This is a list of characters associated with the continent of Seven Cities from Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. Please beware of spoilers. If you haven't finished the series you're probably best off not reading past the character descriptions.
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A gulag of the Malazan Empire on Otataral Island off the coast of Seven Cities where thousands of slaves and political prisoners work in dangerous mines extracting the magic-deadening ore otataral, supervised by a small force of Malazan soldiers and a larger number of Dosii auxiliaries.
Felisin Paran/Sha'ik Reborn
- A Child Shall Lead Them: She is fifteen during Deadhouse Gates, making her somewhere around sixteen when she leads the Whirlwind.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: From the prologue to Deadhouse Gates and the way her siblings think and speak about her, she starts out as a dreamy, naive, kind-hearted girl who loves her family and wants to become a poet. The ordeals she goes through break her and transform her into a bitter, vengeful person, and even that is erased, except for a few moments before her death, as the Whirlwind Goddess takes control of her.
- Bi the Way: She sleeps with both men and women. May be a case of Situational Sexuality, as she is prostituting herself out for better treatment in slavery.
- Break the Cutie: Felisin ripped from her sheltered life as the daughter of a noble family to be sent to a gulag as a slave, turns to prostitution in order to secure better treatment for herself and her friends, suffers through a traumatic journey through some of the harshest regions of the world, is mind-raped by an insane goddess, and finally killed by her own unwitting sister.
- Cain and Abel: With Tavore, who condems her to slavery and kills her (without knowing who she is) in House of Chains. Initially presented to be a straightforward Abel to Tavore's Cain, the picture is muddied as the series progresses, with Felisin losing more and more of herself to Sha'ik, and Tavore's motivations being gradually revealed to be much more sympathetic than they initially appear.
- Dark Messiah: As Sha'ik Reborn, she is a religious revolutionary and the Chosen One of the Whirlwind Goddess. It isn't obvious at first, but by the time we see the Whirlwind Goddess' internal monologue, it becomes apparent just how monstrous the cause she's been compelled to serve is.
- Demonic Possession: Divine possession, to be precise, by the Whirlwind Goddess, who enters her during the finale of Deadhouse Gates and gradually takes control of her over the course of House of Chains. This eventually leads to her death at the hands of her own sister, who never even realised who she was fighting. Worst of all, the Goddess dies and her influence disappears just before the two of them meet on the battlefield, bringing Felisin back just long enough to experience her death.
- Fate Worse than Death: From her thoughts about confronting Tavore on the eve of the anticipated clash between the 14th and the Whirlwind, it's clear she considers the things she went through to be this. It's hard to disagree.
- Irony: A Malazan noblewoman, she ends up as the leader of a rebellion against Malazan rule.
- Really Gets Around: Beginning with the journey to Skullcup. Though this is at least partially a reaction to being a slave; she sleeps with anyone and everyone who is willing to offer her favours for doing so. However, this behaviour continues to a lesser extent after she escapes the Otataral mines, at least until she becomes Sha'ik Reborn.
- Rebel Leader: As Sha'ik Reborn, she becomes the new leader of the Whirlwind, unifying its various warlords in Raraku after the Chain of Dogs.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Delivering this to Tavore for everything she's had to go through is one of the major motivations fuelling her as she goes through every hell imaginable in Deadhouse Gates. Tavore thought it would be better for Felisin to be enslaved than killed. Felisin disagrees and refuses to consider Tavore's planned freeing of her, particularly as it doesn't happen nearly as quickly as anticipated.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Her relationship with Beneth. He brutally abuses and humiliates her, but she refuses to see him for what he is and hates Baudin for killing him during the escape.
Heboric Light Touch/Heboric Ghost HandsAn historian and excommunicated priest of Fener, the god of war. He charged Empress Laseen with incompetence in his writings, for which he is sent to Skullcup, where he falls in with Felisin and Baudin. He is a personal friend of Imperial Historian Duiker, who while in Hissar organizes a rescue.
- Chekhov's Gunman
- Genre Savvy: He realizes the true nature of Baudin, and the planned escape attempt, well before Felisin.
- Poisonous Person: His hands; natural, Jade and Otataral.
- Jade and Otataral Hands
- Sanity Slippage: The conflict between the jade and otataral in his body drives him mad in The Bonehunters.
BaudinA criminal deported to Skullcup along with the culled nobles at the beginning of Deadhouse Gates.
BenethA crime lord in Skullcup Felisin sleeps with in exchange for favours.
The Seven Cities Rebellion, better known as the Whirlwind or the Apocalypse, is a religiously mandated uprising against the Malazan occupiers by the peoples of the Seven Cities subcontinent. Inspired by the cult of the Whirlwind Goddess and her sacred text, the Book of Dryjhna the Apocalyptic, it is led by a prophetess of hers, Sha'ik, and after her death, her successor, Sha'ik Reborn. It sweeps over the subcontinent in the tenth year of Empress Laseen's rule (the sixth year of Dryjhna), beginning with a night of coordinated uprisings inhuman in their savagery. Its Armies of the Apocalypse quickly subdue much of the incompetent and corrupt Malazan military occupation, liberating six of the Seven Holy Cities and forcing the Malazan civilian population to flee for their lives under the protection of the Malaz Seventh Army in a refugee train that comes to be known as the Chain of Dogs.
The Whirlwind GoddessAn Ascendant of mysterious origins who inhabits the Holy Desert Raraku in Seven Cities. Her cult sparks the uprising against the Malazan Empire.
- Anti-Climax Boss: She is built up to be a major threat, but ends up being killed by Kamist Reloe's assassins before any confrontation with the Fourteenth Army could take place.
- Big Bad: Of the Seven Cities storyline in Deadhouse Gates and House of Chains.
- Deconstruction: Of the Evil Overlord. She is an immortal being hideous in her physical form who lives in a harsh desert, is worshipped as a goddess by a warlike people, uses mass murderers and child molesters as her lieutenants, engages in Mind Rape and wants to wipe out humanity - in short, exactly what the end-all villain of a lot of fantasy novels is like. In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, she is done away with due to betrayal by one of her generals as part of a human political intrigue, revealed to have been simply mad as a result of a relationship gone wrong, and is generally a rather minor figure in the grand scheme of things.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Millennia ago, her mate cheated on her. Her reaction? Try to whipe out the entire human species for the crime of being descended from that union.
- Goddess of Evil: She is introduced as the leader of a brutal, fanatical, racist revolution - and that turns out to be her pleasant face. In truth, she is an insane, genocidal tyrant who doesn't care at all about the parochial grievances of the people who fight for her.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Her Start of Darkness turns out to have been her mate Onrack cheating on her with Kilava Onass.
- Mind Rape: Her gradual possession of Felisin as Sha'ik Reborn.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Genocidal, at least. Her true aim turns out to be wiping out humanity as a whole.
- Sanity Slippage: Off-screen, and long before the main timeframe of the series. Her jealousy after Onrack cheated on her drove her mad, forcing her fellow T'lan Imass to imprison her under Raraku. By the time of the novels, she is well and truly insane.
- Was Once a Woman: A T'lan Imass, specifically. She was the mate of Onrack, who cheated on her with another Imass woman, Kilava Onass.
Sha'ik ElderSeeress and Chosen One of the Whirlwind Goddess, and therefore the religious and political leader of the impending uprising. A fugitive from the Malazan military administration, she lives in the desert with her two bodyguards.
- Anti-Climax Boss: The unquestioned religious and political leader of the coming rebellion, she is poised to lead it against the Malazan Empire. Then she is killed by a low-ranking officer in the Red Blades immediately after she summons the Whirlwind.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She was raped and circumcised by Bidithal in order to make her singularly focused on her role as Seeress of the Whirlwind Goddess.
- Rebel Leader: Leader of the Seven Cities Rebellion, at least prior to it actually breaking out.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Never stated explicitly, but given that she has been in the hands of Bidithal and the Whirlwind Goddess for her entire adult life and judging by what they go on to do to the two Felisins, it can be assumed that she isn't the best-adjusted of people.
Sha'ik Reborn/Felisin Paran
Leoman of the Flails
A Seven Cities warrior who serves as bodyguard to Sha'ik (both Elder and Reborn) and goes on to be a commander in the Whirlwind.
- Badass Normal: He is little more than an accomplished desert raider and warrior and lacks any magical powers on a subcontinent at sorcerous war. Initially introduced only as a bodyguard of Sha'ik's, he proves himself the most capable commanders of the Whirlwind. In The Bonehunters, he leads the last Army of the Apocalypse in its flight from the collapse at Raraku. Outnumbered, without allies and commanding only religious fanatics waiting for martyrdom, he inflicts a shocking disaster on Adjunct Tavore and the Fourteenth Army.
- Brutal Honesty: To Corabb, about leaving his own army to die in Y'Ghatan:'The fools wanted to die. In Dryjhna's name. Well, let them! Let them die! And best of all, they are going to take half the Adjunct's army with them. There's your glory, Corabb!'
- Cornered Rattlesnake: The reason for his actions at Y'Ghatan. Demonstrated by the epigraph to Chapter VII of The Bonehunters, showing the siege of the city:'Never bargain with a man who has nothing to lose.'
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The olive oil merchants of Y'Ghatan don't take well to their wares being confiscated by Leoman, and send seven representatives to him to complain. He drowns them in their own oil.
- Dual Wielding: Uses two flails.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Two instances in The Bonehunters, even as his outright psychopathy is about to become clear:
- After taking control of Y'Ghatan, he discovers the city garrison enslaved and sexually abused children. Despite whatever else he may be and in that moment already planning to burn the entire city to the ground together with his own army, he orders the execution of thirty officers, killing the most senior of them himself.
- Before the siege, he orders the peaceful evacuation of the civilian population from the impending destruction of the city.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: While most of the Armies of the Apocalypse wait in Raraku for the Fourteenth Army to get to them, he rides out with a smaller force and harasses them with devastating raids.
- Moral Event Horizon: Burning down the city of Y'Ghatan with his own forces and a third of the Malaz Fourteenth Army inside, and cutting a deal with the Queen of Dreams to escape with his lover.
- Off with His Head!: When Leoman and his army arrive at Y'Ghatan in The Bonehunters, the city's Falah'd, Vedor, rides out to meet them and give them supplies, but doesn't react favourably upon hearing that they intend to stay. Leoman beheads him without warning after hearing a single sentence.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Before beheading Falah'd Vedor:Vedor: 'Like a knife's edge, your sense of humour, Leoman of the Flails! It is as your legend proclaims!'Leoman: 'My legend? Then this, too, will not surprise you.'
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At Y'Ghatan. Corabb Bhilan Thenu'alas, his erstwhile second in command, does not forgive him for this and ultimately allies with the Malazans, whom he had previously regarded as his hated enemies.
- Take a Third Option: When the Whirlwind collapses at Raraku after Korbolo Dom's betrayal and the death of Sha'ik Reborn, Leoman is left leading the last Army of the Apocalypse through territory that is rapidly becoming less and less friendly, without supplies of allies. The officers of Fourteenth Army believe he has only two choices - keep fleeing while his force disintegrates and he is encircled by arriving Malazan reenforcements, or make a hopeless final stand against a larger army and a High Mage. Outwardly, he appears to choose the second, holing up in Y'Ghatan and preparing for a siege. In fact, he fills the walls of the city with the olive oil it produces, and has his religious fanatics set it on fire when a third of the Fourteenth has already passed the breached walls, while himself escaping with the help of L'oric and the Queen of Dreams.
- The Sociopath: Tendencies are implied from the moment of his introduction, but the full extent of his amorality isn't revealed until well into The Bonehunters, when he sets fire to Y'Ghatan along with its population and his own army.
High Mage Kamist ReloeA High Mage and one of the initial leaders of the Whirlwind. Falsely presumed by the Malazan occupation to have been killed by Sha'ik Elder in a power struggle, he emerges to lead an Army of the Apocalypse against the Chain of Dogs after Sha'ik's death. He proves to be a mediocre commander at best and surrenders his authority to the renegade Malazan Fist Korbolo Dom once the two meet, working thereafter as Dom's mage and ally.
- The Dragon: To Korbolo Dom, beginning midway through House of Chains. He is a rare example in the series who shows no signs of scheming to overthrow the person they serve; he hands over command of his Army of the Apocalypse to Dom as soon as the latter reaches them, and appears content in his subordinate role from then on.
- Faking the Dead: Prior to his first appearance in Deadhouse Gates. He and Sha'ik spread the rumour that she killed him in a clash over the leadership of the Whirlwind ten years before the uprising as part of a ruse to make the rebellion appear weaker than it actually was.
- General Failure: Despite enjoying overwhelming numerical advantages, a steady stream of reinforcements and an intact supply chain against a fleeing, dwindling and isolated enemy encumbered by a massive train of refugees, he is roundly defeated by Coltaine in every engagement the two fight during the Chain of Dogs.
- Military Mage: In Deadhouse Gates, in his role as general of an Army of the Apocalypse.
- Moral Event Horizon: When the remnants of the Chain of Dogs are slaughtered in sight of Aren's walls and Korbolo Dom's troops crucify Coltaine, hundreds of crows come to take his soul away. In perhaps the most horrible moment of the entire betrayal, Kamist starts killing them with sorcery whenever they get close, prolonging Coltaine's death. Thanks to Commander Blistig ordering an archer to deliver a Mercy Kill, it doesn't last particularly long, but it demonstrates the extent of Kamist's immorality.
- Properly Paranoid: Upon the Whirlwind's leadership learning of the end of the Pannion War and the impending redeployment of Dujek Onearm's army to Seven Cities in House of Chains, he panics over the prospect of Quick Ben joining the war, which Korbolo Dom dismisses. On the night when Kamist and Dom execute their plan to crush the rebellion from within and kill the Whirlwind Goddess, Quick Ben does appear and kills Kamist.
- Turncoat: He has been a major figure in the Whirlwind for a long time, yet in House of Chains he participates in Korbolo Dom's plot to assassinate the Whirlwind Goddess and end the rebellion. Their ultimate goal is to usurp the Malazan throne, but Kamist seems motivated by greed, not any kind of religious fanaticism, nationalism or revenge.
- Villainous Friendship: He and Korbolo Dom call each other "old friend" and seem to get along rather well. However, this is one-sided at best - one of Dom's POV sections reveals that he is secretly contemptuous of Kamist (as he is of virtually everyone).
- We Have Reserves: This seems to be his strategic philosophy, if one can call it that, in his campaign against Coltaine, relying almost exclusively on his superior numbers to attempt to crush the Seventh Army without much regard for his soldiers' lives.
High Mage L'oric
High Mage Bidithal
- 'Do you remember the dark?'
- Karmic Death: When Karsa Orlong kills him during the finale of House of Chains, he rips off Bidithal's genitals and stuffs them into his mouth.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His initial motivation, against Shadowthrone and Cotillion, the new gods of the Shadow Realm, who cast him out of his position in the cult of Rashan. His desire to destroy the Malazan Empire they built is the sole reason for his involvement in the Seven Cities Rebellion. It doesn't get anywhere.
- Sadist: One of the worst in the series.
- The Starscream: Although he has been a High Mage in the Whirlwind for years, he is planning to usurp not only Sha'ik Reborn but the Whirlwind Goddess, taking away her warren to return to power over Rashan.
- Unwitting Pawn: Partway through House of Chains, he realizes his scheming has been under the influence of the Crippled God, who has hijacked his efforts to usurp the fragment of Kurald Emurlahn under the control of the Whirlwind Goddess to create a home for High House Chains.
- Would Hurt a Child: And how. He has been raping and circumcising young girls for decades, as a priest of Rashan and then in the Whirlwind.
High Mage FebrylAn old High Mage in the Whirlwind. Originally called Iltara, he was already in a high position in the service of Enqura, the Holy Falah'd of Ugarat, before the Malazan conquest of Seven Cities.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Before the beginning of the story, he attempted to assassinate Sha'ik Elder three times, and in House of Chains he joins Korbolo Dom's plot to betray the Whirlwind.
- Dirty Coward: When Dassem Ultor's troops approached Ugarat, he fled rather than make a stand. During his time under Sha'ik Elder, he wanted to usurp her position, but didn't challenge her openly, instead employing poison.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Before the sorcery he used to kill his parents and their household turned him into a wrinkled dotard, he was handsome and desirable.
- Moral Event Horizon: He crossed it long before the beginning of the series, during his time in Enqura's service. When Dassem Ultor's army was closing in on Ugarat, he carried out Enqura's orders to destroy the texts and relics stored in the city's schools and crucify the scholars who didn't commit suicide. Appalled, his parents disowned him to his face. This sent him into a fit of mad rage in which he murdered them and their entire household.
- Self-Made Orphan: He killed his parents over their disownment of him after an atrocity he committed.
- That Man Is Dead: It's implied this is his attitude towards his young self, before he committed his atrocities at Ugarat, signified by changing his name from Iltara to Febryl.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: From the point of view of a Seven Cities nationalist, at least. He does participate in Korbolo Dom's conspiracy, but with the end goal of securing the Malazan Empire's withdrawal. In part, he's interested in attaining rulership of the subcontinent, but he's still one of the only people among the leaders of the Whirlwind who is in any way interested in fulfilling its mission.
Felisin YoungerThe adopted daughter of Felisin, who after being subjected to horrific abuses is ultimately kidnapped by renegade T'lan Imass and installed as a new Sha'ik Reborn.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Due to her indulgence in as many sensual pleasures as she can manage, she puts on a lot of weight. This doesn't stop her from having as much sex as she wants, although to be fair, the fact that she's effectively worshipped probably helps here.
- Break the Cutie: Raped and circumcised by Bidithal. Although Heboric appears to have healed her of the latter, she bears severe psychological scars from the abuse and they only get worse after she sees the friends who have been guarding her apparently cut down by T'lan Imass. While most of them survive and Heboric Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence, she does not know this and has clearly been broken by her string of traumatic experiences.
- Generation Xerox: Not a biological example, but she follows the trajectory of her adoptive mother's life pretty closely, including being subjected to a huge Trauma Conga Line, Really Getting Around, and being installed as Sha'ik Reborn.
- Rape as Drama: Is raped by Bidithal, which is only the start of her Trauma Conga Line.
- Really Gets Around: After being installed as Sha'ik Reborn it doesn't take her long to start indulging as heavily in pleasures of the flesh as she can, which includes sex. Constantly. With, apparently, anyone who is willing.
- Sex for Solace: This is implied to be the reason she indulges in sex so much, though it's also suggested that the Crippled God is messing with her mind. It should perhaps be noted that this is a case of Truth in Television and Reality Is Unrealistic. Although some people might find it counterintuitive that a survivor of sexual assault would start having a lot of sex after being assaulted, it happens sometimes. (To be clear, nowhere near all survivors do this.) One explanation that has been posited is that it's a way for them to reassert control over their sexuality, though this no doubt isn't the only cause, and may not even be a cause at all in some cases. (Meanwhile, not everyone who has a lot of sex should be assumed to be a survivor of assault or abuse, either.)
ScillaraA camp follower with the Army of the Apocalypse who has been subjected to horrific abuse.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. She ends up pregnant as a result of her forced prostitution, views the pregnancy as an ordeal, and wants nothing to do with the child when born. To be fair, it is effectively a Child by Rape.
- Bi the Way: She certainly enjoyed her encounter with Blend, though she does seem to prefer men.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: ends up Happily Married to Barathol, but she had to go through seven different kinds of hell to get there.
- Good Bad Girl: A fundamentally good person who will happily use sex to cheer people up if she thinks it worthwhile. However, this hasn't stopped her from getting emotionally hurt from doing so.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Starts out as this, but it wasn't exactly by choice.
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: She tries to tell herself that it's just sex with Cutter, but ends up getting hurt anyway. She believes Barathol will abandon her too, but ultimately he doesn't.
- Rape as Drama: was subjected to the same rape and circumcision that Felisin Younger was, and then made a prostitute without apparently being given a say in the matter. She was also kept in a haze of durhang throughout this time which may have resulted in somewhat less trauma than she might have otherwise experienced.
The Red Blades
A military company of Seven Cities natives in the service of the Malazan Empire, made up, in numerous cases, of people who were or would have been mistreated in their native cultures before the Malazan conquest. They are reviled as traitors and "lapdogs" by their own peoples, but despite their fanatical loyalty to the Empire, many Malazans are suspicious of them, too.