|Chapter 1||Chapter 2|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 4|
|Chapter 6||Chapter 7|
|Chapter 8||Chapter 9|
|Chain of Dogs|
|Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14|
|Chapter 15||Chapter 16|
|Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20|
|Chapter 21||Chapter 22|
|Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
The Red Blades were, at this time, pre-eminent among those pro-Malazan organizations that arose in occupied territories. Viewing themselves as progressive in their embrace of the values of imperial unification, this quasi-military cult became infamous with their brutal pragmatism when dealing with dissenting kin...Lives of the Conquered
Felisin is sleeping with Beneth, the leader of the slaves in Skullcup, to procure better supplies and shifts for herself, Baudin and Heboric. Heboric in particular has been worked extremely hard, dragging up carts full of rocks from the deep mines, a job normally done by oxen. It seems that he is supposed to die quietly and unobtrusively. Heboric is angry at what she does, but she cannot tell what Baudin thinks although he seems to protect her when Beneth is absent. As Beneth and Felisin walk through Skullcap, they meet Pella, a camp guard, who asks Beneth to talk to Captain Sawark about the Dosii guards, who he believes will rebel if the mainland rises, because Beneth has the Captain’s ear as leader of the slaves. Pella then quotes from Duiker's Imperial Campaigns but Beneth and Felsin are not familiar with the work. The guard tells Felisin that they are worth learning and to find someone who might teach her. Felisin afterwards reassures Beneth that she has no interest in the flirting guard.
Felisin's thoughts revolve around surviving each day as it comes and she scorns Heboric's apparent hope to escape but nevertheless takes note of the water level of the lake as he has asked her to do.
The Otataral they mine is found only in limestone, which makes Heboric believe it is not a natural ore, but in fact created by magic, despite its magic-negating properties. He is horrified at the thought of what might have created so much of it.
When Felisin returns home, she bickers with Heboric, who curses Tavore for turning her teenage sister into an alcoholic whore. He also disapproves of her use of Durhang and she retaliates by calling him a hypocrite. Both silently regret how what they say to each other seems much crueler than it is intended. They are in bed when Baudin comes in later and goes to have a whispered conversation with Heboric. Felisin, sure that they are planning something, is angry that she is excluded and even momentarily considers cutting herself loose from them for their lack of trust. She feels that only her efforts have kept the two men alive. Felisin feels abandoned and cries.
Duiker sits on Hissar's harbour wall, reflecting on the departure of Admiral Nok's fleet, which sailed to Aren on Pormqual's command. His only relief is that Mallick Rel has left with them. Kulp arrives and informs him that instructions have been sent to Heboric. An unscheduled boat docks, bringing Baria and Mesker Setral, two Red Blade commanders, along with their units. The Red Blades form up, about to attack the harbour market but before panic sets in, ten Wickan warriors emerge from the crowd, to face the forty Red Blades. Kulp intervenes but Baria threatens him and Mesker announces that they intend to begin their stay in Hissar with the blood of those Wickans and that of traitors. Kulp reasons that five thousand Wickans would take a painful, slow revenge. This, combined with the arrival of the Hissar Guard and Wickan bowmen forces Baria and Mesker to back down. Duiker notes how Coltaine, by hiding Wickans in the market, has shown the citizens that he will defend them, and is well on the way to making an excellent reputation for himself. As they walk away, Kulp explains to Duiker how Coltaine has been training the Seventh Army extremely hard - in city fighting, controlling mobs and putting down insurrection with Kulp himself creating illusions of refugees. Duiker says that the harder they push the army, the better prepared they will be when the worst does eventually happen. Kulp mentions that Corporal List has died in every mock battle so far but Duiker points out that in a real battle, it can only happen once. He tells Kulp to talk to the squad leaders and says he will talk to Coltaine to get them a day of rest if they can win their objective.
The next day, Duiker and Bult, alongside a “dead” Corporal List, observe the day's mock battle. The Seventh at last beat back the rioting Wickans and earn their day of rest.
Fiddler and Kalam had an argument about Kalam's insistence to take the Book of Dryjhna to Sha'ik. Despite that, Fiddler defends the assassin to Crokus saying that triggering the rebellion will put more cracks in Laseen's control. While Kalam will travel overland and then by boat from Aren, the rest of them will find a new path to Unta which has probably never been used before but doesn't elaborate further. Crokus complains that they intend using Apsalar in case Kalam fails to assassinate the Empress, since she was possessed by the Rope, Patron of Assassins, and still has some of his skills. Fiddler concedes that if not Kalam, Quick Ben would have considered the option. Fiddler asks why Moby, Mammot's familiar, is still alive since Mammot died, let alone travelling with them across half a whole continent, to which Crokus has no answer. He also tells Crokus that he has some growing up to do and Apsalar can make decisions for herself.
The next day they leave Ehrlitan. Crokus and Apsalar are posing as newly-wed pilgrims, while Fiddler remains a Gral, acting as their guardian. Kalam left the previous night on his own and Fiddler feels lost and alone after the argument which soured their parting. They both want Laseen gone but not the Empire and Fiddler argued that the damage to the Empire might be so great that, whoever replaced Laseen, would have no chance of survival either. As they leave the city, a troop of Red Blades stop them, and ask if they saw a man on a roan stallion leaving. Crokus is worried that they are after Kalam, but Fiddler ignores his concerns and moves off down the road. He wants to hurry, in order to reach G'danisban, on the edge of the Pan'potsun Odhan, in a week. He worries about Kimloc's conch shell, thinking it will be more trouble than it's worth, carrying an object of such potential power. Crokus notices that Moby has left, and is depressed, because he felt that through Moby, he was still connected to his uncle Mammot.
Iskaral Pust is hunting spiders in his tower. Mappo watches, amused, while he recovers from his injuries inflicted by the D'ivers. He is worried in case poison has remained in his wounds and knows he will kill himself rather than let himself taken by the murderous rage it causes. He looks for Icarium and finds him in the library which also serves as a kitchen and where Servant is currently doing the laundry. Icarium is astonished at Iskaral's collection of books, which the Priest himself had disparaged, noting that some of them are likely a thousand years old, if not more, and must have cost a fortune but that many are on relatively pointless subjects. Mappo is reminded by the script of a summoning in his past which led to a meeting with mysterious figures who wrote in the same archaic language as these books, a meeting which had changed Mappo's life forever. Icarium observes a twisted staff embossed into each book’s spine, and thinks he has seen the symbol before. He thinks that the books prove that there was once a thriving and very rich civilisation in Seven Cities, and he is intrigued by it, as it reminds him of his own obsession with time, and how he makes mechanisms to measure and observe it.
Mappo tries to divert Icarium and notes that he does not like staying too long in a Temple of Shadow, and fears getting trapped in some scheme of Pust, who does not fool him with his harmless act. Icarium says he feels he needs to stay at Tesem a while however and asks Mappo to be patient with him. The word returns Mappo to the memory he reflected on before, his meeting with the Nameless Ones who had asked him what he could learn of patience. He shakes off these thoughts, and they set off to explore the Temple.