|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|
Some tides move unseen. Priests and priestesses of the twin cults of Togg and Fanderay had for so long presided over but a handful of adherents in their respective temples, and those temples were few and far between. A shortlived expansion of the cults swept through the Malazan armies early in Laseen's reign, but then seemed to wither of its own accord. In retrospect, that flurry might be interpreted as being only marginally premature, anticipating by less than a decade the reawakening that would bring the ancient cults to the fore. The first evidence of that reawakening occured on the very edges of the Empire's borders [strictly speaking, not even close, tr.], in the recently liberated city of Capustan where the tide revealed is power for all to see...Cults of Resurrection
Korum T'bal (translated by Illys of Darujhistan)
Coll is grooming his horses outside of the Temple of Hood when he is approached by Rath'Shadowthrone, who has been spying on him and the temple for some time. After several pointed insults, the priest points out two more members of the Mask Council having approached the temple, Rath'Fanderay and Rath'Togg. He tells Coll that the two have never spoken aloud in the Council, and never touch, despite being lovers. The undead warrior emerges with Murillio and lets the two priests in. Coll moves to follow, punching Rath'Shadowthrone in the face for spying, knocking him out cold. Inside the temple, Coll makes his way to the sepulcher. He and Murillio have laid a cot down in the bottom of the pit where the undead warrior wants them to place the Mhybe. The hooded priests of Togg and Fanderay are at the edge of the pit, not saying a word. Murillio observes that everyone's "waiting".
Northwest of Coral
Picker, Antsy, and the rest of his squad are hiding near the walls of Coral, looking on numerous ranks of Beklites that have amassed against Dujek Onearm and the 6,000 troops now occupying the entrenchments on the mountainside. Antsy guesses there are about 30,000 Pannion troops assembled, including a mage cadre. Picker and Antsy argue for a bit over whether the Pannion Seer intends on stomping the Malazans flat. When sorcery begins to play, Picker calls for Blend to report to Dujek.
Quick Ben is trying to calm the rest of his impromptu cadre. He orders them back to their companies, saying he'll deal with the bulk of the attack. Dujek and Ganoes Paran arrive having just learned of the oncoming sorcery. Quick Ben admits that the situation isn't ideal, but he's their only available defense. Dujek asks Paran and Quick Ben whether it would be a fair, tactical exchange to fight the Pannions here, at the possible cost of the 6,000 troops, or to simply blow up the tunnels and retreat for now. Quick Ben thinks about his promise to Burn and the plans he and Paran had, but he understands that destroying several companies, mages, and Septarchs would save lives during the coming siege. He and Paran agree to fight. As Dujek and Paran leave, Quick Ben notices Blend hovering nearby. She offers him a necklace she bought in Pan'potsun that makes her hard to see. Quick Ben kindly refuses, thinking that she was swindled with a useless stone, and her ability to disappear is her own.
Picker and Blend watch as the Pannion forces make their way up the main ramp into the mountainside. The mage cadre unleashes their sorcery at Quick Ben, who has positioned himself in plain view. Picker thinks this is suicide as she's never seen Quick Ben fully unveil a warren, and doesn't consider him a combat mage like Tattersail or Hairlock. However, Quick Ben unleashes several devastating attacks using illusions in the form of demons, which throw the mages and the forward troops into disarray. After his position is struck with chaotic sorcery, Quick Ben appears as a Pannion mage, and throws a wraith amongst the Seerdomin, which punctures the protective magic set up by the mages. He rides into a warren before he's struck with magic. Picker and Blend notice that the column is leaving the main path and heading into the woods towards Picker's position.
Paran is overseeing his dug-in troops when Quick Ben arrives from a warren. He watches as the mage draws on several warrens, causing shadows to flow and boulders to come up from underground. Suddenly, three waves of chaotic magic fly up the mountainside. The waves get drawn in by the flowing shadows, and Paran hears a distant explosion coming from down the mountainside followed by screams. Quick Ben then unleashes the boulders he collected causing a landslide, wiping out the Pannion troops. Paran hears the sound of munitions, and turns to see that the Beklites stumbled onto the rigged tunnels. Marines with crossbows begin slaughtering the Pannions only to be struck down by chaotic sorcery. Paran watches an ensorceled condor fly upward from the scene. The Black Moranth attack the condor in the sky, but are killed in droves by its magic. Quick Ben screams at Paran to draw a card of the condor in the dirt. When Paran finishes, Quick Ben punches the card. In the distance, the condor falters in the air then falls, stunned. Going through a warren, Quick Ben and Paran find the condor, slowly recovering and building its sorcery. Quick Ben tries throwing a wraith at it, but the condor destroys it. Paran attacks the condor, stabbing it in the neck with a dagger, he feels the condor ripping at his face, then feels an explosion of bestial rage. Quick Ben watches as Paran is enveloped by a shadow-woven Hound. He notes that Paran isn't Soletaken, but that two creatures are woven together, and that the power behind it is pure Kurald Emurlahn. The Hound breaks the condor's neck with his jaws, then turns back into Paran whose head has been mangled by the condor, taking most of his right ear. Paran doesn't seem to remember what happened, and Quick Ben takes him through a warren to a healer.
Picker wanders through the woods until she reaches a clearing. Quick Ben's avalanche missed the Bridgeburners by a short distance, and Picker finds it difficult to believe that Quick Ben could do it on his own without the help of several high mages or a god. She meets Blend and tells her to find the rest of the Bridgeburners.
Paran awakes in a trench that's serving as an impromptu infirmary. The wounds on the side of his head have been sewn up. Mallet arrives to finish healing his face, but Paran refuses, telling Mallet to see to the more seriously wounded. He travels down the trenches to meet Quick Ben, Picker, and Dujek who tells him that the Pannion forces have retreated back into the city. Whiskeyjack and Caladan Brood are probably coming more swiftly than they thought, and the Pannions don't want to be tangled up when they arrive. However, Dujek can't send the Black Moranth away to take a message to Whiskeyjack, as the condors are attacking anything that flies. The tunnels are indefensible, so the only option, according to Dujek, is to follow the Beklites into the city. The Bridgeburners will take the Black Moranth and be the first in, using what remains of their munitions to blow up the walls of the main keep, then wait for the main force which will enter thirty minutes later. Paran is concerned about Whiskeyjack and Brood not arriving in time, but agrees to the plan.
North of Coral
Korlat and Whiskeyjack are within sight of Coral. Korlat mentions that Kallor has already approached her with an apology, offering his sword and tactical advice. This concerns her, but Whiskeyjack says he'd appreciate any advice, to Korlat's wry disbelief. Upon viewing Coral, Whiskeyjack mentions the flashes of sorcery they saw earlier, thinking that Dujek probably sprang the ambush the Pannion Seer was planning and interrupted his plans. Whiskeyjack wants to have his troops lining the ridge by dawn to distract the seer from Dujek, and asks if Korlat and Orfantal would mind taking to the skies as dragons. Korlat says that Orfantal will fly towards Dujek, and she will fly about Whiskeyjack's forces to fight off the condors. As they head back to the main force, Black Moranth in the distance fly toward Coral.
Paran and the Bridgeburners are flying through Coral when Paran spots movement among the condors. The Quorls land, and everyone dives for cover. Near the keep, they notice that the roof is covered in condors' nests. Hedge volunteers to lead a crew of crossbowmen atop a wall with explosive quarrels to take care of most of the ensorcelled birds. As they move closer, they notice that the keep's gate is held by Urdomen guards, but their watch post is well lit, so they don't see the Bridgeburners yet. The company moves to a dark corner of the keep where a large tower is located and the sappers decide to put their munitions there. As Toes uses his warren to hook ropes to a far wall, Paran tells Quick Ben that they'll need another plan to deal with the remaining condors. As they wait for the sappers and the crossbowmen, the gate opens and K'Chain Che'Malle K'ell Hunters emerge, heading straight for Dujek's forces. Paran orders Picker and the rest of the Bridgeburners to distract them. Quick Ben, Detoran, Spindle, and Paran take a warren to the top of the keep amidst the sleeping condors. All at once several condors explode from the impact of the explosive quarrels, Picker's company discharges Sharpers amongst the K'ell hunters, and Spindle opens his warren, driving the possessed condors mad with fear (as his warren does to all animals). The demons possessing the condors begin driving their host birds upwards out of Spindle's range, and Paran orders everyone to run.
Outside Coral's walls a cloud of dust slowly swirls into the form of Onos T'oolan. Tool thinks on how he could easily flow over the walls as dust, silently and unseen, but because the Pannion Seer had taken Toc the Younger, a man who had called Tool friend, he needed to make a bolder entrance. He walks towards the city.
Dujek leads his troops into Coral when he hears the explosions on the rooftop of the keep. As they march, he feels a rumbling through the cobbles and knows that a breach has been made in the keep walls. He orders his men to drive for the keep and watches a flight of quorl delivering another thousand marines. Suddenly, a massive wave of chaotic sorcery from the sky obliterates the quorl and the troops they were carrying. Dujek sees three condors flying behind the wave of magic, and watches as the Black Moranth sacrifice hundreds of quorls and riders to take down the condors in a series of suicidal charges. This allows yet another flight of Moranth carriers to drop their marines into Coral, who then dive for cover. Dujek orders his troops into the buildings, and wait for further orders before making toward the keep. Another messenger arrives and tells Dujek that the Pannion legions are marching in the streets, accompanied by K'Chain Che'malle. Dujek thinks about Silverfox and the T'lan Imass, but his orders don't change. He tells another messenger to get Twist to send a regiment of his Moranth heavies toward the assembled legions, and watches as the last of his troops are delivered into Coral.
Near the Keep
Picker watches a cusser go off and destroy the K'ell Hunter that was chasing them. Her diversion towards the K'Chain Che'Malle was effective, but the Hunters swiftly turned on them, costing the Bridgeburners dearly. The undead reptiles are too fast for the Bridgeburners to fight, and with their munitions gone, the Bridgeburners are down to only sixteen. As another Hunter appears, a nearby wall explodes and a T'lan Imass appears. After a short exchange, the T'lan Imass has dismembered the Hunter, and begins walking toward the keep. Picker orders her remaining troops to follow the T'lan Imass as it seems being near him is the safest place in Coral.
The North Gate of Coral
As dawn arrives, Whiskeyjack's exhausted army has formed a line facing Coral, the Ilgres clan to one side and the White Face Barghast to the other. They watched the condor attack on the Black Moranth, and all know that Dujek's army is trapped in the city being slaughtered. Some condors are following the Black Moranth into the moutains, but Orfantal is there waiting. As Korlat reaches the crest, she notices that there's a line of 800 K'Chain Che'Malle near the city walls, poised to meet and destroy Whiskeyjack's forces. She thinks on how Caladan Brood is still half a day behind them, and while the Grey Swords might arrive within two hours, they will be exhausted. Trake's Legion seems to have disappeared, which doesn't surprise Korlat due to Gruntle's vocal dislike for combat. Twenty condors remain over the keep. Korlat approaches Whiskeyjack and tells him that her Tiste Andii will go first and use Kurald Galain on the K'Chain Che'Malle. Kallor scoffs at this, saying they'd need a full unveiling to cleanse the taint from their warren. Artanthos is looking down at the plain in front of the rows of Hunters when the two marines who once guarded Silverfox come galloping up shouting about her arrival. Silverfox appears and begins walking towards Artanthos. The K'Chain Che'Malle are surrounded by flowing dust which forms into T'lan Imass. The armies roar in triumph. Kallor whispers, "Yes..."
As Korlat turns to look at Kallor, he strikes her on the head with his sword, cracking her skull and infecting her with a chaotic warren. She sees Kallor charge at Silverfox who calls for the T'lan Ay to protect her. None appear, however and Kallor raises his sword. Whiskeyjack intercepts, fencing with Kallor and gaining the upper hand. When Kallor trips, Whiskeyjack lunges, but his injured leg fails him, the bone ripping through the flesh. Kallor kills him with a sword thrust. Kallor is thrown back by two crossbow bolts, but chaotic magic disintegrates them and heals the wounds. The two marines begin fighting him in tandem. Both women are killed, but not before stabbing Kallor in the stomach. Kallor asks the Crippled God to heal him when Korlat feels another warren burgeoning somewhere off to the side, not chaotic. Kallor is struck by magic which resembles golden fire. The sorcery rips into him, and Kallor escapes into a warren. The chaotic magic leaves Korlat's body, but she is still unable to move. Silverfox kneels by her, telling her that Caladan Brood is coming and can heal her with High Denul. Korlat thinks on how Brood could have healed Whiskeyjack's bad leg any time, and the knowledge that her lover is dead sinks in.
Silverfox looks over Korlat and reveals that Artanthos is really Tayschrenn in disguise. She accuses him of withholding his attack on Kallor until Whiskeyjack was killed, and Tayschrenn weakly protests. When he moves into Korlat's vision, she sees that the taint on his warren split the skin on his face, and Korlat knows that Tayschrenn attacked as soon as he could. Silverfox tells Korlat that Nightchill has known of Tayschrenn's deception for some time and was going to confront him just now. Korlat manages to speak and tells Silverfox to thank Tayschrenn for her life. As the sound of hoofbeats come closer, Korlat wonders if Hood is smiling now that he has claimed her love.
Before dawn, Gruntle comes to Itkovian and tells him that something has gone wrong with the main force, and he needs to move swiftly ahead with his Legion. He tells Stonny Menackis and Itkovian to follow if they can. Gruntle gathers his legion around him and they blur into the shape of a massive tiger, though Itkovian has a hard time focusing on it. The tiger speeds ahead of Caladan Brood; Itkovian and Stonny ride hard after it as the sun rises. As they pass the Malazan rearguard, they see the crackle of sorcery, and Itkovian is struck with the sense of immeasurable loss and sorrow. Sudden urgency overcomes Itkovian, and he moves away from Stonny toward the ridge, while Stonny joins Gruntle and his Legion. Itkovian walks through the ranks, noting the broken, defeated mien to all the Malazans after the apparent death of one man, and thinks, "I am not yet done." He sees the T'lan Imass on the killing ground below, who all turn as one to face him.
The North Gate of Coral
Gruntle makes it to the hill where Silverfox, Korlat, and three dead bodies lay. He notes Orfantal emerging from a warren and Caladan Brood arriving. Hetan and Kruppe arrive as well, and Kruppe slips into unconsciousness seemingly for no reason. As his legion readies their weapons, Gruntle looks around and finally spots Itkovian walking towards the T'lan Imass. With a cry, Silverfox turns towards Itkovian and begins running, but Gruntle knows it is too late. Itkovian tells the T'lan Imass that he would embrace them all and take their pain. The T'lan Imass fall to their knees and bow their heads.