Map Chain of Dogs 2

Seven Cities, area north of Aren

Map Seven Cities detail

Seven Cities

Aren was a port-city on the southern coast of the Seven Cities continent and one of its seven Holy Cities. After the continent's conquest by the Malazan Empire, the city was the headquarters of the Imperial High Command.[1]


The city's high walls were impregnated with otataral as proof against sorcery.[2] Its north gate was flanked by two solid towers sporting T-shaped arrow slits midway up their heights and topped by broad observation platforms surrounded by stone merlons. The entrance was approximately twenty feet high and the gate could be raised to a height of at least fifteen feet. Inside the gate was a wide concourse that was used as a caravan staging area.[3][4] Outside the north gate was the Aren Way, a broad cedar-lined Imperial road commissioned by Dassem Ultor, which ran three leagues north to the village of Balahn.[5]

The other side of the city facing the river leading to the Dojal Hading Sea was home to the harbour district and the Imperial Yard where Malazan naval vessels docked. Towing vessels maneuvered ships from the inner yard further out into the harbour where the ships were allowed to stretch their sails.[6]

Near the riverfront was Dregs, a district of Malazan expatriate hovels, containing colourfully named cobble streets such as No Help Alley. This may also have been the location of a city necropolis surrounded by high brick tenements and mourners' taverns such as the Squall Inn.[7][8]

Broad limestone steps led up from the harbour to the city's palace gate.[9]

Within the city was a column at least twenty man-heights tall carved in a spiral from top to bottom.[10]


The city was nominally ruled by High Fist Pormqual, although decisions on taxation and trade were made behind the scenes by a host of merchants largely for their own benefit. Pormqual's edicts were all delivered through the priest Mallick Rel.[11]

The Aren Guard, led by Commander Blistig, maintained order in Aren from the City Garrison.[12] the city was also home to approximately ten thousand Malazan soldiers.[13]

Trell were not welcome within the city.[14]


It was fashionable among men in the city's court to dust their cheeks with light blue powder.[15]


Aren RebellionEdit

In around 1152/1153 BS[16] when Kellanved was still Emperor of the Malazan Empire, a revolt in Aren was put down by the Logros T'lan Imass and led to a slaughter of its citizens. The attack appeared to have been instigated by Surly although no written orders were ever found. After the slaughter was over Dancer was sent to investigate resulting in an argument between the two.[17] The victims of the slaughter were buried in great barrow mounds running parallel to the eastern side of Aren Way.[18]

The rebellion was caused by issues raised by people due to weak governance by the Malazan appointed Fist in Aren. When Barathol Mekhar slew the Fist, he was arrested. However, the people rose up against the Malazan Garrison in Barathol's defense, the T'lan marched into Aren slaying civilians and revolting soldiers alike. Barathol was seen fleeing through one of the gates.[19]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

During the Whirlwind rebellion of 1164BS, Aren was the last city held by the Malazans after all the others on Seven Cities had fallen Sha'ik's armies.[20] Pormqual cowered within the city walls ordering Blistig's Guard to arrest anyone he feared of treason. The city's jails were crowded with monks, priests, soldiers, and Red Blades, including Orto Setral.[21][22] Pormqual also ordered Admiral Nok arrested to force the Malazan fleet to remain in the city's harbour.[23] Meanwhile, the High Fist evacuated his household and the city's treasury.[24]

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

Just outside Aren's north gate was where Fist Coltaine's Chain of Dogs came to an end. While the thirty thousand refugees he protected safely entered the city's gates, he and his men were massacred in full view of the city's soldiers watching from the walls. Pormqual refused to intervene fearing his troops were outnumbered by Korbolo Dom's hordes. The next morning, the High Fist was tricked by Mallick Rel into taking the field and then surrendering to the army of the Apocalypse. All were taken captive and crucified by Dom's forces. Only Blistig's act of disobedience in withholding two to three hundred members of his Guard from the excursion prevented the city from falling.[25][26]

Significant plot details end here.

In House of ChainsEdit

Adjunct Tavore Paran brought the Malaz 14th Army to Aren as part of a punitive expedition against the rebels.

It was the birthplace of the name 'Bonehunters'.

In Blood and Bone Edit

The Queen of Dreams informed Captain Yusen that he and his squad had been exonerated for their involvement in the slaying of the Fist who had been appointed governor in Aren. Apparently, the Fist had been about to declare independence from the Malazan Empire, and had started killing everyone opposed to him. Knowing he had no choice if he refused, Yusen killed the Fist, while Burastan, Yusen's aide killed the Fist's aides.[27]

Places of interest Edit

Notes and referencesEdit