Laseen by Shadaan
Behind her from left: Tayschrenn, Possum, Topper and Lorn

Tayschrenn [Tay-shren] was the Imperial High Mage of the Malazan Empire and answered directly to Empress Laseen.[4]

He was described as having a long, drawn mahogany-tanned face that appeared oddly seamless, bland even, with ageless skin and a straight slash of mouth. His eyes were sunken, dark and black-ringed and the brown pate of his head was shaven but for a long braided queue at his shoulder.[5][6] Tayschrenn's hands were long-fingered.[7]

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

Tayschrenn sent Bellurdan to the city of Genabaris to research newly found scrolls of Gothos' Folly. The mage was to look for references to the location of the barrow of a Jaghut Tyrant near Darujhistan.[8]

The Siege of PaleEdit

Said to be acting under orders from the Empress herself,[9] Tayschrenn went to Pale which High Fist Dujek Onearm and the Malaz 2nd Army had been besieging for three years. The High Mage coordinated a magical attack on Moon's Spawn, the Skykeep defending the city, and its guardian, Anomander Rake, a wielder of the Elder magic of Kurald Galain. For Tayschrenn's first attack, he raised his arms and sent a wave of golden flame rolling upward, which grew as it raced towards Moon's Spawn and scattered the thousands of Great Ravens who had taken residence there.[10] This provoked a counterattack by Rake. From that point on, the sorcerous battle became an exchange of devastating attacks. Tayschrenn's efforts at defecting Rake's attacks often caused soldiers of the Malaz 2nd and 6th to be hit instead, decimating both forces. To Hairlock and Tattersail it also seemed Tayschrenn was betraying his accompanying mages by attacking them with his own magic resulting in devastating injuries for Hairlock, death for Calot, and the dismemberment of Nightchill at the hands of a Kenryll'ah demon.[11] Anomander Rake later told Baruk that the deployment of demons by Tayschrenn against his own companions had baffled him initially and that he (Rake) wasted power destroying them.[12]

After the SiegeEdit

Once the battle had ended, Tayschrenn held a debriefing during which he and Tattersail argued over the results.[13][14]

Days later, Tayschrenn commanded Tattersail to perform a reading of the Deck of Dragons for him as his own efforts had been thwarted. During the reading it transpired that his block was due to Oponn and that the Lady regarded the High Mage with disgust.[15] Prior to the reading, Tayschrenn told Tattersail that he knew of her meeting with the Bridgeburners immediately after the battle.[14]

Tayschrenn arrived soon after Tattersail was injured by a Hound of Shadow who had tracked Hairlock to her abode, but by then she had slipped into unconsciousness and so Tayschrenn was unable to find out what had happened. However, according to Hairlock, Tayschrenn had become suspicious and sent out his servants to search the Warrens for answers. It was his opinion that the High Mage knew that Quick Ben's squad was involved. Quick Ben charged Hairlock with finding out about Tayschrenn's plans.[16]

Tayschrenn found himself in conflict with Dujek when he tried to implement the Empire's normal policies in Pale regarding conquered peoples. His attempts to cull the nobility were forestalled when the city's census records burned. Tayschrenn doubted Dujek's claims that the fire had been an accident. Adjunct Lorn chastised the mage for treating Dujek as an enemy and traitor to the Empire and ordered him to abandon any plans for retribution. She also upbraided him for the attack on Moon's Spawn, saying that if the Empress had known that his attack would be so unsubtle she would never have agreed to it. Tayschrenn admitted that the task the Empress had assigned him on Genabackis weighed heavily and did not make use of his strengths. Lorn refused his request for dismissal.[17]

Their conflict came to a head when Dujek's agents intercepted a Claw carrying a message for Tayschrenn. The handwritten letter from the Empress ordered the High Mage to arrest and execute Dujek.[18]

During the events of the Gedderone Fête in Darujhistan, Lorn released one of Tayschrenn's demons, the Lord of Galayn, against Anomander Rake. When Rake killed the creature, Tayschrenn let out a scream in Pale and fell into a coma.[19]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about several major characters.

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

Kalam Mekhar traveled to Malaz City to make the Empress pay for a list of crimes which included her betrayal of Dujek and the Bridgeburners. When he finally confronted her, the Empress informed the Bridgeburner assassin that the revolt of the 2nd Army had been a ruse orchestrated by Dujek himself. The Fist recognised the growing threat of the Pannion Domin, but knew his troops could not handle the problem alone. So the outlawing of Dujek provide him an opportunity to make allies of his enemies in order to fight the common foe. Tayschrenn was in on the plot as well, serving as Dujek's "Shaved Knuckle in the Hole". The Empress said the decimation of the Bridgeburners was not intended and called the High Mage's other efforts on Genabackis misguided.[20]

In Memories of IceEdit

The "renegade" Dujek allied with his former enemies, Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake, against the Pannion Domin. Tayschrenn accompanied Onearm's Host, posing as the standard bearer, Artanthos.[21] As Artanthos, he appeared a young man, nondescript but watchful. The child Silverfox sensed he was not what he appeared and said, "Artanthos... He's not used that name in a long time".[22] Only Dujek initially knew his true identity, although Whiskeyjack suspected Tayschrenn was somewhere nearby.[23] Some among the Host suspected he was a top-ranking Claw.[24]

By the time the alliance lifted the Pannion Siege of Capustan, Whiskeyjack was aware of Artanthos' true identity. He cryptically alluded to the fact that someone within their camp served as the Empress' "knife at our throats", making sure her wishes were followed.[25]

Dujek later attempted to correct Whiskeyjack's understanding of Tayschrenn's activities at Pale. The High Mage had been grooming Tattersail to be the Master of the Deck in preparation for confronting the Crippled God, but the Empress' plans began falling apart when the Bridgeburners were decimated at Pale. Tayschrenn had positioned the Bridgeburners in the tunnels to protect them, never guessing they would collapse. Further, he had not launched the sorcerous attack that had destroyed the Malazan mage cadre. High Mage A'Karonys had discovered Nightchill's ambition to seize Rake's sword, Dragnipur, and reported it to Tayschrenn. Not realising Nightchill's true identity, Tayschrenn did not act on this information until after she had ambushed and killed A'Karonys. Tayschrenn then slayed her in turn causing his plan to take down Moon's Spawn to fail. Dujek called the debacle at Pale and Tattersail's subsequent death two of the worst foul-ups in Malazan history. Dujek told Whiskeyjack that Tayschrenn hoped to offer his apologies to the Bridgeburner at the proper time.[26]

He was present, as Artanthos, at Whiskeyjack's side during the Siege of Coral, the final battle of the Pannion War. Kallor's unexpected betrayal caught him offguard and Whiskeyjack was dead and Korlat severely wounded before he could respond with his own attack of sorcerous gold fire. Kallor was forced to call for the Crippled God's aid and flee via Warren without claiming the life of Silverfox. Kallor's attack had torn the flesh of Tayschrenn's disguise, and recognising him, Korlat berated him, saying he had not intervened in time to prevent the death of Whiskeyjack because of ulterior motives. But Korlat soon saw that Tayschrenn truly was devastated, and, from the way he had been hurt by the magical onslaught, that he had not held anything back. She told Silverfox that she should thank the High Mage for saving her life.[27]

Afterwards, Tayschrenn took command of Whiskeyjack's troops and launched a magical bombardment against the city of Coral. He sent golden waves of High Telas against the tops of city walls to blast them apart as well as the Pannion mages atop them. But his power was quickly exhausted. Only the sudden appearance of an army of T'lan Ay and Moon's Spawn saved the day for the alliance.[28]

At the battle's end, Tayschrenn traveled by Warren to the ships of the Malazan imperial delegation in Coral Bay. He returned with Aragan to begin negotiations with Rake for the future of the city.[29]

In House of ChainsEdit

At the conclusion of the Pannion War, Tayschrenn was visited by Topper. The High Mage and the Clawmaster proceeded to get drunk after sharing the latest news of the war. Tayschrenn attested to seeing the bodies of the Bridgeburners interred within Moon's Spawn.[30] Tayschrenn elevated Quick Ben to High Mage[31] and sent him ahead to assist Adjunct Tavore Paran and the Malaz 14th Army. Meanwhile he and Dujek crossed the ocean by ship to Ehrlitan with Onearm's Host.[32]

In Night of Knives Edit

Facing the storm by Corporal Nobbs

Scene from 'Night of Knives' by Corporal Nobbs

Tayschrenn made haste for Malaz City by message cutter, arriving on the night of the Shadow Moon. He entered the city with Hattar and a squad of bodyguards to meet with the scholar Oleg Vikat. Vikat claimed Emperor Kellanved had stolen his work regarding the Shadow Warren and planned to use the conjunction of the Shadow Moon to ascend along with Dancer and claim ownership of Shadow.[33] Tayschrenn was dismissive of Oleg's claims.[34]

Nevertheless, the High Mage was soon drawn into the night's high stakes clash between competing interests. Two of his bodyguards were slain by Dancer's Shadow cultists at Mossy Tors Park.[35] Then Tayschrenn was approached by Kiska, the self-styled Imperial agent, who requested his aid on the part of the witch Agayla and who once again delivered Oleg's predictions of doom. Identifying himself only as Artan, Tayschrenn had Hattar bind the young woman to keep her from following them to Mock's Hold where Surly awaited Kellanved and Dancer.[36]

At the Imperial keep, Tayschrenn walked into a war between the Claw and Kellanved's Bridgeburner supporters, losing another bodyguard in the process.[37] He was rejoined by a persistent Kiska shortly before meeting Dancer. Tayschrenn was careful to pledge his neutrality in the coming conflict, stating that his concern was for the Empire.[38] He did not interfere in the confrontation between Surly and Kellanved and Dancer that apparently left only Surly alive.[39]

Afterwards, Tayschrenn joined Obo and Agayla in their fight against the Stormriders, shocked by the power displayed by the unearthly sea demons. Though suspicious of him, Obo acquiesced, allowing Tayschrenn to help them.[40]

Weakened by the fight against the Stormriders, Tayschrenn was late to the night's final conflict at the Deadhouse. He fell wounded in battle against the Jaghut Jhenna before being rescued by Hattar.[41] The next day, impressed by Kiska's persistence and promising raw talent, he brought her back with him to the Imperial capital at Unta.[42]

Significant plot details end here.

In The BonehuntersEdit

Tayschrenn with two bodyguards and Dujek turned up in the camp of the Bonehunters. One of the guards was an aged Seti, likely Hattar, whom Kalam Mekhar recognised from the days of the Emperor. During a discussion with Quick Ben, Tayschrenn found out that far from being a High Mage for the first time, Quick Ben had been the true identity of Kribalah Rule, also known as Rule the Rude, a High Mage in the Blackdog Campaign under the old Emperor. In that guise he had saved Tayschrenn from Tiste-assassin mages before apparently dying in a horrible conflagration. Tayschrenn had lost an object containing a demon lord at the time - the very same demon that was later killed by the sword of Anomander Rake.[43]

In Return of the Crimson GuardEdit

A haggard, sunken eyed, greasy lank haired Tayschrenn refused to interfere in the Crimson Guard's attack on Unta when confronted by Cowl. Instead he offered words of philosophy leading Cowl to think the once mighty High Mage's mind had been claimed by "twisted Gnostic innards of theurgy." He left Tayschrenn in disgust.[44]

Despite his distaste at intervening in "petty squabbles" over succession, he was later forced into action during the Battle of the Plains, when Yathengar opened a rent into Chaos. In the duel that followed, both of them were pulled into the portal, which afterwards collapsed.[45]

In Orb Sceptre ThroneEdit

Tayschrenn ended up on the Shores of Creation. He had had his memory wiped clean, and since he was inured to the corroding and acidic effects of the Vitr, he was able to pull creatures out of the Vitr, helped by Korus.[46] He had been named Then-aj-Ehliel by Maker and this was the name he knew himself by.[47]

He met the former Claw assassin Kiska and her travelling companion Leoman on the First Shore, who had traveled all the way to find him. Before they had a chance to talk, Then-aj-Ehliel was forced to fight Yathengar who had followed Kiska and who was unaware of his foes memory loss. Then-aj-Ehliel, fighting without magic, eventually managed to dip the mad mage in the Vitr and Yathengar after some time succumbed to it although it is unclear if it meant his death. Speaking with Kiska, Then-aj-Ehliel told her that he had no memory of her nor wished to return to his old life whatever it might have been and he asked her to leave.[48]

Giving up, Kiska restored Tayschrenn's memories inadvertently as they were saying good-bye when she gave him an object that had been given to her by T'riss which was supposed to be his.[49] Tayschrenn now found himself completely changed, and harrowed by his actions of his previous life.[50]
"'I mean I was – am – Thenaj still. Just as I am also Tayschrenn. And I find that I was everything Thenaj loathed. Yet I am both still. And now I must choose who to be.'"

Kiska and Tayschrenn then headed back out of the Shores of Creation, and back to Kartool, where Tayschrenn met D'rek.[51] Arriving in Darujhistan under K'rul's Bar and Temple,[52] he assumed the powers of the dying Elder God K'rul, becoming the Elder God T'renn.[53]


Tayschrenn had been one of Kellanved's family, the group of people who had coalesced around Kellanved and Dancer to conquer Malaz Island from Mock the pirate and form the Malazan Empire. He had been a renegade High Sceptre of the D'rek Cult when he found his way to Malaz City.[54]

It seemed that there was an adversarial history between Tayschrenn and the mage Hairlock going back to when the latter was still fighting alongside the forces of Seven Cities.[55]

Tayschrenn was from Kartool, and was an ex-priest of D'rek, the Worm of Autumn.[56]

He helped to negotiate the Empire's treaty with the Moranth.[57]

High Mage Bellurdan said about Tayschrenn that " the Emperor was mad, but Tayschrenn stood by his side. He shaped the Empire's dream and so opposed the Emperor's nightmare ".[58]


"Dujek Onearm and his army awaited the arrival of Caladan Brood and his allies: the fell Tiste Andii, Barghast clans from the far north, a half-score mercenary contingents, and the plains-dwelling Rhivi. There, on the still raw killing ground outside the city of Pale, the two forces would meet. Not to wage war, but to carve from bitter history, peace. Neither Dujek nor Brood, nor anyone else among their legendary company, could have anticipated the ensuing clash - not of swords, but of worlds…"
―"Confessions of Artanthos"[src]
"The streets are crowded with lies these days."
―High Mage Tayschrenn, Empress Laseen’s Coronation. Recorded by Imperial Historian Duiker[src]
"I have stretched myself further than I have ever dared before probing onward ahead into the possibilities of what might come. I have glimpsed things that both terrify and exult. [...] And so, the question then follows, what course of action should I take in the present? Which steps might lead to all that which terrifies, which steps might lead to all that which exults? The answer is of course that I cannot know for certain. Thus I am held back from all choice. Total awareness, my friend, results in paralysis."
"Poor Tayschrenn. One day you will wake up and abandon this petty politicking and manoeuvring. It will burn you so many times, and you will scald so many others before you discover wisdom."

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Night of Knives, Chapter 3, UK HB p.139
  2. Night of Knives, Chapter 5, UK HB p.199
  3. Orb Sceptre Throne, Epilogue
  4. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xiii
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.66
  6. Night of Knives, Chapter 3, US PB p.136-137
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.63
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.71
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.71
  10. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.74
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.74-78/80/81
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.214
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.91/92
  14. 14.0 14.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.108
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.108-111
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.261-263
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.214
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24, US HC p.480
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24, US HC p.479
  20. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.578-579
  21. Memories of Ice, Chapter 24
  22. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.93/95
  23. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.108
  24. Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.381
  25. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.617-618
  26. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.771-773
  27. Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.894-89/9028
  28. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.920/923/933-936
  29. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.947/969
  30. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.418-419/424
  31. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.427
  32. House of Chains, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.793
  33. Night of Knives, Chapter 2, UK HB p.53-54/64
  34. Night of Knives, Chapter 3, UK HB p.141
  35. Night of Knives, Chapter 3, UK HB p.111
  36. Night of Knives, Chapter 3, UK HB p.138-142
  37. Night of Knives, Chapter 4, UK HB p.180
  38. Night of Knives, Chapter 5, UK HB p.198
  39. Night of Knives, Chapter 5, UK HB p.203-209
  40. Night of Knives, Chapter 5, UK HB p.219-223
  41. Night of Knives, Chapter 5, US PB p.247
  42. Night of Knives, Epilogue, US PB p.269
  43. The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.124/125
  44. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 2, UK PB p.290
  45. Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 3, UK PB p.651-657
  46. Orb Sceptre Throne, Prologue
  47. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 1
  48. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 9, UK lg. PB p.367-371
  49. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 14, UK lg. PB p.582/583
  50. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 16, UK lg. PB p.618/619
  51. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 18
  52. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 21
  53. Orb Sceptre Throne, Epilogue
  54. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.247-248
  55. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.67-69
  56. Deadhouse Landing, Dramatis Personae
  57. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, UK MMPB p.752
  58. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.102
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