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Malazan Wiki

The Trell were a non-human pastoral nomadic warrior society in transition to sedentarianism.[1] They inhabited an area known as the Masal Plains[2] on the western side of the Jhag Odhan in Seven Cities.[3] Trell society strongly valued tradition.[4]

They were a society in transition. Originally defined by wandering warring clans who lived in yurts and herded half-wild Bhederin, their culture changed with the influence of outside settlers and traders.[2][5][6] The Trell soon established their own merchant settlements that traded in bhederin, goats, and sheep. At least one settlement was home to fifteen thousand Trell. Not all were ready to accept the change, and many youths left their homes for adoptive clans that still followed the old ways.[5]

They were organised into clans with clan-leaders,[7] but tribal elders appeared to have a place of leadership within Trell society.[8] Command in battle fell to the elders even when there were more promising candidates among the Trell warriors.[4] Trell witches, known as shoulder-women, were ancient creatures with the power to conduct divinations from bone and imbue objects with sorcerous power.[9][10] They also possessed a wealth of esoteric historical knowledge long forgotten by others.[6]

Warriors achieved a higher status when they became blooded.[4] Trell fought as individuals in battle, each warrior hoping to claim the often fatal glory of being first to close with the enemy. They attacked as a mob and relied on their great size to overwhelm smaller opponents. Their attacks were less successful on disciplined troops equipped with reach weapons, such as spears or pikes.[11] They used a variety of weapons including swords, maces, pikes, recurved longbows, atlatls, javelins, throwing axes, and slings. They were known to use pole-slings to throw bags containing hundreds of black scorpions into enemy formations.[12]

Trell lived for hundreds of years. Mappo Runt was over four hundred years old before he became Icarium's guardian at the behest of the Nameless Ones.[13]


They buried their dead in chambers beneath heaped mounds of stone and earth.[14]

Trell elders prepared a brew of Weeping Jegurra cactus, water, and a shamanistic concoction known as The Eight Spices to reach the voice and visions of earth-gods.[4]


Notable Trell[]

Racial Origins[]

The Trell were descendants of the Thelomen Toblakai, and also from the Venath.[16]

In Midnight Tides[]

A war with a group known as the Sar Trell was important in the early history of the First Empire. On a plain south of Yath'Ghatan, Dessimbelackis had turned the tide of battle and the Trell's bones were used to lay the foundation of Empire's road.[17]

At some point in their history they had been possibly conquered by explorers and colonizers of the First Empire, who considered them ignorant and non-human.[18] They were unknown to the Letherii Empire, with all knowledge beyond their name lost to history.[19]

In The Bonehunters[]

The First Empire likely engaged in conflicts with the Trell nearly to the end the of its existence. Widows of the Trell Wars were still young enough to bear children even at the time of the Great Slaughter that marked the end of the empire.[20]

The Trell's decline was spurred by their generations of war with the neighbouring Nemil Kingdom. The Nemil were militaristic and expansionist. They gradually drove the Trell from the coasts near the Clatar Sea into the inland hills to the east where they resided in a dwindling enclave surrounded by Nemil settlers.[21]

Mappo recalled the Battle of Bayen Eckar during the war between the Trell and the Nemil. Elder Trynigarr had drawn Nemil general Saylan'mathas and his seemingly superior forces into an ambush at the Valley of Bayen Eckar. The rout led to six more victories before the Nemil surrendered all claim to the Trell lands. The Nemil ultimately had the last laugh as they and their half-breed Trellish scouts later committed such a sustained slaughter of the bhederin herds that the Trell starved and were forced to abandon their wild-lands.[22]

Some Trell interbred with the Nemil and their mixed-blood descendents could be found working on Nemil trader ships.[21]

In Return of the Crimson Guard[]

Rumours that Trell had once resided in the Lands of Fist until their extermination were angrily denied by Paulus of Rool. As proof, the writer pointed to the lack of any physical evidence left behind of their presence.[23]

Notes and references[]