|Night of Knives|
|1. Portents and Arrivals|
|3. Hounds of Shadow|
|4. Old Enemies, Old Friends|
|5. Feints and Fates|
Old Enemies, Old FriendsEdit
Strait of StormsEdit
Despite his lips frozen to his teeth in the frigid cold, Toben continues chanting as he rows further into the Strait of Storms. The Stormriders are still throwing weapons of ice at him which dissipate before reaching him. One Stormrider rushes into the radius of calm, but its armour melts and it plunges beneath the water's surface. The Wandwielders draw forth from the south an iceberg encasing the frozen ship "Rheni's Dream". The iceberg melts and shatters as it nears Toben's ship, the fragments sinking below the waves, but the Dream remains floating, and smashes Toben, who is unaware of its presence, and his skiff into bits. Now unopposed, the Stormriders rush onwards towards Malaz Island.
Malaz Island (shore)Edit
Agayla walks down the shore to Toben's home and enters. She finds Toben's wife sitting there but quickly realizes she, like the rest of the home, has frozen over, a thick layer of frost and ice coating her. She leaves the dead woman and heads over to a tall rock outcrop on the southern shore, where she meets with Obo. They discuss and recognise the unprecedented dangers of the Stormrider assault and commit to holding the Riders back until more help, invited by Agayla, might arrive. Surly's move against sorcery the previous year depleted what used to be a hotbed of talent which, unbeknown to all, had always kept the Riders at bay.
Temper has another flashback to the Siege of Y'Ghatan. Before the siege began, he had briefly spoken with Point about the possibility of this really being Dassem Ultor's last fight, as he had told Temper. They had then waited with the rest of the 'sword' bodyguard to be called to battle. Eventually, Dassem had turned over command and he his guard had entered the conflict, attacking Surgen Ress, the anointed Champion of Y'Ghatan, and his guard. Temper had then seen as Dassem took a hit from an arrow or bolt, seemingly from their own lines. With Dassem wounded and the regular Malazan soldiers still not arriving to cover them, they had fought a retreating battle, bearing an injured Dassem back. With still no support in sight, the members of the Sword had fallen, one by one, to either the Seven Cities infantry or a raging Surgen. When Point had fallen, Temper had take on the fight against Surgen. He had fought the Champion to a standstill, taking a terrible wounding but gaining enough time for the Malazan regulars to at last come to their relief. Rather than ending as usual at this point, his nightmare flashback seems to continue... with Temper envisioning Surgen, who is now wearing a grey hood, tearing him apart.
Temper regains his senses and finds out that he was rescued from Rood, the Hound of Shadow, by Shadow cultists who had been impressed with his fight and intervened. One of them, a leader of sorts whose face remains hidden, seems to recognise Temper by the helmet, he had ordered him healed because of it. He tells Temper that they have a common enemy in the Claw. The cultists lead him to a location overlooking the east city quarter, where he sees intense fog around the Deadhouse and Hanged Man Inn. After explaining that there will be an attempt on the Deadhouse later which they are supporting, the cultists offer him a choice between helping them and going his own way. Temper chooses not to work with them and two cultists escort him as far as Rampart Way before leaving him to carry on to Mock's Hold alone.
Temper recalls the way the soldiers used to look up to Dassem, and vividly remembers the events after the Sword's relief by the regulars and Temper's fade into unconsciousness. He had awoken in an infirmary tent, having been force-healed, the same as fellow Sword member Ferrule. The two of them had talked loudly for the benefit of the two Claw guards at the entrance to the tent whilst at the same time exchanging covert hand signals to plan their next move. Trying to leave the tent to visit Dassem, they had been stopped by the guards. Temper and Ferrule had attacked and overpowered the two men but Temper was badly injured in the fight. Whilst attending to Temper's wound, Ferrule had told him that his fight against Surgen was being talked about by everyone. They had then traveled through the infirmary quarters to the tent where Dassem was recovering which was also guarded by Claw. Entering, they had found Surly and the well-known Claws Topper, Possum, and Jade already within, and Dassem lying on a cot. After a tense conversation, Laseen and Topper had departed, leaving Jade and Possum to finish off Ferrule, Dassem, and Temper with the help of the Claw guards. Temper had revived Dassem and with his help they had fought off their opponents, however, towards the end, Temper had succumbed to unconsciousness from his injuries. Ferrule and Dassem had carried him out and the three of them had made it to the Seven Cities coast south of Aren where Dassem had left them to go his own way. Temper later heard that the official version was that the three of them had died in a raid by fanatical Holy City Falah'd that final night at Y'Ghatan and that the raiders had taken Dassem's body with them.
Kiska finds the gates to Mock's Hold locked, so she enters via the thieves' door to the side, having to step over a dead mercenary to do so. Two more lie dead in the courtyard, one of them near the door to Lubben's guardhouse quarters. As Kiska listens for sounds within, the door whips opens and Lubben pulls her inside. Recognizing her, he releases her. Not willing to sit out the night there, she asks for a weapon and Lubben lends her a mean-looking curved knife. Kiska heads back out, past the empty bailey towards the main keep. She comes across four more dead mercenaries just inside the door and the body of one of Artan's guards a short while later. On the second-floor landing she comes across a bloodbath. Bodies of mercenaries and Claws everywhere. Near the top of another flight of stairs she comes across the badly injured Ash, the leader of the mercenaries. He tells her that they (the mercenaries) were asked to come but that the Claw are everywhere and that Surly had come with them. Shortly afterwards she witnesses a huge warrior in archaic armour besting two Claws. Thinking him to possibly be a T'lan Imass, Kiska escapes to Sub-fist Pell's dining room. There she finds Artan and Hattar and warns them about the approaching armoured demon. They retreat to a corner from where they can overlook the hallway through an open door. When the warrior appears, Artan calls him 'a ghost of the past indeed...'. Then a cultist appears and the two seem to be negotiating. Eventually, the body of the mercenary mage materialises on the floor between the two and the warrior walks away, carrying her. Artan seems to recognise the cultist who has turned and is now staring straight at them through the narrow gap in the door.
Temper has entered Mock's Hold swords ready but only finds dead bodies until he gets to the main reception chamber where an injured Claw appears, about to open a gate into the Imperial Warren. Temper cuts her down to prevent the gate opening. Advancing further, he is confronted by two more Claw, one being Possum. Temper kills the Claw behind him and Possum retreats upstairs. Before Temper can advance much farther he is confronted by Dancer. They speak for a short time (this is the conversation witnessed by Kiska) and Dancer relinquishes Corinn in exchange for Temper supporting Pralt, the cultist's leader he had met earlier, in a battle. Dancer tells him that he and Kellanved are after more than just an empire, then he dissolves into shreds of shadow. Temper carries Corinn to Lubben's guardhouse. He leaves her in Lubben's care, departing to meet with the Shadow cultists to fulfill his end of the deal.