|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|
In a land where
Seven cities rose in gold,
Even the dust has eyes
In the Deep Mine at Skullcup, there has been a massive cave-in, killing all who were working there. Felisin looks over to where Heboric is toiling, pulling a plough instead of a cart, and realises he would be dead had she not asked Beneth to move his shift. By now, however, Felisin is living in a durhang and wine torpor, and feels little satisfaction from the fact she saved his life. Pella approaches her, and notes how she looks 10 years older than last time they met, just two weeks ago. She assumes he wants to sleep with her, but he just wants to know where Heboric is.
Later, Beneth takes her to meet Captain Sawark. She notices an undercurrent of disgust in his voice now, whenever he talks to her. Beneth offers Felisin to Sawark in return for the answer to one question. He wants to know why Baudin was arrested that morning. Sawark says that he was caught after curfew, but escaped, until one of the guards recognised him in the morning. Sawark says Beneth will have to live with the loss of a worker, he won’t release Baudin. When he looks properly at Felisin, he goes white, and tells Beneth to take her away.
Outside, Beneth asks her urgently what she has to do with Baudin, and if she is a noble born. She lies, and says she was a foundling, abandoned at the Monastery of Fener on Malaz Island. Beneth doesn’t believe her, and asks several questions about the geography of the area to see if she is lying or not. Felisin shouts at him, asking him why he is asking all these questions and Beneth loses his temper and starts beating her.
Later on, Heboric finds her, and tries to help her back to their hut. He compliments her on making up the story about being a foundling, as Beneth asked Heboric to confirm it. He also explains that Baudin has escaped from the gaol, killing three guards and setting fire to several buildings to cover his escape. Guards are searching for him, but no one has yet found him.
Kalam is riding along the coastal road near the Estara Hills, when a sand-storm starts up. He leaves the road as he sees the storm approach, knowing that the cliffs can occasionally collapse in such storms. He attempts to outrun the storm, pushing his horse to a gallop, but as it gets closer, he notices a swarm of chigger fleas moving towards them, and slows down to let them pass ahead. This means the storm catches up, but that is the lesser of two evils, despite the storm containing fist-sized rocks. Eventually, walking through the storm, he reaches Ladro Keep, a Malazan outpost he had been trying to avoid. Inside the common room, taking shelter from the storm, are four guardsmen and a merchant with his wife. The sergeant is suspicious, and asks him what he is doing riding alone. Kalam takes him to one side and shows him a pendant that the sergeant recognizes as that of a Clawmaster, which ends all his questions instantly.
The merchant’s wife turns out to be a reader of the Deck of Dragons, and offers to read Kalam’s future, which he rebuffs with contempt. Two more travellers enter the keep, a Pardu woman and Ehrlii man, both who weren’t so lucky to avoid the chigger fleas. They bicker with the sergeant about having to pay for beer and a cedar-chip bath to clean off the chiggers, but eventually relent. The merchant’s wife starts reading the Deck, but Kalam soon calls her out as a fake, as one of the cards she draws, Obelisk, is inactive in Seven Cities. She angrily throws the deck at Kalam, and the cards form a pattern as they bounce off. Assassin of Shadow, representing Kalam in this instance, is surrounded by all six members of the House of Death. “Hood’s House all arrayed... around the one who carries the Holy Book of Dryjhna.”
Lostara Yil prepares to leave Ladro Keep, last of all the travelers. She regrets having to come so close to Kalam in their chase, and read in the sergeant’s face that he was a co-conspirator with Kalam, not knowing Kalam had fooled the man with his Clawmaster sigil. She and her accompanying soldier have just finished killing all the people in the keep, thinking of them all as traitors to the empress for assisting Kalam. They leave once all are dead, following Kalam once more.
Mappo and Icarium are exploring the crypt of the temple they are staying in with Iskaral Pust. They believe that the crypt was there long before the temple of Tesem was dedicated to the Queen of Dreams, let alone Shadow, due to the difference in architecture. There are many paintings on the walls, depicting a dark forest clearing, with hints of massive beats in the background, as well as patterns in the floor, although the graves of the priestesses have obscured much of it. There is a doorway leading off the main chamber blocked up with heavy granite blocks, which they slowly move out the way and move through. The bhok'arala that had been watching them unblocking the door all go very quiet and refuse to follow when Mappo and Icarium go through. A large hallway is ahead of them, colonnaded with columns that they recognize as the trunks of cedar trees. Icarium says they were brought in by a warren, which has the sense of Kurald Galain, Elder Dark. Mappo is confused by this, as there is no mention of any Tiste Andii having ever been in Seven Cities, but Icarium says it only has the feel of Galain, he cannot be certain. They know of no other Elder Warrens than Galain, Omtose Phellack, Tellann, or Starvald Demelain.
They eventually reach a large octagonal chamber.
In Hissar's surroundings, Duiker, Kulp and Bult attend Sormo E'nath's ritual in a dead oasis which shelters ruins from an ancient temple. Sormo reveals to them that the oasis is a holy place, and that he is about to open himself to the sacred aspect of that place. Kulp is worried because he thinks that the oasis is linked to the Seven, but Sormo is convinced that it is linked to Tellann.
The Wickan warlock then draws his power and the place starts to change, the air grows alive with icy winds and a bestial stench fills Duiker's nostrils. A cloud of wasps approaches Bult and stings him. The group understand that they are in the middle of a sort of war between D'ivers and Soletaken, rats, fire ants, snakes are attacking each other and the group. Kulp unleashes his warren to defend them. An enormous demon appears and warns them, then attacks the Soletaken and D'ivers, trying to gain time for the group to escape. To do this, they have to wake up Sormo E'nath and bring him back to awareness. After several attempts, Kulp manages to do so by punching the warlock in the face. Sormo then wakes up and they find themselves back in the oasis. The warlock explains that something unexpected is happening, a convergence, the Path of Hands, the gate of the Soletaken and D'ivers. The warren where they found themselves was really Tellann. So this poses a question, either there is a link between Elder Tellann and shapeshifting, or the D'ivers and Soletaken are simply passing through Tellann.