Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

The Tiste Liosan [tīst lee-oh-san][1] were a non-human elder race also known as the Children of Light.[2] They were the second of Mother Dark's children.[3] They were not one of the four Founding Races and only had contact with the Malazan world due to a breach in the barriers surrounding their Warren of Kurald Thyrllan possibly through the human use of Telas and of Thyr, the Paths of Fire and of Light and the Imass use of the Tellann, the Hold of Fire.

The Tiste Liosan made the fewest appearances of the Tiste races in the Malazan series.


The Tiste Liosan were taller than humans, though of similar proportions. Their features were similar to a Tiste Edur's, apart from their white, almost luminous skin and the silver colour[4] of their slanted, epicanthic, almond-shaped eyes. Their hair was silver[4] or gold and generally kept long. The Tiste Liosan were close kin to the Tiste Edur and Tiste Andii, though they did not share genetic descent.[citation needed] Internal anatomy differed from the human norm; specifically, the heart was known to be buried deeper in the torso.[5]


The Tiste Liosan were the least well-known of the Tiste races, and had the least contact with the Malazan world.[6] They inhabited Kurald Thyrllan, the Elder Warren of Light, and were not native to the Malazan world. In contrast to their apathetic kin, the Tiste Andii, the Liosan were high-tempered, arrogant and zealous. Dedicated warrior-priests called Seneschals acted as a bridge to their god of light, Osserc.

Although recognising the Andii as the first of Mother Dark's children, they viewed their cousins as enemies and vermin, tainted by the lack of Father Light's purifying blood. As such, they deserved only death. Only among the Liosan, children of Father Light, was the Tiste blood pure. The Edur were tolerated as their blood contained something of the Father, but they were viewed as a lesser species of Tiste.[7] Enias referred to the Tiste Liosan language as 'The Language of Purity'.[4]

Socially, the Liosan appeared to be martially organized and hierarchical, led by warrior-priests. Their Liosan armour was white enamel.[4] They had a visored helm of the same material with a leather underlining webbed over eyes and cheeks by black iron mail.[8] They employed light, narrow-bladed ivory longswords, scabbarded in pale wood[8] as well as curved scimitars that appeared to be carved from ivory.[4] They rode white, long-limbed horses with rust coloured manes.[4]

The Liosan held the text of Osric's Visions sacred, and consulted it for wisdom.[9]


For a list of known Tiste Liosan words and phrases as well as translations please visit the Tiste Language page.

In House of Chains[]

Trull Sengar, a Tiste Edur, and Onrack, a T'lan Imass, sought to escape the Nascent via a portal they discovered within the flooded fragment of Kurald Emurlahn. Without knowing where the gate led, they destroyed its protective ward with Moranth munitions. Four outraged Liosan warriors on horseback burst from the now unprotected gate to Kurald Thyrllan to challenge the intruders. Onrack engaged briefly in combat with Seneschal Jorrude and his fellow warrior-priests before Monok Ochem and other T'lan Imass arrived as reinforcements. The Tiste Liosan were then forced to co-operate with Sengar, Onrack, and the other T'lan Imass in order to escape the shattered Warren in which they were all now trapped.[10]

Subsequent to this the Liosan escaped into the Malazan world, but, after nearly dying at the hands of Malazan sappers, they decided to retreat to their own Warren. The other Imass killed the demon posing as Osserc (L'oric's familiar).

The Tiste Liosan named L'oric, son of Osserc, then went to find his father in the memory of Raraku, a realm similar to a Warren. Osserc did not wish to return immediately, prompting L'oric to find a new familiar and they returned with him to Kurald Thyrllan.

In Dust of Dreams[]

A group of about eight Tiste Liosan encountered and were killed by Yedan Derryg along Blind Gallan's Road, a private Warren/path created or opened by Yan Tovis.

In The Crippled God[]

The armies of the Tiste Liosan amassed to invade and sack Kharkanas. Kadagar Fant, Lord of the Liosan, conscripted the entire population of the Liosan City of Light to fight alongside eleven Soletaken Eleint and the Liosan Legions. The invasion proved to be a mass slaughter on both sides, with the corpses on the First Shore massing "three deep" to the ground, while the wounded were piled into trenches en masse.

Only after killing all of his conscripts did Kadagar order the Liosan professional army into battle, and even then, the battle ended in failure for the Liosan. The Liosan Eleint were killed by Yedan Derryg, Silanah and the Andii Soletaken Eleint. The Tiste Andii pursued the retreating Liosan into their city of Light, promising to finish the eternal war between light and dark.

In Return of the Crimson Guard[]

A small group of Tiste Liosan, including Jorrude and Enias, had a brief and humiliating encounter with Cowl and Skinner within the Warren of Thyr, close to the borders of Kurald Thyrllan.[11]

In Stonewielder[]

Kiska and Jheval encountered the Army of Light, a Tiste Liosan army, encamped near the "whorl" in Kurald Emurlahn which led to the Warren of Chaos.[12]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Tiste Liosan.

In Forge of Darkness[]

The first known Tiste Liosan was Syntara, High Priestess of Kharkanas. A Tiste, Syntara witnessed the meeting of Mother Dark with T'riss, the Azathanai. She revealed few details of what was said, but when it was over Syntara stumbled out of the room, skin now alabaster and eyes now dark pools of ink, shouting that she had chosen her gift from the Azathanai. She was now the first high priestess of Light, and a Tiste Liosan.[13][14]

Significant plot details end here.

Notable Tiste Liosan[]

Notes and references[]