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"Witness!"
―Karsa Orlong[src]

Karsa Orlong was a young Teblor warrior of the Uryd tribe who lived on the Laederon Plateau on the northern edge of the continent of Genabackis.[1]

He was the son of Synyg Orlong and the grandson of Pahlk Orlong. Although already into his eightieth year when he set out from his village, given the long lifespan of the Teblor, Karsa was still considered a youngster within his tribe.[2]

Karsa was a giant of a man, over seven feet tall and heavily muscled.[3] His flat, broad face was tattooed like shattered glass and his teeth were filed.[3] His dark, thick hair was tied into a braid hanging down the left side of his chest and knotted with fetishes of finger bones, strips of gold-threaded silk, and bestial canines.[3][4] He wore a cloak of Bhederin hide over an armoured vest that appeared to be made of clam shells.[3] Above his loincloth was a wide belt decorated with shriveled ears.[3] He carried a two-handed Ironwood sword with a stone pommel and wooden grip.[3] Two bone-handled daggers, each as long and broad-bladed as a short sword, were sheathed in the high moccasins that reached to just below his knees.[4]

His friend Leoman thought him seventeen years old and the slayer of forty-one enemies.[3][5]

"His tribe made few distinctions. There was kin, and those who were not kin were the enemy."
―Leoman of the Flails explaining Karsa Orlong's behavior as a young warrior[src]

Karsa had an unshakeable confidence and arrogant nature[6] bolstered by his supreme combat skills. The Teblor fought with mind-numbing speed and the cold, detached precision of a natural killer.[7] Despite his enormous size, he walked quiet as a desert cat.[8]

In Deadhouse Gates[]

Awakening the Whirlwind, Toblakai, Sha'ik and Leoman, by Grimhilde

Known as Toblakai, Karsa was an escaped slave and fanatically loyal warrior in the Apocalypse in the Holy Desert Raraku. Alongside Leoman, he served as a bodyguard to Sha'ik Elder, who had been appalled by her visions of the warrior's future.[1][9] In this he failed, as a Red Blade sniper assassinated Sha'ik as she opened the Book of Dryjhna. The two bodyguards drove off the attackers and remained with Sha'ik's body.[10]

They guarded the corpse and the book for weeks, gaunt and dazed from hunger, until the arrival of Felisin Paran and Heboric. Leoman named the girl Sha'ik Reborn. To Karsa Orlong's dismay, Heboric recognized that Karsa suffered because he was chained to the spirit of each person he had killed.[11]

"Tortured spirits writhe in this bastard's shadow—every man, woman and child that he's killed. Tell me, Toblakai, did those children beg to live?"
―Heboric challenging Karsa Orlong about his past[src]

The barbarian and historian grew to despise each other, with Heboric baiting Karsa and Karsa struggling to obey Felisin's command not to murder him. When Felisin instructed the Toblakai to open the Book of Dryjhna, tears were brought to his eyes by the beauty he saw within its pages.[12] Karsa and Leoman led Felisin to the Whirlwind camp at the Raraku oasis where Karsa remained her bodyguard.[13] While crossing the desert, Karsa confronted and killed a Soletaken white bear,[14] whose fur he later fashioned into a cloak.[15]

In House of Chains[]

Leaving the Teblor Lands[]

Karsa from House of Chains by Merlkir

Karsa's grandfather, Pahlk Orlong, was a famed warrior who had, centuries before, gone into the lowlands from the Laederon Plateau and slain many "children", as the Teblor called lowlanders. Karsa grew up on these stories, and believed that was how a true Teblor warrior was to behave. Karsa's father, Synyg, did not approve of this mindset, for he knew Pahlk's exploits to be lies and twistings of the truth. However, no one else knew this, and so Karsa organised a raid in honour of both his grandfather and Urugal the Woven, one of the Teblor gods known as The Seven Faces in the Rock.[16]

Karsa fighting 'children' by Araiwein

In 1159 BS,[17] Karsa took the role of Warleader and left home with his comrades Bairoth Gild and Delum Thord as well as his father's mount, Havok. The trio raided, murdered, and raped their way through Sunyd and Rathyd lands as they traveled to Silver Lake, the same place where Pahlk had had his escapades.[18] Along the way, his group encountered and freed the Forkrul Assail known as Calm from beneath a massive slab. Calm attacked Karsa, throwing him to the ground and striking Delum Thord as the Teblor attempted to defend his Warleader. The Forkrul Assail escaped and Delum Thord was left with severe brain damage, reducing him to a child-like state. Bairoth and Karsa argued bitterly over Karsa's responsibility for their fallen companion.[19]

Upon reaching Silver Lake, Karsa and his party found a small, fortified town instead of the farm his grandfather had raided.[20] During the attack on this town, Delum Thord and Havok were killed and Bairoth Gild and Karsa were both captured. Bairoth was slain and Karsa was soon after delivered into the hands of Silgar, a priest and slaver. The young Teblor soon discovered the truth behind Pahlk's raid. Pahlk had arrived at a farm on Silver Lake half starved, and had been taken in and nursed back to health by lowlanders. He had then shamelessly slaughtered his hosts and returned in triumph to the Teblor lands.[21]

Karsa and Torvald by Marc Simonetti (Official Image)

Karsa met fellow slave, Torvald Nom, within Silgar's slave pens and declared the Malazan Empire his sworn enemy for capturing him.[22] The two organised an escape, but both were soon recaptured by members of Captain Kindly's Ashok Regiment. The Malazans confiscated the slaves and arrested Silgar, planning to bring them to Seven Cities to serve in the Otataral mines. After weeks of being chained to a wagon bed for transport to the sea, Karsa was dispirited and physically broken. Only the attentions of Torvald Nom kept him alive as their captors' ship crossed Seeker's Deep. Through the intercession of the Teblor gods and the magic of the Crippled God, their ship was wrecked and the pair were pulled to freedom within the flooded fragment of Kurald Emurlahn known as the Nascent.[23] During their time in this realm, Karsa and Torvald discovered and boarded the Silanda, slaying the Tiste Edur on board.[24] They met up with other survivors from the wrecked Malazan ship in the Nascent, including Silgar. The priest opened a gate to return them to the normal world just off the shore of Seven Cities, near Ehrlitan.[25]

Karsa and Torvald Nom left the slavers behind on the beach, and stumbled across the refuge of a Napan who called himself Keeper and dabbled in archaeology.[26] At one point during the visit, Keeper floored Karsa with a single punch.[27]

Knight of Chains by Ylva Ljungqvist

Karsa and Nom later left for Ehrlitan[28] and were soon re-enslaved by Silgar and a band of Arak tribesmen. The tribesmen were later attacked by their Gral rivals, seemingly killing Nom and scattering Karsa and the others. The group was recaptured by Malazan forces after their arrival in Ehrlitan, Silgar claiming Karsa as a slave he had recaptured.[29] The suspicious Malazans imprisoned both Silgar and Karsa, and Karsa wound up with a tattoo on his face marking him as an escaped slave.[30] Torvald Nom soon returned to Karsa's surprise, along with agents of House Nom, to free his friend. The Teblor and his cellmate, Leoman, fled alone into the Pan'potsun Odhan where they were once again pursued by Silgar and his agents. Karsa ambushed Silgar, cut off his hands and feet, and carried him off as his prisoner to Sha'ik's camp in Raraku.[31]

Later on Karsa learned of his true racial identity as a Thelomen Toblakai, from whom the Teblor people were descended.[32]

Raraku[]

Karsa and Felisin Younger by Dejan Delic

Some of Karsa and Leoman's time in Raraku was described in Deadhouse Gates [see above].

Amidst the political intrigue of Sha'ik's camp, Karsa became a protector to Sha'ik Reborn's adopted daughter, Felisin Younger[33] and became close friends with Leoman. In the stone forest on the oasis' outskirts, the Teblor carved images of his friends Bairoth and Delum from the petrified trees. He also carved images of his people's gods, the Seven Faces in the Rock. This allowed Urugal and the others to manifest within the glade and push Karsa to journey to the Jhag Odhan to secure their freedom.[34]

Travels in the Jhag Odhan[]

Eventually, Karsa Orlong left the Holy Desert to go in search of a Jhag horse on the Jhag Odhan. This move was also one his false gods desired.[35] He was accompanied by the spirits of Bairoth and Delum, who offered him advice along the way.[36]

Karsa Orlong by Sam Burley (official artwork)

In the mountains to the west of Raraku, he encountered Icarium, the Jhag known as the Slayer of the Ten Thousand, and his companion, Mappo. The Trell invited Karsa to eat at their campfire and spoke of Convergences while preparing for the inevitable clash between Icarium and Karsa. Icarium and Karsa came to blows and Icarium shattered Karsa's Ironwood blade at the hilt. The Teblor furiously knocked out the Jhag with a punch to the face. Mappo ended the battle by striking Karsa in the back of the head with his mace. As both combatants still lived, Mappo was pleased with the results.[37]

To speed his way to the Jhag Odhan, the ghost of Delum Thord showed Karsa how to travel through the Warrens of Tellann and Omtose Phellack. He found an imprisoned Jaghut named Aramala in a tower in this realm, and freed her, in return getting advice on how to find a Jhag horse as well as information regarding the true nature of the Teblor gods.[38]

Shortly thereafter, Karsa Orlong finally met his gods in the flesh within a cavern housing the bones and weapons of fallen T'lan Imass. Urugal and the Seven were revealed to be disgraced T'lan Imass who were shattered in battle millennia earlier and imprisoned within a tomb in Teblor lands. Once reunited with their weapons stored in the cavern they would now be free. The Seven revealed to Karsa that he was not just their pawn in their plans to regain physical form and freedom, but Karsa had also been made into the Knight of Chains by their benefactor, the Crippled God. Karsa rejected the title as well as an offer to become the eighth Teblor god.[39]

Karsa attacks 'Siballe by Shadaan

Within the cavern, Karsa carved an immense Imass sword of flint nearly as long as he was tall,[40][41] its grip wrapped in hide.[42] He convinced the souls of Delum Thord and Bairoth Gild to take their place within the sword as a refuge from Hood. Then the seven Unbound T'lan Imass invested the weapon with Tellann to make it unbreakable. Karsa named the sword Bairoth Delum in honour of his friends.[40][43]

Now rearmed and faced with manifestations he could attack, Karsa shrugged off the facade of doing as the Unbound told him. He cut down 'Siballe the Unfound, to whom the Teblor sacrificed their imperfect children, and drove the other six off, warning them to never return to his people. Karsa stowed 'Siballe's still conscious head in his pack, declaring he would one day lead her foundlings, and left the cavern behind. On his way out, he ran into the Tiste Edur warrior, Trull Sengar, and his T'lan Imass companion, Onrack. Karsa was not in a mood to kill them, and so casually tossed the lucky pair aside.[44]

Karsa journeyed further into the Jhag Odhan where he met Cynnigig. The Jaghut had been sent by Amarala to aid Karsa in finding his new mount. Cynnigig brought the Teblor to Phyrlis, who summoned a herd she assumed to number a dozen. Instead ten to fifteen thousand Jhag horses appeared. Phyrlis attributed this to the smell of Blood-oil in Karsa's blood. From the massive gathering, Karsa chose a young stallion he named Havok.[45][46]

Return to Raraku[]

Karsa's pets by slaine69

Karsa returned to the Raraku Oasis on the eve of the Battle of Raraku between Sha'ik Reborn's Army of the Apocalypse and Adjunct Tavore Paran's Malaz 14th Army.[47] Karsa defended Felisin Younger from Kasanal and his assassins before seeking out and slaying his own enemies in Sha'ik's camp, including Bidithal, Febryl, and Silgar. Heboric and Korbolo Dom evaded his search.[48] While exacting his vengeance, Karsa encountered two of the Deragoth, the Hounds of Darkness. Briefly assisted by Leoman, Karsa butchered the terrifyingly powerful Hounds with impressive skill and single-mindedness. He tied the Hounds' heads to his horse, and joined Leoman at the ridge overlooking the coming battle.[49][50] After Sha'ik Reborn was killed in single combat by Adjunct Tavore, the remains of the Army of the Apocalypse scattered and retreated to Y'Ghatan. Karsa bid Leoman farewell, then approached Adjunct Tavore and pronounced that the Malazans were no longer his sworn enemy. The Malazans were puzzled by the declaration, but were relieved not to face the massive Teblor in battle.[51]

Later, Karsa cast the remains of 'Siballe's body into the water of Raraku's new inland sea, granting her a final oblivion. He then set off westward into the wastes, declaring that he would one day be worthy to lead Teblor such as his friends, Bairoth and Delum.[52]

In The Bonehunters[]

Ugarat[]

Karsa Orlong by dejan-delic

Karsa Orlong encountered the witch Samar Dev while she was stranded in the Ugarat Odhan and in danger of dying from thirst. The self-powered wagon she designed had broken down and she had broken her foot when she kicked its in frustration. Karsa requested that she accompany him to Ugarat, her home city, as he needed supplies and wanted to remain beneath notice. Although Karsa attacked a few guards and did some plain speaking, Samar Dev persuaded Captain Inashan and the authorities to leave him alone. It helped that he was already notorious in the area (by his nom de guerre, "Toblakai") for his exploits as Sha'ik's bodyguard.[53]

Told that a Malazan garrison was holding out in the nearby Moraval Keep, Karsa chose to negotiate with them on behalf of the Falah'd of Ugarat.[54] He found no Malazans inside, but he did encounter a K'Chain Nah'ruk, which had been unwittingly freed from a tomb below the keep. Karsa killed it with his bare hands after a ferocious fight.[55] The slaughtered Malazan garrison was later found elsewhere in the keep.[56]

Studying the maps in Samar Dev's collection, Karsa determined to travel to Sepik when the scholar told him the island practised slavery.[57] The Falah'd was only too happy to provide the Teblor with supplies if it meant he left the city immediately.[58][59] Intrigued by the Teblor and expecting a journey of exploration and discovery, Samar Dev accompanied him on horseback.[60]

The Anibar[]

Crossing the Jhag Odhan, they eventually found themselves near the Olphara Peninsula, a land of evergreen forests, exposed bedrock, and scattered lakes to the west of Yath Alban.[61] The Teblor determined to follow the example of several tribes they saw hunting on the odhan, and brought down two Bhederin bulls from atop Havok. While butchering his kills, he was approached by a tribe of the Anibar, who were beset by mysterious enemies. Their leader, Boatfinder, requested that Karsa slay their enemies for them. The Anibar had a legend that the wielders of swords of birth-stone (which was the type of stone Karsa's sword was made of) would defend them in a time of great slaying. Karsa insisted on Boatfinder coming along on the quest.[62] While travelling with the Anibar, Boatfinder told Samar and Karsa more of the legends of his people, including their revered hero, Iskar Jarak.[63]

Karsa and Samar Dev also spent their travel time debating the value of civilisation. Samar Dev believed that societies naturally improved, casting aside quaint and ignorant beliefs as they advanced towards the glory of civilisation. The Teblor argued that civilisation provided justification for oppressing and exploiting those it considered less civilised. It also meant improvements in the manner and efficiency of killing its victims.[64] He vowed he would one day return to his people and apologise to his father, saying he had been right to despise the laws that chained the Teblor. Then Karsa would shatter all that the Teblor believed in.[65]

The Tiste Edur[]

Karsa meets the Edur by slaine69

The three of them tracked the Tiste Edur killers to their camp and Karsa waded in and began slaughtering them. The magic of the Edur's slave, Feather Witch, washed over him without effect. Samar Dev intervened, convincing the Teblor to parley in an attempt to frighten off the Edur forever rather than just slay the few who were there at present. In the negotiations with Preda Hanradi Khalag they learned that the Third Edur Imperial Fleet had been sent scouting the world to collect champions to fight their Emperor, Rhulad Sengar, in mortal combat. Karsa accepted the Preda's offer to return with the Edur to Letheras as a champion, and Samar Dev chose to accompany him.[66]

During the journey, Karsa and Samar Dev witnessed a deadly sorcerous clash between the Edur fleet and the Malazan Imperial fleet carrying Adjunct Tavore's 14th Army in the Kokakal Sea. Before the battle, Karsa warned Preda Khalag that if he destroyed the Malazan fleet, more would come after him. But the Preda dismissed him, saying the Edur "do not fear." Samar Dev was grateful that the Teblor kept his contempt for their host to himself. The scholar was nearly overcome by the oppressive power of the unleashed Edur Elder magic, but when Karsa stood by her the effect was cancelled and air returned to her lungs. Ultimately, the Malazans managed to overpower the Edur magic and slip away.[67]

Later, a terrified Samar Dev reported to Karsa that Icarium the Slayer was amongst the other challengers returning with the fleet to Letheras. She recommended they quietly slip overboard the next time the ship neared land. But Karsa was pleased by the news, relishing the opportunity to face the Jhag again after their first unsatisfying confrontation.[68]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Karsa by Corporal Nobbs

Champion[]

Upon the arrival of Karsa Orlong and Samar Dev in Letheras, the capital of the Letherii Empire, Karsa caused a stir on the docks when he was approached by guards planning to escort him to the champion compound. The Teblor threw a guard six or more paces because he was annoyed by the contemptuous tone and the list of do's and don'ts the man was giving him.[69] Later he wrung the neck of a guard who dared touch his sword.[70] Tomad Sengar, the commander of the Edur fleet and father of the emperor, recognised the Teblor from his dreams. Karsa was the demon who killed his son Binadas with a spear through the chest on his ship in the Nascent. Tomad could see Binadas' soul amongst the many clamouring for freedom and vengeance in Karsa's shadow.[71] Many of the Letherii assumed Karsa was a Tarthenal based on his appearance.[72][73]

Whilst waiting for his duel with Emperor Rhulad, Karsa engaged in practice bouts with some of the other challengers, but he soon found few willing opponents. Gadalanak and Puddy complained that Karsa's fighting style was not appropriate for sparring as the emperor would not be tossing his opponents about one-handed as Karsa did. When the Seguleh Twelfth challenged Karsa to a match, all the other champions including Icarium came to watch. Although a master swordswoman, she too fell quickly when Karsa stomped the ground to knock her off balance and grapple her in his arms. Samar Dev noticed Tomad Sengar amongst the spectators. The Edur called Karsa impressive, but claimed Rhulad would kill him anyway. He said Karsa was chosen to go last in the current group of champions to face his son.[74] Karsa hoped to face Icarium in a rematch after he killed the emperor.[75]

Karsa Orlong by Ylva Ljungqvist

Samar Dev and Karsa continued to regularly bicker in their quarters at the champion compound. He railed against the corruption and hypocrisy of civilisation and challenged her capture and enslavement of souls within her knife. She was frustrated and terrified by his arrogance and brutality, his effectiveness at succeeding by his own rules, and his ability to break through her wards like cobwebs. Karsa invited her into his bed, but she refused. She knew he continued to bait him and was not the thick-skulled savage he had once appeared to be.[76][77]

Ublala Pung witnessed Karsa's arrival in Letheras and recognised him as one of the pure-blood, purer than any Tarthenal and much like the Seregahl his people appeased as gods. He believed the Tarthenal would gather in Letheras once Karsa's presence was known and Ublala was determined to discover if Karsa was worthy of their worship.[78] He broke into the champion compound and stumbled into Samar Dev, who guided him to Karsa's room. Pung immediately dropped to his knees in Karsa's presence saying, "Lead us, War Leader." Recognising Pung's Toblakai blood, Karsa struck him in the head saying Toblakai kneeled to no one. After hearing of the Tarthenal peoples' misfortune in Lether, Karsa gave him the command to gather those living on the Islands in the Draconean Sea and bring them to him. Ublala then told Karsa that he knew the secret of the Emperor. Karsa made Samar leave the room before he listened to what Ublala had to say.[79][80] Old Hunch Arbat, the Tarthenal shaman, was drawn to Letheras by dreams of Karsa's scarred visage.[81] Crowds of refugees from Sepik gathered outside the Champion's Compound to hear from Karsa, but he had nothing to offer them other than exhortations to accept their freedom.[82]

While waiting for their scheduled bouts with the Emperor, the champions were free to explore the city. Karsa angrily accosted Icarium in the street, tossing Taralack Veed aside and grasping the Jhag by the forearm. The Teblor feared Icarium would defeat Rhulad in the arena before he had his chance since Icarium's bout was scheduled first. Icarium cheerfully offered his spot to Karsa, but Karsa was not mollified until he looked Icarium in the eyes and recognised the Jhag bore Toblakai blood. Then Karsa knew the Jhag would keep his word.[83] One by one the other champions fell to Rhulad's blade.[84]

On the final day, Icarium slipped away leaving Karsa as the last to face the Emperor. Samar Dev made one final plea for them to make their escape as well, but Karsa refused. He made the witch promise she would witness the contest, saying he needed her "to do what needs doing when the time comes" before cryptically adding that the Emperor "is not the one he wants."[85]

Interpretation of Rhulad fighting Karsa in the arena by Araiwein

As Adjunct Tavore's Bonehunters invaded the city, Rhulad faced off against Karsa Orlong in the arena. The emperor ineffectively hacked and slashed at the Teblor, while Karsa coolly defended himself. Watching him, Samar Dev realised she had never truly known Karsa, and reconsidered refusing his previous sexual gestures. It was only when Rhulad's sword lunged of its own accord and speared Karsa through the leg that the Teblor went on the offense, severing Rhulad's sword arm at the shoulder. Once the sword was out of Rhulad's hands, Samar Dev released the spirits from her knife to envelop the sword and create a portal through Chaos into the warren of the Crippled God. The spirits' sacrifice was joined by the legion of the slain chained to Karsa as well as centuries of Tarthenal ghosts released by Old Hunch Arbat. Rhulad's body collapsed and died on the floor of the arena.[86]

On the island of the Crippled God, Karsa dropped the cursed sword onto the sand and pulled down the god's tent. Rhulad's spirit joined them and the Teblor was surprised to see how young he appeared without the coins. The Crippled God called for Rhulad to take up the sword again, promising the Edur he could finally make things right with his brother Trull. Karsa warned Rhulad to leave the sword, or else face oblivion if the Teblor was forced to kill his spirit. Rhulad reached for the sword and Karsa regretfully decapitated him. The god then tried to tempt Karsa into taking up the sword, saying the sword had been for him all along. With the sword, Karsa could be the immortal emperor of the Teblor, delivering his people to freedom and conquering their enemies. The god opened a portal of fire back to Karsa's homeland for the Teblor's journey, but Karsa merely sneered. Withal arrived on the island saying he had come to destroy the weapon on the forge where it had been created. Karsa sent him tumbling with a back-handed slap, telling him not to forge such a weapon again, before departing through the portal.[87]

In Toll the Hounds[]

Karsa and Samar Dev by Dejan Delic

The portal took Karsa Orlong to the continent of Genabackis in the region of the Lamatath Plain. Samar Dev managed to follow him there from Letheras in Lether through Warrens with his Jhag horse, Havok. She had met Traveller en route and they travelled together on the trail of Karsa.[88][89] Upon hearing that Karsa had slain Rhulad and that Karsa might now be in possession of the sword, Traveller warned Samar that he would challenge the Toblakai if that was the case.[90]

Karsa in the meantime was challenging 'The Captain' of the self-proclaimed 'Skathandi' (raiders of the Lamatath Plain) kingdom - a bandit and slaver who was a cripple who had survived being almost fatally tortured by giving himself over to river spirits. Karsa had already taken out several raiding parties when he at last caught up with the train of the leader. At the sight of Karsa, The Captain's river spirits fled and the man, realizing that now his wounds were bleeding again and he would soon die, declared Karsa his heir. Karsa told him that he would have none of it, that instead the slaves would all be freed and The Captain's kingdom would sink without trace. The Captain then died and Karsa dispersed everyone.[91]

Karsa by slaine69

Samar Dev and Traveller caught up with Karsa soon after and there was a moment of weighing up between the men. As Karsa had not kept the sword, there was no fight and the three agreed to travel together to Darujhistan.[92]

Karsa witnessed the clash between Anomander Rake and Traveller, ending with the former's death.[93]

Toblakai was one of the people who stopped the newly awakened Hounds of Light from taking Rake's sword, Dragnipur. He was aided by the Knight of Death and, lastly, by his daughters. The two girls were the result of the rape of a mother and her daughter which Karsa had committed when setting out as a very young warrior on his original quest.[94][95]

Karsa decided to remain in Darujhistan after Picker relayed a message to him from Hood. Karsa was told that he was needed to help kill a god.[96]

In The Crippled God[]

Karsa Orlong by seraph777

Whilst in Darujhistan, Karsa Orlong at long last persuaded Samar Dev to invite him into her bed.[97]

Later, after being alerted by Picker that the time (that Karsa had been awaiting) had finally come,[98] Karsa went into Darujhistan to the temple of Fener. As Gesler and Stormy called upon Fener to manifest at the Spire in Kolanse (located on the eastern coast of the far-off Lether continent), Karsa entered Fener's temple and, with his flint sword, destroyed the boar god's tusk (which had been enshrined there). The artifact's destruction by Karsa resulted in Fener's death. Fener manifested in the clouds above the Spire, and, as an result of Karsa's act, Fener's blood rained down upon the combatants of the Battle of the Spire - amongst other effects, returning life to the T'lan Imass and undead Jaghut warriors present - which was a boon to those of them who survived the battle.[99]

In Orb Sceptre Throne[]

Karsa had been living in a steep gorge to the east of Darujhistan for nearly a year before the events of Orb Sceptre Throne. Rumours spoke of a sullen giant from the north who was best to avoid. A woman who sometimes lived with him paid local clans for any animals he took, and he was known to show gruff affection for the two children living with him. He was occasionally spotted crouched on a hillside at night glaring towards the lights of Darujhistan. The local clan elders struck an accord of a sort with Karsa, tolerating his presence in the hope that he would one day bring destruction to the hated city.[100]

Quotes[]

"You plan to hunt down this Soletaken? I take it that in your tribe you are nearing the end of the average expected lifespan, assuming your kin are as stupid as you. Well, I for one will not grieve your death."
―A foolhardy Heboric pressing his luck with Karsa[src]

Trivia[]

  • In a 2016 interview, Steven Erikson mentioned that he was negotiating with a Serbian company to produce graphic novel adaptations of Karsa's adventures. The adaptations would start with Karsa's portion of House of Chains.[101]
  • Erikson found the dialogue between Bairoth Gild and Karsa at the start of House of Chains to be "probably the most pleasurable" to write in the entire Malazan Book of the Fallen series.[102]
  • Erikson wrote an essay on Karsa he titled The Problem of Karsa Orlong.
  • The Ten Very Big Books podcast interviewed Mark Paxton-MacRae, the player who originated the Karsa character in one of Steven Erikson's role-playing games. The interview can be found here.
  • Erikson admits that Karsa's ride into the western sunset on horseback at the end of House of Chains is a nod to the Western genre.[103]

Fan art gallery[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 House of Chains, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB
  2. House of Chains, Chapter 1, US TPB p.28/30
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.132/134
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.216
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.407
  6. The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.703
  7. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.663
  8. The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.45
  9. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.411
  10. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.134-136
  11. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.407
  12. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.433
  13. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 18, US HC p.476-479
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.500
  15. House of Chains, Chapter 14
  16. House of Chains, Chapter 1, US TPB p.28-29
  17. House of Chains, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.32
  18. House of Chains, Chapter 1, US TPB p.35
  19. House of Chains, Chapter 2, US TPB p.64-70
  20. House of Chains, Chapter 2, US TPB p.81-82
  21. House of Chains, Chapter 2, US TPB p.83-110
  22. House of Chains, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.117-120
  23. House of Chains, Chapter 3, US TPB p.117-125
  24. House of Chains, Chapter 3, US TPB p.127-138
  25. House of Chains, Chapter 3, US TPB p.141-148/151
  26. House of Chains, Chapter 3, US TPB p.148-151
  27. House of Chains, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.223-234
  28. House of Chains, Chapter 3, US TPB p.154-155
  29. House of Chains, Chapter 4, US TPB p.158-161
  30. House of Chains, Chapter 4, US TPB p.161-164
  31. House of Chains, Chapter 4, US TPB p.167-169
  32. House of Chains, Chapter 4, US TPB p.173
  33. House of Chains, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.351/352
  34. House of Chains, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.395
  35. House of Chains, Chapter 10, US TPB p.307-316
  36. House of Chains, Chapter 14
  37. House of Chains, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.506-511
  38. House of Chains, Chapter 14, US TPB p.400-405
  39. House of Chains, Chapter 14, US TPB p.407-410
  40. 40.0 40.1 House of Chains, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.524-525
  41. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.663
  42. The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.45
  43. House of Chains, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.577
  44. House of Chains, Chapter 17, US TPB p.444-449
  45. House of Chains, Chapter 17, US TPB p.451-457
  46. House of Chains, Chapter 21, US TPB p.549-551
  47. House of Chains, Chapter 24, US TPB p.600
  48. House of Chains, Chapter 25, US TPB p.602-604/608-609/616-618
  49. House of Chains, Chapter 25, US TPB p.619/626-631
  50. House of Chains, Chapter 26, US TPB p.635-636/642-643
  51. House of Chains, Chapter 26, US TPB p.647-648
  52. House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.849-850
  53. The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US HC p.39-41/49-52
  54. The Bonehunters, Chapter 1, US HC p.51
  55. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US HC p.103-110
  56. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.184
  57. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.189-190
  58. The Bonehunters, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.123-124
  59. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.190/216
  60. The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.701
  61. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, US HC p.389
  62. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, UK HB p.587-589
  63. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, UK HB p.590-595
  64. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.576-577
  65. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.575
  66. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.659-666
  67. The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, UK MMPB p.883-890
  68. The Bonehunters, Epilogue, UK MMPB p.1197/1198
  69. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, UK BCA edition p.170
  70. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 9, UK BCA edition p.226
  71. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.175-176
  72. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.176
  73. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.293
  74. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, UK BCA edition p.306-310
  75. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.293
  76. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.165-167
  77. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.290-291/294
  78. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.185-186
  79. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, UK BCA edition p.320-322
  80. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.296-298/300-303
  81. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.273-275
  82. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.443-444
  83. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.435-437/444-445
  84. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.619-620/622
  85. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.772-774
  86. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.801-802/805-808
  87. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.819-822
  88. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 6, US TPB p.192
  89. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 8, US TPB p.232-233
  90. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 8, UK HB p.249-252
  91. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 8, UK HB p.255-258/298-301
  92. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 10, UK HB p.356/358
  93. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 23, US TPB p.765-768
  94. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 23, US TPB p.775
  95. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 24, US TPB p.792-795/813/816-817
  96. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 24, US TPB p.817/818
  97. The Crippled God, Chapter 1, US HC p.22
  98. The Crippled God, Chapter 21, US HC p.612-613
  99. The Crippled God, Chapter 23, US HC p.748-750/756-762/771/780
  100. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 2, US TPB p.78-79
  101. Read for Pixels 2016 Interview at 55:35
  102. Read for Pixels 2016 Interview See 1:47:49
  103. Critical Conversations 01: House of Chains Chap 26 with Steven Erikson - See 1:21:25 and 2:02:40
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