|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|
Early in Kellanved's reign, cults proliferated among
the Imperial armies, particularly among the Marines.
It should be remembered that this was also the time
of Dassem Ultor, First Sword and Supreme Commander
of the Malazan forces... a man sworn to Hood...
Felisin is in Bula's tavern with Beneth who is full of uncertainty, rage and fear. He pushes a pouch of durhang towards her and she takes it. Baudin has been missing for six days now despite patrols and a thorough search of the camp. Captain Sawark has called Beneth in more than once and Heboric has warned Felisin that the two men likely shared what they know about her and that Beneth is only taking her back to destroy her, this time on orders. Beneth tells her she could have said no (to the durhang) and Felisin agrees that 'the faults are all mine'.
After leaving Bula's, they join Beneth's patrol squad and soon after find themselves under attack from Dosii guards who are rebelling against the Malazan rule. At the first sign of danger, the squad runs off. Beneth is struck down by the gauntleted hand of one of the rebels, shattering his nose, upon which Felisin, who thinks Beneth dead, turns and runs away towards the barracks. About to be killed by rebels herself, she is rescued by a Malazan squad. Pella appears, explains that the Malazans are trying to crush the mutiny and assures her Beneth is still alive. He then takes her to Heboric's place where they also find Baudin. The two men are preparing to escape from the Otataral mines by swimming across Sinker Lake. There are caves on the other side, where Baudin has been hiding for the past days. Heboric offers to take Pella along but the guard asks that they take Felisin instead.
Felisin insists they take Beneth with them and Baudin volunteers to find him. Alone with Heboric, Felisin suggests that they didn't want her to come along. She is convinced that the priest now despises her, because she has fallen so low. As they wait for Baudin by the lakeside, Heboric explains that their escape has been arranged by an old friend of his, Duiker, the Imperial Historian. Supplies have been prepared to be left at the other end of an old mineshaft leading from the cave. They will then have to walk for 10 days across the desert to the inside coast, where a boat will pick them up and take them to the mainland.
As they wait for Baudin, they are attacked by a swarm of bloodflies. While the bloodflies avoid Heboric because he is blessed by Fener, they savagely bite Felisin on her thighs, face, around her eyes, in her mouth and ears. Thanks to Heboric's special tincture, they manage to extract the larvae from the wounds, but Felisin will be scarred for life. Heboric promises her that he will find a High Denul healer to remove the pockmarks. Felisin feels that she has fallen at her lowest, as she doesn't even have vanity left to sting. Sawark arrives with a troop and instead of stopping them, gives advice, apparently as a favour to Felisin, then rides off.
Baudin arrives and tells them that Beneth is dead. Felisin feels pain and anguish at this announcement, she is convinced that Baudin didn't even look for him. She feels she has to go on nonetheless, so the trio swim across the lake as planned and get to the cave. Baudin goes scouting outside and sees Dosin Pali glowing with sorcery in the distance. Back in the cave, he tells Heboric and Felisin that the Whirlwind has come.
On the coast near Hissar
Duiker and Kulp have left Hissar and explore a fishing village on the coast in order to find a boat. They meet a group of Malazan marines in the unusually quiet village inn, attached to the Coastal Guard: Corporal Gesler, who seems to have once held a higher rank, marine Stormy, recruit Truth and a few sailors. The Corporal accuses Kulp of being a deserter. Before things turn ugly, they are interrupted by the arrival of a mob who attack the inn and also want to torch the Ripath, the boat of the marines, which has been fully provisioned in anticipation of the need for a sudden withdrawal. Amongst the attackers is a mage and Kulp is drawn into a mage battle. Duiker, having seen in the distance that Hissar is in flames, decides he has to get back to Coltaine. Stormy helps him get his horse out of the stable and the historian sets out to rejoin the Seventh. Kulp and the marines set off in the Ripath and eventually manage to escape the questing enemy mage however, none of the sailors survive.
With nowhere else to go, Kulp decides to continue with the rescue of Heboric from the Otataral mines, his and Duiker's original plan for the evening. The marines are more than willing to cooperate once they find out that Heboric is a High Priest of Fener. Chance has it that Gesler and Stormy were part of Boar Company of the disbanded First Army and are followers of the cult of Fener and have even recruited Truth to it.
Duiker, pretending to be a Dosi tribesman, is riding towards Hissar and comes across a renegade army where he sees Malazan soldiers being tortured on sliding beds. He hears that Hissar has fallen to the rebels. Guilt about having taken Kulp away just as he was needed and the scenes of torture, sway Duiker from being a detached observer. He resolves to gather all the information he can which might be of use to a Malazan punitive force. When he gets to Hissar, Duiker witnesses scenes of absolute horror but it becomes evident that the Malazan forces were not totally wiped out and Duiker reconstructs what happened. Unable to prevent the first attack on the estate districts, the Wickans must have sortied around the attackers, then killed them in an ambush. They then withdrew before the arrival of rebel reinforcements, taking many of the citizens with them.
Before he is able to leave, Duiker is conscripted into the rebel army. The commander informs him that the refugees from Sialk, which has also fallen to the rebels, will be driven to join Coltaine's train, adding to his burden. The rebel commander is Kamist Reloe, a renegade High Mage, proving that contrary to Malazan belief, the rebellion is well organised.
Looking, ostensibly, for Iskaral Pust's broom, Mappo and Icarium come across a chamber deep inside the temple, which has a fishing boat stored in it. Icarium estimates that it has been there, at the most, five years. They deduct that the boat and its owner were deposited there by Shadow and it must have been Servant to whom it belonged. They find the broom inside the boat.
Three hours later, they locate Pust in the library where he seems to have been waiting for them. The priest begins a reading of the Deck of Dragons and finishes with telling Icarium that he has to go on a quest, also hinting that Shadowthrone wants the message passed on. After a bit of hands-on persuasion by Icarium to speak plainly, the priest tells the Jhag that he must go into the Holy Desert because Sha'ik is dead. Mappo voices his doubts about the wisdom of witnessing the re-birth of the Whirlwind Goddess not voicing his fear that doing so might awaken Icarium to the truth which has been hidden from him.
Fiddler, Crokus and Apsalar, still pursued by their Gral hunters, are faced by a wall of sand reaching up into the sky as they enter the Holy Desert, Raraku. Crokus is upset because Moby has disappeared again and Fiddler reminisces silently about his previous encounter with the desert. Assuming that the sandstorm wall is a barrier, they venture forth to cross it. Within the storm, the landscape changes as layers of sand are being swept away to reveal traces of ancient habitation. Climbing up a steep bank, they come across a well made, paved road which seems to run straight as a die from the north-east to the south-west, into the heart of Raraku. As Fiddler sees no point in going back the way they have come and considering Quick Ben's theory that Tremorlor, the fabled gate and House of the Azath might be at the heart of Raraku, he decides that they should follow the road. When the Gral catch up with them moments later, Fiddler ends the pursuit by firing a cusser amongst them.
The day after the Whirlwind storm rolled out of Raraku, Kalam is skirting its edges, crossing the Anibaj hills. He is still accompanied by the Aptorian demon which Sha'ik gave him but doesn't trust the creature. Abruptly, Kalam finds himself outside the storm, looking back at a wall of sand. They are attacked by a D'ivers but manage to defeat the wolves. The Aptorian, called Apt for short by Kalam, is wounded in the attack but refuses Kalam's offer of cleaning the wound. There is something odd about the demon, but Kalam can't figure out what it is.