Ahlrada Ahn was a mixed blood warrior of Tiste Edur and Bluerose descent. He had trained alongside Trull Sengar and his preferred weapon was the Merude cutlass. He was left-handed which was rare amongst the Edur and used a short, wide-bladed knife in his other hand during close fighting. Ahlrada ceaselessly practised trapping opposing sword-blades and spearshafts with the quillons which sprouted from the bell-hilt of his cutlass and this had resulted in his left wrist being almost twice the size of his right.
Ahlrada had a weathered, lined visage, with dark eyes, skin darker than that of pure-blooded Edur, and streaks in his long, unbound hair. It was unique to Ahlrada that shadow wraiths swarmed around him. His mixed heritage as the son of a Bluerose slave made him something of a loner among the Edur, and was always apart from the other warriors. Trull admired his strength and determination.
Before the Edur War of Unification he had travelled far and wide amongst the Edur tribes, fashioning blood-bound kinships with his own Hiroth tribe's rivals. He had opposed the Warlock King's subjugation of the Edur tribes under his own leadership.
In Midnight Tides
During the Edur invasion of the Kingdom of Lether, Fear Sengar instructed Trull to assemble a company of fifty warriors under his command, half blooded and half unblooded. Trull chose Ahlrada Ahn to be his captain although Trull thought that Ahlrada, whose eyes never met his, hated him for some unknown reason.
While scouting the trail at Narrow Chute, they came across a panel of stone with arcane symbols on it. Ahlrada reluctantly admitted to Trull that he had seen such symbols before, on the wall of an ice-berg when he had still lived and hunted with the Den-Ratha before the unification. Trull pondered that it was strange that the far-travelled Ahlrada, who had also opposed Hannan Mosag's wars of subjugation, was not his friend.
During the Battle of High Fort against the forces of Letherii Queen Janall Diskanar and Prince Quillas, Ahlrada received a gash running from just below his left elbow up to his shoulder. Trull told him to seek a healer and to gather the warriors.
On the road to Brans Keep, Ahlrada told Trull that Sergeant Canarth intended to ask Fear to replace Trull with a new commander. Trull's opposition to the war was well-known amongst his troops. Although he reported the brewing insurrection, Ahlrada made clear to Trull that he was not his ally in this matter. He merely hoped to see Trull resign before the request could be delivered.
When Trull mentioned that Ahlrada's mother had been a Bluerose slave, Ahlrada, in defiance, told him that the ruling class in Bluerose were of Tiste Andii descent and that the Edur version of what had happened when the Edur and the Andii had fought the K'Chain Che'Malle was a lie. The Andii had been the ones who had been betrayed and it had been Silchas Ruin who had been stabbed in the back by Scabandari Bloodeye. He also told Trull that the wraiths forced to fight on behalf of the Edur were in fact the shades of the Andii who had fallen in that betrayal long ago. Ahlrada told Trull that the Bluerose were not as broken as he might think and that his own hatred was not so much for Trull but for all of the Edur.
Ahlrada was at Trull's side at the Battle of Brans Keep where the Edur and the Letherii clashed in a conflagration of sorcery. Both were horrified by the scale of destruction and the evil power of the Warlock King's magic. Amidst the fighting, a stray sphere of Letherii magic struck behind their lines at an Edur camp of women, elders, and children. Ahlrada stopped the dazed Trull from rushing to the camp, instead compelling him to move forward as the Edur warriors began advancing.
After the Edur victory, Canarth accused the disillusioned Ahlrada of siding with Trull because of the blood of the betrayers in his veins. Ahlrada unsuccessfully tried to stop Trull and Canarth coming to blows. After Trull beat Canarth senseless, Ahlrada advised him to finish off the sergeant or report him to Fear. When Trull refused, Ahlrada told him he was a fool.
In The Bonehunters
Ahlrada was filled with regrets, haunted by the past as well as the present. Thinking about how he had been in charge of a company of Arapay warriors, sent out by the Emperor to capture Fear and Udinaas and how, but for the intervention of Hannan Mosag, they would all have been executed for returning empty-handed, he now felt that maybe it would have been a kinder fate. Ahlrada thought back to the Shorning of Trull Sengar where he had been present as one of the fawning cowards Rhulad now called his 'brothers' and even spoken against Trull. He bitterly regretted taking part and thought himself a coward for following Rhulad as he had always admired Trull and believed him to be innocent.
He was now part of the Third Edur Imperial Fleet under Preda Tomad Sengar, sent to Seven Cities to terrorise the population and seek champions to bring back to Letheras to face the Emperor in mortal combat. Whilst onboard the Hiroth bireme, his thoughts revealed him to be a Tiste Andii spy, or Watcher, amongst the Tiste Edur. He remembered an old Bluerose tapestry which depicted some of the history of the Tiste as well that of the brothers Andarist, Anomandaris Purake, and Silchas Ruin. It also illustrated the escape of the ancestors of the Onyx Order from their pursuers. Ahlrada then reminisced about the way the Bluerose Andii had intermingled with the Edur, always watching them, using bleaches for the skin and secret gestures to communicate with other hidden Andii. Both of his parents had also been spies, and his bloodline had dwelt among the Edur for generations using the chaos of constant intertribal warfare before Hannan Mosag's reign to their advantage. Had it not been for the invasion of Lether, Ahlrada would have, one day, simply vanished to rejoin his people.
Whilst onboard ship, he briefly questioned Taralack Veed when the Gral mentioned Anomander Rake in his hearing. Veed sensed hidden knowledge between Twilight and Ahlrada when the Atri-Preda introduced the warrior. Ahlrada told Veed that the Black-Winged Lord dwelt at the Gate of Darkness and found Veed's report of Rake having been defeated at Pale impossible to believe, however, he obviously recognised Veed's description of Rake.
Tomad Sengar sent an Edur expedition, which included Ahlrada, to take the Throne of Shadow as a test for Icarium who was one of the champions found but who had failed to impress Sengar so far. Ahlrada however had misgivings, fearing what the unleashing of Icarium might mean. He took up his place in the front line of the main body, welcomed by the other Edur warriors who felt emboldened by the presence of Spearbreaker. He was sixth through the gate to Drift Avalii where Shadowthrone fooled the Edur into thinking the throne destroyed. Ahlrada pointed out to the warlord Sathbaro Rangar that there was another throne to be won and the Edur and Icarium then made for the First Throne via another gate.
During the march to where the gate would be opened, Ahlrada called out a rest and informed Veed and Icarium that they were nearly there. Once he had gone, Icarium commented that he thought Ahlrada commanded with honour, however, Veed called Ahlrada a fool who was playing at deceit. Once Veed had convinced Icarium that Ahlrada was bleaching his skin, the Jhag, too, could see the truth of it. The Letherii Captain, Varat Taun, observed Ahlrada at the head of the column and as someone from Bluerose, also recognised Ahlrada's true origins. He made no effort to reveal the spy, and instead wished him well in his thoughts.
Once the attack commenced, Ahlrada saw three of his men die before the warlord ordered the warriors back. Just then, Ahlrada saw just for a moment what seemed like a familiar figure ahead but could not stop Sathbaro deploying his sorcery. However, the sorcery failed and Ahlrada watched the warlord being killed by Monok Ochem's Soletaken form. Ahlrada was about to attack the "demon" to protect his soldiers but Icarium stepped in and threw him backward. The demon recoiled before the advancing Icarium. As the Edur advanced, they spotted Trull Sengar amongst the defenders. Ahlrada was unable to move for a few moments but then acted on all his previous regrets and killed the two Edur, Kholb Harat and Saur Bathrada, attacking Trull. He asked Trull to be allowed to make amends and to fight at his side which Trull agreed to. Icarium awakened to his rage and began to killed Edur and defenders alike. Ahlrada, after having apologised for his part in Trull's shorning, joined Trull in attacking the enraged Jhag but was struck down by Icarium. Whilst the Jhag was diverted by Apt attacking him, Trull pulled Ahlrada's body inside the chamber of the First Throne where Ahlrada briefly regained consciousness and uttered the word 'home' before he died. Later, Trull looked at his friend's body and said: "Ahlrada Ahn. I do not understand you – I have never understood you – but I thank you nonetheless. I thank you."
Notes and references
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.566/567
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.764/765
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.735
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.567
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.572/573
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 18, UK MMPB p.669
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.763/764
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.817/818
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.822/823
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, UK MMPB p.834-836
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, UK MMPB p.831-833
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, UK MMPB p.895
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.990/991
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, UK MMPB p.839
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.991-997
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24 UK MMPB p.1171-1173
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24 UK MMPB p.1174
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24 UK MMPB p.1178-1188
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 24 UK MMPB p.1194