Torvald Nom was a Daru and ne'er-do-well member of House Nom. To his Malazan enemies, he was known as "Knuckles".[1] He was described as tall and wiry with long black hair and a scarred forehead and face. Most of his left ear was missing and at one point he sported a beard although this may have been temporary.[2][3]

Torvald was a cousin of Rallick Nom and married to Tiserra.[4] He was also a relative of Bellam Nom who called him uncle.[5]

He self described his education as sporadic and poorly received.[6] But he could speak the old Nathii trader language which was very similar to the language of the Sunyd.[7] He was never very good at acquiring friends.[8]

In House of Chains Edit

Unwilling to accept Malazan rule, Torvald took the name "Knuckles" and organised the bandits of Fool's Forest and Yellow Mark Forest. He enjoyed a life of raiding, ambushing, and making a nuisance of himself until he was finally taken captive by Malazan soldiers of the Ashok Regiment stationed in Silver Lake. The infamous bandit leader was placed into the hands of the slaver, Master Silgar, in whose dark and watery slave pen he lingered for months. While imprisoned, Torvald encountered the Teblor warrior, Karsa Orlong. Torvald momentarily gave into despair and asked the giant warrior to kill him, but changed his mind once the act was under way. When Karsa attempted an escape, Torvald convinced the Teblor to bring him along. Once out of the slave pen they separated, but both were recaptured by the Malazans the next day.[9]

They were transported off Genabackis together along with their erstwhile slavers, Silgar and Damisk, as prisoners of the Malazans. Bound for the Otataral mines of Seven Cities, Torvald and Karsa agreed to help each other escape when opportunity came. Torvald did his best to tend to the Teblor who was enchained in excruciating discomfort for weeks. Only Torvald's careful ministrations and endless patter kept Karsa reasonably healthy and sane.[10]

As they were crossing the Meningalle Ocean, Karsa's patrons, The Seven Faces in the Rock, summoned a severe storm of chains, wrecking the ship and pulling it into a Warren fragment known as the Nascent. Finding themselves in a shallow sea amidst the abandoned wrecks of a naval battle, Torvald risked his life managing to keep Karsa from drowning and pulling him to safety. The pair secured a dory and sought dry land.[11]

Instead they discovered Silgar, Damisk, and Borrug stranded on a rapidly flooding seawall. Silgar agreed to open a Warren to safety if the pair took him aboard their boat. Passing through the warren, they found themselves off the coast of the A'rath Forest where Torvald and Karsa spent time with the mysterious Keeper. Torvald, now deeming himself wiser and mostly reformed, decided he was ready to return to his family in Darujhistan.[12]

Torvald and Karsa left Keeper's home and made their way towards the port city of Ehrlitan. They were waylaid on the coastal road by Silgar and Damisk along with a troupe of Arak tribal warriors. Placed in chains again, Torvald deduced that their captors were themselves being pursued by enemy Gral tribesman. He set a fire to attract the Gral's attention and the Arak's enemy was soon upon them. In revenge, an Arak tribesman cut Torvald's throat as Silgar spirited Karsa and Damisk away by Warren.[13]

A surprisingly alive Torvald reappeared in Ehrlitan leading a troupe of Gral and Nom agents to rescue Karsa from a Malazan prison. Karsa's cellmate Leoman was also released. Torvald revealed that the Gral had saved his life and he had made contact with his family in the city. He had been embraced by them and had decided to delay his return to Darujhistan. Karsa thanked him for his aid before they separated for good and Torvald invited the Teblor to meet him in Darujhistan one day.[14]

In Toll the Hounds Edit

Torvald finally made it back to his home in Darujhistan and the arms of his wife. To make up for his long absence and to reacquaint himself with his old partners in crime, Scorch and Leff, he promised to find himself a respectable job. While he did find such a job, as the Captain of the guard of an estate, he also found employment for Scorch and Leff, thereby continuing his association with them, much to the displeasure of Tiserra.

In Orb Sceptre Throne Edit

Torvald became the head of House Nom on orders of Vorcan. As the head, he was required to take up the council seat that House Nom held in the Darujhistan council. In his first excursion to the council chambers on Majesty Hill, he made the acquaintance of Coll and put him forward as a candidate for the Legate position that had just been re-instated. His endorsement was not enough however and Jeshin Lim became the Legate.[15]

The Legate sent Torvald to the north of the country as special emissary to covertly gather intelligence about disturbing rumours coming from Pale.[16] Torvald soon suspected that he had been chosen so that the Legate would be rid of an irritating new councilor.[17]

On the boat out of Darujhistan he met Cal,[18] who asked Torvald to come along to his meeting with the Rhivi rather than go north as it would be far more relevant.[19] At the meeting Cal was revealed to be Caladan Brood and Torvald witnessed as Brood's attempt at stopping the Rhivi from going to war failed. The Rhivi leader Jiwan declared war on the Malazans and announced that he already had the support of the Legate. After the Rhivi had left, Torvald headed towards the Moranth mountains to negotiate with the Moranth.[20] Reaching there, he was arrested by the Moranth as a thief (he had released a Blue Moranth alchemical which he had received as a gift) but was released soon after, since they had established his credentials. He then accompanied Galene as the Moranth moved to counter the influence of their age old rivals and enemies, the Jaghut Tyrant and his army, the Seguleh.[21]

Torvald sat behind Galene on her Quorl and witnessed the Moranth bombard the Seguleh with cussers, drastically decreasing the Seguleh's numbers and effectiveness as an elite swordsmen unit.[22] Following this, in a meeting with Ambassador Aragan and Attache Torn of the Gold Moranth, it was decided that the Moranth would first, under the leadership of Galene, attack the Orb of the Tyrants - a protective dome surrounding Majesty Hill - failing which the Moranth would utterly destroy Darujhistan, leaving nothing.[23] Riding once again with Galene, Torvald helped in the assault by dropping cussers on the 'Orb', only to see the assault fail. As they tried to land, the Quorl was hit by defensive magics, causing the two to crash down. Torvald managed to drag Galene away, who seemed to be heavily injured.[24] The two were rescued by Black Moranth infantry, and Torvald begged Galene to wait for a moment before she sent the signal for a full blown assault. The two then negotiated about the withdrawal of the Seguleh after they saw the 'Orb' being destroyed, with the Sixth, Palla and the Second, Jan in attendance, but the negotiation came to an impasse when Galene asked them to lay down their weapons. Much later, two Seguleh came out, one of them the new First. After further negotiation, Galene and the First came to an understanding wherein the Seguleh would leave Darujhistan never to return.[25]

Torvald finally returned to his wife Tiserra who did not believe his story of having saved Darujhistan.[26]


Torvald Nom: "...if not for the Gral, I’d have bled to death."
Karsa Orlong: "Why did they save you?"
Torvald Nom: "The Gral like to ransom people. Of course, if they turn out worthless, they kill them. The trading partnership with the House of Nom took precedence over all that, of course."
Karsa Orlong: "What kind of trade?"
Torvald Nom: "Brokering the ransoms."
―Torvald Nom and Karsa Orlong, after the Gral rescued Torvald and broke Karsa out from Malazan detention[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

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