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Malazan Wiki

"When you've got nothing, bluff."
―Quick Ben[src]

Ben Adaephon Delat,[2] commonly known as Quick Ben, was squad mage of the 9th Squad, Bridgeburners. Originally from the Seven Cities continent,[3] he still spoke Malazan with a harsh Seven Cities accent.[4]

Quick Ben was black-skinned and tall with a lean face and fine ascetic features.[4][5] He had a row of neat, smallish, white teeth.[6] His arms were scrawny,[7] and his long hands were almost feminine and also described as thin and spidery.[5] He wore leather armour over a heavy quilted tunic, thin wool undergarments, leather leggings,[8][9] and moccasins.[10] His voice took on a strange lilt whenever he struggled against speaking his mind.[11] He had a habit of licking his lips when nervous.[12]

Whiskeyjack once stated that while Kruppe might have been the most intelligent man alive, Quick Ben was but a short step behind.[13]

His long-standing friendship with Kalam Mekhar, the two of them often working together, led to a habit of the pair talking in tandem.[14]

In Gardens of the Moon[]


Quick Ben by Yapattack

Quick Ben was stationed with his fellow Bridgeburners digging tunnels beneath the city of Pale. During the final battle, these tunnels collapsed and only due to one of Fiddler's 'bad' feelings, Quick Ben and some of the others escaped.[15]

Just prior to the battle, on an errand for High Fist Dujek Onearm the Malaz 2nd Army mage, Hairlock had used the opportunity to strike a deal with Whiskeyjack and Quick Ben to ensure his survival in the upcoming assault on Moon's Spawn and its guardian, Anomander Rake.[16] Quick Ben, Whiskeyjack, Kalam, and Sorry found the dying mage after the battle and Quick Ben performed a Soulshifting, transferring Hairlock's soul to the body of a puppet. He then handed over responsibility of the puppet to Tattersail, who had come across the scene, and departed with the rest of his squad for the city.[17]

On the day Quick Ben and the rest of the squad were due to leave for a covert mission to Darujhistan, Tattersail hosted a meeting with him, Whiskeyjack, Kalam and Fiddler which was interrupted when Fiddler had one of his 'bad' feelings.[18] During this meeting, Quick Ben stated that it was the intention of the Bridgeburners to cut away Tayschrenn's support and cause his fall from grace.[19] He again used a Warren which Tattersail did not recognize.[20]

Quick Ben, Kalam, and Mallet took the injured Captain Paran in secret to Tattersail's lodging. Quick Ben, who was linked to Hairlock had summoned the puppet to come by Warren and join them, however lost contact when Hairlock went beyond the Gates of the Shadow Realm. When Quick next felt the presence of the puppet, Hairlock was being followed by Hounds of Shadow.[21] Quick told Tattersail that it would be some time before Hairlock would be able to shake off the hounds. He and and his squad mates then left Tattersail to depart for Darujhistan.[22]


Quick Ben by Krewi

Prior to the squad crossing Lake Azur, Quick Ben performed a ritual of summoning and met Hairlock in the Warren of Chaos. He realised that the puppet was insane and dangerous, so decided that Hairlock had to be stopped.[23] Quick Ben travelled in disguise to the Warren of Shadow where he was confronted by the Hounds. Greeting each one by name he was herded by the beasts to Shadowkeep for an audience with Shadowthrone. There he intrigued the new god with his knowledge of the Path of Shadow. Calling himself a former acolyte he bargained for the removal of the Rope's death sentence for leaving the faith in return for leading the Hounds to Hairlock. Once Shadowthrone agreed, Quick Ben revealed his true identity leaving an outraged Shadowthrone screaming, "Delat! You shape-shifting bastard!", in his wake.[24]

Quick Ben and Kalam's encounter with the Night Hunters in Darujhistan by dejan-delic

Whiskeyjack had divided the squad into two teams with Kalam leading one which included Quick Ben and Sorry.[25] Kalam and Quick however persuaded the sergeant that they would be better off without Sorry.[26]

Quick Ben and Kalam by Shadaan

They were to make contact with the city's Assassins' Guild. The plan was to offer the Guild a contract to eliminate the city's true rulers, the mages of the T'orrud Cabal, thereby making the city an easier conquest. They found it difficult to make contact because Anomander Rake suspected the Empire's intentions and sent his night hunters to kill any assassins they could find. Thinking the Empire was behind the attacks, the Guild ordered assassin Rallick Nom to lead Quick Ben and Kalam into a Guild trap, only for both parties to be attacked by the Tiste Andii.[27]

Quick Ben and Pearl by Kremena Chipilova

Quick Ben eventually discovered Hairlock's location on the Rhivi Plain. He fulfilled his bargain by alerting Cotillion, and then severing the puppet's strings to prevent him from escaping by Warren. The puppet was soon ripped to pieces by the Hounds.[28]

On the night of Lady Simtal's Gedderone Fête, Quick Ben served as one of the party's hired guards along with the other Bridgeburners. The party was interrupted by the Jaghut Tyrant Raest, who possessed the body of the Cabal mage Mammot and began unleashing a sorcerous attack on the partygoers. Quick Ben responded by opening seven Warrens of his own. Although he saved the life of the Cabal witch Derudan, his efforts alone were not enough. Hedge further weakened the Tyrant with a blast from a Moranth munition before the Finnest House was able to imprison Raest.[29]

The threat to Darujhistan resolved, Quick Ben joined Whiskeyjack and the other Bridgeburners who cut themselves loose from the Empire. On the shores of Lake Azur, he wondered if it was time to launch his own secret plans. He decided to give the "old man a chance to rest" for now, but thought, "Whiskeyjack's going to howl when he hears this one."[30]

In Deadhouse Gates[]

Quick Ben using one of his Warrens by slaine69

Kalam and Fiddler traveled to Seven Cities ostensibly to return Sorry (now named Apsalar) to her village. In reality, they planned to put Kalam and Quick Ben's plan into play. The pair sought out the Azath House Tremorlor hoping to use its gate to travel instantaneously and undetected to the Deadhouse in Malaz City.[31] From there it was a short trip to Unta where they hoped to assassinate Empress Laseen in revenge for attacks on the Bridgeburners. Quick Ben would serve as their Shaved Knuckle in the Hole through an ensorcelled rock that Kalam could use to summon the mage once they were in the halls of the palace.[32][33] The company of a formerly possessed fishergirl with the skills of an immortal assassin would only improve their chances.[34] After the Empress' death, Quick Ben and Kalam "had someone in mind" to succeed her.[35] The Jhag Icarium was skeptical that a squad mage could possess such arcane knowledge regarding the workings of the Azath.[36]

Things did not go as planned and Kalam and Fiddler became separated. Kalam was forced to call upon Quick Ben early in an attempt to help him escape the trap of a Mockra mage. Quick Ben also informed the assassin that things were not going well in the fight against the Pannion Domin.[37]

Later, Dujek sponsored an expedition of the Trygalle Trade Guild to provide Fist Coltaine and his Chain of Dogs with desperately needed food and water during their trek across the Nenoth Odhan. Additionally, Coltaine was presented with an ensorcelled bottle of smoky glass on a chain which he was instructed to wear at all times because "the Empress must not lose you". The bottle was created by Quick Ben and was intended to capture Coltaine's soul in case of his death.[38] The Guild made a second stop at Tremorlor to deliver Fiddler a shipment of munitions from Quick Ben.[39]

In Memories of Ice[]

Quick Ben fighting the Pannion forces by Araiwein

After the events of the Gedderone Fête at Darujhistan, the Bridgeburners rejoined High Fist Dujek's now "renegade" army at Pale. Quick Ben was placed on Whiskeyjack's staff where he took on a mix of sorcerous, bureaucratic, and financial duties. In one instance, he followed one of his magic tracker pebbles into an unknown Warren where he had an inadvertent audience with the Crippled God. The unfamiliar god tried to bargain for the mage's services, then attempted to imprison him before Quick Ben was rescued by one of Burn's giant servants. The giant informed Quick Ben that the Crippled God was poisoning Burn's flesh, and she had only "tens of years" before it was too late. Quick Ben swore to aid her.[40] He confirmed that the goddess was fevered by infection after consulting the Witch of Tennes.[41]

When Dujek and Whiskeyjack met with Caladan Brood to cement their alliance against the Pannion Domin, Quick Ben did his best to avoid the attention of Brood's ally, Anomander Rake. Forced to intervene when arguments edged towards violence, he identified himself to Rake as "just a soldier" and requested that Rake respect his privacy by not magically probing him.[42] During the same tense negotiations, Kallor threatened to break the chains that bound Quick Ben's souls. In response, the mage created a hole in the ground to swallow the High King.[43]

Quick Ben by Jirí Dvorský

Whiskeyjack was aware that Quick Ben was pursuing some personal scheme, but the mage was not yet ready to reveal his knowledge of the Crippled God.[44] The Bridgeburner assigned Quick Ben to make contact with the Grey Swords of Capustan, who would soon face the army of the Pannion Domin. Using his magic and knowledge of Fener's doctrine he brokered an uneasy alliance between the mercenaries and Dujek and Brood's forces.[45][46]

During the march to Capustan, Whiskeyjack released Quick Ben to join Captain Paran and the other Bridgeburners on a mission to recruit the White Face Barghast of the Barghast Range. But the Crippled God's poisoning of the Warrens fought his attempts to travel through them. Attempting to find a better path through Hood's Warren he stumbled upon the Barghast sticksnare, Talamandas. The shaman impressed Quick Ben with his tale of the imprisoned spirits of the Barghast First Families, so the mage freed the shaman from his bindings despite Talamandas' objections that such a deed was impossible for a mortal.[47]

Talamandas later dragged Quick Ben into the Barghast Warren where a mutually beneficial bargain was struck. Quick Ben would tell Humbrall Taur, warchief of the White Face, that the spirits of the First Families were trapped in Capustan. In return, the Barghast spirits of the Warren would cut through the Crippled God's poison to assist the Bridgeburner healer, Mallet, in magically healing the mortally wounded Trotts. Trotts' survival was required to secure the alliance between Onearm's Host and the White Face.[48] Soon, the Barghast and Bridgeburners were marching to war, but Quick Ben was left raving and feverish by the poisoned Warrens.[49]

Quick Ben was sent by Whiskeyjack to trap the Pannion Seer. Joining forces with the sticksnare Talamandas, he recovered from the poisoning of the Warrens and gained access to them, but during their jaunt he was warned by Hood to dissuade Ganoes Paran from blessing High House Chains as part of the Deck of Dragons. When Paran as the Master of the Deck chose mercy, Quick Ben saved the Seer's sister from the Rift.

In House of Chains[]

Quick Ben by Puck

According to L'oric's spies among Onearm's Host, Quick Ben was made High Mage after the Pannion War. The possibilty of the mage coming to Seven Cities to aid Tavore Paran caused much consternation among the leaders of the Whirlwind rebellion. Kamist Reloe openly feared the mage and the possibilty of facing him and Kalam together. Korbolo Dom only sneered with contempt.[50]

Kalam infiltrated the camp of Sha'ik Reborn and the Army of the Apocalypse in service of Cotillion, who gave the assassin another of the acorns with which he could summon Quick Ben.[51] Cornered and outnumbered within Korbolo Dom's tent by Kamist Reloe and Dom's assassins, the Bridgeburner brought Quick Ben to his side. Kamist died screaming in a sizzling web of Quick Ben's death magic. Kalam observed that his friend appeared older and worn down. The two then confronted Korbolo Dom, striking him unconscious and taking him prisoner.[52] After depositing Dom with the Claw, Pearl, they located Fiddler amongst the Malaz 14th Army for a heartfelt reunion.[53][54]

In The Bonehunters[]

Leoman led the Army of the Apocalypse westward towards Y'Ghatan and the 14th Army followed. Quick Ben remained with the 14th Army in service to Adjunct Tavore Paran as the army's High Mage after the Battle of Raraku. But he and Kalam held a secret meeting with Tayschrenn and Dujek behind the Adjunct's back. When Tayschrenn turned up for the meeting outside the 14th Army's camp, he was obviously peeved at being called a colleague by Quick Ben and pointed out the new rank was only a field promotion not yet sanctioned by the Empress. Quick told Tayschrenn that far from being a High Mage for the first time, he had once served under the name "Kribalah Rule" — also known as Rule the Rude — a High Mage in the Blackdog Campaign under the old Emperor. In that guise he had saved Tayschrenn from Tiste Andii assassin-mages before apparently dying in a horrible conflagration. Tayschrenn recalled suspiciously that he had lost an object containing a demon lord at the time — the very same demon that was later killed by the sword of Anomander Rake in Darujhistan. Quick Ben feigned ignorance.[55]

Quick Ben by Dejan Delic

Adjunct Tavore chose to send some of her people ahead to reach Y'Ghatan first, so she sent Quick Ben and Kalam along with Gesler's squad. The group travelled via the Imperial Warren, but due to the problems with the Warrens travel was difficult and confusing.[56] The sudden appearance of at least a dozen K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeeps in the air above led Quick Ben to immediately cancel the plan. He brought the group back to the Malazan world to report the news to the Adjunct. It quickly became clear that Tavore was well aware of the High Mage's clandestine meeting and despite his protests sent him off with Kalam and Stormy to learn the K'Chain Che'Malle's intent. Kalam understood they had lost the Adjunct's trust and she was determined to send them as far away from her back as possible.[57] The loss of the army's only High Mage just before the Last Siege of Y'Ghatan caused considerable unrest among the Adjunct's subordinates.[58]

Their attempts to infiltrate one of the skykeeps met with failure and Quick Ben and Stormy were trapped and injured when the ground of the Imperial Warren collapsed beneath them. Kalam called upon his patron, Cotillion, who assisted their climb out. Kalam noted the god's sly regard for the High Mage realising Quick Ben made Cotillion nervous.[59] Afterwards, Stormy convinced Quick Ben and Kalam there was nothing more they could learn about the skykeeps, which remained unmoving in the sky above.[60]

By the time they returned to Y'Ghatan the battle was over and the 14th Army had left. They were found there by Apsalar, who noted the aura of Hood about the High Mage. Kalam was startled by the revelation and angrily demanded answers. Quick Ben admitted to conversing with Hood in an attempt to better understand the two sides of the war between the gods. Apsalar warned that Quick Ben's long conversations with the god had left a residue that could influence his motives without his knowledge. The four soon discovered Fiddler and the other survivors of Y'Ghatan and the group followed after the 14th Army.[61]

Quick Ben and Kalam by Harkalé Linai

On the march, Quick Ben conducted a divination ritual, enlisting Bottle's aid when the magic reached an impasse. Under the Eres'al's influence as Quick suspected, the younger mage still startled the High Mage with his deft resolution of the problem. When Bottle revealed that a woman from Quick Ben's family was endangered by Shadowthrone, Quick Ben immediately recognised his sister, Torahaval. He hurried to Shadow to face the god, leaving Kalam behind to watch over the threads anchoring his soul to the Malazan world.[62] Shadowthrone revealed that Torahaval was even then dying under the ministrations of Poliel. He offered to send Quick Ben to her side in an instant if the High Mage agreed to be in his debt. Quick Ben frantically accepted and Shadowthrone sent him to Poliel's temple in G'danisban. But the god was ready to finally rid himself of his enemy and severed the threads safely binding Quick's soul back to Kalam.[63]

Although Shadowthrone sent Quick Ben to his dying sister's side, Quick Ben soon realised the god had betrayed him. Poliel was impaled there on a shard of Otataral as part of the god's scheme with Ganoes Paran to slay her and the substance left the High Mage in agony and his magic useless. The Hounds of Shadow arrived to slay him while he was defenseless, but Apsalar intervened allowing Quick Ben to drag his sister away. Brokeface helped the High Mage carry her to the temple of Soliel to cure her of the plague. Quick Ben found Ganoes Paran there and asked the Master of the Deck if Tavore could be trusted. When Paran attested to his sister's loyalty to her soldiers, the High Mage departed promising Paran he owed him a drink. Back at camp, Quick Ben found an angry Kalam confronting Apsalar and quashed any idea that she had helped Shadow betray him.[64] Not longer after, the group of survivors finally rejoined the 14th on the coast of the Kokakal Sea.[65]

The 14th Army embarked on Admiral Nok's Malazan Imperial Fleet to flee the Bluetongue Plague ravaging Seven Cities and return to Unta. Tavore kept Quick Ben close among her retinue aboard her flagship, the Froth Wolf.[66] The fleet was ambushed by the Third Edur Imperial Fleet, and the Chaos-infused Elder sorcery of nearly a hundred Tiste Edur warlocks was sent against them. Quick Ben stood alone on the Froth Wolf's prow to face them with Elder magic of his own. But his sorcery was merely an illusion until Bottle and the Eres'al bolstered him to turn the illusion into reality, saving Quick Ben and the entire fleet.[67]

After a dozen suns fell to the earth over Otataral Island far to the east, Kalam found Quick Ben huddling fearfully in the ship's hold. The High Mage revealed that Ganoes Paran had bargained with Hood to save the world from the suns' destruction. Quick Ben had spied on the conversation by disguising himself as one of the corpses forming the Gate to Hood's Realm. What Hood demanded of Paran in return for his assistance shocked the High Mage, but he did not describe its details.[68] When the Perish Grey Helms joined the Malazan fleet in the Catal Sea, they requested Quick Ben's assistance with the raw power to open a gate that would shave months off their travel back to Quon Tali.[69]

The fleet was rerouted to Malaz City so the Adjunct could meet with Empress Laseen at Mock's Hold. Before they arrived, Adjunct Tavore ordered his attendance at a reading of the Deck of Dragons by Fiddler. The reading revealed that Quick Ben would have "Lifeslayer to deal with, and that puts him in a hole, but not the hole he thinks he's in – a different hole."[70] Quick Ben was still unsure about Tavore and was apprehensive that both the Empress and Tayschrenn awaited in Malaz City.[71][72]

At Malaz City, the Froth Wolf and the Silanda moored at the city pier while the rest of the fleet remained anchored in the harbour. The entire city seethed with magically induced anger against the 14th Army and the Marines prepared to defend their ships from the mob after the Adjunct was escorted away with Kalam and T'amber to meet the Empress. Tavore ordered Quick Ben to remain aboard the flagship while she was away.[73] Adjunct Tavore's meeting did not go well as she refused Laseen and Mallick Rel's demands to deliver up her loyal Wickan and Khundryl soldiers to the mob as scapegoats for Malazan failures in Seven Cities. She fled back towards her ships, alongside Kalam and T'amber, pursued by hundreds of Pearl's Claws.[74] Quick Ben sat on the floor of his cabin with four warrens unveiled, sensing that someone had riddled the city with deadly traps of High Ruse to keep him isolated on the ship. But when the cornered and desperate Kalam called on his shaved knuckle in the hole with an acorn, Quick Ben opened a gate to rush to his side.[75]

Interpretation of Quick Ben facing Icarium by Slaine69

However, Quick Ben's path was redirected by Shadowthrone to instead send him to assist Trull Sengar and the Company of Shadow in the defence of the First Throne against the Tiste Edur attack. The god claimed it was time for "my dear Snake" to pay the debt incurred for Shadowthrone's aid with Torahaval and Kalam fell to Pearl's poison in Quick's absence.[76] Before the First Throne, Quick was faced with the Edur's ally, the enraged Icarium, who was killing friend and foe alike. Although initially withstanding the Jhag's onslaught, the High Mage was eventually beaten back, his skin ruptured everywhere and bleeding. He and the others were saved only by the appearance of the Eres'al who subdued Icarium with a simple touch. Trull pulled the unconscious Quick Ben from the wreckage and Cotillion predicted he would survive.[77]

Shadowthrone later visited Tayschrenn in his tower in Mock's Hold to chastise him for allowing his schemes with Quick Ben and Kalam to turn to naught. The god surprised Tayschrenn by revealing he knew the High Mage had agreed to be Quick Ben's shaved knuckle in the hole. When the former emperor asked why Quick Ben had not invoked the agreement when facing Icarium, Tayschrenn implied there would be a more appropriate opportunity in the future and said he would have been disappointed if summoned so soon.[78]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Quick Ben opens a gate by Tommy Arnold (Official image)

Cotillion brought Quick Ben, Trull Sengar, Onrack, and the other survivors of the defence of the First Throne to Shadow to recuperate. The god addressed him as Ben Delat, which Quick Ben said was a version of his name he had not used in a long time. The two discussed the nature of Shadow and the Azath Houses and Cotillion was impressed by Quick Ben's knowledge. After reassuring him that Kalam would recover in the Deadhouse, Cotillion informed the High Mage he was free to depart with Trull and Onrack. Cotillion gave them access to one of the gates out of Shadow across a lake, but warned that reality on the other side of the gate remained unresolved until they passed through. The nature of their destination would be determined by themselves. Trull demanded Cotillion summon Shadowthrone to provide a better explanation of what awaited them, but Ammanas was no more help.[79] Quick Ben still seethed with anger at Shadowthrone for pulling him away from helping Kalam in Malaz City[80] and Cotillion was careful not to reveal the true reason Shadowthrone had save the assassin's life.[81]

Quick Ben, Trull, and Onrack travelled together by boat across the lake of Shadow until the water grew too shallow. They continued on wading through the water, but were soon stalked by giant N'purel fish. Although still feeling weakened and fragile after his battle with Icarium, he was forced to hurriedly open a gate that brought them to a realm of tundra where Onrack transformed back into a mortal Imass. Onrack identified the place as Tellann.[82][83]

This realm was actually the Refugium where Imass existed beyond the reach of the Ritual of Tellann. Following the sound of an exploding munition, the High Mage had a joyful reunion with the ghost of Hedge who had found his own way there.[84][85] Later the four met Rud Elalle, son of Menandore, who brought to the village of clan chief Ulshun Pral and his people.

Quick Ben soon deduced that the Refugium housed the Finnest of Scabandari Bloodeye and joined his companions in their aim of protecting the realm from those invaders coming to claim it.[86] His joyful reunion with Hedge soon devolved to the normal irritated squabbling they shared in life. They argued over whether the High Mage was being manipulated by Shadowthrone and Cotillion. Hedge speculated that the two gods were unsure of Quick Ben and so kept him close at hand and without Kalam to watch his back. The High Mage said there would be trouble if this was true.[87][88]

Menandore was not pleased by the "pathetic mortals" Shadowthrone sent to help protect her realm, so she joined her sisters, Sukul Ankhadu and Sheltatha Lore, in an effort to kill them.[89] While awaiting the attack, Quick Ben denied Hedge's suspicion that the High Mage would finally reveal his Soletaken form.[90] As the three Soletaken Eleint descended on Hedge and Quick Ben, the High Mage employed his magic to send the earth heaving upwards to knock them from the sky. Sheltatha used the chaotic moment to turn on Menandore, killing her, but not before being gravely wounded herself. As Sukul fled, Hedge launched a cusser into Sheltatha's opened belly sending chunks of dragon flesh everywhere. One chunk struck the sapper squarely between the eyes and knocked him out cold, much to Quick Ben's amusement.[91]

Meanwhile, Trull and Onrack faced Silchas Ruin, who overcame them to take possession of the Finnest. The Tiste Andii planted the seed to create a new Azath House to imprison Scabandari's soul. The Azath anchored the Refugium in reality, permanently resurrecting Hedge and sealing the Refugium's twelve gates within itself. Quick Ben wondered if this had been Shadowthrone's plan all along as putting the gates under the House's control meant giving Shadowthrone and Cotillion full access to them.[92]

Silchas Ruin vs Quick Ben by Marc Simonetti (Official Image)

With matters settled, Hedge and Quick Ben passed through one of the gate with Trull and Seren Pedac to return to Letheras.[93] They arrived in the city amidst the Bonehunters invasion and left the couple at Seren's home before seeking out Fiddler.[94] The two found Fiddler and his squad atop a building overlooking the Eternal Domicile just as Silchas Ruin dived upon them in his Soletaken form. Hedge launched a cusser and the High Mage his magic to drive the dragon away before joining their friend. Fiddler was not pleased that Quick Ben had been missing for so long when the army needed their High Mage.[95]

As Fiddler's squad assaulted the palace, Trull left Seren to seek out his brother, Rhulad, finding him dead in the palace's arena. While mourning his brother, he was killed from behind by Sirryn Kanar. When Quick Ben and Hedge found him moments later, both were stricken with grief. Hedge demanded Quick Ben send Kanar "some place with...with eternal torment." After agonising over the decision, Quick Ben complied, saying Hood owed him a favour, and Kanar disappeared screaming into a dark blur. Then pale with rage, he grabbed Fiddler by the arm and demanded the Bridgeburner not pity Kanar. The Errant, tipper of balances and maker of widows, watched from nearby.[96]

In Dust of Dreams[]

When Fiddler read the Deck of Dragons in Letheras, Quick Ben was named Magus of High House Dark.

He traveled with the Bonehunters across the Letherii continent into the Wastelands. When the Bonehunters were confronted by an army of K'Chain Nah'ruk, he destroyed an entire phalanx of the Nah'ruk before disappearing into a massive crater created by the Nah'ruk's lightning.

In The Crippled God[]

Quick Ben by Matt Smith

Quick Ben visited the Spar of Andii where he recovered two items, one of which was the Sceptre of Night with which he summoned a horse from a handful of horse hair. Whilst doing so, he addressed an unseen 'Mother', possibly Mother Dark. Once Quick departed, the tapping of a cane upon rock was heard.[97] Quick Ben joined forces with Kalam in helping the Paran siblings fight the Pure Blood Forkrul Assail in the north of Kolanse, using their skills to assassinate the Pure Bloods on and off the battlefield. The two united with Fiddler and Hedge at the Marine/Heavy detachment guarding the Crippled God's body in the final battle with the Assail.


As a result of soulshifting, Quick Ben had absorbed the souls of eleven members of a mage cabal[98] which gave him access to at least twelve separate warrens, although he could manage only a maximum of seven at any one time.[99]

  • Denul[100] - The Path of Healing- one of his souls was that of Ullan, a Soletaken priestess of Shedenul/Soliel
  • D'riss - The Path of Stone - from cabal member Keluger
  • Hood's Path - The Path of Death
  • Fener's Warren - bordering Chaos itself - from cabal member Narkal
  • Imperial Warren
  • Meanas - The Path of Shadow and Illusion - from cabal member Renisha
  • Rashan[101] - The Path of Darkness (spelled Rasham in Glossary of Memories of Ice) - also from cabal member Etra
  • Ruse - The Path of the Sea
  • Serc - The Path of the Sky - from cabal member Birith'erah
  • Telas - The Path of Fire - Child of Tellann
  • Tennes - The Path of the Land - from cabal member Gellid
  • Thyr - The Path of Light

When Quick Ben shifted the soul of Hairlock into a puppet, it was described as magic which hadn't been done in a thousand years. He used a Warren which Tattersail didn't even recognize. She judged him to be her superior in the lore.[102]

Tattersail perceived Quick Ben's sorcery as bleeding a strange, swirling flavor.[103] On another occasion he emerged from a swirling cloud which held a strange spicy scent.[104]

Whilst on the trail of Hairlock, Quick Ben's body was hovering cross-legged a few inches above the floor.[105]



Quick Ben by Artsed

At the age of four, Quick Ben woke up screaming from a bad dream in which "he had died, yet walked the world still, for he had forgotten something. Forgotten, and no matter what he did, no recollection was possible. And so his corpse wandered, everywhere, with ever the same question on his lips, a question delivered to every single person cursed to cross his path. What? What have I forgotten?"[106]

At the age of ten, living in Aren, Quick Ben played a prank on his entire extended family of 42 members, including four-month old Minarala. This involved the use of the old art of making figures which incorporated some part of a person like a hair or nail clipping to then be used in a magic ritual. One night he used the figure of a wolf representing himself to invade and terrify the dreams of the sheep representing his family.[107] His older[108] sister Torahaval checked his many bolt-holes across the city and eventually caught up with him in the Prelid Quarter where Quick played another trick on her. Possessing a small Talent herself, she attempted to use the wolf figure against her brother. But Quick Ben expected this and had incorporated a piece of her underclothes into the doll's construction. Torahaval's attempts to force the boy to stumble affected them both, leaving her in agony and him shrieking with laughter. After that, Torahaval decided to hate him forever.[109] She completed rituals to sever her ties to her brother but he made certain that not all threads between them were cut.[110] As an adult, he regretted torturing his sister in their youth.[111]

Quick Ben later joined the service of a Holy Falah'd in an unnamed city near the Pan'potsun Waste. He also at some time became the friend and partner of Kalam Mekhar.

The Forging of the Bridgeburners[]

Quick Ben shaved Knuckle in the Hole
by Autumn Tavern

During the Malazan Empire's conquest of Seven Cities, Dassem Ultor and his army captured Quick Ben's city, killed the Holy Falah'd, and sent the Falah'd's mage cabal fleeing across the desert. Whiskeyjack and his 7th Company were tasked with hunting down Quick Ben and the other mages. They chased them across the Pan'potsun Waste and into the Holy Desert, Raraku led by a local guide called Kalam Mekhar.[112] This chase became the event which forged Whiskeyjack's recruits into the elite Bridgeburner company, so called because the holy desert was said to have burned the bridges to their pasts.[113][114]

During the pursuit, one by one the other eleven mages in the cabal died and shifted their souls into Quick Ben and in the end only he remained. Among these souls were:

Once Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners caught up with Quick Ben, Kalam was revealed to have been the mages' accomplice. However, a mutual respect had blossomed between the men, and Quick Ben as well as Kalam joined the Bridgeburners at the end of this fraught pursuit. Quick Ben convinced Whiskeyjack to keep their defection secret from Emperor Kellanved.[117] The Korvalah demon, Pearl, later confirmed that the name "Ben Adaephon Delat" was marked on the scrolls listing the mages who fell to the Empire in Seven Cities.[118]

The Destruction of the Cult of Rashan[]

Quick Ben by Luztheren

Some time after the forging of the Bridgeburners, Quick Ben was sent by the Emperor to Ehrlitan to annihilate the Cult of Rashan. Quick Ben was secretly accompanied by Dancer who later admitted that neither he nor the Emperor had realised who Quick Ben really was.[119]

Quick Ben was welcomed to the Temple of Rashan under a different name as a visiting High Priest by Master Bidithal. It was unclear whether Quick Ben was posing as a High Priest, had achieved the rank through acquiring Etra's soul, or had achieved the rank on his own. Bidithal honoured his visitor with a performance of the Shadow Dance, whose participants included Lostara Yil. The performance inspired a mutual attraction between Lostara and Quick Ben and years later Cotillion revealed the mage would have taken her for his own and brought her to join the Bridgeburners.[120] Cotillion told Lostara that he, unbeknown to her, had also watched her dance.[121]

After the dance, during the night, the assassinations had begun. Apart from Lostara, Quick Ben also let Bidithal escape, an act which brought him the wrath of Kellanved.[122] This did not prevent Quick Ben from later serving Shadowthrone under yet another identity as an acolyte of Meanas after the Emperor's ascension. Quick Ben rose far in Shadowthrone's clergy (possibly with the aid of Renisha's soul) before ultimately abandoning his service and burning the robes of his vestment.[123]

For a discussion about Quick Ben's overall timeline see the Malazan Empire Forum thread on the topic as well as the Speculation section below.


Quick Ben by Corporal Nobbs

Quick Ben by Corporal Nobbs

Quick Ben: "I admit it, High Fist, I really trust no one."
Ganoes Paran: "No one at all?"
Quick Ben: "The trust I have… for some people… comes down to how well I know them, and then it’s a matter of my trusting them to do what I think they’re going to do."
―Quick Ben and Ganoes Paran[src]
"... but still, what's life without a few thousand regrets?"
―Quick Ben[src]


  • Steven Erikson says there is a meaning behind Quick Ben's name, but he had no plans on revealing it. "I could tell you the origin of Quick Ben but it might take the allure off the character, so I won't."[124] He later admitted the name was inspired by the movie The Long, Hot Summer where actor Paul Newman played a fire starter named Ben Quick. Erikson and fellow author, Ian C. Esslemont, had seen the movie on television around the time that Erikson created Quick Ben as a character for their role-playing games.[125]


There are a quite a number of speculations surrounding Quick Ben:

  • Quick Ben (Ben Adaephon Delat) might be the author Adaephon who wrote the poem Azath.[126]
  • Quick Ben may have been a Soletaken. Shadowthrone called him a shape-shifting bastard,[127] and Tattersail once saw Quick Ben emerge from a strange, spicy scented cloud - often a characteristic of a veering Soletaken.[128] Hedge once confronted Quick Ben, saying "there was always a smell of Soletaken about you" and asked if the mage was finally about to reveal his other form. The mage declined, but did not deny his suspicion.[129] One of the twelve souls within Quick Ben was itself a Soletaken.[115] Erikson has said possible answers will be revealed in Walk in Shadow, the final book of the Kharkanas Trilogy.[130]
  • The night of the decimation of the Rashan cult in Ehrlitan as documented in House of Chains. There are differing theories as to who was present at the time.
    • Cotillions' later comments to Lostara Yil may have indicated the presence of Shadowthrone or it could be that Delat was there representing him, as Shadowthrone might otherwise have prevented Delat from letting Bidithal go. Cotillion said: "But there were three of us [possibly meaning Delat, Lostara and Cotillion] that night [i.e. during the dance], so very long ago in Ehrlitan."
      "Delat, who had a different name for that mission and was my partner’s responsibility besides — Delat let Bidithal go. I suppose it seemed a…a betrayal, yes? It certainly did to my partner. Certainly to this day Shadowthrone — who was not Shadowthrone then, simply a particularly adept and ambitious practitioner of Rashan’s sister warren, Meanas — to this day, I was saying, Shadowthrone stokes eternal fires of vengeance". Cotillion certainly confirmed to her that he was there as an assassin.[131] Some have argued that the third person may have been Kalam Mekhar.[132]
  • The timing of the destruction of the cult of Rashan and the burning of Quick Ben's robes in relation to the forging of the Bridgeburners has different theories.
  • Quick Ben's sexual orientation was discussed in a Malazan Empire forum thread

Fan art gallery[]

Notes and references[]

  1. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.125
  2. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, US HC p.298
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xii
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.55
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.79
  6. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 11, UK HB p.376
  7. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.726
  8. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.606-607
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.155
  10. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.838
  11. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.194
  12. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 10, US HC p.257
  13. Memories of Ice, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.513
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK HB p.130/131
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.134
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.65/81
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.79-82
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.126-135
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.128
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.135
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.146/151-156
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.155/156
  23. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.260-263
  24. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12, US HC p. 279-281
  25. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.258
  26. Gardens of the Moon,Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.363
  27. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, US HC p. 288-294/307
  28. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, US HC p.326-330
  29. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22
  30. Gardens of the Moon, Epilogue, US HC p.486
  31. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.225
  32. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, US HC p.46
  33. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.301
  34. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.93
  35. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.300
  36. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.225
  37. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 19, US HC p.493-494
  38. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 19, US HC p.507
  39. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.518
  40. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2
  41. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4
  42. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.190/198
  43. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.205
  44. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.206-207
  45. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.206
  46. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.243-247
  47. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.316-320
  48. Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.396-402
  49. Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.560
  50. House of Chains, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.309
  51. House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.744
  52. House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.792-794
  53. House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.814
  54. House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.846
  55. The Bonehunters,Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.124/125
  56. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.142/146-147
  57. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.193-195
  58. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.199
  59. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.259-264
  60. The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.380-384
  61. The Bonehunters, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.423-427/433
  62. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.606-610
  63. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.618-620
  64. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.623-632
  65. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.670
  66. The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.719
  67. The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.725-733
  68. The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.781-782/795-797
  69. The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.819
  70. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.840
  71. The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.820
  72. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.837
  73. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.866
  74. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.897-907
  75. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.931-932
  76. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.932
  77. The Bonehunters, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.973-976
  78. The Bonehunters, Epilogue, US SFBC p.981-982
  79. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 8, US HC p.188-192
  80. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 10, US HC p.258
  81. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 8, US HC p.190
  82. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 10, US HC p.255-258
  83. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 12, US HC p.316-319
  84. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.511
  85. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.555-556
  86. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21, US HC p.661-662
  87. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.596
  88. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21, US HC p.656-658
  89. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.719-720
  90. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.716
  91. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.725-729
  92. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.737-738/741-742
  93. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.738
  94. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.780
  95. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.809-810
  96. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.814-819
  97. The Crippled God, Chapter 2
  98. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.355-362
  99. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2
  100. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.79 - It seemed to Tattersail that he used a twisted version of Denul
  101. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.389
  102. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.80
  103. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.135
  104. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.146
  105. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.152
  106. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.736
  107. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.732
  108. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.731
  109. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.731-733
  110. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.752
  111. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.623
  112. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.300
  113. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, US HC p.45
  114. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.131
  115. 115.0 115.1 115.2 115.3 115.4 115.5 115.6 115.7 115.8 Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.359
  116. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.356
  117. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.300-306
  118. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.423
  119. House of Chains, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.325
  120. House of Chains, Chapter 8
    "Did you know Delat—or, rather, the man I would eventually learn was Delat—would have taken you for his own? Not just the one night. You would have joined him as a Bridgeburner, and that would well have pleased him."
  121. House of Chains, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.391 - Please see 'Speculations' for more
  122. House of Chains, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.388-394
  123. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12
  124. Q and A with malazanempire No 1 (2003)
  125. Amalgam Podcast - See 45:00
  126. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.681
  127. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12, US HC p. 280
  128. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, US HC p. 116
  129. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 23, US HC p.716
  130. Reddit AMA 2012
  131. House of Chains, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.388-393
  132. Malazan Empire forum thread
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