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Malazan Wiki

"He stank of rancid animal fat, old sweat and stale beer. Gods! Has he never washed?"
―Sergeant Jumpy, up close with Braven Tooth[src]

Master Sergeant Braven Tooth was a grizzled, old soldier who trained many of the Malazan army's recruits. He was based at the Malaz City garrison,[1] and enjoyed striking terror in his recruits.[2]

Braven Tooth was described as a huge monstrosity of a man, with tiny black eyes set under a jutting brow, wild unkempt curly black hair, a bushy black beard, and bhederin-like eyebrows.[3][4][5]

Banaschar described him as "hairy beyond reason":

"Twisted snarls exploding out from both ears, the ebon-hued curls wending down to merge with the vast gull's nest that was his beard, which in turn engulfed his neck and continued downward, unabated, to what was visible of the man's bulging chest; and, too, climbed upward to fur his cheeks – conjoining on the way with the twin juts of nostril hairs, as if the man had thrust tiny uprooted trees up his nose – only to then merge uninterrupted with the sprung hemp ropes that were the man's eyebrows, which in turn blended neatly into the appallingly low hairline that thoroughly disguised what had to be a meagre, sloping forehead. And, despite the man's absurd age – rumoured age, actually, since no one knew for certain – that mass of hair was dyed squid-ink black."

He was also known not to bathe very often.[6]

In the series he was said to have given pseudonyms (what he called their "real names")[7] to many of the main characters, including Whiskeyjack, Trotts, Toes, Hedge, Mallet, Blend, and Picker. But not Fiddler, who was named by Whiskeyjack. Fiddler also claimed to have named him "Braven Tooth" after the former allegedly left the young soldier with a tooth in his shoulder after a bar fight (which they later claimed never happened).[8]

He lived on the top floor of a tenement in the Mouse Quarter near Obo's Tower.[9][10]

In House of Chains[]

Becoming acquainted with the young recruits of his new squad, Fiddler was dumbfounded to learn his old drill sergeant was still alive and training Malazan soldiers. The master sergeant had been grizzled when he started the naming tradition back in Fiddler's day. The members of Fiddler's squad who had been named by Braven Tooth were Bottle, Smiles, and Tarr.[11] It was said that once during training, the Master Sergeant had spent nearly two bells pounding on Tarr with a mace, but was unable to get past his shield. The recruit's ability to remain unbudged once he planted his feet led the Master Sergeant to give him the name, "Tarr".[12]

In The Bonehunters[]

Braven Tooth frequented Coop's Hanged Man Inn where he often drank with Temper or Banaschar. He was introduced as an instructor of recruits, who he often strongly complained about. The Master Sergeant planned to cry that night for the loss of friends among Adjunct Tavore Paran's 14th Army at Y'Ghatan and said he could only cry when drunk. For this purpose he was drinking Red-vine tea, which coloured his tears red, something Braven Tooth only did once before when Dassem Ultor died (whose death he now cast doubt on). Banaschar talked to the old soldier about the priest's failed attempts to get messages to High Mage Tayschrenn in Mock's Hold and how he suspected he was being followed.[13][14]

Among the soldiers drinking at Coop's he met two of his former recruits, Mudslinger and Gentur, who told him of their recent misadventure on Drift Avalii. Braven Tooth was especially interested in the man they called Traveller, whose ability to fight without breaking a sweat seemed familiar.[15]

On the night the Bonehunters came to Malaz City, Braven Tooth enlisted Mudslinger and Gentur to eliminate a Claw he spotted following Banaschar out of the bar.[16] Gentur was killed by the Claw and Mudslinger gravely wounded, but Braven Tooth found him in time to save his life.[17][18] Later that night, Fiddler, Gesler, and Stormy slipped into the city to find their old Master Sergeant's tenement to bring food and wine and play songs in memory of fallen friends. Fiddler's attempt to slip into Braven Tooth's room unannounced while the Master Sergeant was sleeping got him a breath-stealing fist to the stomach for his trouble.[19]

Braven Tooth returned to Coop's near dawn after Fiddler and the others departed. He met Temper on the Inn's doorstep and both appreciatively eyed Apsalar as she entered before them. The Master Sergeant's attempts to talk to her inside were rewarded with her knife-point pressed against his eye to wave him off.[20]

In Reaper's Gale[]

On Second Maiden Fort, Balm and Throatslitter argued with Deadsmell over how he determined that Shurq Elalle was a dead woman. Throatslitter accused the mage of being a necromancer and wagered that was why Braven Tooth had dubbed him Deadsmell as a recruit.[21]

While on campaign in Lether, Tarr recalled how Braven Tooth had named him after saying it was Tarr's job to hold back the enemy as if tar was under his feet. The Master Sergeant told the recruit the story of Temper, another soldier with tar under his feet, who stood with Dassem Ultor outside Y'Ghatan when the First Sword fell. Tarr thought such a man could only exist in Braven Tooth's mind.[22]

In Dust of Dreams[]

(Information needed)

In The Crippled God[]

Tarr claimed that the infamous Nefarias Bredd was a story made up by the soldiers of the 14th Army on the march to Y'Ghatan. The soldiers had gotten a bad loaf of bread and someone called it nefarious. Tarr said it sounded like something Braven Tooth would have made up, and they kept the name.[23]

In Return of the Crimson Guard[]

During the Malazan civil war, Braven Tooth and other experienced officers from Malaz City traveled to Unta to assist with the war effort.[24] He and Master Sergeant Temp whipped the new recruits into shape and accompanied them to the Battle of the Plains against the Talian League. Once on the field Braven Tooth and Temp hashed out the army's field positioning. Then they led the Malazan left flank battle group, which was the only one not to break during the fighting.

After the Talians were defeated the Imperials were soon confronted by the Crimson Guard. Braven Tooth devised a plan to send sappers after the Avowed to make up for the army's lack of mages. He was also awed to discover that sword-brothers Temp and Wildman had reunited on the field.[25]

Once the battle was over, Braven Tooth joined Urko Crust, Amaron, Temper, and Ferrule on the hunt for the man-jackal Ryllandaras. Together with the magic of the seeress Liss they battled Ryllandaras to a bloody standstill until the Seguleh Rell appeared to deliver the killing blow, knocking the creature through a magic gate. Braven Tooth was sorely injured in the fight.[26]

Notes and references[]