|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9|
|Chain of Dogs|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14|
|Chapter 15||Chapter 16|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
I stood in a place
where all shadows converged
the end of the Path of Hands
Soletaken and D'ivers
through the gates of truth
where from the darkness
all mysteries emerged.
Fiddler, Apsalar, Crokus, Icarium, Mappo, Rellock, Iskaral Pust, and the five Hounds of Shadow arrive at the entrance to the vast maze of roots that surrounds Tremorlor. At their feet, they find four broken bodies that Mappo recognizes as Nameless Ones, priests of the Azath. He does not reveal this fact, but is startled when the bodies spark a memory in Icarium. The Jhag recalls arriving at the ruins of a Trellish town destroyed by sorcery and being welcomed by a similar robed priestess. The priestess admits to destroying the town in order to secure Icarium a companion. In his thoughts, Mappo refuses to disbelieve the story the Nameless Ones told him. That Icarium had been the one to destroy Mappo's village.
Mappo identifies the bodies as Nameless Ones and both Apsalar (accessing Cotillion's memories) and Pust claim the cult is extinct, eradicated by Dancer and the Talons. Pust rants about the cult's arrogance and begins explaining how they stood in the way of his master and resented his entry into the Deadhouse. He is interrupted from saying more by a shout from Apsalar, and the group wonders if it is the girl or the god speaking. Mappo admits to Icarium that the Nameless Ones are the group that recruits the companions that join him on his travels. Fiddler says it is time to enter the maze.
The group has been fighting their way through the maze closer to Tremorlor. Fiddler is disturbed to see demons, Ascendants, and alien creatures imprisoned within the maze's gnarled walls of root. All around them are the bestial sounds of battle as Soletaken and D'ivers fight amongst themselves to reach the maze's end. Shan and Gear have taken off on their own while Baran, Blind, and Rood have remained with the group. Blind stays close to Icarium in particular.
Their passage is interrupted by a battle between a giant bear and an Enkar'al. Mappo kills the enkar'al before recognizing the bear as his friend Messremb. He is too late to stop Rood from severely injuring the Soletaken and pushing him into the waiting arms of the root prison. Soon Shan rushes to rejoin them from ahead covered in small bites and Icarium senses the presence of the D'ivers Gryllen. Mappo rushes to restrain the Jhag as he begins to fill with rage. Fiddler and the others are filled with horror as Icarium teeters on the edge of rage. Even the Hounds are unnerved. Then Fiddler spots a swarming wall moving towards their position.
Felisin Paran, Heboric, Leoman, and the Toblakai arrive at the outskirts of Sha'ik's camp. They are met by a young orphan girl serving as sentry. The Toblakai orders the girl to kneel before the Sha'ik Reborn and she does.
They proceed into the camp which occupies a ruined city surrounding an oasis. Leoman claims that eleven tribes with forty thousand cavalry riders reside there. Heboric and Leoman debate martial strategy until they reach the camp's central parade ground and palace tent. There, a large crowd gathers, and Felisin climbs a platform to address them despite Leoman's misgivings. In her mind, she strikes a deal with the Whirlwind Goddess and leaves her old life behind.
The Toblakai orders the crowd of thousands to kneel before the Sha'ik Reborn as the three High Mages, Bidithal, Febryl, and L'oric arrive. Felisin declares herself returned and states the time of preparation over is over. It is time for war against the Malazan Empire. She looks at each of the High Mages in turn assessing them based on the knowledge of the last Sha'ik. Each kneels before her, willing or not. She declares only one Holy City still remains occupied by the enemy and it is time for the army to march. As she raises her arms, an immense whirlwind rises above her, drawing in the winds that once protectively encircled the holy desert. The towering banner of the Apocalypse stretches into the now blue sky and can be seen across the continent. The war has begun, and Felsin thinks, "Dear sister, see what you've made."
Fiddler fires flamer after flamer from his crossbow into the seething wave of rats as Gryllen pursues them. Apsalar notes that the D'ivers has been strengthened by his victories against the other shapeshifters. There are now tens of thousands are rats instead of hundreds. They are soon rejoined in their flight by Gear.
Icarium breaks from Mappo's arms and draws his sword. In response, the sky turns crimson and a vortex forms above them. The Jhag slams aside an attack from Shan. Fiddler fires his last cusser at Gryllen, but as it strikes he realizes that it is actually the conch shell given to him by Kimloc, the Tanno Spiritwalker. It breaks like glass and a song of bones erupts that devours the D'ivers, culminating in a wave of water that drives them all down before disappearing and leaving them dry as dust.
Icarium is knocked unconscious by Mappo and the Hounds gather around the Jhag. Only Mappo, standing over his friend, delays their attack. Fiddler demands Pust call off the Hounds while Pust argues that it is time to give Icarium to the House. Mappo refuses despite his friend's earlier decision, and Fiddler aims a cusser at the Hounds. Pust curses sappers and agrees to wait a while longer.
Crokus tells the others that they are at the end of the maze and that he can see the House ahead.