The problem with paths is that once you have chosen one, You cannot choose the others.Attributed to Gothos' Folly
South Coast of Genabackis
The original village of Hurly has been destroyed when, two years ago, Moon's Spawn crashed into the Rivan sea, causing a flood that drowned most of the villagers. Treasure Hunters descended the remains of the village trying to get to Moon's Spawn and the fabled treasures within. This was followed by an influx of thieves and conmen.
One such con-man is Jallin "The Jumper" who feels that the people who came to this place to hunt for treasures are getting lesser and lesser, and that since he cannot scavenge on them, he had fewer chances of striking it rich. So when a Malazan veteran comes along, Jallin immediately targets him, trying to befriend him to gain his trust so that he can knife him from behind later on and lay his hand on the wide bags that the Malazan kept so close to himself. Jallin wants to negotiate a fair-looking deal with the soldier so that it doesn't rouse any suspicion, then kill him down at the beach. He leads the soldier to the local Inn for a drink. The soldier introduces himself as Red Dog. Jallin informs Red of the situation. The Free City Confederacy pirates have taken over the sole rights to own a boat, defeating other mercenary armies. They are the only ones who can arrange for boats to be chartered by the Treasure Hunters.
After acquainting himself with the situation, Red refuses Jallin's offer to let him introduce Red to a 'friend', guessing that he would get a knife in his back for troubles. After his refusal, Red is forced to fight the owner of the Inn, who is charging an exorbitantly high rate for the drinks, in the process beating up the two guards and Jallin.
Ambassador Aragan is interrupted by his aide Dreshen Harad 'Ul during his breakfast. He is informed that the Moranth attache is most insistent on seeing him. Commander Torn, a Red Moranth veteran enters and requests that the Malazans keep a sharp eye on the burial grounds south of the city, since the Silver Moranth 'mages' of their society, more mystics in truth, are very anxious regarding events there. After Torn has left, Aragan orders Dreshen to gather as many troops as possible from Fist K'ess in Pale and Fist Steppen in the south and have them rendezvous somewhere south of Dhavran.
On the Shores of Creation
Leoman and Kiska have become lovers. Leoman notices that their titanic neighbor is no longer around. They immediately head out and spot a strange entity along the shores of creation, who welcomes them since it has been a long since he last talked to strangers. He communicates with them directly in their minds, identifying himself as Maker and he informs them that there are two others here, one like them and the other not, making Kiska hopeful of finding Tayschrenn. However Maker informs them that anything that emerges out of the Vitr is as a new-born without any memories of his past, and this man has come out of the Vitr himself. The two set off to find this man.
In the Gadrobi Hills
Ebbin has been working alone for a month, removing the landfall blocking the tunnel. As he clears the tunnel and moves inwards, he discovers a circular chamber that has already been robbed by looters. He discovers a band of human skulls under him, and follows these circular bands to an onyx plinth on which rests a corpse with a hammered mask of gold. Some instinct stops him from removing the mask. For further exploration, he decides he needs further funding from his backer, Humble Measure.
Hills east of Darujhistan
The great warlord from the north, Caladan Brood, a friend of Anomander Rake, has camped in the hills east of Darujhistan, hearing out and resolving complaints and other issues of the tribes that live around in the Gadrobi hills and beyond. He is concerned about events to come, and is staying in the area for a reason.
Rallick meets his one time fellow Guild Assassin, Krute. Krute leads him to a sewer where two ex- Warden guards have been murdered. Krute suspects this to be the work of a professional, something Rallick agrees with. With no one from the Assassin's guild having done this, Krute suspects either Rallick or Vorcan to be responsible. Rallick informs him that neither of them are interested in making a come back, and that the Guild is not in Vorcan's league.
Ebbin is in Darujhistan and he has come to visit Aman. Aman has a range of wards around his shop, and no one seems to visit it much. Ebbin brings with him a fragment of an eggshell, which Aman examines with great interest. Ebbin needs some special material that Aman will have for him in a few days; Otataral made tools that are specially made for excavations. After Ebbin has left, he meets a young girl, whose instrusions are unwelcome to Aman. He asks the girl, Taya, to shadow the scholar and make sure nothing untoward happens to him.