|Memories of Ice|
|The Spark and the Ashes|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8|
|Chapter 9||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 14||Chapter 15|
|Chapter 16||Chapter 17|
|Chapter 18||Chapter 19|
|Memories of Ice|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
Toc the Younger has been tortured constantly for weeks at the hands of the Matron. As she crushes him in her arms, the healing spell the Pannion Seer cast heals his bones swiftly, sometimes unevenly. He's now deformed and slowly losing his mind. He sees visions of Tool, the Seguleh, and Lady Envy fighting their way through fields of ice and snow, but he thinks they're only delusions. When he dreams, he dreams of being a wolf, running with a pack and hunting something. Not to eat it, but to deliver something to it; Toc doesn't know what it is. In his dream, they corner their quarry, but it suddenly disappears before they can deliver what needed to be delivered. His howls follow him to wakefulness and only inspire the Matron to tighten her embrace, breaking more bones. The Seer visits him periodically and mocks him about his former traveling companions, saying that the T'lan Imass only remains for fear of loneliness, and that Baaljagg and Garath have fled. The Malazans won't make it in time to help Capustan, and the Seer promises to bring Toc the body of the Malazan Commander to eat.
One day the Seer appears angry and confused, saying that Baaljagg and Garath aren't mortal dogs. He tells Toc that his friends might have broken into the fort, but they won't find Toc, as they're moving to a new location. Toc is suddenly struck with a vision of the two dogs breaking into the fortress of Outlook, killing K'ell Hunters. A cloud of dust appears around the Ay, and Tool materializes riding upon his back. Tool, Garath, and Baaljagg kill several K'ell hunters before Toc is pulled back to his own vision. They have entered Omtose Phellack, the Matron carrying Toc and the Seer leading the way through a scene of ice. Sorcery is heard clashing within the warren, and the Seer recognizes Lady Envy. Toc is given a moment of clarity, and laughs at the Seer's discomfiture. In her sudden panic, the Matron crushes Toc to her chest, breaking his bones and causing him to pass out.
Ganoes Paran stands on a hillside at night and watches Capustan burn. He's frustrated at the slow pace the White Face Barghast are taking and tells Trotts as much. Trotts, who has been meeting with Humbrall Taur and the other warchiefs, tells Paran that Taur is separating the clans for various tasks, and has given leave for the Bridgeburners to enter the city ahead of them. Paran's sickness and pain have persisted, partly, he thinks, because he has a need to attack and partly because he's been resisting Silverfox's attempts at contacting him from afar.
The Bridgeburners use Moranth munitions against both Pannion medium infantry and the Tenescowri, and clear the gates with no losses, though the destruction shocks Paran. Trotts orders the Bridgeburners to the Thrall. Paran sees bodies everywhere, but notices a spot where bodies have been piled up into a slope. The Malazans are forced to climb the mound of bodies, and Paran realizes that it's essentially a siege ramp leading to the roof of a tenement building. Upon reaching the top, they're greeted by Gruntle and his militia who are all now bearing stripes on their skin. Gruntle invites them onto the rooftop, dropping ladders. Paran notices that Picker is gripping her arm in pain, but she says that Mallet can't help her. After they reach the rooftop, Gruntle goes to Picker and, upon touching her arm, the torques she took from Munug come loose. Picker prattles on about how relieved she is to be free of Trake's gift, and Gruntle tells her that Trake died and is now ascended. He takes the torques and fixes them to his arm. Picker gloats to Blend. Paran speaks with Gruntle, and Mallet, with the help of the Barghast spirits, heals Stonny Menackis of her battle injuries and the trauma of her rape.
As dawn arrives, Picker watches the Barghast slowly force the Pannions out of the city, but not without cost. Humbrall Taur drives the Pannions westward across the plain, and a seething mob of Tenescowri fill the streets below the rooftop, some coming uncomfortably close. Despite the advantage that the Moranth munitions provided, Picker is glad that swords aren't needed, as the Bridgeburners are still brittle from what happened to them at Pale. She doesn't know if Onearm's host is even still intact, or if Dujek and Whiskeyjack are dead. Stonny Menackis approaches, and they talk about Gruntle, the arm torques, and how the gods might have conspired to get Gruntle to fight by causing Stonny's misfortune. Picker contends that it doesn't change what Gruntle did for Stonny; Stonny isn't sure.
Thinking about how the gods tend to keep their followers in the dark, Picker decides to air some of her suspicions to Paran. She asks him, loudly, if he's heard anything from Silverfox. This causes him to double over in pain, but he manages to say she's still alive, and that Onearm's host is only three leagues away, slaughtering the Pannions that Taur is driving west. Antsy becomes suddenly angry, saying that he should have spoken up sooner, lest something happen to him during the battle, leaving the Bridgeburners completely cutoff. Paran dismisses his concerns, which causes Antsy to reach for his sword. Tired of living with the pain, Paran offers Antsy his back, telling him to get it over with. This causes Mallet to speak up, saying that Paran only feels Silverfox's touch on his mind, and nothing else. He shames the Bridgeburners into silence, leaving Picker to think that the scars of betrayal from Pale still aren't fully healed.
Paran isn't listening to Mallet castigating the Bridgeburners, but contemplating suicide. He feels pressure on his mind from Silverfox, but doesn't think it's Tattersail, rather Nightchill or Bellurdan or both. Plucked away, he finds himself inside the card Obelisk, and sees Fener pulled into the mortal realm. Vulnerable and terrified, Paran knows he's as good as dead. Paran begins to feel that the Elder Gods want him to choose a successor to replace Fener in the Deck of Dragons. This angers Paran, and he uses his connection with the Hounds of Shadow to intimidate Nightchill into talking with him. They talk about the cruel measures the gods employ when they need the services of mortals. Nightchill says that she and the surviving elder gods, including K'rul and Draconus, are fighting a war for all existence. She tells Paran that Draconus needs to be freed from Dragnipur, and to do so requires the shattering of the sword. Paran is suspicious of this, and asks about Tattersail. Nightchill tells him her thoughts are elsewhere, which somewhat embarrasses Paran. Before she can speak further, Mallet touches Paran on the shoulder, bringing him back to the tenement rooftop. He tells Mallet that they need to get to the Thrall, and that Gruntle is coming with them.
Itkovian stands on top of Prince Jelarkan's castle, watching the Barghast break up the remaining Pannion forces. Holding the Palace had been rough work, the halls and doorways piled high with bodies. The young Capan recruit, whom Itkovian now knows as Velbara, stands with him. He tells her that they're leaving the palace to go to the Thrall. When Itkovian reaches the plaza in front of the Thrall, he notices that every approach is surrounded by Barghast. Paran and the Bridgeburners approach accompanied by Gruntle and his militia. Seeing Gruntle, Itkovian realizes that Fener has fallen, and has been replaced with Trake as the new god of war.
The Mask Council appear dragging Rath'Fener into the plaza with Keruli walking behind them. Gruntle and Paran approach Itkovian, and tell of Fener's entry into the mortal world. Humbrall Taur arrives and wishes to watch the events in the plaza before meeting his gods, to Paran's annoyance.
Before Paran can continue, Itkovian approaches Rath'Fener and declares he will be Fener's justice for the betrayal of Brukhalian. The remaining Grey Sword captain, a woman named Norul, throws Rath'Fener on the ground and stretches his arms out in front of him. Itkovian cuts off Rath'Fener's hands despite Rath'Trake's warnings of what awaits the priest in Fener's absence. Paran tells Itkovian that he doesn't need to continue serving a fallen god, but can begin serving as Trake's Shield Anvil. Itkovian refuses. Just then, Rath'Fener spasms in pain, his skin is covered in alien script, and he appears to be boiled alive, yet not dying, some unknown entity having claimed his hands and his mortal soul.
Itkovian decides to take on Rath'Fener's suffering, though Paran warns him that Fener isn't there to guard his soul against such pain. Itkovian proceeds to pick Rath'Fener up and embrace him both physically and spiritually. As he allows Rath'Fener's pain to wash over him, he notices the presence of the alien god that claimed Rath'Fener's hands and embraces its pain as well. The grief that enters Itkovian then is too much for him to bear, and his soul begins to fragment. Realizing he can't depend on Fener, Itkovian asks the gods for help, but no help comes. Meanwhile, Paran watches Itkovian sink to the ground and stop breathing. Paran grabs him by the shoulders and yells at him to come back, which seems to bring Itkovian back to life. Itkovian feels a colossal weight settle on his shoulders, and Paran notices the air in Capustan has been cleansed. Mallet comes forward to heal Itkovian.
Upon Itkovian's return, Gruntle feels an awareness return to him. He finally notices how his body has changed, both in his enhanced senses and the cat-like control over his muscles. He understands that he has become Trake's Mortal Sword, though the revelation both terrifies and angers him. Stonny approaches and he's able to joke with her for the first time, though the banter is somewhat brittle. When Stonny mentions Buke, Gruntle points skyward, saying that he's flying around in the form of a sparrow hawk. Stonny, annoyed that everyone seems to be getting blessed but her, asks what their next step is, as returning to Darujhistan doesn't seem likely. Rath'Trake appears, wanting to discuss matters with Gruntle, but Gruntle tells him he won't bow to any god. Paran laughs at that, approving of Gruntle not complying fully with Trake's plans. Itkovian stands, with some help from Mallet.
Picker and Blend watch from an entrance to the plaza, and discuss what's been happening. Blend explains what she's seen, figuring that Paran was probably responsible for bringing Itkovian back, confirming her suspicions that he was more than just a noble born officer, and would never stab the Bridgeburners in the back. The Barghast, following Humbrall Taur, walk into the Thrall, with Trotts following close behind. Picker and Blend both agree that Trotts doesn't know how to command, but Paran does. They plan on cornering Antsy and the other Bridgeburners who have been talking against Paran. Picker thinks it's the least she can do.
Buke flies overhead. He watches the distant Barghast harrying the fleeing Pannions while the remaining Barghast mill about the city, carrying the dead to massive pits. The sight of burned buildings and dead children bring back painful memories for Buke, and he decides to fly away. He soars upward, towards the stars and thinks, "There was pain in the gifts of the Elder Gods. But sometimes there was mercy."