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Keneb was a captain in the Orbal garrison on Seven Cities. He was the husband of Selv and the father of Kesen and Vaneb. His sister-in-law was Minala.

In Deadhouse Gates[]

During the Whirlwind rebellion, Keneb's garrison at Orbal was betrayed by the Whirlwind Legion. A whole company rode out escorting the families of the garrison to safety. They were attacked by an Army of the Apocalypse as it marched south and very few managed to escape. Keneb was grieviously wounded as a result of having being trampled[1] when a bandit dragged him behind his horse. Having escaped that, he was still conscious enough to lay an ambush for the group pursuing them with the help of Minala. During that fight, Keneb and his family received unexpected help from Kalam Mekhar.[2] Kalam and Minala then had help from Apt in taking out the remaining bandits. Apt stayed out of sight of the refugees however.[3]

Kalam asked Keneb if he had ever heard of the word Jhistal. The bandits had claimed all of the Malazan city strongholds had fallen to the rebellion except for Aren, which had a Jhistal inside. Kalam thought it sounded as if the term was the bandits' Shaved Knuckle in the Hole, but Keneb was not familiar with the word.[4]

Kalam escorted the group south towards Aren, eventually completing the trip by traveling through the Imperial Warren.[5] There, Keneb became a officer in the Aren Guard serving under Commander Blistig.[6]

When the Chain of Dogs refugees reached Aren's gates, Keneb was among the Guard sent to bring them inside. He found Imperial Historian Duiker among them and notified him that High Fist Pormqual demanded his presence. Duiker handed him a young child and made him promise to reunite her with her family among the refugees.[7]

Keneb later sought out Duiker to report that the child's family had been found. He came upon the historian just as the High Fist and his army were exiting the city to march against Korbolo Dom. Hearing Duiker call Pormqual's advisor Mallick Rel "Jhistal" took him aback, but it was too late to voice his suspicions. Rel betrayed the High Fist and Pormqual and his army were killed by the Army of the Apocalypse. Blistig saved Keneb and Aren by secretly keeping three hundred of his guard within the city.[8]

In House of Chains []

Keneb joined Adjunct Tavore Paran's Malaz 14th Army when it came to Aren to reconquer Seven Cities from the Whirlwind rebels. He was given command of the 8th Legion's 9th Company. It was unclear what happened to his wife and children, but Fist Gamet referred to Keneb as a man with a family to fight for.[9] During his time in Aren, he adopted the orphan boy, Grub, who had survived the Chain of Dogs and been placed in his care by Duiker.[10] The boy never spoke in Keneb's presence and accompanied him on campaign.[11]

Grub caused Keneb much embarrassment at the 8th Legion's initial muster before Adjunct Tavore. The boy slipped the grasp of his nurse and appeared beside the Adjunct pointing a human leg bone at the soldiers. This sparked fears of a bad omen that Fiddler was determined to turn to the army's own benefit. Afterwards, a human bone became part of each soldier's uniform.[12]

Keneb was not trusted by his soldiers as it was rumoured he had survived the rebel attack on his garrison by abandoning his soldiers.[13][14] This mistrust was returned by Keneb, as he feared that Gesler, Stormy, and Truth were leaders of a firbidden cult within the army. He kept their squad and a few others eating dust in the army's rearguard while on the march.[13]

During the march to Raraku, he was temporarily promoted to acting Fist when Fist Gamet was seriously injured during an ambush of Leoman's desert warriors. Keneb was chosen for the position on Gamet's recommendation[15] and Lieutenant Ranal was chosen to take Keneb's place as captain.[16] Gamet was eventually convinced to reclaim his position and responsibilities by Fist Blistig, by which time Ranal had completely reorganised the 9th Company to Keneb's chagrin. Keneb was relieved to resume his old position, but Gamet decided to keep Ranal's changes in place.[17]

As the 14th Army prepared to meet Sha'ik Reborn's forces at the Battle of Raraku, Keneb remained unconvinced of the Adjunct's leadership. He was baffled by her seeming determination to march her outnumbered army against Sha'ik's positions.[18] But overnight Sha'ik's forces were destroyed by the ghosts of Raraku and her desert warriors fled. When Gamet was found dead in his bed, Keneb was officially promoted to Fist.[19]

In The Bonehunters[]

After the Battle of Raraku, Leoman led the Army of the Apocalypse westward to Y'Ghatan and the 14th Army followed. Adjunct Tavore launched the Last Siege of Y'Ghatan using Keneb and Tene Baralta troops, sending the sappers to breach the city's wall under the cover of night. First into the city were the Malazan marines, followed quickly by the heavy and medium infantry. Once inside the city, the Malazans immediately came under attack from swordsmen on the ground and archers in the buildings above them. When enough Malazans were engaged in street fighting inside the city, Leoman sprung his trap. The city's olive oil-soaked buildings were set alight and the streets quickly became an inferno.[20]

The conflagration led to the birth of a short-lived fire godling. It was held at bay in a small section of the city by Sinn, which allowed 791 soldiers, from the nearly 3000 under Keneb and Baralta who had gone into the city, to escape the flames. Keneb himself was barely able to escape.[21] It was believed Keneb had lost nearly all of his marines.[22]

Grub gave a cryptic clue to Keneb that Malazan survivors of Y'Ghatan were buried beneath the city, but the Fist failed to recognise it.[23] Unaware that any had survived, the 14th Army made haste for the Kokakal Sea to embark on Admiral Nok's ships and escape the Bluetongue Plague ravaging Seven Cities. Faradan Sort and Sinn remained behind and discovered the survivors as they crawled from the wreckage.[24] The survivors made the long march west, finally catching up to the army on the coast.[25] Nok's fleet returned the army to Malaz City where the Adjunct met with Empress Laseen.[26]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Adjunct Tavore clashed with Empress Laseen at Malaz City and took the Bonehunters rogue, following the Tiste Edur fleet that had ravaged Sepik back to Lether to seek retribution against the Letherii Empire.[27] Keneb's command was reorganised to include only marines, the first time such an arrangement had occurred in the Malazan Military since the time of Cartharon Crust.[28] Keneb's marines were landed in isolated pairs of squads across thirty leagues of coast-- their transport vessels burned behind them. The marines moved forward into the Letherii countryside towards Letheras, the capital, with orders to kill Edur by night and stir the occupied Letherii into rebellion. Each squad had a mage responsible for hiding their presence and confusing their enemies.[29] Fist Keneb followed in their wake with six squads of marines numbering about 40-odd soldiers.[30] Faradan Sort and Beak maintained communications between the scattered squads and Keneb's force.[31]

Contrary to the Adjunct's expectations, the Letherii soldiers did not use the Malazan invasion to turn against their Edur occupiers.[32][33] Keneb had difficulty maintaining contact with his lead elements as the enemy became more numerous and fighting became more difficult. He worried that the Adjunct's bold strategy was not at the same level as the military geniuses of the Malazan army's past and was concerned that key elements of the plan, such as the location of the Khundryl Burned Tears and the Perish Grey Helms, were kept a secret even from him. Sergeant Thom Tissy told Keneb that he and the others in his squad understood the Fist's anxiety at following impossible orders under difficult conditions. The Fist called him presumptuous and told him to tell his squad to stop theorising. He thought Tissy's words decent, but dangerous--they were not friends. At the same time, he was amused to find himself acting with the same closed off mindset he found unhelpful in the Adjunct. He decided to leave overall strategy to the Adjunct and instead focus on keeping his soldiers alive.[34]

As the marines neared Letheras fighting became more desperate, and a large force of Edur stood between Keneb's gathered troops, which had swollen to 400, and the furthest forward marines. Thom Tissy heartened the Fist by claiming his troops were ready for a hard fight. They fought their way to a village where all the remaining squads had converged a day's travel from the capital.[35] Keneb was so elated to find his troops relatively unscathed that he told Faradan Sort, "I might end up kissing every damned one of them." Then he took command of the reunified force and continued forward. Thousands of Edur followed in their wake, pushing them towards the city where the Imperial Brigade awaited.[36]

Caught between the two armies near Kravos Hill, the 800 remaining Malazans[37] were forced to huddle under Beak's protective spell when the Letherii mages cast a deadly ritual of Chaos upon them and the Edur. The spell was broken, but the hair of all those under Beak's protection turned white. The Edur abandoned the field after their allies' betrayal, and the shaken Imperial Brigade withdrew to meet Adjunct Tavore's more threatening main force as it disembarked from the Lether River.[38]

Some among Adjunct Tavore's main force thought Keneb's troops had been sent to their doom,[39] and their fears seemed to be proved true. As they made landfall outside the city, those on the fleet saw a massive release of enemy sorcery near Fist Keneb's reported position near the city walls. Grub watched with Sinn on the Froth Wolf's foredeck, and begun dancing about the deck talking of candles. Lostara Yil thought him addled, but Adjunct Tavore had confidence that "Grub does not behave like a child who has lost a father."[40] Somehow Grub knew of Beak's sacrifice that had saved Fist Keneb and his soldiers.[41]

Keneb marched on Letheras thinking the marines deserved to be the first to enter the capital.[42] After the marines found a hidden entrance beneath the wall, he sent Urb, Hellian, Fiddler, and Gesler's squads into the city to cause trouble while the remaining marines seized the city's west gate to open it to Tavore's infantry.[43] Keneb himself helped hold the gate from the City Garrison's attack and suffered an injury that left him limping.[44] When Balm's advance mounted squad arrived at the gate from the Adjunct's ships, Keneb ordered Masan Gilani to race back to secure reinforcements. After Tavore's main force of Malazans entered the city, the City Garrison surrendered and the city fell.[45]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Keneb.

In Dust of Dreams[]

Due to the failings of Fist Blistig and the Adjunct's continued silence, Keneb ran the army almost by himself on the March to Kolanse, leading to his own exhaustion.

Contrary to the Adjunct's orders, Keneb followed Ruthan Gudd in charging the enemy lines only to be blown apart by the sorcery of the K'Chain Nah'ruk.[46]

Significant plot details end here.

Notes and references[]

  1. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.363
  2. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.359-361
  3. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.364-369
  4. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.228/230/239
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.472/473, 518-526, 567-570
  6. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.395
  7. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.533
  8. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, US HC p.562
  9. House of Chains, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.717
  10. House of Chains, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.317
  11. House of Chains, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.719
  12. House of Chains, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.316-320
  13. 13.0 13.1 House of Chains, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.536
  14. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.416
  15. House of Chains, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.645
  16. House of Chains, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.723
  17. House of Chains, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.722-726
  18. House of Chains, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.751-752
  19. House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.834
  20. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7
  21. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.389
  22. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7
  23. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US PB p.419
  24. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7
  25. The Bonehunters, Chapter 16
  26. The Bonehunters, Chapter 24
  27. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.356
  28. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21, US HC p.653
  29. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.361-365
  30. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.363-365
  31. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.365
  32. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.410
  33. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.481/486
  34. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, US HC p.500-503
  35. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21, US HC p.636-639
  36. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.672-674
  37. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.745
  38. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.679/686-695
  39. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 14, US HC p.410-411
  40. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.752-753/755
  41. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 22, US HC p.686-696
  42. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.778
  43. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.779
  44. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.800
  45. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24, US HC p.779/800/812
  46. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 23, UK HB p.838-841
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