Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

Ralata was a seasoned warrior of the Skincuts, who were an all-female sub-group of clan Ahkrata of the White Face Barghast. Ralata was described as being "well-muscled" with long reddish hair worn braided. She was said to be clad in "garb distinctly barbaric" in nature - along with armour that was made up of pieces of Moranth chitin, as was customary amongst the members of clan Ahkrata. Ralata's armour had a striking chest-piece of the rare Moranth Gold chitin. As was also the practice of the Ahkrata, Ralata sported broad, hollow nose plugs in her nostrils.[1][2]

In Dust of Dreams[]

Ralata had joined a small troop of Skincuts, led by first-time warleader, Hessanrala, which had set out on a raiding party. The six women had tracked down a male Akrynnai horsetrader, who they had first tortured - led by Ralata's example - and had then killed. Ralata, older and more experienced than the other five women, had volunteered to be part of this troop - doing this because it was the custom for a seasoned warrior to accompany a group of Skincuts when it was being led by a warleader who was newly promoted to that position. Ralata had become uneasy since the previous evening, as she had sensed the presence of a menace in the night sky which she was sure was stalking the troop. As a result, Ralata recommended that the troop return to the Ahkrata encampment to collect a much larger group of women before continuing with the raid. Ralata's advice was first ridiculed and then dismissed by the young, headstrong Hessanrala and her four followers. Thus, Ralata parted from the others, seemingly heading back to camp. Ralata, however, feeling responsible for the "five foolish girls", actually intended to double back and to then keep a covert watch over the small group in case they ran into trouble.[3]

Later, however, despite Ralata's best attempts to keep an eye on the five young Skincuts, she found all of them mysteriously dead in the night. When Ralata inspected their wounds closely, she realized that they had not been slain by knife or sword thrusts, but had instead been slaughtered by something like the talons of a huge beast. Beneath the reek of death, Ralata was able to detect an "oily bitterness" reminiscent of snakes. Upon inhaling more deeply, the smell and "acrid flavours" she then detected suddenly made Ralata remember the undead K'Chain Che'Malle which the White Face Barghast had faced, years ago, back on Genabackis during the Pannion War. Sensing something diving down upon her from above, Ralata was able to escape the attack while catching a glimpse of a "vast winged silhouette". The attacker was immediately gone in a flash, but Ralata heard, in her head, "cold, contemptuous" laughter which faded into the distance - the creature flying to the northeast. Having a direction in which to go, Ralata set off, determined to avenge her kin.[4]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Ralata.

Ralata was able to 'track' the "winged demon" because it killed every living thing in its path. As she proceeded deeper into the Wastelands of Lether, the Skincut came upon two men - Ublala Pung and a companion. Having introduced herself and explained her situation, Ralata then accepted the resulting invitation that she received from the two men to travel eastward in their company.[5]

In The Crippled God[]

Splr CG.png
Click here to reveal section for
The Crippled God.

Ralata continued to travel eastward in the company of Ublala and Draconus. She 'burned' with the increasingly obsessive need to take revenge against the winged K'Chain Che'Malle that had been the killer of her Skincut sisters. Although she would have preferred to be rid of Ublala and his "clumsy advances", and to eliminate Draconus - so as to be able to take possession of his "sword of magic" - she was completely dependent on Draconus' magical ability to produce the food and water that was otherwise lacking in the Lether Wastelands. Although Draconus told Ralata that Ublala was doing his best to court her, her disgusted reply was that, as a Skincut, she was "a slayer, a collector of scalps" and that she preferred men with the skin of their faces cut away. Upon Draconus expressing curiosity about her people, Ralata supplied some background details of the history of the White Face Barghast.[6]

Even Ralata's foiled attempts to knife Ublala, and Draconus' increasing inclination to just kill off this troublesome travel companion, did not prevent Ublala from pleading that she be allowed to live - Ublala having not given up his hope that Ralata would, in time, return his love.[7] Eventually, Ralata succumbed to Ublala's 'charms' - which led Ublala to start calling her his "wife".[8] As time passed, Ublala became uneasy as Ralata began to talk about wanting to have babies. Draconus, however, at this point had to leave them to go about his own affairs. So, after telling them to go north - where a new "destiny await[ed]" Ublala - Draconus left, leaving Ralata and Ublala to make a life together.[9] Travelling northward, as directed, Ublala and Ralata eventually discovered what Ublala's 'new destiny' entailed - nothing less than Ublala becoming Icarium's new constant companion. By this time, the relationship between Ralata and Ublala had progressed to the point that Ralata would, instead, have vastly preferred that it had continued to be just the two of them, but she reluctantly went along with the arrangement.[10]

Significant plot details end here.


"The [White Face] Barghast gods were awakened to some peril. They filled the brains of the shamans with their panic...We must return [to Lether] to our original homeland, to face an ancient enemy. So we were told, but not much else. We thought the enemy was the Tiste Edur. Then the Letherii, and then the Akrynnai. But it wasn't any of them, and now we are destroyed..."
―Ralata explaining why the White Face had migrated from Genabackis to central Lether.[src]

Notes and references[]