This article is about Sorry aka Apsalar. You may be looking for Apsalar, Lady of Thieves.

The original name of the young fishergirl who became known first as Sorry, then as Apsalar, was never revealed. She was born in the Quon Tali province of Itko Kan and lived in a small village by the sea with her fisherman father, who was missing an arm.[2] Their hut was close to the tidemark with a mooring pole opposite.[3]

She had the tilted eyes and black hair common to the people of Itko Kan.[1]

She preferred leather gloves and kept a score of knives on her person, their handles roughened for a better grip.[4][5] Her moccasins had sewn-in ridges of iron, giving them an extra punch when striking an opponent.[6]

In Gardens of the MoonEdit


Whilst observing a Malazan column of mounted soldiers passing on a gravel track road[7] near her village in Itko Kan, the young fishergirl aged about 12 to 13,[8] met the wax-witch and Seer, Rigga.[9] As the soldiers passed, Rigga had a premonition that foresaw the girl's possession by a god. Seeing the injustice of this, Rigga wove a spell which gave the young girl some measure of protection.[10]

The young fishergirl found her life drastically altered after Cotillion possessed her.[11] She lived the next few years under the alter-ego "Sorry" that Cotillion created.[12] She never remembered her real name.[13] The possession was visible in her eyes: despite her young age, she had aged eyes, those that were similar to one who had been withered by famine and death.[14] They were also described as dead and stony.[15]

Apsalar-Kremena Chipilova

Cotillion possessing Sorry by Kremena Chipilova

Sorry's first move was to go to a Malazan recruiting station manned by Staff Sergeant Aragan[16] and enlist with the Malazan Marines, specifically requesting a post with Dujek Onearm's Host.[14] She ended up being assigned to Sergeant Whiskeyjack's 9th Squad in the Bridgeburners.[17] Sorry was with the new troops arriving from Nathilog and joined the Bridgeburners when they were on a brief attachment to the 5th army in the middle of the Mott Campaign. She made a lasting impression – not a good one – when she mutilated prisoners, ostensibly to get information.[18]
Apsalar by luktarig

Sorry by Corporal Nobbs

After the battle at Pale, Whiskeyjack and his squad still referred to Sorry as the 'new recruit'[19] to indicate that she was not a fully accepted member of the Bridgeburners, even though she had been with them for two years.[20] Whiskeyjack observed that Quick Ben was scared of her and that Kalam would slip a knife into his hand anytime she was near.[21]

Through her possession, Sorry was able to sense the opening of Warrens.[22] Fiddler called her an 'uncanny bitch', referring to her uncanny ability to think things out.[15] Quick Ben referred to her as 'pure evil' and was visibly frightened by her.[15][23]

At the end of the Siege of Pale, Sorry was about 15 years of age.[24][15]

When Quick Ben performed the soul-shifting on Hairlock, he kept Sorry away.[25]

Since the Itko Kan Massacre, Imperial Intelligence services had been following the trail of Sorry, but it was only just before (less than a week) the battle at Pale that Topper discovered she was with the Bridgeburners.[26] Captain Ganoes Paran, who was already on his way to Pale, was given the order to assume command of the Bridgeburners and to stay close to Sorry. Once in place, he was to wait for further orders. Topper also told Paran that Sorry was being used by a god.[27]

Sorry by pixx 73

Sorry by Jirí Dvorský

Sorry/Cotillion attacked Captain Paran soon after his arrival in Pale. As Paran sank into unconsciousness, he overheard her talking to Ammanas in a Kanese accent.[28]

Sorry was wearing a non-standard, ankle-length raincape as the squad departed for Darujhistan with a hood which kept her face in shadow.[29]

Sorry surprised everyone when she professed to a knowledge of fishing, using her knowledge to help the squad enter Darujhistan disguised as fishing crew.[30] Whiskeyjack divided the squad into two teams for the mission, with one led by Kalam and the other by Whiskeyjack himself. Sorry and Quick Ben were to be with Kalam.[31] Kalam and Quick Ben, however, persuaded the sergeant that they would be better off without Sorry.[32]

In Darujhistan the Malazans covered their activities by posing as regular road workers and tearing up the road outside Baruk's house, when Kruppe emerged. Sorry pointed him out to Whiskeyjack, saying that he was important. Questioned by he sergeant as to whether the man was perhaps a Seer, Sorry paled and was visibly shaken. Upon Whiskeyjack's agreement, she then followed Kruppe.[33]

Apsalar by dejan delic

Sorry in Darujhistan by dejan-delic

As she began the pursuit, Sorry was besieged by emotions, triggered by the word 'Seer'. Cotillion had to reestablish his hold on her as, for a brief time, Rigga's protection warred against the possession.[34]

Following Kruppe to the Phoenix Inn, Sorry killed the thug Chert when he waylaid her at the door, possibly on Kruppe's orders. Chert then tried to seduce her.[35] She entered the Inn and ordered Gredfalan Ale.[36] She identified Crokus as being Oponn's man and Crokus noticed the blood on her daggers, correctly surmising that this girl killed Chert.[37]

Sorry then went to find Quick Ben and Kalam. Previously, she had been unable to sense the mage, but because Quick Ben had just been linked to the Shadow Realm, Sorry located them easily. This confirmed her affinity to Shadow to Quick Ben. Sorry told them she had located a local assassin in the Phoenix Inn.[38]

Sorry now followed Crokus. As she did, she pondered that she had removed obstacles like Paran, the Claw Leader in Pale, and others on her path to the Bridgeburners.[39] The possessed girl was still troubled by the Seer's presence in her mind. Arriving at the D'Arle estate, she killed a guard and observed from the shadows as Crokus entered and left Challice D'Arle's room.[40]

Sometime after, Quick Ben called out Cotillion and told him that he knew of his connection to Sorry.[41]

Sorry followed Crokus and his friends by Warren to the Gadrobi Hills outside Darujhistan. She caught up with them just after they had encountered Adjunct Lorn and was about to kill Crokus when Cotillion ended his possession of her as he was recalled by Shadowthrone.[42] The girl that was left behind was totally confused and could not remember the intervening years.[43]


Apsalar by Kremena Chipilova

Apsalar by Kremena Chipilova

Sorry was helped back to Darujhistan by Crokus. Having lost her memory, she asked Crokus for a Daru name. He originally suggested "Challice" but then decided that, since it was someone else's name, he should choose another. He then dubbed her 'Apsalar', the name of his matron goddess, the Lady of Thieves, but again changed his mind as it was the name of a goddess. The former Sorry disagreed and chose to remain Apsalar.[44]

Although no longer possessed, the experience left Apsalar with residual effects, including an ability to speak other languages,[45] see in virtual darkness,[46] and recall some of Cotillion's memories.[47]

The slight presence of the soul of Rigga shielded Apsalar's mind from some of the things she did whilst possessed and stopped her from going to pieces when the possession came to an end.[48][49]

Crokus chose to try to protect Apsalar and decided to accompany her back to her village after his family was killed.

When Captain Paran assumed command of the Bridgeburners, Kalam and Fiddler declared they would follow him but that they must first help Apsalar back to her home on Itko Kan.

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

Kalam and Fiddler planned to take Apsalar and Crokus to Itko Kan by way of Seven Cities. When they arrived in Ehrlitan, Kalam saw an opportunity to weaken Laseen by sparking a rebellion. So he split from the group and the other three continued on in disguise.

Apsalar by artsed-d8t4sn4

Apsalar by Artsed

Apsalar continued to recall more and more of Sorry's deadly skill, knowledge, and instinct as time went on, and became very talented with her thick-bladed kethra knives.[50] She also experienced memories from the life of the god who had possessed her as well as the old woman who had protected her. From her account, the three managed to work out Shadowthrone and Cotillion's true identities.[51][52] Meanwhile, Fiddler revealed to Crokus that the true purpose of their return to Quon Tali had been to assassinate Empress Laseen in revenge for her destruction of the Bridgeburners. Apsalar's returning abilities had been a factor Kalam considered as a potential Shaved Knuckle in the Hole.[53]

After the awakening of the Whirlwind, the travelling companions were attacked first by a tribe of Gral and then found themselves caught up in a battle between Soletaken and D'ivers following the Path of Hands. They were saved by the appearance of Icarium and Mappo who drove off the D'ivers, Gryllen.[54][55]

Icarium and Mappo escorted them back to Tesem, a temple of Shadow inhabited by Iskaral Pust. Pust also revealed Fiddler's true destination, Tremorlor, the Azath House in the desert which Quick Ben believed held a gate which could take them to the Deadhouse in Malaz City. He also reassured the group that Anomander Rake's bane held and Cotillion would not possess Apsalar again.[56]

It was revealed that Iskaral Pust's servant was actually Apsalar's father, Rellock. He had been placed in the temple by Shadowthrone and his arm healed the day Sorry had been taken by Cotillion. Pust attempted to use their relationship to manipulate Apsalar into becoming the Sha'ik Reborn. The High Priest sent Rellock to Tremorlor and Apsalar, suspicious of his true identity, followed after. Fiddler, Crokus, Icarium, and Mappo pursued Apsalar in turn.[57]

Along with Pust and the Hounds of Shadow, the group fought their way through the maze surrounding the house.[58] Then they entered Tremorlor and passed into the Azath Warren. Pust, Icarium, and Mappo soon disappeared. Fiddler, Apsalar, Crokus, and Rellock found themselves in the Deadhouse where they met Gothos, its guardian. Exiting the house into Malaz City they were reunited with Kalam by the shadow demon Apt. To Fiddler's surprise Kalam informed him that he had spoken with the Empress and their feud was over.[59]

Apsalar successfully petitioned Shadowthrone to return her, Crokus, and Rellock to their old home in Itko Kan and sever all association between them and the god.[60]

In House of ChainsEdit

Apsalar, Cotillion and Crokus by Puck

Apsalar, Cotillion and Crokus by Puck

Having travelled to her destroyed village and witnessed the death of her father, Crokus and Apsalar continued to travel alone across the continent of Quon Tali. In a bid to gain money and try to get closer to Apsalar, Crokus learned how to help her perform assassinations, and eventually become a skilled killer in his own right. He took the new name of "Cutter", which had the unintended affect of pushing Apsalar further away due to her revulsion at her own abilities.[61]

Cutter was encouraged by Cotillion to secretly take Apsalar to Drift Avalii in order to protect the Throne of Shadow from an unnamed threat. Quickly realizing the deception, Apsalar was yet further pushed away from Cutter.[62] The two travelled by boat to Drift Avalii, where the floating island destroyed their vessel, leaving Apsalar on land, and Cutter sucked into one of the vortices leading to the center of the island.[63]
Throne of Shadow by Shadaan

Key figures of the Warren of Shadow (Rashan and Meanas) by Shadaan (clockwise from the left) Gear, Cotillion, Shadowthrone, Edgewalker, Shan and Apsalar

Believing Cutter to be dead, Apsalar travelled inland only to find survivors of the Malazan Navy who had been marooned on the island after a brief confrontation with Tiste Edur naval units. Together, they journeyed to the ruins of the castle protecting the Throne.[64]

There, Apsalar was reunited with Cutter and met the Tiste Andii, Andarist and plans were made to prevent the Edur from regaining the Throne. The ensuing battle left only Traveller, Cutter and Apsalar alive.[65]

In exchange for their help, Cotillion eased their return to Seven Cities and the long journey to Darujhistan. Having returned to the monastery in Seven Cities inhabited by Iskaral Pust, Apsalar no longer felt she could safely travel with Cutter and decided she had to leave him in order to prevent him being further corrupted by her influence.[66]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Day 29 double by shadaan

Apsalar with Telorast and Curdle by Shadaan

Apsalar took on Cutter's burden and was assigned a list of targets she had to assassinate for Cotillion.[67]

Travelling within a fragment of Kurald Emurlahn, she encountered two chained ghosts: Curdle and Telorast. The two ghosts convinced Apsalar to free them from their bonds and chose to accompany her.[67] Since Curdle and Telorast had actually known Apsalar's namesake, the 'Lady of Thieves' (called either 'Apsalar' or Apsal'ara), they always thereafter referred to Apsalar (the assassin) as Not-Apsalar.[68]

In Ehrlitan, Apsalar was to assassinate the Mebra on Shadowthrone's orders. She found him already assassinated, however, and killed the priest of Nameless Ones responsible.[67]

She came across two Pardu women who were shareholders of the Trygalle Guild under Karpolan Demesand. Gleaning information from them, she also discovered tablets containing information on the Nameless Ones written by Mebra.[69]
Clouds closed fast by Cadmean

Apsalar and Cotillion by Cadmean

She next took a small detour stopping off at Urko Crust's retreat.[70]

Trying to cross to Kansu, she decided to travel by Kurald Emurlahn, and somehow came across a carrack and came out in the Malazan world on the ship Ganoes Paran was travelling on. The two discussed several aspects of the war taking place between gods, and exchanged several pieces of information.[71]

Apsalar disembarked from the carrack along with Paran at Kansu and went westwards into Seven Cities coming across villages destroyed by the plague[72] until she met up with the surviving Bonehunters trying to catch up to the main army having dug their way underneath Y'Ghatan after the siege.

The Shadow Dance by Dejan Delic

Apsalar in Malaz by Dejan Delic

Apsalar was present when the Hounds of Shadow attacked Poliel's temple at G'danisban. Since Shadowthrone had double dealt Quick Ben, throwing him in the way of the Hounds, Quick Ben who was busy rescuing his sister and in close proximity to Otataral could do nothing to defend himself. Apsalar created a massive distraction by Shadow-dancing and slicing up the hounds preventing them from attacking Quick Ben, allowing him time to escape, alongside Brokeface. She then returned to where the squads were, and earned the wrath of Kalam, who assumed the blood on her knives belonged to Quick Ben. Quick Ben arrived in time to save her from being killed, stating that she didn't try to defend herself and wanted to die.[73]

The Adjunct decided to allow her to accompany the army to their ships, where they were ordered to return to Quon Tali.

She further received bad news from Cotillion when he lost touch with Cutter after the T'lan Imass ambush on his group. Believing him dead, she lost all hope and gave up on everything. In Malaz City, she killed the Clawmaster, Pearl and three hundred and seven Claws singlehandedly. Shadowthrone himself said that her Shadow Dance was even more impressive than Cotillion's.[74]

In The Crippled God Edit

Apsalar and Crokus by Corporal Nobbs

Apsalar and Crokus reunited by Corporal Nobbs

Apsalar was finally reunited with Crokus in her father's fishing village.[75]



"You’re Dancer's daughter. You must be, although I see no facial similarities – your mother must have been beautiful. It's in your walk, and how you stand there. You're his beget, and he was selfish enough to teach you, his own child, the ways of assassination. I can see how that troubles you. It's there in your eyes. The legacy haunts you – you're feeling trapped, caged in. There's already blood on your hands, isn't there? Is he proud of that? I should've drowned him then and there. Had I been drunk, I would have."
―Urko Crust, on Apsalar and her relation with Cotillion[src]
Regarding the Itko Kan massacre:
Assassin of High House Shadow - Apsalar by Keezy Young

Apsalar by Keezy Young

  • The young fishergirl found herself out and about because her father needed materials for new nets - his last one was taken by 'something' in deep waters, and the catch, too. This meant that unless he made a catch the following day, Rellock would be in trouble with the money lender. Did Cotillion engineer the loss of the nets to put the girl on the road (to buy twine for new nets[45]) where there would be few witnesses and to put her father in a precarious financial situation, making him more open to whatever Cotillion intended to suggest to him?[76]
  • The dialogue between Cotillion and Ammanas seemed to indicate that until Ammanas gave away Cotillion's name, the plan to possess the girl might not have been definite yet.[77]
  • The killing of the Itko Kanese cavalary unit by the Hounds may have been planned by Shadowthrone only, without Cotillion's prior knowledge.[77]

Fan art galleryEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.49
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.13
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.24
  4. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.113
  5. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.254
  6. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.112/117
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.12/16
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.31 age estimated by recruitment Sergeant
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.12
  10. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.14
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.19
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.18
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.493
  14. 14.0 14.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.32
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.83
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.31
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p. xii
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.159
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.104
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.160
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.133
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12, UK MMPB p.402
  23. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.133
  24. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.58
  25. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.82
  26. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.94/95
  27. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.96
  28. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.124
  29. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.159
  30. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.259
  31. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.258
  32. Gardens of the Moon,Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.363
  33. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.361/362
  34. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.3371/372
  35. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.374
  36. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.376
  37. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.377/378
  38. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12, UK MMPB p.401/402
  39. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.417/418
  40. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.418/422
  41. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.463
  42. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.467/468/474
  43. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.483-485
  44. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.490-494
  45. 45.0 45.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.484
  46. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 19, UK MMPB p.566
  47. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 20, UK MMPB p.589
  48. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 20, UK MMPB p.590
  49. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.644
  50. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.127
  51. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.129-130
  52. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.438
  53. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.92-93
  54. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.166-169
  55. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 7, US HC p.192-196
  56. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.222-224
  57. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.295-296
  58. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 19
  59. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23
  60. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.583-584
  61. House of Chains, Chapter 6
  62. House of Chains, Chapter 9
  63. House of Chains, Chapter 9
  64. House of Chains, Chapter 9
  65. House of Chains, Chapter 12
  66. House of Chains, Chapter 23
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 The Bonehunters, Chapter 1
  68. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US HC p.96
  69. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3
  70. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4
  71. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5
  72. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6
  73. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15
  74. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23
  75. The Crippled God, Epilogue II
  76. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.13/19
  77. 77.0 77.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.17
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