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Interpretation of a Forkrul Assail - Sculpture by Corporal Nobbs

The Forkrul Assail or Forkrul were a non-human, purportedly extinct[1] mythical Elder Race. They used the Hold of Ahkrast Korvalain.


Forkrul Assail

Forkrul Assail

Forkrul Assail by Corporal Nobbs

The Forkrul Assail were humanoid, although taller and thinner than humans. They possessed more joints in their limbs and hands, enabling them to bend their lower arms in all directions, a jointed sternum, large, solid black eyes and blue blood rather than red. Their skin was described as white as alabaster. It was said that their bodies were hinged as if they had two sets of hips and that whilst they could walk on two legs, they could also stand on four.[2] At least some of them had two hearts.[3] They were physically far more robust than humans, and appeared to be virtually un-killable through conventional means, healing from cuts and blows extremely quickly. They also possessed incredible strength, speed and agility, and were able to successfully combat several powerful opponents such as Toblakai, Tiste Edur, and Kenryll'ah tyrants at once while sustaining only minor wounds. In addition, they had preternatural longevity, more so than most of the other races[4] and could live for millennia without food or water.


Forkrul Assail by Dejan Delic

Forkrul Assail by Dejan Delic

Forkrul Assail seemed to lack a collective culture, existing primarily in isolation. Generally, the Assail only seemed to gather to pass judgement and arbitration when requested by other races, though this arbitration seemed to take the form of killing all involved in the conflict. Their only shown community was the Kolanse faction which had a fairly regimented hierarchical culture with the "Pures" (pure-bloods) at the top of the hierarchy, then with "Watered" (short for watered-down)[citation needed] next in level of authority and anyone lower down being essentially slaves.

In their own communities, names were irrelevant. But when dealing with lesser races they often adopted titles as names.[5] Their names reflected their obsession with arbitration.

They used their voices to command their victims and communicated with each other telepathically.

Their architecture was formed by tunneling into stone forming underground buildings, which mimicked the pillars and windows of above-ground buildings. The continent referred to as Assail was said to be the most dangerous place on the planet.


Forkrul Assaill by Corporal Nobbs

Forkrul Assail by Corporal Nobbs

For a list of known Forkrul Assail words and phrases as well as translations please visit the Forkrul Assail Language page.

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

The Darujhistan historian Mammot informed his nephew Crokus Younghand that three races had struggled for dominion in the early days of the world. The first to bow out and disappear were the Forkrul Assail. The other races were the Jaghut and the T'lan Imass. Mammot also claimed the common term for the Forkrul Assail was "Krussail", although this term does not appear to have been used again in the books.[6]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

A group comprised of Fiddler, Apsalar, Crokus, Iskaral Pust, Mappo Runt, and Icarium entered Tremorlor, the Azath House in the Holy Desert Raraku. Within the House's front hallway they discovered the withered corpse of its most recent guardian, a Forkrul Assail.[7]

In House of ChainsEdit

In the first physical appearance of a live Forkrul Assail in the books, Karsa Orlong and his companions, Bairoth Gild and Delum Thord, released the Assail named Calm who had been imprisoned beneath a large stone for thousands of years by Icarium and T'lan Imass. They concluded that the stone might be aspected to hold her down but detected no other signs of magic. Upon being freed, Calm briefly attacked them and inflicted a brain injury on Delum Thord which reduced him to a dog-like state. She did not attack further and left after having a brief exchange with Karsa and Bairoth.[8]

The Jaghut, Cynnigig, made a joke about finding a Forkrul Assail to adjudicate a made up law. He commented that such adjudication was invariably blood, rarely satisfying, and even more rarely left survivors.[9]

In Midnight TidesEdit

By the time of the arrival of the Tiste Andii and the Tiste Edur to the Malazan world hundreds of thousands of years before the Malazan Empire, the Forkrul Assail were already declining in number. They did not appear interested in passing judgement on the invaders.[10]

The second live appearance found an Assail named Serenity released from enchanted bindings. Serenity was attacked by Fear, Trull, Rhulad Sengar, other Edur tribesmen, and two Kenryll'ah demons. Serenity killed Rhulad before being driven off by the two Kenryll'ah who followed excitedly.

In Reaper's GaleEdit

Beak told a tale about Tiste Liosan and Forkrul Assail fighting against each other in what they called the Just Wars.[11]

In Dust of DreamsEdit

The race reappeared, chasing a column of children known as the Snake. The children referred to them as the Quitters, the term invented by Badalle who arrived at this bastardisation of Inquisitors via Quisiters.[12][13]

The pursuers had started out as a group of twelve: five women and seven men, but were whittled down to just four by the time they were named - Adjudicator Sister Scorn, Inquisitor Sever, Brother Adroit and Sister Rail.[13]

In The Crippled GodEdit

At the time of the events of The Crippled God, it was said that there were only twelve 'Pures', or Lawful Inquisitors, left in Kolanse and in the surrounding areas of the far eastern Lether continent.[14]

There was an all-out war between the Forkrul Assail and Malazan forces.

In AssailEdit

The Forkrul Assail community in the Salt Mountains of Assail was disturbed by the conflict between the Jaghut matriarch and the T'lan Imass. Two Assail, Arbiter and Penance, met with Silverfox, Kilava Onass, Pran Chole, Orman, Kyle, Fisher kel Tath, and Jethiss to forge a new peace of the founding races. Additionally, they were intrigued by Kyle's amber amulet given to him by Ereko, the Thel Akai.[15] Afterwards, Jethiss requested they give him a weapon worthy of the Andii. Their answer was the Blade of Bone, constructed from Jethiss' own arm.[16]

In Forge of DarknessEdit

Hundreds of thousands of years before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Forkrul Assail were a race known as the Forulkan whose priests were called Assail. It was also revealed that they had invaded the Tiste realm of Kurald Galain. Their defeat at the hands of the Tiste, in what was known as the Forulkan War, helped lay the foundation for the civil unrest present at the beginning of Forge of Darkness.[17]


The Tool of Justice by Shadaan

Interpretation of a Forkrul Assail by Shadaan

The Forkrul Assail were one of the founding races[1] in the Malazan Book of the Fallen thought to have been created by the Azathanai Kilmandaros[citation needed] who was worshiped by them. They existed in isolation, interacting with other races through violent arbitration of conflicts, more accurately the annihilation of the involved parties.

Arguably, one of the greatest of their conflicts was with the K'Chain Che'Malle. During this conflict the Assail began to lose and turned on their own god, harnessing its power by wounding it. This resulted in the Forkrul destroying all but one nest and Matron of the K'Chain. The final Matron opened a portal into chaos and blocked it from notice so that when the Assail used their god's power she could sacrifice herself to destroy the god, as it consumed both of their souls. What remained of the Assail god came down in the Glass Desert and lived on as mindless D'ivers with no chance of ever sembling again.[18][19]

They also waged the "Just Wars" against the Tiste Liosan.

The Tiste Andii, Silchas Ruin once encountered Forkrul Assail. His refutation of the Forkrul concept of adjudication was absolute, to the point that he killed those he could find, the other Forkrul being killed by his Draconic kin. Silchas also revealed that the Forkrul people had once fashioned an alliance with the Jaghut.[20]

The Forkrul Assail had not interacted with the Malazan Empire until Tavore Paran and her Bonehunters decided to liberate the Crippled God.

Known Forkrul Assail and roles/titlesEdit

Lawful Inquisitors also known as 'Pures'Edit



Exact status/role unknownEdit


There is speculation that the conflict with the K'Chain Che'Malle and the opening of a portal into chaos by the final matron may potentially have been the cause of The Rent.

Notes and referencesEdit