|“||The priests made me eat my mother first||”|
–Shickel, Before They Are Hanged
The priests of the Gurkish religious leader Khalul search the south for anyone with the innate ability to become an Eater and found Shickel. They made her eat her mother first. Though she resisted at first, it was that or die, and the need to live was so great. She is now compelled to continue to eat human flesh in order to live. She’s disgusted with herself, but can’t stop, not least because Khalul’s will is inevitable; she believes him truly the voice of God.
The Blade Itself Edit
Shickel is sent to Dagoska as a spy for the Gurkish disguised as one of the many native servants. She becomes one of the servants of Superior Davoust. When he found out about the plot by Korsten dan Vurms and Carlot dan Eider to hand over the city to the Gurkish, she killed him and ate his entire body.
Before They Are Hanged Edit
Inquisitor Harker has taken all three of Davoust's servants into custody and beats most of them to death in his investigation into the Superior's disappearance. When new Superior Glokta arrives in Dagoska and learns of the seemingly pointless brutality, he releases the only survivor, Shickel, whom Glokta takes into his own service.
When Eider and Vurms are arrested for treason, Shickel goes to Glokta's room. He waves her back, admitting he’s expecting a visit from the Gurkish assassin. She responds simply ‘A visitor, eh?’, but her voice different than before, and Glokta realizes that Shickel is the Gurkish assassin. Glokta can’t help chuckling at the irony that Harker, the Inquisitor he stripped of his rank, was right to have Shickel detained. As she moves to kill Glokta, she admits to killing Davoust and eating him. Before she can strike, Practicals Severard, Vitari, and Frost descend on her. After breaking bones that won’t stay broken, they wrap Shickel in layers of heavy chain. Glokta has someone new to question.
Beneath the palace, Glokta observes his Practicals torturing Shickel - blades, hammers, waterboarding, fire; she feels no pain, smiling all through their destruction of her body. Although the torture has had no effect, she chooses to tell her story to Glokta. She admits to being an Eater, forced to become one by Khalul’s priests. She doesn’t fear death, and knows she deserves it. She’s disgusted with herself, but can’t stop, not least because Khalul’s will is inevitable; she believes him truly the voice of God. Khalul believes Bayaz murdered Juvens, and he is an avenger justified in following a dark-path.
Khalul has many Eaters. None are the same, each bestowed different gifts by consuming human flesh - some have strength, speed, and endurance beyond human limits; others still can take forms, or trick the eye, or use High Art like the Magi. The slaves captured by the Gurkish army are used to feed the Eater host, to keep them strong and create new ones. As she finishes her story, Glokta orders them to burn Shickel; if she wants to die, Glokta is happy to oblige.