The Crimson Guard - C I V I L W A R final 2

'Civil War', Shimmer on a book cover simulation by Corporal Nobbs

"Pretty damn scary."
―Kyle, describing Skinner[src]

Skinner was an Avowed within the Crimson Guard. He had founded and once commanded the Ninth Blade of the Guard.[1] A tall man, he wore a magical suit of long, black iron mail with articulated gauntlets given to him by Ardata, which he never removed.[2][3] Over his armor he wore a surcoat of an almost black, shimmering cloth dusted by flower petals displaying Ardata's heraldry. He wielded a greatsword whose blade was "mottled black in corrosion".[4]

Skinner had reddish-blond hair and a face marked by scars.[5]

In Night of Knives Edit

The Malazan First Sword Temper mentioned that Skinner was the only Guardsman reported to have survived a clash with Dassem Ultor.[6]

In Return of the Crimson Guard Edit

Skinner and Cowl by Shadaan

Skinner and Cowl by Shadaan

Skinner was a key figure in the defense of the Guard's holdings on Stratem during the Malazan invasion. He claimed to have nearly taken Kellanved in the fighting before Dassem Ultor's intervention. Afterwards, he supported the Diaspora that scattered the Guard across the world. Skinner spent at least some of the intervening period with his new patron Ardata on Jacuruku.

With the end of the Diaspora, the Crimson Guard gathered at Fortress Haven on Stratem where Skinner was expected to lead them if the missing Duke K'azz D'Avore was not found. Shimmer met with Skinner for the first time in nearly a century and Kyle thought she "looked shaken" afterwards.[7] She no longer recognized the man she once knew and thought it strange that he never removed his new patron's armour, even to sleep.[8]

Unbeknownst to most of the Guard Skinner and Cowl had secretly betrayed K'azz D'avore, trapping him in the Dolmens of Tien. The pair murdered fellow Guard Stoop when he questioned their indifference to locating their missing leader, and blamed the crime on Kyle, the new recruit who had witnessed the attack.[9]

The Guard, now reunited under Skinner's leadership, made haste towards the Malazan imperial capital at Unta. Skinner led a select squad of Avowed to the Malazan Imperial Palace, but was disappointed not to find Empress Laseen in residence.[10]
Skinner vs Dassem

Interpretation of the fight between Skinner and Dassem by Enaglio

When a clash between the Crimson Guard and the Malazans on Quon Tali became inevitable, Shadowthrone and Cotillion struck a deal with Dassem to counter Skinner's influence on the battlefield, which would have been deadly for the Malazans during the impending clash.[11] During the Battle of the Plains, Skinner and five of the Avowed faced Temper and Ferrule, who were joined at the last moment by Dassem. The three remnants of Dassem's First Sword successfully countered Skinner and his Disavowed, and finally repulsed them; in the fight between Skinner and Dassem, Skinner taking a heavy wound to his neck. Skinner and the remaining Disavowed retreated through the Crippled God's warren.[12]

Skinner was disavowed by K'azz D'Avore for his conduct leading up to and during the Battle of the Plains,[13] after which he allied himself with the Crippled God and claimed the title of King of the High House Chains.[14]

In StonewielderEdit

Skinner led Mara, Shijel, and others of the Disavowed to assault the Sky Tower and seize the fragment of the Crippled God that the Stormguard kept as their holiest relic. As they were making their escape by warren, they were approached by their former comrades Blues, Shell, Fingers, Lazar, and Iron Bars. Skinner took the opportunity to mock Bars over the deaths of his command before making his exit.[15]

In Blood and BoneEdit

Skinner the avowed by luztheren

Skinner by Luztheren

Skinner and the other Disavowed turned up on Jacuruku, ostensibly as mercenaries in the employ of the Thaumaturg expedition against Jakal Viharn. Instead, Skinner pursued several fragments of his patron, the Crippled God, one at the Dolmens of Tien, a second on a wrecked city of Meckros, and a third within the Stormwall on Korelri. Results of these searches were mixed, and it was revealed that Skinner actually sought the power of the fragments for his own purposes. When Skinner later found K'azz with Ardata at Jakal Viharn he attempted to challenge K'azz for control of the Guard.

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Skinner.

Before the two came to blows, Ardata asked Skinner to "reconsider my offer and stand here by my side". When he declined, Ardata reclaimed the magical armor she had given him, which turned into a swarm of spiders that consumed Skinner down to his bones.[16]

Significant plot details end here.

Notes and referencesEdit