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Interpretation of a Forkrul Assail - Sculpture by Corporal Nobbs

The Forkrul Assail or Forkrul were a non-human, purportedly extinct[1] mythical Elder Race. They used the Hold of Ahkrast Korvalain.


Forkrul Assail

Forkrul Assail

Forkrul Assail by Corporal Nobbs

The Forkrul Assail were humanoid, although taller and thinner than humans. They possessed more joints in their limbs and hands, enabling them to bend their lower arms in all directions, a jointed sternum, large, solid black eyes and blue blood rather than red. Their skin was described as white as alabaster. It was said that their bodies were hinged as if they had two sets of hips and that whilst they could walk on two legs, they could also stand on four.[2][3] At least some of them had two hearts.[4]

They were physically far more robust than humans, and appeared to be virtually un-killable through conventional means, healing from cuts and blows extremely quickly.[3] They also possessed incredible strength, speed and agility,[3] and were able to successfully combat several powerful opponents such as Toblakai, Tiste Edur,[3] and Kenryll'ah tyrants[3] at once while sustaining only minor wounds. They fought empty handed, using their fists like clubs and using their fingers to punch through armour and bone.[3] Sorcerous attacks washed off them like water.[2] In addition, they had preternatural longevity, more so than most of the other races,[5] and could live for millennia without food or water.


Forkrul Assail by Dejan Delic

Forkrul Assail by Dejan Delic

The Forkrul Assail believed in balance as an absolute,[6] and the resolution of discord through peace.[7] Therefore, they set themselves up as arbiters to deliver such peace upon the other races of the world.

"To achieve peace, destruction is delivered. To give the gift of freedom, one promises eternal imprisonment. Adjudication obviates the need for justice. This is a studied, deliberate embrace of diametric opposition. It is a belief in balance, a belief asserted with the conviction of religion. But in this case, the proof of a god's power lies not in the cause but in the effect. Accordingly, in this world and in all others, proof is achieved by action, and therefore all action—including the act of choosing inaction—is inherently moral. No deed stands outside the moral context. At the same time, the most morally perfect act is the one taken in opposition to what has occurred before."
―Silchas Ruin describing the Forkrul Assail ethos[src]

Forkrul Assail seemed to lack a collective culture, existing primarily in isolation. Generally, the Assail only seemed to gather to pass judgement and arbitration when requested by other races,[citation needed] though this arbitration seemed to take the form of killing all involved in the conflict. Their only community depicted with any depth was the Kolanse faction which had a fairly regimented hierarchical culture with the "Pures" (pure-bloods) at the top of the hierarchy, then with "Watered" (possibly short for watered-down)[8] next in level of authority and anyone lower down being essentially slaves. They sometimes fashioned the occasional with other races to achieve their goals.[6]

In their own communities, names were irrelevant. But when dealing with lesser races they often adopted titles as names.[9] Their names reflected their obsession with arbitration.

They used their voices to command their victims and communicated with each other telepathically.

They crafted vast underground cities that served as gathering points rather than dwellings.[10] Their architecture was formed by tunneling into stone forming underground buildings, which mimicked the pillars and windows of above-ground buildings.[citation needed] Their architecture matched their philosophy. Every chamber and building was "assembled as the physical expression of the quality of absence. Solid rock matched by empty space."[10]

They wore only harnesses of leather straps.[11][12]

The continent referred to as Assail was said to be the most dangerous place on the planet.


Forkrul Assaill by Corporal Nobbs

Forkrul Assail by Corporal Nobbs

For a list of known Forkrul Assail words and phrases as well as translations please visit the Forkrul Assail Language page.

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

The Darujhistan historian Mammot informed his nephew Crokus Younghand that three races had struggled for dominion in the early days of the world. The first to bow out and disappear were the Forkrul Assail. The other races were the Jaghut and the T'lan Imass. Mammot also claimed the common term for the Forkrul Assail was "Krussail", although this term does not appear to have been used again in the books.[13]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

A group comprised of Fiddler, Apsalar, Crokus, Iskaral Pust, Mappo Runt, and Icarium entered Tremorlor, the Azath House in the Holy Desert Raraku. Within the House's front hallway they discovered the withered corpse of its most recent guardian, a Forkrul Assail.[14]

In House of ChainsEdit

In the first physical appearance of a live Forkrul Assail in the books, Karsa Orlong and his companions, Bairoth Gild and Delum Thord, released the Assail named Calm from beneath a large stone in the Laederon Plateau. She was likely the "Forkassal demon" of Teblor legend that was claimed to have tried to make peace between the contestants of the Spirit Wars. Failing this, the unkillable Assail had been imprisoned by Icarium and the T'lan Imass beneath the stone for thousands of years. The Teblor concluded that the stone might be aspected to hold her down but detected no other signs of magic. Upon being freed, Calm briefly attacked them and inflicted a brain injury on Delum Thord which reduced him to a dog-like state. She did not attack further and left after having a brief exchange with Karsa and Bairoth.[15]

The Jaghut, Cynnigig, made a joke about finding a Forkrul Assail to adjudicate a made up law. He commented that such adjudication was invariably blood, rarely satisfying, and even more rarely left survivors.[16]

In Midnight TidesEdit

By the time of the arrival of the Tiste Andii and the Tiste Edur to the Malazan world hundreds of thousands of years before the Malazan Empire, the Forkrul Assail were already declining in number. They did not appear interested in passing judgement on the invaders.[17]

The Letherii slave, Udinaas, had a vision where he travelled to a tower beneath the ice fields of northwest Lether. Inside was the frozen corpse of a Forkrul Assail standing over the bodies of a Jaghut family. The Assail had a look of surprise on its face and the back of its skull was staved in. Tiny footprints appearing behind the Assail and leading to the tower's door incongruously marked a child as the one who had punched into the Assail's brain.[18]

At the Azath Tower in Letheras, Silchas Ruin guided Kettle through a vision of a vast underground Forkrul Assail city. An inverted stepped pyramid led down into the ground where lay the bodies of Forkrul Assail that he had killed long ago. Ruin declared himself inimically opposed to the Assail belief in balance, to the Assail's idea that chaos was the only rational response to order. In his mind the Assail needed to be killed, and after his entrapment, this task was taken on by his draconic kin. He also revealed to Kettle that she carried the soul of a Forkrul Assail within her.[10]

Bugg spoke about how the Forkrul Assail had once tried to serve as impartial arbiters in the war between the Jaghut and the T'lan Imass. The Jaghut hoped to escape the T'lan Imass by leaving their bodies in a death-like status in specially built tombs while their souls traveled to the Hold of Ice. The Forkrul Assail carved cursed wards into the tombs' doors. This proved not good enough for the T'lan Imass. These tombs could still be found beneath Letheras, but whenever the Letherii entered them they were empty.[19]

The second live appearance found an Assail named Serenity bound by enchantments within an ancient warded tomb at Brous. He was foolishly released by the village's Letherii garrison in an attempt to bind him to the garrison's service.[20] When the Assail was released, he slaughtered the entire village. Serenity later attacked Fear, Trull, and Rhulad Sengar, as well as two Kenryll'ah demon princes while proclaiming he sought peace. Serenity killed Rhulad before being driven off by the two Kenryll'ah, who pursued it excitedly.[21] Ultimately, the two demons caught the Assail and threw it down an immense hole.[22]

In The BonehuntersEdit

The ancient Jaghut, Ganath, told Ganoes Paran that the Forkrul Assail had once sought to annihilate the Errant and his mortal followers. The Ascendant Elder God was an enemy of ennui and stagnation, thus earning the Assail's wrath. She thought they might have succeeded as the Forkrul Assail were never easily diverted from their chosen course.[23]

After finding a the remains of a K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeep in Seven Cities, Mappo Runt pondered why that race's long ago invasion had failed in that region. He thought it might have been the Jaghut, Forkrul Assail, or the Elder Gods that stopped them.[24]

In Reaper's GaleEdit

Beak told a tale about Tiste Liosan and Forkrul Assail fighting against each other in what they called the Just Wars.[25]

In Toll the HoundsEdit

(Information needed)

In Dust of DreamsEdit

The race reappeared, chasing a column of children known as the Snake. The children referred to them as the Quitters, the term invented by Badalle who arrived at this bastardisation of Inquisitors via Quisiters.[26][23]

The pursuers had started out as a group of twelve: five women and seven men, but were whittled down to just four by the time they were named - Adjudicator Sister Scorn, Inquisitor Sever, Brother Adroit and Sister Rail.[23]

In The Crippled GodEdit

At the time of the events of The Crippled God, it was said that there were only twelve 'Pures', or Lawful Inquisitors, left in Kolanse and in the surrounding areas of the far eastern Lether continent.[27]

There was an all-out war between the Forkrul Assail and Malazan forces.

In AssailEdit

The Forkrul Assail community in the Salt Mountains of Assail was disturbed by the conflict between the Jaghut matriarch and the T'lan Imass. Two Assail, Arbiter and Penance, met with Silverfox, Kilava Onass, Pran Chole, Orman, Kyle, Fisher kel Tath, and Jethiss to forge a new peace of the founding races. Additionally, they were intrigued by Kyle's amber amulet given to him by Ereko, the Thel Akai.[28] Afterwards, Jethiss requested they give him a weapon worthy of the Andii. Their answer was the Blade of Bone, constructed from Jethiss' own arm.[29]

In Forge of DarknessEdit

Hundreds of thousands of years before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Forkrul Assail were a race known as the Forulkan whose priests were called Assail. It was also revealed that they had invaded the Tiste realm of Kurald Galain. Their defeat at the hands of the Tiste, in what was known as the Forulkan War, helped lay the foundation for the civil unrest present at the beginning of Forge of Darkness.[30]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about the entire Malazan series.


The Tool of Justice by Shadaan

Interpretation of a Forkrul Assail by Shadaan

The Forkrul Assail were one of the founding races[1] in the Malazan Book of the Fallen thought to have been created by the Azathanai Kilmandaros[citation needed] who was worshiped by them. They existed in isolation, interacting with other races through violent arbitration of conflicts, more accurately the annihilation of the involved parties.

Arguably, one of the greatest of their conflicts was with the K'Chain Che'Malle. During this conflict the Assail began to lose and turned on their own god, harnessing its power by wounding it. This resulted in the Forkrul destroying all but one nest and Matron of the K'Chain. The final Matron opened a portal into chaos and blocked it from notice so that when the Assail used their god's power she could sacrifice herself to destroy the god, as it consumed both of their souls. What remained of the Assail god came down in the Glass Desert and lived on as mindless D'ivers with no chance of ever sembling again.[31][32]

They also waged the "Just Wars" against the Tiste Liosan.

The Tiste Andii, Silchas Ruin once encountered Forkrul Assail. His refutation of the Forkrul concept of adjudication was absolute, to the point that he killed those he could find, the other Forkrul being killed by his Draconic kin. Silchas also revealed that the Forkrul people had once fashioned an alliance with the Jaghut.[33]

The Forkrul Assail had not interacted with the Malazan Empire until Tavore Paran and her Bonehunters decided to liberate the Crippled God.

Significant plot details end here.

Known Forkrul Assail and roles/titlesEdit

Lawful Inquisitors also known as 'Pures'Edit



Exact status/role unknownEdit


There is speculation that the conflict with the K'Chain Che'Malle and the opening of a portal into chaos by the final matron may potentially have been the cause of The Rent.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.705
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Crippled God, Chapter 3, UK HC p.69
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.660-661
  4. The Crippled God, Chapter 24, UK HC p.879
  5. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14
  6. 6.0 6.1 Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.445
  7. Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.660
  8. The Crippled God, Chapter 18
  9. Assail (novel), Chapter 15
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.444
  11. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.172
  12. Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.659
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.263-264
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US MMPB p.721-722
  15. House of Chains, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.89-97
  16. House of Chains, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.580
  17. Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.22
  18. Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.171-172
  19. Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.372
  20. Midnight Tides, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.628-631
  21. Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.658-662
  22. Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.768-769
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.393
  24. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4
  25. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13
  26. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4, UK HB p.148
  27. The Crippled God, Chapter 1, US HC p.6
  28. Assail (novel), Chapter 15
  29. Assail (novel), Epilogue
  30. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 3, US HC p.75-76
  31. The Crippled God, Chapter 14, UK HC p.395/406
  32. The Crippled God, Chapter 18, UK HC p.537
  33. Midnight Tides, Chapter 14
  34. 34.00 34.01 34.02 34.03 34.04 34.05 34.06 34.07 34.08 34.09 34.10 The Crippled God, Dramatis Personae, UK HB
  35. The Crippled God, Chapter 18, US HC p.518-519
  36. Assail (novel), Chapter 15
  37. Assail (novel), Chapter 15
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