The Freeing is the ritual killing of Drafters who are or feel on the brink of becoming color wights . It is lead by the Prism on Sun Day, the longest day of the year. The drafters who are freed submit to the ritual voluntarily, prefering death to the madness that occurs when one breaks one's halo. Drafters may be forced to be freed if they have already become wights and been captured alive.
During Sun Day, the drafters who abut to undertake the Freeing have a great feast and often visit and reminisce with their colleagues about past battles, notable events in each other's lives, and past glories. Once the celebration is done, they retire to a more private area for the Freeing itself.
The ceremony is held in privacy between the Prism and the drafter about to be freed, the other Drafters waiting outside. The positions of first and last Freed may indicate signs of importance or respect towards the drafter thus honored. The drafter is encouraged to speak before his death, and may confess his sins or express fears or regrets. The Prism absolves the drafters of their mistakes and acknowledges their accomplishments in the name of the God Orholam, then plunges a knife through their heart.
In The Black Prism Drafters ask Gavin Guile to allow them to fight and take their own lives instead of being ritualistically Freed so they may defend Garriston against the Color Prince . The Prism still speaks with every one of them as he would during the ritual, but does not kill them himself. He grants them a special authorization due to the particularly difficult circumstances of the siege.
The Color Prince disavows the Freeing, preaching that becoming a wight is not something drafters should reject, but embrace, and that the Chromeria orders the killing of older drafters in order to maintain its power. He adds that many Freed are not there voluntarily. However the Drafters about to be freed in The Black Prism all appear to be submitting to the ritual of their own free will. In The Broken Eye, though, Gavin Guile remembers unwilling drafters he freed, mainly those who have already become wights, but also others who are reticent. It is hard to say with certainty whether these are simply reluctant to go through with it in the last moments or whether they were forced to the ceremony unwillingly from the start.
The Garriston Freeing
The freeing held at Garriston was notable not only because most of the drafters who had planned to submit ended up fighting the Colour Prince's army instead, but because, despite its small size (approximately 200,) there were an enormous number of famous drafters involved. A number of the heroes of the War made a pact that once a significant number of them were in need of being Freed, they would submit as a group as a sign of camaraderie and unity.
Gavin remarked that almost all of the most famous heroes from both sides of the War Of The Prisms were planning to be Freed that year, including:
- Izem Red of Paria - red drafter, fought for Gavin during the War.
- Izem Blue - blue drafter, fought for Gavin during the war. During the Colour Prince's attack on the city, stood on top of the wall shooting blue daggers at the besiegers. According to Karris, killed enemy soldiers as fast as three-dozen musketeers. Possibly the blue drafter that the Colour Prince sniped with his special musket during the battle.
- Samila Sayeh - blue drafter, fought for Gavin during the War. Deduced Gavin's true identity as Dazen, but kept his secret, not least because she believed that Dazen had been a better Prism than Gavin ever would have been. After the War's end, becomes friends and later lovers with Usef Tep, despite the fact that they had fought on opposite sides of the conflict.
- Maros Orlos of Ruthgar. A veteran of the War Of The Prisms and a deeply religious man
- Usef Tep AKA "The Purple Bear" due to his bichromic red/blue drafting abilities. Fought for Dazen during the war. After the War's end, becomes friends and later lovers with Samila Sayeh, despite the fact that they had fought on opposite sides of the conflict.
- Deedee Falling Leaf - green drafter who fought for Dazen. One of the drafters most in need of Freeing. By the time of the Freeing, her skin was permanently tinged green, and her irises were straining to contain her Luxin halos.
- Tala of Paria, a red drafter. Had brown eyes and short white hair. Sister of Tayri. Grandmother of Aheyyad.
- Tayri of Paria. Sister of Tala.
- Javid Arash
- Talon Gim - heavily wounded during the Battle Of Garriston, but despite profuse bleeding and his left arm being useless, kept fighting to buy time for the evacuation.
- Eleleph Corzin of Abornea - a Blue drafter.
- Bas The Simple of Tyrea. A handsome man and apparent Idiot Savant, he did not display much intelligence, but had an incredible memory. He was an extremely skilled drafter and polychrome (blue/green/superviolet.) Freed by Gavin.
- Dalos Temnos The Younger, a veteran of the War Of The Prisms
- Usem The Wild
- Evi Grass of Blood Forest - green/yellow bichrome and superchromat. Had red hair. Described by Gavin as "not classically bright, but incredibly intuitive."
- Flamehands of Ilyta
- Odess Carvingen
- Aheyyad, later known as Aheyyad Brightwater due to his pivotal role in designing Garriston's Brightwater Wall, of Paria. The bestowing of a second name onto him was a significant honour; among the Parians, only great men and women have second names. An Orange drafter and one of the drafters who had not fought in the war. Grandson of Tala. Described by Gavin as a drafting addict, he had to be freed at only 20. However, he still had enough drafting available without breaking the halo to help with the fortifications of Garriston, which he did, enthusiastically. Freed by Gavin.