Pormqual was the High Fist of the Seven Cities continent and based in Aren. He had succeeded Cartharon Crust in around 1160 BS. According to Imperial Historian Duiker, the High Fist was little involved in governance. Instead, decisions on taxation and trade were made behind the scenes by a host of merchants for their own benefit. Pormqual's edicts were all delivered through the priest Mallick Rel.
Pormqual was tall, wiry, pale, and slope-shouldered with a thin, oiled face. He wore "clothes that would beggar a king". Although he owned stables of fine horses, the High Fist himself was a poor rider.
In Deadhouse Gates[edit | edit source]
Expecting Coltaine's arrival as the new Fist of the Malazan 7th Army, Pormqual dispatched Mallick Rel to Hissar to deliver his instructions. Coltaine was to march his army overland to Aren for the High Fist's review while Admiral Nok's fleet returned from Hissar harbour by sea. Coltaine dismissed Mallick out of hand, claiming the priest had no authority to issue commands.
The continent was soon aflame with the Whirlwind rebellion and the Malazans were dislodged from six of the seven Holy Cities. Pormqual readied to abandon Aren, evacuating his household and his prized breeding stallions by Imperial transport. A second private vessel was contracted to remove the city treasury accompanied by the city treasurer.
Under Rel's influence, Pormqual arrested the city's Red Blades and their commander Orto Setral as traitors. He also had Admiral Nok taken into custody to force his fleet to remain in Aren's harbor. Fist Coltaine and his army were abandoned to their fate even as they made their way closer to Aren by foot.
When the refugees of the Chain of Dogs appeared at Aren's gates, Pormqual allowed them inside but due to his own cowardice and the advice of Mallick Rel, refused to allow his ten thousand soldiers to aid Coltaine. Pormqual was further convinced to withhold his assistance by the nobles Nethpara and Pullyk Alar who claimed Coltaine had betrayed the refugees. The Wickan Fist and his men were slaughtered by Korbolo Dom's army in full view of the demoralized troops atop the city's walls.
Pormqual led a sortie with his army the following morning hoping to catch Dom's troops drunk and exhausted, again under the advice of Mallick Rel. But the High Fist was betrayed by the Jhistal, who was in league with the Army of the Apocalypse. Aren's forces were met by overwhelming numbers and convinced to surrender. Dom then had Pormqual beheaded and his soldiers crucified.
In The Bonehunters[edit | edit source]
Pormqual's ignominious demise proved a useful tool for those who sought to scapegoat Coltaine and the Wickans for the massacre at Aren. It became common knowledge on Quon Tali that the Wickans had been complicit in luring the naive High Fist and his army out of the city to be slaughtered. Both Empress Laseen and Mallick Rel sought to rehabilitate his reputation to their advantage. Those soldiers who had been in Aren still knew Pormqual had been guilty of stupidity and cowardice.
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.17
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.80
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.56
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21, US HC p.544/549
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.394
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, US HC p.563
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.72
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.55-56
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, US HC p.560-561
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.390/393-394/397-398
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.830
- The Bonehunters, Book Four: The Bonehunters, Epigraph
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.899-900
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.328
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.892