"God have mercy on you."
―Erlus to Skarpi[1]

Erlus is a Tehlin Justice in Tarbean.


Erlus wears the pale grey robe uniform of the Tehlin preisthood. His necklace, a set of silver scales, marks his rank as Justice. He is tall, thin, and severe, with a sharp face framed by a tidy soot colored beard. His eyes are sunken, "smolder[ing] like half-hidden coals."

In The Chronicle

Erlus appeared at the Half-Mast, during a section of Skarpi's Lanre story involving Aleph and Tehlu. In the story, Aleph appears after the end of The Creation War and fall of Myr Tariniel. He granted a mantle of power to a group of remaining Ruach, the greatest of those being Tehlu. Due to the story's extreme deviation from the Book of the Path and the teachings of the Tehlin religion, who believe Tehlu to be the creator of the universe, Skarpi was arrested for heresy.

During this arrest, Erlus used his authority to extort money from the barkeeper, threw a clay cup at Skarpi's head while screaming at him, and non-verbally instructed one his guards to beat him into unconsciousness.

Skarpi, who had clearly met Erlus before, tells him that:

It's not as if I expect you to bound off looking for Haliax and the Seven yourself. 'Small deeds for small men,' I always say. I imagine the trouble is in finding the job small enough for men such as yourselves. But you are resourceful. You could pick trash, or check brothels for lice when you are visiting.
and went on to add that "Tehlu hates you even more than the rest of the world does, which is quite a bit."


Erlus may be one of the Chandrian (either Cinder or Haliax):

  • When the Cthaeh is talking about Cinder, he says "Why can't you find this Cinder? now that's an interesting why. You'd think a man with coal black eyes would make an impression when he stops to buy a drink. How can it be that you haven't managed to catch wind of him in all this time?". He could be actually talking about the time Erlus stops at the bar where Skarpi is telling stories, and no one realizes anything wrong. Interestingly, his eyes are also described as smoldering like "half-hidden coals."
  • If you listen to the audio book the Justice has a snaky voice just like Cinder and actually hisses at Skarpi for saying Tehlu's name in his presence.
  • The night before, Kvothe sees the justice outside and is reminded of Cinder and Haliax. The man outside the bar is in a cowl of shadow. 
  • Skarpi states that 'Tehlu hates you even more than the rest of the world does', which could mean Tehlu knows he is a Chandrian, and, therefore, hates him for the things he did.

Puppet, when speaking with Kvothe, enacts a small puppet show, where a young peasant girl tries to ask a Tehlin priest a question. The priest gets angry and strikes her with the Book of the Path until the girl is unconscious, and then dances around. Since Erlus is the only Tehlin priest that we know of, this could indicate that he has some further importance in the series ; particularly, it could be a clue that Erlus is Master Ash.