Burn was an Elder Goddess known as the "Lady of the Earth", "The Sleeping Goddess", or "The Great Mother Goddess".[1][2] The calendar of the Malazan Empire was based upon the amount of time that Burn had laid dormant, with years being delegated to before and after Burn's Sleep. The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon began in the 1163rd year of Burn's Sleep.

Tennes, the Path of the Land, was her associated Warren. Caladan Brood's hammer had the power to awaken her.[3]

The Seti of Quon Tali believed Burn slept beneath their lands.[4] Earth tremors were sometimes known as "Burn's Pain".[5]

Hers was one of only seven religions allowed on Kartool Island prior to the Malazan conquest.[6]

Burn was the patron deity of Li Heng.[7]

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

Immediately after being freed from his barrow by agents of the Malazan Empire, the Jaghut Tyrant Raest sensed an underground sleeping goddess after driving his senses deep into the Earth. He considered waking her, but instead decided to make her bleed for the time being, driving a fissure through the bedrock which was enough to make her stir but not awaken. Raest's lone assault on Burn was enough to cause earthquakes and a volcanic eruption in the Gadrobi Hills.[8]

In Memories of IceEdit

Quick Ben discovered the Crippled God had started infecting Burn's flesh after being bound to it by the Elder Gods during the Chaining. The Chained One claimed the goddess could not awaken while he burgeoned in her flesh.[9] Burn's giant earthen servants pleaded with Quick Ben to save them, saying the goddess weakened and had only tens of years left.[10]

Quick Ben consulted Pale's Witch of Tennes, reputedly the oldest in the world, on the matter of Burn and her sleep. In this conversation, it was revealed Burn slept in order to dream, and that the earth would shake and pour molten rock out like blood when Burn would stir towards wakefulness, leading to the destruction of all life.[11]

When Ganoes Paran inspected the card of the Sleeping Goddess from the Deck of Dragons, he had a vision of Burn and her history. She appeared as a sleeping woman whose depthless skin revealed details of forest, bedrock, and the ocean floor as one focused upon it. According to Paran's vision, Burn had sensed the sickness coming, and chosen to sleep. All her power was transferred into a single forging, namely Brood's hammer. This hammer was capable of breaking the chains that bound the Crippled God to Burn's flesh. Brood, however, would not use the hammer since the release of the Crippled God would mean the end of life. On the other hand, not breaking the chains would slowly kill Burn, and in turn all life dependent on her. Further, Burn's Warren was a pathway to all the other Warrens and all faced corruption and death.[12]

Brood's decision was supported by Anomander Rake, the Queen of Dreams, and Hood, but after nearly 1200 years, Brood still wrestled with his burden and began to question his choice.[13] He came to the conclusion that Burn had faith he would find another way.[14] During the Pannion War against the Crippled God's pawn, the Pannion Seer, High Fist Dujek Onearm sought to buy Brood more time to find it. He and his army challenged the Pannion Domin army alone at the Battle of Black Coral knowing that it could well be suicide.[15]

Ultimately, Quick Ben wrested the Seer from the Crippled God's influence and brought him to Burn's realm. The Seer used his own access to Omtose Phellack to slow the spread of the infection and gave Burn's defenders the time to find a third way of resolving the dilemma with the Chained One. The Sleeping Goddess called upon the Witch of Tennes to remain with the Seer and help care for his sister while protecting the final manifestation of Omtose Phellack.[16]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Around the time of the Battle of Raraku, Poliel spread the Bluetongue Plague on Seven Cities killing hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions.[17] To halt the disease, Ganoes Paran orchestrated her death at G'danisban. As the goddess was about to die, her thoughts revealed why she had unleashed the plague. She had "sought to heal Burn. For such was the true purpose of fever, such was the cold arbiter of disease. Only humans...centre salvation solely upon themselves."[18]

In Dust of DreamsEdit

Olar Ethil claimed herself to be Burn, amongst a host of other female deities of note, in a rant to Torrent.[19]

In Return of the Crimson GuardEdit

The Great Sanctuary of Burn was the largest monastery on Quon Tali until it had been destroyed, perhaps ironically, long ago by an earthquake.[20] Greymane feared to use his sword, which may have been an object associated with Burn like Brood's hammer, too close to the sanctuary for fear of what might occur.[21]

In StonewielderEdit

The mysterious prisoner, Cherghem, called Greymane's sword "an artifact unique in all existence, but for one other."[22][23] (The other likely being Burn's Hammer in the hands of Caladan Brood.) Wherever Greymane travelled in the Lands of Fist with the sword he seemed to be immune to the Lady's attempts to use the power of the earth against him.[24] The sword had the power to directly channel D'riss and Greymane ultimately used it to cause great destructive upheavals on Korelri and to bring down the Stormwall.[25]

In Dancer's LamentEdit

During The Protectress' reign over Li Heng, in the period before the formation of the Malazan Empire, the city's High Priest of Burn was Lakke Sumarkethol.[26]

Map Li Heng

Li Heng

It was widely known in Quon Tali that the primary religious festival of Li Heng was the procession honouring the city's ancient patron: Burn, the Sleeping Goddess. Devout pilgrims would come from all over to be part of this yearly observance. The procession, itself, was comprised of large platforms - most of which carried effigies of the slumbering Burn. Included in the procession were also icons and shrines dedicated to a number of other entities. These 'lesser' deities shared with Burn aspects related to "fate, futurity and the struggle of life and death", and usually included: the Enchantress / Queen of Dreams; D'rek, the Worm of Autumn; Poliel, the Lady of Pestilence and Corruption; and Mowri, Lady of Slaves and Beggars. Crowds of men, women and even children - many carrying candles or lamps - proceeded along with the various "massive pallets" and took turns in helping to carry the heavy platforms along the procession's route. Each year the procession, presumably led by the High Priest of Burn, started with everyone walking the complete circuit of Li Heng's Outer Round; then walking the complete circuit of the city's Inner Round; all finally ending up in the City Centre at the city's Grand Temple which was devoted to Burn.[27]

In Deadhouse LandingEdit

In the time when the Cult of D'rek was dominant on Kartool Island, there were several "minor titular" deities subservient to the Worm of Autumn - one of whom was Burn. These other allowed 'lesser' gods and goddesses - like Burn - were venerated on their own particular feast days.[28]

In Kellanved's ReachEdit

West of the city of Li Heng were located the Indryn Falls and the Escarpment - where ancient legend had it that "Burn herself sleeps". This legend, with regard to Burn, was very widely believed - which thus imbued the area with an aura of "religious and mystical importance".[29]

In Forge of DarknessEdit

Burn, the Dreamer, was the greatest witch of the Dog-Runners, who stayed behind when her people left Kurald Galain. In a hidden temple buried near Tulla Hold, Burn slept as her body became one with the thick roots of the forest. Rancept, the Tulla castellan, said Burn dreamed "so that we may live... she dreams, to give us our freedom."[30] Rancept unknowingly wounded Burn when he used his axe to cut through the roots blocking the entrance to the temple. A chance burst of laughter from Sukul Ankhadu healed Burn, who responded by blessing her with the Breath of the Sleeping Goddess.[31]

Olar Ethil claimed to have nurtured Burn at her own breast contradicting her later claims that she was herself the sleeping goddess.[32]


"Her face is polished wood, a deep brown that seems to hold gold in its depths. The wood has grown over the bones of her face. Once, that face would have been fair-skinned, the features heavy but open to all pleasures and joys--this is how the Dog-Runners are."
―Rancept describing Burn[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.705
  2. Stonewielder, Chapter 2, US HC p.121
  3. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.166
  4. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 1, US HC p.252
  5. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 1, US HC p.272
  6. The Bonehunters, Prologue, UK MMPB p.27
  7. Dancer's Lament, Chapter 1, US HC p.27
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 20
  9. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.73-74
  10. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.75-76
  11. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.124-127
  12. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.195-196/201
  13. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.201-202
  14. Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.720
  15. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.771
  16. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.967-968
  17. The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.759
  18. The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.628
  19. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 15, UK PB, p.715
  20. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 3, US HC p.348-352
  21. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 2, US HC p.619
  22. Stonewielder, Chapter 12, US HC p.576-577
  23. Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.136
  24. Stonewielder, Chapter 6, US HC p.315-316
  25. Stonewielder, Chapter 12, US HC p.578
  26. Dancer's Lament, Chapter 1, US HC p.27
  27. Dancer's Lament, Chapter 11, US HC p.206-209
  28. Deadhouse Landing, Chapter 2, US TPB p.29
  29. Kellanved's Reach, Chapter 3, US TPB p.43-44
  30. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 10, UK HC p.297/304
  31. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 10, UK HC p.299
  32. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 11, UK HC p.329
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