The Twelve Words of Death were killing spells, perfected by the elves and the Dragon Riders over the centuries, that required very little energy. There were twelve of these spells, one of which was "deyja.", meaning "die" in the Ancient Language, and another "kverst", or "cut." None of the twelve spells required more than three words to cast, or required more energy than lifting an ink-laden pen.
The Twelve Words of Death were soundless and invisible: the only thing they appeared to do was kill. They worked by targeting vulnerable places in an opponent's body, such as vital arteries or nerves and severing them, causing almost immediate death. There are only two Death Words known: Deyja and Kverst.
The Twelve Words were extremely useful, because with them at his/her command, an experienced magician or sorcerer could mow down hundreds or even thousands of enemies without overexerting themselves. With the death words properly applied, a magician could bring down entire armies.
However, the Words of Death were not without drawbacks. Because they relied on striking the correct body part and used very little actual force, they were extremely easy to block: the simplest ward could stop a death word, with almost no energy cost to the defender. Because of this limitation, the Words of Death were more likely to be applied when facing enemies who couldn't use magic, like the Ra'zac, than other magicians or Dragon Riders. Throughout the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon encountered several enemies who were protected from the death words he knew by wards put up by either Galbatorix or the Broddring Empire's magicians.
Role in the booksEdit
Eragon Shadeslayer first learned the Words from his mentor Oromis and after which used them to destroy unshielded opponents. He used the Words against the Broddring Empire during the Battle of the Burning Plains to kill dozens of soldiers after he defeated the magicians protecting them with his mental powers.
When forced to hunt, the Words of Death were Eragon's choice method, though he considered it too easy to bag game and almost meaningless.
During the Battle of Helgrind, Eragon combined the Words of Death to form deadly processes of destruction that would strike an opponent simultaneously. Unfortunately for Eragon, the Ra'zac were protected from most magic, thus preventing Eragon's spells to have any effect. Eragon repeated this technique when the dwarves tried to assassinate him, with similar results due to the dwarves' wards.
Users of this magicEdit
Confirmed to use the Words of Death:
Probably used the Words of Death: