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The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)
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Group Read - The Bonehunters > BH - Chapter Eighteen - No Spoilers

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message 1: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Discussion thread for chapter eighteen.


message 2: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
‘The Fourth – that would be Strings’s—’
‘For Hood’s sake,’ the Adjunct said. ‘His name is Fiddler. It is the worst-kept secret in this army, Keneb.’


Is the first bit of emotion we have seen Tavore express in front of her staff?


message 3: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
And the Fleet disembarks. The Silanda is back – and Gesler gets the bone whistle back from Grub as prophesied. But Gesler doesn’t have “cut hands” so that part of Grub’s prophecy has to do with something else.

Fiddler’s secret identity is busted open – if it ever was a secret

‘The Fourth – that would be Strings’s—’
‘For Hood’s sake,’ the Adjunct said. ‘His name is Fiddler. It is the worst-kept secret in this army, Keneb.’


The return of the Yghatan survivors has given the 14th a well needed boost in morale

The transformation within your army, Adjunct, has been ... palpable. It is often forgotten by commanders, the significance of storied veterans, especially among young, untried soldiers. Added to that, the extraordinary tale of their survival beneath the streets of Y’Ghatan,’ he shook his head. ‘In all, a most encouraging development.’

Everybody wants to handle the survivor’s possessions – repairing them, cleaning them, putting them back – with interest – paying tribute. The army officially calls itself “The Bonehunters.” Tavore awards a medal to Faradan Sort and Sinn, creating a sigil similar to the Bridgeburners – only this one has a burning Y’ghatan on top of a field of golden skulls. The 14th adopt it as their own, sewing the badge onto their uniforms. Not only is the symbol embraced – but Tavore is finally embraced by her army

‘Now, you belong to the Fourteenth.’
‘You belong to us,’ Keneb said.


This shakes Tavore’s composure and it is interpreted by Kalam and Quick

Instead, they saw, upon Tavore’s expression, a growing ... dismay. And fear. And at first, neither emotion made any sense.
Unless ...
Unless she was unable to return such loyalty.


Though I would prefer to think that she doesn’t feel she deserves that loyalty.

And among the offerings given to the survivors, Fiddler has been left a Deck of Dragons. And there are some new cards for us to look at.

Unaligned Cards
Apocalyptic - Felisin the Younger - Shaik reborn?
Master of the Deck - Paran Ganoes
Chain - The Crippled god

House of War
Bone Throne – unoccupied The Beast Hold throne (‘unoccupied, flanked by two wolves.’)
The Lords of War Togg and Fanderay (‘Two wolves, one male, one female’)
The Hunter - Treach (‘The Hunter, and aye, that’s Treach—’)
This card features Heboric in the foreground (‘What’s with the striped corpse in the foreground? That old man with no hands?’
The Mercenary - Taralack Veed?
Guardians of the Dead - Bridgeburners (‘and it shows ghostly soldiers standing in the middle of a burning bridge ..’)
The Army and the Soldier - Tavore and the Bonehunters? (‘two names for this, which may be determined by context or something.’)
Life Slayer Icarium
Death Slayer The Crippled god (‘a hooded thing inside the hut, broken limbed, shackles sunk into the earth.’)
(‘That’s impossible,’ Gesler said, echoing Stormy’s assertion. ‘He can’t be two things at once!’)

House of Chains
The King in Chains - Rhulad Sengar (‘swallowed in shadows’)


A couple of things re the Deck
Accordinjg to Bottle It was deliberately arranged to be in Fiddler’s hands by Tavore
The Adjunct wants that Deck of Dragons in Fiddler’s hands.

Fiddler is not convinced that the House of War is quite right with the alignments – the overlap with the Beast Hold has him scratching his head

‘I have real doubt about that version,’ Fiddler replied. ‘That whole House, in fact. I’m thinking the maker was confused, or maybe what she saw was confused—’

Fiddler goes on to suggest that there were two who compiled the Deck – one male one female – which points the finger at Nil and Nether, coinciding with Bottle’s thoughts

And either she or T’amber – or maybe Nether and Nil, or someone – is boiling over with arcane knowledge

And then Fiddler’s reluctance to actually “play” the deck reinforces how dangerous a Deck of Dragons can be.

‘All right, if you don’t like your new present, Fiddler, give it to me.’
‘Right, and you’d probably lay a field right here, on this ship.’
‘So?’
‘So, you want to open a door to this Tiste and Tellann nightmare of warrens? To the Crippled God, too?’
‘Oh.’


So again reinforces the idea that the Deck of Dragons is a two way conduit into the warrens. Fiddler points out that it is probably not a good idea to be opening a conduit between themselves and the Crippled god and all the other nasties out there. Especially when they are going to war and are looking to recruit – and the favoured method of recruitment is conscription rather than asking for volunteers.


I like how Bottle is listening into the high command conversations on the Silanda via (rat-o-phone) – as well as “bugging” the high command conversations on Tavore’s ship.

I also like how he has named all the baby rats

There’s Baby Koryk, Baby Smiles, Baby Tarr, Baby ... oh, you know the rest ...


And Quick Ben and Edur Sorcerers shape up for an epic mage battle...which fizzles out when the Edur back down.
Quick uses illusion magic to conjure a firestorm – Bottle joins in to help – guiding Quick to make sure his illusion looks real – and then the Eresal takes over – supercharging the illusion into reality...using Bottle as a conduit...or a pipe...or a pump... or pumping through a pipe...Whatever it is it’s got Nether really jealous.

And According to Nil and Nether

Do we tell her? Do we tell the Adjunct?’
‘Tell her what? That some wet-crotched soldier in Fiddler’s squad is more important to her and her army than Quick Ben, Kalam and Apsalar all put together?


They decide to postpone the decision to tell the Adjunct until they see if Quick Ben will take all the credit for his part in facing down the Edur. Quick can be rather full of himself at times – and I’m not sure how his pride will handle Bottle being more adept at him in certain areas.

We can also now identify the mage that Karsa impaled on the Silanda as Binidas Sengar

And that ship was gifted to one of Tomad’s sons to command – a journey into the Nascent, a mission the nature of which Emperor Rhulad would not be told.’
‘Tomad now believes that son is dead.’


Fear Sengar is AWOL, we know where Trull Sengar is and Rhulad Sengar is Emperor – leaving Binadas as the son in question.

Apsalar is visited by Cotillion. Cutter has fallen off Shadow’s map. And Apsalar (and Cotillion) fear him dead. Apsalar’s still loves him – regretting their separation. Cotillion promises to find him. In fact it appears Cotillion has gone especially out of his way to do just that.
I suspect that the QoD has something to do with Cutter's severance from Shadow seeing how he saw her when unconscious and that the woman who healed him was possibly a QoD priestess. Perhaps he has been claimed by another god seeings the one he had failed to keep him alive.

And the god spoke, ‘I’ll find him, Apsalar. I swear it. I’ll find the truth.’

And both Apsalar and possibly Cotillion’s facade breaks down as they embrace.


And something really is going on with the moon

‘Look at that,’ he said. ‘I got good eyes, but that moon’s nothing but a blur. Not the haze of cloud, neither.

I like this reference to “The Gardens of the Moon”


There were clouds closed fast round the moon. And one by one, gardens died.


Mpauli | 245 comments As David already talked about the deck and the Eres'al's actions within the duel, there is nothing much to add.
As this chapter was very "out in the open" I encountered not a single noteworthy sentence with true double-meaning, beyond the things discussed already.

What I find very interesting is that the Chain card in the Deck of Dragons counts as unaligned, although there is a House of Chains established.
I guess it shows us that the concept of chaining and thus binding oneself in return goes way beyond the workings of a single house.

And with the CG being unalinged, but nevertheless associated with the House of Chains and now with the House of War also, it shows us how messed up the conflict is. The lines are still blurry and are ever shifting.

And in this chapter, we have to be very careful what kind of information we do believe.
The whole theme of the chapter is truth vs. lies.

The poem already gives us this theme:

Truth is a pressure, and I see us all shying away. But, my friends, from truth there can be no escape.

The Year of Ten Thousand Lies
Kayessan


And this theme continues through the whole chapter. It's in the small scenes, as in Bottle lying about listening in on the sergeants or Fiddler's identity or the way Apsalar and Squint lied to each other.

And the theme culminates in the battle between QB and the Tiste Edur, where the lie in form of an illusion saves the day.

Therefore information revealed in this chapter might be taken very carefully. As reader, you need to ask yourself, which of those characters to you trust at the moment.


Silvio Curtis | 403 comments David Sven wrote: "Unless ...
Unless she was unable to return such loyalty.

Though I would prefer to think that she doesn’t feel she deserves that loyalty."


I thought Adjunct Tavore was still thinking about her shaky position with Laseen. Whether or not she deserves a loyal army, it's the last thing she needs if she doesn't want to look like a threat to the Empress. Probably just failing to execute people who were officially deserters could put her in a bad light.


message 6: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Of course there is also the possibility that she is completely loyal to Laseen and she knows she and her army are expendable and Laseen is using them as she did with the BridgeBurners. Throwing them into suicide conflicts.

She has remained closed and not giving anything away because Laseen doesn't want anyone but Tavore knowing the full extent of the plan. Which you'd have to admit, if you were in that position, you'd be a bit closed with your fists.


message 7: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Maybe if we think of it in terms of the idea that gods who chain or bind their worshippers are in turn bound by them and vice versa. Tavore's army, by willingly binding itself to her in turn binds her to them. She is now responsible for them because her army will follow her into whatever fate awaits her back home. She now has the added option of using her army to improve her own position - she now has the option of damning her army to whatever course of action she takes and perhaps she feels the burden of that responsibility.


message 8: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
She now has the added option of using her army to improve her own position - she now has the option of damning her army to whatever course of action she takes and perhaps she feels the burden of that responsibility

There is that too :)

All of which makes it difficult for the fists and captains because she is a closed book.


message 9: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
I liked how both Apsalar and Squint know who the other is, but pretend not to and just have a nice conversation.

So who are/is Eresal? I'm confused. Again. That something to do with the dragons? I keep forgetting names of stuff.

I assumed they are part of his rat or something based on some of Nil and Nether said about a half breed or something. That whole thing had me confused.

Originally when it was happening, it said something about fur, I was initially thinking maybe the wolf gods were helping him. But obviously that wasn't the case.


message 10: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
I really liked that too. I was thinking, 'that was cool, nice work Apasalar, then Squint stops on the steps and is amazed at how quickly he got through her defences and I had a big grin on my face.


Mpauli | 245 comments Rob wrote: "So who are/is Eresal? I'm confused. Again. "

The Eres are the race that the Imass came from, so basically a primal human race.
The Eres'al is a female being of that race that kind of dream raped Bottle in Memories of Ice and that did the same to Trull Senagr and now carries his child.
There is a dream-/time travel segment involved, cause she technically acts from the past and is not a real inhabitant of our timeline.
Hope I got everything right, cause I just put this together from memory.


message 12: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Eras'al is the goddess to the Eres, who are a founding race, they were around before the Imass.

She has ancient powers and likes to use those powers to slip her hand down bottles breeches and give him a bit of a rub.

So far we don't know what her involvement in this is all about, since the Eres is no longer, pretty much everyone knows bugger all about Eras'al in this world. So welcome to the club :)


message 13: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
OK. I remember the part with Trull, but not Bottle I guess. Forgot her name.

Thanks for the clarification guys.


Linette | 152 comments Loved this chapter! Lots of excitement. The mage face off was excellent - I was impressed by the number of linked mages the Edur had and what they were building worried me, no way QB could combat that well enough to avoid losses. Didn't see it coming when Bottle and his little furry friend stepping in, loved what they did to QB, terrifying him. QB is going to be all over Bottle now.

I've been waiting to see what T'amber is all about, so quiet and never taking part in the story - sometimes I wondered if she was actually Laseen. I thought maybe T'amber had created the new Deck that Fiddler has - as they recognized the similar style from the new sigil medal that T'amber created for Faradan Sort. Made me smile to read about the new Guardians of the Dead card - I know it was created by a different person from the rest, and I think I should know who that was, but I can't recall. Paran?

Taraleck Veed was pretty shaken to find out that Rake was alive and walking around, wonder what he might do with this revelation. Head for Bluerose, home of the malfunctioning saddle stirrups for Letherii?

Thank you David, for sorting out which Sengar son was on the Silanda! It makes me sad to know that Binidas is dead though, I kind of liked him. I assume Sengar senior's comment that he had now lost 2 sons meant that Binidas was searching for Trull?

This series has me in it's grip now.


Mpauli | 245 comments Linette wrote: "This series has me in it's grip now. "

After the 5 setup books Erikson now starts to connect the dots from the different storylines. And this is very interesting. I'm really impressed and still can't believe how he and Esslemont are able to keep track on all of this.


message 16: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Linette wrote: " I assume Sengar senior's comment that he had now lost 2 sons meant that Binidas was searching for Trull?"

Ah yes. Thank you - I was trying to work out what he was talking about. But that makes sense - especially since it was "off the books"

... a journey into the Nascent, a mission the nature of which Emperor Rhulad would not be told.’
‘Tomad now believes that son is dead.’
‘There can be no other possibility. And in losing one son, he in truth has lost two.’


I believe The Guardians of the Dead Card was made by Nil and the others were done by Nether seeing that there are two - male and female - who have built the deck.


message 17: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul (brocklaser) | 55 comments I also thought t'amber might be laseen!


message 18: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Taraleck Veed was pretty shaken to find out that Rake was alive and walking around, wonder what he might do with this revelation

Linette, it is Ahlrada Ahn is who is shocked to hear that Rake is still alive, Taraleck is the one telling him all about Rake and the Moon Spawn.

So given that the BlueRose are actual Andii, finding out that not only is Lord Blackwing still alive, but that there are Andii in this realm. This has massive impact for the Bluerose on Letharii. Which is what staggers Ahn.


Linette | 152 comments Lee wrote: "Taraleck Veed was pretty shaken to find out that Rake was alive and walking around, wonder what he might do with this revelation

Linette, it is Ahlrada Ahn is who is shocked to hear that Rake is s..."


Ooops probably should have looked at the book and not gone from memory :) Thanks Lee. I had the right idea, but the wrong Tiste Andii. :)


message 20: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I'm still impressed you spelled Spit Hair's name correctly!


Linette | 152 comments That is so gross. Cracks me up when he does that then doesn't understand why someone looks at him in disgust.


message 22: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I'm waiting for the time when he doesn't do that - if it happens it's gonna be momentous!


message 23: by Dara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dara (cmdrdara) | 210 comments Tavore is claimed as the Fourteenth's. It reminds me of how Whiskeyjack belonged to the Bridgeburners.

I also liked this sentence about the Edur ships: "Sails that might have been black, once, but were now grey, bleached by sun and salt." I assume that's a reference to the Andii in hiding.

I have nothing profound to say but the magic was awesome.


Conor | 78 comments I'm a bit disappointed at how completely the Letherii/Edur are falling into the 'evil empire' trope in this one. They're a horribly corrupt culture that has sent the majority of their military force on a trip around the world killing people just for the hell of it. I also don't like how their magic is uber-powerful wherever they go. The explanation for how they got it is still really half-assed and vague. While I was hoping for a bigger confrontation, QB and Bottle standing down the Edur was pretty awesome.


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