His face looked middle-aged with even, benign features. He wore his dark hair in a queue, hanging down between his shoulders, but otherwise unadorned. At his first appearance, he was dressed like a Malazan sailor in waterproof, faded leathers and a thin, ragged, linen shirt. Later, he was known to dress in ratty robes.
In The Bonehunters
Banaschar traveled in haste by ship to Kartool City based on a premonition and arrived on the second day of Istral'fennidahn in 1164 BS. He sent a note to the commander of the Septarch District city guard to inform them of trouble at the Grand Temple of D'rek and met them at the temple's locked doors. Upon his insistence, Sergeant Hellian, who was temporarily in charge, and her guard squad broke into the temple and found that a massacre of the priests and acolytes had taken place. Before Hellian could question him further, Banaschar disappeared and Hellian and the other guards could no longer remember what he looked like. Embarrassed by the incident, Commander Charl exiled Hellian and her squad to the Malaz 14th Army.
A year later, the once fastidious ex-priest was a lice-ridden drunk sleeping in his now tattered cloak in a vermin-filled room in Malaz City. Since his voyage to Kartool, he had traveled to D'rek's temples around the world and found the same slaughter at each. He mentioned he had traveled extensively from "Korel to Theft to Mare in the south; from Nathilog to Callows on Genabackis in the east; and, northward, from Falar to Aren to Yath Alban", but it was unclear if this was during the period when he traveled from temple to temple or occurred earlier in his life. At every empty stop, he used the opportunity to loot the temple coffers, and by the time of his return to Malaz City he had roomfuls of coin. Still, he lived in squalor, feeling guilty every time he made use of it. His hoard was secreted away in such a manner that it would never be found if he were to perish.
In Malaz City, he roused every afternoon to visit one of six or more disreputable taverns where he argued with the other customers and drank himself into oblivion. One of his regular stops was at Coop's Hanged Man Inn where he became acquainted with Master Sergeant Braven Tooth, the enigmatic Foreigner, and Temper. Banaschar was intrigued by Foreigner, whose accent was unlike any he had heard in his own extensive travels, but he was careful not to pry too deeply into the man's history.
Banaschar was determined to relay a message to Tayschrenn, who had been a Demidrek of the cult before fleeing Kartool and joining the Malazan Empire. The High Mage had recently taken residence in Mock's Hold and Banaschar had sent six messages to the keep with no response. The ex-priest was sure his messages were being intercepted and he was being followed. His suspicions were realised when he returned to his room to discover Pearl waiting inside. The Claw interrogated him, and Banaschar revealed that D'rek had slain her entire priesthood for stepping away from the path of righteous worship and choosing the Crippled God over her. In the war among the gods, they had demanded a return to the Elder ways and the power of blood, and D'rek had given it to them. Banaschar desperately wanted to reach Tayschrenn both for the knowledge of the cult's origins contained in the fragments of Gothos' Folly he believed Tayschrenn had stolen from the Grand Temple and in hopes Tayschrenn's prominence could spark a reformation among the world's priesthoods. What had happened to one god's followers could happen to them all. Pearl left Banaschar to inform Empress Laseen of what he learned.
The night that Adjunct Tavore Paran brought the 14th Army to Malaz City corresponded with Istral'fennidahn, and Banaschar drunkenly decided to approach Tayschrenn directly himself, leaving Coop's for Mock's Hold. He was unaware that Mallick Rel had learned enough about him from his Black Glove agents that the Jhistal priest had ordered the Claw to assassinate him that night. Claw spy, Saygen Maral, had been waiting at Coop's to point out Banaschar to the Claw assassin team, but decided to complete the job on his own when Banaschar left the bar early. Braven Tooth noted the Claw follow Banaschar out and sent Mudslinger and Gentur to eliminate him, but they did not succeed. The ex-priest pushed through the crowds near the docks using Mockra to ease the way, and as it was once again the night of the Worm, felt the return of his former sensitivities to magic. Before the Claw could slip a poisoned blade into Banaschar's back, he was himself slain by an enraged Hellian. The 14th Army sergeant had slipped into the city on her own looking for alcohol when she recognised the priest who had led to all her recent misfortune. She quickly placed Banaschar 'under-arrest' and dragged him into Smiley's to answer questions and buy her a drink. The two eventually exited Smiley's in a drunken stupor just as Fiddler, Gesler, and Stormy passed on the street outside with Legana Breed. The 14th Army officers safely brought them back through the angry mobs on the waterfront to the 14th Army's ships.
Later, Tayschrenn revealed to Shadowthrone that he was fully aware of Banaschar's activities. Even the ship Banaschar had hired to take him to Kartool was secretly the High Mage's own. But unlike his "old friend", Tayschrenn was still a member of the cult. When D'rek had come to slay him, Tayschrenn had "talked her out of it."
In Reaper's Gale
Adjunct Tavore clashed with Empress Laseen at Malaz City and took the Bonehunters rogue. But by the time the fleet neared Theft to resupply, the 14th Army was demoralised and near mutiny with no home to return to. The army would have quickly dissolved without funds to pay the soldiers, but Grub somehow learned that Banaschar held the accumulated stolen wealth of D'rek's faithful and passed the information on to Lostara Yil. From then on, Banaschar was attached to Adjunct Tavore's personal staff and bankrolled the Bonehunters.
The Bonehunters followed the Tiste Edur fleet that had ravaged Sepik back to Lether to seek retribution against the Letherii Empire. Banaschar rented a decrepit room across from Harridict Tavern on Second Maiden Fort where the Adjunct made her headquarters. In the year since Malaz City, the last priest of D'rek had concluded the goddess' actions were more than an isolated, internal event. They had, in fact, been part of a larger war. And after years as an ex-priest, he once again felt her presence within himself as a stirring in his gut and as a faint taste on his tongue. But he knew it was only a matter of time before the goddess needed him and clasped a cold fist about his soul. Despite this, he hoped to resurrect D'rek's faith.
After discovering traces of Kilmandaros' presence in Lether, a terrified Telorast and Curdle tried to warn Lostara Yil. Lostara shooed them away so they went next to Banaschar. While delivering their warning to the priest, Telorast revealed "by accident" that she and Curdle were secretly following orders from Edgewalker. Noting the slip, Telorast and Curdle began to think of ways to kill the priest. The name "Edgewalker" had no meaning for Banaschar, but he cautioned them not to awaken D'rek, lest she be interested in Edgewalker's plans. The two chastised skeletons backed down, claiming to smell the Worm on him.
When Phaed was injured attempting to murder Sandalath Drukorlat in the room she shared with Withal, Sandalath left to seek help while Withal stood guard. But by the time she returned with Lostara Yil, Banaschar, and Phaed's Tiste Andii kin, Phaed had already fallen to her death from the window.
Banaschar travelled aboard the Froth Wolf with the Adjunct when the Malazan fleet sailed up the Lether River to invade Letheras. The priest was fascinated by their guide, Shurq Elalle, the undead pirate. He offered to restore her body to life using the rituals of D'rek, but Shurq remained uninterested. She allowed him to focus his thoughts on her insides and he was horrified to discover the Ootooloo that filled her entire being.
In Dust of Dreams
He continued to follow the Adjunct, across Letheras and into the Wastelands. He survived the battle with the K'Chain Nah'ruk. He was attached to Adjunct Tavore's personal staff, under the pretence of a counsellor, however his constant drunken state hindered his role.
In The Crippled God
Banaschar was now the last living High Priest of D'rek, the Mistress of Decay. His last title had been Demidrek Septarch of the Great Temple. Banaschar crossed the Glass Desert with the Bonehunters and due to the death of magic in the area, he was forced into sobriety. He became Tavore's sole source of strength in this crossing, feeding her the words to take the next step.
- "Yet the truth of things was never as interesting as the mystery preceding the revelation, and Banaschar had come to appreciate his own ignorance. In other matters, after all, he knew far too much – and what had that availed him?"
- ―Banaschar's musings
Notes and references
- Gardens of the Moon: Chatting with Steven Erikson, Part 3 - See 1:11:20
- The Bonehunters, Prologue, UK MMPB p.28
- The Bonehunters, Prologue, UK MMPB p.27
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.613
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22
- The Bonehunters, Prologue, US SFBC p.22/27
- The Bonehunters, Prologue, UK MMPB p.27-30
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.678/707
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.754
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.754-759
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.860
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US HC p.545
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.676-682
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.681
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.848/859-865/874
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.864/870/872-874/879-880
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.946
- The Bonehunters, Epilogue, US SFBC p.981-983
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.354-355
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.409
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.356
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 16, US HC p.466-467
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.613-614
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 16, US HC p.467-468
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.606-607
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.613-615
- The Crippled God, Chapter 11, US HC p.327