Wed
Sep 5 2012 1:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Reaper’s Gale, Chapter Eleven

The Malazan Reread on Tor.comWelcome 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 Eleven of Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson (RG).

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 Eleven

SCENE ONE

Hunch Arbat, who once collected excrement amongst the farms to bury the Tarthenol gods has stopped now that the need has passed (remember the Azath fight scene), much to the dismay of his people. He looks forward to leaving but then has a vision that causes him to pack up and set fire to his dwellings. He runs into a group of villagers rushing to the fire. They tell him there is a troop of Edur at the inn and he informs them he’s leaving. Farther down, he runs into Twilight’s group and tells them of the Edur, then of a place they can stay for the night without being seen. He heads off, fearing his destination.

SCENE TWO

Ublala tells Tehol and Bugg he needs he needs to bring them to Karsa and to do so they have to break into the compound.

SCENE THREE

Ormly meets Rucket and tells her Tehol’s going too fast and the Patriotists and Liberty Consign are getting stirred up. Rucket interrupts to ask about the collapse of Scale House and he says they’d been preparing for that, though they don’t know “what’ll happen when whatever it is happens.” Rucket says the real mystery isn’t Tehol but Bugg, and wonders where they’re putting the massive amounts of coin they’ve hoarded. They also discuss the growing tension between the Edur and the Patriotists and between the Chancellor and the Patriotists.

SCENE FOUR

The Errant thinks on how Mael helped arrange, with Kuru Qan, a Jaghut to use Omtose Phellack to imprison the powerful sea spirit used by the Edur. He wonders what caused Mael to involve himself, not only with the sea spirit but with the Crippled God as well (“battering a broken god senseless”), and wonders as well how Mael will deal with his worshippers that have been abusing Mael’s aloofness. The Errant begins to suspect the battle lines between the gods aren’t drawn as neatly and simply as he’d first thought. He notes the cracks in the ice imprisoning the spirit and wonders if Mael knows, if he should tell Mael himself. He is struck with a plan, for which he needs “a mortal’s hand . . . A mortal’s blood.” He transports himself to meet with Feather Witch and speaks to her of bargains, of the Holds clashing against the younger Warrens. Kuru Qan’s spirit appears and tells the Errant not to do this, that he is desperate and has been infected by the sea spirit’s ambition and lust. He warns him that the Warrens have a Master just as the Tiles did. The Errant thinks he will take that Master’s power and dismisses the Ceda’s warning that setting the Holds against the Warrens will wreck alliances. They argue back and forth then the Errant attacks Feather Witch with a knife to get her blood. She stabs him in the eye with Brys' finger, then plucks out the eye to keep. The Errant leaves.

SCENE FIVE

The Ceda goes to get a healer to help Feather Witch before she dies.

SCENE SIX

The Errant goes back to his temple and throws the knife with Feather Witch’s blood on it onto the tiles, where it impales his own tile, in the chest of his image. He can feel energy rippling and hope Feather Witch is dead, wanting “no High Priestess bound to his resurrected godhood.” He decides to go back and check.

SCENE SEVEN

Feather Witch feels herself dying and thinks the Ceda will not return in time. She swallows the Errant’s eyeball.

SCENE EIGHT

The Errant feels a lot of his power ripped away, then hears Feather Witch in his head declare herself “Desti Anant, God Chosen” and telling him “You are mine. I am yours.” She demands the Errant summon and heal their Mortal Sword, who waits in her hand, adding she also has someone in mind for Shield Anvil (“T’orrud Segul”)—Udinaas. The Errant tells her to leave him alone and she replies she “compels” him, driving him to his knees as he recalls what he had forgotten—“the chains. The wills locked in an eternal tug of war.” Feather Witch informs him his plan worked; “blood now flows between the Tiles. Between them all. The Warrens . . . The Tiles now flow . . . These new Warrens.” She names some of their “flavors”—light and dark, shadow, and Chance—Oponn, whom she refers to as upstarts playing the Errant’s game. The Errant tells her that her demands are weakening him and he is vulnerable. She dismisses his fears at first, but when he tells her the Crippled God lies behind the Edur, she leaves him alone. He decides he erred and now has to make new plans.

SCENE NINE

Karsa beats one of the other challengers in a sparring. Samar Dev wonders about the silent Seguleh woman amongst the challengers. Her thoughts are interrupted by the sudden “shivering along the strands—the bones—buried beneath the flesh of this realm . . . and every other one.” She goes to her room and is met by Kuru Qan’s shade, who asks her to come heal Feather Witch. Samar refuses (recall she knows Feather Witch from the journey to Lether). When Qan is distracted by another “shiver,” Samar collects him in her knife.

SCENE TEN

Karsa enters, walking right through Samar’s magical wards. They discuss the spirits in Karsa’s sword (his two friends) and how his sword is a “warren within a weapon,” which Samar points out isn’t unique. Karsa responds by pointing to her own knife, a prison for ghosts. He sense she has bound one, something she’d said once she never did. She answers she felt the need out of survival. He leaves, telling her the Seguleh will fight him.

SCENE ELEVEN

A crowd, including Veed and Icarium, has gathered to watch Karsa and the Seguleh fight. Samar notices Tomad Sengar in the crowd as well.

SCENE TWELVE

Karsa stomps to shake the ground and throw off the Seguleh’s balance, then breaks her wrists with a sword blow (the flat of the sword), then lifts her.

SCENE THIRTEEN

Icarium recalls meeting Karsa and being interrupted. Veed thinks it must have been Mappo who saw what would happen. He asks if Icarium would resume the duel and Icarium shakes his head no.

SCENE FOURTEEN

Tomad tells Samar it was unanimously decided that Karsa would face Rhulad last (part of the purpose of the challenges is entertainment, with the most challenging going last). Before leaving, Tomad says Karsa is superb, but will still die. Karsa puts the Seguleh down and looks around, but Icarium, much to Samar Dev’s relief, has already left. Karsa says Icarium “fled” and that when he finishes Rhulad he will seek out Icarium to finish their duel. Karsa plays with Samar and as she leaves she notes how his façade—“thick-skulled savage”—is at odds with his true cleverness.

SCENE FIFTEEN

Hannan Mosag travels in what he thinks is true Kurald Emurlahn, a place he has created in his mind, a place he is free of the Crippled God. He calls upon Mother Dark and Father Light to look on their children, on Emurlahn, and heal them. He thinks of how he sought the Throne of Shadow which he would then use to make Kurald Emurlahn strong and whole again, just as he would have used chaos (the power of the Crippled God) to do the same. He believes Rhulad ruined everything. An owl passes over, shocking Mosag, who thinks, “There is no one alive to claim that title. He [Brys] is dead. He was not even Tiste Edur.” He cries out that the choice should be his, that Mother Dark and Father Light should guide him to the Throne of Shadow, or else it will be Rhulad and the Crippled God. He has an offer, calling on the Andii and Liosan, saying the betrayals are done, that he pledges the Edur to alliance and asks for representatives from the other two. He then accepts the omen, agreeing it is not his choice, and accepting Brys as Mortal Sword of Emurlahn.

SCENE SIXTEEN

Mosag comes out of his trance as Bruthen Trana watches and waits. Mosag gives Trana the mission to find Brys, though he doesn’t name him for fear of tipping off the Crippled God, telling him to stop off to find Feather Witch first to get “an item.”

SCENE SEVENTEEN

Tehol and Ublala skulk. Badly.

SCENE EIGHTEEN

Bruthen Trana is amazed that Mosag can offer him hope, despite all Mosag’s crimes/sins—greed, ambition, betrayal—all of which make Trana want to strangle him. As he heads down under the Old Palace, he wonders who answered Mosag’s prayers. He nears Feather Witch and senses she had grown in power.

SCENE NINETEEN

Trana brutally assaults Feather Witch and takes Brys’ finger, then leaves.

SCENE TWENTY

Tehol arrives back home after creating a diversion (not of his own making) to allow Ublala to try and reach Karsa. Bugg tells him Ublala wants to do so in order to learn if Karsa is a new god or ascendant. When Tehol says Tarthenol only worship what terrifies them and Karsa is just a warrior doomed to be killed by Rhulad, Bugg merely shrugs.

SCENE TWENTY-ONE

Ublala makes it to Samar Dev’s room and has her take him to Karsa. He kneels and calls Karsa “Pure One.” Karsa whacks him upside the head and tells him Toblakai kneel to no one. Ublala identifies himself as Tarthenal and Samar Dev explains they are “a mixed-blood remnant of a local Toblakai population.” When she says they are mostly vanished, Ublala corrects her, informing them they are defeated not vanished, and some still live on islands in the Draconean Sea. He turns and tells Karsa “Lead us War Leader.” Karsa tells Samar his declaration that he’d lead an army of his kind has started to come true. Ublala is stunned when he hears that Karsa can resist Letherii sorcery and Samar Dev tells him Karsa makes no empty promises. Karsa tells Ublala to gather their people from the islands and bring them here, to him, their Warleader. Ublala says the marks on Karsa’s face are “as shattered as the Tarthenal. As the Toblakai—broken, driven apart.” When Ublala says he has a secret of Rhulad to tell Karsa, Karsa orders Samar Dev out.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Eleven

I asked at the end of Chapter Ten if the slow pace in that chapter would continue or be smashed and I think we can see at the very start what the answer to that will be, as we return to a very minor character in a surprisingly long and uneventful chapter that plotwise doesn’t do much save set Old Hunch off on his mission (which can’t do much for plot since we don’t know what that mission is), show us some Edur in the area, and remind us that Twilight is heading out. Not complaining here, just pointing out that we’ve calmed down from that sudden spike in action from a few chapters ago, which if one thinks about it, one realizes was pretty necessary. We weren’t going to keep that pitch of excitement for another two-thirds of a book. So now instead we get a slower pace, a reintroduction of some characters, and lots of setting up of things to come.

I find it an interesting structural set-up in this chapter, as well, that we begin with Old Hunch considering “walk[ing] away from the weed-snagged statues in the overgrown glades. And maybe, even, away from the ancient blood of his heritage,” and end with another Tarthenol reclaiming his “ancient blood” via Karsa. Old Hunch, of course, doesn’t just walk away, and so the two—Hunch and Ublala are linked by both blood and structure and acceptance of responsibility. And look at that vision he has: “a visage of terrifying power. A mask crazed with cracks, a mask moments from shattering...” Another link—visual, linguistic.

While much of the Tehol scene, especially the start, is comic relief, note how it keeps the idea of Tarthenals in front of us. Perhaps this shift from Hunch to a scene with Ublala isn’t wholly coincidental.

In that same slow recap-catch-our-breath-and-set-up-the-future-events mode, we get this scene with Ormly and Rucket. We’re reminded that the collapse of Scale House might have repercussions and in fact, Ormly says it was planned for and is connected with something else. Or in his words: “We’re no closer to knowing what’ll happen when whatever it is happens, assuming we’ll even know it’s happening when it does.” As Buffy once said to Giles: “Gee, could you vague that up a little more?”

We also get a reminder that Tehol and Bugg are hoarding coin and that the economy is teetering, and that both the Patriotists and the Liberty Consign are seeking out the instigator of the imminent collapse.

The Errant’s scorn at Mael’s possible motivation—“Friendship toward a pathetic mortal”—doesn’t exactly speak well to the benevolent impact on people if the Errant becomes more involved in things.

And who are those abusing Mael’s power? I can think of one specific one....

Here’s another interesting line: “War among the gods, but was the battle line so simply drawn as it seemed?” We’ve had intimations of this before.

And then another plot tease—the fissures in the sea spirit’s encasing prison of ice.

Note how quickly the Errant rushes off to Feather Witch. Is this because he just got his great idea (“usurped, usurped, now there’s an interesting notion. Gods at war. Yes, possibly”) or is the Ceda right when he suggests the Errant has been infected by the ambition and lust and anger of the sea spirit?

I have to say, for a “hidden lair,” Feather Witch could have done better. The Errant finds her there, the Ceda finds her there, and later Bruthen finds her there. Not the best spot.

I know the Errant has been around for a long time, and Paran is a newbie, but if the Errant does indeed set himself against the Master of the Deck, is anyone thinking the Errant wins that?

A few unpacking questions about the interesting conversation between the Ceda and the Errant:

  • What alliances does the Ceda think will be shattered?
  • Why does the Errant say that the alliances already are?
  • Is the Errant for or against the Crippled God?
  • Is the Errant including himself as an Elder God?
  • What “enemy” does he see divided?
  • When he says “it is not the Elder Gods who so hunger to destroy the Fallen One,” who does he think are so hungry?
  • What does the Ceda think the Elder Gods would “understand” that would make them want to destroy the Fallen One?
  • What does the Ceda mean when he bemoans K’rul’s “idiotic nostalgia”?
  • What has the Ceda learned by being dead: “The paths I have wandered...”

I have to admit, I have little sympathy for either of these two when the Errant and Feather Witch are going at each other. And I take some glee in the two being bound to each other, as they seem to deserve each other somewhat. So now we’ve got Feather Witch as Destriant to the Errant, and wanting to make Brys the Mortal Sword and Udinaas the Shield Anvil. Anybody see that playing out that way?

“The Errant, one hand outstretched, lone eye struggling to make sense of a battered, broken perspective.”

Hmm, literal, metaphor, literal, metaphor....

Like Karsa, I remember being shocked when Samar Dev imprisoned Kuru Qan. And I didn’t like her very much for it (nor do I like her doing it upon a reread). On the other hand, I do so like her dry humor in this scene:

“I need your help.”

“Seems a little late for that.”

Or “She [Feather Witch] gives witches a bad name.”

Icarium is certainly getting built up in this book—the earthquake, Veed’s statements, Vaun’s statements, now Samar Dev’s feelings about what he will do to Lether. The question is...are all these things misdirections or will Icarium fulfill them?

So Brys is in a lot of demand, isn’t he? Feather Witch wants him as her Mortal Sword. Mosag thinks Mother Dark and Father Light want him as Emurlahn’s Mortal Sword. I think whether one, both, or neither of those ends up happening, it’s become pretty clear we’re going to see Brys again.

Feather Witch is having a bit of a bad day today....

So we began with a Tarthenal on a mission and we end with a Tarthenal given a mission. Karsa gathering an army is a bit of a scary thought.

For a chapter that doesn’t move forward a lot, save for the Errant’s plotline, there are a lot of event that are set up:

  • Hunch’s mission.
  • Ublala’s mission.
  • The idea of Brys returning.
  • Icarium doing something big and bad.
  • Karsa facing Rhulad. (I know Karsa says he will face Icarium next, but does anyone see that being set up in actuality?)
  • The fall of Scale House being linked to something big about to happen.
  • A possible “battle” between the Errant and Paran.
  • The possible escape of the sea spirit encased in ice.

Okay folks, Amanda should be back for our next one. Something I know we’re all looking forward to. Sorry if this one seemed a little sparse—I’m battling a bad case of the flu here in Rochester (not great timing, it being the first week of school).

 


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.

28 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Yes, a lot of set up in this chapter. It is pretty much very important set up though, so first timers pay attention.
Feather Witch and the Errant do seem to deserve each other. The best laid plans of Priestesses and Gods often go awry.
Who else went "ick" at swallowing someones eye?
Karsa with an army is a scary thought indeed, but who else also doesn't think his plan of just dealing with Icarium would quite work out like that?
Darren Kuik
2. djk1978
Oh good grief. Am I the only one who was so thick that they didn't realize Hunch was talking to Twilight there? Wow.

This chapter may be set up stuff, but its still entertaining. Maybe not all action, but I didn't find it slow at all. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on, especially with the Errant. Stuff that the reader would do well to stash away in our overstocked filing cabinet.

Also, scene 17:
Tehol and Ublala skulk. Badly.

You are getting good at those one line scene summaries aren't you?
Tufty
3. Tufty
I know a lot of people have hated the Errant more or less since his first appearance, but I thought he was pretty okay until now (I didn't exactly *like* him, but he did some nice things that I was glad he did and nothing I disliked too much). He was certainly helpful in keeping the Jheck away from The Pack, in keeping the pillar names remembered for the Guardian and gave his support to Fener, all good things, and who knows what Lether would be like if he hadn't nudged the Guardian into killing Rhulad.

But this chapter is really the turning point for him with me. Is it the taint of the sea demon as Kuru Qan suggests? Maybe, maybe not, but he certainly seems more aggressive, more ruthless and just generally more willing to harm others here.
Keel Curtis
4. captaink
Anyone think Hunch Arbat is the shaman Arbanat Ublala mentions?
Sydo Zandstra
5. Fiddler
I haven't reread this chapter yet, so forgive me if I'm wrong in saying that here the deployment phase ends, and we're about to go full speed ahead with the main plot.

This (among other things of course) is an aspect that SE excels in, in my opinion. :)


@captaink:
That's what I thought too. And the shaman does show up in Letheras later on IIRC.

On a side note, I have always found the concept of throwing excrements at your gods (or their statues, but that's basically the same) in order to want them to stay away both hilarious and understandable at the same time.

Too bad for the other Tarthenal that they are losing their Public Service now... ;-)
Tufty
6. Cassanne
Oh, thank you Bill. I've already finished the book (for the second time... :p ), but after reading this the whole tarthenal storyline suddenly makes sense.
That's Erikson: things seem to come out of nowhere, but that just means you weren't paying attention. Or rather, my memory isn't good enough and I often fail to connect the dots.

When I finally finish the whole series, I'll probably have to start over again right away. And I made the mistake of starting Forge of Darkness, so now I have to finish that one first :D
dow bits
7. dowbits
At the end of the scene with Karsa & Ublala, Ublala is going to tell Karsa about Rhulad's secrets - how does he know anything about Rhulad? Is there some clue about this earlier that I missed?
Keel Curtis
8. captaink
I also thought the burying your gods in poo was a funny concept. I wonder if it has a real-world analogue that Steve drew from?
Tufty
9. Innad
I have been following and highly appreciating this thread since house of chains (first time reader).
The summary is great when I don't comprehend a scene, and the view of both Amanda and Bill is very insightful. But I have to admit my favorite are the comments.
However, I'm slightly ahead by now (chapter 14) and am now faced with a difficult question: do I continue on my own pace, or do I wait and read along with the rest of you.

Such a dilemma!
Tufty
10. Destiny
@ 9 Innad

You can just do what I do: read ahead at your own pace (which usually means I finish the book in a few days) and then come back and reread the individual chapters and join in in the discussion. Having read the whole book really helps understand/appreciate the small details.
Bill Capossere
11. Billcap
dj: I can pretty much guarantee you were not alone in missing that was Twilight. How many times have those of us on a reread gone doh! And then the same on another reread. And I agree that while not a lot happens, I wouldn't call this slow. Or maybe I would, but not dull. I'm actually a big fan of slow in my reading. I love slow books, slow chapters, slow moments. But there's a definite distinction between slow and dull or poorly paced. And slow and bloated.

Cassanne: that is the problem with this series. Or the great thing about it--two sides of the same coin. It rewards rereads like very few ones do. And of course, the best reread would be as you say, to turn around at the end and begin all over again while events are still relatively fresh in your head. But that's a tough move to say the least.

Innad--I'd second Destiny's suggestion.

glad you guys are enjoying the one-line summaries; I admit to giggling a bit while writing them (hmm, that makes me sound like Shadowthrone)

Post will be a little late today--wasn't sure if Amanda was getting in or not in time to do it so I held on to it a little longer to give her a shot at it. She'll be back next time.
Sydo Zandstra
12. Fiddler
Bill:

And of course, the best reread would be as you say, to turn around at
the end and begin all over again while events are still relatively fresh
in your head. But that's a tough move to say the least.

You got that right Bill. After I finished The Crippled God for the first time, I didn't want to read anything heavier than Feist for a month.

Nothing against Feist, I love his world and characters. But I consider it light reading.


No worries on being a little later. Glad to see Amada will be back :)
Darren Kuik
13. djk1978
I read the first 5 books like I usually do with books - lightning fast. Then, having not understood anything, I started over at a much slower and thorough pace and read through the whole series. By the time I was done that the re-read was working through HoC. So I've been reading along until we started RG. The last 4 books I had only read once so now I've forged ahead, unable to stay on the re-read pace and am 2/3 through TtH now. But RG sits by my computer so I can stay on top of the re-read. And having read the 5 FoD excerpts posted here I can't wait to get my hands on that. Plus I still have OST to read from Ian. All that said, yes I agree it would be hard to dive right back in after completing the series.
Amanda Rutter
14. ALRutter
Chapter Eleven

Oh, it’s lovely to see Hunch Arbat, after such a tiny mention of him in Midnight Tides. Poor fella, with his only wish to head off to villages unknown, to have a bath, and for people to not know him as a shoveler of shit. It’s not much to ask, is it?

But what visage was it that has finally prompted Hunch Arbat to leave, including facing down some of those who have caused him issues in the past? And why are his knees knocking together at the thought of his destination? Where is he going, and at whose urging?

Aww, Ublala Pung – a sweet reminder that he wants to be loved only for himself, and not for his…umm, other attractions.

There is so much joy and clever wordplay in this group dialogue between Tehol, Bugg, Janath and Ublala Pung. They are making for a very fine ensemble cast that lightens the mood whenever they’re on-screen. Such as the idea that Janath is still slightly mad because she’s making pillows from the down of deceased chickens; the fact that Ublala accidentally causes the extinction of another chicken because of his constant pacing and fretting. Just so much to enjoy. And, as usual, sharp observations in amongst the light humour: “Wait a moment and they’ll start ripping it apart,” Bugg said, shambling over to collect the carcass. “Between the two, I prefer indifference.”

And Ublala Pung wants Tehol and Bugg to meet Karsa. I can’t see that going down well.

This exchange had me in fits:
“But I assure you, food poses a sensuality rarely achieved in clumsy gropings on some flea-bitten mattress with errant draughts sending chills through you at every change of position.”
Ormly’s withered face twisted into a scowl. “Change of position? What does that mean?”
“Something tells me there is no legion of beleaguered women bemoaning the loss of one Ormly.”

Wait… Scale House collapsed through Karsa arriving, didn’t it? (or was it Icarium?) Regardless, now it seems as though Rucket and Ormly knew it was going to happen and were waiting for its occurrence. Curious.

Oh yeah! This is me! “Even though we’re no closer to knowing what’ll happen when whatever it is happens, assuming we’ll even know it’s happening when it does.” That is me reading Malazan *grins*

Hmmm, where is all the coin? What is Tehol managing to pull off this time?

It’s still incredibly hard reconciling Bugg with Mael. What is interesting here as the Errant thinks is the fact that Mael has an increasing number of bloody followers, which in turn increases his power. How much of an influence will Mael have on final events?

This sequence with the Errant, Feather Witch and the Ceda is brutal – the Errant is planning to declare war on the Warrens, therefore on Paran and K’rul? That is BIG. Is that what will send everything spiralling towards the war that they’re currently tip-toeing around? And then Feather Witch destroys the Errant’s eye with Binadas’ finger – and takes the eye. What does she plan for that, if she remains alive?

Something ominous about that knife piercing the Errant’s chest in his Tile, non?

Ugh! Feather Witch *eats* the eye?!

This is some powerful stuff, as Feather Witch compels a god – telling him to choose Udinaas as his Shield Anvil, in an effort to ensure they’re bound together through hatred and betrayal; the chains mentioned again; wanting to claim the Empty Throne.

Ooh, who does Feather Witch see as the Errant’s Mortal Sword? Tehol? (I ask because of the Mael connection).

Events coming thick and fast now, as Samar Dev steals the Ceda to add to the souls within her knife. The fact that she won’t heal Feather Witch really does give truth to the saying ‘Don’t kick people on the way up because they will kick you twice as hard on the way down’. If Feather Witch had been slightly nicer to Samar Dev, she might not now be on this path to ruin.

“Yes, a warren within a weapon. Don’t imagine that as unique as you might want it to be.” A little nod to Anomander Rake and his sword there – that is an interesting reflection.
The dynamic between Samar Dev and Karsa is fantastic, that fierce chemistry and fear and desire and animosity.

Heck, Karsa *dangles* by the legs the Segulah (I think she was the eleventh, wasn’t she? Anyway, I think she was lower than Anomander, which makes you wonder how he would cope with Karsa…) Even Icarium doesn’t want to fight Karsa!

Now… The Mortal Sword that Hannan Mosag is talking about – is this the same one that Feather Witch was referring to? In which case, it can’t be Tehol, can it? “He is dead. But not dead. Distant, yet is summoned. His tomb lies empty, yet was never occupied. He is never spoken of, though his touch haunts us all again and again.” And then this from Bruthen Trana: “Did not a demon of the seas retrieve his body? No, Hannah Mosag, you dare not name him. He is not even Tiste Edur. Yet he must be our salvation.”

*grins* Love the use of skulking between Tehol and Ublala, especially when the guard then says: “There! Who’s skulking in that alley?”

Oh! I feel dense. So very dense. Not Tehol, but his brother – Brys Beddict. He is to become the Mortal Sword.
Tricia Irish
15. Tektonica
Amanda...Glad you figured out the finger thing ;-) These names are so easily confused! Too many B's.

I really can't stand FeatherWitch. Or the Errant, for that matter. Perhaps they deserve each other ;-)
Amir Noam
16. Amir
Did anyone else think that the Seguleh champion here behaves drastically different than any other Seguleh? We've seen that Seguleh are almost conditioned to automatically attack anyone around them they perceive as challenging their superiority (even simply by holding a weapon in their presence). It just seems weird that she's been so quite and did not challenge attack anyone yet (and this includes all the Edur in the ship that brought her to Letheras).

Even in this chapter, Karsa comes to tell Samar Dev that "the Seguleh has unsheathed her swords" for him. Assuming the Seguleh has decided to challenge Karsa, it's strange that she gives him the time to go inform Samar Dev on this, instead of attacking him immediately.
Amir Noam
17. Amir
Amanda, note that Hunch Arbat's vision was of "a visage of terrifying power. A mask crazed with cracks, a mask moments from shattering".

This should give a clue as to who/what this vision is about.
Tufty
18. Kanese S's
I think with the Seguleh, it might be that she regards the challenge to Rhulad as ongoing, and so is more reluctant than she might otherwise be to undertake additional challenges while that one is still open. It might be more customary to conduct only one challenge at a time. But I'm just speculating.
Tufty
19. Innad
Thanks for the suggestion, Destiny. That is indeed THE solution to my problem.
This weekend I haven't touched the book because I wanted to read along, but I am suffering from serious withdrawal symptoms.
Tufty
20. Innad
By the way Amir, what you are saying about the Seguleh is completely true. I remember it was Lady Envy keeping them in check and refraining them from attacking Tool - with mixed succes.

Funny it didn't occur to me while reading this chapter.
Amir Noam
21. Amir
Yeah, I just can't picture the scene where Edur warriors extend any sort of formal challenge on behalf of Rhulad to the Seguleh (even putting aside the fact that they don't speak the same language). The Seguleh should have attacked them on sight.

(Myabe the Seguleh Eleventh is different than the rest of them - maybe among the Seguleh she's become known as The Tolerant One).
Gerd K
22. Kah-thurak
@Amir
It does not seem unlikely to me, that if the Seguleh heard that there were strangers travelling with a fleet to collect challengers for their invincible emperor they would send one of their number to accept that challenge. Under these circumstances the behavior of the 11th does not seem so strange.
Tufty
23. Tufty
Since Brys' finger is becoming important, what with Feather Witch and Hannan Mosag both trying to make him their Mortal Sword, here's some relevent passages from Midnight Tides:
The mottled blade seemed to dance of its own accord, evading two distinct parries from Brys, and the Champion only managed to avoid the thrust by pushing the heavy blade aside with his left hand.
The two lower fingers spun away from that hand, even as Brys back-pedalled until he was in the centre of the space once more, this time with Rhulad between himself and the king on his throne.
...
And Feather Witch, her eyes cast downward once more after that momentary glance, downward as required, saw, lying in the join of the dais, a severed finger. Small, like a child's. She stared at it, fascinated, filled with a sudden desire. To possess it. There was power in such things, after all. Power a witch could use.
Assuming the person it had belonged to had been important.
Tufty
24. Tufty
@Amir, re: the Seguleh

The Edur did not, it seems, ever reach the Isle of the Seguleh and encounter the Seguleh society as a whole. The Seguleh that we see her was found near Callows (which the Edur raided pre-MoI) in a beaten up boat, and she was extremely weak (whether that was from fighting, starvation or something else, I don't recall if it is said).

Obviously, she eventually recovered. However, I don't find it odd that she didn't immediately start massacring people (though maybe she did, we don't know). Senu, Thurule and Mok were hostile towards Tool because he was a legitimate challenger, but they didn't immediately attack Toc because they can tell immediately (from body language and more) that he was not a threat.

Likewise, I imagine when the Seguleh 11th/12th awoke on an Edur ship she spoke to no one and walked around like she owned the place because no one had the body language of being a serious challenger, but as soon as an Edur stepped up to push her around she casually broke the Edur's arm. The captain of the ship (unarmed so she wouldn't kill him/her) then extended Rhulad's challenge and the Seguleh accepted, and continued to boss the ship around for the rest of the voyage. And yes, she would have accepted, not just randomly massacred everyone - as the highest-ranked (only) Seguleh present, and hearing tales of the Letherii god-emperor's skill with a sword, it is her responsibility to test him and potentially accept him as a ranking member of the Agatii.

Now in Lether, she observes the other challengers fight and decides that Karsa is worthy of a Seguleh challenge and perhaps the Agatii. There is no problem with her giving him time to prepare or talk to Samar. Senu struck at Tool immediately, but Thurule waited a long time before duelling Tool. Karsa did not seem to be going anywhere, so there's no need for immediacy.
David Thomson
25. ZetaStriker
“Yes, a warren within a weapon. Don’t imagine that as unique as you might want it to be.” A little nod to Anomander Rake and his sword there – that is an interesting reflection.
I seem to recall Icarium with warren-infused arrows in Deadhouse Gates as well, but I could be wrong.
Steven Halter
26. stevenhalter
ZetaStriker@25:You recall correctly. Icarium's arrows are mentioned to hold warren fragments and pack enough punch to bring down a dragon. Interesting choice of creature to kill with all of the dragon bodies we are seeing lying about.
Brian R
27. Mayhem
@26 And interesting too when we think back as to the main plot of DG, and the only warren that has been shattered into fragments. I really now wonder under what circumstances Icarium obtained those pieces of Shadow...

Back after a few weeks of holiday, my turn to add late commentary :)

What is interesting here as the Errant thinks is the fact that Mael has
an increasing number of bloody followers, which in turn increases his
power. How much of an influence will Mael have on final events?

Mael is a very good personification of a sea god, he draws a lot from the greek Poseidon - very powerful, good of the sea, but not one to take an active hand in events unless compelled. Usually morally neutral, aloof from the struggles of the younger gods. I really like how in MT we see he provides a shelter to all the forgotten gods of the past.
Best analogue would be the depictions of Niarad and Tapiau of Michael Scott Rohan's Winter of the World series - collectors of all that is lost and forgotten, extremely powerful within their own domains but above taking part in the struggles of the world and of men.

Blood is life, and blood is power, so the spilling of blood in the name of a god should grant great power yes? But what happens when the god is reluctant, or if the spilling is unsanctioned? We already have Greyfrog's story of the Silent God who died the moment the first blood was spilled in his name. Are you sure the work of the Jhistal is actually benefitting Mael? And we've seen from D'Rek what happens when a god is displeased by her servants ...

As for your question ... How much of an influence will Mael have on final events? ... that's even more profound than some might think.
Tabby Alleman
28. Tabbyfl55
"Mortals will eat anything."

I know it's not next chapter, but I just couldn't wait. : )

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