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Bel-Shamharoth (also known as the "Soul-Eater," the "Soul-Render," or the "Sender of Eight") is an ancient, dark god-like creature introduced in the first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic. Its likeness is etched on the cover of the Octavo ("The Soul Eater. His number lyeth between seven and nine; it is twice four"). Eight was also the Number of Bel-Shamharoth, which was why a sensible wizard would never mention the number if he could avoid it. "Or you'll be eight alive", apprentices were jocularly warned. Further it is described as not Evil, for even EVIL has a certain vitality - It was the flip side of the coin of which Good and Evil are but one side. The description "evil" is inappropriate; "negative" and "void" might even be better terms.

These days he is mostly remembered in the name of the Young Men's Reformed Cultists of the Ichor God Bel-Shamharoth Association (which is also known as the Young Men's Pagan Association or YMPA).

Bel-Shamharoth was especially attracted to dabblers in magic who, by being as it were beachcombers on the shores of the unnatural, were already half-enmeshed in his nets.

It has been speculated that Bel-Shamharoth is a creature from the Dungeon Dimensions who has managed to cling onto the Discworld and gathered worshippers (see The Discworld Companion) like the Hamadryads. This might mean it is in fact less cruel than creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions (whose want for physical existence is what causes them to be cruel), just more capable of hurting non-wizards and therefore quicker to gain a reputation.

It was finally defeated by Rincewind, Twoflower and Hrun, who at that time was in possession of the magical sword Kring, after it was awakened from sleep by Kring speaking out the number eight. Dragged by its tentacles, Rincewind desperately used the Iconograph to defend himself. After a flash of light so white and so bright it didn't seem like light at all, the spirit of Bel-Shamharoth finally sank through the deeper chthonic planes his brooding spirit was being sucked out of the very stones into the region which, according to the Discworld’s most reliable priests, was both under the ground and Somewhere Else.

In the aftermath of the fight, Twoflower showed Rincewind the picture he took. The picture showing, bordered by a few glimpses of tentacle, a huge, whorled, calloused, potion-stained and unfocused thumb.

In Pyramids it seems he is still remembered and referred to by the people of the Djel as the Eater of Souls.

It was inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Substituting the number 8 is likely a reference to the Japanese superstitions around 4 and western superstitions around 13.

Appearance[]

Bel-Shamharoth is all suckers, tentacles, mandibles, and one giant eye. Represented as a mass with several dozen tentacles. It also has the ability to materialise tentacles.

Bel-Shamharoth could definitely be seen as a version of H. P. Lovecraft's Cyäegha.

Temple of Bel-Shamharoth[]

His dilapidated temple is built of two-to-the-power-three-sided stones, with 7a sided tiles, lit in an eerie dark violet and possibly octarine light by twice-four-sided crystals, and a number of main corridors one more than seven and one less than nine leads to the centre of the temple. Where there is a slab with the same number of sides as a spider has legs. Rincewind, unwillingly visiting the temple, has likened it to a spider's web. In addition to leading the visitors to the centre, whichever way they may turn, the temple also is bigger on the inside than the outside. A quality often found in buildings that do not occupy real space-time. The temple is long since abandoned, worship of the Sender of Eight being a decidedly short term prospect.

After the fight, the temple collapsed in on itself. In consequence, his temple was being abandoned to the ravages of Time, who for thousands of shamefaced years had been reluctant to go near the place.

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