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Malazan Wiki

K'rul [Krool[3] or Kuh-ruhl][4] was an Elder God[5] of the Malazan world, also called the Maker of Paths.[6] Long before humans had erected stone settlements, he had been worshipped by hunters with sacrifices of 'blood and split bones'. But at the time of Gardens of the Moon he had few, if any, followers.[7] His aspect was the Obelisk.[8]

K'rul first appeared hooded and was described as having long, sinuous fingers.[9] He dressed in rags, was of average height, and had blunt and unprepossessing features.[10]

In Gardens of the Moon[]

K'rul found himself summoned to Darujhistan, when the blood of Talo Krafar was spilled on ground that had once been sanctified in K'rul's name.[11]

Thereafter, K'rul appeared multiple times within the dreams of Kruppe. During their first meeting, he told Kruppe that the Elder came there to await someone he had known a long time ago being awakened, and tasked Kruppe with finding the Awakeners, a T'lan Imass and a woman.[12]

K'rul by Dejan Delic

At their second meeting, K'rul used Kruppe's dreams to bring together Kruppe, Pran Chole, and the Mhybe to foster the birth of Silverfox. K'rul offered advice to Kruppe on handling the powerful forces converging on Darujhistan as recompense for the use of his dream. He also sadly informed Pran Chole, who was of another age and still mortal in the dream, of the millennia long trials that awaited him.[13]

K'rul later used another of Kruppe's dreams to confront the Jaghut Tyrant, Raest outside of Darujhistan. He told Raest that they were both creatures of the past. Recognising him, Raest called K'rul's presence impossible, declaring that the Elder God had long since passed into the Realms of Chaos, the place of his birth. K'rul offered to take Raest with him to the Gate of Chaos, but was rebuffed.[14]

During the Gedderone Fête, K'rul discovered Anomander Rake using his temple's belfry as a lookout point over the city. The ancient pair commiserated over feeling lost in the world and K'rul admitted he could only manifest his presence within the Darujhistan temple and within the dreams of Kruppe.[15]

In Memories of Ice[]


K'rul by Puck

In the Prologue, 119,736 years before Burn's Sleep (three years after the Fall of the Crippled God), K'rul walked through the destruction on Korel before traveling to nearby Jacuruku. There, for the first time in millennia, he met up with the two Elder Gods, Draconus and the Sister of Cold Nights, who referred to each other as brothers and sister.[16]

The trio planned to liberate the people of Jacuruku from their cruel tyrant Kallor after the destruction wrought by the fall of the Crippled God. But Kallor had prepared for their arrival by spitefully incinerating the continent and killing his seven million citizens. The shocked Elder Gods cursed the High King to live forever and never Ascend, and yet still suffer the ravages of time. At the same time, Kallor used the power of his subjects' deaths to curse each of his accusers in turn. Kallor's curse upon K'rul was that "you shall fade from the world, you shall be forgotten".[17]

Afterwards, Draconus told the others of the sword he was forging. A surprised K'rul counseled him to "make alterations in the final shaping" in light of Kallor's curse. K'rul then created a new Warren into which the three gods swept the ruins of the High King's empire. K'rul was left forever broken and diminished by the process, sensing the twilight of his worship and the fulfillment of Kallor's curse. The loss pained him less than he imagined.[18]

The Pannion War[]

Back to the current time of 1164 BS, K'rul proved to be one of the primary forces moving against the Crippled God, whose goals frightened him. He had been one of many who had participated in the God's Chaining.[19] Awakened in Darujhistan after thousands of years of slumber,[20] he had learned compassion from the dreams of Kruppe[21] and gathered allies against the Crippled God and moved them like pieces on a chessboard. It was K'rul who found Fanderay after she was terribly damaged by the Crippled God's Fall and paired her soul with Baaljagg, the last living ay he had saved from extinction.[22] It was K'rul who restored Treach's memories and sanity after centuries of madness, and while the great tiger was dying, put him on the path to take the fallen Fener's place rather than journey to Hood's gates.[23][24][25] It was K'rul who gathered Lady Envy, Baaljagg, Garath, Onos T'oolan, Toc the Younger, and the Seguleh, Mok, Thurule, and Senu. He sent them after the Pannion Seer as the Crippled God's servant expanded his Pannion Domin and spread pain and suffering across eastern Genabackis. By doing so, K'rul sought to relieve some of the military pressure off the Malazan forces at Capustan and sent Toc into the Seer's embrace to release his "children".[26]

K'rul also sent the merchant/priest Keruli from Darujhistan to counsel the human leaders who stood in the Pannion Domin's path. Keruli hired Gruntle to guide him to Saltoan where he advised the city's criminal hold-masters on methods of countering Pannion proselytizing.[27] During the Pannion Siege of Capustan, he forced his way onto the city's governing Mask Council as Rath'K'rul and crafted a protective magical shell around the Thrall.[28] He also provided Buke with a potion that allowed the caravan guard to become a Soletaken to thwart the plans of the necromancers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach.[29]

After the siege was lifted by the forces of Malazan High Fist Dujek Onearm, Caladan Brood, and Humbrall Taur, Keruli joined the parley of alliance leaders. There, Kallor recognised Keruli as his old foe, K'rul. K'rul conceded that Keruli was indeed 'a limited manifestation' of himself.[30] Kallor had also earlier met Silverfox and pondered if K'rul had been aware when he helped in her birth, that the Sister of Cold Nights was the true identity of Nightchill, one of the souls in Silverfox.[31] At the same parley, Itkovian spied Keruli and Quick Ben sharing a mysterious nonverbal communication. The Bridgeburner mage shrugged in response to K'rul's intent stare causing the Elder God to audibly sigh.[32]

As the alliance worked to finish off the Seer at the Battle of Black Coral, K'rul remained in Capustan. At Hood's temple, he tended to the dying Mhybe and helped transition her spirit to the sanctuary dreamworld in Tellann he had helped Silverfox fashion.[33] The surviving Bridgeburners returned to Darujhistan where they converted K'rul's old temple into a bar.[34]

During the course of the book, it was revealed that the Warrens ran through K'rul's flesh. Any mage traveling through the Warrens was traveling through the arteries and veins of K'rul.[35] The power of the Warrens was his blood.[36] The twin chambers of the heart were Kurald Galain and Starvald Demelain.[37] Only a handful of entities knew the truth about the Warrens, amongst them Anomander Rake, Draconus, Osric and Envy.[38] The Crippled God's infection of the Warrens was slowly poisoning the Elder God.[39]

"...when we draw upon the power of the warrens, we draw your very blood."
―Lady Envy[src]

In Midnight Tides[]

Udinaas and Feather Witch accidentally travelled to the Refugium where they met the Imass, Ulshun Pral, and the boy, Rud Elalle. Ulshan Pral spoke of a Hold the two Letherii had never heard of called Starvald Demelain, home of the pure dragons. He noted that a group of mixed bloods, which included K'rul, had closed the road to the Hold long ago.[40]

In The Bonehunters[]

A conversation between Cotillion and three Eleint, Ampelas, Eloth, and Kalse, imprisoned in Kurald Emurlahn revealed how K'rul had asked the Eleint race to help shape the Warrens from his own blood. For each of the Warrens, Elder and new, a corresponding Eleint was aspected to it. Once the work was complete, the Eleint "were compelled to return to Starvald Demelain. As the sources of sorcery, they could not be permitted to interfere or remain active across the realms, lest sorcery cease to be predictable, which in turn would feed Chaos—the eternal enemy in this grand scheme."[41]

But K'rul also assigned the same aspects to the Soletaken Eleint, forcing the Eleint to share power. The Eleint's Soletaken brethren possessed the blood of T'iam and thus her powers, but were free to travel as they pleased and interfere as they wished.[42] Now a war was coming and K'rul had returned. But Ampelas noted the Elder God's blood had grown sickly.[43]

Brutho Parlet claimed that the myriad paths of sorcery created by K'rul were born of the Elder God's love of possibility. Yet he himself was a parody of life defined by a singular thirst for blood.[44]

Ganoes Paran told Apsalar that K'rul had played a very active role against the Pannion Domin, but the Master of the Deck had grown uneasy with his presence. The Elder Gods were returning to the game, and although it appeared to be in opposition to the Crippled God, he was not entirely convinced it was beneficial.[45]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Rautos Hivanar showed Bugg a collection of ancient artifacts he had found buried on his property. Bugg recognised them as part of a machine built by Icarium and recalled a time when K'rul had a temple on the site of Letheras long before the the Letherii capital was founded. Icarium had entered the temple "lost as any son, the child severed from the thread...seeking a guiding hand", but the god could give him nothing beyond what he himself was preparing to do. Bugg wondered if K'rul could have imagined "how Icarium would take what you did?"[46] When Icarium finally activated the machine during the Bonehunters' invasion of Letheras, he thought:

"I built this machine. This place that will forge my beginning. No longer outside the world. No longer outside time itself. Give me this, wounded or not, give me this. If K'rul can, why not me?"

Quick Ben called the warrens "K'rul's supreme sacrifice-–his own flesh, his own blood." He wondered whose veins were opened to create the Elder Warrens.[47] A voice claiming to be Mockra told Seren Pedac that K'rul knew he could not make the sacrifice alone. For the warrens to thrive they needed living flesh and organised functionality. They must be a living body and a grander form with a conscious aversion to disorder. The warrens were a dialogue.[48]

The Errant sought to revive his own fading power by initiating a war between the Holds and the Warrens. Ceda Kuru Qan warned the god that to do so would be to wage war on K'rul. The Errant disagreed, claiming the war would involve only his children who were not pleased that the Elder God had returned. In fact, K'rul's nostalgia for the Tiles of the Holds, the Holds, and the other ancient places he once knew was a virulent poison.[49]

In Toll the Hounds[]

(Information needed)

In Dust of Dreams[]

(Information needed)

In The Crippled God[]

(Information needed)

In Orb Sceptre Throne[]

K'rul was now described as female (see Speculations below). She made a brief appearance in a very limited form, her influence, according to Fisher, limited to the four walls of K'rul's Bar since she was under assault everywhere. During that appearance, she was described as hunched and cloaked with thin silver hair, a deeply tanned and weathered face, and deep black glittering eyes.[50] Despite this limited manifestation, she willed the shade Hinter away, forcing Aman and Baruk to re-think their strategy and ultimately forcing them to withdraw. She did this because she hadn't given them permission to enter her temple. When Aman questioned her regarding her withdrawal and that this place hadn't been hers for a long time, she replied that blood had been shed here, and she was now here.[51]

In Forge of Darkness[]

The Azathanai, Grizzin Farl, told Caladan Brood that K'rul had "begotten a child and the earth itself holds the memory of its birth-cry." When he asked Caladan if he would drink of K'rul's blood, Caladan responded that there was no need for that. The child was born and would soon beget many others.[52] The rogue Azathanai, Errastas, complained that "K'rul would simply give power away, freely, to any who might want it. By this, he undermines its value. He dislodges the proper order of things." Errastas planned to best K'rul by empowering Mother Dark and setting her against K'rul's new Warrens. Distracted, K'rul would not see Errastas' intentions until it was too late.[53]

At the birth of the Gate of Kurald Galain, Grizzin Farl warned Mother Dark: We have all had a hand in this...but most of all, this belongs to K'rul, who answered worship with generosity. Who, assailed by prayers written in spilled blood, gave answer to them. But the power he surrendered was not intended only for those who worshipped him. He has given it freely, to everyone. By this, new sorceries are born, Mother Dark. By this, the forces in opposition are given names, and aspects. They are given realms of influence. ―Grizzin Farl • Forge of Darkness, Chapter 20

In Fall of Light[]

(Information needed)

In Dancer's Lament[]

(Information needed)

In Deadhouse Landing[]

(Information needed)


K'rul and his siblings decided to end the reign of the human king, Kallor, because of his barbaric practices and the bringing of the Crippled God to the world. Together they cursed Kallor to live forever and never ascend while still suffering the ravages of time. At the same time, Kallor cursed K'rul to "fade away from public eye" using the power of hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the collapse of his empire.


In a 2020 interview, author Steven Erikson confirmed that the apostrophe in K'rul's name served a similar function as in the language of the T'lan Imass. It is an indication of past tense and "a case of a personality coming to an end and a new one taking its place. A kind of spiritual or emotional resurrection, as well."[54]


"...the Child Gods have made a grave error. After all, I will lose a battle. But I will not die. Play on, mortal. Every god falls at a mortal's hand. Such is the only end to immortality."
"If all existence is a dialogue, how is it there is still so much left unsaid?"


K'rul's gender has been a subject of speculation, since they appeared as male in Memories of Ice and female in Orb Sceptre Throne. However, in response to a question, author Ian C. Esslemont said that being an Azathanai, gender was a concept that "doesn't really apply" as the Azathanai could shift their gender at will. Please refer to this external link for a detailed answer. This assertion is further expanded upon in Forge of Darkness; with multiple mentions of K'rul's propensity to genderchange.

At one point, Skillen Droe comments to K'rul in Fall of Light that he prefers K'rul as a woman. This prompts K'rul to say they would not be giving birth for a while, insinuating they used their female form to procreate in some manner yet unknown.[55]

As seen throughout the canon, all Azathanai (most being Elder Gods) are able to change their appearance at will, and manipulate their surroundings. Even the Azathanai know not from whence their abilities came, as they preceded their perceived Godhood.

Notes and references[]

  1. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22
  2. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22
  3. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - As pronounced by Steven Erikson at 1:34:30
  4. Spoiler Chat: Orb Sceptre Throne with Ian C. Esslemont - A Critical Dragon - As pronounced by Ian C. Esslemont at 59:20
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.706
  6. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xvi
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.221/222
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.635
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.221
  10. Memories of Ice, Prologue
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.222
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.222
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.252-256
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.441-444
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23, US HC p.467
  16. Memories of Ice, Prologue
  17. Memories of Ice, Prologue
  18. Memories of Ice, Prologue
  19. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.276
  20. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.233
  21. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.270-271
  22. Memories of Ice, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.787-788
  23. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.264-268
  24. Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.570
  25. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.632
  26. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.270-271/275
  27. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.211-214
  28. Memories of Ice, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.476-477
  29. Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.371-372
  30. Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, UK MMPB p.848/849
  31. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.127
  32. Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.720
  33. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.1067/1068
  34. Memories of Ice, Epilogue
  35. Memories of Ice‎, Chapter 7
  36. Memories of Ice‎, Chapter 7
  37. Memories of Ice‎, Chapter 7
  38. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.327
  39. Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.438
  40. Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.485
  41. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.77-78
  42. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.79
  43. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.77
  44. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, Epigraph
  45. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.255
  46. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.170
  47. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 8, US HC p.190
  48. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.387-389
  49. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.285
  50. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 11
  51. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 11
  52. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 8, UK HC p.225
  53. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 8, UK HC p.227
  54. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - See 2:08:30
  55. Fall of Light, Chapter 5, UK HB p.118
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