For the house in the Deck of Dragons see, see High House Chains.
House of Chains is the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It was released in the UK and Canada in January 2002 and in the US August 2006 by Tor.
It is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Coltaine is dead. And now the untried new Adjunct, Tavore, must urgently raise an army able to withstand the forces of the Sha'ik's Whirlwind that are massing in Raraku. The few remaining veterans from Coltaine's march are her only hope.
In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flat lands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny.
Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the new Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold on Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone twelve thousand soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind who lie in wait at the heart of the Holy Desert.
But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked in a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.
And so begins this awesome new chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen...
For Mark Paxton MacRae, for the KO
punch. This one's all yours, my friend.
The author wishes to thank his cadre of readers, Chris Porozny,
Richard Jones, David Keck and Mark Paxton MacRae. Clare and
Bowen as always. Simon Taylor and the crew at Transworld.
And the terrific (and patient) staff at Tony's Bar Italia: Erica,
Steve, Jesse, Dan, Ron, Orville, Rhimpy, Rhea, Cam, James,
Konrad, Darren, Rusty, Phil, Todd, Marnie, Chris, Leah, Ada,
Kevin, Jake, Jamie, Graeme and the two Doms. Thanks also to
Darren Nash (for the yeast always rises) and Peter Crowther.
|UK and Commonwealth — House of Chains|
|Bantam||Hard cover||2002||762||0593046250||xxx||First edition|
|Bantam||Mass market paperback||xxx||xxx||xxx||xxx|
|United States — House of Chains|
|Tor||Hard cover||Aug 2006||669||076531004X||978-0765310040||Cover by Todd Lockwood|
|Tor||Trade paperback||Aug 2006||669||0765315742||978-0765315748||Cover by Todd Lockwood|
|Tor||Hard cover, Science Fiction Book Club||xxx||xxx||xxx||xxx|
|Tor||Mass market paperback||xxx||xxx||xxx||xxx|
|Subterranean Press||Hard cover||Feb 2014||808||xxx||xxx||Limited numbered/lettered editions|
Illustrated by Sam Burley
List of illustrations
|House of Chains|
|Faces in the Rock|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8|
|Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14|
|Chapter 15||Chapter 16|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|House of Chains|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
|Chapter 25||Chapter 26|
- The following summaries contain spoilers
Please access individual chapter summaries via the Chapter infobox
- The following summaries contain spoilers
The book opens with Trull Sengar being dragged to the wall in the Nascent by his kin the Tiste Edur. He is chained to the wall, ritually shorn and his forehead scarred by a circle with a slash through it. He is cast out, as if he had never existed at all. The Tiste Edur speak of how Trull has betrayed one of them. Trull refutes this by telling them his accomplishments: the southlands are aflame, the enemies armies have fled and kneel before them and beg to be their slaves. He tells them they must continue to search and when they ‘find what must be sought’, they should deliver it to him. They agree that Trull has only spoken against the Tiste Edur leader and has defended their enemies by calling them Pure kin and that they should not kill them. The leader says that Trull betrayed them all, and they relunctantly agree to this. He says that the wall at the Nascent holds back the sea, but only for now and the flood will not be denied.
Book One: Faces in the Rock
The slower the river, the redder it runs.Nathii saying
Karsa Orlong swears that he will lead his people back to their old ways by raiding Silver Lake with his two friends Delum Thord and Bairoth Gild, like this grandfather did in his youth. He vows before his gods, particularly Urugal (his own clan’s god) to slaughter the inhabitants of Silver Lake and bring pride back to his clan the Teblor.
After Karsa leaves the glade of the gods, seven T'lan Imass including Urual, Haran'alle, Thek, Emroth, and Sin'b'alle rise from the ground, they say that they had been sentenced to inhabit a sealed cavern for centuries, left behind as was the custom. They say they will soon break free of the chains, as service to the new master promised travel. They say that if Karsa fails, they will be able to use Dayliss’s baby (Karsas love interest), and that they are already influencing it, saying they make neither a boy or a girl, nor a child.
Karsa’s father Synyg gives him his horse Havok for the raid and tells him Dayliss gave Bairoth her blessing. The three depart overlooked 23 silent witnesses, blood-kin of the three friends, who had been sacrificed in the glade to Siballe, who called them her Found. Each of have been scarred along the left side of the face by Siballe. They prophetise that only one will return.
The three comes across a group of nine Rathyd, another Teblor clan. Karsa singled handedly leads and kills all but one youth, who runs away. Karsa then attacks the Rathyd village, where their warriors are out hunting for them. The village is filled only with elders, women, and youth. They attack and kill many and then round up the women, who they rape, including the chiefs wife and daughter, who are impregrated. After riding away from the village, they find a pack of Rathyd dogs, who submit to them when Delum kills one and Karsa subdues the pack’s leader.
In a cave they find strange glyphs in the Teblor language, but strangely ornate. The inscription talks of the T’lan Imass who were inclined to their indiscriminate slaughter and Icarium, who they had once sheltered. As they move towards Silver Lake, they come across a slab of stone with a hand protruding from under it, which Delum names a Forkassal, the ones who sought peace. They lift the slab and free the creature, who attacks Karsa, after knocking him down it says she is Forkrul Assail and is named Calm. She tells them that if they knew Karsas ultimate purpose, they would seek to kill him but there would be no value in that, for the ones using him would simply select another. Delum’s skull is cracked and is leaking brain fluid.
Bairoth tells him how Bairoth and Dayliss had been lovers for a long time but he believes only Karsa will return to their village and when he does so he will wed Dayliss. They see lowlanders come to where Calm the Forkrul Assail had been imprisoned. Karsa attacks and kills the soldiers, then to the shock of the four mages in the group, he walks through their magical fire attack and kills them as well, though one guard manages to escape.
They trail the escaped guard and find a staircase of bones leading down the mountain. After making camp for the night, the following day they attack Silver Lake, which is much bigger than they expected. An alarm bell begins to ring and Karsa and Bairoth charge, killing a few lowlanders on the way to the town. They wreak havok throughout the town. Karsa makes his way to a raised platform in a warehouse, then after jumping down to kill a lowlander, his impact collapses the floor and he falls into the cellar and is impaled by a spike of wood The guard who escaped earlier from Calms burial site, speaks to him and says they know all about the Uryd from the Sunyd slaves, and that while they haven’t reached Karsa’s tribe yet, they will, and there will be no more Teblor. Karsa is bound and brought up and they wonder if he is the one the priests spoke of, who stalked their dreams like Hood’s own Knight. They say it was bad luck for Karsa that his attack was while a Malazan company was staying there. He is brought to a slave pit in a warehouse and chained to a tree trunk.
A slave speaks to Karsa and and introduces himself as Torvald Nom and the two agree the Malazans are their shared enemy. Karsa and Torvald escape the pit and find a shack, where Karsa destroys a statue of Fener by knocking it on the floor. After finding a bloodwood sword, he kills more lowlanders. When he leaves the shack, he is captured by a Malazan squad including Sergeant Cord, Limp, Shard, and Ebron, other malazans arrive including Captain Kindly, who arrests Silgar for trying to bribe the malazans, and says to put him in a cell away from the bandit leader they just captured (Torvald).
Three days later Karsa is lowered onto a wagon with Torvald Nom, Silgar and Damisk. Karsa tries to break free, but is knocked out and wakes up six days later wrapped in heavy chains, still on the wagon. On a ferry, on the way to the Otataral mines, Torvald saves Karsa multiple times by feeding him and talking to him. They pull into the city of Malyntaeas and Torvald explains how the Nathii, Genabarii, and Korhivi were so busy fighting amongst themselves they didn’t even notice the Malazans arrive in the form of Dujek, the Bridgeburners, three legions, and two High Mages, who sunk the Nathii fleet attacking Malyntaeas, killed the Genabari royal family, and force the surrender of the Korhivi fortress. Torvald says it was an enforced peace, but now the city’s Fist is losing soldiers. The first mate tells him that the Crimson Guard are in the city stirring up the Korhivi and with the loss of Malazan soldiers things are going to get bad.
Karsa has been unconscious for weeks, when he awakes a strange storm arrives and the sailors think he is responsible. Suddenly chains snap down and destroy the ship, with Karsa falling into the water, still on the platform and in chains. Silgar and his men escape in a dory. Torvold tells Karsa that they are no longer in the ocean and had entered a warren. They find a box of Moranth munitions.
They come across a group of ships which look like they have been involved in a battle. Torvold manages to free Karsa from his chains using some tools he has found. They leave on a dory, with Karsa strengthening, but Torvald weakening and finally they land on a beach, with a large wall running the coastline. Torvald looks at all the wreckage washing ashore and says the sea and the ships don’t belong there. A large ship (the Silanda) pulls alongside the beach, they climb aboard and find a pile of severed heads. Karsa kills the Tiste Edur warriors on the ship. Once they’ve left the ship, the seven Faces in the Rock rise, worrying about Karsa slipping their knots. They say the failure belonged to the Tiste Edur and that they should be punished. They add that the shattered warren stirs once more and that the broken heart of the first empire begins to bleed and that they need only set their chosen warrior on the right path. The leader orders Ber’ok to scatter Otataral dust and says the Tiste Edur’s warren remains open and will quickly become a wound, and that they need to move fast as they are being hunted by their kin.
Karsa and Torvald make it to the coast and a breach in the large wall is causing a current which is pulling them in toward it. They spot Silgar and his men, their boat wrecked in the breach. They land near them and as Karsa moves toward Silgar to kill him, the slave master says he can save them by opening a portal. Torvald convinces Karsa they should let Silgar try, so they take Silgar and his men into the dory. He guides them toward the breach where the water seemed to vanish, and they go over the edge into the portal.
Karsa and Torvald leave Silgar and Damisk on the beach and walk on, spotting a tower, made of fossils with a path leading to it. A huge man, with a Malazan accent leads them into the tower. He introduces himself as Keeper, who says they can have food and lodgings in return for helping him dismantle the roof. When they prepare to leave, Keeper gives them money, telling them that when a man arranges his own death, he needs to plan ahead and that he emptied half of Aren’s treasury a day before his drowning. Karsa says he will be back to pay keeper back one day.
After a few days of travel, Torvald and Karsa enter a village and Torvald purchases a sword. As they walk through the village, they realize they are walking into an ambush. They are caught between two groups of Arak tribesmen. They surrender and are shackled and chained. Silgar appears and knocks them out. They awake amidst the Arak camp and Torvald stuffs their clothes with grass and sets them alight on the camp fire. Most of the Arak run away scared. One of the Arak puts a knife to Torvalds neck, then a group of Gral suddenly attack, Torvald is killed. Damisk and Silgar escape using magic with Karsa, leaving the writhing Torvald behind. They arrive in a city and Silgar orders Karsa unshackled as the city is under Malazan control and they don’t allow slavery. Silgar tries to hit Karsa with magic, but a group of Malazan soldiers confront him, demanding to see Karsa’s brand.
Some days later a stranger tells him Silgar and Damisk have been arrested and are in the stocks, but tells them Karsa was en route to the Otataral mines. A group of soldiers tell Karsa he’s been tattooed as an escaped prisoner. That night, Torvald Nom appears with some Gral and trading agents of the House of Nom. He frees Karsa. Torvald tells Karsa the Gral saved him to try and ransom him. He adds his kin have offered him a place, but the Gral won’t take Karsa, as he is too noticeable. The stranger offers Karsa a place of safety and Karsa agrees to go with him. As the alarm rings out, Torvald gives Karsa his bloodsword that he’d saved from before and tells Karsa to come to Darujhistan in a few years to visit. The next day Karsa and the stranger are pursued by horsemen; the stranger suspects Mebra betrayed him. When they can’t lose them, the stranger concludes they have a mage. Karsa decides he will attack them at dark. Karsa and the stranger spy on the pursuers, which include Silgar and Damisk. Karsa attacks and kills most, drives the rest off and cuts off Silgards hands and feet, but binds them so he doesn’t die.
Eight days later they arrive at the Raraku desert. The stranger tells Karsa that his kind walked this earth when the T’lan Imass were still flesh and from the Toblakai came the Barghast and the Trell. The stranger names himself Leoman and says he serves Sha'ik.
Book Two: Cold Iron
There are folds in this shadow… hiding entire worlds.Call to Shadow
Back in Aren, Commander Blistig has been ordered by Fist Gamet (head of Adjunct Tavore's newly landed army) to find Squint, the archer who killed Coltaine. Blistig says that the surviving soldiers from the Chain of Dogs were too broken to be used as soldiers. He disparages Gamet, mocking that Tavore turned her House Guard captain into a Fist. Gamet replies that he is a 23-year veteran of the Fourth Army and of the Wickan Wars and was retired after a wound that should have killed him.
Strings arrives in Aren on the last transport, he is joined by nobleborn Lieutenant Ranal, who remarks that Fiddler/Strings is old enough to be most recruits father. Another soldier, a half-Seti named Koryk, tells him that Ranal has it in for Strings.
Lostara Yil, who is Tene Baraltas aide (Baralta commands the Red Blades) awaits Pearl in a bar. He informs her of a meeting tonight, organised by Adjunct Tavore and that he has gotten permission to have her as his aide. Gamet awaits Tavore’s arrival at the meeting and believes his promotion was nothing to do with merit. Nok, Blistig and Baralta are also present. Tavore enters, wearing her otataral sword. She divides up command assignments for the Fourteenth Army, with Gamet, Blistig, and Baralta each commanding one legion. The Chain of Dogs survivors and other unattached units are broken up and dispersed among the larger army. Nil, Nether, and Temul enter, with Nil and Nether looking disinterested. Tavore informs the two that they are now Mages in the Fourteenth Army and when they say no, she says they have no choice. She attaches the Wickans to her personal entourage as bodyguards, saying she doesn’t have the forces to use cavalry. Pearl and Lostara enter. Tavore asks Pearl about the Talon, he says they no longer exist and when Tavore challenges his honesty, he admits they do. Tavore asks them to find her sister.
Gamet flashes back to Unta, he is at the Gatehouse of the Paroes household, when Baudin arrives to take Felisin. Baudin tells Gamet that Felisin will face Judgment’s Round. To the chains. He goes to wake Felisin.
Pearl and Lostara are studying the information given to them by Lavore. Lostara wants nothing to do with the job, but Pearl says he’ll have to kill her if that’s the case. Pearl explains the swift return of the nobles to power has been linked in rumor to the Talons, but none of those who confessed to being a Talon weren’t even close to the real things. Tavore has told Pearl that the Talons exist and have been making use of the nobles, and that they placed sympathetic agents in the military and administration. Now that Tavore has shifted from being a noble to being Adjunct, her old loyalties must be severed, that she has given them the Talons and that they will find Baudin Younger, and force him to unravel the entire organization.
Tavore and Gamet meet with Nok. Nok says he heard the transport ship she asked about had sank in Malaz harbor, with Pormqual’s treasure aboard, while none of the crew seemed to have survived. Tavore expresses some skepticism that sharks ate everyone and left no remains. Another example is mentioned, a ship called the Twisted which was Kellanved’s flagship that mysteriously slipped its moorings the night after the assassinations, then promptly plummeted into the sea, taking its resident demon with it, and that Nok and three others are the only ones left. Gamet thinks of Tayschrenn, Dujek, and Whiskeyjack, listing those that have died: Tattersail, Bellurdan, Nightchill, Duiker. Nok explains that Kellanved began with just one companion Dancer. The two then hired a handful of locals himself, Ameron, Dujek, and Hawl (his wife) and that their residency in the Deadhouse rewarded then all with certain gifts: longevity, immunity to most diseases, and other things. Dancer was later recruited among the refugee Napans who’d fled the conquest: Cartheron Crust and his brother, Urko, and Surly (Laseen), plus three more Toc the Elder, Dassem Ultor and a renegade High Septarch of the D’rek Cult, Tayschrenn. And finally, Duiker. Kellanved already possessed imperial ambitions, and of the two major rivals on the mainland, Unta was by far the fiercest.
Tavore says it seems clear that Surly’s killing of Kellanved and Dancer wrecked the family irrevocably, and that is where her understanding falters. Surly had taken the cause to its penultimate conclusion. Yet it was not Nok, Tayschrenn, Duiker, Dassem Ultor, or Toc the Elder who disappeared. It was Napans. When Gamet points out Ameron was the exception, Nok tells them Ameron was half Napan. When Gamet wonders why only Napans deserted the new Empress, who was of the royal Napan line, Nok tells them that shame is a fierce, vigorous poison. Curst, Urko, and Ameron were not party to the betrayal, but who would believe them? He says Laseen hadn't included any of them in her scheme and just used the Claw. Gamet asks where the Talons were, and Nok says he has no idea, as he wasn’t in Malaz City; he just knows they disappeared and it was thought the Claw got rid of them. Tavore dismisses him and Gamet, after asking Gamet where T'amber was.
Strings enters the stables where the other recruits are. He introduces himself to the 4th squad as their sergeant and tells them their commander (of the 9th Company) is Captain Keneb while the entire 8th Legion is commanded by Fist Gamet. The squad introduce themselves as Tarr (who strings makes corporal), Smiles, and Bottle. Six more soldiers appear, the 5th squad led by Gesler and Stormy. Strings notes the strange, burnished cast to their skin, as well as on a younger soldier (Truth). Strings names them Adjutant Stormy and Captain Gesler but Gesler interrupts and says those titles aren't theirs anymore; he's a sergeant and Stormy his Corporal. He introduces the others: Truth, Tavos Pond, Sands, and Pella, mentioning that Pella was a guard at the otataral mines. Gesler says Tavore confiscated the Silanda. He wonders about how she hasn't ever commanded anything other than her noble house and yet she’s been given an army and told to reconquer a continent. Strings admits he's Fiddler.
Apsalar, her father Rellock, and Crokus have returned to Sorry’s home, Itko Kan, to find it empty of people. The night before Rellock died in his sleep and Hood himself or one of his minions appeared to have come to collect Rellock’s soul. Crokus thinks how he has come to know Apsalar less and less and feels what lies at her core is not fully human. He thinks about Cotillion moving towards ascendancy, and that to ascend was also to surrender. Crokus wondered how far Apsalar has gone down the path of Ascendancy and wonders if she wants him to ascend with her. He recalls how Shadowthrone had sent him, Apsalar, and Rellock to an alley in Kan to kill men who had been extorting a bookmaker in the alley. Crokus acquires a new name, Cutter. He decides he would walk the path of ascendancy with Apsalar, as she needs a companion like the Emperor had Dancer.
Kalam rides through Shadow and wonders what is going on with Quick Ben (he hasn’t heard anything from him) or Fiddler, whom he knows reenlisted. He envies that at least they were doing something more than babysitting 1300 children, and besides, he thinks Minala and Apt had it in hand without his help, teaching them skills such as stealth, tracking and weapon skills, and says they are an army in the making for Shadowthrone. Cotillion and two hounds appear and then he asks if Kalam is seeking to leave. Kalam tells him he’s bored and Minala has banished him, then asks what Cotillion wants. Cotillion says he’s going to be very busy but he needs other things taken care of and it’s been hard to find someone of practical use. Kalam asks Cotillion if he thinks his realm is being contested and Cotillion asks him to find out more about his potential enemy.
Crokus/Cutter is on the beach trying to figure out what he and Apsalar are gong to do, he feels a stranger in the Malazan Empire and but doesn’t think the same is true for Apsalar. Cotillion appears with the hound Blind to speak to Apsalar (whos gone for a walk). Cutter tells him of Rellock and Cotillion says it is unfortunate then, looking at Cutter, asks if Cotillion is now his patron. Cutter says he thinks so. Cotillion asks to bless Cutter’s knives and Cutter answers only if he can do it without magic. Cutter agrees to work for Cotillion and says in payment then, he wants answers to why Cotillion and Shadowthrone plotted against Laseen and the Empire; and why they did what they did to Apsalar. Cotillion replies enigmatically that’s gates are played, and what may appear precipitous might be a feint. Cutter also asks to be able to call on Blind if in trouble. When Apsalar returns she senses that Cotillion had been there and Cutter replies saying they are to explore an island and the two set sail.
Onrack the T'lan Imass wanders through the Nascent, and thinks that this is the largest fragment of the Tiste Edur that he has come across, even larger than the one surrounding the Azath house Tremorlor. He reaches Trull, who bargains for his freedom by telling Onrack of his enemies (speaking of the Tiste Edur). Trull tells him that their encounters with the T’lan Imass were few and far between, and only after the ritual, before that they fled from them at first sight, except for those that travelled the oceans with the Thelomen Toblakai. Onrack says the Tiste Edur were in his world, just after the coming of the Tiste Andii, they were once numerous and are now far fewer, after the shattering of this warren, when they fled again to Onracks world where they thrived until enemies found them. They battled against the Tiste Andii and won initially but were broken themselves and retreated. Trull says that the floodwaters must have brough chaos to the Nascent and destroyed the civilisation there and says it was the descendents of the T’lan Imass (intimating humans). Onrack notes a strange regularity to the 7 hills, which look like dogs. When Trull tells Onrack there should be a gate beyond, Onrack replies that 2 of the statues/hills are alive.
Back at Sha'ik's camp in Raraku, Heboric is climbing up a rise to collect Hen'bara flowers on it, which can be dried and steeped to make a soothing tea. He complains that his vision has been failing and that hes trapped in the desert with the whirlwind wall impassable in all directions. He is joined by Felisin the Younger (Felisins adopted daughter), who tells his that Korbolo Dom (the malazan traitor) has named is army ‘dogslayers’, and that Korbolo is afraid of Leoman (Sha’iks bodyguard), Toblakai (Karsa), Bidithal, L'oric and Febryl (Sha’iks high mages) and tells him that Felisin has banished Mallick Rel and Pullyk Alar, who were Korbolos allies.
Heboric says that Seven cities, was built upon the ruins of he First Empire of the T’lan Imass. Felisin says Sha’ik can no longer trust Leoman and put his as second to her general Mathok. Heboric climbs down to Leomans temple, who tells his that Bidithal is back to his old ways with children. He continues that Felisin has caught Bidithals eye and that he needs to break her, as mother was broken.
Heboric says Sha’ik should be told, but Leoman says she has been, but because she needs Bidithal to balance out Febryl and L’oric (the other High Mages), she won’t do anything outright, but has told Leoman, Karsa, and Heboric to be watchful. Heboric worries that all of Sha’iks command structure might be compromised.
Heboric, outside of Bidithals temple recalls how Bidithal had not always been a High Mage and he had once been the archpriest of the Cult of Rashan, a cult which long pre-dated Kellanved’s claiming of the Throne of Shadow. The cult hadn’t liked his ascension and tore itself apart. Heboric believes the fact that the Rashan cult exiles found refuge with the Whirlwind is confirmation of his theory that the Whirlwind is a fragment of the shattered Shadow warren, which makes him wonder who Bidithal is loyal to.
Silgar is sat outside Bidithal’s tent, using one of his stumps to draw patterns in the dust. Inside the tent, it appears Bidithal is talking in gestures with his shadow. Bidithal wants to see if Heboric’s ghost hands have shadows, he refuses and brings up Bidithals appetites and that he will kill him if he harms Felisin. Bidithal warns Heboric that he has resanctified the temple. Heboric asks if Sha’ik will allow him to have a temple to Shadowthrone, but says its not him and that the roots of Meanas are found in an elder warren, but wont say who its ruled by. Silgar has left a pattern of a figure, surrounded by chains, with feet but no hands (signifying Heboric).
It is revealed that Toblakai (from Deadhouse Gates) is in fact Karsa, who vows vengeance on those who deceived his people, and then begins carving 7 figures. Meanwhile Heboric is having nightmares about the Otataral Giant, wondering if Fener abandoned him, or the other way round and thinks he will have to return to the giant one day.
Sha’ik calls a counsel which includes all the leaders except for Leoman and Karsa. Felisin tells them that recent events have rocked the Malazan Empire and that the warrens have been shaken. L’oric then announces that Fener has been ousted as the god of war and in his place, the once First Hero Treach. He continues telling them that the Beast Throne was taken by Togg and Fanderay and that Soletaken and D'ivers should be wary of them. Dom tells everyone what happened in Memories of Ice. After ordering everyone else out, Felisin cries to Heboric about Paran still living.
Tavore is reviewing an assembly of the 14th Army, which isn’t going well. Cuttle arrives and tells Gamet he can get the legion under control. They use Moranth Munitions to scare the Army into cooperating. Gamet’s toddler son Grub appears and raises his arm, holding a human bone. The Army believe it to be an omen.
Fiddler calls a meeting of veterans, including Stormy, Gesler, and Cuttle. They believe that the omen is that a child leads us to them to their deaths, and a leg bone to signify the march, under the curse of the desert sun Fiddley says that you don’t destroy an omen by fighting it, you do the opposite. You swallow it whole.
Tavore addresses a meeting of commanders and tells them they march in two days. Blistig pulls Gamet and Baralta aside and tells Gamet that Tavore is crazy and that they cannot march.
Lostara Yil reveals she was cast out by her family and was rounded up at seven by the Rashan Cult, where she was selected to be taught Shadow Dancing. She says that Rashan in the manifestation of shadow, the drawing of darkness to light. She says that the Malazan Empire came and purged many Seven Cities cults, but not Rashan, for it was a recognized religion. She remembers the night the cult was destroyed: a high priest from another city visited Master Bidithal and that there would be a dance, Lostara was attracted to the high priest and didn’t dance well. It is revealed that the high priest was in fact Quick Ben, who had come to destroy Rashan. Lostara believed she was the only one spared, until she found out that Bidithal did also, she then joined the red blades. Cotillion appears in her room and he tells her he was there that night in Ehrlitan that he was witness to her dancing and that Quick Ben would have taken her as a bridgeburner. He then reveals that Kellenvid was a practitioner of Rashan’s sister warren, Meanas and that Laseen is welcome to the throne, but could do with some help. When Lostara asks if Laseen had Dancer and Kellenved assassinated, he replies that everyone had their appointed tasks, and that the game being played is far larger than any mortal empire, however the success of the empire of crucial to what they seek, and that the Empress sits on a tottering throne. Lostara then asks if he betrayed Shadowthrone, that he did, but sometimes he sees further than his companion, who remains obsessed with his desire to see Laseen suffer.
Pearl and Lostara go to question Gesler, Stormy, and Pella. Pella tells Lostara that he helped Felisin, Heboric and Baudin escape the night of the Uprising. Truth tells her Kulp, sent by Duiker, was involved in order to help Heboric. At the Silanda, Pearl tells her most of the wood is from Drift Avalii, a drifting island filled not with demons and spectres as Lostara says is rumored, but with hardly anything so frightening. He uncovers a pile of severed heads, mostly Tiste Andii, and tells Lostara the ship is filled with layers and layers of magic: Kurald Galain, Tellann, Kurald Emurlahn, Rashan. Inside he finds the Tiste Edur killed by Karsa and otataral dust on the floor. He tells her Felisin was there and wonders who killed the Edur and what happened to the whistle that animates the rowers.
The army forms for Tavore’s review, everyone is wearing bones and Tavore introduces them as part of the uniform, to turn the omen on its head. 300 Wickans, with horses and dogs arrive as volunteers, to which the Army cries Clan of the Crow, Coltains own!
Kalam is shopping at a G’danisban shop selling decks, weapons, other items, the shopkeeper tells him the Decks are in flux due to a new House (Chains). Kalam says its probably a fake cult, but the shopkeeper disagrees saying he believes it’s a real house, saying there is a card denoting a master that commands (Paran), but Paran hasn’t decided if they new house has been sanctioned or not, but everyone believes it will be, and that no one knows who rules it, and that ascendants vie for it. He says that the throne where the king will sit is cracked and that the house belongs to the Crippled God. Kalam replies that others must be assailing the throne, to which the keeper replies that no, it is they who are assailed. The owner sells Kalam a pair of Wickan knives, one of which is Otataral, the other with a magical mark from Bellurdan, and tells him about several hundred Malazans besieged in a nearby fortess B’ridys.
Kalam arrives at the camp of the besiegers, who are preparing for a final assault, they are mostly former Malazan soldiers from Seven Cities. He finds the leader, who introduces himself as Captain Irriz, the captain tells him that a mage (Sinn) has just arrived to blow a hole in the fortress. It is revealed that the commander of the fortress is Captain Kindly. Sinn reveals that she is still loyal to the Malazan Empire and needs soldiers and agrees to help Kalam. Sinn tells him she’s already taken care of Irriz and his warriors by poisoning their water with Tralb. Three Malazans come down via rope from the fortress and Kalam realizes they’d been watching.
Kalam uses the Bone whistle and an Azalan demon arises, and Kalam tells the demon to get Captain Irriz. They all climb into the fortress. Kalam tells the Malazans his real name, which silences them. The mage (Ebron) says he thought Kalam and the others were outlawed and Kalam tells them it was a feint. They introduce themselves as Sergeant cord, Bell, and Corporal Shard (Sinn’s half-brother). Kalam asks about Kindly and Cord says they lost him and the lieutenant days ago when they fell down a well shaft and drowned, swept away by an underground river. Kalam informs him the demon just killed 500 besiegers in a few minutes
Cutter and Apsalar approach Drift Avalii as a storm nears. Trying to land, their boat is wrecked and Cutter gets yanked down by a current under the island then spat out into an underground pool but he’s too weak to pull himself up out of the water. He’s saved by an old Tiste Andii who calls himself Darist. He tells Cutter he was the only one in the pool and that Apsalar probably drowned, and Darist tells him the island is under attack. Cutter guesses the Tiste Edur have returned to try and retake the Throne of Shadow.
Back in the Nascent, Onrack can hear the howls of rage coming from the spirits trapped inside two of the statues. Onrack notes that the statues cast no shadow and and that they must be Hounds of Darkness. He says that in order to truly command the Hounds of Shadow you must sit on the Throne of Shadow and also make Kurald Emerlahn whole once more, and that the Tiste Edur are trying to do just that. Trull replies that another power act behind this and it has made his people an abomination.
Onrack breaks one of the pillars and it explodes, followed quickly by the second one. The two Hounds attack and one throws Onrack to the other, who catches him and shatters his left arm, tearing it from his body, before tossing him to the ground where he can’t move. They find the portal and Onrack tosses a moranth munition onto it to break the ward. Trull senses something coming through the gate, and Trull runs. 4 Tiste Liosian come through and Onrack wounds one of them (Seneschal Jorrude) as they attempt to run him down. Enias, Malachar and Orenas are the others. Enias says that only the Liosan are pure, that the Tiste Andii and Edur are tainted.
Trull appears at the end of the bridge and tells Onrack he is sorry, but he’s brought assistance. Four T’lan Imass swirl up next to Trull. Onrack identifies Monok Ochem and Ibra Gholan and tells them he is the sole survivor of the flood from his group of Imass hunting the rebels. Monok says Onrack has failed the Ritual and so needs to be destroyed, but Onrack tells him the that privilege will be contested as the Liosan claim him as their prisoner. Three of the Imass approach and Jorrude says the Liosan are happy to give them Onrack; they have no quarrel with the Imass. Jorrude then asks if Trull wants to go with them, saying we have need of a servant. Trull says no and suggests they rotate the role amongst them. Monok tells them that the warren is a shattered fragment of Kurald Emurlahn and that they know nothing of the other realms, wounded gates and the ascendant wars. Jorrude replies that they serve only Osric, Father Lights son. They work together in a ritual to make a gate.
Heboric, L’oric, Sha’ik, Febryl, Young Felisin, and Bidithal are looking the new House of Chains cards in a Deck of Dragons. L’oric says their power is even greated that Shadow’s power at birth, Heboric wonders whether the new house will be ally or enemy but is leaning towards enemy.
Sha’ik asks to see the new unaligned card of the master of the deck and starts to describe the picture, noting his average height, a scar or blood running down one side of his face and adds that he stands on a bridge of stone, shot through with cracks, the horizon is filled with flames and the bridge is surrounded by soldiers that could be guardians, followers or servants, who are standing on bones which are not human. Heboric says that the master is a sword which cuts cold, and he will cleave his own past and that none shall lead him and that he shall answer the house of chains. Younger Felisin tells Heboric that an entire island of otatoral was created to contain the statue, to hold it prisoner, but he has given it a means to escape through his hands.
Leoman tells Karsa that there are wild horses bred by Jaghut that would fit him, west in the Jhag Odhan. Karsa says he will not travel with Heboric and Leoman replies that Heboric holds truth for him and that one day he will need to seek him out. Uragals face wakens and tells Karsa that they have waited a long time for the fashioning of a sacred place and complains that Karsa wasted time carving his 2 friends and that they offend the gods, all of whom are now awake. He tells Karsa they want freedom.
L’oric enters Heboric’s tent and says he can tell him about the jade statue, Heboric says he is too tired, so L’oric talks of the warrens instead, saying there was a triumvirate- Rashan (Darkness), Thyr (Light) and Meanas (Shadow) and they link to the Elder Warrens. He says Anomander Rake has asserted a claim on the Throne of Shadow and set kin to guard it, presumable from the Tiste Edur. He says Kurald Galain and Kurald Emurlahn are no longer pure, unsullied by human presence and that Meanas and Rashan are proving the doors into both Darkness and Shadow. He says that Dark, Light and Shadow are a family ever squabbling and now the in-laws and grandchildren are joining in. He says the Malazan influence ever grows not just on our mundane world, but throughout the warrens and now in the Deck of Dragons. Heboric points out that the Empire is no monolithic and that Paran isn’t a servent of the Empress. L’oric says that more than one jade giants have been found but those veins have been closed off and says they are intruders to the world from another realm. He says that even the gods couldn’t wield so much power, but a ritual such as calling down of the crippled god could do it. Finally he says that Heborics ghostly hands have become the weight of the world.
Fiddler and Gesler are following a supply wagon on the Aren Way, Gesler says that Whiskeyjack was unfulfilled potential and Dom replies that If only the bastard had been hard enough, he could’ve taken the damn throne. As they walk his thoughts turn to his squad. Koryk and Tarr look good he thinks, Smiles reminds him of Sorry, Bottle he thinks of as a young mage with a handful of minor spells, and Cuttle he sees as a burlier, more miserable version of Hedge. They discuss how their mages are all Meanas (Gesler’s mage is Tavos Pond and Fiddler’s is Bottle). Fiddler asks if Coltaine has been reborn and Temul says yes, then says he keeps Duiker’s horse for when he returns.
Topper has finished his report, including Paran’s heroism, then his death. Not a single Bridgeburner left alive. Tayschrenn himself saw their bodies, and witnessed their internment in Moon’s Spawn. He says that Ganoes redeemed the family name and that Laseen had planned to land Dujeks host on the north to open up a second front, and while he is still coming, it will be late and as a broken man in charge of a devastated arm.
Fiddler returns to camp with Moranth munitions, which Cuttle thanks him for. Fiddler says its weird that they always find more and theyre meant to be used, but insead they horde them. Cuttle corrects says Quick Ben is still alive and made a High Mage by Tayschrenn, but that Paran died with them.
Darist tells Cutter they probably won’t survive the Edur’s attack, saying five Edur ships survived the storm and two have reached the shore. He says there would have been more but a Malazan fleet with a skilled mage destroyed many more. Darist talks about his sword, saying it was made by Rake and that it has other names including Vengeance (T’an Aros), and K’orladis (Grief). Darist informs Cutter that the buildings were constructed by the Edur and were in ruins when the Andii arrived. A group of Edur arrive and attack and Darist and Cutter hold them off, until they are relieved by a group of young Andii and Apsalar. Apsalar tells Cutter she found the Andii hiding at Darist’s (Andarist’s) command. Cutter learns that the Andii youths are Rake’s grandchildren (by different mothers). Apsalar suggests he find the Malazan survivors on the island and ask their help. Cutter agrees to go. Cutter travels through the forest which is built upon the ruins of a great city. He finds a cave (Apsalar had discovered the Malazan earlier). He calls out to the Malazans inside and a group come out. He tells them of the Edur, their attack, and asks their help, saying the Edur are after something that could doom the Malazan Empire and all of humanity. He tells them it’s the Throne of Shadow. The Malazans say that Ammanas and Cotillion are about to be usurped. She’s angered they fought the Edur for the Throne, losing ships, people, and probably her own life.
They say the Warren of Shadow is now human-aspected and that the battles is theirs. Cutter reaches the courtyard, spotting a group of Edur coming up from the coast. Leaving them to the Malazans, he heads into the courtyard to see a line of Edur warrior and four Edur mages sending out waves of magic to attack Darist, who stood alone with Apsalar unconscious at his feet and behind him the scattered bodies of the young Andii. Darist is horribly wounded, and Cutter calls for Blind. The Hound appears, but one of the Edur mages says something and the hound cowers. Shadows suddenly appear in the courtyard then Cotillion is there, wielding his rope and killing the four sorcerers in a blink, then the dozen plus Edur warriors as well. Darist finally dies and Traveler walks in carrying a broken sword, the only Malazan survivor. He reaches for Darist’s sword and Cutter tells him it is named Vengeance or Grief and that he can choose which best suits. He names it Vengeance and agrees to defend the throne.
Kalam is examining the well shaft Kindly went down and Cord points out there’s something lying on the bottom, which looks like a man all in armor, he lowers a stone down to measure the figure. The figure yanks on the rope and Kalam is pulled downward into the underground river, he’s grabbed by the rotting creature, which mentally speaks to Kalam and says the other two eluded me, but you I will have. I am so hungry, but Kalam stabs it with both his long knives and the creature throws him upward, back into the chamber above. Kalam says the fortress had been a monastery of a long extinct cult — the Nameless Ones. Ebron says the Tanno cult claims a direct decent from the cult of the Nameless Ones. The Spiritwalkers say their powers, of song and the like, arose from the original patterns that the Nameless Ones fashioned in their rituals. Kalam says the Nameless ones used to chain demons and he and Ebron realize that anyone drinking the water tainted with the creature’s blood and that the demon takes that person’s soul. They also realize that once the demon is free, it will come after Kalam and both agree the others need to get far away from Kalam. Kalam tells them of Tavore’s march from Aren and tells them she could use their veteran experience. He adds he’ll be heading for Raraku. He tells them the demon told him their two officers got away, then they all leave.
Kalam exits the fortress and he hears the distant scream of an enkar’al (a huge winged reptile). He heads for the Whirlwind, and is attacked by the demon, which breaks his back, he manages to kill the demon/enkar’al, then passes out. The enkar’al that drank the blood of the demon was exchanged i.e. the demon possessed the enkar’al body while the enkar’al soul entered the body back in the fortress which was a pureblood Toblakai that had been possessed by the demon long ago. The wolf gods on the Beast Throne, in need of a champion, calm the soul and speak to it, offering a time of service in exchange for a later reward of rejoining its kin in the skies of another realm. The enkar’al agrees.
Pust finds Kalam and tells him that he has something for him, abone whistle, or a small bag filled with diamonds, given to him by a shadow god? Kalam replies you’re the one, are you? and reaches for the bag but then passes out again, just after seeing the azalan demon behind Pust. Kalam awakens feeling healed.
The Tiste Liosan, Trull and Onrack enter the rituals to create the portal’s circle, a gate tears open with tunnels reaching from it, chaos between tunnels. The Tiste Liosan vanish down a tunnel of fire, while Onrack pledges to defend Trulls life and they land back in their home realm. Monok pursues in his Soletaken form, a giant ape but vanishes in a surge of chaos. Onrack tells Trull the other T’Lan Imass went into Kurald Thyrllan to kill the Liosan God.
Pearl and Lostar Yill are inside the Imperial Warren, they fall down a sandslide into a pit, and see a dragon nailed to a crucifix. Pearl points out it is enclosed in a pocket warren, a realm unto itself. Lostara replies saying it could also be sealing an entranceway and says the dragon is aspected to Otateral. They head deeper down towards the gate which Pearl identifies as the Elder Warren from which Thyr derived, Tiste. Not Edur, not Andii. He points out 6 dragon tracks and its implied they crucified the dragon. They step through the gate and in front of them is a pillar carved with the names of those who chained the dragon. Pearl grabs a T’Lan Imass head and uses his warren to send them home. The head identifies itself as Olar Shayn and says he and his kin killed a false god.
Book Three: Something Breathes
The art of Rashan is found in the tension that binds the games of light, yet its aspect is one of dissipation—the creation of shadow and of dark, although in this case the dark is not absolute, such as is the aspect of the ancient warren, Kurald Galain. No, this dark is particular, for it exists, not through an absence of light, but by virtue of being seen.The Mysteries of Rashan--A Madman's Discourse
Untural of Lato Revae
Leoman’s 2000-strong force is ready to leave. Dom tells Sha’ik that Leoman will disobey orders, she agrees but says Leoman’s attacks will be irrelvent as Tavore’s army is weak. After Dom leaves, Heboric asks Sha’ik if she is trying to goad the conspirators into acting though Leoman and Karsa, the only ones to trust, are gone. Sha’ik tells him she trusts none but herself. Heboric asks if she trusts him, and she answer that he cannot leave now, before the battle, but afterward she will extend the Whirlwind all the way for him so as to ease his journey. Heboric asks what doesn’t she know and she replies far too much, naming L’oric specifically as a mystery, saying he can block even the Whirlwind’s magic. Heboric tells her that L’oric isn’t her enemy and shes relieved, she moves on to ask about Bidithal’s explorations of Rashan, his old warren. They discuss that the Whirlwind is a fragment of Kurald Emurlahn saying its true rulers had ceased to exist, thus leaving it vulnerable, and that the Whirlwind is the largest such fragment and it’s power is growing. She says Bidithal wants to enfold Rashan into the Whirlwind or use the Whirlwind to cleanse the Shadow Realm of its false rulers (meaning Kellenvid and Dancer). She says she needs to cajole all those disparate motives into one, mutually triumphant effectand that she needs the secret of Heboric’s hands as they are defeating otataral. She says Tavore will use her otataral sword to negate Sha’ik’s advantage in her High Mages. Heboric asks what that matters as Tavore can’t defeat the Whirlwind, and Sha’ik answers because the Whirlwind can’t defeat Tavore. At first this shocked Heboric, but then he realizes it makes sense as Kurald Emurlahn is so weak, in pieces, riven through with Rashan a warren that was indeed vulnerable to the effects of otataral. He realizes the two magics will obviate each other.
At Leoman’s pit, Silgar appears and tells Felisin the warrior from Mathok doesn’t want to meet there, but he is waiting for her in the ruins across the plaza, where Bidithal takes her captive. In L’oric’s tent he enters from a portal carrying an ancient demon that then dies. He recalls how he had killed all the T’lan Imass involved save for the clan leader, whom he swears to hunt down. He muses that he needs help from his father’s (Osric) companions but discounts Rake, Lady Envy and Caladan Brood and calls on T’riss (Queen of Dreams). She compliments him on his skill at hiding his Liosan traits and tells him his father Osric sleeps. L’oric says Kurald Thyrllan lost its guardian and asks the Queen of Dreams to help him find a new one, but says she doesn’t think her choice will please him.
Karsa meets Icarium and Mappo. Mappo comments at this meeting that Trell, a Jhag, and a Thelomen Toblakai are likely the only one of their respective kinds in all of Seven Cities. He says that Karsa and Icarium are now here, and we are moments from a dreadful convergence. They face off and Icarium breaks Karsa’s sword, in retaliation Karsa punches Icarium and knocks him out, then Mappo knocks out Karsa from behind. When Karsa awakes (alone) he finds a statue of a seven-headed hound where Icarium was digging. Six days later he reaches a small village. He comes across a pit filled with the bodies of the killed Malazans. Delum tells him a place of haunting is ahead, and Bairoth adds that Elder power lingers.
He says it is the burial place of a shaman and it offers a path via the dreamworld to greatly shorten the time of their journey. His two friends say they can guide him as they are between life and death and Hood cannot find them, which is partly why Hood hates Karsa, because he has taken and would not give to him. He says Karsa now rivals hood. Karsa enters the warren which begins as Tellann (the T’Lan Imass Warren) and then becomes Jaghut, and Bairoth tells him it is the border between two warring races. He comes across a field of ice and bones and a tower. He enters it and finds a Jaghut female pinned. He notes the army didn’t kill her and she corrects him to say it couldn’t, at least not immediately, but the Tellann Ritual is slowly destroying the Omtose Phellack, which will mean the death of the Jhag Odhan. Karsa realizes it also will mean her own death and when he says she speaks as if the death of the Odhan is more important than her own, she says it’s because it is: “On the Jhag Odhan, the past lives still. Not just my fallen kin, the Jhag — the few that managed to escape the Logros T’lan Imass. There are ancient beasts that have died out everywhere else. Karsa frees her, despite the High Tellann sorcery. She is shocked at his ability. She asks how she can repay her and he answers with a Jhag horse and further talk of the seven T’lan Imass she destroyed. She, Aramala, tells him she will do so, then informs him she will free the half-bloods that are imprisoned and asks if he is curious at what the non-Jhagut half is. He frowns at that and she says there is much she has to tell him.
Karsa emerges from the warren at the edge of the Jhag Odhan. Karsa enters a large cave and sees a huge projection of pure flint, beyond is another cavern filled with hundreds of stone weapons, he calls upon the Seven, Uragal appears and says hes found their weapons and have freed his gods. He informs Karsa that the Seven’s physical bodies are coming, Karsa replies saying its because of the one they now serve. Uragal tells Karsa that the Seven have gathered the sacrificed Teblor into an army for Karsa to lead against the lowlanders. Karsa makes him self a sword of pure flint. Urugal continues that Karsa will become the eighth God, Karsa rejects him and says hes not unbound and that the souls of those he has slain will pursue him eternally as chains around him. Uragal declares Karsa Knight of Chains, champion of the Crippled God.
Fiddler and his squad are scouting an army of 3000 trailing them, as Tavore, the chieftain (introduced Gall, leader of the Burned Tears of the Khundryl) as of the strangers tells Fiddler his group has taken care of the raiders that have been attacking the Fourteenth. He asks to join the Fourteenth and when Tavore wonders if they seek revenge on Dom, they reply theyve come to make amends for not fighting with Coltaine at the end.
Fiddler hears singing and he goes to its source, finding Nil and Nether. Fiddler is swarmed by butterflies so he can’t see. Inside he hears a presence speaking to him saying Bridgeburner, Raraku waits for you. Do not turn back now. I am of this land now. What I was before does not matter. I am awakened. We are awakened. Go to join your kin. In Raraku where he will find you. Together, you must slay the goddess. You must free Raraku of the stain that lies upon it. They tell him it was Sormo E’nath. Fiddler muses that hes doesn’t have any kin barring the Bridgeburners, Quick Ben and Kalam.
Kalam has been in Pust’s temple for over a week and is itching to move on, now that’s he’s delivered the diamonds and is healed. Pust gives him a few of the diamonds and says he can go, telling him to breach the Whirlwind into the heart of Raraku. Kalam asks how he can do that without being detected and Pust says with his help as High Priest and Master of Rashan and Meanas and Thyr. Kalam and Pust exit a warren near the Whirlwind. The azalan demon appears, swoops up Kalam, and breaks through the whirlwind, tossing Kalam into a crevice in the ruins of a city.
Cutter, carrying Apsalar, heads out on the trail leading to the ships. Cotillion is standing looking at the corpse of Hawl, which he reveals to be a Talon. He pulls the talon off Hawl and tosses it to Cutter, telling him to go to the Edur ship and that Cotillion is sending them to meet another agent of shadow and to wait there in case they’re needed to take down the Master of the Talon. Cutter asks if he knows who the master is and Cotillion replies that he has a suspicion. Shadowthrone appears and tells him that they need to ensure the Talon fail. Cutter reaches the damaged ships and Apsalar comes to. He tells her Darist was killed, along with all the Edur, thanks to Traveler. She says that Dancer knew him, that they were three at the beginning, before Tayschrenn, before Dujek, before even Surly. He informs her they are on another task for Cotillion and she tells him not walk this path.
The Tiste Liosan are camped battered, but alive. Malachar senses an air of unwelcome to this strange realm they’ve entered. Jorrude looks up from grieving and tells them the Guardian is dead, and that their realm is assailed, but their kin have been warned and ride to the gates. He adds that he senses the presence of an old friend to the Tiste Liosan, the Maker of Time, Slayer of Ten Thousand (Icarium).
Karsa makes his flint sword, feeling his companions in it and that he now faces the Seven in their battered, broken bodies and carrying their own swords. Urugal tells him they are now free of the Ritual’s bindings and that the chains are broken. Then informs Karsa his weapon has been invested with Tellann and will not break. He says their new master (the Crippled God) is a third force to change for ever the eternal war between order and dissolution and Karsa replies that he is a master demanding the worship of imperfection. Karsa tells the seven that they are not gods that to be a god is to know the burden of believers and that they didn’t offer comfort, solace or pity and that they were the Tebor's unseen chains.
Karsa cuts Siballe in half, the other six do nothing and Karsa tells them her army of foundlings will follow him and they should leave his people or he will destroy them. He puts Siballes head into his pack and leaves the cavern, just as Trull and Onrack rise up at its entrance. He uses the flat of his sword to sweep them off the edge and leaves. Onrack senses the Tellann warren still active in the cavern and rushes in to fuse Siballe’s other arm to himself.
Karsa enters the edge of the Jhag Odhan and comes across an emaciated Jaghut (Cynnigig) who tells him Aramala contacted him and so he came to meet Karsa. He informs him that both he and Aramala had helped the T’lan Imass against the Tyrants. Cynnigig says he’s going to bring Karsa to another Jaghut Phyrlis who will summon the Jaghut horses. Phyrlis has a tree growing round her as she was spitted as a child. She says the Odhan horses are being hunted to extinction by the Trell such as Mappo, who travels with Icarium and that everytime he visits he asks for heartwood so he can fashion a mechanism to measure time, then she summons the horses. Karsa picks out a stallion and names him Havoc.
Cynnigig sits with Phyrlis after Karsa has left and discuss that they did a good job disguising the remains of the Azath House under her. Cynnigig calls the T’lan Imass fools for driving the spear into a House’s ground, but Phyrlis says they didn’t know anything about Houses and that it has been dying for many years and that Icarium delivered the mortal blow and had his Toblakai companion not taken that opportunity to strike him unconscious he would have freed his father. However the House died, weakening the fabric sufficiently for the warren to be torn apart.
Corabb Tehnu’alas is introduced, the sixth son of a deposed Pardu chief who had been purchased and saved from a trio of Gral by Leoman. Since then he has sworn his life to Leoman and believes he knows him as well as any. He and Leoman are watching the Fourteenth’s outriders. They plan to attack this night, despite Sha’ik’s orders to the contrary.
Leoman and two hundred warriors attack the Malazan camp, Leoman employing an explosive of clay balls filled with lamp oil and connected by a thin chain. As the Malazans regroup, Corabb is about to seemingly be skewered by a dozen crossbolts when his horse goes down, he miraculously manages to escape. Leoman and his men gather and he tells them the real point of the attack is about to start as the Malazan’s horse warriors set after them in pursuit, just as he planned.
Book Four: House of Chains
You have barred the doors
- One of Erikson's stated reasons for devoting the entire first portion of the novel to Karsa Orlong was to respond to critics who complained that he was unable to focus on a single character's point of view for any length of time. He found he loved writing that section.
- Erikson enjoys working on his novels in public places. House of Chains was written at Bar Italia in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He also wrote Midnight Tides and The Bonehunters, as well as the final portion of Memories of Ice, at the same location.
- In preparation for writing The God is Not Willing, Erikson says he "had to go back to some of the books and read some stuff, like the opening to House of Chains and things like that. And, it was a strange feeling, because I looked at it and said, 'I think I was a better writer then than I was now. And that's a hard thing to deal with...'"
- House of Chains Q&A at Tor.com (Part 1)
- House of Chains Q&A at Tor.com (Part 2)
- Ten Very Big Books podcast - House of Chains
- Critical Conversations 01: House of Chains Chapter 26 with Steven Erikson - A Critical Dragon