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Korbal Broach was a necromancer and the silent partner of Bauchelain.[2] The duo were known as the Nehemoth. He was a eunuch[3] and a Soletaken, able to shapeshift into the form of a fat and ungainly crow.[4][5][6] Emancipor Reese acted as manservant to both.

Broach was a large, pale, bald man "as big as a half-blooded Trell" with an oversized round face and thick lips.[7][8] His face was both childlike and ineffably monstrous, his eyes buried in puffed flesh and his lips slightly downturned at the corners. Despite his imposing stature, he moved with a fluid grace.[9] He usually remained silent in the company of others, but when he did speak, his voice was unexpectedly high and reedy and he had a disturbing tendency to giggle to himself.[10] He wore full-length chain armor under a thick black cloak,[11] and wielded a hand-and-a-half sword.[12]

Possibly due to the fact that he was a eunuch, he was obsessed with "procreating", in his own way. He hunted at night and collected various organs and souls from his victims, piecing them together to form a patchwork "child", which he kept for the most part in a locked chest.

Broach worshipped no gods[13] and was a personal enemy of Hood, the god of death, who Bauchelain claimed was "easily irritated."[14] Broach's first solution to any problem was to kill all opponents and witnesses. Bauchelain was usually able to curb his more extreme instincts. The Bonecaster Pran Chole described him as insane, but a lesser threat than Bauchelain. He said Broach "plies the chaos on the edge of Hood's realm".[15]

He was immensely strong, able to carry heavy weights, and break iron in his bare hands.[16] He also possessed a sweet tooth.[17] He was said to heal quickly.[18]

In Blood Follows[]

Bauchelain and Korbal Broach travelled on the Mist Rider from Korel to Lamentable Moll. Broach then stalked the streets of Moll killing residents for the body parts and souls he needed to complete his "child" while Bauchelain engaged in his own research. Broach's methods were particularly gruesome and left behind traces of necromantic sorcery that brought him to the attention of Watch sergeant Guld and court magus Stul Ophan. At Fishmonger's Round, Broach was run to ground by Guld as he attempted to slay Princess Sharn. Only the intervention of the supernatural rat-hunters, Birklas Punth and Blather Roe, halted his killing spree. Both necromancers and manservant Reese left the city on the Suncurl.[19]

In The Lees of Laughter's End[]

Korbal Broach spent his time on the Suncurl flying as a crow in the ship's wake.[20] Interested in attaining shark cartilage for his experiments, he severed the ear of crewman Gust Hubb for use as bait on a fishing line.[21] When he learned of the lich rampaging on board the ship he released his patchwork homunculus from its warded trunk to flush the lich out.[22] Broach interrupted his search for the lich to investigate the six demonic statues in the ship's storeroom. The statues nearly beat him to a pulp before the timely intervention of Bauchelain and a god-thing from the sea resulted in the statues' removal.[23] Finally tracking the lich down, Broach killed it by tearing off its head.[24] By this time the Suncurl was severely damaged and its crew decimated. Broach used his homonculus as bait to hook a Dhenrabi so that it would tow the ship behind it.[25]

In The Wurms of Blearmouth[]

Shortly after departing Laughter's End, the Suncurl was attacked by the Unreasoning Vengeance. Her crew of Chanters sought vengeance against Captain Sater for stealing the Toll's City treasury. Bauchelain and Broach helped defend the ship, but the Suncurl was ultimately wrecked on a reef off the coast of Spendrugle.[26] Broach flew to safety in crow form while Bauchelain dragged Reese from the surf.[27] On shore, Broach collected the drowned corpses of two of the Suncurl's three Brivs and dragged them up the road to town.[28]

Broach was confronted by Spendrugle's armed golem Grimled but Broach quickly destroyed him. Constable Hordilo Stinq came perilously close to death when he tried to arrest Broach before Bauchelain arrived and smoothed things over.[29] Stinq escorted the necromancers to Wurms Keep where an impatient Broach tore the handle off the keep's door and destroyed its guardian golem, Gorebelly. Nevertheless Fangatooth invited the pair of sorcerors to dinner and Broach set the now reanimated and sewn together Briv corpses as the door's new guardian.[30] During dinner conversation, Bauchelain chided their host for poisoning their food with yellow paralt. To show there were no hard feelings the necromancer offered to make cookies in the keep's kitchen.[31] Fangatooth attempted to flaunt his own poison resistance by accepting Bauchelain's offer, but the lord was not prepared for the demon that exploded out of his stomach. Broach was excited to get his own bowl of tasty cookie icing. He used his magic to heal the sailor Gust Hubb using various body parts he had on hand and afterwards accidentally destroyed the keep's last golem, Grinbone.[32] Broach then prepared a massive, black-lacquered carriage pulled by six black horses for their departure from Spendrugle.[33]

In Memories of Ice[]

Three years after leaving Lamentable Moll,[34] Korbal Broach, Bauchelain, and Reese traveled for the first time to Darujhistan on Genabackis. Arriving shortly after the events of Gardens of the Moon, the necromancers heard tales for the first time of the Malazan Empire and the skykeep, Moon's Spawn.[35] For two weeks, the pair engaged in their usual activities, visiting arcane places such as the new Finnest House and leaving a ghastly trail of murders in their wake.[36][37]

As city leaders searched for the mysterious killer, the necromancers departed on the caravan road towards Saltoan. Along the way, they sought to investigate the tomb where the Jaghut Tyrant Raest had been imprisoned before being freed by the Malazans. Bauchelain sent Reese to bring them the well-respected caravan guard Gruntle to serve as their escort. Gruntle was encouraged to assist by his own employer, Keruli, but demurred entering the tomb upon meeting the disquieting Broach. Bauchelain and Broach observed Moon's Spawn as it passed on the horizon wary of attracting Anomander Rake's attention. Then Broach asked his partner's permission to kill Gruntle, but Bauchelain apologised for his partner's "simple notions" and permitted Gruntle to make a hasty retreat. The necromancers then descended into the tomb.[38]

Bauchelain continued to look for a caravan guard to hire as they traveled eastward. This proved to be a difficult task as his eerie manner and choice of companion in Korbal Broach scared off any would-be employees, save the suicidal Buke. Gruntle tried to warn off Buke only to learn his friend had taken the job because he was convinced Korbal Broach was responsible for the murders in Darujhistan, and he sought justice.[39] Similar murders later occurred in Saltoan during their stay there.[40]

Necromancers at work by Dejan Delic

Continuing on the road to Capustan, the necromancers broke into a Barghast barrow and enslaved the Rhivi spirit they found there. Then they were attacked by an undead K'Chain Che'Malle K'ell Hunter, who destroyed another of Korbal Broach's "children", as well as a trunk of arcanely inscribed slates, before breaking off the attack. A later attack by six more Hunters was only defeated by the combined efforts of the necromancers, Gruntle's caravan, and an army of T'lan Imass and T'lan Ay.[41][42]

Necromancer's carriage by PLUGO

Of the two caravans, only the necromancers escaped without severe injury. A fascinated Broach approached the undead T'lan Imass and was knocked off his feet by the Bonecaster, Pran Chole, for his poor manners. Broach was able to use his powers to make quick repairs to their devastated carriage using the bones and skin of the slain Hunters.[43]

On the eve of the Siege of Capustan, Bauchelain and Broach took possession of an abandoned estate within the city and continued their predations.[44] Broach slept during the day and hunted at night.[45] During the siege, the pair defended their mansion using combined forces sorcery, undead, and Sirinth demons.[46][47] While running errands for his employers, Buke secretly organised the locals to keep watch on the estate. The guard was also given a potion by Keruli that allowed him to spy on the pair as a Soletaken sparrowhawk. Amidst the chaos of the siege, Broach's hunts began to turn up empty. But Bauchelain was aware of Buke's activities and gave him a stern warning to stop interfering before reassigning him to serve as captain of the estate's undead guards animated by Broach. The two also violently repelled Rath'Shadowthrone's attempts to contact them through his servant, Marble.[48]

The necromancers took an interest in Anaster, leader of the hordes of cannibal Tenescowri assaulting the city. Approaching him on the battlefield in their Soletaken forms, their own sorcery and summoned demons were repelled by the powerful magic protecting him.[49]

Later, they were visited by Quick Ben, who wanted to take the necromancers' measure. He bypassed the estate's wards and guardians to appear in the house's main chamber before Bauchelain. Over a drink of wine, the Bridgeburner mage warned about the threat the Crippled God posed. Korbal Broach attempted to kill the Malazan mage with a surprise attack, but he was blasted into the next room by Quick Ben's use of six Warrens in precise conjunction. Bauchelain fared no better at his own attack on the mage. As Quick Ben departed the unconscious necromancers, Reese rebuked him for not finally killing off his employers.[50]

Once the siege was over, the necromancers readied to depart. They approached Bridgeburner Corporal Picker for directions to someone who could provide them supplies. Picker did not care for Bauchelain's haughty manner and knocked him unconscious with a gauntleted fist to the face. Blend assisted by dropping Broach with a sword pommel to the skull.[51]

On his final hunt before leaving the city, Broach stalked the dying Mhybe as she was brought into Capustan by Coll and Murillio. Broach knocked Murillio unconscious and the two Daru were saved only by the appearance of the Knight of Death, a servant of Hood. The Knight demanded Broach release his undead guards and depart the city than questioned whether the necromancers knew the fate Hood planned for them. Broach giggled that the god would have to catch them first before veering into his crow form and fleeing.[52]

The necromancers followed the allied army to Coral pulling two wagons full of corpses and loot. They were stopped by Gruntle who was suspicious at his friend Buke's absence. Reese confirmed that Buke had walked away from the job and Bauchelain asked Gruntle to let Buke know he was fired. Itkovian informed the necromancer that Reese was in pain from a broken tooth, so Bauchelain requested Broach make use of his surgical skills despite Reese's tearful pleading.[53]

After the Battle of Black Coral, the necromancers sought to make their new home in the corpse-strewn city that was now darkened by Kurald Galain. But Gruntle warned the pair that the Malazan and Tiste Andii occupiers would not tolerate Broach's hobbies. Bauchelain then asked for etiquette advice regarding an invitation to a visit from Jib Bole and the Bole brothers. Keeping the knowledge of the brothers' lethal hatred of necromancers to himself, the caravan guard recommended Bauchelain wear his best.[54]

In The Healthy Dead[]

Four years after leaving Lamentable Moll, Bauchelain, Korbal Broach, and Reese arrived on the outskirts of Quaint.[55] They were one step ahead of an army pursuing them after they burned down half of the last town they had visited.[56] Determined to keep a low profile they were nevertheless persuaded by Imid Factallo and Elas Sil to bring down the tyrannical health-based regime of King Macrotus for a large chest of gold and silver coins.[57]

Bauchelain and Broach raised the spirit of dead King Necrotus, and convinced him to join their uprising against his brother Macrotus.[58] Then Broach used the blood of Well Knight Storkul Purge to raise the city's dead en masse from their graves.[59] Bauchelain entered the now burning city and unmasked the Lady of Beneficence as the true villain behind the king's tyranny.[60]

In Crack'd Pot Trail[]

Bauchelain, Broach, and Reese travelled the Cracked Pot Trail to reach Farrog, home of the Indifferent God. The two necromancers, deciding that the god had "reneged on the most precious covenant of all", had determined that its life was forfeit. As they made the final ferry crossing to the city they witnessed a peculiar accident as a carriage, in its haste to make the ferry, fell over three hundred feet to the river from the nearby cliffs. The pair were seemingly unaware that the Indifferent God travelled alongside them as the Ferryman conducting their journey.[61]

In The Fiends of Nightmaria[]

Arriving in Farrog, Bauchelain cut off the head of the reigning king, N'Gorm the Lesser, with his sword and claimed the throne as King Bauchelain the First. Korbal Broach invested himself as the Grand Bishop of the Indifferent God's Holy Church, turning all of the god's priests into undead and imprisoning the Ferryman possessed by the god within the Royal Palace's dungeons. The new king took advantage of civil unrest over the results of the city's 'Artist of the Century' competition to arrest all the artists, poets, singers, musicians, dancers, and other voices of potential subversion.[62][63][64] Anyone who they thought might possibly be a threat to their domination of the city, such as Thieves Guild Mistress Dam Loudly Heer or the pursuing Nehemothanai, was ruthlessly culled.[65] As Grand Bishop, Broach wore heavy brocaded robes of vermillion and rose.[66] Farrog's unit of currency became known as the 'Broach'.[67]

While Bauchelain involved himself in his usual practice of summoning and binding demons,[68] Korbal Broach involved himself with producing large numbers of headless undead creatures from the bodies of their enemies.[69][70] When Broach discovered the Indifferent God had broken free of its prison and roamed the dungeons, Bauchelain summoned the Demon Prince Flail Their Limbs and a host of others to hunt the god down.[71][72]

Bauchelain, greedy as ever, encouraged the General of the Royal Farrogal Army, Pin Dollop, to initiate hostilities with the rich and reclusive neighboring Empire of Nightmaria, whose inhabitants were known to the people of Farrog as Fiends.[73][74] In aid of this, Grand Bishop Korbal Broach also declared a Holy War against Nightmaria.[75]

Eager to rescue the captured Mistress of the Thieves Guild, the Party of Five stole into the palace dungeons looking for her. The group of thieves stumbled into Broach's Chamber of Collections, where they encountered the new Grand Bishop. Broach was able to help the Party of Five achieve their stated goal of rescuing the Head of the Thieves Guild by presenting them with Dam Loudly Heer's severed head.[76]

Farrog's increasing level of hostilities resulted in the Nightmarians delivering their own declaration of war through their ambassador, Ophal D'Neeth Flatroq. To Bauchelain's horror, the ambassador also apprised the King that a Nightmarian army--some 150,000 strong and far outnumbering their own--had crossed the border and were only two days' march from the Farrog city walls. Their intent was to take extensive and dire revenge on Farrog and all of its institutions. Bauchelain hurriedly ordered Emancipor Reese to ready the necromancers' carriage and horses to flee with their horde of wealth stored in a personal warren inside.[77][78][79]

Broach sent all of his undead servants to clear the way to the city's gate before flying away as a crow, but the population rose up to destroy them, so Bauchelain was forced to cut a path through the crowd for the carriage with his flaming sword.[80][81] Reese found Broach's undead army to be rather useless and Bauchelain warned him not to express such an opinion within Broach's hearing.[82] A day later, they could see the city burning behind them and Bauchelain prepared to lead the carriage through a warren to throw off another of their pursuers--an army commanded by a Mysterious Lady.[83]

In Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords[]

The necromancers and their servant hastily left a burning city that had been the site of their most recent efforts. Rather than accept a reign of tyranny under the necromancers' command, the citizens had descended into savagery. Korbal Broach scouted ahead in crow form looking for their next destination and reported that the army that had been pursuing them for the past year had grown to include tens of thousands of soldiers. Bauchelain was not the least perturbed by their pursuers and decided their next endeavour would be more modest--a town of sufficient size to support their needs.[84]

On the plain, Broach found the carcass of a recently expired Bhederin and climbed halfway inside to recover its liver.[85] They soon discovered a lone tower occupied by a survivalist and his life-sized doll, Solly. Bauchelain determined to rifle through the contents of the tower for valuables, inviting himself inside for a dinner prepared by Reese. At evening's end, Broach decapitated the tower's owner with a swipe of his finger at Bauchelain's request and collected the doll and the man's head, liver, and heart.[86][87]

The trio arrived at the wealthy town of Earbeford, which was soon to be besieged by an army of ten thousand undead under the control of The Tearful Three. Bauchelain entered a contract with the town council to defeat the three necromancers for a price of fifty thousand jeerkhins, but once on the battlefield extorted a doubling of their payment.[88][89] During the renegotiation, the guardsman Bleat interrupted Bauchelain to balk at the prospect of the town's looming bankruptcy. An annoyed Bauchelain asked Broach to kill the guard, which Broach accomplished by disemboweling the man with a slow twist of his hand.[90][91]

Bauchelain then waded into the army of undead with his flaming longsword, parting their ranks in his passing, while Broach flew overhead in crow form. Broach landed atop Nog the Furbious' head as the necromancer uveiled his warren. Within a moment, the top of Nog's skull was missing and Broach flew off carrying his brain and spinal column.[92][93] After Bauchelain had dispatched the other necromancers and their servants, Broach set about filling the now abandoned keep with haunts. The first was a bloated and wobbly figure that possessed Solly's body and her owner's rotting head, which made unintelligible noises from its moving mouth.[94]

With the Tearful Three defeated, Bauchelain, Korbal Broach, and Emancipor Reese left the town to the mercy of the now masterless horde of undead, whose elimination had not been included in the necromancers' contract.[95] The townspeople were likely all slaughtered and eaten but for the wet-nurse, Anavalistia, who joined Emancipor Reese atop the necromancers' carriage for an uncertain future.[96][97]

In Stonewielder[]

Hiam, Lord Protector of the Stormwall, and Wall Marshal Learthol discussed the unusual circumstance of a mage being allowed to practice his craft in the realm of Our Lady the Blessed Saviour. Learthol recalled stories of a pair of travelling sorcerers who had once received similar dispensation. Hiam dismissed the pair as "merely passing through" and "of no consequence."[98]

In Orb Sceptre Throne[]

Korbal Broach, along with Bauchelain (and Emancipor Reese)[99] visited the island remnants of the fallen Moon's Spawn — known as the 'Spawns' — which were located off the southern coast of Genabackis. The necromancers were seeking the Throne of Night, which was thought by some to have been destroyed.[100]

The trio were described by Antsy as "...the elegant fellow, Bauchelain,...[then] an ugly squat man, pale and bloated,...[followed] by an old man loaded with baggage...perhaps not so old, just looking extremely careworn."[101] Korbal Broach and Bauchelain and were present when the Throne of Night was found with the aid of Orchid, but — as it turned out — they were unable to access it.[102]

In The God is Not Willing[]

Some ten years after The Crippled God a large black lacquered wagon decorated with ornate carvings arrived at Silver Lake. Stillwater reported to Spindle that the occupant was a monk. Spindle squinted at the carriage from afar and asked her to confirm that it was not occupied by two necromancers.[103]


An image of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach painted by author Steven Erikson can be found here.

Notes and references[]

  1. Memories of Ice, Chapter 1
  2. Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae
  3. Memories of Ice‎, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.333
  4. Blood Follows, Section 19
  5. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 1, p.6
  6. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 7, p.37
  7. Blood Follows, Section 8
  8. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 30
  9. Memories of Ice, Chapter 1
  10. Blood Follows, Section 8
  11. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 30
  12. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.235
  13. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 12
  14. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 20
  15. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.281
  16. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Sections 5 and 12
  17. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 27
  18. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7
  19. Blood Follows, Section 20
  20. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 1
  21. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 4 and 6
  22. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 21
  23. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 40-41
  24. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 42
  25. The Lees of Laughter's End, Section 44
  26. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Sections 3 and 11
  27. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 3
  28. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 5
  29. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 6
  30. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Sections 12 and 39
  31. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 20
  32. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 40
  33. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 48
  34. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.228
  35. Memories of Ice, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.44
  36. Memories of Ice, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.44
  37. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.122
  38. Memories of Ice, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.41-46
  39. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.121-122
  40. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.214
  41. Memories of Ice, Chapter 6
  42. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7
  43. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.280-281
  44. Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.350
  45. Memories of Ice, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.460
  46. Memories of Ice, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.535
  47. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.636
  48. Memories of Ice, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.451/460/486-489
  49. Memories of Ice, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.488-492
  50. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.634-641/648-652
  51. Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.707
  52. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.757-762
  53. Memories of Ice, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.793-796
  54. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.988-989
  55. The Healthy Dead, Section 11
  56. The Healthy Dead, Section 5
  57. The Healthy Dead, Section 5
  58. The Healthy Dead, Section 8
  59. The Healthy Dead, Section 19
  60. The Healthy Dead, Section 36
  61. Crack'd Pot Trail, Chapter 6
  62. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 3
  63. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 5
  64. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 10
  65. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 2
  66. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 5
  67. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 12
  68. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 9
  69. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 5
  70. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 13
  71. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 5
  72. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 9
  73. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 5
  74. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 7
  75. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 3
  76. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 18
  77. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 16
  78. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 19
  79. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 21
  80. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 21
  81. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 25
  82. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 31
  83. The Fiends of Nightmaria, Section 31
  84. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 4, p.16-18
  85. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 7, p.34
  86. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 7, p.34/35/37
  87. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 10, p.47-55
  88. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 1, p.1
  89. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 22, p.83-84
  90. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 22, p.83-84
  91. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 1, p.3
  92. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 24, p.87
  93. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 25, p.89
  94. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 28, p.93-94
  95. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 29, p.96
  96. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 31, p.102-104
  97. Upon a Dark of Evil Overlords, Section 32, p.104-106
  98. Stonewielder, Chapter 11, UK TPB p.569
  99. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 16, US TPB p.456
  100. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 15, US TPB p.426-428
  101. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 16, US TPB p.463
  102. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 16, US TPB p.465-466
  103. The God is Not Willing, Chapter 11, US HC p.178/182
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