Esmenet has dark hair and brown eyes. She has two snake heads tattooed to the back of her left hand, marking her as a prostitute in Sumna. She is considered very attractive.
What Came Before
Esmenet has always regretted being unable to see the world outside Sumna. She asks her clients to tell her their stories so she can travel the world vicariously. Achamian's reaction to her questions endeared him to her, and he became a regular client whenever he was in Sumna.
Esmenet had a daughter, Mimara, while she was still a young prostitute. During a severe famine, she sold her daughter to slavers to buy food. She would later deeply regret the decision and claim that her daughter died.
The Darkness That Comes Before
When Achamian arrives on his mission to learn more about Maithanet, she readily takes him in and participates in his plotting sessions. When his informant, Inrau, is murdered, the Schoolman is forced to travel to Momemn. Esmenet begs him to take her with him, but he refuses.
Not long after, a threatening stranger comes to her room, demanding to know everything about Achamian. The man ravishes her using an inexplicable ability to provide intense pleasure with his touch. Esmenet finds herself answering all his questions before he vanishes leaving only pools of black seed to mark his passing.
Esmenet flees Sumna, determined to find Achamian and tell him what happened. On her way to Momemn she pauses in a village, hoping to find someone to repair her broken sandal. When the villagers recognize the whore’s tattoo on her hand they begin stoning her. Only the sudden appearance of Sarcellus saves her. Sarcellus takes her to Momemn.
Once they reach the Holy War, Esmenet stays with Sarcellus. Until one night before the Holy War is to march, she sets off in search of the Achamian, determined to tell him everything that has happened. She locates Xinemus’s camp. Ashamed, she hides in the darkness, waiting for Achamian to appear. When she sees him trudging toward her. She holds out her arms to him, weeping with joy and sorrow … And he simply walks past her as though she were a stranger. Heartbroken, she flees, determined to make her own way in the Holy War.
Thinking Achamian has repudiated her, Esmenet joins a troop of camp prostitutes. At Asgilioch, she finds Achamian kneeling in the crowds, drunk and beaten. They reconcile, even though she cannot confess the truth of her affair with Sarcellus. She joins him in his humble tent, and becomes his wife in spirit if not in ritual. Achamian introduces her to Kellhus and Serwë.
When Achamian goes missing. She mourns him the way she once mourned her dead daughter. While the Men of the Tusk assail the South Bank, she remains alone in Achamian’s tent, refusing to rejoin the Holy War.
After the Battle of Anwurat, Kellhus comes to her with Serwë, and convinces her to join them on the continued march. He begins teaching her how to read and she finds herself attracted to Kellhus. She confesses the truth about her daughter: Mimara didn’t die all those years ago. Esmenet sold the girl to slavers to forestall starvation. She and Kellhus make love the following morning and she becomes his second wife. She becomes pregnant.
When the Great Names execute Serwë and condemn Kellhus to the Circumfix. All seems lost … Until Achamian returns.
The Thousandfold Thought
The Judging Eye
In Momemn, the capital of the New Empire, Esmenet struggles to rule in her husband's absence. The Imperial Court regards her with condescension. She has the travails of her own family to contend with: all her eldest children have gone. Mimara has fled to Achamian. Kayûtas, Serwa, and her stepson, Moënghus, ride with their father in the Great Ordeal. Theliopa remains with her as an adviser, but she is scarcely human. The next youngest, the mad and murderous Inrilatas, Esmenet keeps imprisoned atop the Andiamine Heights. Only her very youngest, Kelmomas, who murders his twin brother Samarmas, provides her with any comfort.
At Maithanet's bidding, Esmenet summons Sharacinth, the officially sanctioned Matriarch of the Yatwerians, with the intention of setting the Cult against itself. When they fail to cow the woman, Kellhus himself arrives and breaks her will to resist with sheer force of presence. The blubbering Matriarch yields, promising to wrest her Cult from Psatma Nannaferi.
Kelmomas murders Sharacinth and her retinue. Rumours of her assassination travel quickly, igniting the embers of sedition among the slaves and caste-menials. Riots erupt across the New Empire. Esmenet turns to Kelmomas for comfort. Intoxicated with success, he begins plotting against his uncle, Maithanet, knowing that the man alone possesses the ability to see through his deception.