K'Chain Nah'ruk by genesischant

Interpretation of a K'Chain Nah'ruk by genesischant

The K'Chain Nah'ruk [K-chain Nah-ro͝ok][1] were a shorter-tailed breed of K'Chain Che'Malle that existed long before even the Jaghut, and eventually went extinct.[2] For unknown reasons, the K'Chain Che'Malle Matrons successfully resurrected the "Short-Tails" (as dubbed by Kallorian scholars) in an engineered experiment. However they would not submit to the control of the long-tailed Matrons due to their independent nature.[2] This resulted in a sorcerous civil war between the two breeds. In addition to internal struggle, a massive Tiste invasion occurred,[3] evidently destroying their race, along with the Che'Malle.

An individual K'Chain Nah'ruk was described as a huge two-legged, tailed reptilian monstrosity, with hanging oversized and overlong arms and enormous talons. The Nah'ruk was half again as tall as a Toblakai with a stunted, thick tail. It possessed a broad-snouted jaw crowded with interlocking rows of dagger-long fangs. Above the jaw were flaring cheekbones and brow-ridges protecting deep-set eyes that glistened like wet stones on a strand. A serrated crest bisected the flat, elongated skull, pale yellow above the dun green hide.[4]

The K'Chain Nah'ruk were noted for their binding of sorcery with mechanical devices. The most well known of their inventions were their massive, floating Skykeeps such as Moon's Spawn.[5] Unlike their more chaotic long-tailed kin, the K'Chain Nah'ruk imposed a sense of brutal order on their environment.[6]


The K'Chain Nah'ruk had short, stubby tails that better suited them to standing upright. Consequently, they were not as swift as their longer tailed brethren.[2] Even though short, a K'Chain Nah'ruk's tail proved to be formidable weapon when swiped at an opponent.[7]

Samar Dev's autopsy of a freshly killed K'Chain Nah'ruk discovered:[8]

  • Its brain was significantly larger than that of humans, with six more lobes (which Samar Dev thought implied intelligence), positioned beneath heavy ridged projections out to the sides, including two extra vessel-packed masses connected by tissue to the eyes (which Samar Dev thought suggested that the K'Chain Nah'ruk saw a different world, a more complete one, perhaps).[8]
  • Its eyes had two lenses, one concave, the other convex.[8]
  • Its body apparently required oversized arteries and veins to provide blood circulation to and from its brain.[8]
  • It had four lungs and two proto-lungs attached beneath them.[8]
  • It had three stomachs, with digestive acids in them corrosive enough to dissolve iron. Samar Dev even found mechanical 'worms' the length of an index finger in its stomachs, made of some metal which was impervious to the acids — mechanisms which served some unknown purpose, but were surely (Samar Dev felt) to the creature's benefit.[8]

In Memories of IceEdit

Upon finding the corpses of several of the Pannion Seer's undead K'ell Hunters, Kallor took it upon himself to instruct his allies regarding the K'Chain Che'Malle. He described the history of the "Short-Tails" and how their civil war had driven one of the Matrons to shortsightedly create the Rent at Morn in an attempt to defeat them.[2]

In Midnight TidesEdit

At the time of the sundering of Kurald Emurlahn, several hundred thousand years before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, an allied force of four hundred thousand Tiste Andii led by Silchas Ruin and two hundred thousand Tiste Edur led by Scabandari invaded the Malazan world. They arrived on the continent of Lether through a violent rent and destroyed an army of K'Chain Che'malle as well as four K'Chain Nah'ruk skykeeps.[9]

Afterwards, Scabandari noted that the K'Chain Che'Malle were all but gone from the world and their cities dead. Only Morn remained and the Short-Tails there seemed on the verge of rebellion.[9] At Mael's request, the Jaghut, Gothos, sealed the wreckage of the battlefield's destroyed hive cities and skykeeps under a layer of Omtose Phellack ice.[10]

In The BonehuntersEdit

In the ancient Moraval Keep, just outside of the city of Ugarat in Seven Cities, Karsa Orlong encountered a lone K'Chain Nah'ruk in a tomb below the keep's courtyard. It had been spiked to a stone dais by six immense iron spikes before somehow breaking free. Karsa killed it with his bare hands after a prolonged fight.[11] Afterwards, the remains of the keep's slaughtered Malazan garrison were discovered inside.[12] Its corpse was later carefully autopsied by Samar Dev (see "Anatomy" above for her observations and tentative conclusions).[13]

Skykeeps in the Imperial Warren by Spindrift

Interpretation of skykeeps in the Imperial Warren by Spindrift

Later, Adjunct Tavore Paran sent Quick Ben, Kalam Mekhar, and Gesler's squad ahead of the 14th Army to Y'Ghatan to gather intelligence. The group travelled via the Imperial Warren, but due to the problems with the Warrens travel was difficult and confusing.[14] The sudden appearance of at least a dozen K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeeps in the air above led Quick Ben to immediately cancel the plan. The squad mage, Sands, announced the skykeeps had come from Chaos. Quick Ben brought the group back to the Malazan world to report the news to the Adjunct.[15] Kalam, Quick Ben, and Stormy later returned and attempted to gain entrance to one of the floating fortresses. Cotillion warned them off confirming that the skykeeps were indeed "filled with K'Chain Che'Malle."[16]

Icariums' mechanism by Slaine69

Icarium and Mappo inside the skykeep by Slaine69

Icarium and Mappo Runt explored a vast chasm west of Raraku that had recently been exposed by a shifting of the sand. The two explorers climbed to the chasm's bottom where they found a K'Chain Nah'ruk mechanism, still containing the desiccated corpse of its pilot, within a pool of melting Omtose Phellack ice. Mappo realised they had found the entrance to a K'Chain Nah'ruk Skykeep that had mistakenly travelled through a gate into solid bedrock.[17] Tales among the Nameless Ones indicated that an invasion of skykeeps had arrived on the Malazan world long ago when Human society existed only as small bands. But some opposition by the Jaghut, the Forkrul Assail, or the Elder Gods had driven them away from Seven Cities.[18]

The Trell found the skykeep's entrance and the pair explored the alien structure. In the first cavernous room were three more of the giant spider-like vehicles. Despite their great antiquity, their nearly white metal was free of corrosion. The metal became transparent when looked upon and inside was a padded seat and a lever control mechanism for the pilot.[19]

Dust-filled passages and empty storerooms marked by faded symbols led to an arched portal protected by a shimmering barrier. The barrier instantaneously cleaned any who passed through it. In the skykeep's immense hollow centre, was a fortress floating in space, reached only by a single stone span. A second span had crumbled and its remains floated in pieces about the chamber, which appeared to have no gravity. Tiered buildings with dark windows rose along the inside wall of the hollowed chamber.[20]

Inside the fortress they found the crucified remains of Sorrit, the Eleint aspected to Serc. Neither knew who killed the dragon, but Icarium recognised the ice as the work of the Jaghut, Ganath. He described the ritual sealing of the skykeep as an act of carelessness because Ganath had been distraught. Being angry and weary of the paths that the K'Chain Che'Malle employed to invade and establish colonies on every continent, she had unleashed the ritual on the K'Chain Nah'ruk with no concern that the Short-Tails had been seeking refuge from the civil war with their Long-Tail kin.[21]

Ganath later came to investigate what had shattered her ice. She noted that in addition to Sorrit's blood, Chaos magic had been unleashed within the skykeep. She was also confused by the sense that time itself had been twisted. But before she could repair the damage, she was ambushed and slain by K'Chain Nah'ruk bearing heavy mattocks.[6]

In Reaper's GaleEdit

In the mountains which encircled the Bluerose Sea of the continent of Lether, a group of five people - i.e., Silchas Ruin, Fear Sengar, Kettle, Seren Pedac, and Udinaas - were being hunted by both Tiste Edur and Letherii forces. This group came upon a long abandoned buried K'Chain Che'Malle city which they explored.[22] Many of the buried city's floors were made up of mosaics which featured long-tailed lizards fighting short-tailed ones - with the short-tails mainly being shown as doing most of the killing. Silchas Ruin having looked around in a "desultory and cursive" manner, mentioned to the others of the group that the short-tails of the mosaics were "Naw'thuk A'dat" - which was apparently a very early form of "Nah'ruk".[23]

In Dust of Dreams Edit

An army of K'Chain Nah'ruk crossed the path of the Bonehunters and Letherii Army as they were traveling towards Kolanse and engaged the humans. The K'Chain Nah'ruk lost well over three legions to Quick Ben and the Malazan marines and heavies, but decimated the army. Because their intended foe was the K'Chain Che'Malle, the K'Chain Nah'ruk army did not pursue the decimated army after they disengaged.

The K'Chain Che'Malle army of Acyl Nest led by Gesler and Stormy then engaged the Nah'ruk force. The Nah'ruk opened a gate to bring their Skykeeps into the battle. These were challenged by Acyl's Ampelas Uprooted and later Icarium's Kalse Uprooted. Icarium and Feather Witch used the Errant's eye to seal the gate with an Azath House, trapping most of the Nah'ruk in the Warren to starve. Sinn and Grub channeled the power provided by the new Warrens to destroy the skykeeps left behind while the Che'Malle slaughtered the remaining ground forces.

In The Crippled God Edit

It was revealed that the Forkrul Assail in Kolanse had sent the K'Chain Nah'ruk to wipe out the last of the K'Chain Che'Malle.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. An Evening with Steven Erikson by Nerdaí Irish Nerds - As pronounced by Erikson at 15:39
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Memories of Ice, Chapter 15 (Testimony of Kallor)
  3. Midnight Tides, Prologue
  4. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US HC p.106
  5. Memories of Ice, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.783-784
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.647-649
  7. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.128
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US HC p.154
  9. 9.0 9.1 Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.19-25
  10. Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.25
  11. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US HC p.106-108/109-110
  12. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.184
  13. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US HC p.153-154
  14. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.142/146-147
  15. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.193-194
  16. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.259-261
  17. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.148-154
  18. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152-153
  19. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.162-165
  20. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.163-165
  21. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.167
  22. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, UK HC p.52-55/63/70-71
  23. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 4, US TPB p.98-99
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