|Return of the Crimson Guard|
|Chapter 1 (I)||Chapter 2 (II)|
|Chapter 3 (III)||Chapter 4 (IV)|
|Chapter 5 (V)|
|The Eternal Return|
|Chapter 6 (I)||Chapter 7 (II)|
|Chapter 8 (III)||Chapter 9 (IV)|
|Chapter 10 (V)||Chapter 11 (VI)|
|Fates and Chances|
|Chapter 12 (I)||Chapter 13 (II)|
|Chapter 14 (III)||Chapter 15 (IV)|
|Chapter 16 (V)|
Past Quon hegemonies never held;
occupations cannot quell unrest,
indeed, even benign ones foster it.
Must this lesson be learned every generation?
Sadly, some things never change.
Korbolo Dom, the First Sword, visits Mallick Rel. Korbolo cannot understand why the Empress and Mallick are doing nothing in the face of the Provinces' rebellion. Mallick's explanation, that they have few alternatives, satisfies him and he leaves; Mallick then describes him as a fool and potential scapegoat.
The Malazan garrison besieged in their frontier fort are now being repeatedly attacked. The Wickans that they are protecting beg unsuccessfully to be allowed to take part in its defense.
The attacks continue. Lieutenant Rillish's remaining troops are outnumbered and will soon be overwhelmed. They discover that most of the Wickans have left the camp via a warren that was opened by the self-sacrifice of their leaders and shaman. The Malazan troops escape though the warren, and find themselves outside the siege.
The unnamed assassin detects another, hidden, while watching several distant titanic flying spires. The assassins fight and the unnamed one wins by using a warren, Kurald Galain. However he regrets harming her and attempts to save her life.
The saboteurs Hurl and Sunny, plus the local mage Liss, have ridden out of Li Heng; they go as Storo's representatives to meet delegates of the Seti tribal council, the Seti being historical enemies of Quon Tali. The Seti delegates are two shamans and the Warlord, whom Liss recognizes as Toc the Elder, one of the Old Guard. Liss is identified by the shamans as the source of Liss's Vow, or Curse. Liss, then a Sun Dancer, had been raped and expelled, and cursed the Seti to wander lost until they accepted her back.
Ghelel is frustrated. Though nominally in charge, in reality she is a figurehead for Choss and Amaron, who cause her to parade around the army camp dressed like nobility with a retinue of ten guards. They finally explain: they want any spies to observe her like this; soon she will slip away in disguise to become a cavalry leader in an elite group, the Marchland Sentries.
Kyle and his companions are travelling west across Stratem. They encounter local followers of the Wind, who aid them by providing a path of Wind that will act as a shortcut. They arrive near the coast and see a newly-built ship.
Skinner has set off with three ships, including that of Commander Shimmer and the Second Company. They are heading for Quon Tali, and Skinner decides that there is a need for haste. His mages therefore open a portal to the Warren of Ruse. The ships pass through and are immediately becalmed in the Shoals, in legend a place where Mael sends those who displease him. There are marooned ships visible as far as the horizon. They see a far-off light that might be the exit gate, and start rowing towards it.