Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

Mhybe [maib][1] was the title given to a matron of the Rhivi tribes[2] who carried the Soletaken child Silverfox to term.[3] At the time of giving birth, she was initially described as "perhaps middle-aged" with a dark round face,[4] but later it became clear that she was barely twenty summers old.[5] She had the recently traced tattoo of a white-haired fox on her belly. Immediately after the birth, the tattoo was gone.[4]

Her mother had been a reader of bones and her father had held the Spear of War against the White Face Barghast and the Malazan Empire.[6]

The word 'Mhybe' was derived from the ancient term 'Mahybe' which meant 'vessel'.[7] The Rhivi called "mhybe" a container intended for a single use after which it would be discarded.[6]

In Gardens of the Moon[]

The Elder God K'rul brought the Mhybe, the Bonecaster Pran Chole, and the mage Kruppe into one of Kruppe's dreams. The Mhybe was already pregnant with a child that bore no soul. Soon they were joined by the creature that had once been the mages Tattersail and Nightchill. The group transferred Tattersail's soul to the Mhybe's child, who became the Soletaken Silverfox.[8]

In Memories of Ice[]

After Silverfox's birth, the Mhybe and Silverfox came under the protection of Caladan Brood. The Mhybe grew old in a very short space of time, her life-force being unwittingly used by Silverfox, who grew up at a similarly alarming pace. Although appearing as a withered crone, she was in fact only around twenty summers old.[9] As her own body deteriorated and her child matured into womanhood, the Mhybe grew bitter towards her daughter, and despite her love and fear for her child's safety, this led to an estrangement between them. Brood's allies, Korlat and Crone, felt pity for the woman and attempted to ease her physical pain and mental anguish.[10]

Throughout the Pannion Campaign, the Mhybe continued to age at a rapid pace to the point where she could no longer stand on her own. Thereafter, she spent the majority of the Campaign sleeping in a Rhivi wagon guarded by Tiste Andii and fed and tended by the Darujhistan envoys, Coll and Murillio.[3] A simple-minded Rhivi woman cleaned and bathed her.[11] Kruppe also brought her copper ornaments that had once belonged to the First Rhivi which he said would ease her pain.[12][13]

While the Mhybe slept, she dreamed of being chased across the tundra of Tellann by giant wolves, but each time awoke before being caught.[14][15] She grew to believe that the wolves had been sent by her daughter to maliciously torment her.[16][17] Once while hiding from the wolves in a cave, she discovered an agonized man and beast trapped in a prison of broken flesh.[18] Afterwards, she continued to see the prison in her dreams, which sought to draw her within its touch.[19][20]

After the Siege of Capustan, Coll and Murillio grew more and more concerned at seeing her a prisoner in her own body and seemingly cast away by her daughter. They took it upon themselves to steal her away to Capustan in the hopes of finding a priest who would grant her a dignified end.[21][22] The necromancer Korbal Broach attempted to seize the Mhybe, but was driven away by Hood's Knight of Death.[23] The Knight brought Coll, Murillio, and the Mhybe to the Temple of Hood which had been readied for her arrival.[24] They were soon joined by K'rul who assured her guardians that he had come for her salvation and announced it was time for her "dream for real".[25]

Within the dreamworld, the memories of the T'lan Imass fell onto the land like ice after Itkovian's benediction.[26] The Mhybe moved towards the cage of bones where she heard a beast's agonized howling. Kruppe helped her to the cage of ribs and requested her to touch it. As she did, Togg burst free and the Mhybe passed out.[27] When she awoke, Kruppe begged her to take the dream as her own and let it fill the vessel of her spirit. She was approached by the spirits of the First Rhivi, who explained that the dreamworld had been made by Silverfox, as a request for forgiveness, along with Kruppe, K'rul, and Pran Chole. Silverfox had made a deal with Hood to keep the Mhybe in an eternal sleeping stasis where the Mhybe's dreams would become a new world, one where she would live, young and undying. The Mhybe longed to apologise to her daughter.[28]

The memories of the T'lan Imass brought unexpected life to the realm. It was also now home to the Beast Thrones where the united Togg and Fanderay lived with their children, the once again mortal T'lan Ay. Togg addressed the Mhybe as the world's mistress and requested that she free the cherished mortal spirit of Toc the Younger within him. The Mhybe agreed.[29]

In Capustan, the Mhybe's living body was interred in a sarcophagus where it was to be eternally warded and protected by Hood. K'rul explained to Coll and Murillio that she slept to dream, and within her dream an entire world lived.[30]

In The Crippled God[]

Olar Ethil told Precious Thimble that she had made Precious' soul into a Mahybe, a vessel that waits.[31] This suggested that the Rhivi title may have derived from the Imass language.

In Forge of Darkness[]

The Hostage Korya Delath was told that she was being prepared to be a Mahybe (suggesting that the term was in wider use at the time).[32]


  • The Mhybe's given name is never revealed.
  • The character of the Mhybe seemed to have undergone a transformation between her first appearance in Gardens of the Moon and her second appearance in Memories of Ice. In her first appearance, she was clearly an older woman already heavy with child.[3] But in her second appearance she was only a young woman on the brink of maturity. Not yet ready to accept a marriage proposal from one of the young men of her tribe, her "defiance of accepting a man's touch" was said to make her an ideal candidate for bearing Silverfox. The fact that she had already been pregnant at the time of the Gardens of the Moon account was not mentioned again.[33]
  • Author Steven Erikson has said with the Mhybe he was inspired to take a metaphor of postpartum depression and make it visceral in a fantasy sense. "It's not just the belief in a mother's suffering through postpartum depression that the child is somehow vampiric, I actually made the child basically push the imagery, push the analogy further."[34]
  • When pressed to explain the nature of the Mhybe's dreamworld, Erikson said it was probably a "kind of pocket real as any other place." But "thematically it does not matter whether it's a dreamworld, whether it's a fantasy creation within the Mhybe's mind...if she's smiling, that's what counts more than any physical reality."[35]

Notes and references[]

  1. Read for Pixels 2016 Interview As pronounced by Steven Erikson at 49:43, rhymes with "tribe"
  2. Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.352-359 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":3" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.253
  5. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.105
  6. 6.0 6.1 Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.88
  7. The Bonehunters, Glossary, UK MMPB p.1212
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.252-256
  9. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.88/105
  10. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.199-200
  11. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.619-620
  12. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.310-311
  13. Memories of Ice, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.513
  14. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.308-309
  15. Memories of Ice, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.514-515
  16. Memories of Ice, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.518
  17. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.620
  18. Memories of Ice, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.692-695
  19. Memories of Ice, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.801-802
  20. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.906
  21. Memories of Ice, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.690-692
  22. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.746
  23. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.758-760
  24. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.760
  25. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.903-904
  26. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.910
  27. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.932-933
  28. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.950/955-956
  29. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.955-956
  30. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.960
  31. The Crippled God, Chapter 2
  32. Forge of Darkness, Chapter 3
  33. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.88
  34. Ten Very Big Books podcast - Memories of Ice - See 04:30
  35. Ten Very Big Books podcast - Memories of Ice - See 10:25
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