- "Six leagues to the north, a bone-white dragon with eyes of lurid red sailed through the morning sky. Wings creaking, muscles bunching, the wind hissing against scales and along bared fangs that were the length of shortswords."
- ―Silchas Ruin in flight
Silchas was albino, with characteristic red eyes that appeared reptilian in the right light. He was tall and terribly gaunt, with smooth, almost translucent skin through which could be seen networks of blue-green veins and arteries. He had a hairless chest, long fingers, and thick, long white hair. He was a head or more taller than Scabandari. In the right light, his eyes assumed a reptilian cast. His voice was rough and he spoke modern tongues with an archaic accent.
Ruin seemed to contain an immense amount of suffering within him and his voice carried the weight of barrowstones. He held himself perfectly still and the movement of his chest was barely discernible when he breathed. He was also a thorough and dispassionate killer, moved by an unassailable certainty.
In Midnight Tides
In the time of the Elder Gods shortly after the sundering of Kurald Emurlahn, Silchas Ruin led the Tiste Andii contingent of a joint invasion of Tiste Andii and Tiste Edur legions through a rent into the Malazan world. Ruin and his four hundred thousand Andii fled the civil wars plaguing Kurald Galain while fellow commander Scabandari and his two hundred thousand Edur fled the rivening of Kurald Emurlahn.
This led to a conflict between the Tiste and the new world's K'Chain Che'Malle on the plains of northern Lether. Ruin and Scabandari successfully brought down four K'Chain Nah'ruk Skykeeps using the Warrens of Starvald Demelain, Kurald Galain, and Kurald Emurlahn. Ruin was also blooded as he fought beside his legion against sixty thousand K'ell Hunters. The battle ended with the Tiste victorious, but Scabandari quietly held his own troops back and the Andii were ravaged by the K'Chain Che'Malle. Only a thousand survived.
After the battle, Ruin named Scabandari "Bloodeye" for the blood that stained his vision. It was at this point that Scabandari betrayed the Andii, stabbing Ruin in the back and slaying the Andii survivors. Silchas was not killed outright, but was instead left to the mercy of an Azath House who kept him captive for an untold amount of time. Scabandari planned to track down and slay the other Andii already present on the world, but first was himself slain by the Elder Goddess, Kilmandaros. In Tiste Edur oral tradition, Ruin and Scabandari's actions were reversed, with Ruin having "sought to murder Father Shadow at their very moment of triumph." As a result, he was known as the Betrayer and was greatly hated and feared by Scabandari's people.
It was revealed that the Azath House that held Silchas captive was located in the modern, human city of Letheras. This same house had been decaying for a number of years and was close to death at the start of the novel. The undead child Kettle communicated with the imprisoned Silchas and eventually freed him. This was part of a bargain that Silchas had made with the House, the other part being that Silchas would kill some of the more dangerous inhabitants that would wrestle free of the House as it approached death.
Before being freed from the Azath House, Silchas requested that Brys Beddict supply him with two swords. Kuru Qan choose the two Letherii swords Sarat Wept and Glory Goat from his own private collection for Brys to give to Silchas.
In The Bonehunters
The Tiste Andii of Bluerose possessed an ancient tapestry depicting Mother Dark and the three brothers born in Darkness who were her most cherished children: Andarist, Anomandaris Purake, and Silchas Ruin. But all three had eventually been cast out by her. Andarist was the first, after Mother Dark made an accusation of betrayal that all knew to be mistaken. Filled with unbearable grief, he accepted his banishment by Mother Dark, but vowed to continue his guardianship of her from exile. Anomander and Silchas saw Mother Dark's turning away from her son as a crime and Anomander confronted her. Afterwards, he too walked away, denying the Darkness in his blood and seeking out Chaos.
Ruin was considered the most enigmatic of the brothers and riven by indecision. His failed efforts to forge an impossible reconciliation led to the greatest betrayal of all—an alliance with Shadow. War had broken out amongst the Tiste and Ruin allied with Scabandari to flee through the gates to the Malazan world. After Scabandari's betrayal, Ruin's surviving Andii fled and found sanctuary in the caves deep below the Bluerose Mountains where they founded the Bluerose Kingdom.
In Reaper's Gale
Shortly after Ruin's imprisonment in the Azath Tower, Kilmandaros slew Scabandari. Then she encountered Anomandaris Purake waiting for her at the rent leading back to Kurald Emurlahn. She was surprised to learn Rake had no interest in avenging his brother. Rake explained that Scabandari's price for betrayal (death and imprisonment in a Finnest) proved high and Ruin's Azath prison would not last forever. He claimed he almost envied the millennia of peace awaiting his brother. Kilmandaros warned Rake that Ruin would not be inclined to forgive his indifference when he was finally freed.
After the fall of Letheras, Silchas Ruin travelled eastward with Seren Pedac, Fear Sengar, Udinaas, Kettle, and Wither for months with Edur and Letherii hunters in pursuit, although Fear kept their ultimate destination to himself. The Acquitor attributed their survival to Ruin and his swords, but the Tiste Andii also guided them past beguiling traps laid by Emperor Rhulad Sengar's K'risnan. Udinaas and Kettle were briefly captured by Edur and Letherii slave-trackers near the Bluerose Mountains when trying to steal food from a farm. But Ruin confronted their captors, quickly slaying six Edur and two Letherii before the others fled. When he learned the Letherii had raped Kettle for their own amusement, he veered into his Soletaken form to track down and slay the survivors.
Silchas became known as The White Crow.
He travelled with Clip, Fear Sengar, Seren Pedac, Udinaas, and Kettle to the Refugium. There, he avenged himself and his people by using Scabandari's Finnest to seed an Azath House, sealing the gate to Starvald Demelain and fulfilling his vow to the Azath.
In Dust of Dreams
In The Crippled God
Shadowthrone gifted him with a Hust sword carrying the chains of Ampelas, Kalse and Eloth. Along with Kagamandra Tulas, Telorast and Curdle, he fought to defend Korabas from the attacking Eleint in the 'War of Awakening'. He later met up with Nimander Golit and his people.
In Forge of Darkness
Silchas and his two brothers were given the title 'Son of Darkness' by Mother Dark, who was not their true mother. His father was Nimander. Silchas Ruin's skin did not take on the ebon hue of the Tiste Andii like his brothers when exposed to Mother Dark. He was good friends with Scara Bandaris who arrived in Kharkanas with twenty-five Jheleck child Hostages. Silchas recommended the 'hounds' be given to Kagamandra Tulas to raise.
In Fall of Light
- "Silchas Ruin, of course, was not afflicted with a sense of humour. Or its dryness beggared a desert."
- ―Seren Pedac observing Silchas Ruin
- "The brother of Anomander and Andarist, for ever deemed the coldest of the three, the cruellest, Silchas Ruin flew, a white leviathan with murder in its heart...White as bone, with eyes red as death."
- ―Silchas Ruin returning to Letheras
Fan art gallery
Notes and references
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 1, US HC p.45
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.129/130
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.111
- Reaper's Gale, Dramatis Personae
- Midnight Tides, Dramatis Personae
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, UK MMPB p.24-25
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, UK MMPB p.21
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.70
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.70
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 1, US HC p.41
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, US HC p.70-71
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, UK MMPB p.21/22
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, UK MMPB p.19-25
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.129-131
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.196-199
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.189/190/208
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, UK MMPB p.465/475-478
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.518
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.761-766
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.683-684
- Reaper's Gale, Prologue, US HC p.23-24
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 1, US HC p.40-46
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 2, BCA edition p.52
- Forge of Darkness, Chapter 3
- Forge of Darkness, Chapter 15, UK HC p.450