Paralt was a name used for different poisons which were often used by assassins.

Kartoolian (or Yellow) paralt[edit | edit source]

Kartoolian paralt (or spider paralt) was derived from the venom of the fist-sized yellow-banded spiders who inhabited Kartool.[1][2] Aggressive and virulent from birth, Kartoolian paralt spiders matured in the limestone cliffs surrounding Kartool before returning to nest among the city's ornate towers and domes. As the arachnids grew, they shed their hard moult-skins. Adult paralts captured gulls and pigeons in their webs.[3]

Their venom was said to produce a most painful, protracted death. Kartoolian spiders needed to keep their victims alive because they used the venom to breathe their rich, bright blood.[4] That poison kept the victim "alive for as long as possible, feeding his heart with everything it needed, even as vessels throughout his body burst, again and again and again".[5]

Acid leaked from the stomach.[4] The victim's limbs were twisted as if someone had broken their joints, the nodes at the crotch and neck swelled until they burst, and the face was left in an unrecognisable rictus of agony. The pain alone was said to be enough to kill.[6]

The effects of the poison were so horrific that even professional killers such as the Claw frowned on its use.[7]

A song called The Paralt's Dance was a wild, frantic, and amusing piece that finished with a recount of a triumphant female eating her lover.[8]

White paralt[edit | edit source]

White paralt (or snake paralt) was derived from the venom of white paralt snakes.[9] It was said to bring on a much quicker death.[9]

The name 'White Paralt' in the Seven Cities (Bisbrha and Debrahl) language however, described a poison derived from spiders.[10] Also known as "death-ticklers", their underbellies were a pale golden colour.[11]

Iskaral Pust carried a vial of paralt poison around his neck and Baruk had created an antidote to white paralt.

In House of Chains[edit | edit source]

Fiddler recalled an event from Admiral Nok's younger days as a commander of six dromons. Before leading an attack against the Kartoolian fleet, Nok had made a stop to collect fresh water at the mouth of the Koolibor River. Soon after, his sailors discovered the barrels had all been infested by paralt migrating down the river to the sea. One of Nok's crew was killed and the mission had to be abandoned.[12]

In The Bonehunters[edit | edit source]

The Clawmaster, Pearl, used a quarrel dipped in Kartoolian paralt to shoot Kalam Mekhar in the back. One of his Claw assassins was so outraged by the dishonourable poison that he immediately quit Pearl's service.[13] When Apsalar discovered the poison had been used on Kalam, she found the still poisonous quarrel and hunted down Pearl, using his own quarrel to poison him after incapacitating him in an alley near the docks in Malaz City.[14]

In Night of Knives[edit | edit source]

Temper noted that Faro Balkat drank Paralt water at Coop's Hanged Man Inn. Presumably, in its watered down form, the poison was weakened while producing some alcoholic or drug-like effect.[15]

In The Wurms of Blearmouth[edit | edit source]

Lord Fangatooth Claw attempted to murder the necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by adding yellow paralt to their food. Bauchelain and Broach were unaffected as they were immune to the poison. Their manservant Emancipor Reese was equally protected because Bauchelain had been exposing him to small doses of the poison in his rustleaf for months.[16]


See Talk:Paralt for more information/references on this topic.

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. The Bonehunters, Prologue, US SFBC p.21
  2. The Bonehunters, Glossary
  3. The Bonehunters, Prologue, US SFBC p.21
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.949
  5. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.944
  6. Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.170
  7. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.936
  8. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.922
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.936-937
  10. Deadhouse Gates, Glossary, UK MMPB p.936
  11. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.765
  12. House of Chains, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.319-320
  13. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1143
  14. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.944
  15. Night of Knives, Chapter 1, US MMPB p.43
  16. The Wurms of Blearmouth, Section 20
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