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Seven Cities

Seven Cities was a sub-continent north of Quon Tali and west of Genabackis that had been conquered by the Malazan Empire. It was an ancient land, built upon the ruins of countless cities dating back to the First Empire. Hot, dry, and largely desert, its sands obscured forgotten pathways, hoarded power, and soaked up sorcery. Every foot of the land had been walked by Ascendants.[1]

Unofficial Malaz World Map by D'rek

To the northwest it was bounded by the Sepik Sea and the Dryjhna Ocean. To the north, by the Kokakal, Maadil, Talgai, Otataral, and Bandiko Seas, as well as the Sea of Kaltepe Kadesh. To the east were the Sea of Gallada, the Sahul and Dojal Hading Seas, and Seeker's Deep. To the south lay the Cragg Sea and Quon Tali. The Clatar Sea was contained within the south-central portion of the continent itself.

Whiskeyjack commented that Mock's Hold was about 3000 leagues from Seven Cities.[2]

Seven Cities supplied the front lines on Genabackis.[3]

Ganoes Paran thought that the natives of Seven Cities had a predisposition for causing trouble and attributed the problems of the Genabackis Campaign to the pre-dominance of Seven Cities natives in the Malazan 2nd, 5th, and 6th Armies.[4]


The subcontinent of Seven Cities was the birthplace of the human First Empire under Emperor Dessimbelackis.

In modern times, it was conquered by the Malazan Empire under Emperor Kellanved.

Towards the end of Kellanved's reign, an abortive uprising originating in Aren resulted in Malazan retribution. By its end the uprising had been crushed, the Bridgeburners formed, and the Holy Protectors permanently deposed in favour of governing Malazan Fists. The campaign culminated in a siege of the Holy City of Y'Ghatan, during which Dassem Ultor was slain.[5]


Fan made Seven Cities map by Joshua Butler

Holy Cities[]

The Holy Cities from which the sub-continent gained its name were said to have been founded by seven Ascendants thousands of years ago.[6] Before the Malazan conquest, each city was ruled by a Holy Falah'd.

The holy "Seven Cities" were:

The most devout pilgrims pursued the Path of the Seven, a journey to each of the Holy Cities. Pilgrimage was a respected activity and was a tradition unphased by bandits or war.[8]

Other cities[]

Other cities named as Holy Cities included G'danisban, Hissar, Mersin, Pan'potsun,[7] Lothal, and Y'Ghatan.

Lost cities included Hedori Kwil, Kanarbar Belid, Minikenar, N'karaphal, Tramara, Trebur, Vinith, Vithan Taur, and Yadeth Garath.




The following is a list of words from the 'Seven Cities (Bisbrha and Debrahl) Language'[17]

Flora and fauna[]


Seven Cities by Werthead

The traditional Seven Cities way to challenge an opponent was to spit on the floor in front of him. When so provoked by Hairlock, Tayschrenn told the mage from Seven Cities that his primitive tribal gestures remained quaint, if somewhat tasteless.[19]

When Toc the Younger spat past the left ear of his horse, Captain Paran shivered at the thought that in the old days, this gesture would have announced the beginning of tribal war among the Seven Cities. He also thought that the gesture had become the symbol of the Malaz 2nd Army.[20]

Seven Cities superstition held that the loss of an eye was also the birth of inner sight.[21]

The long-knife was the weapon of choice among Seven Cities warriors.[22]

According to Duiker, the saying "Every meal is your last" encompassed an entire Seven Cities philosophy.[23]

It was common for Seven Cities market streets to be topped by tarps slung between buildings. This created a tunnel effect and likely reduced the heat of the sun.[24]

Children partook in "the naming rite" where family spoke for them and gave them their names. For this reason orphaned children often had no names.[25]

If a loved one were to die far from home, the corpse might be left pinned beneath a heavy stone to prevent its discovery by wandering spirits. The ground would then be hallowed by spitting in eight directions, spilling drops of blood on the stone from the left hand, and voicing blessings in the name of the Apocalyptic.[26]

Seven Cities pottery was more elegant than its Malazan equivalent. Its shapes were elongated with cream or white glazing on necks and rims and faded red on the body. It was decorated with full-toned and realistic images.[27]


Summers in Seven Cities were hot and dry. With fall, nights became cooler and leaves turned rust-coloured. Winters were mild and saw an increase in rain along the coasts.[28]


In Gardens of the Moon, Paran used a Seven Cities-style saddle which was high-backed with a hinged horn that folded forward.[4]

Summer in the Seven Cities began with the She'gai, the hot wind.[29]

All the oldest legends of dragons in Seven Cities started by saying that they were the essence of sorcery.[30]

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

In Deadhouse Gates[]

In 1164 BS, the Seven Cities natives launched the Whirlwind rebellion against the hated 'Mezla' occupiers. Fist Coltaine's 7th Army, the only Malazan army stationed on the continent, attempted to march from far off Hissar to safety in Malazan-controlled Aren. They were decimated by constant attacks by the Army of the Whirlwind. Subsequently, the Malazan 14th Army was sent under Adjunct Tavore Paran as a punitive army to cut down the rebellion.

In House of Chains[]

Osric revealed that the subcontinent's name came from the unholy alliance between Dessimbelackis and the seven Deragoth during the time of the First Empire.[31] The Seven Holy Cities of Dessimbelackis' time were not the same cities given that designation at the time of the Malazan Empire.[31]

Adjunct Tavore's 14th Army marched against the rebellious Army of the Whirlwind at their camp in Raraku. Sha'ik was killed and her army routed at the Battle of Raraku. After the Whirlwind Goddess was destroyed, the Holy Desert was flooded and became an inland sea once more. The remnants of Sha'ik's army fled to Y'Ghatan under Leoman's leadership.[32]

In The Bonehunters[]

Telorast and Curdle spoke of an ancient time long before the human First Empire or even the T'lan Imass when Seven Cities was covered by great forests of Blackwood and Bloodwood. The trees were revered by the Tiste Edur and feared by the Eres. The region was also home to vast cities and Shadow Temples.[33]

(Information needed)

Significant plot details end here.

Map gallery[]

Notes and references[]

  1. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.51
  2. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.5
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.97
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.114
  5. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4
  6. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.59
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Deadhouse Gates, Glossary, UK MMPB p.938
  8. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.94
  9. The Bonehunters, Glossary
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 Deadhouse Gates, Glossary
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Deadhouse Gates, Chain of Dogs Second Half map
  12. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 21
  13. The Bonehunters, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.564
  14. 14.0 14.1 House of Chains, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.534
  15. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.426-428
  16. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.84
  17. Deadhouse Gates, Glossary, UK MMPB p.936
  18. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.223
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.67
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.115
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.218
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.37
  23. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.50
  24. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.653
  25. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 18
  26. The Bonehunters, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.180
  27. The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.246
  28. The Bonehunters, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.406
  29. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 6, US HC p.140
  30. House of Chains, Chapter 12, UK MMPB p.566
  31. 31.0 31.1 House of Chains, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.687
  32. House of Chains, Chapter 26
  33. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.208-209
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