Wed
Apr 2 2014 11:00am

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

Malazan Book of the Fallen reread Steven Erikson Dust of Dreams Welcome 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 sixteen 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.

Just to note that Bill is having an extraordinarily busy week and will be adding his comments in at a later stage.

CHAPTER SUMMARY

SCENE ONE

The first scene of this chapter dives straight into a meeting between the Elder Gods that Errastas has summoned, including Sechul Lath, Kilmandaros, Mael, and Olar Ethil. They converse about the absent Elder Gods, including K’rul, and then Olar Ethil talks about things coming back, rising, including the T’lan Imass and the Jaghut. She refers to the fact that she has once again released the First Sword (Tool), and then says that the Crippled God is nothing, that his body is scattered across seven continents. Errastas (in all his wisdom(!)) disregards everything that Olar Ethil mentions, says that they are irrelevant, says that Mother Dark has turned her face away so the Royal Andian blood approaching Kharkanas is meaningless.

Mael points out that, even if Errastas is successful in killing their children, the younger gods, the fact is that even younger gods are springing up. He and Olar Ethil wonder what Hood is up to, and think about the changing nature of the lifeless side of Hood’s Gates. And there is outright mention of Whiskeyjack and the ascended Bridgeburners, who was the one to summon the fourteen dead Jaghut, not Hood. They piece together the fact that, right now, the Malazans are growing into positions of new power, including the Master of the Deck and his ally, Tavore.

Basically, Errastas is slapped down, and shown that each of these Elder Gods has knowledge and plans beyond what he intended. Sechul Lath then states he will tell Errastas of the path that has been prepared, and manages to get him to stop sulking and rejoin he and Kilmandaros.

SCENE TWO

Cuttle is drinking and melancholy, telling stories to young Bonehunters about the Malazans of the past, particularly the Bridgeburners. The youngsters are talking about the legends and acting awestruck, while Cuttle rains on their parade and generally brings everyone down about their future. Gesler interrupts and gives Cuttle a dressing down, so that he eventually leaves.

SCENE THREE

Gesler asks Widdershins to make sure that Cuttle is okay, and then starts drinking, finding himself feeling as depressed as Cuttle.

SCENE FOUR

Bottle slips away from where he had listened to Cuttle and then Gesler. He stands at the side of the barge and contemplates the army, the fact that boredom and bickering is doing damage, that the veterans were doing almost as much damage to the spirit of the Bonehunters. He thinks about how much the army depends on Fiddler. He then tries to distract himself by sending his mind into the creatures beneath the water of the river, but gets caught up in more melancholy thoughts about religion and gods and what it means to exist.

SCENE FIVE

Bottle’s rat watches as Deadsmell, Throatslitter and Ebron gamble together and argue about what level of cheating is acceptable.

SCENE SIX

Skulldeath watches the unconscious Hellian, while he is watched in turn by a nearby soldier, and Hellian is watched by Sergeant Urb, who clearly adores her.

SCENE SEVEN

Skanarow approaches Ruthan Gudd at the side of the barge and lets him know that she is aware he is more than what he seems, that she has done some research into his past and where he might have come from. He is quick to deny it all and puts out that his history is dull and uneventful. He walks off and then Skanarow follows.

SCENE EIGHT

Bottle thinks that it seems everyone on the barge is getting some action that night and feels a bit jealous. He hasn’t recently been visited in his dreams by the Eres’al and is wondering a little at her absence. As he looks out on the land that passes, he is joined by Sergeant Sinter. They have a rather odd conversation, where Sinter talks about how things are sexually with the Dal Honese, and she blithely insults Bottle unintentionally, to the point where he is ready to dive over the edge of the barge just to get away from the conversation. Eventually she realises she has been rather deflating and they agree to spend a little more time together.

SCENE NINE

Banaschar stands and looks at the maps of Kolanse and thinks about depressing things, including that Lostara Yil is not interested in him and the fact that there is nothing uglier than soldiers at rest. He thinks that he wanted more blank spaces in the map of his own history.

SCENE TEN

Lostara stands with a blade in her hand, and thinks about the Red Blades and how they have progressed without her. She recalls the evening meal she shared with Tavore, how she had tried to make conversation and draw out the Adjunct on a personal level, but how Tavore didn’t respond and, in fact, acted like a widow in mourning. She thinks about Banaschar and how he is being eaten from the inside out by his past.

SCENE ELEVEN

Stormy sits on the deck and watches the five spears of jade in the sky, feeling as though they are coming from him in a personal vendetta. He tries to think what he might have done in his past to deserve such revenge, but is interrupted by the arrival of Quick Ben, who calls him Adjutant and asks him about the flames under his skin.

SCENE TWELVE

Sunrise thinks about how much he loves being a soldier, how much he adores Dead Hedge as his commander. He is approached by Corporal Rumjugs, who has spent the night whoring and then by Sweetlard, who has done the same. They talk about the special munitions that they are working on in secret at Hedge’s command. Rumjugs and Sweetlard tell Sunrise that they are receiving a whole ton of marriage proposals—when he wonders why, they say it’s because they’re all desperate for children because they’re all expecting to die.

SCENE THIRTEEN

Pores encounters Tarr, who has taken a whole wad of rylig and is getting the jitters. Pores gets him to spit it out.

SCENE FOURTEEN

The two D’ras who gave the rylig to Tarr are laughing about it when he approaches them and heaves them over the back of the barge, to be eaten by crocodiles. He then goes into a delirium.

SCENE FIFTEEN

Badan Gruk leaves Tarr in Nep Furrow’s gentle ministrations and spends some time thinking about the Bonehunters—what they are and what they aren’t, and the fact that it seems something within is resisting the shape that the army needs to be. He wonders whether that might be the betrayal of the Empress—the fact that the army did everything required of them, but the Empress still tried to rid herself of them, that this is preventing them from growing into what they need to be now.

SCENE SIXTEEN

Fiddler and Balm talk about soldiering, about the people in their squads and about little incidences from their past.

SCENE SEVENTEEN

Brys is getting ready for bed when he is asked to see one of the new Atri-Ceda’s, called, Aranict. She tells him that she has been exploring the warrens—the Malazan way of sorcery. She shows him a patch of earth that seethes in her hand and he isn’t too impressed, but then she says that she is not the one doing it, that there are patches of ‘sympathetic linkage’ that extend all the way into the Wastelands. Brys says he is sending her to the Malazans, so that she can talk to their mages, and, when informed she will be dealing with Adaephon Ben Delat, she falls into a dead faint.

 

Amanda’s Reaction

This first scene with the Errant being completely schooled by his fellow Elder Gods makes me grin—it seems exactly what he needs to take away some of that prideful attitude. Of course, what they’re all talking about it pretty terrifying, and showcases some of the plots it seems we should have a particular interest in, like the Jaghut, and the Andian royal blood. Of course, these gods are clearly not omniscient because they have no real idea about the part that might be played by the K’Chain Che’Malle in their quest, or the Barghast, who are looking for a new enemy still, or the wanderings of Icarium and the impact of his new warrens, or the machinations of Silchas Ruin, or the fact that Draconus is no longer captive in Dragnipur (if that has happened yet—not sure where the timelines cross over). Really, they know so little. It just shows up the fact that, despite all their knowledge and all their manipulations, they have only a tiny piece of the picture.

Also, the Elder Gods here are pretty dismissive of the Wolf Gods—this seems a little dangerous considering the Grey Helms’ presence, plus the movement of Setoc, plus the wolfy aspects of Toc the Younger. Plus, we have this whole theme of people being underestimated, right?

Hoo boy, I also can’t wait to see how the return of Mother Dark is going to shake things up, since she is another that everyone is now disregarding.

What is also clear from the scene is how much they are all keeping from each other. They might say the word ‘allies’ but no one truly seems to understand what that word means. Mael demonstrates his knowledge of the Forkrul Assail, which shows he is aware of a little of what Sechul Lath and Kilmandaros have been keeping from Errastas. Olar Ethil, we’ve already seen, has many fingers in many pies, and does not seem at all inclined to share them with anyone. Errastas seems to be keeping his overall plan for Kilmandaros regarding the Otataral Dragon from her, although I might be wrong about that one. Anyhoo, it is all a mess of conspiracies and secret plans, and this does not seem a side ready to go to war.

We’ve always seen the good side of the legendary Bridgeburners—I mean to say, we’ve always seen how motivational it is for new soldiers and even existing soldiers to know the names of those who have gone before. Here we see from Cuttle the way it can cause pressure and make people feel down about their future as a soldier: “What do you want? Any of you? You want the fame of the Bridgeburners? Why? They’re all dead. You want a great cause to fight for? To die for? Show me something worth that.”

Fiddler is starting to be thought about in an ominous fashion—i.e., what will the youngsters, who think so much of him, do if anything bad happens to him. Bottle then thinks about the amount of responsibility being borne by this old soldier, who was only ever a sapper for the Bridgeburners, and wonders if he can bear up under the weight. “Reader of the Deck of Dragons. Legendary survivor of the Bridgeburners. He was the iron stake driven deep into the ground, and no matter how fierce the raging winds, he held fast—and everyone in turn clung to him, the whole damned army, it seemed. We hold tight. Not to the Adjunct. Not to Quick Ben or Fist Keneb. We hold tight to Fiddler, a damned sergeant.” Anyone else getting a wee bit worried about Fiddler’s future now?

It is also really painful seeing the other side of the veterans. We’ve seen the way that they improve morale, the way that having them there gives steel to the newcomers. But here we’re told the flipside, the fact that they can “leak like a septic wound. It stained. It fouled. It killed dreams.” The idea of those dead-eyed soldiers who survived against all the odds is pretty damn creepy, actually.

I’m interested in this that Bottle thinks: “By our belief, we create the gods. And so, in turn, we can destroy them. With a single thought. A moment’s refusal, an instant’s denial. Is this the real face of the war to come?” Thing is, I’m not sure how this would work. We just saw the Elder Gods chatting, and, yes, Mael is on the rise again and is gathering a priest and worshippers around him. But the others—do they have mortals who believe in them and worship them? I don’t think we’ve really seen any worship of Kilmandaros or Sechul Lath, have we? Or is that why they’re skulking in the shadows, because their power is definitely on the wane?

I think I simultaneously feel sorry for Bottle, being able to see all the flirtations and conversations going on between others on the barge, and creeped out by the fact that he watches things that really should stay private. Although I guess all of his knowledge is part of why he’s the shaved knuckle of the squad. It is a tad worrying about the Eres’al—now, didn’t Olar Ethil say that she was that entity when she also said she was Burn? If so, the fact she is absent from Bottle’s mind might be because she is wandering all over the land and causing trouble. Not sure whether I’ve quite grasped that correctly.

This chapter is an odd one, in general. Erikson does his usual and gives us some incidentals, some scenes between familiar characters, some things that we can laugh at gently, which is pretty necessary after the horrors of chapter fifteen. But it does mean there doesn’t seem to be as much to talk about. I can tell you again how much I love seeing the Malazans! But you’ve heard that a lot. So instead I’m going to pull out the odd sentences that jumped out and made me curious about what was going on:

  • The reminder of Telorast and Curdle—what are they up to? Who are they with?
  • The way that Lostara realises Tavore is afflicted with an immense sorrow, like that of a widow. Just because of the betrayal of the Empress and the death of T’amber? Or because she knows what is coming?
  • Five jade swords? This is the most specific we’ve seen it, I think. And then Quick Ben refers to them as the ‘Slashes’—they are coming more to the fore, it seems.
  • A little reminder as well of the flames that burn within Stormy and Gesler
  • Didn’t like the whoring of Rumjugs and Sweetlard, but then I considered it more and we’re almost seeing the reverse of hobbling here. Rumjugs and Sweetlard are in complete control of their own bodies—they’re not being forced to do it, they’re receiving adequate compensation for what is a job, they’re not harmed body and soul and so seem to be retaining all their womanly power.
  • Bavedict’s munitions—keeping an eye on them
  • The way that people being brought into the Malazans are taking on some of their phrasing, like ‘aye.’ I found that pretty cute, and very realistic. And that is a small way in which the army is starting to gel
  • Although the bit where Badan Gruk thinks about the way that the Bonehunters are resisting being shaped into a coherent force is concerning—that they haven’t yet dealt with their feelings of anger and betrayal about the Empress and so now they are finally considering that.
  • And then a little whisper towards what lies ahead, with the new Atri-Ceda, Aranict, who tells Brys Beddict that something is coming. Might this dust be then related to the clouds of dust and what is within them that we’ve seen devastating the Barghast tribes? And why does Aranict faint at the idea of coming face to face with Quick Ben—just because his reputation precedes him or because she is someone in disguise who knows who Quick Ben really is?

So, bits and pieces to pull out. An entertaining chapter, but strikes me more as a holding chapter, something allowing us to calm down after chapter fifteen and giving us some breathing space before we move into the final act.


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.

17 comments
Tufty
1. Tufty
It's funny seeing Bottle, who is very smart and has shown a lot of knowledge of a lot of topics (albiet mostly magicaly/pantheonic topics), not knowing that Fiddler used to be a major officer of the BBs (see GotM prologue) and therefore so worried that they are pinning so much hope on "just a sergeant".

@Amanada - Olar Ethil said she was the mother to the Eres'al, so I think we can go with the Eres'al being a separate being whether or not OE was telling the truth there.

Do *NOT* let Tarr do keg-stands!!!

And I think Aranict fainted simply because Quick Ben is sooooo HAWT :P


- - -


On a different note, I think we saw from a lot of the comments last chapter that we need to be a lot more careful in these comment sections regarding anticipating upcoming events. Bill is of course going to point out some foreshadowings and whatnot in his reactions, but I think we should try and minimize the amount of hinting about upcoming stuff, even vague hinting that simply "something" is coming.

There are some things that are supposed to be surprises, and even those that aren't meant to be surprising can still be a lot more emotionally rewarding if you don't entirely guess what is coming before it happens. So let's all try and not do any more hinty build-up like we saw in the first 12 chapters of this re-read!
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
It is really interesting to see the elder gods chatting. As Amanda noted, in some areas we know more than they do.
This chapter is somewhat of an interlude between the trauma of 15 and the rest of the book.
Ryan Dick
3. Wilbur
Setchul Lath always struck me as a sympathetic character, and it was bittersweet to see him and his mother joining forces with such an unsympathetic character as the Errant.
Paul Boyd
4. GoodOldSatan
I am in the both fortunate and confusing place as to be rereading FOD at this time. But given Tufty's (here) and Bill's (previous) warnings, I'll do my best to stay true to the process of a first time read.

These other old ones are not so insensate as that arrogant prick of a god would believe? HA!

So. Bugg has daughters? Is this news?

God generations?
Elders = Grandparents.
Hood, Osserc, (others?) = Parents?
ST, Cotillion, BBs (others?) = Kids?

Really liked the barge interlude. Calm before a storm.
Tufty
5. Jordanes
"And why does Aranict faint at the idea of coming face to face with Quick Ben?"

Haha, our poor Aranict is just a mite shy and nervous :)

I do so enjoy these 'calm before the storm' chapters, where we get little character-building segments on many of the more minor (and some major) players in the game. Lots of fantastic little lines and scenes here too:

- "How did it go again? Your mother's lover and child both? Just how did you beget yourself, Olar Ethil?" I think this, from Sechul Lath, shows how far we can trust anything Olar Ethil says about herself.

- Bottle's attempt at flirting: "When you first showed up, I thought you were your sister." Cringe!

- Lostara and the knife again, and her denial about what it symbolises ("she sharpened the oiled her knife to drive away the red stain"), is pretty heartbreaking.

- "Fires are burning on the Wastelands." Who do we think said that? Because it sure as hell wasn't Quick Ben saying it to Stormy.

- Anything Sunrise says, does, or thinks is pure gold: "Dead Hedge was the perfect commander...Happy to be back, Sunrise surmised. From that dead place where the dead went after they were dead. It had been a long walk, or so Hedge had said...'You think this is bad? Try walking on a plain of bones that stretches to the damned horizon! Try being chased by Deragoth' - whatever they were, they sounded bad - 'and stalked by an evil T'lan Imass!' Sunrise wasn't sure what T'lan Imass were either, but Hedge had said they were evil so he was glad never to have met one."

- "There's a few out there, like our High Mage, who can drink from 'em all, but that's because he's insane." Dead Hedge explaining warrens to his squad :D

- When it's explained why Sweetlard and Rumjugs are getting so many marriage proposals - because the soldiers are desperate to have children before they die - is, again, heartbreaking.

- "'Aye'. It's a good word, I think. More a whole attitude than a word, really. With lots of meaning in it, too. A bit of 'yes' and a bit of 'well, fuck'...a word to sum up the Malazans."

- The whole scene between Pores and Tarr had me crying with laughter the first time I read it. I know it's juvenile, but, "Spine? I'm a f-f-f-fucking tree!", and, "Mas-Mas-mmmmmfuckface", always has me chortling :)

- Then there's the page from Tarr's POV which is almost just one enormous sentence :)

- "You have ensorcelled this handful of earth. Er, well done, Atri-Ceda." :D
Tufty
6. Meadowmeal
Hello all,
Finally it's my turn to post an "I caught up"-message in these comment fields. This was the first post I had to wait for.

It's been nine months since I started GotM. At first I was reading other (non-English) books in between, but after tBH I just couldn't stop so I have hardly read any other fiction this year. This re-read has been an invaluable tour guide through the series and I think this is a perfect opportunity for me to thank Amanda, Bill and all commenters for enormously enriching my Malazan reading experience!

I wonder if I can keep myself from reading ahead: on the one hand I'm still hooked of course, on the other hand it's odd to read a chapter without having your commentary at hand. Anyway, I'll be looking forward eagerly to every new post and maybe I'll even have something to add to the discussion.
Pirmin Schanne
7. Torvald Nom
@Tufty: What gave you the impression that Fiddler was an officer? I can't find anything in the prologue implying that.
M G
8. parabola
@7 - TorvaldNom:
Whiskeyjack was a Fist, and Fiddler was reporting directly to/chilling out with WJ.
Although, to be fair, do we have a timeline when Surly ... beg your pardon, Laseen... upended the command structure? It seems like in the prologue she had already done that, which was why she felt comfortable to declare herself Empress (Laseen) at that point.
Brian R
9. Mayhem
@Tufty
Fiddler was never an officer, merely a highly regarded member of an elite squad. When Fiddler shows up in the prologue, he's only around 14-15 years old.
Mallet however was, and Spindle was once head of a company of sappers for three days until one dropped a munition and took out the rest.

@GoS
So. Bugg has daughters? Is this news?
Nope. Mael has at least two named children - Beru the Lord of Storms and Nerruse the Lady of Calm Seas and Fair Winds.
Beru Fend is a popular oath, along with Hood's Breath, which suggests that Beru is unlikely to turn aside.

From earlier in the book, Bottle talking to QB
‘The Elder God of the Seas,’ said Bottle, ‘was ever a thirsty god. And his daughter isn’t much better.’
‘Beru?’
‘Who else? The Lady of Fair Seas is an ironic title. It pays,’ he added, eyeing the dragon Tile, ‘not to take things so literally.’

Nerruse is definitely closely related to Mael in that the warren of Mael is Denaeth Rusen, so she may have oversight of the human adapted Ruse.

God generations?
There are two sorts of generations we see - one is of sorcery
Elder Warrens (Omtose Phellack, Kurald Emurlahn etc)
-> Child Warrens, created as flavours of K'Rul's blood, linked to dragons. (Meanas, Rashan, Ruse, Denul etc)
-> New Warrens, created by Icarium's blood in Letheras, not well understood yet

And then there are the incestuous family trees of the Gods and Ascendants, though only a few named descendants turn out to be Gods as well.
Sechul Lath who was Chance/Mischance spawned two children - the bickering siblings Oponn, that represent Luck and Bad Luck.
Mael who is the Sea in all its forms has children representing Storms and Calm Weather.
Draconus representing Night has two daughters - Spite and Envy, but neither of them appear to have been worshipped anywhere. Indeed Draconus himself apparently specifically adjusted the daughters so they would never ally for long without turning on each other as seen in TTH.
Tufty
10. Tufty
- "How did it go again? Your mother's lover and child both? Just how did
you beget yourself, Olar Ethil?"

This is the bit that I was thinking about a chapter or two ago re - OE being perhaps the first D'ivers. The convoluted lover+child that begets herself story could in a way be seen as Tiam becoming D'ivers and then separating into two very different entities (like Ryllandaras).


re Fidder officer: I don't know, it isn't explicitly said but the Fist (Whiskeyjack) gives him an order to dispatch a whole company of their army under the command of another officer (Dujek, who AFAWK was never busted down like WJ and so at this point must be at least a Captain since he has already commanded the BBs). It's not explicit, but Fiddler very much seems to be acting like an Adjutant here, relaying the Fist's orders to the army's Captains. And no, he's definitely not still 15 in the GotM prologue, unless you believe he was like 8 years old or younger when the Bridgeburners were founded! I think Fiddler is like Stormy - had an old high rank long ago but has been at a lower rank for so long that hardly anyone even remembers.
Pirmin Schanne
11. Torvald Nom
@10: That just means that Fiddler served on Whiskeyjack's staff - he can still be a plain soldier that relays messeges between his superiors.
Tufty
12. Jordanes
@10 Tufty:

- "How did it go again? Your mother's lover and child both? Just how did you beget yourself, Olar Ethil?" This is the bit that I was thinking about a chapter or two ago re - OE being perhaps the first D'ivers. The convoluted lover+child that begets herself story could in a way be seen as Tiam becoming D'ivers and then separating into two very different entities (like Ryllandaras).


See, for me, this is meant to imply to the reader that the things Olar said before to Torrent shouldn't be taken at face value. I interpreted this as Sechul Lath mocking the kinds of things which Olar promotes about herself.
Brian R
13. Mayhem
I have to admit I'm with Jordanes here ... so much of what OE says is just wildly different to everything we know that at least some of it has to be wild assed boasting.

As for Fiddler, well, that is one of those classic god only knows things.
It might be a GotMism, but from the prologue:
He was wiry and if anything younger – only a few years older than Ganoes himself, who was twelve
From MoI
A soldier chuckled behind Whiskeyjack.
‘Will that funny man come forward, please,’ the commander called out without turning.
A rider joined him. Thin, young, an ornate, oversized Seven Cities helmet on his head. ‘Sir!’ the soldier said.
Whiskeyjack stared at him. ‘Gods, man, lose that helm – you’ll cook your brains. And the fiddle – the damned thing’s broken anyway.’

The Bridgeburners were formed in the conquest of Seven Cities, probably around 1151, and relocated to Malaz after the fall of Dassem just in time for the Mouse riots, which were 1154. That would make Fiddler in his early teens during the Seven Cities campaign, and at latest probably 16-17 during the riots.
The Malazans then invaded Genabackis.
The Moranth Alliance was formed in 1156, which is when the munitions started spreading, and the number of sappers exploded (sometimes literally).
1163 is the end of the Siege of Pale, which makes him late 20s, so mid-late 30s by DoD and in TBH he claims to have been fighting Imperial wars for over 15 years.

BUT.

The fundamental thing is that all 70 of the original Bridgeburners went through Raraku, and that experience changed them. I'm not sure if it was a physical change, or a mental one, but the men who came out are explicitly stated to be different to the men who went in.

Oh, and the Timeline is Not Important.
michael
14. worrywort
I'm in the Raraku gave the original BBs some sort of slowed aging magical properties camp. Nothing approaching immortality of course, but like a stage 1 boost.
Bernd Windhofer
15. berndwind
Like Meadowmeal, it appears to be my turn to enter the proverbial (well...mostly proverbial anyway!) fray. I was a re-reader up until TtH and have been avidly devouring new material ever since. In fact, having caught up, and just injuring myself, I am now tearing through tCG already.

Unfortunately, I have no sage comments today, I just wanted to say hi and thank you to you all for being utterly brilliant. I will do my best to extricate some sage comments from somewhere in the near future.
Joseph Ash
17. TedThePenguin
I am in the "Fiddler was just a soldier in GotM" camp, he was a bridgeburner soldier, but still just a soldier, in this case he was probably just acting as a runner, since he hadnt learned the wonders of Mornath munitions yet (since they hadnt gone to Genabackis and met them yet, presumably).

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