For the demon, see Pearl (demon).
For the merchant of Quon, see Pearl (merchant).
Pearl was a Mockra mage and an agent of the Claw. Almost effeminate in appearance, Pearl was tall and handsome with dark skin and a lean face "too sharp-featured to be called friendly". Pearl had green eyes and was fond of dressing in green silks and bedecking his long fingers with rings of glittering green-hued gems. He was one-quarter Tiste Andii and three-quarters Human. Under his half-cloak he wore a belt across his chest containing throwing stars. Below his left arm was a brace of throwing knives.
At the time of the Whirlwind uprising, Pearl was in Seven Cities for unrevealed reasons. While there he stumbled upon a suspicious opening in the Imperial Warren and discovered Lostara Yil of the Red Blades following Kalam Mekhar. Pearl teamed up with Lostara to trail the assassin.
Their progress was interrupted when Empress Laseen sent Pearl to assist Fist Coltaine of the Malazan 7th Army against the Semk godling, Pearl mentioning to Lostara that he was the "last surviving operative". Pearl and Lostara were nearly killed by the Semk demon in the attempt, but were saved by the timely intervention of the demon Apt.
Arriving in Aren, Lostara was arrested and imprisoned along with the rest of the city's Red Blades whom High Fist Pormqual wrongly suspected of treason. Pearl then arranged to travel with Kalam to Unta aboard the Ragstopper under the pseudonym "Salk Elan". Although Kalam had figured out that Salk Elan was not who he pretended to be, Kalam was unable to decipher Salk Elan's motives. On the trip, Pearl ensorcelled both the ship and its Captain with his mind magic, eventually redirecting the ship from its original destination to Malaz City instead.
Once in the Malaz City harbour, Pearl entranced Kalam and the ship's crew - preventing them from moving - stabbed Kalam (though not fatally), and then threw him into the shark-infested water. As Pearl threw the helpless Kalam overboard, Pearl told him that while he expected the man to actually make it to shore, there would be several Hands (i.e., groups of five assassins) of the Claw awaiting him in the city. At that point, Apt and Panek materialized on board the ship and attacked Pearl before he could kill the captain and crew (which Pearl was preparing to do). Pearl was forced to unleash a Kenryll'ah demon and to then flee via Warren. Pearl having left in this fashion, the captain and crew were all released from the spell that had been holding them immobile.
Kalam succeeded in slaying many Claws on his way to Empress Laseen at Mock's Hold - where the two of them talked and, to an extent, cleared the air between them. Afterwards, Topper, angry at the death of so many of his Claws, wanted revenge on Kalam, but was forced to promise Laseen that he would, instead, take out his frustrations on Pearl.
On the outs with the Empress and Topper, Pearl returned to Aren where Lostara Yil and the other Red Blades had been released after Pormqual's death. Upon the arrival of Adjunct Tavore and the newly-formed Malazan 14th Army, Pearl sought out the Red Blade to make her his aide. The two were secretly assigned by Tavore to search for the Adjunct's sister, Felisin Paran, in return for knowledge regarding the existence of the Talon. Pearl hoped to return to the Empress' good graces by capturing Baudin and rolling up his organisation.
During this assignment, Pearl and Lostara became lovers. In tracking down Felisin Paran, they revisited the site of Lostara's assassination of Sha'ik Elder and theorized that Felisin had in fact become Sha'ik (i.e., Sha'ik Reborn) in order to be able to take revenge against her sister, Tavore, and the Malazan Empire for sending her to the Otataral mines.
Pearl and Lostara followed Felisin's trail to Sha'ik's camp in Raraku. On the eve of the Battle of Raraku between the armies of Sha'ik and Adjunct Tavore, he crept into Sha'ik's camp looking for the Master of the Talon. He slew the mage, Henaras, leaving a pearl upon her corpse and opening a path for Kalam and Quick Ben to confront the self-styled leader of the Talon, Korbolo Dom. After the Bridgeburners took Dom captive, Kalam struck Pearl nearly senseless in repayment for their last meeting in Malaz City. Then the Bridgeburner left the bound and unconscious Dom in Pearl's hands.
Pearl and Lostara Yil brought Korbolo Dom to Adjunct Tavore moments too late to stop her from slaying Sha'ik Reborn. Pearl spirited away Felisin's body before Tavore could learn her true identity. He returned to Lostara in time to see the floodwaters fill the Raraku basin.
Pearl and Lostara Yil remained with the 14th Army as it followed the Whirlwind army to Y'Ghatan. They continued their edgy dance around each other, unable to decide if it was based in desire or spite. Meanwhile, Pearl's presence made Kalam wary and Fiddler suspected an untrusting Laseen wanted the Claw to keep an eye on Adjunct Tavore. He made no effort to hide himself from Kalam and wore a sly smile whenever he was around.
At the Last Siege of Y'Ghatan, Pearl was piqued when Adjunct Tavore refused to send him into the city alone to finish off Leoman and end the war. Lostara told him that the Adjunct was right to mistrust him, and the Claw cruelly mulled the possibility of informing the Adjunct of Sha'ik's true identity. Lostara and Pearl argued, and the Claw released her to participate in the siege. When Lostara did not return from the battle, Pearl was convinced that she had died in the fires, and alternately blamed Adjunct Tavore and himself for the death of "the only woman he had ever loved." He quietly slipped away from the army before they embarked for home with Admiral Nok's fleet.
He had become fixated on killing Kalam Mekhar.
In Malaz City, Pearl had become Clawmaster after Topper's 'disappearance'. During a conversation with Empress Laseen and Mallick Rel, Pearl realized that the position of Clawmaster had been offered to Kalam - who had essentially declined it by allying with the Adjunct (whose fleet and entire army were, even then, in the Malaz City harbour) and facilitated her and T'amber's escape back to the city docks during the tumultuous events then occurring in Malaz City. Pearl could not help but be left wondering exactly where he stood).
When Kalam cut his way across a town full of hundreds of Claw assassins in a tour de force, Pearl, who had felt that there was not enough room in the world of assassins for both Kalam Mekhar and himself, was left deeply shaken by this display of skill. After a final run-in on the roof of a derelict tenement in the Mouse Quarter between Pearl (accompanied by two Hands of carefully chosen Claw assassins) and Kalam (who had handily killed all but Pearl and one other Claw), Pearl vindictively shot Kalam from behind with a quarrel dipped in Kartoolian Paralt spider venom, a poison so vile in how long-lasting and how horrible its effects were, that its mere use, especially on another assassin, disgusted the one remaining Claw (of the two Hands who had been involved in this particular attack on Kalam) so much, that this Claw threw down his weapons and announced that he was "done with" Pearl. As the man turned away, Pearl shot him (in the back with a quarrel, but with one smeared with a much faster acting poison) - thereby thinking that he had eliminated the only Claw witness as to how dishonorably and despicably Pearl had slain Kalam. Kalam had managed to pull out the poisoned quarrel just before he fall through a hole in the roof, but the Paralt had already entered his system.
Apsalar, the assassin, whose final target on the list given to her previously by Cotillion had been Pearl, came upon the scene and, after talking with an apparition of the Claw murdered by Pearl (which had appeared to her) and learning from it the details of Kalam's death, carefully picked up the (still poisoned with Paralt) quarrel, and followed after Pearl. When she caught up with Pearl, Apsalar brutally attacked him with her knives, slicing through his Achilles' tendons, hamstrings, and elbows, thus rendering him immobile. Pearl, who had been trying to flee via Warren, had been unable to do so due to the Otataral knife that was one of the two long-knives of Kalam that Pearl had taken as trophies. Apsalar proceeded to further maim Pearl by slicing off his tongue, breaking his face, left arm, and hip and then finally, fittingly, sticking him with the same poisoned quarrel that Pearl had used on Kalam - leaving Pearl to an inevitably prolonged, agonizing demise - all in revenge for the manner of Kalam's death. Apsalar whispered to Pearl that she had intended to make his death a quick one, but changed her mind on hearing how Pearl had killed Kalam. One of Pearl's final thoughts were of Lostara Yil, who he expected to meet at Hood's gate.
Later, after Apsalar's departure, the child Grub led Lostara Yil to the dying Pearl and, after explaining to her that Pearl had thought Lostara dead, Grub urged her to put an end to Pearl's terrible suffering, which she mercifully (although very reluctantly) did by a quick stab with her knife straight to Pearl's heart.
- "I am sorry, Kalam Mekhar. But you… I cannot accept… your existence. I cannot…"
- ―Pearl after shooting Kalam with a poisoned quarrel
Notes and references
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.537
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.18
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 5, US TPB p.183
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.391
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US TPB p.513
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.517
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339-340
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.581
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.537
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.229
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.303
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339-341
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.575-578
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US TPB p.512-514
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.536-540
- ↑ Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.580-581
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 5, US TPB p.189-190/192-193
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.518
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.514-516
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.793-794/814
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 26, US SFBC p.829-830/831/845
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.711
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.99
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.523
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.273
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US HC p.683/685
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.636
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.731
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1108
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.753-754
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1143/1144
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.758-759
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1152
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.760
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.758-759
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.754
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.759-760
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.764-765
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 20