|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|
Bhok’arala seem to have originated in the wastes of Raraku. Before long, these social creatures spread outward and were soon seen throughout Seven Cities. As efficacious rat control in settlements, the bhok’arala were not only tolerated, but often encouraged. It was not long before a lively trade in domesticated breeds became a major export...
The usage and demonic investment of this species among mages and alchemists is a matter for discussion within treatises more specific than this one. Baruk’s Three Hundred and Twenty-first Treatise offers a succinct analysis for interested scholars...
After waiting out the sandstorm in Trob, Fiddler, Crokus and Apsalar arrive to find a renegade army outside G'danisban's walls. Having no option of avoiding them, they have to trust their disguises: Fiddler as a Gral tribesman sworn to protect Crokus and Apsalar, as newly wed young couple.
A guard tells them that the city is closed and spits between the hooves of Fiddler's horse. True to its Gral origins, the horse violently bites the guardsman, tearing off half his face. Fiddler hides his shock by cursing as a Gral would. The Arak warriors that are stationed with the guards offer to buy Fiddler's horse. He insults them but at the same time offers them his beer, thus acknowledging them as his equals and asks to camp with them for the night.
The Araks race Fiddler to their camp. Fiddler's horse wins the race by throwing a shoulder to the other horses.
In the camp, the Arak spokesman explains that G'danisban is closed because it has been liberated from the 'Mezla' and there is going to be a cleansing, all the Malazan nobles and merchants are going to be executed this day. He admits that the Whirlwind rebellion has not yet officially started, only they ran out of patience.
When alone, Crokus and Apsalar express doubt that their disguise will hold if they stay the night with the Araks. Fiddler suggests they enter G'danisban immediately, with the excuse of wanting to witness the flaying alive of the Malazans as a blessing for the young couple. Apsalar says the instincts of the one who previously possessed her, who was used to giving orders when Fiddler was still a child, agree with the suggestion and she all but orders Fiddler to do as she says. The Araks approach and announce the arrival of a Gral clan. Fiddler explains he cannot meet the clan because he is an outcast and moreover, the young couple want to enter the city without delay. The Araks' attitude changes, they want to hold Fiddler for the clan's vengeance. Apsalar saves the situation by claiming that she is with child and that she is going to curse the Araks if they don't let the three of them go.
Free to go, they ride towards the city and Fiddler and Apsalar discuss that his outcast story may yet endanger them as the Gral clan will surely pursue. Fiddler thinks to himself that he needs to stop himself falling in love with Apsalar lest he might 'accidently' drop his guard over Crokus' life.
In G'danisban, they find desolation everywhere - broken toys on the streets, dead bodies, smoke and screams of children dying. They see a naked and bruised young girl running and hiding and save her from her rapists by killing all six of them. The 'newlyweds' ride on ahead whilst Fiddler deflects the questions of an arriving rebel troop in typical, show-off, Gral fashion. He catches up with the others just as they arrive in the city's central square where a massacre has taken place. There are hundreds of bodies, mainly old men, old women and children, all Malazan.
Crokus asks if the Malazans did the same to the locals during the conquest and Apsalar vehemently states that the Emperor warred against armies, not civilians. When Fiddler mentions the Aren massacre, she asserts that it had been Surly's responsibility, the one now known as Laseen, not Kellanved's. She goes as far as muttering that she 'should have killed her there and then'. Fiddler and Crokus are astonished by this outburst and her claims about the event. When Apsalar then talks about having been in the room alone with Surly, arguing with her, they make the connection that the one who previously possessed her, the Rope, aka Cotillion, is in fact Dancer and that Shadowthrone is Kellanved. Not murdered by Laseen as everybody believes, but escaped through ascendancy of the realm of Shadow and now wanting vengeance against Laseen, which is why Cotillion/Dancer possessed Apsalar when she was still a fisher's daughter. Apsalar confirms all of this. Fiddler is upset that Dancer never revealed himself to his old comrades, Whiskeyjack, Kalam, Dujek, himself and Apsalar tells him that Dancer trusts no one, not even Kellanved.
They finally arrive to the South gate and ride out of the city where Crokus' familiar, Moby, rejoins them, visibly hurt and bleeding. They hear the sounds of pursuit from the Gral clan and decide to ride hard for the next village, New Velar.
Kalam arrives in Raraku where he meets Sha'ik's bodyguards, a seven foot tall Toblakai with a tattooed face, who initially attacks him, and Leoman, Captain of Sha'ik's bodyguards. Once he has verified himself as the Deliverer of the Book of the Apocalypse, Sha'ik, a small, honey-skinned woman, radiating power, appears, asking Kalam to give the book to her which he does. She asks him to join her soldiers, but he refuses, saying that his destiny lies elsewhere. Sensing something about his intentions, she offers him an aptorian demon as an escort on his journey through the desert. To the protests of the others she replies that they are safe as she has seen in multiple visions that the morning will see her... renewed.
Kalam departs in the company of the demon and thinks about what has just happened. He is beset by conflicting loyalties. As a child of the desert, he has seen to the rise of the Whirlwind. Now he would kill the Empress in order to save the Empire. Should he fail, he might be pitying the two women, who are much alike, even in looks, against each other.
Sha'ik sits cross-legged, flanked by her two bodyguards, just before dawn. As the first rays of light touch her, she opens the Holy Book and a quarrel hits her in the head, crushing her skull. Red Blades under Tene Baralta attack the two bodyguards but Leoman and Toblakai are too strong and cause casualties amongst the soldiers. Since Sha'ik is already dead, the commander recalls his troops. The two bodyguards don't pursue them. The Red Blades retreat to a small canyon, where Tene Baralta compliments Lostara Yil on her shot which killed Sha'ik, and orders her to regain Kalam's trail. Though hurt from being struck by the Toblakai's sword, Lostara follows the orders, knowing that the commander will hold the day's losses against her. Tene Baralta and his surviving Red Blades ride to Pan'potsun.
Leoman delicately rolls Sha'ik's body in a blanket and rewraps the Book in a cloth. The two bodyguards are lost. Sha'ik opened the Book of the Apocalypse at dawn, as said in the prophecy, but nothing happened, except her assassination. They remember Sha'ik's words : "At dawn I shall open the Book, and the Whirlwind shall rise, and I shall emerge from it… renewed. " So they decide to wait.