Lorn was the Adjunct to Empress Laseen. She was described as about twenty years old, lithe, with long auburn hair which would dangle in tattered ropes down over her imperial cape when she took off her helmet. She was an accomplished rider capable of mastering a warhorse stallion bred of the finest lines of Seven Cities stock.
Her residence in Unta was on the top floor of the West Tower of the Imperial palace. Her room featured stone tiles covered in ragged furs, faded tapestries lining the walls and a few items of old, Napan style furniture. There was also at least one wide, shuttered window.
Lorn carried an Otataral longsword, the designated weapon of the Empresses' personal Adjunct, which negated sorcery. Possibly the sword itself or her long association with it gave her the ability to know the patterns of sorcery and the pattern of the minds that used it. Quick Ben described her as the Empress' personal mage-killer.
Lorn's reputation was such that she was thought to be a cold-blooded monster, the gauntleted hand of death that could descend anywhere.
In Gardens of the Moon
In 1161 BS, Lorn was in Itko Kan to investigate the massacre which had taken place there. She had been sent because the Empress suspected sorcery and as bearer of the Otataral sword, Lorn was well equipped to confront it. A young Lieutenant, Ganoes Paran, acted as her guide of the killing fields and was subsequently commissioned by Lorn to join her staff in order to further help with the investigation.
By 1163 BS, the trail led them to Genabackis. Lorn was preceded to Pale by Paran, now a Captain, whom she had promised command of the Bridgeburners as a reward for his help in the investigation. Unbeknown to Lorn, shortly after his arrival to take command (about a week after the end of the Siege of Pale), Paran was attacked by their quarry, the Cotillion-possessed Sorry, as a direct provocation to Empress Laseen and Lorn.
A few days later, Lorn was on the way to Pale herself when she, and the Jakatakan Élites charged with her protection, were attacked by a band of Ilgres Barghast on the Rhivi Plain. Her horse, which she had brought with her via Warren, was killed by the Barghast's shaman but Lorn was saved by the T'lan Imass Onos T'oolan and the Claw Toc the Younger, both of whom had been scheduled to meet up with her.  Lorn dislocated her right shoulder in the fight which numbed her hand. Toc removed the gauntlet and created a sling to immobilise the injured limb whilst updating her on the situation in Pale. Lorn expressed sorrow at the loss of her horse. She and Toc then rode double on Toc's Wickan breed horse back to the city. Toc described Lorn as looking worn and weathered with a lined face at the time.
Once in Pale, Lorn attended a meeting of the city's new Imperial leaders, including High Fist Dujek Onearm, High Mage Tayschrenn, and the mage Tattersail. Lorn was shocked to recognise Tattersail as one of the mages whose reckless actions during the Mouse Quarter riots had led to the deaths of Lorn's family. She determined to execute Tattersail for the offence, before being dissuaded by Dujek. Toc noted that for a moment the woman Lorn had once been had risen from the past to reclaim her life before finally being executed by the "thing known as the Adjunct."
Lorn had another reason for being in the area as she had been given the task of freeing the Jaghut Tyrant Raest from his imprisonment near Darujhistan. The Tyrant was to be used against their enemy Anomander Rake, weakening the ancient High Mage enough for the Empire's mages to kill him.
After Lorn and her guide Onos T'oolan, whom she named 'Tool', departed Pale for Darujhistan, Tattersail and the revived Paran separately concluded that Lorn had actually been sent to Genabackis with the mission to eliminate the remaining Old Guard. They feared she intended to kill off Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners. Tattersail set out for Darujhistan to warn the sergeant and Paran soon followed. When Paran discovered the remains of Tattersail along the way, he vowed vengeance against Lorn.
Lorn succeeded in freeing the Tyrant, and buried Raest's finnest as bait in Darujhistan in the garden of the Simtal/Coll Estate before setting off in pursuit of the Coin Bearer. On her way, she released a Soletaken demon Lord of Galayn into the city to confront a hopefully weakened Rake.
As she made her move to kill the Coin Bearer, she was intercepted and engaged in combat by Corporal Blues of the Crimson Guard. She was stunned by his skill, since she did not think it was possible for anyone to overwhelm her in a sword fight without magery. Though she managed to break off the fight and escape, she was gravely wounded. Just as she thought she was safe, she encountered Meese and Irilta, who had been sent after her by the Eel. The two easily overwhelmed her, delivering killing blows, leaving her dazed and very nearly dead. She was then found by Paran. She wished he had found her earlier (not knowing about Paran's current, unfriendly disposition towards her) so that things might perhaps have turned out differently. She then died in his arms. Paran took her Otataral sword, and after a short conversation with the Twins Oponn, picked her up and took her away. He later buried her on the northern shore of Lake Azur.
In Memories of Ice
Tool and Toc were reunited two months after Lorn's death. The T'lan Imass noted that Lorn was one of only two mortal humans he had ever truly known and that she had fatally underestimated herself. He endeavored to tell Toc the story of her fall.
In House of Chains
According to Fist Gamet, there had been rumours that Lorn's death was ultimately a result of Ganoes Paran's desertion. These rumours were later proved unfounded, although he suspected too late to prevent Tavore Paran's sacrifice of her sister, Felisin.
In The Bonehunters
Ganoes Paran kept Lorn's otataral sword buried by the back wall of Coll's estate and retrieved it when he travelled to Seven Cities to free the Deragoth. As payment for Karpolan Demesand and the Trygalle Trade Guild's assistance in the matter, he offered up the sword. Karpolan had one of his shareholders shatter the blade with a large two-handed mace and allowed Paran to collect one of the shards. Paran kept the finger-sized shard in his belt pouch.
In Dust of Dreams
Lorn's successor, Tavore Paran, talked to Lostara Yil about Lorn's death and legacy. She commented that Lorn had apparently completed her task and that her death seemed to be 'little more than ill luck, a mugging or something similar... a victim of mischance. A death devoid of magic'. She told Lostara that Lorn had been buried in a pauper's grave.
In The Crippled God
Lorn was originally from Malaz City. When she was eleven the then Clawmaster and Imperial regent Laseen issued an edict against the illegal use of magery by the city's numerous practitioners. The city's Mouse Quarter, where Lorn and her family lived, soon became swept up in riots against the edict. The Malazan Army was sent to quell the violence. The mage Tattersail, in her first command, had participated and her inexperienced mage cadre was excessive in their response.
The day after the riots, Lorn was given to the Claw. A week later, the Mouse Quarter was burned down and her family was among the survivors housed in the plague-ridden caverns of Mock's Hold. There her parents and brother succumbed to disease, although their deaths were kept from Lorn for years afterward. Lorn held Tattersail partially responsible for the death of her family.
- Steven Erikson says a subtext of Gardens of the Moon was that Lorn was grooming Ganoes Paran to serve as her replacement as Adjunct. But this went by the wayside when Paran broke his way free within the sword, Chance.
Notes and references
- Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p. xiii
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.219 Lorn was eleven during the Mouse Quarter riots of 1154BS
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.20
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.27
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.28
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.25
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.43
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.270/271
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.131
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.277
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.22-29
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, US HC p.94, 101-102
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 10, US HC p.234
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.270-277
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.273-277
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.219-221
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, US HC p.315/319
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.228
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 10, US HC p.234-235
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 10, US HC p.243-245
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 21, US HC p.420-421
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23, US HC p.465
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23
- Gardens of the Moon, Epilogue, US HC p.486-487
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.51
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.272
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.133
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.771
- House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.245
- House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.424
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.435
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.513
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 11, UK HB p.382
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.302/303
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.275
- Critical Conversations 08: Character Agency in Gardens of the Moon with Steven Erikson - A Critical Dragon - See 22:40