Hetan was the daughter of Humbrall Taur, of the Senan clan and warchief of the White Face Barghast. She had nine siblings. Two of her brothers were Cafal and Netok. Her father was fiercely intelligent, a trait said to be passed on to his daughter. Like Cafal, she was also a shaman.
The dark-eyed and muscled Hetan smeared her face with white paint, giving it a skull-like appearance. Her shoulder length hair was braided, stained red with ochre, and knotted with bone fetishes. She wore a hauberk and gauntlets threaded with holed copper and silver coins of unfamiliar mintage. She and her brothers carried a mix of weapons, including lances, throwing axes, fighting axes, hook-bladed swords, and assorted knives and daggers.
When Hetan was first introduced, she had not chosen a mate and seemed to have no interest in settling with any one man. Her sexual appetite was described as quite voracious and her habits, quite ferocious.
In Memories of Ice
Hetan and her two brothers traveled to the Vision Plain to investigate rumours of demons stalking the wildlands. On the trader road between Saltoan and Capustan they met Gruntle, Stonny Menackis, and Harllo as they escorted the merchant Keruli. The trio joined the caravan and the lusty Hetan bedded Gruntle and Harllo on successive nights. Along the road they discovered Bauchelain and Korbal Broach had broken into a Barghast barrow and enslaved a Rhivi spirit. Gruntle had to restrain an enraged Hetan and her brothers by pointing out that attacking the necromancers at that time would be a fatal mistake.
Before the caravan reached Capustan, the demons struck. In actuality, they were six undead K'Chain Che'Malle K'ell Hunters. Hetan, Cafal, and Netok roped themselves together with a cord festooned with fetishes. As the hunters attacked, the trio invoked the sorcery granted by the Barghast bone circle. Hetan and Cafal survived the attack, but Netok did not.
Once at Capustan, Hetan and Cafal revealed the primary reason their father had sent them out of the mountains. They petitioned the Mask Council to demand the return of the bones of their ancestors. The barrows of the Founding Families, whose spirits were now worshiped by the Barghast, had been destroyed by the city's founders. Whoever freed the mortal remains of the Barghast spirit-gods could potentially unite the fractious clans under one rule, a role sought by their father. Facing certain extinction at the hands of the Pannion Domin, the Mask Council finally relented.
Upon meeting the Grey Sword Shield Anvil, Itkovian, she announced her intention to bed him despite his vow of celibacy. After the Siege of Capustan was lifted, she engaged in a muscle bruising affair with Gruntle, now the Mortal Sword of Trake.
The representatives of the alliance of Malazan High Fist Dujek Onearm, Caladan Brood, and Humbrall Taur met to decide on their next steps with Hetan and Cafal attending. Hetan, Cafal, and Humbrall Taur accompanied Dujek's forces south towards Maurik. Along the way, Hetan began a vigorous affair with Kruppe, stealing his voice for two days. But eventually the besotted Kruppe turned the tables, outpacing even Hetan's appetite. By the time they arrived at Maurik by raft, Humbrall Taur suspected that Hetan's seasickness was actually a sign of pregnancy.
The Barghast stayed with Whiskeyjack when he delivered the news to Brood that Dujek and the bulk of the Malazan army had gone ahead on their own to battle the Pannion Seer at Coral. While an angered Brood and his troops lingered behind, Hetan continued on with Whiskeyjack to Coral.
After the Battle of Black Coral was won, Humbrall Taur and his children turned for home with their clan. Along the way they encountered Kilava Onass and her brother, Onos Toolan. Hetan turned her attentions to the newly mortal Imass, Tool, who responded with obvious interest.
In Reaper's Gale
Hetan married Tool, and he adopted her twin daughters before fathering a son of his own with her. In the last days of King Ezgara Diskanar's reign, Hetan, Tool, and the Barghast crossed the oceans on their war canoes to reach the shores of the Awl'dan on Lether. Humbrall Taur perished at the landing in an unnamed tragic accident, and Tool took on his position as war leader. His marriage to Hetan had helped his rise to rule, but his own wisdom and will led the Barghast to choose him. The Barghast did not announce their presence, but disappeared into the plains to scout in the east. Their canoes were later discovered by an expedition led by Preda Bivatt. The horrified Letherii counted the four to five thousand canoes and estimated they had carried as many as half a million people.
Some time later, Atri-Preda Bivatt led the Eastern Army into the Awl'dan on the Awl Campaign to exterminate or enslave Redmask's Awl. During the war, both sides took note of unusual tracks, cairns, and votive offerings left behind by the Barghast without understanding who had left them. It was only at the end of the Battle of Q'uson Tapi that some seventy thousand White Face Barghast, led by Onos T'oolan and accompanied by Hetan and Kilava Onass, exited the warren of Tellann to reveal themselves. The mercenary Grey Swords led by Tool's friend, Toc the Younger, had earlier been hired by the Awl as allies against the Letherii. When the Awl betrayed and abandoned them, the Grey Swords fell to the Letherii. When he learned of Toc's presumed death, Tool bided his time to seek vengeance--both against the Awl betrayers and the Letherii killers.
As they approached the last of the fighting, Tool witnessed a single man fall defending the lives of a score of Awl children. He had every intention of ordering them slain until the Awl youth, Torrent, revealed their defender had been Toc the Younger himself. Tool fell to his knees howling in anguish with Hetan at his side before asking Kilava to lead his army into the battle. To honour his friend, Tool allowed Torrent and the children to live.
Hetan and Kilava investigated Redmask's body and were surprised to discover a Letherii under the mask rather than an Awl. They assumed they had misidentified the corpse.
In Dust of Dreams
After Tool committed suicide in order to spare his people, Hetan, as his wife, experienced the greatest indignity a White Face Barghast woman could suffer and was hobbled. She later died during an escape attempt arranged by Bakal and Estaral.
In The Crippled God
See the first post of this part of the Tor re-read, written by Steven Erikson, for insights into his motivations in writing the controversial 'hobble/rape' scenes.
In answer to a reader's question, Steven Erikson explained why he resurrected Hetan and that ultimately it boiled down to "because she, Toc, Tool, and all of you deserved it". For his full response read his answer to question 1 in the Tor Q&A session
- Hetan: "I enjoy killing and riding men and little else."
- Harllo: "I am named Harllo and I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Hetan."
- Stonny: "You can kill him any time you like."
- ―Hetan meets Harllo and Stonny[src]
- "Man of Lard, when I bed you -- soon -- this mule will need a travois to carry what's left of you. Dragging everyone along in your dance of words is a fine talent, but come tonight, I will pump the breath from your lungs. I will leave you speechless for days to come. And I will do all this to prove who is the master between us [...] Ah, I see by your bulging eyes that you understand."
- ―Hetan meets Kruppe
Notes and references
- Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.374
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.456
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.218
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 6
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 7
- Memories of Ice, Chapter
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.353-354
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.642/658
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.702
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.810/825-826/836-839
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.842-847/851
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.902
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.995-996
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.709
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.703-704
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.709
- Reaper's Gale, Prologue, US HC p.24-26
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 10, US HC p.271
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 19, US HC p.579
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.703-709
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.709-710
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 15
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 17
- The Crippled God, Chapter 23
- Steven Erikson (2014) Ask Steven Erikson Your Crippled God Questions!, Tor Blogs, Macmillan, Accessed: 16-12-2014, Available: <http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/11/steven-erikson-the-crippled-god-q-and-a>, see Steven Erikson's answer to question 1