Fri
Feb 14 2014 12:00pm

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Dust of Dreams, Chapter Six

Malazan Reread of the Fallen on Tor.com: Dust of Dreams, Chapter SixWelcome to the Malazan Reread 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 six of Dust of Dreams.

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 spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

CHAPTER SUMMARY

SCENE ONE

The Bolkando, who have been overcharging the Khundryl Burned Tears, encircling them with soldiers, and treating them with contempt, enact one more usurious hike in fees. Young Khundryl take offense, say “we’ve got your 100% price hike right here,” and kill lots of Bolkando. They then ride off to give Warleader Gall the good news.

SCENE TWO

Warleader Gall hears the bad news, realizes the Khundryl can’t just flee onto the plains if they’re to help Tavore and the Malazan army (and the Grey Helms), and orders that the Burned Tears march on the capital.

SCENE THREE

While the Grey Helms make landing, Tanakalian and Run’Thurvian discuss choosing another Destriant, but Run’Thurvian decides to wait. They move on to discussing the likelihood that the Bolkando will try and ambush them as they march through the upcoming pass, catching the Grey Helms between the Bolkando “escort” and a waiting army. Tanakalian internally muses on how they will change the world with war and bring justice via the sword, and decides the old Destriant was just a crazy old man and thus no need to tell Run’Thurvian of what he had told Tanakalian.

SCENE FOUR

Chancellor Rava and Conquestor Avalt (leading the Bolkando escort of the Helms) receive news of the Khundryl turning against the Bolkando. They assume the Khundryl will flee to the Wastelands where they can easily be dealt with, and plan to use the Perish’s “absurdly elevated notion of honour” to keep the Perish from helping the Khundryl, by speaking of the Khundryl atrocities. After which they will ambush the Helms as planned, then turn on the Malazans, who most likely will not be supported by the Letherii, who are led by a “useless, bumbling idiot.” Having so astutely taken the measure of the three disconnected armies marching through their territory, they turn to discussing their fear that their own queen has agents in Lether hunting down their spies, their dread that the Queen’s Evertine Legion might take the field if the Queen finds a reason to “shove her useless husband aside,” and the unnerving news that the King’s 14th daughter and her handmaiden have disappeared from the palace.

SCENE FIVE

Tanakalian and Run’Thurvian meet with Chancellor Rava and Conquestor Avalt, who apprise them of the Khundryl’s activities. Run’Thurvian assumes the Burned Tears had cause, calls the Bolkando on their duplicitous nature, reaffirms the Helm’s alliance with the Khundryl, and tells them if the Bolkando want the Perish as enemies, they should prepare to be “obliterated.” As the Bolkando leaders try to stumble their way out of this mess, Tanakalian thinks if they’re “shaking with terror” at the idea of the Khundryl and Perish, “Wait until you meet the Bonehunters.” After Rava and Avalt leave, Run’Thurvian orders an immediate march, correctly assuming Gall is leading his army toward the capital.

SCENE SIX

Yan Tovis (Twilight) head back toward her people, sadly meditating on how King Tehol, who has been challenging much of the entrenched Letherii system, will soon “swept aside,” as “The beast that was civilization ever faced outward . . . [and] devours the world to come” Her brother Yedan Derryg (the Watch) appears and tries to convince her not to take their people on the journey she is planning, but to take “the mortal road” instead. She tells him she has no choice.

SCENE SEVEN

Pithy and Brevity, assuming Yan Tovis will lead the people to resettle in Lether, discuss ways to use the current crisis with the Shake to their mutual benefit. [Pithy and Brevity were ex-cons who were part of the inmate take-over of Second Maiden Fort]

SCENE EIGHT

Yan Tovis shocks Skwish and Pully by telling them that “By my Royal Blood I will open the Road to Gallan . . . To the Dark Shore. I am taking us home.”

SCENE NINE

The “group” including Taxilian, Breath, etc. heads toward a massive structure carved in the shape of a dragon, which turns out to be a city. They bicker. The ghost that flits amongst them wonders how they keep suddenly having stuff he’s never seen before, like torches and waterskins, and daggers and Tiles, and SPF 50 sunscreen that isn’t too oily at all but rubs on real nice and . . . Nappet finally says out loud what they have all been thinking: “Someone was hunting them.” A spear is mentioned and the ghost recalls someone using one against him once, “lunging at his face, his chest, slicing the muscles of his arms, rocking him back, one step, then another.” He decides he does not like Spears at all, he does not like them in a hall. The group finds a covered entrance and begin to dig through. They bicker. The ghost muses on self-delusion and wonders why the concept makes him so anxious, the idea of knowing oneself too well. The group breaks through, bickers, Breath says she wants nothing to do with flooded tunnels, they light mysteriously appearing lanterns and enter. The ghost realizes he is bound to these people that don’t even know he’s there and feels a moment of torment which quickly moves onto rage and indignation and promises that any god/goddess who so judges him and remains hidden will be hunted down. Inside the city, the group finds two-dozen or so throat-cut K’Chain Che’Malle. They move inward. One assumes they bicker as they do so.

 

Amanda’s Reaction

Vedith is a bit badass, non? What with these splinters driven into his forearm so far they seem like bones, and biting the ear of his horse in order to bring it to a screaming halt. I like the realism of that—most horses can’t stand their ears being interfered with and it can bring them back to themselves if they’re ever bolting or not happy.

This is a sharp look at how most people perceive those they deem to be savages and not worthy of attention: “These Bolkando had thought the Khundryl knives were dull. Dull knives, dull minds. They had thought they could chear the savages, mock them, ply them with foul liquor and steal their wealth.”

And these Khundryl do bring bloody vengeance, don’t they? “It had taken most of the morning to hunt down and butcher the last garrison soldier. And barely a bell to murder the townsfolk who had not fled—who had, presumably, imagined that seventy-five soldiers would prevail against a mere thirty savages—and then set fire to the town, roasting alive the few who had successfully hidden themselves.”

It is easy to see why the Khundryl might be considered barbaric, when we observe their funeral ceremony—merely spitting to create a circle round the corpse.

This chapter is a whole sequence of people not reacting the way they are expected to, or underestimating each other, starting here with Vedith thinking that the story of the slaughter will make Warleader Gall’s eyes shine, and then seeing him sagging back in his seat and squeezing those same eyes shut.

I would not want to be the person to face the Adjunct and try to explain why the Bonehunters are now facing a march through a warzone, so I can completely see why Gall would decide to head straight for the Bolkando capital in an effort to keep them all cooped up.

It seems a little short-sighted that only elders would be considered for the position of Destriant. We’ve seen youngsters across the series conduct amazing feats and take on leadership roles effectively. We’ve also seen that age doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom!

Another mention of the war that awaits these troops as they head across the Wasteland: “In Krughava’s mind, Tanakalian well knew, a holy war awaited them, the singular purpose of their existence, and upon that foreign soil the Grey Helms would find their glory, their heroic triumph in service to the Wolves of Winter.”

This is a chilling quote, considering what we’ve recently mentioned of justice connected to the Forkrul Assail: “Justice arrived with the taste of blood, both sweet and bitter and that too was as it should be.”

I love this whole scene with Avalt and Rava—seeing just how much they get wrong is so much fun! Especially considering Tehol a useless, bumbling idiot. The bit about their Queen Abrastal and the Evertine Legion is intriguing. Makes me wonder if the Queen is a god in disguise or some ascendant who shouldn’t be brought into play. “Surely,” he said, voice breaking, “this present game is too small to concern Queen Abrastal.” Whoever or whatever she is, strikes me that this key mention of her means she should be borne in mind.

The scene where Rava and Avalt are undone by Krughava and her perspective on events, and the fact that she is willing to go to war for the Khundryl is magnificently played, and once again shows an example of a person being completely under-estimated. Speaking of, this quote from Tanakalian is just brilliant: “After all, you may at this moment face two bridling, angry armies, my friends, and find yourself shaking with terror. Wait until you meet the Bonehunters.” It is a bit of a fistpump moment for me, I confess.

Oh wait, the Shake are going to take the Road to Gallan? Gallan was Tiste Andii, right? And they are going home to the Dark Shore? So they are related to Tiste Andii and Kharkanas? Or am I reading that wrong?

Okay, so I read back to the part of the prologue concerning Taxilian and Breath and Shake and all the rest… And they are INSIDE THIS JAGHUT PERSON, aren’t they? And, since they were there and involved when Icarium did his whole new Warrens things, well, that makes this Icarium! Surely I’m right? Did I just work something out? Was it too easy? *does a little dance in case*

But how did all those people—dead people?—get inside Icarium? It must be driving him pretty mad, to have those voices in his head. Would explain why things don’t seem to be quite right in his head, with him remembering different events and occurrences to those that the rest mention.

“There had been a spear in his past—yes? Perhaps? A dreadful thing, lunging at his face, his chest, slicing the muscles of his arms.” An interesting quote—yes? Perhaps?

What door is Icarium trying to find?

And what a horribly sinister little sentence concerning Breath: “The ghost watched as Breath paused to bend down and run a finger through decaying blood. She slipped that finger into her mouth, and smiled.”

 

Bill’s Reaction

I find Vedith’s response to the slaughter interesting. He’s a young hothead, but still feels “sick,” after the killing, and finds “the taste of that slaughter left a bitter, toxic stain, inside and out.” And rather than dehumanize the slain, he recalls how earlier the town “had been a peaceful place, life awakening and crawling on to the old familiar trails.” And he uses the word “murder,” rather than “kill” to refer to the killing of the townsfolk. Then later Gall calls the non-soldier victims “innocent farmers and villagers.” Despite the litany of provocations, it’s hard to get behind the Khundryl here, despite what we’ve been shown about the military/political wing of the Bolkando. Though you have to love Gall’s decision. And the wry humor of the shift from Vedith thinking about Gall’s reaction to Gall’s actual reaction.

“Mortal Sword, do we march into betrayal?” File.

Based on what we’ve seen of Setoc’s view of people, probably a good idea to think hard on this: “In Krguhava’s mind, Tanakalian well knew, a holy war awaited them, the singular purpose of their existence, and upon that foreign soil the Grey Helms would find their glory, their heroic service to the Wolves of Winter.”

As for Tanakalian, hard to root for someone who scorns “foolish” dreams of “peace and harmony between strangers,” (especially in a series predicated upon empathy and compassion) and prefers the “sweet and bitter” and tasting of blood justice of the sword and war. Which sound a little like some other folks we may know.

One has to hope the physical description of the landing isn’t an omen for the Grey Helms, with the “confused” water, the slogging through mud, the running aground, the stumbling “shin-deep in fly-swarmed mud,” and the difficulty in “retracing their root back to the anchored Thrones.”

It’s a telling contrast, between Gall’s response the thousands of “innocent farmers and villagers” killed by his own people, and Rava’s response, which is a big smile and then a thought of how to turn that to his advantage.

I do so love how wrong these guys are in their reading of the situation, of all the situation—the way they think the Burned Tears are going to flee into the Wastelands, how the Helms will turn against the Khundryl and maybe even pay reparations, and how they dismiss the Bonehunters as much of a concern. Then how they view Tehol as a “bumbling idiot.” You just know these guys are going down.

Lots of foreshadowing re the Bolkando Queen however, as a formidable force. But the question gets raised, will the enemy of my enemy be my friend? If she is a force opposed to these two schemers, might she then be an ally?

Just as much as I enjoyed Rava and Avalt getting so much wrong, I equally enjoyed Run’Thurvian getting so much right—calling how the Khundryl were provoked and then how Gall would aim right for the capital.

And no matter what I think of Tanakalian, I couldn’t help but get a fond chill when he thinks, “you may at this moment face two bridling, angry armies my friends, and find yourselves shaking with terror. Wait until you meet the Bonehunters.”

Interesting how Yan Tovis’ views on civilization so mirror out good friend Karsa’s, with her view of civilization as a “beast” that “devoured the world to come.” Understandable as she rides through the wreckage of a landscape ruined by over-logging (props to Tehol for trying for “sustainable” use). One has to hope her cynicism (or is it realism) isn’t right, that “King Tehol would be swept aside, drowned in the inexorable tide of unmitigated growth” as he tries to “stand between the glutton and the feast.”

Easy to root for her success for her people when she considers not only their plight, but the plight of others (that darn empathy again), as she tells her brother “I will not descend upon King Tehol’s most fragile subjects with fifteen thousand desperate trespassers.

And if you’re rooting for her, you have to concerned about the scene with Pithy and Brevity, who seem focused on how all this can help them. Bad enough she’s got a brother she can’t fully trust and who wants to marry her off and a pair of witches she also cannot trust. Not surrounded by a great supporting cast it seems at this early stage.

Then we learn her plans—using some sort of warren/magical path called the Road to Gallan to take the Shake home to the Dark Shore. You get a sense we must be near the end of the series if the Shake are returning to the Shore. And “Dark” is a bit of a clue. And we’ve had reference to the poet Blind Gallan before.

OK, so remember that this poor guy wandering around the K’Chain Che’Malle dragon city is muttering to himself, via the prologue: “a single “gaunt figure, skin of dusty green, tusks… Carrying a sword… A lone wanderer who spoke in seven voices.” It seems our half-crazy guy is starting to realize he doesn’t have a firm grip on reality. Now, what that means going forward, we’ll have to wait and see. But a few more hints arise as to his identity: his memory of having fought a super-skilled spearwielder, his musing that “When the self was a monster—who wouldn’t want to hide from such a thing? . . . Yes, even the lowest beast knew the value of not knowing itself too well,” and his rage and indignation at a higher power meddling with him and his willingness to hunt down and confront even a god.

And that’s a creepy little ending there, with Breath (note by the way her dislike of flooded tunnels and focus on drowning) smiling at the taste of old blood.

Well, a bunch more players have now been moved onto the board and are about to aim toward their respective spots as the Khundryl, Grey Helms, and Shake prepare to journey. Must be close to time for the Bonehunters to get a move on....


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.

23 comments
Blend
1. Blend
Just wanted to point out that you (Bill) switched out Run'Thurvian and Krughava's names throughout your whole post. Run'Thurvian is the dead Destriant, Krughava is the Mortal Sword.
Bill Capossere
3. Billcap
Wow--not sure how I managed that one. Sorry folks!!

(hides head in crook of shoulder. Kicks pebble. Will later stay in room with loud music on and yell down that "No, I don't want any dinner!")

Bill
Sydo Zandstra
4. Fiddler
It's been awhile since I read Reaper's Gale, so I may have forgotten...

Yedan Derryg wants to marry off Yan Tovis? Wasn't that the warlocks and witches, wanting her to marry that Pirate Captain claiming the throne back then?


EDIT: I really like Queen Firehair :)
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
@Amanda:Good putting togetherness! Dance away.
Blend
6. Tufty
@Fiddler - yeah, in RG it was the witches and warlocks who assumed/wanted Yan Tovis (Twilight) to marry Shake Brullyg - mostly because Brullyg was already in control of the Shake people (acting as The Rise) but Yan Tovis is descended from the royal line so they wanted the two to marry. But Yan Tovis wanted to throw out Brullyg and choose her own Rise, anyways.



Here's the whole bit from RG, plus the awesome info from Deadsmell on the Shake-Andii connection:
Boots echoed from the corridor and moments later the door opened. Accompanied by Galt and the odd little man named Widdershins, two Letherii soldiers strode into the chamber. One of them was an Atri-Preda.

Shake Brullyg lurched back in his chair, almost toppling it. Face twisting, he rose. ‘Damn every damned witch to the deep!’

‘It gets worse,’ the Atri-Preda replied with a faint smile on her lips. ‘I choose my own Rise, and you are not him. Yedan, throw this fool out on his arse - any window will do.’

Sudden alarm in Brullyg’s eyes as he stared at the soldier at the captain’s side, who made to move forward.

Galt’s sword was out of its scabbard in a blur, settled flat against the soldier’s stomach, halting the man in his tracks. ‘Maybe we should all back this up a few steps,’ he said in a drawl. ‘Adjunct, allow me to present Atri-Preda Yan Tovis and Shore Watch Yedan Derryg - which I take it is some kind of sergeant in charge of some kind of coastal patrol. What’s “Atri-Preda”? Captain? Commander? Whatever, they was in charge of that half-drowned bunch the Perish plucked from the storm.’

The Adjunct was frowning at Yan Tovis. ‘Atri-Preda, welcome. I am Adjunct Tavore Paran of the Malazan I Empire-’

Yan Tovis glanced across at her. ‘You’re commanding this invasion? How many soldiers did you land on the coast, Adjunct? Ten thousand? Twenty? I saw the ships, the burning ships - you followed our fleets all the way from your empire? That’s a long way for a little vengeful bloodletting, isn’t it?’

Shurq dreamed of downing another tankard of wine. At least the Malazans weren’t looking her way any more.

The Adjunct’s frown deepened, accentuating her drab plainness. ‘If you wish,’ she said coolly, ‘we can formalize your status as prisoners of war. Yet I find it difficult to characterize your sinking ferry as a punitive invasion expedition. According to the reports I have received, your status is better likened as refugees, yes? A modest company of soldiers overseeing a sizeable collection of old men and women, children and other non-combatants. Were you sailing here assuming the island remained independent?’ She flicked her gaze across to Brullyg, who stood leaning against the far wall. ‘That you and Shake Brullyg are acquainted suggests you are here to resolve some private matter between you.’

Yan Tovis’s eyes were flat as she shrugged and said, ‘Hardly private. “Shake” is a tribe’s name and could, if desired, precede the names of myself and Yedan here, as well as our “collection” of “refugees”. The Shake were the original inhabitants of the central west coast and some of the islands off shore. We were long ago subjugated by the Letherii.’ She shrugged again. ‘My issue with Brullyg refers to a matter of succession.’

Tavore’s brows rose. ‘Succession? You retain such things even when subjugated?’

‘More or less. The line is maintained through the women. The Queen - my mother - has recently died. It was Brullyg’s hope that I not return to claim the title. Brullyg wanted to rule the Shake for himself. He also wanted, I suspect, to make some bold claim to independence, riding the wave of your invasion - assuming it proves successful. Casting off the Letherii yoke and creating a new centre for our people, on this once-holy island. Although a murderer and a betrayer, Brullyg is an ambitious creature. Alas, his rule on this island has come to an end.’

Throatslitter hissed laughter. ‘Hear that, Masan Gilani? You can stop showing all that sweet flesh now.’

‘I am not sure,’ the Adjunct said, ‘the decision is yours to make, Atri-Preda.’

‘That rank is now gone. You may address me as Queen or, if you like, as Twilight.’

Shurq Elalle saw Deadsmell’s eyes flick open then, saw them fix hard and unblinking on Yan Tovis.

The Adjunct missed nothing, for she glanced at Deadsmell for a moment, then away again.

‘Twilight, Watch and Rise,’ Deadsmell muttered. ‘Covered the whole night, haven’t ya? But damn me, the blood’s awful thin. Your skin’s the colour of clay - couldn’t have been more than a handful at the start, probably refugees hiding among the local savages. A pathetic handful, but the old titles remained. Guarding the Shores of Night.’

Yan Tovis licked her lips. ‘Just the Shore,’ she said.

Deadsmell smiled. ‘Lost the rest, did you?’

‘Corporal,’ Tavore said.

‘Our squad spent time on the right ship ,’ Deadsmell explained. ‘Enough for me to do plenty of talking with our black-skinned guests. Twilight,’ he said to Yan Tovis, ‘that’s a Letherii word you use. Would you be surprised if I told you the word for “twilight”, in your original language, was “yenander”? And that “antovis” meant “night” or even “dark”? Your own name is your title, and I can see by your expression that you didn’t even know it. Yedan Derryg? Not sure what “derryg” is - we’ll need to ask Sandalath - but “yedanas” is “watch”, both act and title. Gods below, what wave was that? The very first? And why the Shore? Because that’s where newborn K’Chain Che’Malle came from, isn’t it? The ones not claimed by a Matron, that is.’ His hard eyes held on Yan Tovis a moment longer, then he settled back once more and closed his eyes.

Errant fend, is he going to do that all evening?

‘I do not know what he is talking about,’ Yan Tovis said, but it was clear that she had been rattled. ‘You are all foreigners-what can you know of the Shake? We are barely worth mentioning even in Letherii history.’

‘Twilight,’ said Tavore, ‘you are here to assert your title as Queen - will you also proclaim this island sovereign?’

‘Yes.’
Darren Kuik
8. djk1978
The entire Shake storyline is among my very favorites of the DoD/TCG threads. Nice work dredging up those quotes Tufty.

Also, I agree with Fiddler on another thing. I like Abrastal too.

I found the Perish scenes less interesting. I think that's partly because Tanakalian is annoying and Krughava is pretty one-dimensional in her resoluteness. We'll see if that changes.
Blend
9. Blend
I remember really disliking the Perish storyline during my first read-through as well, but I recently reread the 2 books, and it's much more interesting when you know who everyone is, and what everyone's motivations are. I found Tanakhalian to be a very interesting character, because his motivations for doing what he does are all good ones, even if he goes about doing it in a very underhanded/assholeish way.

But yes, the Shake and the Evertine Legion storylines are some good ones - they don't really compare to the Bonehunters and the Snake for me though.
Joseph Ash
10. TedThePenguin
I am not yet done, but Bill, I LOVE your summaries!!! :)
Nadine L.
11. travyl
One assumes that Bill was a bit annoyed about the bickering ;)
But I can’t help to agree, you can never have enough sunscreen SPF 50.
David Thomson
12. ZetaStriker
And in other news, I just figured out who Breath is/was. I think I uncovered most everyone's identities from the "seven voices" segment on my first read - after a lot of thought - but I'm not sure if I ever put that one together before now.
Ryan Dick
13. Wilbur
The storyline of The Seven in DoD was very confusing for me, as I did not pick up that it was Icarium for a long, long time. Instead, I kept wondering why these guys who I was sure had died in Lether were a) walking around in a desert, and b) together, since they obviously didn't like each other.

Can someone tell me who the "spear-wielder" was that wounded Icarium? I don't remember this, either.

Also, why is the building that the seven explore shaped like a dragon? I thought it was a K'Chain sky keep that had landed, so why the fancy architecture?

For me, the Shake storyline was one of the less enjoyable ones for a couple of reasons. First, the character just sort of arose from nowhere in earlier books, and their action took place on some uninteresting penal island. Second, the characters' actions were pretty base and grubby, slaying each other, squabbling over power, etc. Finally, because their motivations were so very obscure and seemed disconnected from the rest of the story, it seemed to be a distraction from, rather than a contribution to, the rest of the book.
Bill Capossere
14. Billcap
Here you go Wilbur, from our recap and then the book.

Veed, Icarium, and the Edur travel through a lifeless realm on their way to another battle, another throne . . . . Trull looks on the ravaged face of Minala and considers the impact of watching her children fight and die and their companions 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, 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.


The book:
The Jhag, silver light blazing from his eyes, then turned round And, leaning forward, with stilted overlong strides - as if his own flesh and bone had become impediments to the rage within him - he marched closer.
Spirits bless me - Trull launched himself to meet the apparition.
The sword seemed to come at him from everywhere at once. Trull had no opportunity for counter-attack, the shaft of the spear ringing, jumping in his hands with every blow he desperately shunted aside . . .
The Jhag redoubled his attack on Trull, the keening sound bursting from his mouth in a wail of outrage. Blurring sword, bone-jarring blocks, one after another - and still the Jhag could not get past.
****
Mostly buried beneath leaking corpses, Varat Taun lad motionless, one eye fixed on the battle between the two figures, Icarium and a Tiste Edur - it could not last, against the Jhag no-one could, yet that spear-wielder held on, defiant, displaying a skill so profound, so absolute, that the Letherii found himself unable to even draw breath.
Behind the Tiste Edur, children were retreating towards a rough-carved doorway at the apex of the chasm tunnel.
The storm was a whirlwind now, circling the two battling figures - gods, they moved faster than Varat's eye could follow, but now, finally, that spear began to splinter amidst the frenzy of parries. Varat Taun heard weeping, closer to hand, and he shifted his gaze a fraction, to see Taralack Veed huddled against a wall . . .
Another splintering sound brought his gaze round once more, and he saw that the spear had shattered - the Edur flung himself backward, somehow avoiding a lateral slash of the sword that would have decapitated him. Roaring, Icarium advanced to finish off his foe, then suddenly ducked, twisted and threw himself to one side-as a midnight-hued demon swirled from shadows
Bill Capossere
15. Billcap
TedthePenguin--glad you enjoyed the recap!

Wilbur: I think the place is a full city, rather than a skykeep (others' thoughts?)
Brian R
16. Mayhem
@Wilbur
The statue is shaped as it is, for reasons that will be unveiled as part of that storyline. The Skykeeps are shaped as giant teardrops of stone, literal floating mountains, such as Moon's Spawn.
It's a bit of a spoiler to reveal it now so I've whited it out below, but the clues are actually hidden in the prologue, as is so often the case.

The difference is as simple as the difference between the two K'Chain species, the Nah'Ruk in the skykeeps, the Che'Malle in the nests.

Look at the path Kalyth takes in the prologue... Root > Feed > Womb > Heart > Eyes, high up in the nest.
Then look at the passage about Gu'Rull, who climbs from Eyes > Brow, and sets off into the air, from Ampelas Rooted, the true name of the Acyl Nest.
And where have we seen the name Ampelas before
?
From BH, chapter two
Edgewalker faced the three dragons.
‘These are of the pure blood. Eleint. Ampelas, Kalse and Eloth. Their crime was ... ambition. It is a common enough crime.’

....

The female dragon spoke, ‘I am Eloth, Mistress of Illusions – Meanas to you – and Mockra and Thyr. A Shaper of the Blood. All that K’rul asked of me, I have done. And now you presume to question my loyalty?’
‘Ah,’ Cotillion said, nodding, ‘then I take it you are aware of the impending war. Are you also aware of the rumours of K’rul’s return?’
‘His blood is growing sickly,’ said the third dragon. ‘I am Ampelas, who shaped the Blood in the paths of Emurlahn. The sorcery wielded by the Tiste Edur was born of my will – do you now understand, Usurper?’
‘That dragons are prone to grandiose claims and sententiousness? Yes, I do indeed understand, Ampelas. And I should now presume that for each of the warrens, Elder and new, there is a corresponding dragon? You are the flavours of K’rul’s blood?
Emiel R
17. Capetown
Wilbur, the Shake story line may seem disconnected from the rest now, but believe me, it isn't.
Ryan Dick
18. Wilbur
OK, thank you all for clarifying those items for me and reminding me that it was Trull Sengar who fought with him.
Jeff Stein
19. jeffsui
I just finished DOD this morning and i had NO idea the guys were Icarium even after finishing the book. Now that I read it here it all makes sense. I could't exactly figure out why he popped up out of seemingly nowhere at one point. Thanks.
David Thomson
20. ZetaStriker
I'm pretty sure I figured out it was Icarium, but I think it was near the end of the Seven storyline in this book. Definitely not this early.
Kara English
21. Rucket
I’m with jeffsui. I don’t think, even after reading tCG, I ever figured out that Icarium was hearing the 7 voices in his head. Which lead to lots of confusion in tCG as to where Icarium came from.

I also enjoy the Shake story line. As a re-reader I have lots of questions and I hope they will be answered when we get further in.

@Amanda
“It seems a little short-sighted that only elders would be considered for the position of Destriant.”

It’s interesting the discussions later in the book as to how these positions are filled/chosen. It’s not like a job interview where the "best fit" is chosen, and I believe this book is the first time we have first-hand accounts of characters ascending to these titles. (At least no others are coming to mind.) I think the first discussions start in Ch 20. We also learn of a destriant later on who is very young.
Joseph Ash
22. TedThePenguin
The Bolkando storyline here is much funnier the way Bill puts it, but its still fun seeing the correct assumptions (on the Perish and Khundryl side) and the wildly incorrect assumptions on the side of the Chancellor (regarding spies, regarding his enemies, does he get anything right?!)

And about Icarium, its pretty plainly stated at the end of this book that its all in his head, if its not in the summary when we get there, I will try to remember to do some quote fu.

speaking of quote fu, awesome bit there Tufty.
Meg K
23. KittenSwarm
I did manage to pick up that it was Icarium in the prologue, mostly because he's one of my favorites and I'm always keeping an eye out for him.

Sadly out of the seven voices the only identity I've deduced is Breath (other than the obvious ones: Taxillian, Rautos)

As a first timer, I'm unsure of where the Shake story is going, but interested to follow along. Not my favorite section though.

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