Coltaine was the leader of the Wickan Crow clan. He was described as having a lean, expressionless lined face with deep brackets around a thin, wide mouth, and squint tracks at the corners of his dark, deep-set eyes. He wore his hair in oiled braids which hung down past his shoulders, knotted with crow-feather fetishes. He was tall, wearing a battered vest of chain over a hide shirt, a crow-feather cloak hanging from his broad shoulders down to the backs of his knees. He wore a rider's leggings, laced with gut up the outer sides to his hips. a single horn-handled long-knife jutted out from under his left arm.
He originally united the Wickan clans in an uprising against the Malazan Empire. That uprising failed, but the Wickan grew to appreciate the wisdom of the then Emperor, Kellanved and ultimately pledged loyalty to the Malazan Empire. He became the first Wickan Fist in the Malazan military and commander of the 7th Army. He half-jokingly referred to Bult as his uncle, though this was neither proven nor disproven.
Upon arriving in Seven Cities, Coltaine immediately began training the Malaz 7th Army in guerrilla tactics with his Wickan warriors. When the Whirlwind began its rebellion, this training proved to be incredibly useful in allowing the army to escort and protect the various refugees accompanying them to Aren. Along the way, he successfully led the army in battle against various tribes who sought to kill the refugees, escorting many of them to the safety of Aren.
He was only forty when he was crucified and killed outside the city of Aren; High Fist Pormqual refused to authorize a sortie to aid the Wickan Fist. Ten thousand Malazan soldiers watched on and were broken that day, through their inability to help Coltaine. In order to shorten his agony, Squint, an archer on the city's walls with uncanny aim, fired an arrow into Coltaine's head, killing him. Despite the efforts of Korbolo Dom's mage, Kamist Reloe, a huge number of crows came for his soul.
He was later reincarnated in the body of a Wickan child on Quon Tali.