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Assail (novel)

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Assail is the sixth novel by Canadian author Ian Cameron Esslemont. It is set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, a ten-volume epic fantasy series by Esslemont's friend and colleague Steven Erikson. Esslemont and Erikson co-created the Malazan world in the 1980s.

Publisher's summaryEdit

Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region's north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor's tavern and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. All these adventurers have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait -- hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword. And beyond are rumored to lurk Elder monsters out of history's very beginnings. Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers to mysteries that Shimmer, second in command, wonders should even be sought. Arriving also, part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. And with him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and who cannot remember his past life, yet who commands far more power than he really should. Also venturing north is said to be a mighty champion, a man who once fought for the Malazans, the bearer of a sword that slays gods: Whiteblade.

And lastly, far to the south, a woman guards the shore awaiting both her allies and her enemies. Silverfox, newly incarnated Summoner of the undying army of the T'lan Imass, will do anything to stop the renewal of an ages-old crusade that could lay waste to the entire continent and beyond. Casting light on mysteries spanning the Malazan Empire, and offering a glimpse of the storied and epic history that shaped it, Assail is the final chapter in the epic story of the Empire of Malaz.

Front MatterEdit

DedicationEdit

This one is for the old gaming gang at the University of
Manitoba: Doug and Doug, Jeff, Oliver, Grant, Ron,
Martin, Henry, Craig, Laurence, Neil, Shurjeel and Arne.

AcknowledgementsEdit

I wish to offer my gratitude to my advance readers for their
observations and comments, Sharon Sasaki and A. P. Canavan.
You helped more than you think.

I give my love to my wife, Gerri Brightwell, without whose
support and understanding, this novel, and those preceding it,
would never have been possible.

And to you Malaz readers. It has been a privilege to unveil
these stories. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I.

MapsEdit

Plot summaryEdit

Assail
Dramatis Personae Prologue
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Epilogue Pagination

PrologueEdit

A Jaghut woman flees from a T'lan Imass hunting party. She has no hope of escape, but leads them up a rocky slope towards some caves. She is pierced by a spear that pins her to the ground, and is caught. Ut'el Anag, the Imass Bonecaster, expresses his disappointment that she is so easily caught and says she has doomed her kin in the caves as well. He sends scouts to explore the caves but they are killed. The Jaghut grins savagely as her trap is sprung and Forkrul Assail swarm from the cave. All of the intruders are killed except the Jaghut, who unpins herself and jumps over the cliff, and Ut'el who escapes into a warren.

A band of T'lan Imass led by Shalt Li'gar have found a land unknown to them. It is occupied by humans, and when one speaks to them in Jaghut language some of the Imass attack them. Shalt and others of the band try to restrain them, and fighting results. All the Imass die.

Chapter IEdit

Kyle is in Kevil, a town in Korelri, and wishes to leave. He encounters Storval, the mate of the pirate ship Lady's Luck, who invites him to meet the captain, Tulan Orbed. They have heard reports of a gold-rush in Assail, two weeks to the east, and intend to prey on the ships this will attract. Tulan suspects Kyle has knowledge of the area and asks him to join them; Kyle agrees.

After their expedition to Jacuruku, Shimmer and the Crimson Guard have been back in Stratem for two months. She has lost patience with their absent leader, K'azz, who has made no plans travel to Assail to rescue Cal-Brinn and the Fourth Company. A meeting is held, where it is decided that she and most of the leaders will take a relief party there themselves.

On the south coast of Assail, locals have started avoiding a stretch of shore that they call the Dead Coast. A few seasons ago a woman arrived there, precipitating what seemed to be a battle with the dead; they now call her Ghost Woman. One day Sumaran, a fishermen, is shipwrecked there and tended by her while he recovered. She tells him to call her Silverfox.

Burl Tardin is captain of the Sea Strike, a Genebackan pirate ship which has reached the inland Dread Sea of Assail. They see a sea-dragon, and their ship is damaged by an iceberg; Whellen, the First Mate, touches the ice and soon after loses consciousness. The next day they find an inexplicably abandoned vessel. The crew decide that it and the area is cursed.

Orman Bregin's son is a lowland farmer near Curl, below the Iceblood holdings in northern Assail. There there are rumours of gold, and he agrees to join a small party of locals led by Old Bear who intend travelling to the area. He takes with him Boarstooth, the heirloom spear with a stone blade that had belonged to his late father; after his death it had been appropriated by his uncle Jal.

Chapter IIEdit

Parties of Kerluhm T'lan Imass are arriving on the Dead Coast of Assail; they can detect a Jaghut presence nearby, perhaps because Omtose Phellack, the Jaghut warren, is failing. The Summoner Silverfox, assisted by a group of Kron T'lan Imass led by Pran Chole, is there to greet them, to try to dissuade them from continuing their genocidal war against the Jaghut. So far she has always failed, and the arriving Imass are destroyed by the Kron. However the number of Kron is diminishing...

The bard Fisher Kel Tath has returned to the Bone Peninsular, part of a diverse group of soldiers hoping to profit from the gold. Before they set out for the gold fields Fisher learns of a half-frozen 'demon'. He investigates and finds the unconscious body is a Tiste Andii. He takes him on the journey towards the gold.

Shimmer and her Crimson Guard detachment set out for Assail, travelling in a hired merchantman, Mael's Greetings. She had hoped until the last moment that K'azz would arrive and join them, but he didn't. Six nights later they are near the cape when a fire is seen on the shore. They investigate and find it is K'azz.

Kyle is on the Lady's Luck, sailing towards Assail. He befriends the bookish Reuth, the captain's nephew and ship's navigator. Reuth warns him that some of the crew suspect, correctly, Kyle's sword is magical.

Chapter IIIEdit

Orman has reached the agreed rendezvous and finds there the Reddin brothers, Keth and Kasson. The next day the camp is attacked by his uncle Jal and his hearthguards, come to retrieve the spear Boarstooth. Orman kills Jal with the spear, and the attack is repelled.

Three days after the Sea Strike found the ghost ship, its sailors begin disappearing one by one. The remaining crew blame the curse and wish to kill the unconscious Mate, but Burl prevents them.

The Tiste Andii wakes but has amnesia, not even remembering his name. Fisher goes to the Malazan contingent to ask their leader, Malle of Gris, for clothes and a sword for him. He finds her with the mages Holden and Alca. They seem to be map-making, and Fisher suspects the Malazans are planning to annex the gold fields.

A group of ships wait at the mouth of the near-impassable Fear Narrows. Several had already attempted the passage and been wrecked. The first to succeed is the Falari vessel Silver Dawn, captained by Jute Hernan and navigated by his wife Ieleen, a Ruse mage. Three other ships take the opportunity to follow their path through. Soon after they see a port. The ships enter but are trapped by a chain and attacked by many small vessels. The attacks are repelled by two of the other ships: one is full of heavily-armoured troops, another a Malazan galley supplied with Moranth munitions. All the ships escape.

The captains later meet. One is the legendary Cartheron Crust of the Ragstopper. Another is Timmel Orosenn, Primogenitrix of Umryg, a mage of Jaghut descent. The third is Tyvar Gendarian, commander of the Blue Shields, a brother order to the Grey Swords. He is Mortal Sword of Togg.

A new T'lan Imass arrives on the Dead Coast. He is Tolb Bell'al, the last Bonecaster of the Ifayle Imass. He and Pran Chole greet each other warmly. He tells Silverfox that they must travel to the far north, where answers will be found.

Lady's Luck has reached the coast of Assail. One night Reuth wakes Kyle and warns him he is about to be attacked by the crew who want his sword. Expecting this, Kyle had put air-bladders in his pack; he jumps overboard and swims ashore.

Chapter IVEdit

The Crimson Guard are close to Assail. Damaged by storms they put in to an island for repairs. There are Letherii vessels nearby. K'azz meets their leader, Luthal Canar, who claims the whole island, considers them trespassers and intends to confiscate Mael's Greetings and its cargo as a penalty. K'azz agrees instead to a trial of payment for a much larger amount: he will be weighed down with rocks and thrown into the bay. If he succeeds in walking underwater to the distant shore the debt will be considered paid. To everyone else's surprise he succeeds in doing so, though Luthal reneges on the agreement. Back at the ship K'azz orders the Guard to appropriate one of the Letherii vessels as recompense.

Burl's paranoid feelings about his crew increase, and he spends most of the time in his cabin protecting the Mate, Whellen. One day when he goes outside most of the crew have disappeared; he can find only two, both hiding out of fear of him or Whellen. He waits for some hours, then hears a splash. In the night sky the constellations are strange. He searches again: only he and Whellen remain. Whellen wakes at last, only to throw himself overboard and drown. Burl retreats fearfully to his cabin.

Old Bear leads Gerrun, the Reddin brothers and Orman upwards into the Sayer territory of the Iceblood lands. Orman starts seeing ghost-like translucent figures in the distance, Eithjar. One day they meet one of them, a woman standing in a pond. Old Bear goes forward to speak to her, then returns to say that the Sayers have detected a trespasser; in return for free passage they must investigate. Later they meet the trespasser. He is Lotji Bain, an acquaintance of Old Bear. He is the nephew of Jorgan Bain, who lost a duel with Orman's father, so losing Boarstooth. Lotji has come to see if the rumours that Boarstooth has returned to Iceblood lands are true. Orman is safe on Sayer lands, but will be challenged if he enters Bain territory.

The party reaches the gold field. Large nuggets are easily found, but Old Bear gives them a choice: either to take what gold they can carry and leave, or stay and swear to the Sayers. They all choose to swear. Three days later Orman is met by a ghost who gives him a warning to bear: times are changing, and danger will arrive in the summer. The next day they are welcomed at the Sayer hold. When he is sworn to the clan, he learns that Jass Sayer is also Jass Bregin's son, Orman's half-brother.

Chapter VEdit

Fisher has decided to name the amnesiac Andii Jethiss. The party has been climbing through the hills and has now come to a defile passable only by a bridge. They had heard about a bone bridge and its guardian but disbelieved the tales. Now they find the bridge is indeed made of bones, and a guardian appears who offers passage over the bridge in exchange for the bones of a third of the company. Jethiss offers an alternative: his bones in exchange for his name, which the guardian claims to know. The guardian agrees and takes Jethiss, plus Fisher who refused to leave him, into the ravine. They are deposited in a cave. They see a light in the distance; it is a fire, and they find there old acquaintances of Fisher: the Lost brothers Badlands and Coots.

Kyle is walking through the steppe lands of the Silent Tribes. He has been attacked several time already. He meets Lyan, a female warrior from Genabackis accompanying a child, Dorrin. They agree to travel together. After more attacks they arrive near what Kyle calls the Sea of Terrors. This is cursed, so they skirt it to the north. There is no safe drinking water. After four days elders and warriors of the Silent Tribes surround them. There is to be a challenge: Kyle against their champion, but Kyle must not use his magic sword, which they call white blade. Kyle wins, but is injured. After healing him the Silent Tribes allow them to leave, even supplying three horses.

Kerluhm T'lan Imass are travelling north, killing any locals with Jaghut blood that they find. Silverfox and the Kron Imass follow and are gaining on the Kerluhm.

Chapter VIEdit

The Lady's Luck has been anchored for five days while a landing party searches for water and provisions. Finally two of them return, wounded. The others have been killed.

The Silver Dawn is leading the four ship convoy through the Sea of Dread. Though its navigator Ieleen is a Ruse mage she cannot see her way forward, and is suffering from the magical wards. Finally Lady Orosenn exerts her powers, despite the risk of revealing her presence, and the Supplicant leads the way. They pass many ships that seem to have been abandoned by their crews. Finally they discover one with a single man remaining aboard. Jute and Cartheron Crust board it to investigate, but the man is insane and stabs Cartheron, then jumps overboard. Jute takes Cartheron to Lady Orosenn, whose healing abilities are sufficient to save his life.

The Crimson Guard have taken a Letherii merchantman, but it is too slow. K'azz orders a smudge, a smoke signal, to be lit. When a pirate ship comes to investigate the Guard take it, leaving the merchantman to the pirates.

Raiders are reported entering Sayer lands and Old Bear leads the lowlanders and Jass to intercept them. They find twenty well-armed mercenaries. That night they attack their camp, but are outnumbered and are losing when Old Bear appears shape-shifted into an enormous bear, which routs the invaders. They return to the hold. When Jaochim, Jass's stepfather, learns that Jass failed to kill any of the invaders he sends him out again, not to return until he has taken a life in defence of the holding. Orman follows to help.

Chapter VIIEdit

The Lost brothers Badlands and Coots explain to Fisher why they are there. It seems they had fallen out with their brother Stalker, the head of the Lost clan, and refused to return home to the Lost holding. Fisher persuades them to do so, to warn about the various invaders. That night they leave the cave and clamber along the underside of the bone bridge. When they reach the other side Yrkki, the guardian, appears. Jethiss repels him using the Kurald Galain warren. They set off for the Iceblood Lost holding.

Kyle and his companions are travelling north, skirting the Sea of Dread. On the eighth day they see a long line of ships being towed along the shore by teams of men. While they are watching a group of soldiers, ex-Stormguards, approach them from behind and demand their horses. Lyan and Kyle attack them, but Dorrin is wounded. Kyle goes back for him and is forced to use his sword to kill most of the attackers. The next day Kyle tells Lyan to take his horse and use it to bargain for healing for Dorrin. He continues on foot. He enters the Lands of Dust, and suffers greatly from duststorms. Eventually an even larger storm strikes; inside it he encounters a humanoid shape of winds and grit that demands his sword. Kyle repels it with the sword and immediately the storm subsides.

Silverfox and the Kron Imass find yet another destroyed village. This time all the inhabitants have been slaughtered apart from one baby, who is cradled by Kilava Onass. She has been warning the local tribes about their danger, though not all heed her.

As Omtose Phellack weakens, the ice is melting in the mountains and T'lan Imass emerge from the thawing moraine. One is Ut'el Anag, who is met by Lanas Tog. As she chooses not to tell him about the message of Redemption brought by Silverfox, Ut'el's Imass join the attack on the Jaghut.

Orman reaches the border between Sayer territory and Bain, and finds Jass's cloak pinned to a tree by Lotji Bain's knife. Jass has been taken as a hostage and lure. Orman finds them and offers to swap Boarstooth for Jass; Lotji agrees, but keeps Jass, takes the spear and knocks Orman unconscious, destroying an eye. When Orman wakes he is being healed by a man who calls himself Cal, a hiresword of the Lost clan. He says that the Bains have been broken by attackers from the south, but the invaders might be defeated if the Sayers and Losts attack them together. Orman sends a message to the Sayers by Eithjar, but says he will go north to seek Buri, the oldest of the Sayer clan.

The Silver Dawn's convoy reach the town of Mist at the far end of the Dread Sea. It is ruled by a sorceress, Lady Mist, who captures and enslaves everyone who arrives. Lady Orosenn manages to resist her long enough for the ships to escape east into a channel.

Reuth has managed to navigate the Lady's Luck to the mouth of the Narrows, where ships wait for one to lead them through the Guardian Rocks into the Dread Sea. The next morning Lady's Luck makes the attempt. Reuth is encouraged by the helmsman, Gren, who says Reuth has Ruse-sense. Some ships follow, including a pirate ship containing mailed soldiers. Reuth successfully guides them through, but at the far end of the channel they are attacked by other ships and Captain Tulan is killed. They are boarded by soldiers from the pirate ship they had seen earlier; they are the Crimson Guard, come to help.

Chapter VIIIEdit

Orman runs north to search for Buri. After a day and a half he comes to an ice wall, which he manages to climb. He continues north on the ice-sheet. On the third day he hears the sound of cracking ice and falls into a crevasse. He is rescued by Buri, taken to a cave and thawed. He explains to Buri about Jass and the invaders, and asks for his help. Buri refuses, saying he is preparing for the real invasion that will follow. He sends Orman back to challenge Lotji for the spear.

The Lost brothers lead Fisher and Jethiss northwards. They find a town that is being attacked by the raiders. They relieve the siege, Jethiss revealing a talent for fighting. However when Couts approaches the town to let them know they are safe, they see he is an Iceblood and their archers kill him. Jethiss summons Kurald Galain to shield them while they recover his body. In his grief Badlands wants to kill all the townsmen, but he is knocked out by the others who then continue north, carrying him.

The Silver Dawn and its accompanying ships reach the north shore of the Dread Sea and find an immense tent city, Wrongway. Cartheron Crust, now somewhat recovered, and Jute go ashore. It seems that the town is ruled by a man called Lying Gell and his thugs. Cartheron leads them into town and quickly collects groups of ex-soldiers who wish to leave, helped by a drug-addict who he appears to recognise. He tells Jute to return to the ships and prepare to depart. He and the soldiers then fire Wrongway, steal the gold and return to the ships. The drug-addict comes too. They continue east towards the fortress of Mantle.

Chapter IXEdit

Kyle arrives in Iceblood lands and meets a near-giant called Cull Heel. When he mentions that he's looking for Stalker Lost, Cull takes him to his home, though the Hall itself had been razed by lowlanders. He lives there with his wife Yullveig, who feeds Kyle and tells him the Lost holding is far to the east, across all the other holdings. His best path would be to descend again and travel across the lowlands. The next day she leads him south-east to the edge of Heel territory. Kyle continues eastwards, meeting groups of gold-chasers. He learns of the tent city and its demise. Its inhabitants are heading for Mantle, and Kyle realises that Lyan is one of their leaders. He goes to join them.

The Crimson Guard's ship now leads the twelve-ship fleet across the Dread Sea. After seven days a mage-driven vessel approaches. An old man boards. Bars recognises him as one of the Sharrs of Exile Keep. They fight and five of the Avowed are killed before Cowl beheads the mage. They continue. Shimmer realises that they are travelling in a timeless spell similar to the one in Jacuruku. With difficulty Petal manages to break them free of it. The reach Mist. Lady Mist captures or kills the other landing-parties but the Crimson Guard escape. They travel along the channel, but notice that avalanches of ice fall off the cliffs as they pass. Eventually a whole cliff-face breaks off and crushes the ship; the Guard and crew dive overboard just in time.

Yrkki, the guardian of the Bone bridge, tries to prevent the Kerluhm T'lan Imass from crossing. He destroys several of them before they overcome him. They cross; soon after the bridge collapses.

Chapter XEdit

After three days descending into the Bain holding, Orman sees Old Bear being attacked by ten men. He helps him defeat them. Old Bear says that they are working with the Losts to repel the invaders. Jass is being held hostage by the Bains. They join with the others. The next day there is a running battle, but Orman seeks Lotji to challenge him. When they meet Lotji throws Boarstooth at him but, instead of flying true, it lands next to him: Lotji hadn't taken it fairly so its magic won't work for him. Orman throws the spear at the retreating Lotji, mortally wounding him. Before he dies Lotji says Jass is in the Bain hall. Old Bear and Gerrun are dead; the others go to the hall but find it alight. Jass is dead, killed by Lotji.

Cartheron Crust leads his flotilla to Mantle, which is besieged both by land and sea. The Blue Shields on the Resolute break the blockade by capturing the enemy ships. Cartheron takes Jute and Tyvar Gendarian to meet Mantle's ruler, King Ronal, who is unenthusiastic in his greeting and only allows them to stay because Malle of Gris suggests it; she is advising him as a Malazan representative. They meet her again outside and it becomes clear that she and Cartheron know each other; he too is working for the Malazans.

Badlands leads Fisher and Jethiss north to the Lost holding; Fisher's childhood had been spent in the nearby Myrni holding. They meet Stalker and Cal. Stalker tells them about Boarstooth and Lotji's death.

Kyle surreptitiously enters the camp of Mantle's besiegers. He encounters Dorrin who takes him to Lyan. Their meeting doesn't go well and he leaves. He is recognised and attacked by the soldiers but manages to escape, aided by fog called down by Baran Heel, Yullveig's son. Kyle departs towards the Lost holding.

Chapter XIEdit

Shimmer, drowning, finds herself on a strange prairie. Smoky, one of the Brethren, arrives and explains that she can decide whether to stay or return to life. She chooses to return and finds herself tied to a bed, being raped. She kills her captors. Bars finds her. They acquire a boat and cross the channel to join the others. Shimmer confronts K'azz about the ice seeming to target them. He reluctantly agrees that they are unwelcome there because of their Vow, but still refuses to explain. They continue north on the boat.

In Exile Keep the Sharrs and their adjacent enemies the Sheers are attacked by the Kerluhm T'lan Imass. Their sorcery destroys some of the attackers but they are overcome.

With his uncle dead, Reuth is maltreated by Storval and the crew. He tries to escape from the ship but is recaptured and chained to the timbers near the stern. He find two hidden dirks and realises he could chip away at the wood at the chain base. That evening all but two guards are ashore. He manages to push one of them overboard, but fails with the other who attacks him. Reuth is injured but manages to stab the guard. He frees himself, releases the anchor and allows the ship to drift off. It is seen by the Blue Shields and is rescued.

Orman and the Reddin brothers return to Sayer hall. Orman agrees to stay and help prepare for the coming attack.

The Blue Shields bring Reuth to the Silver Dawn for Ieleen to heal. Jute and Tyvar hear that the besiegers are attacking Mantle and go there to offer King Ronal their help, which he again refuses.

Silverfox finds the Steers and Sheers slaughtered by the Kerluhm T'lan Imass. She decides she cannot continue with the Kron Imass and decides to go on alone to accost the Kerluhms.

Chapter XIIEdit

Kyle reaches the Lost holding and meets Badlands who takes him to the hall to meet the others. Later Cal, who is actually Cal-Brinn of the Crimson Guard, comes with news of the invaders: they are now reinforced by regular Letherii troops, and will arrive in two days time. The invaders attack, but are initially repelled with the help of Kyle's sword. However they manage to fire the roof of the hall. Jethiss uses his warren to confuse the surrounding troops and the Losts escape into the woods. They decide to retreat north to the mountains where the matriarch of all Icebloods is reputed to live.

Lady Mist detects dangerous new arrivals and summons her giant sons, Anger and Wrath, to help defend her. The Kerluhm T'lan Imass enter and have little difficulty in killing them all. As she dies she tells their leader, Ut'el Anag, that he does have an alternative, there is hope for him yet.

Chapter XIIIEdit

Orman and the Reddin brothers help prepare the defence of the Sayer hold. However Jaochim warns him that he and his wife intend to die in the hall and orders him to take the others north with a message to Buri. The invading army arrives and fires the hall. After defending for a while, helped by a magical fog, Orman and the Reddin brothers leave for the far north.

Lady Orosenn arrives on the shore. She has detected the approach of the Kerluhm T'lan Imass, who will detect that she is a Jaghut and be sure to attack her. She advises everyone to enter Mantle, where they can defend themselves more easily. King Ronal had forbidden this, but he is assassinated by the drug-addict from Wrongway, now revealed as Possum. They and the Blue Shields enter the city and organise the defence. The Kerluhm arrive and attack. Many defenders are killed and Lady Orosenn wounded. Suddenly the T'lan Imass withdraw and rush north; they have detected that someone has started a Jaghut ritual, the Raising of Phellack, and hurry to prevent them.

K'azz and the Crimson Guard are travelling north through Heel hold. They are joined by Erta and Baran Heel; Cull and Yullveig have died in their hall. Later they meet Siguna of the Myrni; Myrni hall has also been burnt. They continue north but the ground seems unstable, and Shimmer seems to see the ice-sheet advancing towards them.

Chapter XIVEdit

Kyle travels north with the remaining Losts, Fisher and Jethiss, escorted by Cal-Brinn and his Crimson Guard. However they are followed by Kerluhm T'lan Imass who attack them. More Imass appear from the north, but these ignore the humans and engage the Kerluhm. Soon only friendly Imass remain intact. They say they are are Ifayle T'lan Imass and will protect the humans. Kyle and the others continue north onto the ice-sheet.

Orman and the Reddin brothers find Buri who is glad that they bring Boarstooth, which he calls Svalthbrul: it will help immensely in the ritual he has prepared. He requires Orman to kill him, to stab him to death with the spear; his sacrifice will join with that of Jaochim, Yrain and the others. With reluctance Orman does so; a vibration emanates from where Buri sat and radiates in all directions.

Silverfox, Kilava and the Kron Imass see more human corpses on the shore of the Sea of Gold. Suddenly she is overcome by a wave of power from the north. When she wakes she is being carried north by the Kron. Kilava says they had felt the rebirth of a Jaghut ice-barrier.

K'azz and the Crimson Guard are on the ice-sheet, but the Avowed are strangely lethargic and have difficulty continuing. K'azz sends them back off of the ice, but he, Shimmer and Blues continue.

Marshall Teal is in charge of the detachment of Letherii troops charged with clearing the Iceblood from the north. He is in his tent when he hears a thunderous noise. He looks and sees an enormous avalanche of ice and rock about to overwhelm the camp.

Lady Orosenn warns the leaders in Mantle of the approaching ice. She persuades the Blue Shields that their Togg-given task is to save the civilians, and they organise an evacuation by sea. However Cartheron Crust decides to stay and try to deflect the ice away from the town using his stolen Moranth munitions. Malazan veterans plant some cussers, and more are catapulted at the ice-sheet as it arrives. It divides and passes on either side of the walls.

Chapter XVEdit

Cal-Brinn sends his Crimson Guards back off the ice; they cannot withstand the pressure from Omtose Phellack, and will search for Stalker and Badlands. Kyle and the others press onwards. They meet Orman and the Reddin brothers at the corpse of Buri. The Heels arrive too, and also K'azz and the Crimson Guard leaders; with them is Siguna. From above comes a Jaghut, the Matriarch of the Icebloods. She leads them all upwards, towards the cave of the Forkrul Assail.

The Kerluhm approach, led by Ut'el Anag, and are confronted by K'azz and the Crimson Guard. The Jaghut warns them of the Forkrul presence; the Kerluhm were about to attack regardless when Silverfox, Kilava, Pran Chole and Tolb Bell'al arrive. Silverfox discovers that Lanas Tog has concealed the news of the redemption from the Kerluhm. When she informs Ut'el, he reduces Lanas to dust that is scattered by the wind.

The confrontation averted, Kilava and Silverfox reveal to the Crimson Guard the truth about their Vow: like the Imass ritual, it turned the Avowed into deathless T'lan. Silverfox welcomes them to the T'lan and Tolb names them the D'Avore T'lan Imass.

The Forkrul arrive. They accuse the Jaghut of disturbing them again, and the Imass of breaking the ancient agreement of peace between the four original Races. Fisher points out that there are again four races present, Tiste Andii substituting for the nearly-extinct K'Chain Che'Malle. Representatives of all four pledge peace.

Having pledged on behalf of the Tiste, Jethiss feels that he has also been sent there for a sword, a replacement for Dragnipur. He goes north with the Forkrul; the others disperse southwards.

EpilogueEdit

Shimmer is again in the place of the Vow, speaking to Smoky. He confirms that she is dead, but can choose to return; as can all the Brethren. She chooses to go back. K'azz says they should all return to Stratem.

In Mantle Jute and the other leaders have been rewarded with gold for their help in the defence. One day Jute sees a ship in the distance: the Silver Dawn is returning.

Kyle and Fisher have been in the Matriarch's dwelling for four days before she announces that someone approaches. They go towards the Forkrul and find Jethiss. He has acquired a sword, but is missing his left arm; the sword is made of bone. Jethiss says his memories have returned, and doesn't contradict Fisher when he suggests he was the Son of Darkness.

TriviaEdit

The map of Assail in the front of the novel of is attributed to Reuth, a cartographer introduced in the book.

Notes and referencesEdit

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