- ―The sliph
The Sliph is an amorphous being created by the wizards of the New World at least three thousand years ago during the Great War. It is commonly referred to as "she" because when the sliph arises from slumber to greet a traveler, she shapes herself into the likeness of her human form, which is breathtakingly beautiful, if somewhat startling. In life, she was a high-priced courtesan (aka prostitute) that frequented the Wizard's Keep in Aydindril, and was chosen specifically because she would never reveal the names of her clients, although many of them feared she would. The wizards used their magic to transform the Sliph into a quicksilver-like substance that can traverse hundreds of miles in less than a day through wells that are connected by underground tunnels.
Travelling within the Sliph
To travel in the Sliph, one must have both sides of magic, Additive Magic and Subtractive Magic. Otherwise, without the "price", the Sliph cannot sustain her travellers, and they will die. It is not necessary for the person to have been born with both sides, like Richard Rahl--Nicci can travel because she is a former Sister of the Dark, Cara could travel when she captured the Andolians' magic, and once Kahlan Amnell awakened the Con Dar, she, too, could travel.
The Sliph also cannot carry certain items of magic, like the Sword of Truth, because it is an element of death, and the Sliph can only handle life inside her. This is demonstrated lethally when Richard kills a Sister of the Dark, Merissa, by shoving the sword into the Sliph while Merissa was in it near the climax of Blood of the Fold. The Sliph's quicksilver seemed to run through her veins, and she dissolved into the same material as the Sliph. The Sliph simply stated, "She is with me now. For all time". The Sliph and her customer also seems to feel pain from magic being used within her, such as when Nicci tried to fight off the Blood Beast when it ambushed them in the Sliph, and is very resentful towards anyone who does so. The Sliph may also take protective measures for her travelers, such as in Temple of the Winds when she kills Drefan Rahl in order to protect Kahlan and Richard.
Once within the Sliph, the traveler must breathe her in, which is frequently cited as pure rapture. The actual process of travelling is almost instantaneous to the traveler's perception, because there is no way to gauge time in the Sliph, and it is agony to exhale the Sliph and start breathing cold, unkind air once one has exited the Sliph.
A wizard can "put her to sleep", return her to her soul in the Underworld. That, she says, is her rapture. While she is asleep, no one can travel within her.
The Sliph was put to sleep at the end of the Great War by Wizards in the New World, because she was connected to both sides, the New World and the Old World, and didn't recognize the difference between the warring factions--or if she did, she didn't care, and simply wanted to help them travel. When the Towers of Perdition were finally finished, or as close as they could come to being so, and the barrier separated the two worlds, the Sliph's chamber in the Wizard's Keep was sealed, trapping Wizard Koloblicin and his journal within for three thousand years. The Sliph would not awaken until Richard destroyed the Towers of Perdition. Richard is one of the few people who can awaken the Sliph, since he is the only war wizard left.
Since then, the Sliph has been a reliable means of transportation for Richard and his friends, until recently, when in Chainfire he dared not use his gift, even to awaken the Sliph, lest he draw the attention of Jagang's Blood Beast, and in Phantom, when he is severed from his gift altogether and captured by the witch woman Six.
Sliph well locations
- Wizard's Keep
- Jocopo Treasure
- Deep Nothing
- People's Palace
- Hagen Woods, near the Palace of the Prophets
- Callisidrin River overlook
- Tondelen Vale
- Harja Rift
- Kea Plains
- Herkon Split
- "You wish to travel?"
- "Long? From here to there. That long. I have been there before. I am long enough."
- "He killed the other. I warned him about the object of magic he carries. It is not my fault."
- "You will be pleased."