Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki
House of Chains
Dramatis Personae Prologue
Faces in the Rock
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Cold Iron
Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Something Breathes
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
Epilogue Pagination

Children from a dark house choose shadowed paths.

Nathii folk saying

Laederon Plateau, Uryd lands, centuries ago[]

In the time before the Seven Gods had opened their eyes, a loyal guard dog of the Uryd lands of the Laederon Plateau turns without warning on those it had once protected. It savages a child and kills a woman and an old man before the Uryd warriors can bring it down with their spears. The dying boy is carried to the glade of the Faces in the Rock by his father and left lying alone beneath the carven visages of the Seven Gods of the Teblor. It is not a surprise when the boy dies soon thereafter as he is too young to pray.

Urugal the Woven's Year
1159 Burn's Sleep

Laederon Plateau, Uryd lands[]

Karsa Orlong, a young Teblor warrior, glories in the tales of his grandfather Pahlk, who had long ago slipped unseen through the lands of their neighboring rival clans to raid the rich farmlands of Silver Lake. Pahlk's longhouse is still decorated with the ears and other trophies of those he had slain and ravaged. Karsa and his grandfather are ashamed of Karsa's father, Synyg, as he did not venture out in raids as Pahlk had. Nonetheless, Synyg did raise Karsa to be a mighty warrior, trained in combat and one of the clan's greatest warriors. Karsa aims to be more like his grandfather than his father, and plans to travel to Silver Lake to recapture the former glory of the clan through conquest. Before he sets out with two companions, Delum Thord and Bairoth Gild, Karsa visits the Faces in the Rock and vows to bring glory to the Uryd clan's god Urugal by slaughtering thousands of children in his name. He aspires to win the right to marry Dayliss upon his return, after proving his worth in combat. Dayliss however has given her blessing to Bairoth, but Karsa is not concerned about his competition, as Bairoth is a follower while he, Karsa, is a true leader.

After Karsa leaves the glade, seven terribly disfigured entities rise from the ground. These seven had been sentenced by their kin to spend eternity in an underground crypt for a dishonourable failure they were responsible for. This sentence was cut short after some outside intervention where the seven had but to break a vow and swear fealty to another. Their new master has freed them from their tombs, but more will be required to allow them to leave the glade. Urual (known as Urgual to the Teblor) states that Karsa will suffice to achieve their plans. Sin'b'alle (Siballe) is skeptical reminding Urual that Karsa's grandfather was also supposed to have sufficed but failed. Urual says that if Karsa fails, they will turn to Dayliss' unborn child, of whom Bairoth is the father and whom Emroth is nurturing in Dayliss' womb.

Karsa returns home to find Synyg grooming his horse, Havok. Karsa asks where his own horse is, and Synyg replies that his horse is not ready and gives Karsa Havok instead. Karsa then asks for his father's blessing, which Synyg refuses and points out that Pahlk has already blessed Karsa, and that should suffice. Karsa leaves to join his companions who are waiting for him.

As the three ride through the village, Karsa notes that nobody is out to observe their departure, as the clan elders disapprove of the journey. Karsa feels he is being watched nonetheless. The three are indeed observed by twenty-three “silent witnesses”, former siblings who were sacrificed to the Teblor god Siballe. One of the watchers comments how only one of them will return.

Pahlk visits his son, and angrily demands to know if he gave Karsa his blessing. Synyg invites Pahlk in for a meal, and Pahlk is surprised to discover that Synyg gave Karsa his horse Havok. The two share words of contention over supper, after which Synyg kicks Pahlk out of his house and vows to kill him the next time he returns.

Journey through Teblor lands[]

Karsa and his friends head toward the lands of rival Teblor clans, the Rathyd and the Sunyd, on their way to Silver Lake. Karsa conveys his intent to avoid stealth and ride openly through the lands slaying all who get in the way in order to “gather souls.” Bairoth disagrees and mocks Karsa, but reassures Karsa that he will follow him.

The trio discover a group of unsuspecting Rathyd who are oblivious to their presence. They hide their horses while plotting their next move. Karsa attacks, leaving his companions behind. He slays all but one “youth”, who escapes. Bairoth complains that the youth escaped, but Karsa tells him it was an intentional diversion. Now the youth will describe three warriors on foot, and the Rathyd will not be expecting mounted warriors and thus limit the range in which they will search for the invaders. Bairoth warns that the youth will grow up to become a warrior and an enemy of the Uryd. Karsa dismisses this concern, vowing that the Rathyd warleader will bow before him one day. Karsa reveals his plan to harry the Rathyd, pretending to be Sunyd raiders, and lead the pursuing avengers to the neighbouring clan of Sunyd, starting a war between the two rival clans.  

Karsa anticipates that the Rathyd will mount a hunting party to retaliate against the invaders and that the Rathyd's village will be undefended except for the elderly, women, and children. They indeed find the village undefended and quickly kill all the children and elderly villagers. They then round up the women for sexual conquest. As Delum and Bairoth are having the women of the village, Karsa meets with the chief's wife. He does not believe the woman's recollection of Pahlk begging passage through their lands. Karsa takes the chief's wife in the chief's own bed before taking the chief's daughter last. He leaves both of them with child.

An hour's ride beyond the village, they encounter a pack of Rathyd dogs. Karsa subdues the pack's leader, naming it Gnaw. With Gnaw at his side, the pack is now submissive and loyal to the trio.

The Uryd warriors then happen upon one of the Rathyd hunting parties, who are quickly slaughtered by the Uyrd.