Courian D'Avore, also known as the Red Duke, presided over the D'Avore family in the time before the rise of the Malazan Empire. He was the father of K'azz D'Avore, whom some called the Red Prince, and commander of the Crimson Guard, a legendary mercenary company. During his rule, the D'Avore family held only a few isolated fortresses in the northern reaches of the Great Fenn Range on Quon Tali. The Guard was known for its opposition to the Talian hegemony and for its unmatched skills at war and sorcery.
Courian was described as "a burly giant" whose hair and beard were "a mass of tangled black curls going to grey". His hands and face were darkened like worn leather by the sun and wind. A scar from his brow to his cheek was evidence of the sword blow that had left one of his eyes dead and white. He spoke with a loud, booming voice. D'Avore wore a laced leather jerkin.