The chapter begins with an epigraph taken from the Bridgeburners, written by Toc the Younger.
A pretty poem which I assume is about Bridgeburners. It’s also written by the Claw we met last chapter. I’m wondering if these epigraphs have any real connection to the story and if I should pay any attention to them.
Four Bridgeburners (Whiskeyjack, Quick Ben, Kalam and Fiddler) and Tattersail meet up in her quarters. She declares that Hairlock is insane but Quick Ben assures her that he has Hairlock under control. Hairlock is apparently slipping around the Warrens to discover who wants the Bridgeburners dead. Tattersail believes it is Tayschrenn, but Quick Ben is not as sure. She demands to know their goal but she’s met with silence. This makes her angry and she thinks that they might be planning something big, like secession from the Malazan Empire. Quick Ben assures her that they are planning Tayschrenn’s fall once they learn more about his motives. Tattersail notes the lack of an answer, and thinks that Kalam is a former Claw. No one is allowed to leave the Claws alive.
Whiskeyjack persuades Tattersail to stay with them. With the Bridgeburners moving to Darujhistan soon, she would be left without a channel of communications, except for Hairlock and she doesn’t trust him. After some contemplation, Whiskeyjack orders Quick Ben to tell her about Sorry. They reveal that Sorry is recruited from Itko Kan two years ago, after an incident covered up by the Adjunct. They talk about the massacre and Tattersail realizes that her earlier Fatid with Tayschrenn had revealed some important information.
The Seven Hounds of Shadows was involved. They are certain that Sorry is involved with House Shadow, ruled by Shadowthorne and the Rope. Tattersail notes that the Warren between Light and Dark has displayed an obsession with the Malazan Empire. Kalam agrees, and points out that the Warren only appeared after the Emperor was killed. Shadowthorne and his companion the Patron of Assassins, Cotillion, were unheard of before the Emperor and Dance’s deaths. Kalam also notes that there seems to be personal issues between House Shadow and Laseen.
Tattersail and Quick Ben talk about an older Warren of Shadow – Rashan, the Warren of Illusions. Quick dismisses it as a false Warren and that the true Warren of Shadow only reopened nine years ago. House Shadow seemed to be ruled by a Tiste Eidur, though they have no clue what a Tiste Eidur is. Whiskeyjack is not as convinced. Tattersail recounts Dassem Ultor’s encounter with Hood, the Lord of Death and realizes Whiskeyjack was there when the mess that followed happened and she sees denial in Whiskeyjack’s belief.
Tattersail agrees to stick with them. Fiddler senses that something is wrong and they leave. Quick Ben access his Warren and Tattersail turns to him, sensing that he is a master. She should know him. There are few masters in the world. He shrugs and the Bridgeburners leave her to her own thoughts about the House Shadow and knives in the dark.
Honestly, I’m half way between bored and interested in this scene. There’s a lot of talking and a lot of exposition dumped on us, some which we’ve already known about, like Sorry and the Itko Kan massacre. And the status quo doesn’t change at all. We’re still where we are one scene ago. Tattersail reaffirms her pledge to aid the Bridgeburners. Hairlock is crazy. The Bridgeburners are still heading to Darujhistan. There are a few interesting parts in it though, like the Shadowthorne and the Rope. I’m pretty certain they’re Ammamas and Cotillion respectively.
There’s an interesting tidbit about Dassem Ultor. Not sure if it’ll ever be more. I’m really intrigued by this man right now. Hopefully he’s not actually dead or he’s left a legacy that impacts the story. Some minor tidbits about a Warren of Illusion. Also unsure if it will play a further role. I’d probably gloss over it if I wasn’t doing this series. And then we have hints of more to come. Kalam being a former Claw and Quick Ben being more than meets the eye. And there’s also Fiddler’s sixth sense to take into account. The Bridgeburners does seem to have a powerful team.
Ganoes wakes up in a strange place. He sees a gate nearby, made of writhing humans. Above him stands a young man and woman. Twins. They tell him he is dead, but he hasn’t pass through Hood’s Gate because they are meddling. They are Oponn, the Twins of Chance. They want to save Ganoes because the gods keep rigging the game in their favor and the Twins prefer uncertainty. Plus he named his sword Chance, so they’ve taken a shine to him.
A howl is heard and the brother suggests they leave. The sister however, calls out to Hood. A shifting figure emerges from the gate. It is not Hood but his servant. The creature agrees to the sister request and allows Ganoes to live, in exchange for the life of someone close to him. That person would die an early, meaningless death. The Twins vanish and soon after two Hounds appear, along with Shadowthorne, here to see Ganoes through the Gate. He also expected Lorn to send someone more skilled. Ganoes defies him and says he will wait for the god on the other side, thinking to himself that he’s not much for authoritative figures, but for now he will have to wait. Shadowthorne demands who saved Ganoes, but he refuses to tell. Ganoes wants to stand up, but Shadowthorne tells him to stand up is to invite death as there is only one path forward in this realm. Shadowthorne tells Ganoes that if he lives, his shadow will follow Ganoes. The world fades away and Ganoes senses a spinning coin once more.
Yay, so Ganoes is not dead. That plot armor though! It does make you wonder about how permanent death is in this world when gods can intercede like this. Granted, it costs another life. I wonder whose life will be taken in exchange for Ganoes. I’m thinking his sister Tavore, seeing as she’s the only relative we’ve seen so far. Of course it might mean a friend, but Ganoes doesn’t have any friends. At least right now. Also the Twins reminded me of the Lutece twins from Bioshock Infinite.
Ganoes takes a trip through memory lane. He opens his eyes to see Picker and Antsy standing over him. They think he’s dead. Picker analyzes Ganoes’s wounds while Antsy goes and fetch the others. Picker realizes he’s still alive and shouts for a healer.
The scene switches to two marines standing watch outside an estate. Kalam approaches them. Kalam tells them not to tell Tayschrenn about them. They agree, based on their history and Whiskeyjack’s name. They watch as two other Bridgeburners carry a captain’s body between them. One of them tells them to be careful if they find a woman around. The two marines let them pass, leave the gate open and hide in the shadows nearby.
Not much too talk about in the next two scenes. Ganoes survives, yay. Kalam seems to be the one that keeps killing the captains. And they’re still super suspicious of Sorry, which is very deserved, since she’s the one that stabbed Ganoes in the first place.
Tattersail is doing another reading with her cards, and sense that High House Shadow has become involved and challenge Oponn. She has difficulty interpreting. There’s a clash between High House Dark’s Knight and High House Shadow. And with the Mason of High House Death, it indicates many deaths in the future. She thinks about abandoning the Bridgeburners and fleeing. A memory she has repressed for two centuries resurfaces. A child with Talent seeing the coming war and fleeing without telling anyone about it. Guilt came too. And she resolves to stick with the Bridgeburners. Quick Ben enters her room informing her of the situation.
So is this card fortunetelling thing going to be prevalent in the series? I mean we’re only four chapters in and we’ve seen it like three times. I’m not against it, but the number of times it has popped up is kind of alarming.
So Tattersail is around 200 years old. That’s grand. I have a feeling she’s going to do something stupid to redeem her past. Like sacrifice herself to save the Bridgeburners or something like that. That backstory just screams that out to me. I’m also really interested in Quick Ben’s history. Is he someone special? Maybe one of the gods as well or a very old master.
In the next scene, on a rooftop, we see Whiskeyjack conversing with Fiddler. Fiddler is not convinced about Tattersail and thinks she will crack if Tayschrenn applies pressure. Whiskeyjack assures him that Tattersail won’t, stating that she has passed off many chances to become a High Mage and is a Master of her Warren, not something easily achieved by a coward.
Dujek Onearm joins them and Whiskeyjack asks about Ganoes. He and Kalam are missing. Dujek thinks Kalam is the killer but Whiskeyjack denies it. They try to figure out who wants Ganoes dead. Dujek notes that the Adjunct sent him but he isn’t a Claw. Whiskeyjack thinks that the Darujhistan assignment is meant to get them killed. Dujek has been pressuredto disband the Bridgeburners and merge them with the Fifth and the Sixth Army. He tells them that if they manage to come out of Darujhistan alive, they have his permission to walk. He’ll take care of the other Bridgeburners. Whiskeyjack refuses, the Bridgeburners were made to be fighters. He’ll fight while he still can and help Dujek if he so wishes.
Another scene that’s just talking. I think we’re slowly settling into the story, a lull to prepare for what’s to come. Dujek doesn’t seem to like the idea of fighting against the Empire. I think Whiskeyjack is cut from the same cloth. Though if need be, they’ll do it, which I think makes them the perfect people to do such a thing. I suspect that Lorn has plans aside from the Empress by sending Ganoes. A real odd choice for what seems to be an important role. Or maybe she sees him as expendable, to die with the rest of the Bridgeburners at Darujhistan. Maybe we’ll see that Tayschrenn is not loyal too, and Lorn and Tayschrenn will duke it out soon enough. Maybe. It’s just occurred to me that we still don’t know what they’re supposed to do in Darujhistan. I thought it was to somehow sabotage the city’s defense and allow the Empire to achieve an easy victory, but it’s never been made clear, or I might have forgotten.
In Tattersail’s estate, Quick Ben realizes that the Hounds has caught onto Hairlock’s trail wihtin the Warrens. Quick Ben goes into the Warrens. Tayschrenn is hunting too, but he’s not successful. Tattersail thinks that the others might be trying to lure the Hound and Tayschrenn to cross paths and warns about the possible damage it would cause. Kalam assures her that it’s not that case.
Mallet enters the room and announces that Ganoes should be dead but isn’t. Tattersail surmises that there was an intervention. His wounds have been healed, but Mallet worries that the shock might not be as easy to overcome. Noting that there’s no mercy in the healing the gods have given him. Hedge is looking over him now and seems to have taken a shine to Ganoes. Quick Ben comes to and announces that Ganoes was targeted by the Shadow, which confirms their fears about Sorry. They are anxious to know who intervened, as it would put them against the Shadow, except they won’t be around when Ganoes wakes as they’re leaving soon. Tattersail thinks about their mission and realizes that the Mason’s Barrow was big enough to hold them all.
So Hairlock in the Warrens trying to lose the Hounds. No idea why he’s in there in the first place. Perhaps doing the thing mentioned before about tracking who wants the Bridgeburners dead? Good to know that at least one Bridgeburner is fond of Ganoes. It would seem like he’s not as likely to be killed by them. Kalam doesn’t seemed interested in doing it. In fact, most of them seemed to want to save him. Poor Ganoes though, being a pawn of Oponn. That means that Ganoes and Sorry will go head to head sometime. Oh, it would seem like the Bridgeburner’s mission really is to infiltrate and prepare the way. Not sure if it was mentioned before. Seems familiar now that I think about it.
In the next scene, we return to Whiskeyjack, Fiddler and Dujek. They watch as the Black Moranth approach at dawn. Moranth riders land on the rooftop they are on. Fiddler leaves the area. Whiskeyjack approaches the Moranth, asking after one of them. He is ignored. He considers the Moranth dangerous allies to have. The Malazan Empire relies too much on their Quorls for transport. If would be hard times if the Moranth ever turned on them.
Dujek informs him that his squad has arrived and they are giving Sorry an earful about something. Whiskeyjack finds himself disappointed that Sorry has not deserted. Whiskeyjack goes to them and implements order. The Bridgeburners ready themselves for the flight. Whiskeyjack watches Sorry and remembers a time when she first joined them. She tortured three mercenaries and Kalam had to end their misery quickly. They had blessed Kalam with their final breath. The others still called Sorry a recruit even though she’s been with them for two years likely because they couldn’t bear the thought of someone like her being officially a Bridgeburner.
Things are finally moving. The Bridgeburners are flying to Darujhistan on the Black Moranth’s Quorls. Interesting to see that Sorry is still with the group. I guess they don’t really have any prove that she killed Ganoes, since Ganoes hasn’t woken up yet. Then again, it would seem like Kalam have killed a few captains, so I don’t think they’re in a position to argue. That memory Whiskeyjack has of Sorry is terrifying. I’m wondering whether Sorry is always Ammaras or does Ammaras assume control of her in certain times? I’m also wondering why the heck the Adjunct hasn’t done anything to her yet. Does she not know? Or is this whole Darujhistan thing supposed to kill two birds with one stone?
In the alleys of Pale’s Krael Quarter, the Seventh Hound of Shadowthorne, Gear, hunted. He hasn’t seen his quarry yet, but he knows it’s no mere mortal. It has trespassed the Shadow Warren and the only answer to that is death. But time is running out for Gear. His exit from the Warrens has been sensed and the hunters were coming. He arrives at a walled estate with four guards outside the gate. He sees a shuttered window on the estate’s second floor. His trail’s end was here.
I hadn’t expected a Point of View from one of the Hounds. Are they sentient? Or are they just normal dogs with some supernatural powers? Gear is an interesting name for him too. I wonder what the others are called. In any case, he seems be tracking Hairlock and has found him at Tattersail’s estate.
The marines shift has ended and new marines approached the gate which they noticed is ajar. One of the new marines ask the two by the wall what is going out. The elder of the two tells him that it’s just been that kind of a night and tells them to let a female Bridgeburner through and to keep their eyes on the wall. A younger soldier notices a dog, tells the others. The older guard curses and prepares his spear but the Hound is on them before they could react.
Oh dear, poor guards. I was just thinking why Gear had seen four guards and was doubting whether it was Tattersail’s estate or not. Bad timing with the shift change.
Tattersail couldn’t sleep. Despite her initial thoughts on the Bridgeburners schemes, she felt excited. She hadn’t stay just to help them. She had stayed to see Tayschrenn pulled down. She wondered if her vengeance would make her as mad as Hairlock was. The door opens and Hairlock enters, boasting that he’s escaped the Hounds. Hairlock starts instilling doubts in Tattersail’s mind on Quick Ben and his control over Hairlock. She tries to shake it off and reminds him that it’s Tayschrenn who took his body away from him.
The first screams started and Hairlock realizes that he’s been found. He instructs Tattersail to destroy the Hound and hides in his box. She hears the destruction the Hound is making and wonders how she could kill such a thing. She draws on her Thyr Warren and prepares herself. The doors explode and its splinter smashes the glass windows behind her. An icy chill enters the room and the Hound stands outside the door. She sensed that it was old. Older than anything she has seen. It heads for Hairlock’s box but she calls out to it and it turns its attention to her and charged. The Hound charges effortless past her outer wards and slams into her inner wards, pushing and smashing it, injuring her arm in the process.
As the Hound pounces, Hairlock hits it with a wave of light, taunting the Hound. Tattersail sense a chaotic Warren in the room, radiating from Hairlock. It weakens the Hound. Tattersail warns the Hound that Hairlock is reaching for its soul. The beast doesn’t move. Unbeknownst to the three, a blanket wrapped Ganoes enters the room and approaches the Hound. Before any of them could react, Ganoes pulls out a sword and plunges it into the Hound’s chest. The Hound staggers back and Hairlock screams in rage. Tattersail kicks him to the far wall. Gear flees into the Warrens. Tattersail is surprised that Ganoes’s sword could pierce through the Hound’s magic. He plays it off as luck. Hairlock rages at Tattersail, who tells him that he should worry about staying alive after drawing the Shadowthorne’s attention. He warns him that Tayschrenn is coming and returns to her box. She starts to fade away and hears a man asking what she hears. She responds that she hears a spinning coin.
Hairlock’s going to prove to be a problem for Tattersail and the Bridgeburner, isn’t he? I think he’s slowly becoming mad instead of actually being mad in the first place. He doesn’t strike me as that crazy at the start of Chapter Two.
Hounds of Shadow are terrifying aren’t they? They seems like this world’s equivalent of Hellhounds. Ganoes sword seems to be blessed by Oponn, or is he himself just blessed in general? That wasn’t luck at all. Or maybe it is, because Oponn is technically fate. Does he know what’s happening? Or is he as surprised as Tattersail? Who’s the man asking her the last question? Ganoes or someone else? I think it’s someone else, but no idea if we’ll figure out.
Also, this is a freaky long chapter. About 70 or so pages on my iPad Mini screen. By comparison, the next chapter is about half the size of this one. Crazy long chapter.
Part Two – Darujhistan
This part starts with a piece about something. I’m honestly not sure what this is about. Seems like there’s no academic piece to dissect this time around. The piece about is taken from Rumour Born, written by Fisher.
Chapter Five too begins with a piece from Rumour Born written by Fisher.
This piece by Fisher is talking about fearing a certain man. Could be Cotillion though I’m not certain about it.
It is the 907th Year of the Third Millenium, and two thousand years since Darujhistan was founded. Kruppe is dreaming about leaving Darujhistan. He can predict the future, not through the Deck but through his dreams. And he sees that Darujhistan is doomed. As he moves away from the city, rain suddenly falls despite not being the season for it. He sees an inn atop a hill and makes his way to it. He enters it and finds it an inn no longer, but a place of refuge for beggars. He offers them food. He and the spokesman of the beggars conversed, talking about whether the beggars were part of Kruppe or not. Were they his virtues or his doubts? They urge him to return to Darujhistan. As he walks back to the city, he comes across a burlap-wrapped figure who he dubs his Humility and dismisses him because he doesn’t have humility.
Jeez Louise, a second year counting system? This one seems to be used by the Darujhistan folk. We can surmise that Darujhistan was founded before the start of Burn’s Sleep. I super confused by Kruppe’s scene. It doesn’t help that he speaks in the third person. Hopefully it will clear up later when we learn more about him and Darujhistan in general but the way I see it now is that this guy is a mystic, sees the fall of Darujhistan and strengthens his resolve to play games with the gods.
The next scene takes place in Darujhistan itself. A figure clad in dark clothes move around the city. He is a thief who is planning to infiltrate the D’Arles estate. The thief is Crokus Younghand, and he is interested in the youngest daughter’s room where the gems of suitors aplenty lay. The house guard is asleep as Crokus slips his way into the estate. He enters the daughter’s room and makes his way to the makeup stand.
We see an overview of Darujhistan and are given some tidbits about Greyfaces, who work to supply gas to the torches around the city. That’s about a page before we get any Point of View character references. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it jars me out of the story. Not sure what to make of Crokus or the D’Arles yet. Are they even going to be important?
This next scene follows Talo Krafar of Jurig Dennate’s Clan, an assassin with blood on his hand. The blood is his own. His mission tonight was to patrol the rooftops for the Guild. He’s hit by another assassin’s crossbow bolt. A clan war has started but he doesn’t know who would threaten his master’s rule. He needs to get back to his clan’s nest. But he can’t outrun the assassin. Heavily injured, he makes the climb to get to higher ground to set a trap for his opposing number.
I suppose I should start thinking Part Two as a whole new book? That’s three new characters introduced in three successive scenes in the SAME chapter. And here I thought I was getting used to the series only to have it slap me in the face and yell THIS IS MALAZAN! This whole assassin fighting sounds like an interesting side plot that maybe the Bridgeburners could use to help them take the city. I’m also thinking that Talo will kill Crokus here.
Crokus is slightly richer after ten minutes in the room. His prize is a silk turban, which he thinks is intended for the upcoming Fete. He exits the room and sees smoke in the sky. Pale has fallen and Darujhistan is next. The Council is trying their best to distance themselves from the failed Free Cities Alliance but the Malazan Empire is still coming for them. He secured his loot and made his way across the rooftops.
Crokus secures a nice loot for himself and leaves, crossing across the rooftops near K’rul’s tower where Talo is… Damn.
So the people of Darujhistan do know that the Malazan Empire is coming for them. And they also know they don’t stand a chance. Obviously doesn’t take a mystic to know that. Question is, why are they still here? They could have tucked tail and run already, especially rich folks like D’Arles.
Talo wakes up have having lost consciousness. He scans the area and sees a figure moving around the rooftops. He takes aim.
A coin falls off Crokus and he bends down to pick it up. Something hissed past his head and he realizes what it is and hurries away.
Talo cursed in disbelief. A cloaked figure appears behind him and kills him with two daggers.
Okay, is the killer Kalam? If that’s the case I can totally see what the Bridgeburners are planning.
Crokus hears Talo’s body dropped from the tower along with a crossbow. He sees a figure standing between the pillars, studying him. He prays and runs.
Nothing much in this scene.
Back at the belfry, the killer watch the thief flee. He senses a burst of power and something coming through. He hissed a spell in a language older than old and floats down to the rooftops. A second figure joins him and then a third. The third figure gives them a command and then leaves. The first two follows the thief.
Okay, I used “he” there, but I have feeling that the killer might be Sorry what with all the ancient language and stuff. The author is purposefully ambiguous there. But the third figure giving orders feels like it might be Whiskeyjack. Which could still make it Sorry, but I was thinking the second figure could be Cotillion. There’s also the question on what the killer sensed entered the city. A Hound perhaps? Which would mean it’s not Sorry. Or something else?
Crokus leans against a sloped roof to catch his breath. He seems to have lost his pursuers. He thinks about the figure on the roof, thinking that it’s unlikely a woman. He wonders what he’s gotten himself into, hears a lose tile and whirls to find the killer after him. He leaps into the darkness. It’s familiar territory, so he manages to catch a wire in the dark and slide down. He looks back and sees a second figure readying a crossbow and he lets go, falling down. He lands on the street below safely. He turns back to watch the killer floating down slowly. He runs into a tenement and gets to his uncle’s room. He runs to the window and swings himself forward to a tree branch. He hears someone from above crashed down. Crokus pushes forward to another window and lands within. He runs and finds himself back on the rooftops. He feels his side and finds his coin burning. Another quarrel flies by and he runs again and runs into an inn. He removes his disguise and sits down for a drink.
Lots of very well written action in this scene. I hope Crokus makes it out alive. Also his coin. Oponn’s intervention? It’s saved his life a couple of times, including that very first one where he bends down to pick it up and the assassin’s bolt flew past. If Oponn is saving his life, does that mean his pursuers are with Shadowthorne? Questions, questions, questions.
The pursuer with the crossbow waits outside the inn for the one with the daggers. The first hunter comes and questions the second’s condition in his native tongue, to which the second replies he had an argument with a cat. They sense that a god has meddled. As they prepared to enter the inn, their commander comes up behind them. She tells them to leave him alive, to spread the word of their efforts. They tell him the thief had help. She commands them to return to the fold.
Okay, I’m SUPER confused now. I guess this three had nothing to do with the Bridgeburners or Ammaras. Unless the commander in question is Ammaras/Sorry. Maybe they’re Claws and the commander is Lorn. Maybe they’re Tiste Andiis with their weird bodies, ancient languages and old age. Or maybe I’m just thinking too much about this. Whoever they are, they are aware of gods and their meddling and seem to have killed gods before.
It’s starting to feel like Part Two is, as the title suggests, focused on the people of Darujhistan, instead of the Bridgeburners infiltrating Darujhistan. I’m guessing a lot of people give up at this point. It’s one thing to have a slow start. It’s another to have a slow start grind to halt just to start up another story. Boy, am I glad I came prepared.
And that’s the third part of this series. I’ve changed the format of the post to have my thoughts written immediately after each scene. I hope it’s not the jarring. I’ve italicized my thoughts, so it’s easier to skip them if you’re only interested in the summary. Thus far, I’m really interested in what’s going on with the Bridgeburner part of the story but I’ve hit a bog with Chapter Five. I’m hoping the story would pick up again in Part Three, once we’re done with the Darujhistan chapters. And as always, thanks for reading 🙂