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Cabal's Speculated Position on D'rek's Unofficial Malaz World Map

"One day the sun will die and one day there will be no civil war in the Cabal Isles."
―Seven Cities joke[src]

The Cabal Archipelago was a theocracy centred around The One God and located on the same land mass as the Seven Cities sub-continent, but far to the southwest. It was an archipelago for the most part, with its mainland holdings located on the sides of sheer cliffs, a stretch of coast that was severely mountainous.[1] Due to its geography, few horses were found in Cabal, and those were largely used for labour or as food.[1] Its people were known as Cabalhii.[2]

Cabal had a tradition of delivering hostages to fend off potential enemies.[3]

Just like the Nameless Ones, they originated from the First Empire.[4]

The Unified Sects of Cabal[]

Cabal had a long history of religious strife, and civil wars used to plague the islands as tens of thousands of sects fought for domination of both secular and spiritual matters. The reason for the large number of sects all devoted to the same god was that The One God wrote nothing down, and so the The One God's desires were recorded by mortal hands and interpreted by mortal minds. Since every citizen of Cabal had once received an extensive education as a matter of public policy, there were tens of thousands of sects resulting from all of the different unguided interpretations.[5]

It was not until the Grand Synod of New Year One and the formation of the Unified Sects of Cabal that peace was finally secured. The solution to the endless conflicts was achieved with one overriding doctrine: "Belief in The One God occludes all other concerns." Cabal's extensive education policy was rescinded and the number of sects reduced to only 3,012, each with one college and its own formalised doctrine. Since then, Cabal had known twenty-three months of uninterrupted peace.[5]

Sect members discarded their birth names and were known only by their rank in the Unified Sects.[6]

The only sect detailed in the Malazan Book of the Fallen was the Mockers, who covered their faces with paint and forbade laughter.[7] They believed that The One God helped no-one:

"Should it help one then it must help all, and such potentially universal assistance would inevitably lead to irreconcilable conflict, which in turn would without question drive the One God mad. [...] Should every mortal achieve clarity of thought and a cogent regard of morality, and so acquire a profound humility and respect for all others and for the world in which they live, then the imbalance will be redressed, and sanity will return once more to the One God."
Senior Assessor[src]

See also: Mockers

Notable Cabalhii[]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Senior Assessor, invoking the Cabal tradition of hostage-taking, volunteered to join the Third Edur Imperial Fleet, which was bringing champions back to Letheras to face their emperor, Rhulad Sengar, in mortal combat. At Yan Tovis' request, he healed Varat Taun using the warrens of High Mockra and High Denul, while talking with her about his religion.[8]


"She walked through the shrouds of dusk
And came to repast
At the Gates of Madness.

Where the living gamed with death
And crowed triumphant
At the Gates of Madness.

Where the dead mocked the living
And told tales of futility
At the Gates of Madness.

She came to set down her new child
There on the stained altar
At the Gates of Madness.

'This,' said she, 'is what we must do,
In hope and humility
At the Gates of Madness.'

And the child did cry in the night
To announce bold arrival
At the Gates of Madness.

Have we dreamed this enough now?
Our promise of suffering
At the Gates of Madness?

Will you look down upon its new face
And whisper songs of anguish
At the Gates of Madness?

Taking the sawtoothed key in hand
To let loose a broken future
At the Gates of Madness?

Tell then your tale of futility to the child
All your games with death
At the Gates of Madness.

We who stand here have heard it before
On this the other side
Of the Gates of Madness.
―Prayer of Child, The Masked Monks of Cabal[src]

Notes and references[]