The Tortoise and The Dare" (2x117) at 2:33:13.
  40. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) from 1:49:46 through 1:50:46.
  41. See "Causatum" (2x70) at 3:24:31.
  42. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 1:16:00.
  43. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) from 2:01:42 through 2:02:00.
  44. See "Through the Trees" (2x79) at 0:29:28.
  45. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:39:02.
  46. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 3:17:55.
  47. See "Home is Where the Heart Is" (2x92) at 0:30:14.
  48. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:45:56.
  49. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) from 3:57:14 through 4:00:15.
  50. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:19:08.
  51. See "Agreements" (2x61) at 3:22:22.
  52. See "Uthodurn" (2x73) at 4:00:29.
  53. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 2:06:42.
  54. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) from 0:46:52 through 0:57:38.
  55. See "With Great Power..." (2x94) at 3:24:55.
  56. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 3:23:36.
  57. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 4:01:32.
  58. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 1:34:36.
  59. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 1:52:20.
  60. See "With Great Power..." (2x94) at 3:24:55.  Made from Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments
  61. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:09:38.
  62. Matt discussed Essek at the Stockholm Comic Con panel.
  63. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 1:52:20.
  64. See "Through the Trees" (2x79) from 0:20:42 through 0:32:32.  Essek casts Teleport twice but also indicates he can't do it a third time. This means he has one 7th- and one 8th-level spell slot, but doesn't have a 9th-level slot or a second 7th-level slot. This makes him a 15th- or 16th-level wizard.
  65. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:46:34.  Essek demonstrated using Prestidigitation to style hair into a point.
  66. 66.0 66.1 See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 1:52:40.  Essek allows Caleb to copy two dunamancy spells from his own spellbook.
  67. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 1:06:58.  Essek uses an illusion spell to disguise himself as Dezran Thain.
  68. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 2:01:13.  Essek teaches Caleb two more dunamancy spells. This suggests that he also knows them himself. Based on the paper cost to transcribe this spell, probably 2nd-level.
  69. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:46:34.  Essek teleported away precisely 30 feet.
  70. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 1:52:20.  Essek conjures his spellbook from thin air, matching the description of the spell.
  71. See "Manifold Morals" (2x74) at 4:01:22.  Caleb recognizes the spell cast as Dispel Magic.
  72. See "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) at 2:38:18.  Essek casts a spell that Jester recognizes as Sending.
  73. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) from 2:02:11 through 2:04:54.  Essek teaches Caleb two more dunamancy spells. This suggests that he also knows them himself. Level initially inferred from the 300 gp total cost of paper and ink to transcribe the two new spells. Since Immovable Object has now been confirmed as 2nd-level, Resonant Echo must be 4th.
  74. See "Clay and Dust" (2x72) at 18:53.  Essek transports himself back to Rosohna, consistent with the mechanics of the spell.
  75. See "Manifold Morals" (2x74) at 4:00:34.  Essek moves a cupcake from Jester's hand to his cloak, matching the spell description.
  76. See "Family Gathering" (2x71) at 3:17:47.  Essek casts Teleport.
  77. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 0:29:59.
  78. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:17:12.
  79. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) from 31:06 through 31:27.
  80. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 0:47:22.
  81. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 1:05:55.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Rammaru (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Shadowhand Essek and Taskhand Verin of Den Thelyss, by @JustHustina (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by @porzio art (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of Essek Thelyss, by Vicious Mongrel (source).  Used with permission.
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