|Gardens of the Moon|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|The Gadrobi Hills|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15|
|The City of Blue Fire|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 20||Chapter 21|
|Chapter 22||Chapter 23|
The old stones of this road
have rung with iron
black-shod hoofs and drums
where I saw him walking
up from the sea between the hills soaked red
in sunset he came, a boy among the echoes
sons and brothers all in ranks
of warrior ghosts he came to pass
where I sat on the worn final
league-stone at day’s end —
his stride spoke loud all I needed
know of him on this road of stone —
the boy walks
another soldier, another one
bright heart not yet cooled
to hard iron
1161st Year of Burn's Sleep
103rd Year of the Malazan Empire
7th Year of Empress Laseen's Rule
Seven years have passed since the events in the prologue. A young fishergirl stands on the roadside in Itko Kan next to an old woman named Rigga as the army rides by on the road. The old woman has a bag of candles while the fishergirl is bringing twine to her father because their net was taken in the deep water.
Suddenly, the old woman knocks the basket of twine from the fishergirl's head and grips her hair painfully. Rigga begins spouting prophecy at the fishergirl, claiming that the girl will be the last to hear her, and Rigga will be the last one to speak to the girl. Rigga claims the girl's soul will be embraced by shadow but that Rigga will preserve her because they are linked. Rigga also tells the fishergirl that the Lord spawned in darkness shall be the hand to free her. One of the riders stops and cracks the old woman's skull, killing her. He rides off and the army passes by but the girl remains there, with Rigga's corpse sprawled across her lap. A man swathed in black approaches and tries to calm her while a shorter man stands in the road looking after the army that has just passed and mocks the other two quietly. The shorter man raises his arms and a darkness descends. As it dissipates, seven hounds lie on the road with him, likewise staring after the army. The short man sends them tearing after the horses. The two figures then reveal themselves to be Cotillion and Ammanas, and they seem to be discussing what to do with the fishergirl.
Cotillion says that she will do for their purposes, and it is implied that they will use the fishergirl as an instrument of vengeance against the Empress Laseen. The fishergirl mutters something indicating that she and the old woman are now one person, having joined at the moment of the old woman's death. With that, shadows flow out from Cotillion to embrace the fishergirl and she knows no more.
An unnamed Captain is accompanying the Adjunct as they are riding towards the area of the massacre. The captain is wary of the Adjunct to the Empress who grills him about his past and his thoughts on the Purge there. The area of Itko Khan where the Hounds of shadow killed the entire 19th Regiment of the Itko Kanese 8th Cavalry; 175 men and women as well as 210 horses has been put under guard. The soldiers, despite being veterans of the siege of Li Heng and the Wickan Wars, are disturbed by the sight of the bloody carnage. From a promontory, the Captain and the Adjunct look out over thousands of gulls and crows eating the dead men and horses. All had weapons out and fought what attacked them, but the only dead are Malazan. There are no signs of an invading force, and whoever attacked also killed the local inhabitants. Over 400 dead.
The Adjunct notices someone riding through the bodies and the captain tells her it is Ganoes Paran, a Lieutenant new to his command from Unta. Lorn requests his presence and the captain signals him over. Ganoes tells of two empty huts, one belonging to Rigga, the other to the fishergirl and her father. The fishergirl’s father seems to have taken his boat out and left the area. Lorn asks what killed the soldiers and Ganoes offers his opinion that it was done with teeth, by animals as big as mules. Lorn has Paran take her to the hut, instructing the captain to clean up the massacre as quickly as possible. After speaking with Ganoes for a short while, the Adjunct decides to take him on as a commissioned officer on her staff. The Adjunct is open and honest with Ganoes, telling him that something has happened and killing all of these people was simply a diversion to keep them from knowing what really happened. The purpose of the Adjunct is to hunt down mages and kill them, as well as act as the will of the Empress. Ganoes is sent to Gerrom to investigate the fisher family while Lorn requests the records of any new recruits for the Malazan army as well as the captain’s opinions on the nobility in the military command structure.
The fishergirl takes the name Sorry and enlists in the Malazan Marines. She requests a spot in High Fist Dujek Onearm’s Host. The recruiter, Staff Sergeant Aragan, notices the mud on her boots is the wrong color for the region and that it hasn’t rained there in days.
Ganoes goes to Gerrom and finds it empty. Everyone has fled apart from the soldiers at the local constabulary who have all been killed. The constabulary with the bodies is full of black pigeons, obviously brought there by sorcery.
Paran rides off, contemplating his lot as a noble and the massacre of the 8th cavalry. He remembers the words of the Commander back on Mock's Hold, telling him to live quietly, and he realizes – now the aide to the Adjunct – that he has not done so. Riding along numbly, he sees a figure on the road, dressed all in green leather and wool and bearing only a long knife in the style of a Seven Cities warrior. The figure is Topper, the Empress’s chief Claw assassin, and the murderer of all of Unta’s royal line. Ganoes, as an Untan noble, is immediately offended by him. They wait until a Warren opens for them. Topper has been sent to lead Ganoes to the Adjunct. Their trip through the Imperial Warren is uneventful, though filled with verbal sniping at each other. Finally they arrive at a basalt arch, carved with a clawed talon holding a crystal globe – the Imperial sigil. Topper steps through the gate, but Ganoes rides through on his horse – and into the Imperial throne room. The horses hooves shatter the mosaic that covers the floor of the hall as Laseen herself looks on from her throne made of twisted bone. Dismounting, Ganoes notices that Laseen has changed little in the seven years since he last saw her at Mock’s Hold. The empress makes reference to the conversation between the young Ganoes and the Commander back on Mock's Hold, noting that he ignored the man's advice about living quietly. Ganoes is led from the throne room by Topper, in search of Adjunct Lorn. As soon as they leave the throne room, Topper inquires about the empress’s words to Ganoes, but Ganoes refrains from elaborating.
Ganoes meets with the Adjunct, and is told that he will have a few days before being officially reassigned to her service. Ganoes asks if they will abandon the pursuit of the truth of what happened Itko Kan and she responds that it is trail they must not follow too closely, however follow it they will. He is told by Adjunct Lorn to visit his family’s estate in the meantime and get some rest. The gate is guarded by the veteran Gamet, whom Paran had not met before. Ganoes then encounters his sister Tavore.