Jun 15 2012 1:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: The Bonehunters, 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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover the first half of Chapter Twenty-Two of The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (TB).

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.

Chapter Twenty-Four


Veed, Icarium, and the Edur travel through a lifeless realm on their way to another battle, another throne. Veed thinks that it is not a bad idea to limit war and starts to wonder at his past desires. Ahn calls a rest and tells Veed they are close. Veed tells Icarium Ahn is deceiving his companions and Icarium realizes he has been too careless, too oblivious, and then also wonders if it takes a deceiver to spot a deceiver. He tells Veed he no longer believes that they are/were friends. Veed worries he has been careless.


Captain Varat Taun (second to Yan Tovis/Twilight), leads his Letherii archers forward. He thinks of his wife and daughter and the idea that he will see them again. He pities Ahn, up ahead, thinking of how easy it was for Varat (from Bluerose) to pierce Ahn’s disguise. He wonders if its purpose is mere survival or if Ahn is a spy. If the latter, Varat wishes him luck. Varat wants to impress Twilight, whom he considers the best commander in a long time. They get ready to exit the realm.


Steth and Aystar, two of the rescued crucified children sneak up on Onrack as part of a stalking game they play. When Onrack tells Steth to come down from a boulder, Steth says the enemy won’t come back; they were scared off by the ferocity of the last defense. As he says this, he is killed by an arrow. Onrack tells Aystar to run.


Trull looks on the ravaged face of Minala and considers the impact of watching her children fight and die and watch their companions die as well. He thinks of how they fight to guard a vacant throne (the First Throne), one claimed by a near-insubstantial ghost, fight to keep it from those that would hand it to the Crippled God, and thinks they have no chance. Aystar comes in screaming and they ready their defense. Ibra Gholan says a shaman has come with them this time, along with humans and a greater number of Edur. Trull heads to where Onrack fights.


Ahn says they have to deal with Onrack; he can hold the narrow entry forever otherwise. Veed says to let Icarium loose but the Edur warlock (Sathbaro Rangar) scoffs and says to withdraw the soldiers; he’ll deal with Onrack. Just then Trull enters behind Onrack and Ahn recognizes him. Rangar starts calling up chaos sorcery and is killed by a Soletaken (Monok Ochem).


Icarium looks down at the corpse of one of Minala’s children and tells Veed he refuses to kill children. Veed pulls Icarium forward and as Ahn steps in front of the Soletaken, Icarium draws his sword and Monok Ochem flees. The Edur run forward.


Ahn is shocked to see children waiting to fight behind Trull, whom he is surprised and dismayed to see standing in the chokeway. Kholb Harat and Saur Bathrada are thrilled to find the “traitor” and attack fiercely. Realizing Trull is protecting the children behind him, and in response as well to the regret that has long overtaken him, Ahn steps in to save Trull, taking a wound as he does so.


As he fights the two Edur, Trull wonders why Minala is holding Apt back, for what larger enemy. He’s surprised at Ahn’s sudden help, though he uses the aid to kill Bathrada as Ahn kills Harat. Ahn begs Trull to let him fight beside him as amends. Suddenly a loud keening strikes them all.


Onrack steps into Icarium’s path and is quickly battered back to fall broken and unmoving, though he succeeded in turning Icarium around so that his unfocused rage is now directed at the Edur and Letherii.


Trull watches as Icarium slaughters the attackers. Ahn begins to apologize for everything but is interrupted by Minala, badly (perhaps fatally) wounded, who asks where Monok Ochem is. Suddenly they’re all shoved back by a huge wind, strong enough to lift the corpses of the children into the air and spin them around as Icarium moves toward them. The rest flee as Trull meets Icarium and somehow manages to stand his ground, though Ahn is fatally wounded in an attempt to help.


Varat Tuan watches in wonder as Trull holds against Icarium. Nearby, Veed is weeping. Tuan sees Trull’s spear shatter, then watches as Apt leaps out to attack Icarium, driving him momentarily back though she is killed for her effort. Trull drags Ahn’s body back with him into the chamber with the throne.


In the chamber, Trull sees that Monok Ochem has been fused to the First Throne. Ibra Gholan announces that Ochem has “failed” and moves to face Icarium. Ahn dies.


Ibra Gholan is shattered by Icarium, who moves yet again toward Trull.


Quick Ben stumbles out of a warren cursing Shadowthrone. Seeing Icarium advancing (and clearly hostile) he throws him back with sorcery. This happens repeatedly, with Quick growing weaker and Icarium stronger each time, until Quick, nearly weeping blood from all his pores, passes out, seemingly near death. Trull steps to meet Icarium when suddenly the Eres’al appears behind Icarium and puts him to sleep with a touch to his hip. She then disappears. Veed tells Varat to help him get Icarium through the Edur gate so he may yet face Rhulad. Varat, thinking even Rhulad might die if he faces Icarium, helps drag him to the gate.


Cotillion appears, asking Trull, who is wiping blood from Quick Ben’s face, if the mage will live. Trull, angry, tells Cotillion Quick Ben wasn’t enough and wonders whom Cotillion was planning to send once Quick failed. Cotillion says he was going to face Icarium himself. Trull apologizes and asks about the Eres’al. Cotillion says her intervention was unexpected and adds Shadowthrone is on his way to heal who can be healed. Onrack enters and tells them about Icarium being taken through the gate. Cotillion curses the Nameless Ones, saying they are using Icarium as a weapon and even they don’t know what will happen if he faces Rhulad. Trull tells Cotillion he will not fight to defend the throne again, nor he pleads, should Onrack or the children. Cotillion agrees and turns away to sit with his head in his hands.


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four

For the first time in a large number of chapters (*winks*) I want to draw your attention to the poem at the start of the chapter. “Draw a breath, a deep breath, now hold it, my friends, hold it long for the world the world drowns.” Perfectly highlights the way I feel right now. We feel as though we’ve now begun the true story, so let’s take a deep breath and dive in...

Beautiful imagery and atmosphere built of this creepy, dark, deathly place that Taralack Veed walks through: “lifeless,” “shroud,” “sob of boots,” “soft-voiced curse”...

Interestingly, we see some real development in Veed’s character, some absorption of civilised ways and a realisation that complete annihilation makes no sense.

A very clear difference highlighted between Icarium and Veed in this exchange:

“He commands with honour,” Icarium said.
“He is a fool,” the Gral said under his breath.

Having said that, as well as showing the fine side of Icarium, it also highlights his naivety and inexperience with the world, since Veed is the one who has to point out the fact that Ahlrada Ahn is not like the others they march with.

Ha! Even not being completely sure about Icarium and what role he has to play in the future, I couldn’t help a quick fist pump at the fact that Icarium has begun to realise what Taralack Veed is. *grins*

This is powerful writing — from the awkwardness of Onrack expressing affection in return to Aystar and then immediately to the shock of Steth’s death. Look at that: a character who has been named and present for barely three paragraphs and I feel grief at the manner of his passing.

Right, I confess, I carried on reading through to the end of this chapter without pausing for breath — what amazing stuff. The biggest part of it, I guess, is finally seeing Icarium unleashed and, I think, realising that Lifestealer is very different from Icarium. How horribly devastating he is — and how disturbing that, even with all his power and ability, the Nameless Ones still don’t know whether he can destroy Rhulad.

I liked the quiet exchange between Onrack and Trull when all had quietened, about both continuing their pathetic existence. What I liked is the fact they’re still together and still fighting.

You know, for just a moment, when Quick Ben spoke about the other side of Hood’s gate, I thought we’d lost him as well as Kalam. The two of them in one book.... That would probably have entailed me putting down this series, I have to admit!

I really like that Ahlrada Ahn achieved peace finally, even if it did entail death. It was good to see someone who had become so tortured go to their rest.

And whose heart didn’t break slightly at the image from the end of the chapter — that of Cotillion, with his head in his hands. If you were unmoved, then you have no heart!

So, almost to the end of The Bonehunters, and this has been a truly stormy ride...


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four

I agree Amanda, that setting is filled with wonderfully dark and depressing imagery. And a good way to keep before us the omnipresent sense of what war means not just to the soldiers who fight it, but also to the land itself.

I also like that little echo of something we’ve seen earlier, when Ahn says “It would not do to be seen here by its inhabitants. True, we would be as apparitions to them, ghostly, simply one more trudging line of soldiers.” Remember back to that ghostly line of soldiers we saw in Raraku.

And yes, we are starting to see a Veed who has been “tainted” by civilization. It will be interesting to watch whether this is the beginning of a progression or not.

I think it’s also pretty typical of Erikson, and a good move, that just as Veed seems to be on the verge of becoming a bit more likable, we have Icarium calling him out for his deception. And we so want this to be the break, so want him to stop before he faces Minala’s children. But...

And then we get to dip into a soldier’s feelings as so often is the case in these books, as we listen in on Varat Taun thinking of his wife, his daughter. And we so want him to survive this and so worry that this moment of intimacy might have sealed his death.

I have to say as well that I kind of enjoy the idea that Ahlarada Ahn has lived for so long among the Edur and here we’ve got two people able to suss out pretty easily that he is not in fact Edur.

You’re right, Amanda, it’s amazing that we can feel such sorrow at the death of Steth. Part of it I think is the obvious fact he’s a child. Part of it is that horrible history (which Erikson is smart enough to remind us of at the very start)—that crucifixion. If anyone deserves not to die here, it’s these kids. Part of it is the fact they are playing. After all that, they are playing. Part of it is Onrack’s warmth toward them. Part of it the suddenness, the fact he’s killed in front of Aystar, the fact that he’s killed even as he is displaying the wonderfully naïve optimism of youth. All of this is wonderfully (painfully) manipulative on Erikson’s part. And it all works so well.

Poor Icarium: “I will not kill children!” Imagine if he had not been stopped. Imagine Icarium waking to himself surrounded by the corpses of children.

And then the same horror on Ahn’s part as well (yea for these two). And then his moment of redemption, stepping in to save Trull, even stepping in to take on Icarium.

Speaking of Trull and Icarium, I’m curious as to what people think of Trull standing up to Icarium here, especially as he’s wounded and at least a little on the ropes against just the two Edur, and also as we see how relatively ineffective Onrack is (though he does turn the weapon upon the weapon bearers). I have my own view, but I’m going to hold off until the comments. Anyone?

And then poor Apt. Perhaps the most painful loss in this scene. And there we go again. Grieving over a non-human, not-even-close-to-human creature whom we haven’t even seen that much of over the span of all these pages.

And poor Minala. Healed, but with “pitifully few children still alive.” Think she won’t carry this beyond this scene?

And who wants to sit on the Throne now, with Monok all fused into it and all?

Bad timing for Kalam that Shadowthrone needed him now. And how well do you think Quick Ben is going to take it when he learns what this cost Kalam? What I like, though, is that Quick Ben gives it his all, even to the point of nearly dying. Though he saves enough to express how ticked off he is at Shadowthrone and Cotillion. Though I’ll admit, part of me was a bit surprised Quick Ben didn’t figure out this was Icarium, though to give him a break, he was tossed into the midst of it to say the least.

A small thing, but I like how Icarium stops being Icarium in the narrative and becomes simply “Lifestealer.”

As with Trull taking on Icarium, I’m curious as to people’s feelings about the Eres’al showing up and bringing this to an end. I’ll chime in in the comments section.

It’s a good thing the Eres’al showed up obviously, but raise your hands if you would have paid to have seen just a little of Cotillion taking on Icarium.

And what a closing image. Along with Fiddler, Cotillion is so one of my favorite characters and this, his compassion, his empathy, his sense of responsibility, his all-so-human pain even as he is ascended, is the reason why. And I like how Erikson makes this all hit home by giving us the litany of Cotillion’s “power”: “Cotillion, the Patron of Assassins, the god.”

Okay, Epilogue and wrap up next folks. Take a breath, indeed...

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

Chris Hawks
1. SaltManZ
I'll come out and say that the Eres'al ending feels pretty Deus ex Machina to me. Heck, most of her appearances do. She possesses T'Amber to save Tavore. She randomly appears and stops Icarium when no one else can (and with only the barest hint of a touch, too.) She pervades this entire novel. At least with the Azath at the end of GotM (which seemed pretty out-of-left-field at the time) the later books reveal more about it so that it fits into the structure of the world. But the Eres'al? Do we even see her again or get an explanation about her after this? If we do I don't recall it.
Tricia Irish
2. Tektonica
I agree about the Eres'al. I don't remember a good explanation for why she's taking such an interest here. It was her pushing the fleet along too, with the dry, strong wind, wasn't it? And helping Bottle (as well as using him)? Why?

Incredible tragedy with the children and Minala, and Onrack and Trull, and Trull and Alradha Ahn.....and then Cotillion at the end, head in hands, being all too human. I too, really love that guy.

I feel so sorry for Icarium and his naive ignorance of his "other" persona. He is such a compassionate curious person when he's not Lifestealer, that the contrast is huge. Veed....well, maybe a teeny bit of awareness of what he's doing ?? I was glad to see Icarium call him out for his falseness.

I had no clue until your synopsis, Bill, that Monok Ochem was the demon. Should I have? What did I miss. Well, thanks for that anyway. I thought it was Apt at first reading, but then Apt came in later, so I was wondering where that demon came from.

I'm very sad to see this book end. It has so many moments of awesome. I think I have to rank it at or very near the top of my list of favorites.
Chris Hawks
3. SaltManZ
Tek, the first couple times I read TBH, I didn't connect the "demon" with being Monok Ochem, either. He is, however, described here as an undead ape, and waaay back in HoC we learned that his Soletaken form is a gorilla. So it's understandable to miss the connection, but the clues are there.

And I love that opening poem. And that final paragraph.
Philip Thomann
4. normalphil
As for missing a fight with a god, I had my highpoint at "Me again". Anything after that would be anticlimax, so good that it was resolved otherwise. And Lifestealer crying in frustration during his encounter with Trull was a fine touch.

Having Apt, Minala, Onrack the Broken, Trull Sengar, Ahn, Monok Ochem, Ibra Gholan getting that to point- I think the defense of the First Throne is one of things that makes the series.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
Very powerful stuff. Yes, Lifestealer is just about the opposite of Icarium. I was really upset when Veed took Icarium away again.

The first time I read it, I was confused about the Eres'al. It follows ok now though I think. We saw the Eres'al in the last chapter a lot, so she doesn't just appear. She isn't using tremendous power against Lifestealer--she is healing him and allowing him to pass out. Icarium is essentially broken.

The end scene with Cotillion is quite sad also. Cotillion just keeps getting more depth.
6. Blend
The thing about the Eres'al is that she's directly linked to the Edur. She was summoned to this world when the Nerek were praying to her and Fear's betrothed who became Rhulad's wife accidentally sanctified the ground. I always thought that everything the Eres'al was doing, she was doing to save the good Edur (i.e. Trull), and bring down the evil ones (i.e. Rhulad). This ties into the Bonehunters because of what they end up doing. I won't say much more so as not to spoil anything, but to me it absolutely made sense for her to show up exactly there, for her to help Tavore get to Lether, etc.
7. parabola
@Blend(6): wow... that really works. I love that reading of it.
Joe Long
9. Karsa
re Trull standing toe to toe with Lifestealer

I believe it is because Trull is Soldier of Shadow
Sydo Zandstra
10. Fiddler
Knight of Shadow, Karsa. But the principle is the same (except Knight is ranked higher than Soldier) :)

I also never had the feeling of the Eres'al being a DEM. She is quite focused in her actions, but like Blend, I can't say too much of that here.

For continuity's sake, I'd prefer to go on with Reaper's Gale here because it's more tied in with the Bonehunter arc and is a direct follow up in the main Malazan storyline, and the divide between Reaper's Gale and Toll the Hounds leaves more room for a side trip to Return of the Crimson Guard...

EDIT: Toll the Hounds, Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God are actually too tied in to each other to side trip between TTH and DoD. Events in TTH there happen at the same time and influence the storylines in the other 2 books...

Hope you read this, Bill. :)
Alan Miller
11. AlanM
@9 Karsa - I was going to say the exact same thing. I don't have my book here but if I read correctly, someone mentioned that Lifestealer was weeping as he took on Trull. I would suspect that the Icarium part of him recognized what was happening and was fighting to stop it, especially against someone as "good" as Trull.
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
Fiddler@10:I wouldn't mind going to RotCG at this point. Let's us have some more Laseen discussions. Also, since that's how SE & ICE say they preferred it, it's good for me.
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
SaltManZ@3: I completely forgot about the Monok reference in HoC! Too many words in between, I think. Thanks for that.

Blend@6: Thanks for that too. My pea brain had forgotten about the Nerek praying and Fears bethrothed sanctified the ground. Such detail! Maybe after 4-5 rereadings I'll pick up all these clues. Argh. At any rate, the Eres'al has been active in the whole book, it's not like she just pops up here, so not DEM....but I hadn't made the connection as to why she was involved here. Thanks.
Mieneke van der Salm
14. Mieneke
I absolutely adored that scene with Onrack and the children playing. It made Steth's death even harder to take though. I do have to say that these scenes with Minala's children always hit me hard; it's far too easy to picture their grubby, too young-old faces.

And that last view we have of Cotillion is heart-breaking.
Jay Doctor
15. therealdrj
The 2 scenes that stood out to me the most was when Icarium instantly switched to Lifestealer and Cotillion at the end.

Icarium calling Veed out and not wanting to fight, but as soon as he seems an Imass, the switch is flipped. I think it did a good job of showing the level of disdain betweent the races, there was the prologue in, I believe MoI, with the Jhag children but to this point we never really saw an out and out fight with the Imass and Jhags.

It's good to see Cotillion not as heartless as one would expect the Patron of Assassin's to be. The toll to protect a throne that no one can claim since Shadowthrone/Kellenved is still alive (can't remember if he still claims it, and not sure if it will still hold sway over the Imass, especially the ones that had the T'Lan ritual undone at the end of MoI) shows yet another instance of many of the wars in this world being pointless. Or maybe Cotillion is like us and can't keep all of the plans within plans within plans within plans that all the gods have initiated throughout the 6 novels.
16. Tufty
@Fiddler(10) & shalter(12), re book order:

I can't remember what SE and ICE have recommended exactly, but I do remember heavily disagreeing with it at some points. In any case, we have RG, RotCG, TtH, DoD, SW, TCG and OST still to go.

RG - follows tBH
RotCG - follows tBH, has one major spoiler for RG
TtH - one storyline directly follows one from RotCG. A major spoiler or two for RG.
DoD - follows RG, has major spoilers for RotCG and TtH
SW - follows RotCG
TCG - follows DoD, major spoilers for everything except OST
OST - follows TtH, major spoilers for everything except TCG

IMO, the order doesn't really matter for re-readers.

But for first-time readers, you
{a} want to avoid spoiling yourself for developments in other books
{b} want to avoid jumping backwards in time too much
{c} want multi-book/connected storylines not to be broken up too much
{d} want to maximize emotional impact

For those reasons, I think the best order is:

RG >> RotCG >> TtH >> SW >> DoD >> OST >> TCG

I know, I know, you're already writing a post calling me crazy for putting OST before TCG, but bear with me for a second, we'll get there.

First off, RG before RotCG, simply because RotCG spoils some of RG's ending.

After RotCG, you could go either TtH or SW, but there's one plot-line from RotCG that proceeds straight into TtH, whereas SW has few directly continued storylines from RotCG, and all of them have a gap of time between the books. Filling that gap with TtH works well. Also, the non-military TtH style breaks up the armies-heavy RotCG and SW, which back to back might be too much military-ness.

Then SW, because you wouldn't really want to make people come to this *after* DoD would you?

And then, 3 books after RG, it's time to start the DoD-TCG journey. Time has passed since RG, amazing events have happened in RotCG, TtH and SW - time to start bringing it home.

And then DoD ends. Remember when that happened and it was still 11 months before TCG came out? Yeah, the anticipation was killer, but that's a good thing. It gave TCG a ton of oomph, had us craving for it. You can't make someone wait 11 months for no reason, now, but you can stick OST in the middle.

But having OST in the middle isn't just a pause - some parts of OST do a great job of majorly hyping up TCG. Reading OST after TCG, it serves just as a lot of "Oh, so that's why ______ happened/didn't happen/was involved/wasn't involved." But reading OST *before* TCG, all of that is turned into anticipation-building material that will get you absolutely pumped for TCG.

And the best part of it, is that then you get TCG last. The last book of TMBOTF closes it.

(Yes, I know there is still B&B and Assail, but those will be very distinct from the plots and characters of MBOTF, unlike OST where half the characters and all the plot-lines are begun in GotM, MoI and TtH).
Joe Long
17. Karsa
re book order...

fwiw, about halfway through TBH, I couldn't help myself. I finished it, then started RotCG...but I was so wrapped up in the Bone Hunters, that I didn't finish it and switched to RG...

I also think of RotCG has major plotlines that go directly into TTH and having those followed through is very, very satsifying.

there is also "tone" similarity between the books -- Reaper's Gail "feals" like Bonehunters. RotCG "feal" more like TTH than BG....
Joe Long
18. Karsa
re the Eres'el...

...there was that scene where Bottle first met her "way back when" and she raped (?) him...was that the beginning of something big...say all of humanity? how does that relate to what happened to Silverfox? Was her involvement with humans more about atoning for that than getting back at Rhulad? I'd personally like to find a reason for her presence rooted in compassion instead of vengance (and yeah, I get the compassion for the victims, but that is looking backwards not forwards to what is to come...and fixing Rhulad no matter how "compassionate" does nothing for the victims of Lether other than provide an opportunity for the next regime to do a better job)
Emiel R
19. Capetown
In MT there's a passage where the origin of the Nerek is explained. They are supposedly the decendants of The Eres'al and someone from the future. My interpretation was that this 'someone' is in fact Trull (whose seed was 'taken' by the Eres'al in HOC. So she has a motive for stopping Icarium here: preventing the death of the father of her child.
Kenneth La Rocque
20. kjtherock
If I recall, humanity descended from the Eres'al so why wouldn't she step in to protect them? @19 As to the father, remember she did take Bottles seed as well and I think he, being human, would be a better choice for the father.
21. Jordanes
Eres Ex Machina ;)

But I do believe the Eres stepped in because of Trull Sengar specifically. After all, he is (will be? had been? Damn time-travellers!) the father of her child.

As most have mentioned, the scenes of Ahlrada joining Trull; Trull stopping Icarium (which foreshadows another incredible spear-wielding feat of Trull's in the future); and Cotillion at the end are all incredibly powerful scenes.

And to think this all comes after the ostensibly 'main plotline' involving the Bonehunters has been wrapped up for this book!

Also, I add my voice to the calls for RG to come next in the read. RotCG really does contain a big spoiler for RG.
Bill Capossere
22. Billcap
For me the Eres’al did not qualify as a Deus ex Machina as some have complained because we have seen here regularly and heavily involved for some time now. And so her appearance at the Throne does not come out of nowhere for me. I do wish I had a better sense of why she is so regularly and heavily involved, though my sense is there is a link to humanity/the Imass in general as well as a link to an inner sense of compassion (seen in her healing for instance) beyond the questions of the child.

As for Trull standing up to Icarium, the only aspect about the scene that does bother is the sense we get that he is in trouble when he was facing the two Edur. That event just seems to so concretely belie what follows with Icarium that it troubles the whole scene for me. With regard to the fight itself with Icarium, however, in my mind I take this as an example of the idea of ascendancy as a representation of “will.” I don’t think Trull was “ascendant” prior to this, I don’t see him as Knight of Shadow therefore he has the power to withstand Icarium. I see that as actually reversed—he would not fall, he would not let those children be killed—and through that will he becomes Knight of Shadow, at least in that place at that time. That said, I do like that I think it’s made pretty clear that he doesn’t so much “stand against” Icarium as “withstand him” for a few moments only. He survives him; he doesn’t match him, in other words.
Bill Capossere
23. Billcap
re the reread,
While we're checking with Steven about availibilty for the usual question period, we've also asked the two of them if they have any updated thoughts on the reading order, especially now with OST and the coming prequel in the mix. We'll see what they say . . .
Brian R
24. Mayhem
Not only withstanding Icarium, think back to the journey the brothers took to retrieve the sword - Trull survived alone fending off waves of attacking shapeshifters. He has spent weeks defending the throne against his own kind. His skill with a spear has been long established, it is his motivation that was ever the issue.

Here he finally has all the motivation he would ever need, and that on top of his skill is all it takes to hold off the onslaught. Until his spear breaks, because Lifestealer is not mortal ...
Mieneke van der Salm
25. Mieneke
Bill @22: Isn't Trull's trouble against the Edur more based in the fact that he's having a hard time fighting kin, rather than actually being overwhelmed by them in terms of power or skill?
karl oswald
26. Toster
i totally agree with you Bill, re: trull becoming knight of shadow as a result of his actions here, as opposed to those actions being possible because he was the knight.

we've seen that there are many paths to ascendancy. baruk says so, and so far we've watched paran, tattersail, the entire bridgeburners division, and trake become ascended (to name a few), and each time it was unique. however, i can tell from each journey that ascendancy comes to those who experience unique situations and behave exceptionally. trull does both of these things at once. he stands before the lifestealer, and lives to tell the tale. before that, he's undertaken an epic journey. with his actions here, the deck has to recognize him.

what is a knight? ostensibly, you might say it is one who protects those weaker than themselves or one who sacrifices their self for the sake of others. trull is protecting the children, but he is also protecting the edur, in a way. if they actually win the first throne, and use it to control the t'lan imass, i don't think it would result in the edur recovering from the depravity that inflicts them and once more prospering as a people.

so yes, i believe it is only after this chapter that trull becomes knight of shadow. that might not mean he's fully ascended though (but does fully ascended really mean something? paran can't be 'fully' ascended yet, since he knows so little about his power, but does that make him less of an ascendant? is he less dangerous because of his inexperience, or more? RotCG spoilers: I'm not surprised that there's a kingdom on Jacuruku that's ruled by a cabal of mages who study ascendancy as their primary purpose)
Bill Capossere
27. Billcap
25. Mieneke
Trull himself comments on their ability as an issue: "Not much longer. They've improved, the both of them."

I think it's also implied by his saying "he could not hold them much longer" in reference to the "fury in the weight of their blows"

And I didn't see anything that gave an indication he had a problem fighting them because they were Edur, something hinted at when he calls them "these Edur killers."

finally, he didn't have much respect for them in Midnight Tides, telling Fear: "They have earned nothing, Fear. And no amoung of proclaiming can change that. Yet Rhulad would have us take orders from these."

I think it could have been presented as him having trouble due to not wishing to fight his own people, but I dind't see that it was presented as such. I'd have preferred that version.
Tricia Irish
28. Tektonica
Are we having a post today? Epilogue? Wrap up thoughts?
karl oswald
29. Toster
I sure hope so - I've got thoughts and they need to escape!
30. Kadere
Soooooooo.... Friday then?
Bill Capossere
31. Billcap
Hi all,
Sorry about yesterday's blip. We will have a post on Friday covering the epilogue/whole book wrap, as well as news regarding a possible question-answer with Steven and about the reread order. See you all tomorrow and apologies again for yesterday!

Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
Bill@31:No problem--we know you were all laboring away to make the post extra special. :-)
33. Onask
Was it just me or did anyone else think Quick Ben was Shadowthrone by the description?

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