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Night of Knives
Dramatis Personae Prologue
1. Portents and Arrivals
2. Assignations
3. Hounds of Shadow
4. Old Enemies, Old Friends
5. Feints and Fates
6. Resolutions
Epilogue Pagination

Hounds of Shadow[]

Strait of Storms[]


Toben continues to row hard, struggling outwards into the Strait of Storms through heavy rain and sleet, while chanting his song. An eye of calm, impenetrable to the sleet and rain, disturbed only by the wind, surrounds his ship and the bright brazier within. Stormriders begin to assault his ship with ice-lances, but their weapons evaporate in the calm before reaching him.

An iceberg appears in front of him, but as it enters the area of calm it quickly begins to steam and fragments break off. Before it closes the remaining distance, it is sucked under the churning waves. Wandwielders then initiate a sorcerous assault on Toben's ship, but their magic withers to nothing before it can reach him. He rows onward as another mountain of ice reveals its form in the distance.

Malaz City/Warren of Shadow[]


Kiska is slowly running along Riverwalk searching for the man from the boat and his bodyguards. As she pauses on Stone Bridge, a wave of shadows sweeps through the area and before she can move, she is pulled into Kurald Emurlahn again. She gathers her wits and is observing the glacier on the horizon when, what she describes as a corpse, a being called Edgewalker, surprises her. Edgewalker tells her that she was swept up by something called a Changing, a shadow storm. He does not know of Oleg and when asked about a Throne of Shadow, initially remains silent but eventually shrugs off the enquiry saying that many have tried to take it but all have failed.

Edgewalker tells her to run to Obo's Tower and beg his protection as a Hound has caught her scent. He tells her he will be safe as he and the Hounds are both slaves to Shadow. A wave from his hand, a moment of shadows and Kiska finds herself back on Riverwalk. Fearing the Hound pursuing her to be close, she runs to the tower. Obo comes out to greet her, as they speak she notices the ruin of his tower is now whole, and the city is not present around them. The two don't get on and Obo refuses her entry, but tells her the Hound has gone. Before climbing back over the stone wall around the tower, Kiska notices a tomb, apparently in the exact location where the Deadhouse ought to be in Malaz. Climbing over the wall results in her return to the normal world.

Kiska heads to her aunt Agayla's Shop. Once there she relates the events of the night to Agayla, excluding her meetings with Edgewalker and Obo, considering them too absurd to be believable. It turns out that Agayla has known Oleg for a long time and feels that he should not have spoken to Kiska. As they are talking, they hear the scratching of claws on stone outside, as well as panting and snuffling right at the door. Then a terrifying baying and the sound of the beast running off. Agayla is shaken by the event. Whilst she tends to Kiska's wounds she explains the state of the Empire, not the official version but another one, not to be repeated.

Agayla tells Kiska that the breaking of the Sword of the Empire a year earlier leaves Surly next in line of succession. Dassem and his two remaining bodyguards were killed that night, possibly involving Surly and the Claw according to rumours. Kellanved and Dancer have been seen less and less as they are following their own arcane research and discontent is spreading amongst the military, possibly fanned by the Claws who are in the meantime eliminating the Talon. According to Agayla, a prophecy arose that Kellanved and Dancer would return to the island where it all began. Thus, the arrival of the Shadow Moon has brought different parties to the island on this night, all of them gambling that the future of the Empire might be decided. She clarifies that Oleg's killer had not been a Claw but a Shadow cultist. Given the additional dangers posed by the Shadow Moon itself, she advises Kiska to remain with her for the remainder of the night.

Kiska recalls the day of the edict and purge against magery when Agayla had kept her in an upstairs room during the worst of it. She had witnessed Agayla being threatened by rioting soldiers at the door until the arrival of a veteran Sergeant, Aragan, diverted them. Kiska is determined not to be locked away again. She draws her aunt's attention to a basin of water which has turned to ice. Agayla relents and gives Kiska a message to deliver to the man from the boat but asks her not to follow him into Mock's Hold.

Malaz City[]


Temper carries Coop to the ex-Malazan army healer Seal's house, breaking down the door when Seal fails to respond and he hears a frightening howl. After deciding that Temper and Coop are not shades or another threat, Seal begins to tend to Coop. Temper has a travel-chest stored with Seal, containing items which he does not dare keep in his room, from which he now retrieves two swords, his old helmet and his armoured gauntlets. The healer allows Temper to use his great-uncle's vintage cuirass and skirting for the night to come. Seal helps him put on the armour, bitter at remembering how he normally is the one taking it off wounded soldiers. Temper leaves and begins to jog to Mock's Hold, searching for answers.


Kiska recalls an event from the first night of the Mouse Quarter riots. From a rooftop vantage point, she had watched three soldiers attacking an old fisherman. She intervened, but became surrounded. A soldier had grabbed her, but she managed to free herself and in a brief fight had knocked him and another out with her daggers. The third had run away. She now wonders why she should be out again on another fell night. The town seems to be changing in front of her eyes with streets appearing and disappearing, even sounds being distorted. The roar of a Hound interrupts her thoughts and sends her fleeing across the rooftops in panic. She finds a brief moment of rest on the roof of a temple dedicated to Fener but when a priest appears runs off again, eventually reaching the commons, Mossy Tors from which she can sense hugs amounts of sorcery emanating. She follows some cultists and finds the body of a woman with the painted tattoo of a talon on her, then witnesses a confrontation between a large group of Shadow cultists and her quarry, the man from the boat and his bodyguards.

Kiska does not see the end of the confrontation as she is grabbed and kidnapped by members of Ash's group from the Hanged Man Inn, who mistake her for a cultist. She is taken to the Southern Crescent Inn, tied up and interrogated. The groups mage, whom Kiska recognises, tries in vain to intercede on her behalf and as they make preparations to leave, Kiska fears she is about to die. At that point, a Hound of Shadow arrives, breaks into the inn and begins a slaughter. Kiska witnesses as all those of the group who have not fled are killed. She manages to free herself and run out of the inn just as the last of Ash's veterans who remained within throws an incendiary device at the Hound, wounding it and destroying the inn's remnants, thus saving Kiska.


Temper hears a scream and investigates, finding in an alleyway what he believes to be a young girl in peril. However, it is a trap and she turns into a snake-like creature which attacks him. It pins Temper to the ground, but before it can kill him, Edgewalker slits its throat. Edgewalker tells him that he is currently trespassing in Shadow and advises Temper to stay indoors as dwellings will be mostly respected. Temper declines and after recovering from the shock leaves to rinse himself at a fountain nearby. He tries to find his bearings but the streets are not as they should be so he decides to keep going uphill as that should lead to Mock's Hold. A Hound's howls and seeming pursuit send him running. He reaches Jakani Square where he finds an undead corpse who tells him with glee that the Hound killed him and is following and that now, Temper is dead, too. Again, Temper flees, until he eventually decides that he needs to make a stand. Close to the concourse that leads to Reacher's Way, the hound tracks him down and attacks him. Temper is tossed like a rag-doll by the beast, his own initial attack having been completely ineffective. Battered all over and his arm now broken, Temper manages one last attack which wounds the beast, then he falls unconscious.


Kiska has returned to her pursuit and is taking a shortcut to Rampart Way. She climbs the cliffs from the waterfront, following an old, forgotten animal path to a crevice some hundred yards up, where she pauses. She hears noise and finds herself grabbed and tied again, this time by one of her quarry's bodyguards, the Seti Hattar. As he puts a blindfold on her, she tells him she has a message for his master and that Oleg is dead. Soon after, her blindfold is removed and she is facing the man she has been seeking. After Hattar is persuaded that she is no threat, she is able to hand over the scroll. The man who calls himself Artan, asks her to tell him what Agayla does at Winter's Turn and what her name is. He shows her the scroll which just shows a rectangle with a stylised figure. Looking closer, she sees ice. He burns the scroll then asks her for her message, also telling her that he has met Agayla a few times. Kiska informs him of her meeting with Oleg and his message that Kellanved will make an attempt on the Deadhouse, as well as that Edgewalker seemed to be in agreement with the theory. Artan does not completely believe her, but says he will keep it in mind. He brushes off her request to accompany them and Hattar ties her more securely and tells her not to follow, before he and Artan depart. She manages to free herself very soon and, ignoring Hattar as well as Agalya's warning, begins to head for Mock's Hold.