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Crimson Guard

Page history last edited by TheSurvivor 13 years, 2 months ago

The Crimson Guard


A mercenary company sworn to Prince K'azz D'Avore. Originally from Quon Tali, they were scattered by the Malazan Empire and now combat the Malazans while taking other contracts across the world.





The Crimson Guard began as a collection of men-at-arms in service to the D'Avore family, which had holdings all across the Quon Tali continent. During the Malazan Empire's initial conquest of Quon Tali, the D'Avore family, currently ruled by Prince K'azz, frequently opposed the Malazan forces' expansion. Eventually Malazan forces reached the D'Avore's principal holdings near the Fenn ranges and K'azz fled the area. The five hundred men and women with K'azz swore an oath to reconquer the D'Avore land and return K'azz to his holdings. With this oath, the five hundred men and women became the Avowed.


The Diaspora


The Avowed continued to fight the Malazans on Quon Tali, gathering and recruiting more troops as they did. The Malazan forces overpowered them, however, and so the Crimson Guard fled the continent, traveling south to Stratem. There, the Guard settled, building a line of fortresses between the eastern and western coasts while recruiting more soldiers.


Eventually, the Malazans followed the Guard, launching their own invasion of Stratem. The Guard was initially able to repel the Malazan forces, resulting in the first major defeat for the Empire. The Malazans renewed the assault, however, and the Guard once again faced elimination.


To ensure the survival of the Guard, the Diaspora was ordered. Each Company of the Guard fled from Stratem with different destinations, preventing the Malazans from pursuing the Guard entirely. Each Company was ordered to amass more soldiers and when the Diaspora ended, the Guard would regroup and reconquer Quon Tali.


During the Diaspora, the Companies would frequently act as mercenaries, taking on contracts offered by high-paying nations. The Guard would also oppose the Malazan Empire's expansions and seek out other sources of power.


The 1st Company during the Diaspora


The Crimson Guard 1st Company, lead by Skinner, was contracted by a nation on Jacuruku to assist in conquering the neighbouring states.


The 2nd Company during the Diaspora


The 2nd Company, lead by Shimmer, was contracted by the Genebackan Free Cities Alliance to oppose the Malazan Empire's expansion across northern Genebackis. At the onset of the Pannion War, the Company traveled to Bael, where they took a contract to eliminate the warlock Shen


The 3rd Company during the Diaspora


The 3rd Company, lead by Tarkhan, was almost completely wiped out during the Diaspora. Their last contract was a civil war in Umryg, where only twelve Avowed survived and were sealed within a cave. Shortly before the end of the Diaspora, the twelve Avowed escaped the cave and were harried out of Umryg.


The 4th Company during the Diaspora


The 4th Company, lead by Cal-Brinn, was eliminated in Assail. The 2nd Blade is the only known remnant to escape the continent, winding up in Lether before becoming pirates and then cutting their way across Jacuruku. Ultimately the 2nd Blade was eliminated in their attempts to reach Stratem at the end of the Diaspora, except for Iron Bars, who became a prisoner on the Stormwall.


Return of the Crimson Guard


At the end of the Diaspora, the 1st and 2nd Companies and surviving twelve Avowed of the 3rd Company regrouped in Stratem before launching an invasion of the Quon Tali continent, their invasion coinciding with the Malazan Civil War. A small elite force raced ahead via warren to raid the Malazan capital city of Unta, followed by the entire Guard storming Cawn and traveling to Li Heng. The 2nd Company's 6th Blade also infiltrated and liberated an Otataral mining-camp populated by mages on Otataral Island, leading the mages via a warren-borne ship to rendezvous at Li Heng. At Heng, the main Crimson Guard force engaged the Malazan forces in a pitched battle.


The midst of the battle also saw the culmination of a schism between two internal factions of the Guard lead by Skinner and Shimmer. Skinner and Cowl sought to not only defeat the Malazan Empire, but to take control of it and rule their own Empire, while Shimmer favoured the Guard's original motivation of allowing Quon Tali to fragment into its former city-states. Prince K'azz returned during the battle and sided with Shimmer, dis-avowing Skinner and the Avowed who sided with him. Skinner and his Avowed fled, while K'azz negotiated with Laseen for the remaining Guard forces to withdraw from the continent. The Guard and Malazan forces also collaborated to eliminate ________, a mage from Otataral Island who had arrived on the 6th Blade's ship and attempted to destroy Quon Tali entirely.


Known Members


Bolded names are Avowed.



First Company


  • Skinner, Captain of the First Company
  • Kalt, Lieutenant
  • Mara, Mage
  • Gwynn, Mage
  • Petal, Mage 
  • Farese
  • Hist
  • Shijel
  • Black the Lesser 


Second Company


  • Shimmer, Captain of the Second Company 
  • Cowl, Mage, Master of the Veils  
  • Greymane, Lieutenant, former Malazan Fist 
  • Stoop, Siegemaster of the Guard
  • Smoky, Mage
  • Shellarr (aka Shell), Mage 
  • Jorrick Sharplance 
  • Opal, Mage
  • Isha, Veil
  • Keitil, Veil
  • Cole
  • Treat
  • Dim
  • Reed
  • Amatt
  • Sept
  • Lazar
  • Halfdan
  • Lean
  • Inese
  • Turgal 
  • Blues, Corporal and Mage, 6th Blade
  • Fingers, Mage, 6th Blade
  • Trench, Sergeant, First Induction
  • Ambrose, First Induction 
  • Meek, Second Induction  
  • Harman, Second Induction
  • Ogilvy, Second Induction, 32nd Blade
  • Grere, Second Induction  
  • Pilgrim, Second Induction  
  • Geddin, Second Induction 
  • Boll, Second Induction 
  • Whitey 
  • Kyle, Third Induction, 9th Blade
  • Stalker, Third Induction
  • Badlands, Third Induction
  • Coots, Third Induction 


Third Company


  • Tarkhan, Captain of the Third Company, Veil
  • Lor-sinn, Mage
  • Sour, Mage
  • Toby, Mage
  • Balkin, Mage
  • Lacy, Veil
  • Black
  • Baker
  • Janeth
  • Slate
  • Bower
  • Lucky 


Fourth Company


  • Cal-Brinn, Captain of the Fourth Company  
  • Jup Alat
  • Poll 
  • Iron Bars, 2nd Blade
  • Corlo, Mage, First Induction, 2nd Blade
  • Lamb, 2nd Blade
  • Tillin, 2nd Blade
  • Halfpeck, 2nd Blade 
  • Garren, 2nd Blade 





  • Shirdar
  • Keal
  • Bartok 
  • Voss, First Induction
  • Palla, First Induction 
  • Twisty (aka Lurgman Parsell), Second Induction
  • Jaris, Second Induction
  • Bakar, Second Induction 
  • Tolt, Second Induction
  • Daneth 
  • Longlegs  







The Crimson Guard: a famous mercenary company opposed to the Malazan Empire

NoK, UK mmpb, Glossary



The Crimson Guard: a famous mercenary company commanded by a deposed prince

GotM, Glossary



"'The Crimson Guard....' (...) Even Temper had to amit he felt it--a shiver of recognition and dread at the name. The mercenary company sworn to destroy the Empire. The force that handed Malaz its first major defeat by repulsing the invasion of Stratem, and which now opposed the Empire on four continents." - Temper (NoK, PSP THC, p.21-22)


"They had been the Crimson Guard, he recalled: five hundred men and women without a shiny buckle among them." (GotM, US HC, p.270)



A silver dragon on a crimson field

Wearing grey and crimson longcoat



About the Avowed


Guardroom speculation and a braggarts tale (Larkin)


"(...) Halfdan jogged past. I knew him by his size--half indeed!" (...) "Once served under Skinner, they say," (NoK, PSP THC p.23)
"(...) His surcoat shone in the flames like fresh blood. Lazar it was, with his visored helm and black shield" (NoK, PSP THC, p.23)
"(...) Dassem had clashed with them for decades--and that alone was enough to give anyone pause regarding their prowess. (..) It was said the Avowed were unstoppable, but Dassem had slain every one who had challenged him: Shirdar, Keal, Bartok. Only Skinner, they say, had come away alive from their clash." - Temper (NoK, PSP THC, p.24)
"(Adjunct Lorn) was in a whirlwind exchange with a tall, round-shouldered man with two scimitars. (...) she was now being driven back as a flurry of attacks swept around her. They both moved so quickly that Crokus could not even see the parries, or the blades themselves (...) Then a voice chuckled beside him, 'He's good, ain't he?'(...)The woman was trying to disengage now (...) Her opponent continued pressing, silent as a ghost. (...) 'That's Corporal Blues. He lives for this stuff.'" - Fingers (GotM, US MMPB, p.632-633 / UK MMPB, p.676)
"The Adjunct broke away, taking a cut in the right shoulder blade as she did so. (...) But who was that man? Never before had she faced such a swordsman, and the most appalling thing was that he had fought without the aid of sorcery. For once, her Otataral blade and her skill had not been enough." (GotM, UK MMPB, p.677)
"(...) a tall, thin man, wearing grey and crimson longcoat (...) He swung a narrow hatchet face (...) The man's other hand reached up to his collar, which he turned back to reveal a brooch. 'The name's Fingers, Sixth Blade, Crimson Guard. You're being protected, boy, compliments of Prince K'azz and Caladan Brood.'" (GotM, US MMPB, p.632-633 / UK MMPB, p.676)
"'Cowl's up there, damn his snakeskin hide. But he's a powerful mage, anyway. Serrat was furious I hear.'" -Fingers (GotM, US MMPB, p.633 / UK MMPB, p.676)
"'(...) Imagine, an Avowed of the Crimson Guard. Be glad it was not Skinner, or indeed Cowl. They would have taken notice of you, and that would not have been a good thing. We're not yet ready for that'" - The Crippled God to Rhulad Sengar (MT, UK HC, p.457)
"'You crimson guardsmen- you're pretty sure of yourselves, aren't you?'

'When it comes to fighting, aye, lass, we are.'

'I watched Iron Bars fight in Trate. he's an exception I gather-'

'Aye, he is, but not among the Avowed. Jup Alat would've given him trouble. or Poll for that matter. Then there's those in the other companies. Halfdan, Blues, Black the Elder...'

'More of these Avowed?'

'Aye'" - Seren Pedac questions Corlo (MT, UK HC, p.515)

"Iron Bars had fought brilliantly, (...) but the Avowed was very nearly done. Corlo had never before seen such fighting, had never before witnessed the fullest measure of this Avowed's ability. It had been said, by Guardsmen who would know, that he was nearly a match to Skinner. And now Corlo believed it." (MT, UK HC, p.661)

On being Avowed


"'How do I know you will not betray me?'

The Letherii (Seren Pedac) turned to Iron Bars. 'She doesn't trust us.'

The man strode to halt directly before the Tiste Andii woman.

'Acquitor, tell her I am an Avowed, of the Crimson Guard. If she would, she can seek the meaning of that. By laying her hand on my chest. Tell her I shall honour our pact.'

(...) 'Tell her to seek the cast of my soul'

'Very well'

The suspicious look in the woman's eyes grew more pronounced, but she stepped forward and set her left hand on the man's chest.

The hand flinched away and the woman stepped back a step, shock, then horror, writ on her face. 'How - how could you do - why?'

Seren said, 'Not the response you sought, I think, Iron Bars. She is ... appalled.'

'That is of no concern,' the man replied. 'Does she accept my word?'

The woman straightened, then, to Seren's question, she nodded and said, 'I cannot do otherwise. But ... I had forgotten ... this feeling.'

'What feeling?'


'Iron Bars,' Seren said, 'whatever this "Avowed" means, she is overwhelmed with ... pity.'

'Yes well,' he said, turning away, 'we all make mistakes.'" (MT, UK TPB, p.456)

"'And what does it mean? To be an Avowed?'

'Means they swore to return their prince to his lands. He was driven out, you see, by the cursed Emperor Kellanved. Anyway, it ain't happened yet. But it will, someday, maybe soon.'

'And that was the vow? All right. It seems this prince had some able soldiers with him.'

'Oh indeed, lass, especially when the vow's kept them alive all this time.'

'What do you mean?'

The mage looked suddenly nervous. 'I'm saying too much. Never mind me, lass. (...)'"

- Seren Pedac questions Corlo (MT, UK HC, p.515)

"Corlo had no idea what would come of this. An Avowed could indeed die, if sufficiently damaged. It was, he believed, a matter of will as much as anything else. And he had known Iron Bars for a long time, although not as long as he had known other of the Avowed. To his mind, however, there was no other who could compare with Iron Bars, when it came to sheer will." (MT, UK TPB, p.661)
"'Hiw's the chest?'
'Hurts like Hood's own pincers. It always hurts just as much, don't it.'
'You're only spared the dying part.'" - Corlo talking with Iron Bars (RotCG, US mmpb, p.401)

Cults, Cabals and Mercenaries

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