|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|
In a land where
Seven cities rose in gold,
Even the dust has eyes
Skullcup[edit | edit source]
Felisin is amongst slaves attending the retrieval of casualties after the collapse of part of the Deep Mine at Skullcup. She looks over to where Heboric is pulling a plough, already looking better. The thought that but for her arranging his transfer to lighter duties, he would have died, gives her no satisfaction. They hardly speak as she has become increasingly dependent on durhang and Beneth's abusive behaviour. As Felisin reflects that she has made up her mind to move in with Beneth, the Malazan guard, Pella, approaches her, wanting to know if she has found the rest of Kellanved's quote yet, the one he had told her about, but Felisin does not remember. Pella realises she is taking durhang and notes that she looks 10 years older than last time they met, just two weeks ago. When she tells him he should ask Beneth for her, he ignores the implied offer and instead asks where Heboric is.
Later, Beneth takes her to meet Captain Sawark. She notices an undercurrent of disgust in Benth's voice now, whenever he talks to her. Beneth tells Sawark his concerns about a possible rebellion but the captain isn't interested. Beneth offers him Felisin in return for information on why Baudin was arrested that morning and is told that Baudin broke curfew the night before, initially escaped, but was later recognised and apprehended. Sawark then takes a closer look at Felisin and pales. Seeing this, Beneth rushes to offer him other girls and, asked about his connection to Baudin, assures the captain it is because he needs the man's strength on the workforce. Sawark tells him Baudin won't be released and they leave, somewhat hurried.
Out of sight, Beneth questions Felisin about why Sawark reacted the way he did, her connection to Baudin and if she is noble born. Felisin lies, says she has no connection to Baudin and that she was a foundling, abandoned at the Monastery of Fener on Malaz Island. Beneth doesn’t believe her, hits her and interrogates her further. When Felisin shouts at him, he loses his temper and beats her systematically, then leaves. She loses consciousness.
She wakes up in her own bed as Heboric is tending her wounds. He explains that Baudin has escaped, killing three men in the process and Beneth has reported her missing which prompted him to look for her. Felisin says she wants to get back with Beneth and that she needs some durhang. Heboric agrees to make her durhang tea. He compliments her on making up the story about being a foundling as Beneth is none the wiser due to him, Heboric, being quick wited enough to confirm her version. She does not understand why he wants to put her at ease that Beneth might take her back.
Ladro Keep[edit | edit source]
Kalam is riding along the coastal road near the Estara Hills, when an approaching sand-storm forces him to leave the road. He notices a swarm of chigger fleas and stops to let them pass. Even though this means the storm catches up, it is the lesser of two evils. Keeping his horse to a slow walk, Kalam reaches the safety of Ladro Keep, a Malazan outpost he had wanted to avoid. Inside the common room are four guardsmen and a merchant with his wife. The sergeant is suspicious so Kalam takes him to one side and shows him a pendant which the sergeant recognizes as that of a Clawmaster and puts a stop to his questioning the assassin.
The merchant’s wife is a reader of the Deck of Dragons but Kalam rebuffs her offer to read his future with contempt. Two more travellers enter, a Pardu woman and an Ehrlii man, who obviously encountered the chigger fleas. The woman bickers with the sergeant about having to pay for beer and a cedar-chip bath to clean off the chiggers, but eventually relents, even buying everyone a tankard. The merchant’s wife starts reading the Deck, but Kalam soon calls her out as a fake, as one of the cards she draws, Obelisk, is inactive in Seven Cities. She angrily throws the deck at Kalam, and the cards form a pattern as they bounce off. The central card, Assassin of Shadow, is surrounded by all six members of the House of Death. Kalam thinks “Hood’s House all arrayed... around the one who carries the Holy Book of Dryjhna.”
Some time later, the Pardu, Red Blade Captain Lostara Yil, and her companion soldier, prepare to leave the Keep, over an hour after their target. She regrets that they had to come so close to Kalam in their pursuit and reflects on the reading of the Deck which not only revealed Kalam's mission, but the guard sergeant’s reaction showed him to be Kalam's co-conspirator. She confirms with her fellow Red Blade, that they have managed to find and kill all the people in the Keep, believing them all to be part of the rebellion. They then follow Kalam once more, hoping to get fresh horses in Intesarm, which should have been arranged for them by Tene Baralta.
Tesem[edit | edit source]
Mappo and Icarium are exploring the octagonal crypt. They believe it was there long before the temple was dedicated to the Queen of Dreams, let alone Shadow, due to the difference in architecture. Paintings of trees on the walls with hints of beasts between them, give the crypt the feel of a dark forest clearing. A pattern on the floor is obscured by graves pits cut into the ground, holding shrouded remains. Bhok'arala watch as the two men clear a blocked doorway but do not follow when Mappo and Icarium go through. Ahead is a large hallway, colonnaded with cedar tree columns. Icarium senses residues of magic and thinks they were brought in by the Elder Warren of Darkness, Kurald Galain. Mappo is confused by this, as there is no mention of any Tiste Andii having ever been in Seven Cities, but Icarium says it only has the feel of Galain, he cannot be certain, but it is none of the other Elder Warrens they know, i.e. Galain, Omtose Phellack, Tellann, or Starvald Demelain.
They reach another octagonal chamber. Intricately carved images on the octagonal flagstones of the raised floor are defaced by claw marks with the residue hint of Soletaken and D'ivers. They conclude that the gate to the Path of Hands is in the room as well as more (unspecified), and decide not to enter. Icarium points to a likeness in undamaged images (also unspecified) and states that he feels close to comprehension, which fills Mappo with dread. They wonder if Iskaral Pust is at the center of this Convergence and Mappo silently laments his curse that due to the Nameless Ones he is only able to offer silence and deceit in answer to Iarium's questions. Back upstairs, Mappo tells Pust that they have found the gate but the priest ridicules them and charges them with finding his broom. Icarium tells the incongruous Mappo that in order to find every corner, they need to do just that.
Hissar[edit | edit source]
Duiker, Kulp and Bult attend a ritual conducted by Sormo E'nath in a dead oasis over an hour's ride to the northwest of Hissar in the Odhan. Sormo reveals that the oasis is a holy place, and that he is about to open himself to the sacred aspect of that place. Kulp is worried because he thinks that the oasis is linked to the 'Seven...', but Sormo interrupts that he thinks the closest aspect is Tellann. The possibility of connecting with the undead T'lan Imass who have turned their back on serving the Empire since the Emperor's assassination worries Duiker.
The Wickan warlock draws his power, daylight turns to dusk, it smells of marshland and the glade is ringed by trees. Duiker wonders if the Empire made a grave mistake when they exterminated powerful warlocks like Sormo in the past. Sormo seems alarmed when the air grows alive with icy winds and a bestial stench. A cloud of wasps stings Bult which Kulp recognises as D'ivers. The wasps are joined by rats, fire ants and snakes, all attacking each other and the group. Kulp unleashes his warren to defend them. An enormous midnight-skinned demon appears and attacks a bear as the glade is overrun with Soletaken and D'ivers. Duiker realises the demon is telling the group to escape as it creates a diversion. Kulp manages to wake the spelled Sormo by punching him in the face and the moment he wakes up, they find themselves back in the oasis. The warlock explains that something unexpected is happening, a convergence, the Path of Hands, the gate of the Soletaken and D'ivers. The Warren they found themselves in really was Tellann. They wonder if there is a link between Elder Tellann and shapeshifting, or whether the D'ivers and Soletaken are simply passing through.