|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|
Every throne is an arrow-butt.Kellanved
The massive whirlwind towers over Sha'ik's camp in the heart of the Raraku desert. Heboric slowly climbs a ladder to where Felisin Paran stands on a rooftop staring southward. The historian warns her that of the Army of the Apocalypse's three High Mages, L'oric is the most dangerous. The others are less clever than they realize. Heboric concludes that L'oric is the only one of the three to sense that Felisin is not the Sha'ik Reborn, and that the Whirlwind Goddess and Felisin have made a bargain. Felisin admits that the goddess did not choose her, but that she seized power on her own. The two argue over whether Felisin is the pawn of some other power.
Heboric angers Felisin by stating that Korbolo Dom is in the south committing senseless slaughter in her name. Felisin states that Dom acts in the name of the goddess, without instruction as she has sealed off Raraku, and out of fear and obsession. Felisin counters Heboric's argument that she has no chance of defeating her sister's forces by stating that Tavore is ignorant of her true enemy. The Adjunct thinks she is facing a desert witch. Then Felisin pulls down the Whirlwind to serve as a gate that will transport her army directly across the distance to Aren.
Duiker and his refugees are now within the gates of Aren. A distressed Nether clutches the historian's wrist and begs him to climb the nearest tower with her. The two reach the top where High Fist Pormqual is in consultation with Mallick Rel. Pormqual frightenedly justifies his inactivity by claiming that the enemy are too many. Nether leaves Duiker's side to cling to Nil who is collapsed nearby. Aren's ten thousand soldiers line the walls screaming with helplessness.
To the north, Duiker spots Coltaine and his last 400 soldiers atop the closest of the burial mounds that line the Aren Way. Out of bow range from the city walls, they are surrounded by thousands of Korbolo Dom's frenzied footsoldiers pushing violently inwards, devoid of discipline and eager for slaughter. They are close enough that Duiker recognizes the Fist, as well as Bult, Mincer's sappers, Lull's marines, and Bent the Wickan cattle-dog.
Duiker demands that Pormqual do something. Order a sortie to drive to the mound and rescue Coltaine. Pormqual refuses, stammering that the enemy are too many. Only Aren Guard Commander Blistig's strong grip keeps the historian from the High Fist's throat. Mallick Rel agrees with Pormqual and says the Malazans will eventually have their revenge.
Turning back to the battle, Duiker sees only 100 soldiers remaining, and these soon disappear under the mass of the enemy horde. Bult is pierced with lances and dragged down to be hacked to death. Corporal List dies at his side, holding the 4th Army's standard as he is decapitated. The last of the Foolish Dog clan are massacred and scalped for trophies. Bent is studded with arrows before being impaled on a lance, tearing out an enemy's throat in his death throes.
Even Coltaine soon disappears and Nether begins to wail. Countless crows fill the sky blocking the sun as a cross is raised on the mound bearing the still living Fist. Enemy High Mage Kamist Reloe is determined to prevent the crows from taking Coltaine's soul. As Nether shrieks in anguish, Reloe blasts hundreds of the crows at a time with his magic.
Commander Blistig summons the old archer Squint to the wall and orders him to grant Coltaine the mercy of death. The distance is too great and Squint trembles with outrage and despair, but he aims his shot for Coltaine's chest. As the arrow makes its long arc, it appears about to pass too high. But Coltaine suddenly looks up and the arrow strikes him in the forehead. The mass of crows descends on Coltaine's body, and when they disperse, it is gone.
Squint moans with guilt. "Before the day's through, you bastard," Blistig tells him, "ten thousand soldiers will be voicing your name. Like a prayer, Squint, like a Hood-damned prayer." The Malazans on the wall are all in shock, as Duiker thinks, "Coltaine is dead. They are all dead."