The Azath Tower was a battered and leaning, three-storey, black stone structure in Letheras. It was located amidst three abandoned Jaghut dwellings in an isolated area between the rear of the Old Palace and the Lether River. Vines covered the rounded Jaghut towers, but shriveled up and died when they touched the squat, square Azath tower. A low, crooked wall encircled the Azath House and the lumpy, clay-shot earth and gnarled, stunted trees that surrounded it. A winding flagstone pathway led from the tower's front door to the wall's gateway, which was marked by rough pillars of unmortared stone wrapped in vines and runners.
Many Letherii held that the Azath Tower was the very first true structure of the Azath on that world. Both it and the Jaghut buildings predated even the founding of the First Empire. A wall had once surrounded the entire complex, but it had long since crumbled to dust. A six hundred-year-old Letherii proclamation forbid any attempt to demolish and resettle the area.
The grounds of the Azath Tower were the home of the undead child, Kettle. The House's choice to make her Guardian was a sign of its advanced age and faltering power as she was unready for what the role fully entailed.
In Midnight Tides
Many thousands of years before the novel's start, Silchas Ruin and Scabandari invaded the Malazan world with their Tiste Andii and Tiste Edur legions. After defeating an army of K'Chain Che'Malle, Scabandari and his Edur turned on their allies. Silchas Ruin was imprisoned within the grounds of the Azath Tower by Scabandari. Shortly afterwards, Menandore and Sukul Ankhadu entombed Sheltatha Lore there as well.
By the time of 1161 BS, the Azath House was dying and so made a bargain with Silchas Ruin to kill some of the more dangerous inhabitants that the House would free as it approached death in exchange for his freedom. The House did not think that the young Kettle could accomplish the task alone.
The five Seregahl began killing the Tower's other prisoners as they struggled to escape and The Pack managed to escape into the city. Kettle prolonged the Azath's life as much as possible by killing "bad people" and feeding their bodies into the ground. Once the tower perished she continued feeding the trees that still held their prisoners below the ground.
Ultimately, the Seregahl perished at the hands of Ruin, the Crimson Guard Avowed, Iron Bars, and Ublala Pung. Sheltatha Lore's attempt to escape was forestalled by Ruin and the Wyval. Then Kettle left the dead House behind to travel with Silchas Ruin.
In Reaper's Gale
Before Silchas Ruin departed Letheras, he used rituals of Kurald Galain to continue binding Sheltatha within her barrow after the Azath Tower's death. Sukul Ankhadu travelled to Letheras to free her cousin and seek vengeance against Ruin and Scabandari. While Sukul's magic slowly unravelled the bindings, she found Hannan Mosag investigating the grave. The former Warlock King offered to guide the two women to Ruin and volunteered the Crippled God's aide to destroy him. Then the women would destroy Scabandari's Finnest. When Sheltatha demanded Sukul help punish Menandore by imprisoning her in another Azath, Sukul informed her that the dead tower had been the only Azath House in Lether.
A cleared area of the grounds outside the Azath Tower was turned into a graveyard for all the champions who faced Emperor Rhulad Sengar in mortal combat. A rusted forest of the champions' swords, broken spears, axes, or maces marked the disorganised assortment of urns bearing their ashes. One urn contained the cup that held the poison that slew King Ezgara Diskanar, Nifadas, and Brys Beddict.
The death of the tower created rents and fissures into Hood's Realm, which allowed all manner of long-extinct insects to escape from the crushing layers of Festal'rythan into Letheras.
Silchas Ruin brought Kettle to the Refugium where he stabbed her in the chest with the stone dagger that formed Scabandari Bloodeye's Finnest. It was revealed that Kettle was the seed of an Azath in the guise of a child, and that Silchas Ruin had bargained for his freedom from the Tower by promising to join the seed with the Finnest's power. This led to the creation of Kettle House in the Refugium, which imprisoned Scabandari's soul, anchored the ghostly Refugium in reality, and took control of the Gates of Starvald Demelain. Quick Ben noted that putting the gates under the House's control meant giving Shadowthrone and Cotillion full access to them.
In Dust of Dreams
After its death, Sinn and Grub entered the Azath House without waking up the wasps nest that resided in the doorway. The house consisted of a main chamber with a fireplace dominating one wall, with two deep cushioned chairs present. Trunks and chests were placed against the other two walls. A tapestry hung on the remaining wall showing a battle between the combined Edur and Andii armies against the K'Chain Che'Malle armies.
The upper landing was bare. Beneath a window was slumped a desiccated corpse of a Forkrul Assail. This led Grub to deduce that the Azath had not died, but had actually simply walked out.
Notes and references
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152-153
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 5, US HC p.117
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.378-379
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.155
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.19-24
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.229-230
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.425-426
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.155
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.385
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.602-604
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.535-537
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.532-533
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 5, US HC p.118
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 5, US HC p.118/134-136
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 9, US HC p.215
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 3, US HC p.80
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 5, US HC p.134
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.737-738/741-742