Cartharon Crust, also spelled Cartheron Crust and frequently referred to simply as Crust, was a Napan who, along with his brother Urko and Surly, was recruited into the Old Guard. He and his brother both became Admirals of the Malazan Navy, along with Nok. In the Navy, Crust was known to discipline subordinates with the crack of a belaying pin to the head.[1]

Crust was an old man with a pale blue Napan skin, a halo of white hair, and white patchy beard.[2] He wore a knife on his belt.[3]

At some point, Crust was appointed High Fist of Aren in Seven Cities. In about 1160 BS, he was succeeded by Pormqual. Cartharon was said to have drowned in the Aren harbour, which was rather suspicious given that he was known to be an excellent swimmer. His body was never found.[4]

Stormy and Atelen Tinsmith once served directly under Crust.[5][6] He did not have a high opinion of "that snake" Tayschrenn and dreamt of twisting that his scrawny neck.[7]

He was born on Fanderay's High Holy day, a fact his mother claimed shaped his character. Crust himself thought nothing about the date's significance had done him any good.[8]

In Deadhouse Gates Edit

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Cartharon Crust.

When Kalam Mekhar met the Captain of the Ragstopper in the Squall Inn in Aren, he was described as a large Napan who could be anywhere from thirty to sixty years of age, depending on his life circumstances, with deeply weathered skin beneath the iron-streaked snarl of beard and dark eyes. He was dressed in baggy thread-bare rags.[9]

As the owner of an Imperial charter he was permitted to ship weapons between Falar and Aren and to dock in the city's Imperial Yard.[10][11] During the Whirlwind rebellion the Ragstopper was hired by High Fist Pormqual to evacuate the city treasury along with the Imperial Treasurer and twenty marines to Unta. Along for the ride was passenger Salk Elan, who had conveniently booked passage for Kalam as well.[12][13]

The treasurer attempted to double cross the High Fist, colluding with pirates to intercept the Ragstopper a few days after leaving port. But he did not count on the presence of Kalam and Salk Elan or the intransigence of the ship's captain. In the melee that followed, the captain rammed both raider ships, sinking them.[14]

During the trip, it was revealed that the ship, and in particular its captain were ensorcelled with mind magic. The Captain was unable to communicate this to anyone, Kalam included, though he was aware and tried as best he could. Instead of arriving in Unta, the ship made port in Malaz City. There Salk Elan turned on Kalam revealing himself to be Pearl in disguise. The Claw assassin was in turn attacked by the demon Apt. Pearl unleashed his own Kenryll'ah demon and the resulting conflict soon saw the ship begin to sink. As Pearl made his escape, the magic was dispelled and the captain, now alert for the first time in months, abandoned ship with his crew.[15]

In Memories of IceEdit

Toc the Younger revealed to Lady Envy that he was the son of Cartheron Crust's sister and that his father, Toc the Elder, did not come forward for more than a few days to acknowledge his fatherhood for fear of Crust's temper.[16]

Whiskeyjack spoke of retiring after the Pannion War and wondered if he would have to drown like Cartheron and Urko did to slip Empress Laseen's grasp.[17]

In House of ChainsEdit

Cartheron and his brother, Urko, had been members of Kellanved's family, the group of people who had coalesced around Kellanved and Dancer to conquer Malaz Island from Mock the pirate and form the Malazan Empire. They had joined the group after fleeing the conquest of the Napan Isles by the Kingdom of Unta.[18]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Crust was now the captain of a small carrack named the Drowned Rat docked in Malaz City. He regretted losing the Ragstopper as four good sailors had been taken by the sharks in Malaz Bay and his ship was now undermanned. When Vole, his lookout, spotted four vessels entering the harbour bearing Empress Laseen's markings, he hurriedly ordered his drunken crew resupply on shore and ready for sail.[19]

On the night that Adjunct Tavore Paran arrived in Malaz City with her 14th Army to meet with the Empress, the entire city seethed with magically induced anger. Mobs of thousands rampaged in the city and the fighting included hundreds of Claws as well as the City Guard. The Adjunct broke with the Empress and took her army renegade, fleeing the city by ship. Tavore was troubled that Bottle had never returned with a man he had been sent into the city to find.

Then Crust's carrack pulled up alongside the Adjunct's flagship, the Froth Wolf. On board were Bottle, Withal (the man he was sent to find), Grub, Lostara Yil, Sandalath Drukorlat, Nimander Golit, Phaed, and others. Fiddler immediately recognised Crust, until Crust's knife convinced him otherwise. After the passengers boarded, Crust demanded sixteen gold imperials as payment, but Tavore forced him to take two hundred.[20]

In Return of the Crimson Guard Edit

It was revealed that Cartharon was the captain of the new Ragstopper when the presence of he and his ship in Unta was investigated by a former subordinate, Sergeant Atelen Tinsmith of the Unta Harbour Guard. Cartharon told "Smithy" that he was low on funds and he and his empty vessel were in the city to perform salvage work.[21] Shortly afterwards, the capital was invaded by the Crimson Guard. During the confusion Sergeant Tinsmith intercepted one of Crust's sailors transporting a cartload of stolen Moranth munitions from the Imperial Arsenal to the harbour shortly before the Arsenal exploded.[22] After the battle was over Greymane noted a merchantman called the Ragstopper leaving the harbour so fully loaded that it was alarmingly low in the water.[23] When Empress Laseen toured the ruins of the Arsenal the day after the battle she pointed out that the size of the explosion suggested that the Arsenal had been less than half-full at the time.[24]

The Ragstopper made for Cawn to take on supplies, but arrived after the city was sacked by the Crimson Guard. Harbour-Assessor Jenoso Al'Sule's attempts at collecting the proper taxes and fees were rebuffed first by Crust. Seeing that Cawn was no longer the freewheeling, independent city he remembered, Crust made haste for waters beyond Imperial reach. In return for Jenoso's insistent demands for payment, Crust tossed the official a Mornath munition, which the petrified man clutched with a death-grip until a harbor guard informed him that it was only a smoker.[25]

In AssailEdit

Jute Hernan described Crust as squat, wiry and quite old with unkempt grey hair and a grey-shot beard. He bore the faded slate hue of a native Napan upon his wrinkled features and was dressed in leather armour whichn had been scoured where presumably Malazan sigils of rank would once have ridden.[26]

Crust took the Ragstopper to Assail to participate in the gold rush there. Along the way he was contracted by the Malazan empire to provide help to Malle of Gris to bring Mantle, a settlement on the edge of the gold fields, into the Malazan sphere of influence.[27][28] Packed in the hold of his ship was his "retirement fund", a large quantity of Moranth munitions stolen from the Imperial Armory at Unta.[29] Crust took charge of the defense of Mantle, saving it from the Jaghut icewall, but in the process, he expended most of his munitions. The grateful King Voti richly rewarded his defenders with gold and Crust stayed on as his foreign advisor.[30][31]

Significant plot details end here.

In Deadhouse LandingEdit

(Information needed)

In Kellanved's ReachEdit

(Information needed)


"Some ales grow on you. Some grow in you. To your health, sir."
―Cartheron toasts Kalam[src]

Trivia Edit

In the primary series, Malazan Book of the Fallen, his name is spelt Cartheron, while in the Novels of the Malazan Empire it is spelt this way only in Assail, being spelt Cartharon in the prior books.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, UK PB p.189
  2. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, UK PB p.188
  3. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.952
  4. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.80
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.429
  6. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, US HC p.188-189
  7. The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.827
  8. Assail (novel), Chapter 13, US HC p.460
  9. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.364
  10. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.365
  11. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.390
  12. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.391
  13. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, US HC p.366
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 17, US HC p.455-465
  15. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20
  16. Memories of Ice, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.406
  17. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.773
  18. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.247-248
  19. The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.827-828
  20. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.951-954
  21. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, UK PB p.188-189
  22. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 2, UK PB p.302-306
  23. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 2, UK PB p.310
  24. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 2, UK PB p.312
  25. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 1, UK PB p.553-555
  26. Assail (novel), Chapter 3, UK HB p.110/111
  27. Assail (novel), Chapter 8
  28. Assail (novel), Chapter 13
  29. Assail (novel), Chapter 14
  30. Assail (novel), Chapter 14
  31. Assail (novel), Epilogue
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