Eithan Arelius is a key character in the Cradle series. He first appears in book 2, Unsouled, as an Underlord.
In book two, Soulsmith, at his first appearance, Eithan is an Underlord visiting the Desolate Wilds, in the western region of the Blackflame Empire, on the Ashwind continent of Cradle. He currently lives in the Blackflame Empire, but he was born on the Rosegold Continent. A portal opens every ten years, connecting the two huge land-masses.
As one of only a limited number of powerful sacred artists, he serves emperor Naru Huan. He is on good terms with the young Overlord, and eventually he forms a friendship with the emperor’s sister, Naru Saeya. However, the emperor’s uncle, Naru Gwei, cannot stand to be around the always-cheerful, always tailored and groomed spoilt young dandy, Eithan. Maybe he doesn’t really know him.
Eithan acts as mentor or guide to a small hand-picked group of sacred artists. He teaches them arcane knowledge of the Sacred Arts and helps them advance through ever-more-challenging Ranks. He adopts the teenagers Yerin Arelius and Wei Shi Lindon Arelius into his family. He also forms close ties with Orthos the sacred dragon-turtle, and with the injured Archlord, Ziel of the Wastelands, and with young Akura Mercy. This group also includes Dross, a mind-spirit, and Little Blue, a nature-spirit. In addition, Jai Long and Jai Chen fall tangentially within Eithan’s little extended self-made family.
Eithan is on friendly terms with Cladia Arelius, the Sage of a Thousand Eyes. She manifested the Oracle Icon (see Sages and Icons) and lives on the Rosegold continent, where Eithan was born. On Rosegold, House Arelius ruled for millennia as a respected Monarchy, until the recent assassination of Tiberian Arelius. Eithan was an advisor to Tiberian, and he respected him. Eithan is not fond of his murderer, Reigan Shen.
Eithan is also on good terms with his extended Arelius clan members on the Ashwind continent, especially Cassias Arelius. However, he doesn’t care much for Cassias’s father, the aging Patriarch, Gaien Arelius.
Jai Daishou, the old patriarch of the Jai clan, hates Eithan. He feels Eithan doesn’t show him due respect. He wants him dead. He also wants to bring down the entire wealthy and powerful House Arelius, janitors to the empire.
When Yerin asked him why he wanted to mentor them, he replied: “I have been looking for people to walk with me every step of the way.” “Where to?” she asked. “To the end.” He let that hang in the air, resonating with honest yearning like a pure musical note. The end of the sacred arts. It was the definition of a myth, the unattainable goal sought by every Path. (Soulsmith, ch 19)
Eithan also shares the goals in the marble left by the historic Arelius Founder, Ozmanthus Arelius, who ascended from Cradle and became Ozriel the Reaper. That goal involves rising to power and ascending from Cradle, to clear corruption from worlds before it gets so bad the entire Iteration needs to be erased. This involves working around the Abidan, who are bound by oath to not interfere in the naturally occurring fate of worlds.
Eithan has another goal, to rid Cradle of self-centered Monarchs and simultaneously rid the world of Dreadgods and Dreadbeasts, both of which are caused by corrupting hunger aura, generated by over-inflated Monarchs.
He’d also be happy to see Shen dead. Internally, he thinks: 'If Reigan Shen didn’t die to a new generation of Monarchs raised by Eithan, that would be the real tragedy.' (Wintersteel, ch 10)
Eithan Arelius was one of the advisers of the Tiberian Arelius, the Arelius monarch, before he (the monarch) died. He was born on the Rosegold continent but he lived most of his childhood in the Blackflame empire on the Ashwind continent. He was able to do this because of a portal that opens once every ten years between the two continents. He returned to the Blackflame empire in his mid 20s and became the patriarch of the side branch of the Arelius family. At this time, Eithan was an underlord. This was also after Tiberian's death.
Eithan, at just within the cut-off age, was invited by Akura/Blackflame to compete in the 18th Uncrowned King Tournament. His “children” also competed. He trained Yerin in spiritual awareness by blindfolding her. She did very well in the tournament, as did all his mentees. He ensured Lindon and Yerin were given some special awards from his own Arelius homeland, to strengthen them.
Eithan himself performed well, making it to the finals. He easily defeated the undercover Luminous Queen Sha Miara in nine seconds. Eithan used his amazing victory to strike a bargain with Reigan Shen, who was worried that Eithan would win the entire tournament and employ the deadly arrowhead Penance against him.
Bargain w/ Shen
After watching Eithan defeat Sha Miara in nine seconds flat, Shen strikes a bargain with him: If Eithan will throw the match, Shen will give him a void key to store his tournament prize, a racing cloud, The Bounding Gazelle. He will send Rootfather Garrylondryth, a green dragon Herald who heals nature, to restore the war-torn Arelius homeland. He will also pay a billion scales to House Arelius and lend one year of service from his own Herald, Yushi, “the Thunder Fairy” on a Lightning Path, with her year of service beginning immediately. He will also ensure evacuees from the Blackflame Empire are allowed safe passage when the Dreadgods attack. He will give Eithan his soul forge, kept in a void key. And new clothes. (Wintersteel ch 10)
👘”I need new clothes!”
Eithan didn’t win the entire tournament but he won enough rounds to gain a big cloudship and tons of sacred plants, that he transformed into a farm. Also, he was awarded a prize, a smaller but much faster cloudship he called the Bounding Gazelle.