|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, in order 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 is clear that he is supposed to die here, as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. Heboric is angry at what she does, but she cannot tell what Baudin thinks. 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.
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. They both silently regret how what they say to each other seems much crueler than it is intended. Once both are in bed, Baudin comes in and has a whispered conversation with Heboric, and Felisin is sure that they are planning something, and angry that they have not involved her, thinking that they don’t trust her to keep any secrets, and wondering if they are right not to.
Duiker sits in Hissar’s harbour, 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 that same fleet. Kulp arrives and informs Duiker that he has sent instructions to Heboric on the Otataral Island in order for him to escape. An unscheduled boat arrives, and it turns out to bring Baria and Mesker Setral, two Red Blade commanders, along with their units. The Red Blades form up, about to attack the harbour market, and sudden panic sets in, before ten Wickan warriors emerge from the crowd, to stand before the forty Red Blades. Kulp rushes to intercede, but Baria mocks him and demands the Wickans retreat, announcing that they intend to begin their stay in Hissar with the blood of traitors, both the Wickans’ and the natives. Kulp reasons that if they do that, five thousand Wickans would take revenge, and not quickly, at which Baria and Mesker back down. Duiker notes how Coltaine, by hiding Wickans in the market, has shown to the citizens that he will defend them, and is well on the way to making an excellent reputation for himself. Once away from the harbour, Kulp explains to Duiker how Coltaine has been training the Seventh Army extremely hard, training them in city fighting, controlling mobs and putting down insurrection. 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, and says he will talk to Coltaine to see if they can get a day of rest.
The next day, Duiker and Bult, alongside a “dead” Corporal List, observe the mock battle, and finally the Seventh beat back the rioting Wickans, and earn their day of rest.
Fiddler and Crokus discuss Kalam, and his insistence to take the Book of Dryjhna to Sha'ik. Fiddler explains that it is in order to put more cracks in Laseen’s control, and also that the rest of them will be finding a new path to Unta that has never been used before, while Kalam travels overland and then by boat from Aren, but doesn’t elaborate on what that path might be. Crokus complains that they are 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 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 disguised as pilgrims, while Fiddler remains a Gral, acting as their guardian. Kalam left the previous night on his own, and Fiddler felt lost and alone, especially having argued with Kalam before he left over the wisdom of actively encouraging the rebellion, thinking the damage to the Empire might be so great that, whoever replaced Laseen, would have no chance of survival either. They wanted Laseen gone, but not the Empire. As they leave the city, a troop of Red Blades stop them, and ask if they saw a man of Kalam’s description leaving. Crokus is worried that they will catch him, 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 wounds inflicted by the D'ivers. He wanted to make sure there was no trace of poison in the wounds, as it was a deadly kind that would render him into a murderous rage, and he didn’t want to think of what he might do if infected by it, or what Icarium might do to stop him. He finds Icarium in the library, which also serves as a kitchen. 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 are on entirely pointless subjects. Mappo is reminded by the script of something in his own past, a meeting with mysterious figures who wrote in the same language as these books. Icarium mentions a twisted staff embossed into each book’s spine, and Mappo hastily changes the subject. Icarium insists 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 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. Mappo returns to the memory he had reflected on before, when he had met the Nameless Ones and they had asked him how patient he could be. He shakes off these thoughts, and they set off to explore the Temple.