For the demon, see Pearl (demon).

Pearl was a Mockra mage[1] and an agent of the Claw.[2] Almost effeminate in appearance, Pearl was tall and handsome with dark skin and a lean face "too sharp-featured to be called friendly". Pearl had green eyes[3] and was fond of dressing in green silks and bedecking his long fingers with rings of glittering[4] green-hued gems.[5] He was one-quarter Tiste Andii and three-quarters Human.[6] Under his half-cloak he wore a belt across his chest containing throwing stars. Below his left arm was a brace of throwing knives.[7]

For a time he had been Topper's favorite Claw lieutenant.[8] Pearl admired the ex-Claw Kalam Mekhar as the finest killer the Claw had ever had.[9]

Pearl had a taste for fine wine and owned a majority stake in a vineyard located in Gris.[10]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

At the time of the Whirlwind uprising, Pearl was in Seven Cities for unrevealed reasons. While there he stumbled upon a suspicious opening in the Imperial Warren and discovered Lostara Yil of the Red Blades following Kalam Mekhar. Pearl teamed up with Lostara to trail the assassin.[11][12]

Their progress was interrupted when Empress Laseen sent Pearl to assist Fist Coltaine of the Malazan 7th Army against the Semk godling, Pearl mentioning to Lostara that he was the "last surviving operative". Pearl and Lostara were nearly killed by the Semk demon in the attempt, but were saved by the timely intervention of the demon Apt.[13]

Arriving in Aren, Lostara was arrested and imprisoned along with the rest of the city's Red Blades whom High Fist Pormqual wrongly suspected of treason.[14] Pearl then arranged to travel with Kalam to Unta aboard the Ragstopper under the pseudonym "Salk Elan". Although Kalam had figured out that Salk Elan was not who he pretended to be, Kalam was unable to decipher Salk Elan's motives. On the trip, Pearl ensorcelled both the ship and its Captain with his mind magic, eventually redirecting the ship from its original destination to Malaz City instead.[15]

Mockra Mage by Harkalé Linaï

Pearl as Salk Elan by Harkalé Linai

Once in the Malaz City harbour, Pearl entranced Kalam and the ship's crew - preventing them from moving - stabbed Kalam (though not fatally), and then threw him into the shark-infested water. As Pearl threw the helpless Kalam overboard, Pearl told him that while he expected the man to actually make it to shore, there would be several Hands (i.e., groups of five assassins) of the Claw awaiting him in the city. At that point, Apt and Panek materialized on board the ship and attacked Pearl before he could kill the captain and crew (which Pearl was preparing to do). Pearl was forced to unleash a Kenryll'ah demon and to then flee via Warren. Pearl having left in this fashion, the captain and crew were all released from the spell that had been holding them immobile.[16]

Kalam succeeded in slaying many Claws on his way to Empress Laseen at Mock's Hold - where the two of them talked and, to an extent, cleared the air between them. Afterwards, Topper, angry at the death of so many of his Claws, wanted revenge on Kalam, but was forced to promise Laseen that he would, instead, take out his frustrations on Pearl.[17]

In House of ChainsEdit

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Pearl.
Lostara yil and pearl by dejan delic

Lostara Yil and Pearl by dejan delic

On the outs with the Empress and Topper, Pearl returned to Aren where Lostara Yil and the other Red Blades had been released after Pormqual's death. Upon the arrival of Adjunct Tavore and the newly-formed Malazan 14th Army, Pearl sought out the Red Blade to make her his aide. The two were secretly assigned by Tavore to search for the Adjunct's sister, Felisin Paran, in return for knowledge regarding the existence of the Talon. Pearl hoped to return to the Empress' good graces by capturing Baudin and rolling up his organisation.[18]

During this assignment, Pearl and Lostara became lovers.[19] In tracking down Felisin Paran, they revisited the site of Lostara's assassination of Sha'ik Elder and theorized that Felisin had in fact become Sha'ik (i.e., Sha'ik Reborn) in order to be able to take revenge against her sister, Tavore, and the Malazan Empire for sending her to the Otataral mines.[20]

In The BonehuntersEdit

Pearl was convinced that Lostara Yil had died in the fires at Y'Ghatan, and alternately blamed the Adjunct Tavore and himself for her death.[21] He had become fixated on killing Kalam Mekhar.[22]

In Malaz City, Pearl had become Clawmaster after Topper's 'disappearance'. During a conversation with Empress Laseen and Mallick Rel, Pearl realized that the position of Clawmaster had been offered to Kalam - who had essentially declined it by allying with the Adjunct (whose fleet and entire army were, even then, in the Malaz City harbor) and facilitated her and T'amber's escape back to the city docks during the tumultuous events then occurring in Malaz City. Pearl could not help but be left wondering exactly where he stood).[23]

When Kalam cut his way across a town full of hundreds of Claw assassins in a tour de force, Pearl, who had felt that there was not enough room in the world of assassins for both Kalam Mekhar and himself, was left deeply shaken by this display of skill.[24] After a final run-in on the roof of a derelict tenement in the Mouse Quarter between Pearl (accompanied by two Hands of carefully chosen Claw assassins) and Kalam (who had handily killed all but Pearl and one other Claw), Pearl vindictively shot Kalam from behind with a quarrel dipped in Kartoolian Paralt spider venom, a poison so vile in how long-lasting and how horrible its effects were, that its mere use, especially on another assassin, disgusted the one remaining Claw (of the two Hands who had been involved in this particular attack on Kalam) so much, that this Claw threw down his weapons and announced that he was "done with" Pearl. As the man turned away, Pearl shot him (in the back with a quarrel, but with one smeared with a much faster acting poison) - thereby thinking that he had eliminated the only Claw witness as to how dishonorably and despicably Pearl had slain Kalam.[25] Kalam had managed to pull out the poisoned quarrel just before he fall through a hole in the roof, but the Paralt had already entered his system.[26]

Apsalar, the assasssin, whose final target[27] on the list given to her previously by Cotillion had been Pearl,[28] came upon the scene and, after talking with an apparition of the Claw murdered by Pearl (which had appeared to her) and learning from it the details of Kalam's death, carefully picked up the (still poisoned with Paralt) quarrel, and followed after Pearl.[29] When she caught up with Pearl, Apsalar brutally attacked him with her knives, slicing through his Achilles' tendons, hamstrings, and elbows, thus rendering him immobile. Pearl, who had been trying to flee via Warren, had been unable to do so due to the Otataral knife that was one of the two long-knives of Kalam that Pearl had taken as trophies.[30] Apsalar proceeded to further maim Pearl by slicing off his tongue, breaking his face, left arm, and hip and then finally, fittingly, sticking him with the same poisoned quarrel that Pearl had used on Kalam - leaving Pearl to an inevitably prolonged, agonizing demise - all in revenge for the manner of Kalam's death. Apsalar whispered to Pearl that she had intended to make his death a quick one, but changed her mind on hearing how Pearl had killed Kalam. One of Pearl's final thoughts were of Lostara Yil, who he expected to meet at Hood's gate.[31]

Later, after Apsalar's departure, the child Grub led Lostara Yil to the dying Pearl and, after explaining to her that Pearl had thought Lostara dead, Grub urged her to put an end to Pearl's terrible suffering, which she mercifully (although very reluctantly) did by a quick stab with her knife straight to Pearl's heart.[32]

Significant plot details end here.


"I am sorry, Kalam Mekhar. But you… I cannot accept… your existence. I cannot…"
―Pearl after shooting Kalam with a poisoned quarrel[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.537
  2. Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.18
  3. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US TPB p.183
  4. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 15, US HC p.391
  5. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US TPB p.513
  6. House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.517
  7. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339-340
  8. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.581
  9. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.537
  10. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.229
  11. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.303
  12. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339
  13. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 12, US HC p.339-341
  14. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.575-578
  15. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US TPB p.512-514
  16. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 20, US HC p.536-540
  17. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.580-581
  18. House of Chains, Chapter 5, US TPB p.189-190/192-193
  19. House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.518
  20. House of Chains, Chapter 20, US TPB p.514-516
  21. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US HC p.683/685
  22. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.731
  23. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1108
  24. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.753-754
  25. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1143/1144
  26. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.758-759
  27. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1152
  28. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.760
  29. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.758-759
  30. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.754
  31. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.759-760
  32. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US HC p.764-765
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