Sepik was a city, island, and kingdom of the same name located in the Sepik Sea northwest of the Seven Cities subcontinent. To the island's north was the Dryjhna Ocean and to its southwest was the nation of Nemil. To the northeast was the island city of Monkan.
The Sepik Kingdom was an Imperial principality and a remote protectorate of the Malazan Empire. The relationship between Sepik and the Malazan Empire came about because the benign-ruling King of Sepik had been clever enough to send representatives to Kellanved, the Malazan emperor, proposing conditions of surrender rather than waiting to be conquered. The Emperor had simply accepted, making Sepik a vassal of his Empire. It was likely no one from the Malazan Empire had ever visited the place.
There were two distinct populations making up the inhabitants of Sepik — one subject to the other. The indigenous people, actually of mixed Tiste Edur derivation, had long been subjugated, enslaved, and degraded by the Humans. This Edur underclass were called "Rulhun'tal ven'or" or the 'Mudskins' (because of their characteristically Tiste Edur greyish skin).
In The Bonehunters
Samar Dev pointed out Sepik to Karsa Orlong as a point of interest when the Teblor pored over her collection of maps in her workshop in Ugarat. When he heard the island held a population of slaves, the scowling Karsa determined to go there. The two travelled as far as the Olphara Peninsula before their encounter with a portion of the Third Edur Imperial Fleet led by Hanradi Khalag superseded their original plans. The fleet had been sent to the other side of the world by Rhulad Sengar, the Tiste Edur emperor of the Letherii Empire, to murder and terrorise the people of Seven Cities.
Another portion of the Tiste Edur fleet led by Tomad Sengar made landfall at Sepik where they unexpectedly found the enslaved class of mixed-blood Edur. Tomad's Edur warriors and Letherii marines "liberated" their degenerate cousins and brought them back to their ships to serve their new masters. Then they penned the humans of Sepik, forcing mothers to cast their babies and children into a bonfire. Afterwards, the women were raped and beheaded while the men were forced to watch before being dismembered themselves. The wailing grey-haired King of Sepik was the last to die. He was flung from a tower after being forced to watch his cherished subjects tortured and murdered, and he met his death with relief. Nearby Monkan met a similar fate.
Admiral Nok's Malazan Imperial Fleet transporting Adjunct Tavore Paran's 14th Army attempted to dock at Sepik to resupply, but found the city full only of the rotting dead. The initial landing party disturbed tens of thousands of feasting gulls, crows, and island vultures that had gathered to feast. Fiddler thought the attack on a Malazan protectorate meant war with the Edur if Empress Laseen desired it. The Edur fleet eventually brought their distant Edur kin, the 'Mudskins', back to Letheras.
In Reaper's Gale
The Edur brought their miserable Sepik prisoners back to Letheras, although a dozen did not survive the trip and were kept stacked in a ship's hold encased in wax. The rest Tomad Sengar relegated to the city's trench-pens, chained alongside debtors, traitors, and murderers, where they died in droves while he attempted to meet with Emperor Rhulad to decide on their final disposition. Tomad found the Sepik half-breeds pathetic mockeries of the Tiste Edur and cared little for their fate. Chancellor Triban Gnol prevented Tomad from meeting with Rhulad to drive a wedge between them, then carefully broached the subject of the forgotten Edur kin to stoke the Emperor's anger. Rhulad ordered his parents brought before him for their cruel treatment of the Sepik and ordered Tomad and Uruth to be punished in a similar manner. They were sentenced to be chained in dungeon crypt of the Eternal Domicile's Fifth Wing for two months.
The freed Sepik were emaciated, nearly naked, and covered with welts and sores. They gathered outside the Champion's Quarters where Karsa Orlong resided and crowded around him when he appeared. Karsa spoke to them offering them nothing but an exhortation to accept their freedom. Bugg took pity on them and drew upon the power of Denaeth Rusen to send them away to the islands where he and Tehol Beddict resettled the city's other refugees.
Notes and references
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US HC p.156
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US HC p.566
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US HC p.652-653
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 11, US HC p.567
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.768-770
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 16
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US HC p.551
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 7, US HC p.165/171
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.417-419/433-435/438-439
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.443-444
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.357