This article is about the Ascendant. You may be looking for the assassin Apsalar.
Apsal'ara, commonly known as Apsalar or Lady Apsalar, was an Ascendant revered by the thieves of Darujhistan as the Lady of Thieves. She was also referred to as Mistress of Thieves and the Thief Queen.
The assassin Apsalar thought it strange that there were no iconic representations of Apsal'ara and wondered if this was possibly a prohibition enforced by the temples. Apsal'ara's symbols were 'footprints' and 'a veil'.
In Gardens of the Moon
Not being able to remember what her father had named her, the assassin Sorry took the name Apsalar for herself after Crokus Younghand, who was an experienced thief in Darujhistan, told her about Apsalar, the 'Lady of Thieves'.
In The Bonehunters
When the assassin Apsalar gave her name to the ghosts Telorast and Curdle, Curdle screeched "She's dead!" and Apsalar had to explain that she was not a ghost but only named after the Mistress of Thieves. Telorast pointed out that the assassin looked nothing like Apsal'ara who had been an Imass or very nearly Imass and who, unlike the assassin, had been unfriendly even before, as Curdle mentioned, Telorast had stolen from her temple coffers.
The Mistress of Thieves had disappeared from the pantheon long ago although legends circulated in Darujhistan that she had briefly reappeared less than a century earlier. Crokus told a story of how Apsal'ara had sought to steal the moon.
In Toll the Hounds
She had stolen the moon once.
She had stolen fire.
She had padded the silent arching halls of the city within Moon’s Spawn.
She was the Lady of Thieves.
And a sword had stolen her life.
This will not do. This will not do.
Apsal'ara was determined to escape from Dragnipur and, in the meantime, not to work too hard at pulling the wagon. She had managed to wedge herself in underneath it and worked at rubbing one chain against another, hoping to wear the metal down. Once, the arrival of two Hounds of Shadow disturbed her routine and she had tried to follow them as they escaped but was beaten back. Undaunted, she had returned to her task of trying to weaken her chains.
She remembered how she had been caught by Anomander Rake as she had trespassed in Moon's Spawn. With the benefit of hindsight, she realized that had she not made the mistake of trying to stab him in the back, he probably would not have killed her.
The constant exposure to the foul liquid running down from the wagon caused her skin to come away in patches and exposed the raw flesh. Apsal'ara thought that although the chains were at last showing some wear from her efforts, it would be too late as the storm was catching up with the wagon and she herself was rotting.
Apsal'ara remembered that, as a child, in the company of parents and maybe siblings, she watched as a herd of caribou attempted the seasonal crossing of a river, the only memory from that time which she could recall. The event made a huge impression on her and she felt as if now, she was like those caribou, waiting for the season that was coming, 'praying for fate's confusion.
She managed to shatter the chains by pushing them close to the Gate of Darkness even as Chaos was closing in. Then a familiar voice told her to steal the eye of the God. Rake, on his one day in Dragnipur, then told her to go, with his blessing, which she did after she had thrown him the eye she had stolen.
In The Crippled God
Apsal'ara went to Anomander Rake's son Nimander, the now leader of the Tiste Andii, seeking answers, joining Nimander's personal staff. She later became his lover. She fought at the breach at Lightfall alongside Withal. She was seen flirting with Kalam Mekhar after the last battle.
In Orb Sceptre Throne
Legends spoke of a garden within Moon's Spawn whose flowers had never seen the sun. Among them was a black rose said to be touched by the tears of Mother Dark. Apsal'ara had once sought to steal the rose, but failed. Many years later, the thief Malakai entered the ruins of Moon's Spawn to succeed where the Lady had not. Unfortunately, by the time Malakai found the gardens all the flowers were long dead.
In Dancer's Lament
Apsal'ara remembered following the trail of Tenag when she and her brother came across another Imass who was dying. He professed to be the last one remaining of an army of Jaghut, Thel Akai, Jheck and others. Apsal'ara granted his request of a last kiss which she held until he had died. She took his metal armour for herself.
The following poem was probably dedicated to Apsal'ara:
- "Walk with me
on Thieves’ Road
hear its song
how clear its
tone in misstep
as it sings
you in two"
- ―Apsalar's Cant
Drisbin (B. 1135)
- "Pluck a flower from a field and it will not thrive. Take and beauty dies, and that which one possesses becomes worthless. I am a thief. I take but do not keep. All I gain I cast away. I take your wealth only because you value it.
I am Apsal’ara, Mistress of Thieves. Only you need fear me, you who lust to own."
Notes and references
- The Crippled God, Chapter 19, UK HB p.554
- Dancer's Lament, Prelude, US HC p.1
- Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.705
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.72
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US HC p.55
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 16, US TPB p.345-346
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.72/73
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.77
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.65
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.205
- Toll the Hounds, Prologue, UK B p.6/7
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13, UK HB p.477
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13, UK HB p.478
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 13, UK HB p.478/479
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 22, UK HB p.832/833, 899-
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 23, UK HB p.873/874, 899-901
- Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 16, US HC p.458-459
- Dancer's Lament, Chapter 13, US HC p.247
- The Crippled God, Chapter 19, UK HB p.554/555