Fri
Feb 17 2012 12:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Midnight Tides, Chapter Twenty-Four

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Twenty-Four of Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson (MT).

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A forum thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

Just a quick note: Those who have flicked ahead will be aware of what a behemoth of a chapter twenty-five is. Under instruction from Bill — who has said that we won’t do the chapter sufficient justice if we cram it all into one discussion post — we are splitting it into two. As a heads up the first post will end at the point where Trull encounters the Ceda. (Bill’s words, so I hope that makes it fully understandable to you all!)

Chapter Twenty-Four

SCENE ONE

Mosag’s demon senses a “heart” of power under the city that would allow it to break its bonds. It thinks how silly mortals were, rushing here and there, as it realizes its own intelligence is somehow burgeoning.

SCENE TWO

Selush fixes up Shurq at Tehol’s then leaves. Shurq and Tehol look off to the Edur fleet and where the battle had been. Shurq leaves, each of them warning the other about Eberict.

SCENE THREE

Ezgara sleeps on the throne, exhausted, with Nisall there. Chancellor Triban Gnol had left earlier, as had Moroch Nevath. First Eunuch Nifadas took charge of the palace soldiers, the Ceda had set himself on the King’s Path, and Eberict was using his soldiers in the city. Nifadas tells Brys it is their “last day,” and Brys says there’s no reason to assume the Edur will kill him. Brys tells Nisall to rest. Brys finds Eberict standing over the Ceda (still on his tile) with drawn sword and warns him against killing the Ceda. Eberict says it would be a mercy but withdraws when Brys stands against it. Eberict tells Brys he has “other tasks” and when Brys clearly considers killing him, Eberict says that merely confirms his suspicions and leaves. Brys cannot do anything to stop him, though he worries he is going after Tehol.

SCENE FOUR

Bugg looks down on the Edur army and fleet from the wall. He mocks an artist “painting” the scene, though the artist doesn’t really get the sarcasm. Bugg finds Brizad/the Errant outside the temple where the Pack has settled. Brizad says the mortal he’d requested hadn’t shown up and his own aspect prevents him from acting directly. Bugg agrees to send someone to him, then leaves to find Iron Bars and the Crimson Guard, whose new employer is Shand. He tells them he needs them to kill the D’ivers god of the Jheck and Iron Bars replies they’ve crossed paths with Soletaken before.

SCENE FIVE

Trull, Rhulad, Mosag, and others enter the city, Mosag telling Rhulad the Ceda is now where around, and they’ll have to fight to reach the Eternal Domicile. Rhulad is happy there will be actual fighting and sends Udinaas to safety with Uruth. Trull thinks Mosag is hiding something.

SCENE SIX

Hull hopes the city soldiers capitulate quickly to save lives. He thinks Brys’ death is inevitable though as King’s Champion. He heads for Tehol’s to try and explain things, to seek “something like forgiveness.”

SCENE SEVEN

Udinaas waits with Uruth and Mayen, then suddenly senses the Wyval coming to life inside him.

SCENE EIGHT

B’nagga leads the Jheck into Letheras as Soletaken wolves, heading for the Pack. They plan on taking over and creating an empire of Soletaken, killing all the Edur.

SCENE NINE

Moroch Nevath holds a main bridge, having decided not to do what Brizad had asked, skeptical of his claims. Rhulad approaches and Nevath challenges him.

SCENE TEN

Bugg and the Crimson Guard arrive where Brizad waits outside the temple. The Guard enters and the sound of battle ensues.

SCENE ELEVEN

Rhulad accepts Nevath’s challenge.

SCENE TWELVE

Nevath is surprised by Rhulad’s speed. The two kill each other. Dying, Nevath is asked if he is truly the King’s Champion as the Letherii soldiers had yelled, and Nevath thinks no, liking the thought as he dies of them still having to face Brys.

SCENE THIRTEEN

Rhulad comes back to life and calls for Udinaas, caught in “madness and terror.”

SCENE FOURTEEN

Uruth hears Rhulad’s scream and looks for Udinaas who has disappeared. Mayen runs out into the city. Uruth orders men to find Udinaas, thinking he has betrayed Rhulad.

SCENE FIFTEEN

Kettle hears the fighting and is scared and also worried that the five Tarthenal gods are almost free. She gets dragged down by Silchas, finding herself on the bank of a swamp. Silchas points out the swords behind her and then is dragged down himself by Sheltatha Lore. Kettle gets the swords and waits at the edge of the swamp.

SCENE SIXTEEN

The Wyval moves Udinaas through the city, killing some Soletaken Jheck on the way, heading toward where his “master needed him. Needed him now.”

SCENE SEVENTEEN

The Errant tells Bugg he keeps “nudging” the wolves away from the temple, though he is helped by some “other opposition” to them. The Guardsmen exit, one dead, all wounded. The Errant heals them. Iron Bars complains they’d expected wolves and instead got some kind of “lizard cats.” B’nagga attacks Brizad suddenly, but Iron Bars steps in and kills the Soletaken. The Errant is impressed and more so when Bugg tells him the Guard escaped Assail. They’re about to leave when Bugg says there is going to be more trouble (the Tarthenal gods) and Iron Bars agrees to go with him while the others get back to the ship. Bugg tells him it’s going to be tough and Iron Bars asks Corlo to find them once he gets the others to the ship safely. The Errant says he has another task though he’ll be with them “in spirit.” Before leaving, he asks Iron Bars how many Avowed there are. Iron Bars answers a few hundred and when the Errant wonders if they are scattered around Iron Bars responds “For the moment.”

SCENE EIGHTEEN

Brys notes the howling has stopped outside, then hears the Ceda laugh.

SCENE NINETEEN

The demon moves for the cave and tunnel where it senses the power and ends up in the huge cavern under Settle Lake.

SCENE TWENTY

Brys hears the Ceda say “Now, friend Bugg.”

SCENE TWENTY-ONE

Bugg stops and tells Iron Bars to find Kettle and says he has to do something first. He calls in his mind for the Jaghut witch and says it is time for her to repay his favor. She says she’s will and calls him “clever,” to which he says he can’t take all the credit for this plan.

SCENE TWENTY-TWO

The demon reaches for the power which fades to nothing. The Ceda says, “Got you,” and the demon realized it was all illusion and it is now sealed in by ice.

SCENE TWENTY-THREE

Ursto Hoobutt and his “sometime lover” Pinosel sit drunken on a bench at Settle Lake. She tells him to marry her and he’s about to say he will when Settle Lake freezes over when, miraculously, it does (coming with a strange thump from below) and so he agrees.

 

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four

“Five wings will buy you a grovel” — we’ve heard this before and we know it can be interpreted as being in relation to the Eternal Domicile. In the same poem we then hear this line: “The buried rivers gnawing the roots All aswirl in eager caverns beneath...” This certainly builds on the tale we heard concerning the rivers collapsing the ceiling of the building that stood where the Domicile is now.

There are a few matters in this first section relating to the demon that confuse me a little, like, who is the demon and what is the power within the city. The power within the city could be the god holed up in the temple, or it could be related to what was in the Azath. The demon sounds like it is the “thing” raised by Hannan Mosag to come in with the Edur ships. Regardless of this confusion, the first section is beautifully written with some wonderful imagery. Take this for example: “Foolish mortals, short-lived and keen with frenzy, clearly believed otherwise, as they scrambled swift as thought above the patient dance of earth and stone.”

I do like that in the depths of the despair we’ve been seeing, Selush is thinking more about mixing foundation paints to achieve the grey skin of the Edur. It is shallow, but it does show a weird sort of positivity. I guess this is an example of that monetary faith that is held by the Letherii and that will prevent the Edur from annihilating them completely?

Ack, I now truly can’t decide if these asides involving Tehol are nice moments of light relief or difficult to take transitions that jar me from my reading experience. I mean, I love the exchanges between Shurq and Tehol here, but it is so different from what we’ve seen. Looking back on previous books, even the moments of humour were fairly dark and morbid since they involved the Bridgeburners (miss them!) Here is feels too light in comparison to the horrific happenings within the Edur camp.

Gosh, having just said that I read this:

“I can’t stay long. Ublala will be getting worried.”

“Harlest will advise him how the dead have no sense of timing, Shurq. No need to fret.”

“He was muttering about dismembering Harlest just before I left them.”

*grins*

“...he knew that this day would be a hot one.” In more ways than one, I imagine!

And here is some real pathos — at the time that the Edur approach, the new Emperor of the Letherii sits thus: “Exhaustion had taken the king into sleep, and he now sat the throne like a corpse, slumped, head lolling.”

This is followed by a section that emphasises the loss of hope, the quiet despair of those who are determined to stay and see the end - hushed voices, dark humour, dignity. I am feeling such foreboding for Brys.

Wow. This is an amazing moment. Burdened by duty. “Blood or honour. I have no choice in this, Tehol. I’m sorry.”

Have we seen this artist before?! I think I recall him from either Gardens of the Moon or Deadhouse Gates (and, guys, doesn’t that feel a while ago now as we press on into our eighteenth month or so of this reread!)

Here we see a rather direct comparison between the Errant and Oponn when Bugg says: “Ah, the nudge, the pull or the push.”

Oh, I love these little connections! I mean, I was given enough to realise but was spending so long contemplating other matters, that I never considered the Crimson Guard were the crew whom Shurq had hired. Cool.

I think me the Edur are going to get rather a shock concerning the Ceda. I can hardly believe he has played his last. Right now he feels like a ticking time bomb, especially when we hear here that the Edur can no longer sense him. Or is Hannan Mosag only saying this, in order to make Rhulad approach the Eternal Domicile in all innocence?

Hull is such a very confused and dark individual, isn’t he? His reflection on the fact that he has done his grieving already for Brys is cold, as is the fact that he is not even trying to try and dissuade his brother from a last stand. And then we hear that he wants to beg forgiveness from Tehol. So confused.

And if Ceda is a time bomb, we now discover that Udinaas has been too!

This is a nightmarish scenario: “An empire of Soletaken, with a god-emperor on the throne.” In fact, it seems to be an absolute bloody reflection of Togg and Fanderay.

Oh, this is beyond contempt: “...on which citizens had now appeared. Spectators — a Letherii talent. No doubt wagers were being made...”
*giggles* “Bugg heard Iron Bars say to the god, ‘Pleased-to-meet-you-see-you-later,’ and then the Avowed and hos soldiers were past.”

This vicious battle between Rhulad and Moroch is so utterly fitting and futile — desperate bravery from Moroch in an attempt to clear his name of cowardice; madness from Rhulad as he returns to life and fails to find Udinaas.

Poor, poor Kettle — now a living child, deserted by everyone who is tackling other events that probably only seem to be more important than the emergence of these horrific five.

Who is the master of Udinaas then? Sheltatha Lore?

These Crimson Guard are terribly terribly bad-ass, aren’t they? *grins* And ooh! More hints about them: “This squad managed to escape Assail.”

I LOVE Iron Bars! “Dead? Hood take me, a garden fete.”

Nice finish to this chapter. Clever finish. So many little pieces of the story suddenly snapping together. Disregard the Ceda? Not on your life!

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four

We’re once again set up for the cavern beneath Settle Lake in a poem, preparing us for the demon being trapped. We also get some foreboding imagery associated with the Letherii empire (“rotted trees”), as well as some nice heart imagery leading us nicely into the imagery the opens the chapter proper with the “blood,” and “vessel.”

It’s been a while, so we should probably be reminded about all those cycles of the past that lie underfoot, or, in this case, underwater: “the bed of an ancient river held so much, a multitude of tales written in layer upon layer of detritus.” That whole passage, as Amanda says, is simply beautifully written—form, content, rhythm, sound. Note for instance the consonance and assonance in such phrases as “sifting centuries of secrets,” “sunken ships,” “sprawl of ballast stones,” currents swirled,” “clambering like a vast crab,” “patient dance” (itself a beautiful image—“patient dance of earth and stone.”) With all the plot and depth of social criticism, it’s nice to stop now and then and pay attention to these moments of strong style as well.

I think you’re right Amanda, that Selush’s attitude is that “monetary faith” of the Letherii. But I thinks it’s also another foreshadow of how the Edur “victory” may not be as total socially/culturally as it is militarily. Sort of what happens when you drop something on a big sponge and watch it sink in.

That’s a great image of Bugg dropping down like some ninja.

Yeah, that whole “sit on the throne like a corpse” is just a tad ominous, eh? Actually, I could have done without that a bit, as well as with the crown having fallen off. But then I can accept that Brys might see him as a “corpse” so at least it doesn’t feel artificial.

On the other hand, I really like the First Eunuch’s sense of quiet, dignified foreboding.

In the midst of this very sorrowful, sympathy-evoking scene, though, it’s good to be reminded that the Letherii are hardly clean, as Erikson skillfully does here: “He [Brys] remembered how the Letherii saw the Tiste Edur and their lands, a pearl ripe for the plucking.”

I believe you’re thinking of Ormulogun. Remember he had his toad critic? I’d believe this is someone different—anyone want to convince me otherwise? As with Ormulogun, I find the satire a bit heavy here. But I do absolutely love Bugg calling himself “a scholar swimming across the sea of history.”

Iron Bars is such a great character in this book. We’ve already seen that of course, but this chapter (and more to come) just cements that in so many ways—the cool way he takes Bugg’s news that he needs them to kill a god, the story in “Soletaken. We’ve crossed Soletaken before” (I hear him saying that in the same way Indiana Jones says “rats” or Seinfeld says “Newman”), the oh-so-professional kind of question—“Soletaken or D’ivers”—, the confidence-as-opposed-to-arrogance of “We won’t be long,” of course the “pleased to meet you,” the annoyance over lizard cats rather than Soletaken wolves, and then the way he just accepts that Bugg needs more help and signs up to do it, even though it’s going to be even tougher than the lizard cats.

It’s funny Amanda, but I have a wholly different reading from Hull here. I don’t see him confused at all. I wish he were. Instead I see him in this moment as epitomizing the bête noire of this series (or one of them)—certainty. He’s certain about so much here—certain Brys will die, certain he could have saved his parents, certain he is responsible for the sins of Lether, certain he had to do what he did, certain that there can be no absolution. And as we know, certain people don’t do well in this series . . . I do find that last line about the parents to be so tragic and moving though.

It’s a nice touch by Erikson, I think, pulling out the Wyval whom we haven’t heard from in a while. Keeps us on our toes.

If Mosag’s reprimand at the post-battle scene had been implied (though strongly), Rhulad is out and out direct here in his disavowal of Mosag’s sorcery: “We shall fight! We are warriors! . . . We will hear nothing more from you!”

Moroch has a pretty good idea with the “I will cut him to pieces” plan; he just wasn’t good enough. Hmmmmmm.

And here is the moment Trull feared with Udinaas, though of course Udinaas, as he told Trull, has no “choice” in what happens.

Remember Amanda that Udinaas is not in control, so the one seeking their “Master” isn’t Udinaas but the Wyval. And no, Sheltatha Lore is not the Wyval’s master, but you’re, um, “close.”

Can’t wait to visit Assail. Just saying.

Speaking of the Crimson Guard, a little nod to one of our later books when Iron Bars hints the Avowed will be getting back together soon. Perhaps even “returning.”

And another one of those cute little Bugg/Mael lines: “As swift as a charging wave, that’s me.”

That’s a great finish to this chapter, a bit of a tension breaker with those two by Settle Lake. Though things won’t stay so humorous for long, as a quick glance forward at the opening to our next chapter tells us: “When the gods of dust were young, they swam in blood.”


Amanda Rutter is the editor of Strange Chemistry books, sister imprint to Angry Robot.

Bill Capossere writes short stories and essays, plays ultimate frisbee, teaches as an adjunct English instructor at several local colleges, and writes SF/F reviews for fantasyliterature.com.

29 comments
M G
1. parabola
I so look forward to these re-reads.


Gearing up for one of the more badass sections of the entire series... and that is saying a whole hell of a lot.
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
@Amanda: "In fact, seems to be an absolute bloody reflection of Togg and Fanderay."

Ohhhh maaan, Amanda, you have no idea. I just caught this little bit of, shall we say, foreshadowing, myself. Brilliant.

Okay, third time reading MT, and the Jaghut's deal with Bugg still confuses me: it seemed implied (or always seems implied when I read it) that the Huntress' favor to Bugg is using Omtose Phellack to shore up the foundation of the Eternal Domicile. And yet here the favor is shown to be trapping the river god. I suppose she could have granted him two favors, but there's never mention of the previous one. And yet, what else could explain it?
djk1978
3. djk1978
Bill, you said, "Can't wait to visit Assail." I can't either but with all the tidbits about it I sincerely hope that the visit doesn't feel like a let down if/when we get there.

Of all the Crimson Guard in the series I think Iron Bars is my favorite. I imagine that goes for quite a few people though. He is a very likable character in this book. Strong, but sympathetic.

I don't think the artist is Ormulogun either, although I wondered. But the absense of the toad would suggest that. Unless the toad came after this.

@Saltman - I wonder if those two things are part and parcel with each other. Part 1 and part 2 of the trap, with part 1 also helping the Eternal Domicile plan.
Sydo Zandstra
4. Fiddler
"Got you."

*Thump!*


One of my favourite scenes in this book, and built up so very well. :)

Remember one of the mages at that Maiden fort overrun by the demon sent a last mental picture to the Ceda. So he knew what was coming, and knew this was his battle.
djk1978
5. Vanye
@SaltManZ

I always got the feeling that the Huntress DID shore up the palace...by building a glacier around the demon.
Hugh Arai
6. HArai
SaltManZ@2: I interpreted the shoring up of the palace as a happy side-effect of Bugg doing the Huntress a favor: find a place to put the
Khalibaral where humans would stop digging it up. That leaves trapping the river god as the favor the Huntress did him. Does that work?
djk1978
7. djk1978
That's spot on HArai.
Brian R
8. Mayhem
@2,5,6
Yep, Harai said it.
Bugg did the huntress a favour by putting the demon out of reach underneath the palace. With the nice side bonus of shoring up the floor with the spillover effects of the imprisonment. Trapping the god of the spring is his favour done in return.
Chris Hawks
9. SaltManZ
Forgive my obtuseness, but the Eternal Domicile was shored up first —quite a bit before the demon was trapped. Or is just it that the E.D. (hm, no, let's not abbreviate it like that anymore) was affected when the trap was set, only for the trap to be sprung later? But then, Settle Lake still isn't anywhere near the Eternal Domicile.
Hugh Arai
10. HArai
Two separate workings of Omtose Phellack. One - imprisoning the
Khalibaral somewhere deep in the foundations of the Eternal Domicile. Two - trapping Mosag's demon/rivergod in Settle Lake. Khalibaral != Mosag's monster.
Robin Lemley
11. Robin55077
I always saw it as stated by HArai. Bugg assisted the Huntress by providing a place where it would not be dug up again (the shoring up was just a bonus of the Omtose Phellack used during the imprisonment) and the Huntress returned the favor by trapping the demon at Settle Lake.
Mieneke van der Salm
12. Mieneke
RE: Bugg's favour. I thought the fact that the foundations dried out (as opposed to the actual shoring up with the pillars) was due to Bugg letting the Huntress store the demon there–a happy side effect. And this trapping the demon in the lake is the return favour she does him.

I have another question though. When Silchas Ruin climbs from the water, he's described as 'White-skinned long hair smeared with mud.' Did I forget something again and is Silchas an albino Andii, is this due to his imprisonment in the Azath or because of his being a dragon-soletaken?
Brian R
13. Mayhem
@12
The three children of MD are variations on a theme:
Andarist is pure black - black skin black hair, ordered
Anomander is mixed - black skin, white hair, rationally irrational.
Silchas Ruin is pure white - white skin white hair, chaotic.

The original explanation* is that Anomander and Silchas both drank of the blood of Tiam, which partly bleached them, but Silchas drank far more deeply so was affected far more.
The wildness in the blood also seems to affect their behaviour - Silchas seems far more mercurial for a Tiste than Anomander, who was noted as 'thinking different' by Andii standards. Andarist was very much the epitome of a normal Andii, all pathos and melancholy.

*This explanation fails somewhat with regards to Korlat and the other Andii Soletaken, who appear on the outside to be completely ordinary Andii. I'm looking forward to the Kharkanas trilogy to see if the mechanic that created them was similar to the one we see used in The Crippled God.
Mieneke van der Salm
14. Mieneke
Mayhem @13: This is why I love this reread! Thank you so much for that explanation. Now it makes sense and I don't feel like an idiot for not remembering anymore ;-D
djk1978
15. djk1978
@Saltman: Just in case it isn't clear from everyone else's posts, they are two separate demon problems. The Huntress' demon is the Khalibaral, which is now imprisoned under the the Eternal Domicile - Bugg's favor. Bugg's demon is the one Mosag is using and is imprisoned in Settle Lake - Huntress' favor.
Amir Noam
16. Amir
*Finally* managed to catch up with the re-read. Kinda.

So, with the penultimate chapter, we see the coming convergence in Letheras. Let's count the major players:
1. Sea demon
2. The Pack
3. Soletaken Jheck
4. The Serengahl (five angry Toblakai gods)
5. Silchas Ruin
6. Sheltatha Lore
7. The Wyval
8. Wither
9. Edur Armies, including Rhulad, Mosag and many Andii wraiths.
10. Jaghut witch/huntress
11. Kettle (with the soul of a Forkrul Assail)
12. The Ceda
13. The Errant
14. Bugg :-)

Have I missed any?

Now, the first two beings on this list were dealt with, and it seems that the 3rd group won't be much of an issue now. But still so many other major power are about to clash.

And this is not counting other major characters from various plot threads, such as Tehol (and Shurq, Ublala, Harlest), Brys (and the king and his house), Trull (and Fear), Iron Bars, Seren Pedac, Gerun Eberict, etc.

Quite the juggling act.
Amir Noam
17. Amir
And I love this quote:

"-- King's Champion... is that who you are, Finnad?"
No.
You bastards have not met him yet.
Joe Long
18. Karsa
@16 you left off Iron Bars and the rest of the Crimson Guard...
Al Cunningham
19. BygTymeGuy
Okay, so when my son and I get together, we do what all good father/sons do: discuss the current re-read of MBofF, or in our case, our first time read. This is my chance to get the first taste of what I was supposed to get out of the current chapter (sort of the appetizer, followed by the main course of Bill and Amanda and topped off with the dessert of the veterans.) But enough of my literary diet.

Our understanding is that being Avowed appears to have the effect of lengthening their lives. What we can't seem to get our head around and what no one has mentioned at all is the apparent time displacement that Iron Bars has experienced. He has made mention of an event which has not yet occurred and his sayings include Hood. Maybe a geographic displacement instead? Is this something we should have picked up already from our reading or is this a RAFO? Please explain only if it is something where enough clues have already been laid before us.

I do realize that everyone has said that the timeline is not important, but I feel the need to understand the approximate era in which the events of Midnight Tides occurs as it relates to the scene where we first met Trull in House of Chains. Thoughts?

Love the re-read! Thanks to Amanda and Bill and all the vets who post regularly so that we can get more out of a first time read!
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
BygTymeGuy: Iron Bars & co are from our regular Malazan world not Letheras so that's why they reference Hood and such. They have arrived at Letheras via fighting on the continent of Assail--a place we haven't seen yet except that some T'lan had problems there.
Iris Creemers
21. SamarDev
@ Shalter 20
'Some' T'lan? :-)

And wow, just one chapter left to finish the puzzle... Some parts are already done, with our nice crafted 'got you' and the
‘Pleased-to-meet-you-see-you-later’. Somehow that last one totally fits in, even though SE makes no habit of words-or-scentences-that-belong-together-writing-them-together.

Well, I'm ready for some finishing action and some more shocks, so let's end MT next week! (I assume the epilogue will be added to chapter 25.2?)

And BygeTymeGuy: your Malazan-diet sounds quite ok I think it is very special to share something like that with your son. Enjoy / cherish it!
Brian R
22. Mayhem
@BygTymeGuy

The Avowed are at least 120 years old, their Vow was sworn around a century before the books start. At some point they all split up in the Diaspora, which is why we keep running into small groups of them all over the place. Iron Bars and his men ended up travelling from Quon Tali to Assail, where things went horribly wrong for them in some unspecified way. When they finally managed to escape, they washed up in Lether. Hence the use of Warren magic by Corlo, and the swearing on new world gods.

The broad idea of the timeline is that Midnight Tides is being narrated by Trull to Onrack and the others in the cave at the end of HoC.
The events occur at some point prior to GotM, best guess is some 5-10 years previous. We should be able to pin it down for you better after we finish next week - I don't want to spoil a couple of scenes in the last chapter.
Al Cunningham
23. BygTymeGuy
I just have to share this.
Let me quote from Chapter 19:

"And what does it mean? To be an Avowed?'
"Means they swore to return their prince to his lands. He was driven out, you see, by the cursed Emperor Kellanved. Anyway, it ain't happened yet. But it will, someday, maybe soon."

This is what my son showed me. "Oh," says me, "I really missed that the first time through! Damn, I'm really reading too fast. What? I should quote this passage when asking about this time displacement? Well, be a sin to have a re-read and not ask!"

So I am typing this out and the lightbulb finally comes on. (I think someone has been fooling with the breaker box!) The IT referred to is not the prince being driven out of his lands; the IT is the return of the prince to his lands! (It's over easy, btw!)

So was there something earth-shattering that happened between Midnight Tides and the House of Chains (I'm assuming 10 years in the minimum time that elapses as it was Kellanved and not Surly that ousted the prince) that will be forthcoming that changed the names from Holds to Houses?

Thanks for all your input!
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
BigTymeGuy@23:There were a number of earth shattering things that happened in the time between MT and HoC, but not quite in the way you're thinking.
The Holds to Houses occured in the rest of the world a long time ago (many hundreds - 1000's of years?) Lether was 'frozen' in time by Gothos' spell and so never progressed from Holds to Houses.
Kellanved did drive the prince (K'azz D'Avore) of the Crimson Guard from their lands. That war took place around 100 years before the events in GotM and Midnight Tides.
Chris Hawks
25. SaltManZ
Yep, what happened is Gothos' spell caused magic on Lether to stagnate, so while magic evolved throughout the rest of the Malazan world for the next few thousands of years, Lether stayed "stuck" in the past, in a very The Lost World kind of way.

djk @15: You're right, of course. I feel a little like an idiot for not making that connection sooner. Thanks. :D
Bill Capossere
27. Billcap
BTG: what a great father-son project

We will learn a lot more about the Crimson Guard as we move on, though as one might expect in Malaz, no where near as much as we want and with a few "oh c'mon, really?!" kind of moments where we are teased with getting some knowledge. But we will get much more about the Prince and the diaspora (and of course the return). But you've pretty much got the gist down. As for the Holds/Houses and the cough, cough Timeline, you've gotten some pretty good explanation of that already.

Shalter@ 26: good choice
djk1978
28. mh
Getting closer and closer to Bonehunters chapter 7. Can't wait to read your reaction to this one Amanda.
Chris Hawks
29. SaltManZ
@shalter: I see what you did there. :)

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