Nil was a Wickan warlock[1] and the twin brother of Nether. He had long unkempt black hair.[2]

He sometimes carried a feather-bedecked, knobbed club.[3]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

Nil was around nine or ten years old[4] when he served in Sormo E'nath's cadre of mages. He traveled to Hissar on Seven Cities to support Coltaine, the newly appointed Wickan Fist of the Malaz 7th Army. When the Whirlwind rebellion drove the Fist out of Hissar, he became one of Coltaine's Chain of Dogs.

Nil joyfully summoned a horde of undead warriors to battle Kamist Reloe's army of the Apocalypse at the Battle of Sekala Crossing. Then once the River Sekala had been safely forded Nil, Nether, and Sormo unleashed the spirits of the land to destroy the Semk tribal god.[5] Later Nil and another young warlock led a mission to assassinate a Tithansi Warleader with Duiker, Lull, and a squad of Sialk Marines only to discover he was the Semk godling returned. The other warlock was killed while Nil was stricken unconscious and had to be brought back to camp on a travois.[6]

At the Battle of Gelor Ridge he and Nether performed a ritual on the horses of the Foolish Dog Clan which allowed them to charge uphill at an unnaturally high speed and strike Reloe's elite infantry legions.[7] Afterwards, the twins' skin was pale, their hands were stained black. and they were confined to bed for days.[8]

When the Fist bloodied the near-Ascendant Gesler's nose at Vathar Crossing both Nil and Nether gasped in recognition that Coltaine himself was on the path to Ascendency.[9]

Sormo was killed at the Battle of Vathar Crossing leaving Nil and Nether the army's sole remaining warlocks.[10] After the Battle of Sanimon, Coltaine sent the twins and the refugees ahead of the army along with Duiker and an escort of Wickan youths. They arrived at the gates of Aren without major incident.[11]

Nil and Nether stood safely on the walls of Aren as Coltaine and the last of his soldiers were cut down on the plain below. Nil collapsed in Nether's arms and then lay on the ground, curled and motionless in grief.[12]

In Return of the Crimson GuardEdit

An older and more seasoned teen Nil returned home to the Wickan Plains with Nether to lead their people during the Malazan civil war. Rising tensions between Wickans and Malazan settlers led to murder and violence. Over seventy Wickan elders and children took shelter at the Malazan border fort commanded by Lieutenant Rillish Jal Keth before a settler mob surrounded and besieged it. Rillish refused to turn the Wickans over to the mob, and after several weeks the fort fell. Only a suicidal ritual conducted by the Wickan elders to open a magic gateway allowed the soldiers and children to escape.[13]

The Wickan children led the soldiers to the sacred Golden Hills where they were found by Nil and Nether. They revealed that one of the rescued children was Coltaine reborn, and they were determined to take advantage of the chaos Malazan civil war to invade Unta province and force a renegotiation of the Wickan treaties. A moved Rillish joined them as their military adviser.[14] Rillish also began a romantic relationship with Corporal Talia that resulted in a pregnancy.[15][16]

After sacking D'Avig and Fortress Jurda, Nil and Nether decided they instead needed to make a more notable and lasting effort to strengthen their bargaining position.[17][18] The sorcerers, Rillish, and a force of one thousand Wickans travelled by warren to Li Heng where they proved to be the decisive factor in the Empire's victory over the Crimson Guard at the Battle of the Plains.[19]

When the mad mage Yathengar opened a Chaos rent upon the field, Nil and Nether joined the Crimson Guard and Malazan forces that attempted to close it. They only succeeded in getting wounded and were dragged out of harm's way by the disapproving Wickan mage Su, the elder cousin of their grandmother.[20][21] Su, with Nil and Nether in tow, later confronted new Emperor Mallick Rel and appeared to gain Imperial concessions regarding the Wickan lands.[22]


Rillish: "You are far too young to be so cynical."
Nil: "My sister and I are far from young, Lieutenant."
―Rillish and Nil[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

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