Races of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

Races of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

The "Malazan Book of the Fallen" fantasy series by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont contains numerous intelligent human, humanoid and non-human races. They are divided into the four founding races (the Forkrul Assail, Jaghut, K'Chain Che'Malle and T'lan Imass) who evolved on the Malazan planet, and the Tiste invader races (the Tiste Andii, Tiste Edur and Tiste Liosan) who immigrated to the Malazan planet from their racial Warren. The Thelomen Toblakai are descended from the race known as the Thel Akai.


The Eres are a pre-founding race in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen". Before all races, there was the Eres'al, a hairy, primitive precursor to the Imass. The Eres appeared to survive as nomadic hunter-gatherers or scavengers, following herds and predators for food. They appeared to have developed a symbiotic relationship with the Deragoth, the Hounds of Darkness, possibly becoming domesticated by the Hounds.


The Eres are human in appearance, walking upright with fully human features and hands. One difference is a thick layer of fine hair covering the body.


The culture of the Eres preceded all other intelligent humanoid races, including the Imass. They worked stone with somewhat less skill than the Imass themselves. Though they were the first to exhibit awareness or consciousness, they failed to develop a sophisticated culture like the human, Imass, Forkrul Assail, K'Chain Che'Malle or Tiste races.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

To date the Eres' interactions with the Malazan Empire were limited to the possession or accompaniment of one soldier of the Adjunct's rebel army.

Appearances in the Novels

An Eres named Eres'al, the Nerek goddess, has appeared several times. She inhabited the body of Tavore's 'lover', T'amber. She has assisted Quick Ben in defending against the attack of a Edur Warlock in "The Bonehunters" and then again assisted Quick Ben in preventing Icarium from reaching the First Throne in "The Bonehunters". Also in the same book, the Eres'al-possessed T'amber died protecting Tavore from dozens of Claw Hands. An Eres 'took the seed' of Trull Sengar also. She has an obsession with Bottle, Strings' (Fiddler's) squad mage who has some control over an elder magic called Holds.

Forkrul Assail

The Forkrul Assail are one of the founding races in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen". They exist in isolation, interacting with other races through violent arbitration of conflicts, more accurately the annihilation of the involved parties.


The Forkrul Assail are humanoid, although taller and thinner than humans, possess more joints in their limbs and hands, a jointed sternum, large, solid black eyes and blue blood rather than red. They are physically far more robust than humans, and appear to be virtually un-killable through conventional means, healing from cuts and blows extremely quickly. They also possess incredible strength, speed and agility, and are able to successfully combat several powerful opponents at once while sustaining only minor wounds. In addition, they have preternatural longevity and can live for "millennia" without food or water.


Forkrul Assail seem to lack a collective culture, existing primarily in isolation. Generally, the Assail only gather to pass judgment and arbitration when requested by other races, though this arbitration seems to take the form of killing all involved in the conflict. Their names seem to reflect this obsession with arbitration. Their architecture is formed by tunneling into stone forming underground buildings, which mimic the pillars and windows of aboveground buildings. The continent referred to as Assail is said to be the most dangerous place on the planet.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

To date the Forkrul Assail has not interacted with the Malazan Empire.

Appearances in the Novels

The Forkrul Assail make two major appearances, one in the novel "House of Chains" and again in "Midnight Tides".

In the first appearance, Karsa Orlong and his companions, Bairoth Gild and Delum Thord, released the Assail named Calm after thousands of years beneath an invested block. Subsequently, Calm attacks Karsa and inflicts a brain injury on Delum Thord, reducing him to a dog-like state. Calm escapes with ease. The second appearance finds an Assail, Serenity, released from enchanted bindings. Serenity is attacked by Fear, Trull, Rhulad, other Edur tribesmen, and two Kenyll'rah demons. Serenity kills Rhulad Sengar before being driven off by the two Kenyll'rah who followed excitedly.

There are no further direct appearances by the Forkrul Assail in the novels, but they are mentioned tangentially in other passages.E.g. in Reaper's Gale (near end Ch 13), where Beak tells about Tiste Liosan and Forkrul Assail fighting against each other in what they called the Just Wars.

A Forkrul Assail body is also found in Tremorlor, the Azath House in the Holy Desert Raraku.


The Jaghut are one of the founding intelligent races of the Malazan planet. They are solitary, powerful beings who once dominated much of the world after the eradication of the K'Chain Che'Malle.


The Jaghut are taller and broader than humans, with tusked lower jaws. Their skin is grey-green and hair is generally grey. As confirmed in The Bonehunters, the Jaghut possess two hearts, and possibly duplicates of other organs, in a manner similar to that of the Thelomen Toblakai. The Jaghut are extremely long-lived (essentially immortal in the sense that they will not die except through violence or accident), and capable of inter-breeding with humans and Thelomen Toblakai. Whether the offspring are viable is unknown. They are adapted to living in a cold climate, and generally prefer an Arctic environment. The Jaghut primarily use the Omtose Phellack Warren, an Elder racial Warren that allows them control over great areas and is generally tuned towards magics of ice, cold, stasis and preservation. The Warren can also produce effects of ", isolating whole continents from the rest of the world. In one case, this prevented the magic of the continent of Lether from evolving for over 300,000 years.


The Jaghut do not gather in locations or create communities. They see community leading to power over others (by the civic leaders), leading to dominance, hunger for power, slavery and a downward spiral into Tyranny over all other living things. Instead, they prefer solitary towers as dwellings, usually living with only their closest family. Despite this tendency towards isolation, their parental instincts are very strong, which has resulted in a scaling up of conflicts with the T'lan Imass - if a parent is attacked, their spouse and children will come to fight with them, and vice versa. This can result in considerable devastation due to the scales of sorceries involved.

The exception to the rules of isolation are the rare Jaghut known as "Tyrants", for whom conquest and rule is an unslakable thirst. These individuals will use their powerful magical capabilities to enslave and dominate other races. In the most recent novel, "Toll the Hounds", it was hinted that Jaghut once had great civilizations. The reasons for why their fall happened and why the Jaghut live in solitude is due to the uprising of their slaves, the Imass.

As a result of the Tyrant Raest's actions, in this regard, the Imass underwent the ritual of Tellan and became undead, and from thus forth known as the T'lan Imass. For the battle between the Imass and the Jaghut, there is never any quarter given - if any trace of the Jaghut is found by the Imass, a pogrom is raised in which several clans converge on the site until their army is wiped out or all of the Jaghut are slain.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

During the main events of the "Malazan Book of the Fallen", Jaghut are almost unknown except as legends. The rare individuals who have survived the pogroms of the T'lan Imass exist in solitude and hiding, using Warrens other than Omtose Phellack or restricting their activities to other realms where the T'lan cannot find them.

One interaction with the Malazan Empire to date has been the awakening of a bound Tyrant by the Imperial Adjunct and the First Sword of the T'lan Imass, Onos T'oolan. The pair roused the Tyrant in an effort to produce mutually assured destruction between Raest and the lord of the Tiste Andii, Anomander Rake.

The other point of interaction takes place in "Memories of Ice" where a psychologically abused Jaghut leads the Pannion Domin against the free cities on Genabackis and is contested by Caladan Brood's Horde and the outlawed 2nd Army of the Malazan Empire. This conflict devastates most of the 2nd Army. Ganoes Paran and Quick Ben of the Bridgeburners make contact when reuniting this Jaghut with his sister.

Appearances in the Novels

The Jaghut have appeared in minor scenes in the other novels, most notably "House of Chains" and "Midnight Tides". From these appearances, it is apparent that the Jaghut are more active than the T'lan Imass would suspect, generally working behind the scenes and in hiding to ensure the continued isolation and binding of dangerous creatures.

It has also been strongly hinted that the Lord of Death, Hood, is a Jaghut.



The Jhag are half-blooded Jaghut living in the Jhag Odhan area of the Seven Cities continent.

The half-Jaghut Icarium is a major character in the series and appears in "Deadhouse Gates", "House of Chains", "The Bonehunters" and "Reaper's Gale". He shares the immortality of his Jaghut father, Gothos, and when roused to anger is an uncontrollable, nearly unstoppable force of death and destruction. In the past, Icarium has laid waste to entire cities, and is a threat to the Azath. The Azath is a nearly indestructible entity that detains powerful beings like a prison. Because of Icarium's rage, he is always bound to a companion who works in secret to prevent him from being roused to anger. During Deadhouse Gates, House of Chains and the beginning of "The Bonehunters", his companion was the Trell Mappo Runt, however Mappo was attacked and replaced as Icarium's companion with the Gral warrior Taralack Veed. The source of Icarium's rage is fueled by the Azath's entrapment of his father, Gothos. However, Gothos is actually quite content in his situation since he, like most Jaghut, enjoys solitude as is provided by the Azath. It is revealed in "Reaper's Gale" that Icarium's mother was a Thelomen Toblakai, however that does not necessarily imply that all Jhag's are a Toblakai/Jaghut mix.

K'Chain Che'Malle

The K'Chain Che'Malle were one of the founding intelligent races in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the only race that is non-humanoid.


The K'Chain Che'Malle are intelligent lizards standing taller than a man, moving bipedally by balancing the weight of their torsos with a tapering tail (much like velociraptors and other bipedal lizards) and pale skin similar to the underbelly of a snake. The K'Chain Che'Malle exist as two breeds, the most noticeable difference is the length of the tail. There were the original long-tails (K'Chain Che'Malle) and the engineered short-tails (K'Chain Nah'ruk). Most of the K'Chain Che'Malle appearing in the novels have been undead or seen in visions of the past, with the exception of a single Matron on Genabackis and a male and female on the continent of Lether. To date the only time they have spoken with other races was with Silchas Ruin in a parley attempt, though it is unclear if the parley actually happened or if Ruin simply sought it.


The K'Chain Che'Malle were the first race on the Malazan world to evolve intelligence, and developed a culture of technological and magical sophistication hundreds of thousands of years before the evolution of hominids. Most knowledge of the K'Chain Che'Malle is retrospective, developed through inspection of their cultural ruins thousands of years after their extinction - as such, it is difficult to state anything definitive about them. It is known that they are eusocially ruled in the manner of ants, with a single female queen (the Matron) and thousands of male drones and soldiers.

The K'Chain Che'Malle appeared to lack a racial Warren to draw upon, instead employing gravity-based magic that mixed heavily with their technology. They inhabited gigantic structures known as "Skykeeps", buildings so large they appeared to be floating mountains. Currently the only Skykeep known to exist in the Malazan world proper is the one used by the Tiste Andii, Moon's Spawn, though others have been seen in the Imperial Warren. Most Skykeeps were destroyed during the civil war that exterminated their race.

The Short-Tails were an engineered experiment that broke from the control of the long-tailed Matrons due to the Short-Tail's independent nature and resistance of the Queen. This resulted in a civil war between the two breeds. In addition to internal struggle, a massive Tiste invasion occurred, evidently destroying their race, though at least one Matron survived until the events of the "Malazan Book of the Fallen".

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The only interaction between the Malazan Empire and the K'Chain Che'Malle occurred at Coral, in a battle between the T'lan Imass, Malazan forces, and the Barghast versus the undead K'ell Hunters of the long-tailed K'Chain Che'Malle and the forces of the Pannion Domin. The undead versions were slower and more resistant to normal, mortal pain.

Appearances in the Novels

The K'Chain Che'Malle have appeared in four novels in the series so far, "Memories of Ice", "Midnight Tides", "The Bonehunters", and "Reaper's Gale".

Thelomen Toblakai

The Thelomen Toblakai are an intelligent, humanoid race found in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen".


The Thelomen Toblakai are humanoid, though taller and generally more physically robust than humans, with broad, flat faces. Pure-blood Toblakai stand at over seven feet tall, and disproportionately muscled enough to seem wide. They are capable of interbreeding with humans to produce viable half-breeds, but seem to have a different evolutionary descent, as marked by having four lungs rather than two. On the continent of Genabackis (where Karsa Orlong, the most prominent Toblakai comes from) the tribes of the Teblor appear to have several advantages which are wholly contained to their tribe. The Teblor heal much more quickly than humans do, to the point where bruises can be seen to visibly fade. They are also invulnerable to infectious diseases and possess a limited immunity to magic. Lower level magic does not affect them and even High level magic may fail or not have its intended effect. This may be a natural protection as a result of physiology, or possibly due to their consumption of blood-oil, a compound which may contain the magic-deadening otataral. This consumption of blood-oil may also be the cause of their rapid healing, but this is not explained as of "Reaper's Gale".

It is known that certain Thelomen Toblakai can become their own Warrens; the exact abilities and circumstances that surround this are unknown. Karsa Orlong appears to be one such, channeling his Warren into the ability to ignore the structures and effects of spells, even Elder such as the T'lan Imass' Tellann. However, Karsa Orlong and his tribe's immunity to magic may also come from the use of blood-oil.


Thelomen Toblakai or their descendants are scattered across the Malazan world, and appear to exist on all continents under a variety of names - Teblor, Fenn, Tarthenal and Toblakai. They are a fallen people; once possessing high civilization, cities and books, most now live in tribes and eke out a barbaric existence breeding horses and feuding with nearby tribes. The greatest details are known about the Teblor on Genabackis through the story of Karsa Orlong. At some point long ago, the Teblor built cities on the Genabackis, but for an unknown reasons their blood became "thin and clouded." Icarium, the half-Jaghut/Toblakai, gave them rules to purify their blood, separating husbands, wives, and children into different tribes and giving them laws to live by and a new society based on the raising of horses, hunting, raiding, and fishing. Thousands of years later, the Teblor live in their separate tribes, some of which have vanished, some of which have become enslaved by nearby humans.

On the continent of Lether, the Tarthenal have been conquered and enslaved by the Letherii. They lived north of the city Letheras. Their culture is forgotten and one of the few activities they still remember are the rituals of propitiation for their terrifying gods. They had five gods, called the Seregahl, the Wrath Wielders. The gods of the Tarthenal were not worshiped to draw their attention and blessings, but instead sacrifices were performed to turn their gazes away and keep them from manifesting. When the Tarthenal were conquered, their lasts acts were to die defending their shrines, terrified not of the attackers, but of their own gods. These gods were killed by Silchas Ruin with help from the Avowed of the Crimson Guard, Iron Bars, and the Tarthenal, Ublala.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The Theloman Toblakai have had various interactions with the Malazan Empire. Karsa Orlong was enslaved by the Malazan Empire and transported to the Seven Cities continent, and later came across the Malazans in the aftermath of the battle in Raraku.

Bellurdan Skullcrusher is a Thelomen Toblakai mage in the Malazan army. He appears briefly in "Gardens of the Moon", and is mentioned in "House of Chains" as the High Mage who forged the otataral-quenched long-knife bought by Kalam. The weapon in question proves that Bellurdan uses an Elder Warren, as the knife was invested, an impossible task with human Warrens due to otataral's magic-deadening properties.

Appearances in the Novels

The tribes of the Teblor and the character Karsa Orlong are the most prominent Thelomen Toblakai in the Malazan series. He appears in "Deadhouse Gates", "House of Chains" and "The Bonehunters". Karsa is a phenomenal combatant, incredibly swift, decisive and vicious. He occupies (unwillingly) the position of Knight of Chains in High House Chains of the Deck of Dragons.

On the continent of Lether, the fallen Tartheno play a role in the events surrounding the conquest of the Edur. A half-Tarthenal criminal is instrumental in preventing the five Tartheno gods from escaping the Azath house and saving the Avowed Crimson Guardsman Iron Bars.

The Toblakai mage, Bellurdan Skullcrusher, appears in "Gardens of the Moon", battling Anomander Rake, grieving his slain lover Nightchill, and finally dying at the hands of the Cadre Mage Tattersail only to have his soul shifted into Silverfox body.

In "Memories of Ice", it was revealed that the Toblakai traveled with the mortal Imass who were not in time for the Ritual. The Imass eventually evolved into the Barghast people who live on Genabackis.

Thel Akai


Thel Akai are described as "giants" standing even taller than Tarthenal Theloman Toblakai, who are their descendants. When they die, they turn to earth and soil, "returning to the earth".


According to Ereko, the last Thel Akai, the Thel Akai were not a war-like people, and often encouraged humans in their development. They fell foul of the High King Kallor when they aided his opponents, and he vowed to destroy every one of them. Jacuruku is the Thel Akai homeland, and upon its soil, Ereko refuses to draw a weapon.

Interactions with the Malaz Empire

None, although Ereko travelled with Dassem Ultor for a time.

Appearances in the Novels

Ereko, the last Thel Akai, is Dassem Ultor's travelling companion in "Return of the Crimson Guard". For how long or how they met is not divulged. Ereko is described as "kind and wise" by Kyle.

The Tiste

The Tiste races are humanoid, but alien to the world of the Malazans. With their epicanthic eyes, height, and long lifespans, the Tiste are the closest that the Malazan series comes to involving elves. Each of the three Tiste races are "children" of either the Elder Warrens of Light (Liosan), Darkness (Andii), or Shadow (Edur). Each also has a Soletaken draconean leader birthed directly by the forces that gave rise to each race: Anomander Rake, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin (Tiste Andii) from Mother Dark, Osserc (Tiste Liosan) from Father Light, and Scabandari Bloodeye (Tiste Edur) from both Mother Dark and Father Light, forming Shadow. Each leader is considerably more potent than the rest of their more common kin and were considered the undisputed leaders of their respective races. Rake still leads his people, while Osserc has turned away from that role while Scabandari Bloodeye was forcibly removed from it.

Tiste Andii

The Tiste Andii are a race found in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen". They are not one of the four founding races but invaders from another world.


The Tiste Andii are taller than humans are, though of similar proportions. Their skin is black (not in the sense of indigenous inhabitants of Africa, but actual black in the true sense of the color), with slanted, epicanthic, almond-shaped eyes that change color with their moods. Their hair is silver, white, black, or rarely red, and generally kept long. The Tiste Andii are extremely long-lived (Anomander Rake is at least 300,000 years old), and aging is slow. Barring accidents or death through violence, they may live forever. Some Eleint Andii (Dragon mix-blood) keep a younger appearance normally between twenties and forties. The Tiste Andii are close kin to the Tiste Edur and Tiste Liosan, though they do not share genetic descent or respect.


The Tiste Andii are invaders from the Warren of Darkness, and are therefore not native to the Malazan world. Long-lived and slow breeding, the Tiste Andii as a race tend towards melancholy and apathy. The majority of the Tiste Andii lived in Moon's Spawn for many millennia, an ancient K'Chain Che'Malle Skykeep that they have taken over after finding it abandoned in the Arctic of Genabackis. For years the Andii traveled the world as decided by Anomander Rake, their half-Andii, half draconic Soletaken ruler. In much of this time, they acted as mercenaries for causes decided upon by Rake. A detachment, led by Rake's brother Andarist, dedicated themselves to protect the Throne of Shadow on the island of Drift Avalii.

The Tiste Andii from the original invading population formed an alliance with the Tiste Edur against the K'Chain Che'Malle. These Tiste Andii lead by Silchas Ruin were betrayed by their Edur ally, Scabandari Bloodeye. Those not murdered live in Bluerose, a tiny mountain city inland of the Letherii empire living in hiding for thousands of years and ruling the human population from the caverns under the city itself.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The Andii's primary interactions with the Malazan Empire occurred in their role of paid mercenaries opposing the Malazan armies at Pale and Darujhistan, and in cooperation with the exiled Second army against the Pannion Domin. After the fall of Coral with the city in sorcerous darkness, the surviving Andii settling in the area exist in a state of political flux - the Malazan empire claimed the area around Black Coral that belonged to the Pannion Domin before its fall, while the Andii claim sanctuary and ownership of the permanently shadowed city. The shadowing of the city was caused by a full unveiling of their power.

Appearances in the Novels

The Tiste Andii make major appearances in the novels, most notably in "Gardens of the Moon" and "Memories of Ice", though a minor character appears in "The Bonehunters". "Reaper's Gale" features an Andii from Bluerose, an assassin and Mortal Sword of the Black Winged Lord, named Clip. Also, a regiment of Andii appear briefly in "House of Chains" when Cutter and Apsalar aid Andarist's followers fend off an Edur raid to obtain the Throne of Shadow.

Tiste Edur

The Tiste Edur are a race found in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen". They are not one of the four founding races but are invaders from a shattered world.


The Tiste Edur are taller than humans, though of similar proportions. Their skin is a dull grey colour of a hue not found in humans, with slanted, epicanthic, almond-shaped eyes. Hair ranges from dark red to dark brown, and greys with age. The Tiste Edur are close kin to the Tiste Liosan and Tiste Andii, though they do not share genetic descent. The Tiste Edur are looked down upon by the Tiste Liosan and with hatred by the Tiste Andii on Lether. The Edur are extremely long-lived, but unlike the Andii and Liosan are not immortal. Female Edur mature more quickly than males.


The Tiste Edur originally come from the Shattered Warren, Kurald Emurlahn, the Elder Warren of Shadow. The Edur were originally invaders from the Warren, forming a large part of the army that fought the K'Chain Che'Malle along with the Tiste Andii. After the battle, the Edur turned on the Andii and wiped them out. The Edur's leader, Scabandari Bloodeye, disappeared shortly after and the Edur decayed from an advanced species into a tribal group isolated to the northeast portion of Lether and several other minor pockets on other continents, such as far west of Seven Cities.

All comments that follow refer to the majority of the species located on the continent of Lether.

Descent is patrilineal, though the females have a strong influence over the family. The Edur are organized into tribes, and these tribes became united prior to Midnight Tides by Hannan Mosag, the Warlock King. Decisions are made with input from the elders of the tribe, though blooded warriors are allowed to observe events. The Edur also have elaborate funeral rites where gold coins are melted on the skin of the Edur dead and then they are placed in the Bloodwood forest with a guard to protect the body from spirits looking for a vessel. After the ascent of the Emperor, Rhulad Sengar, the Edur became far more warlike and dominated by the commands of the Emperor.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The Tiste Edur has had significant interactions with the Malazan Empire. During the events of "The Bonehunters", the main fleet of the Malazan Empire crossed paths with one of the exploratory fleets of the Tiste Edur. The Edur threatened to destroy the Malazan fleet with sorcery, but the Malazan High Mage Quick Ben bluffed his way past with unknowing help from Bottle and the goddess Eres'al, thus allowing the fleets to pass without conflict.

Another contact with the Malazan Empire proper is during "Memories of Ice" when the Malazan 2nd army encounters a body of an Edur who has undergone extreme compression caused by sudden appearation/teleportation in the deep depths of the sea.

In "Reaper's Gale", the Malazan 14th Army, although not acting under the authority of the Empress, invaded the continent of Lether and defeated numerous Tiste Edur armies sent against it until it liberated the capital city, Letheras, from Edur rule.

Appearances in the Novels

The events of Midnight Tides almost exclusively discuss the interactions between the Edur and the human empire of Lether, from contact to invasion and conquest. There is also the aforementioned contact of the two fleets within The Bonehunters. The events of House of Chains also features the character of Trull Sengar, an outcast of the Tiste Edur, who is freed by a T'lan Imass within one of the fragments of the Shattered Warren named Nascent. Also stitched throughout the series is the ongoing appearance of the Silanda, an Imperial dromon which features disjointed appearances of the Tiste Edur and the aftermath of their encounter with Karsa Orlong.

Tiste Liosan

The Tiste Liosan are a race found in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen". They are not one of the four founding races and only have contact with the Malazan world due to a breach of the barriers surrounding their Warren of Kurald Thyrllan possibly through the human use of Telas, the Path of Fire and the Imass use of the Tellann, the Warren of Fire.


The Tiste Liosan are taller than humans, though of similar proportions. Their skin is pure white, (not in the sense of caucasians, but actually white in the true sense of the color), with slanted, epicanthic, almond-shaped eyes. Hair is silver or gold and generally kept long. The Tiste Liosan are close kin to the Tiste Edur and Tiste Andii, though they do not share genetic descent. Internal anatomy differs from the human norm; specifically, the heart known to be buried deeper in the torso.


The Tiste Liosan source from Kurald Thyrllan, the Elder Warren of Light, and are not native to the Malazan world. In contrast to their apathetic kin, the Tiste Andii, the Liosan are high tempered, arrogant and zealous, dedicated priests of their god of light, Osserc. They viewed Trull Sengar as a lesser species of Tiste, which only showed their haughtiness.They are the least well-known of the Tiste races, and have the least contact with the Malazan world. Socially, the Liosan appear to be martially organized and hierarchical, led by warrior-priests.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The Liosan have had no actual contact with the Malazan empire as of The Bonehunters.

Appearances in the Novels

The Tiste Liosan make the fewest appearances of the Tiste races in the Malazan series. Four Liosan warriors appeared in House of Chains, engaging briefly in combat with Trull Sengar, a Tiste Edur and Onrack, a T'lan Imass. They are then forced to co-operate with Sengar, Onrack and several other Imass in order to escape the shattered Warren they are trapped in. Subsequent to this they escape into the Malazan world, but, after nearly dying at the hands of Malazan sappers, they decide to retreat to their own Warren. The other Imass cause the destruction of the demon posing as Osserc (Osserc placed the demon there for he did not want the position of god of the Tiste Liosan). This caused the attention of the Tiste Liosan named L'oric, son of Osserc, who then has to find his father. Osserc is found and does not return immediately, instead L'oric makes a deal with a demon and they return from Raraku's memory which was similar to a warren.

T'lan Imass

The T'lan Imass are a race found in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen", and one of the Founding Races.


The T'lan Imass are humanoid, though shorter and squatter than humans. Originally living, the entire race underwent the ritual of Tellann hundreds of thousands of years in the past (previous to the founding of the Malazan Empire), the single greatest necromantic ritual ever occurring within the Malazan world. This resulted in all present becoming undead - unable to die. They are able to dematerialize to what they would have been if there was no ritual - dust - and can then transport hundreds of leagues, and re-form into their physical bodies. As a result of hundreds of thousands of years of existence, many of the Imass are desiccated, their skins worn through and many have broken bones and missing body parts. Their eyes are shrivelled in their sockets and vision has been replaced with the ability to sense the 'flame of life' that surrounds living beings. It allows them direct perception of heat, colour, movement and magic. The physical bodies of the T'lan Imass appear to be based on that of Neanderthals.


The T'lan Imass no longer have an appreciable culture that changes or evolves, having become fixed at the completion of the ritual of Tellann. Originally, they existed as a tribe and clan-based society of stone-age hunter-gatherers, whose technology had advanced to cold-hammering metals and creating elaborate stone tools (including sword-sized flint blades that would shatter without sorcerous investment), but had not reached the level of forging or casting metals. They were also the slaves to Jaghut Tyrants, which caused the Imass to undergo the Ritual to combat all Jaghut. The three hundred thousand years of their history has been dominated by the pursuit and elimination of all the living Jaghut, tracking and eliminating them throughout the Warrens and on the Malazan world.

Nearly the entire population of the Imass underwent the Ritual of Tellann, though some individuals chose not to participate and were cast out, while others were unable to arrive in time, eventually evolving into the Barghast. An effect of the ritual (beyond undeath and transformation to dust) was the production of a fixed purpose, where the entire race is consumed by the same goal of eliminating their enemies. This focus is removed should they sustain a significant amount of damage without being completely destroyed, at which point the individual must submit themselves for destruction or become hunted outcasts by the rest of the race.

Interactions with the Malazan Empire

The T'lan Imass' main connection to the Malazan Empire occurred when Kellanved found and sat on the First Throne, essentially becoming the ruler and commander of a clan of Imass that was in range of the magic of the throne. Since that point, the Imass were involved in several military campaigns, most notably on the Seven Cities continent. After Kellanved's ascension, the Imass were mostly uninvolved in the actions of the Empire except for a revenge attack ordered by Kellanved, now named Shadowthrone, to attack the city of Aren in Seven Cities in an act to disrupt the ruling of Laseen - the alleged murderer of Kellanved and Dancer.

Appearances in the Novels

The T'lan Imass appear in all of the novels of "Malazan Book of the Fallen" to date, in varying degrees. In "Midnight Tides", the T'lan Imass are not directly named, but their identity can be inferred by references to a Bonecaster (shaman) and their physical description. In all other novels, their involvement is more explicit. The most significant appearances are in "Memories of Ice", where the appearance of a mortal Bonecaster (shaman), in connection with Itkovian, the Shield Anvil of Fener, allows the Imass to be freed from the emotional consequences of the ritual of Tellan, and begin a life ruled by the twin wolf gods, Fanderay and Togg (their original gods before the Ritual). The known T'lan Imass ascendants include the Whirlwind Goddess and Apsalar, Goddess of Thieves, who has been promised to play a major part in the forthcoming novel "Toll the Hounds".



The Barghast descend from seagoing Imass, and Thelomen Toblakai who landed across the various islands of Wu. The Barghast living in different areas all have similar cultures despite having had no contact with each other. Before this time they (or their Imass and Thelomen Toblakai ancestors) met with and warred against seafaring Tiste Edur.

Note: the actual descent of the Barghast is debatable; "Memories of Ice" indicates descent from the Imass only, though mentions that they landed "throughout the known world" and had similar culture.Whereas "House of Chains" first indicates the Barghast are descended from the seafaring Thelomen Toblakai (which explains their size) then mentions that they traveled together with the living Imass (who did not take part in the ritual of Tellan).

The White-Face clan landed on the continent of Genabackis, and they are the most prominent Barghast in the series.

The Barghast have been both allies and opponents of the Malazan Empire throughout the series. They are divided into clans and lead by a single leader. Trotts, a Bridgeburner who had Barghast blood, fought in a duel to gain rights to kinship and create his own tribe. After narrowly winning, his tribe consisted of the Bridgeburners.


The Moranth are a group of Imass descendants on Genabackis. They made peace with, lived with, and learned from a group of lost seafaring Tiste Edur. This acceptance of the Tiste Edur antagonized the Barghast, other descendants of Imass, which caused a cultural split. Despite the split between Moranth and Barghast cultures their languages are still comprehensible to each other as admitted by Twist in "Memories of Ice". He also claims that Moranth alchemy is based upon lore gained from Tiste Edur.

The Moranth live in the Moranth mountain range on Genabackis, wearing insectile chitinous armor and riding oversized dragonfly-like creatures called quorls for transport and into battle. They are divided into clans: Blue as the navy and fishing; Green as transport and courier; Black as the military force; Gold as the elite military force; and Silver as the mages.

The Moranth are allies of the Malazan Empire, providing them with the alchemical explosive Moranth munitions responsible for major changes in the battle tactics of the empire and the creation of sappers, explosives experts. The reason for the alliance is likely due to the Moranth's wish for revenge on the peoples of Genabackis. When Pale was taken by the 2nd Army and the Black Moranths the Moranth conducted an Hour of Blood. During this time 12,000 Pale citizens were massacred - one for each Moranth death (in recorded history); directly or indirectly caused by the people of Pale. The alliance's militaristic advantages are diminishing (whilst still being valuable, it is becoming less so) due to mass Moranth casualties, and unwillingness to co-operate on some occasions.

One notable Moranth is Twist who fought with Onearm's Host and spoke to the Bridgeburner's officers.


Trell are short and wide with brown skin, and black hair braided with fetishes. Their canines are bigger than a Jhag's. The Trellish lands lie west of the Jhag Odhan on the Seven Cities continent and remain nearly untouched by civilization. A Trell named Mappo Runt is the companion of the Jhag Icarium.


Humans share common descent with the Imass, along with the Barghast, Moranth, and Trell. They are the "Traditional" response to the question "what happened to the living Imass who didn't arive in time for the ritual?" - "They eventually evolved in to humans." Humans are divided along political and geographic lines, akin to the races of Earth.

Dal Honese

The Dal Honese live in southern Quon Tali, on the Dal Hon Plains. Dassem Ultor, Shadowthrone, Iskaral Pust and his wife Mogora are Dal Honese.


The Daru occupy the city state of Darujhistan on the continent of Genabackis; the city was originally founded due to rumours of a treasure-filled barrow which actually held a Jaghut Tyrant. The mage Kruppe and thief/assassin Crokus/Cutter are from Darujhistan.

Faraed and Nerek

The Faraed were tribal people who lived north of Lether, trading with the Letherii until the Faraed became Indebted, resulting in conquest and assimilation of the culture. The tribal Nerek shared the same relationship with the Lether as the Faraed, and suffered a similar fate. The Nerek worship the goddess Eres'al.


The Gadrobi are an indigenous people in central Genabackis.


The Genabarii are a people in north-west Genabackis.


The Meckros live in massive, floating cities that travel across the oceans and trade with people on land. The only character to come from Meckros as of "Reaper's Gale" is Withal, the weaponsmith, whose city was destroyed. A second city was found frozen in Coral Bay by Lady Envy and company. Withal also appears in "Midnight Tides", after ice had destroyed his city leaving him the only survivor.


Napans are from the Napan Isles near Malaz Island, east of Quon Tali. The Napans allied with Kellanved to take control of Unta on the continent of Quon Tali, forming the Malazan Empire. Napans have a uniquely blue skin colour, and are notable for being massively muscled and unconcerned with aesthetics.

Laseen, the current Empress of the Malazan Empire, is Napan; as is Korbolo Dom, renegade Fist, and the Admirals Nok, Cartheron Crust and Urko Crust.


The Rhivi are a pastoral nomadic society in the central plains of Genabackis. The Mhybe was of the Rhivi, and Silverfox was raised with the Rhivi.


The Seti inhabit western Quon Tali, but have been so thoroughly integrated into the Quon culture they have effectively disappeared.

even Cities tribes

There are many native tribes living in Seven Cities, including the Arak (in the Pan'potsun Odhan), Bhilard (east of the Nenoth Odhan), Can'eld (northeast of Ubaryd), Debrahl (northerly regions), Dhis'bahl (in the Omari and Nahal Hills), Gral (from the Ehrlitan foothills down to the Pan'potsun Odhan), Kherahn Dhobri (in the Geleen Plain), Khundryl (west of the Nenoth Odhan), Pardu (north of the Geleen grasslands), Semk (in the Karas Hills and Steps), Tithan (south of Sialk) and the Tregyn (west of Sanimon).


In northeastern Quon Tali lies the Wickan Plains where live the horse warriors, the Wickans. They are divided into clans, including Foolish Dog, Weasel and Crow. Coltaine, Fist of the 7th Army and leader of the Chain of Dogs, is a Wickan of the Crow clan, as was veteran commander Bult, the lancer Temul, and warlocks Sormo E'nath, Nether and Nil.

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