The Silanda was a sleek, back-hulled pre-Imperial Quon dromon which was originally the only vessel sanctioned to travel to and from Drift Avalii to trade with the Tiste Andii. She was said to have disappeared when the Emperor's forces overran Quon, never to be seen again.
In fact, she was captured by Tiste Edur and her crew, mainly Tiste Andii with a few Quon Talians, beheaded and ensorcelled. According to Run'Thurvian, the nature of the sorcery included Kurald Emurlahn, Tellann, Telas, and a residue of Toblakai sorcery. The sorcery also led to a strange suspension of time aboard the vessel. Gesler once commented that he, Stormy, and Truth were unable to grow their beards while aboard ship. Food stored in the ship's hull did not spoil and it was free of rats and other vermin. Any rat that made its way aboard was overcome by the urge to throw itself overboard.
The ship had three masts and twin banks of oars. The main and fore masts bore tattered square sails while the mizzen mast bore the remnants of a lateen. The ship was made of a black wood, which emanated darkness and was without ornamentation. The bulk of the wood used in the ship's construction came from Drift Avalii.
Thereafter, the crew of Silanda were the headless bodies of her last living crew, stationed three to an oar. Their still warm and animate heads were wrapped in sealskin left on the ship's deck. They were controlled with a bone whistle normally kept on a chain around the captain's neck. It was unclear whether the heads were consciously aware of their surroundings, although they did focus their gazes on observers. The heads blinked and their mouths moved as if in conversation, although no words came out.
In Deadhouse Gates
Kulp, Stormy, Gesler, and Truth set out on the Ripath for Otataral Island to fulfill a promise the mage had made to Duiker. On the way, their ship was caught up in a strange fiery storm caused by a mad mage. After finally reaching shore, the four met up with Felisin, Baudin and Heboric. The group then left on their badly damaged vessel, but were forced to abandon it for the Silanda when it was drawn into a strange flooded warren tinged by Kurald Emurlahn and sunk.
Shortly after boarding the Silanda, the mad mage's storm caught up with them. Just as they were despairing, a hunting party of Logros T'lan Imass led by Hentos Ilm materialized aboard the ship. With their help, the insane mage was killed and the "wound" that had flooded the Warren was sealed. Afterwards, the T'lan Imass left to continue the pursuit of some of their brethren. Although the immediate problems had been resolved, the issue of leaving the flooded Warren still remained.
Luckily, Kulp was able to use his Meanas Warren fashion an illusion capable of opening a rent back to their world using a passing undead dragon and the help of some Ascendants. However, another fire storm engulfed the ship and crew just as success seemed within reach. In the ensuing panic, Baudin grabbed Felisin and jumped overboard, landing on the continent of Seven Cities where they found Heboric and an unconscious Kulp already ashore. Stormy, Gesler, and Truth were presumed to have perished in the fires aboard the Silanda.
In House of Chains
Based on what was found by Gesler and Stormy, the following incident from House of Chains preceded their encounter with the vessel described in Deadhouse Gates.
While being transported to Seven Cities from Genabaris as prisoners of the Malazan Empire, Karsa Orlong and Torvald Nom, along with the ship they were on and its crew, were pulled into a strange flooded warren during a bizarre magical storm at sea. They found a number of grounded, abandoned vessels, which were the wreckage of a naval battle between twenty low and sleek raiders and six larger, black, multi-decked vessels. The two former prisoners were able to salvage some food, water, and a dory with oars and a sail. They then set off to try to find their way to land.
When their stores were nearly exhausted, they found the Silanda, the seeming flagship of the black vessels. Not abandoned like the others, it was crewed by Tiste Edur. Karsa single-handedly killed the crew when they attempted to take him and Torvald as prisoners. The ship's captain tried to use magic on Karsa when the Teblor burst into his cabin, but the attempt was futile and the mage was killed with Karsa's spear through his chest.
The Silanda was ultimately impounded by Adjunct Tavore Paran upon her arrival at Aren with the Malaz 14th Army. Pearl and Lostara Yil questioned Gesler, Stormy, and Truth about their adventures aboard the ship during their mission to find Felisin Paran. The two imperial agents boarded the ship where Pearl felt nearly overwhelmed by the amount of sorcery soaked into the ship's wood and frame. He detected waves of Kurald Galain, Kurald Emurlahn, Tellann, and Rashan emmanating from the captain's cabin.
In The Bonehunters
Once Adjunct Tavore's army was extracted from Seven Cities by Admiral Nok's fleet, control of the vessel was returned to Gesler and Stormy as no other sailors could be found to volunteer aboard it. Gesler brought his own Fifth Squad aboard and requested that Fiddler and Balm's Fourth and Ninth Squads join them. Fist Keneb agreed to the arrangement as long as Gesler promised to keep the ship flanking the Adjunct's flagship, Froth Wolf.
Bottle sensed the sorcery engulfing the ship was foul and redolent with madness. It disliked anything alive that was not bound by its chaotic will, especially him. Only Gesler and Stormy seemed immune to it. Without Bottle's control, his rat companion and her brood would have flung themselves into the sea. The pile of severed heads were left on deck covered by a tarp, but the mage could still sense them watching him as if in expectation.
The Third Edur Imperial Fleet ambushed the Malazan Imperial Fleet in the Kokakal Sea, but High Mage Quick Ben (assisted by Bottle and the Eres'al) countered the Edur's magic, allowing the Malazans to escape. The Edur were forced with withdraw, but not before Preda Tomad Sengar received word that the Silanda was spotted amongst the Malazan ships. Taralack Veed noted that the news appeared to strike the Preda like a physical blow. Yan Tovis explained that the ship had been given to one of Tomad's sons to command on a mission into the Nascent. The details of the mission were not meant for Emperor Rhulad's ears, but if the ship had been captured by the enemy, it meant two of Tomad's sons were now dead.
The Adjunct's fleet encountered the Jakatakan Fleet off the coast of The Horn. Koryk, Smiles, Cuttle, Tarr, Deadsmell, Throatslitter, and Widdershins waved to the other fleet as it passed, each holding one of the Silanda's animated heads under their left arm. Bottle was nauseated by the heads' ghastly expressions of delight.
When Adjunct Tavore brought the 14th Army's fleet to Malaz City, only the Silanda accompanied the Froth Wolf to the city's pier. While Tavore was escorted up to Mock's Hold, the soldiers aboard the Silanda faced down an increasingly hostile mob, that had been magically induced anger against the 14th Army. Balm became incensed when he discovered Gesler, Stormy, and Fiddler had quitely entered the city on their own business leaving him as the sole officer aboard the ship and no whistle to control it. Unlike the Froth Wolf, the Silanda was immune to the fire arrows launched its way. The soldiers of the Silanda faced multiple waves of attacks before the return of the Adjunct, Gesler, Stormy, and Fiddler allowed its departure.
In Reaper's Gale
The Silanda travelled with the Bonehunter fleet across the world to make port at Second Maiden Fort during the Malazan invasion of the Letherii Empire. The pirate, Shurq Elalle, noticed the unusual ship when she was forced to make port at the island ahead of a mountain of encroaching ice. Because Gesler was included among the marines invading the mainland, the ship's whistle had to be pried from him and given to Deadsmell, the only one left behind willing to use it. The ship's collection of Andii heads were kept carefully covered on deck so as not to offend the Tiste Andii of Drift Avalii who had joined Adjunct Tavore at Malaz City. For Nimander Golit, Phaed, and the others, the heads were kin, all that was left of a Drift Avalli crew who had once gone in search of Anomander Rake. Nimander, however, was well aware of what was hidden and Phaed had looked under the canvas and found her mother.
After returning to Letheras, Tomad Sengar brooded on the failure of the Silanda's original mission. He had sent the ship to the Nascent with his son Binadas as its captain to rescue Trull after his Shorning. Then Karsa had boarded the ship and slain all onboard, including Binadas who was speared through the chest while sitting in his cabin. This disaster meant both sons were now dead.
When the Adjunct and her troops readied to depart Second Maiden Fort for the invasion of Letheras, Nimander and the other Andii refused to join them, saying they could not "bear to see that ship any longer." Balm and Cord's squads were joined by Masan Gilani for the Silanda's voyage. Captain Kindly ogled Gilani from a nearby vessel and demanded Lieutenant Pores prepare a disciplinary report because she was out of uniform.
Notes and references
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.713
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.213-214
- House of Chains, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.338-339
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.836
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16, US HC p.443
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.716
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.719
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.213
- House of Chains, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.160/168
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.217
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.215-216/218
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.602-603
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 16
- House of Chains, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.159-170
- House of Chains, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.171-173
- House of Chains, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.176-177
- House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.255
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.286
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.716
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.718-719
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.725-734
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.834
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.852
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.883/889
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 23
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 8, US HC p.193
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 13, US HC p.358
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.415
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.175-176
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.606-607
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 20, US HC p.610-611