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T'lan Imass

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T'lan Imass by Spindrift

Interpretation of a T'lan Imass by Spindrift

If you seek the crumbled bones of the T'lan Imass,
gather into one hand the sands of Raraku

The Holy Desert
Anonymous[src]


The T'lan Imass [tuh-lan ee-mass],[1] or the Silent Host,[2] were undead members of the mortal Imass race, transformed by participating in the Ritual of Tellann. Those who used magic were called Bonecasters.

The Ritual of TellannEdit

T'lan Imass immortality was achieved via the Ritual of Tellann approximately 300 000 years prior to the main events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, transforming the mortal Imass, one of the four Founding Races,[3] into the undead T'lan Imass.

Imass army

Interpretation of an Imass army by Corporal Nobbs

The Imass chose to undergo the ritual in order to be more efficient in their war of extermination with the Jaghut. As mortals, the Imass were scattered, their unity lost. They could not cross the ice barriers of the Jaghut. There was starvation. As Tellann undead, the armies could cross such obstacles.

Some Imass did not take part in the original ritual, either choosing to remain mortal or arriving too late. Of those who chose to remain mortal, some later took part in a second evocation of the ritual which was only partially successful (see Brold ).

Resulting AppearanceEdit

Imass by Corporal Nobbs

Interpretation of a T'lan Imass by Corporal Nobbs

Those who participated in the ritual resembled walking mummified corpses. They could travel great distances with incredible speed by becoming one with the earth beneath their feet. This also enabled them to seemingly materialize out of nowhere to ambush their prey. They could also cross bodies of water, but could only find their shape on land.[4]

Impact on SensesEdit

Mundane senses had for the most part withered along with the flesh. Through the shadowed orbits of (Onrack's) eyes, for example, the world was a complex collage of dull colours, heat and cold and often measured by an unerring sensitivity to motion. Spoken words swirled in mercurial clouds of breath - if the speaker lived, that is. If not, then it was the sound itself that was detectable, shivering its way through the air. Onrack sensed sound as much by sight as by hearing. They communicated with each other mostly by thought/telepathy which was no longer possible if they were severed from the ritual as Onrack was.[5]

ValuesEdit

The T'lan Imass abhorred failure. Anyone too shattered to remain with their kin was left behind. Failure's sentence was abandonment, an eternity of immobility. When failure was honourable, their sentient remnants were placed open to the sky, to vistas, to the outside world, so that they might find peace in watching the passing of eons. Dishonourable behaviour was punished by severing the head from the body, dismembering the headless corpse and scattering the limbs. Weapons would be taken and returned to the place of birth.

Achieving DeathEdit

Dissolution in water was the only escape possible from the eternal ritual. Some were known to have chosen that path as, even when cut to pieces, each part was still sentient.[6] Using body parts from other T'lan Imass to 'patch oneself up' was possible but was looked upon as the greatest abomination, the most dire twisting of the powers of Tellann.

The Armies of the Diaspora[7]Edit

The war with the Jaghut was costly. Many of the armies sent out were decimated. The remaining T'lan Imass included: the Logros, Kron, Bentract, Kerluhm, Ifayle and Orshayne.

The Logros T'lan Imass Edit

T'lan Imass concept by McDev

Interpretation of a T'lan Imass by McDev

The Logros were tasked with remaining at the site of the First Empire and guarding the First Throne[7] against any threats. Shortly before the founding of the Malazan Empire, the Logros were awakened by Kellanved when he located and took control of the First Throne.

They were the perfect army. The T'lan Imass never had to be fed or transported, they could not desert, and they could go anywhere.[8] They served the Malazan Empire until shortly after the Emperor's death. According to Tattersail, the T'lan Imass refused to acknowledge the new Empress Laseen and traveled into the Jhag Odhan, eventually returning at half-strength.[9]

The T'lan Imass had in fact hunted newly discovered Jaghut. Following that Jaghut War, they began hunting the Seven of the Dead Fires who were traveling across Seven Cities and through the Nascent.

Onos T'oolan was the First Sword of the Logros T'lan Imass.

Known clans within the Logros included:

The Kron T'lan Imass Edit

The Kron T'lan Imass were the largest army to attend the Second Gathering called by Silverfox. At her behest, they stood against the K'Chain Che'Malle in the Pannion War following the Battle of Black Coral.

The Betrule Edit

Believed to have been lost.

The Bentract T'lan Imass Edit

Olar Ethil was sent off by Logros to search for remaining T'lan Imass armies. She believed four remaining clans of Bentract T'lan Imass were on Jacuruku, trapped within the Warren of Chaos. She could not find them however. A Bentract clan was found in the Refugium.

The Kerluhm T'lan Imass Edit

Roughly eight months prior to the Second Gathering, the Kerluhm entered into a war against human opposition on the continent of Assail. The army had since been annihilated and it was believed that Lanas Tog, sent by Kerluhm to the Second Gathering, was the last of them.

The Ifayle T'lan Imass Edit

The Ifayle joined the Kerluhm in the war on Assail and, as of the Second Gathering, there was still a small number of them unable to withdraw from the engagement.

The Orshayn T'lan Imass Edit

Three broken clans - Six hundred and twelve warriors and three damaged Bonecasters were left, having fled The Spires.

OtherEdit

The Brold T'lan Imass Edit

Descendants of a group of Imass that did not participate in the Ritual of Tellann, located on the continent of Lether. Later on, they did attempt their own Ritual of Tellann, however.

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about the novel "Assail".

The D'Avore T'lan Imass (Red Clan) Edit

The Crimson Guard was created by a vow sworn in the 1066th year of Burn's Sleep by six hundred of K'azz' original followers. These Avowed gained unnaturally long life, strength, speed, and regenerative attributes in return for their oath. The vow was often compared to the ritual of the T'lan Imass as both the ritual and vow were inspired by a desire to reach a goal.

Much later, when Shimmer led an expedition to Assail to rescue Cal-Brinn and the missing Fourth Company[10] they met Silverfox and Kilava Onass in the Salt Mountains, and the Guard discovered that Kilava had been present at the invocation of their Vow. It had drawn on the same power of Tellann that had created the T'lan Imass. Therefore the Guard were, in essence, a tribe of T'lan Imass--the D'Avore T'lan Imass or the Red Clan.[11] They would continue to have physical form even after their deaths. Those who died could choose to come back. Silverfox could not redeem them as she could the other tribes. That task was left for another. [12]

Significant plot details end here.

T'lan Imass relationship with Soletaken and D'ivers Edit

"There is a bond between the T'lan Imass and Soletaken and D'ivers, a mysterious kinship that was unsuspected by the dwellers of this city - though they claimed for themselves the proud title of First Empire. That would have irritated the T'lan Imass - assuming such creatures can feel irritation - to have so boldly assumed a title that rightly belonged to them. Yet what drew them here was the ritual, and the need to set things right."
Heboric[src]
"The T’lan Imass, had they found Dejim, would have acted without hesitation: dragging forth those seven demonic souls, binding them into an eternity of pain, their power bled out, slowly and incrementally, to feed the T’lan bonecasters in their unceasing wars against the Jaghut."
The Bonehunters[src]

Notes and referencesEdit

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