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Page history last edited by MTS 13 years, 5 months ago



General Info

Name: Greymane
Pseudonyms: Orjin Samarr (birth name), Stonewielder
Age: Unknown, born on Geni off the southern coast of Quon Tali
Race: Human
Warren: None. Sensitive to warren magic, possibly due to his sword
Appearance: A ‘giant of a man’, with broad shoulders, trunk-like legs, a flattened nose, heavy mouth, deeply set grey-blue eyes, long, grey hair and skin with a dark-berry hue.



(Shimmer) ‘The majority of her brothers and sisters were - to be honest - dismissive of the man. They regarded him a failure, a flawed officer who had broken under the strain of a difficult command. She however sensed within him something more. A veiled strength great enough to have defied not only his own superiors, but the Korelan Stormguard as well.
Overseas entanglements.

Obviously, here also was an officer who felt keenly the responsibilities of leading soldiers.’ - RotCG, TPB, p. 367


(Devaleth) ‘It seemed to her that he was in his element. Here, in the field, sharing the company of the regulars. Clearly, this was where he was most comfortable. No wonder he’d been so eager to get away. Yet what of the men and women of his command? ... From the glances and bearing of all those the High Fist talked to or sat among Devaleth saw that he had their hearts. In this manner he fit the mould of the old Malazan commanders she’d heard of: the legendary Dujek, the gruff Urko, or the revered Whiskeyjack.’ - SW, p. 244


(Devaleth) ‘He obviously felt the suffering of his troops. His temper was hair-thin.’ - SW, p. 274


‘If I were Greymane I’d cashier the fool.’
‘Let us hope this officer’s uncle is far too important for that,’ Borun suggested, with the closest thing to humour Ussü had yet heard from the man.
‘You don’t know Greymane,’ Ussü said darkly. - SW, p. 241


(Kyle) ‘He can be very...emotional.’ - SW, p. 275

Fighting Prowess

Greymane shares a lot of similarities to many fighters we’ve seen, such as Urko, Karsa and Brood, who use their immense strength to overpower their enemies. Greymane possesses prodigious strength for a human, and is capable of bending iron bars with his bare hands (RotCG, p. 12). He is also respected as a prominent swordsman, mentioned in the same breath as Anomander Rake, Dassem Ultor and the Seguleh First (MoI, p. 1009). Here are two examples of Greymane in combat, against Skinner and the Sixth Army respectively:


'They clashed again, grunting their efforts in blows that would fell trees. A swiping riposte was met by Greymane’s slimmer blade which burst like a sharper, shattering beneath the strain. But instead of flinching away the ex-Fist closed, grappling, and the two struggled from view.
He glimpsed them, wrestling, crashing into wagons, rolling amid the wreckage, trading blows that echoed through the night. Greymane arose bent behind Skinner, a grip up under his chin, straining, his face writhing with effort. Yet, incredibly, the Avowed commander straightened beneath him, raising the man clear off the ground to heave him, armour and all, off into the night.' - RotCG, TPB, p. 619



'It was the invaders who had broken through. Leading the charge came an armoured giant. Even as the Envoy watched, the man heaved aside an overturned cart, [and] knocked soldiers from their feet with raking blows.' - SW, p. 333

First Korel Invasion


Greymane was the commander of the first invasion of Korel, which happened roughly five years before the events of Night of Knives (NoK, p. 14), thus placing the initial landings in the 1149th year of Burn’s Sleep. Greymane was born on Geni off the southern coast of Quon Tali, and his father was a fisherman of the Cut between Quon Tali and Korel. He mentions seeing the Riders many times as a boy. After his father disappears on a fishing trip, presumably taken by the Riders, Greymane ‘swears off the sea’ and joins the army. This background eventually saw him chosen as the commander of the Korel invasion force, over time comprising the Sixth, Eighth and Thirteenth Armies, as his familiarity with the region was considered an asset (RotCG, p. 88).


For a time this appeared to be the case. Greymane successfully lands in Fist, despite numerous confrontations with the Stormriders and the formidable Ruse-aided thalassocracy of Mare. Initially the campaign goes well, despite the influence of the Lady rendering the Malazan mages useless (SW, p. 144). He also campaigns in Theft, presumably with the Thirteenth Army, while the Sixth remained in Fist and tried to conquer Rool. Kellanved prevents the Stormguard from marching on the Malazans by promising to limit Malazan holdings to territory currently occupied i.e. Fist and Rool, and possibly Theft as well, to which the Stormguard agree (SW, p.211). The exact timing of this deal is vague however.


During the campaign Ipshank, a Theftian high-ranking priest of the Lady and famous healer, defects to Greymane’s side with his companion Manask, becoming a priest of Fener in the process (SW, p. 305). Faradan Sort, a female section commander on the Stormwall (BH, p. 168), also perhaps defects to Greymane’s (or at least the Malazan) side at this time, as she is reported to have served with the Eighth Army while it was in Korel (DoD, p. 541), but that might simply be a cover story. These defections likely have less to do with his military campaigning and more to do with his dealings with the Stormriders.


Eventually the Korel campaign ground to a halt, and a stalemate ensued. Ferocious local resistance and appalling casualty rates hindered and eventually stopped the Malazans’ advance, and they were held up in Rool (NoK, p. 14; SW, p. 276). Keneb comments that Greymane fought ‘a protracted war over a huge territory with no defined front’, and that he needed self-sustaining units ready for any contingency (HoC, p. 641). Greymane faced almost unanimous resistance from the Korelan people, all under the thumb of the Lady. It is even intimated that she actually allowed the Malazans to land so as to convert more to the faith and gain more power due to the blood spilled (SW, p. 150). Retreat was never an option – they were pinned in by Mare to the south and east, the Roolians and Korelans to the west and the Stormriders to the north, and so the Malazans were confined to their original foothold on Fist (RotCG, p. 37).



Contact with the Stormriders


As previously mentioned, Greymane had many encounters with the Stormriders as a boy. Fighting against the Korelans was the catalyst that saw him come into contact with them again. As the stalemate in Korel dragged on, Greymane recognised that with the Stormrider threat menacing Korel from the north, it would be almost impossible for the Malazans to truly conquer Korel. The Stormguard were the only force standing between the Korelans and supposed annihilation by the Stormriders. Any attempt to remove them and their power over the island would be both difficult and costly, while ‘the whole island would rise against him’ (SW, p. 382) to protect both themselves and the Wall. Hiam states that the Riders represent ‘the absolute truth of [the Stormguard's] indispensability’ (SW, p. 387).


Thus Greymane decided to try something no-one else had yet attempted in order to break the stalemate – he tried to make peace between humanity and the Riders (RotCG, p. 147). A ‘handful of others’ participated in this attempt as well, presumably Ipshank and Manask, and perhaps Ruthan Gudd as well, who was a companion and supporter of Greymane at the time (SW, p. 95) and possesses a Stormrider sword and armour (DoD, p. 839).


One night Greymane climbed down some cliffs on the Sea of Storms and waited. Eventually some Riders appeared and spoke to him. They claimed they weren’t the enemy at all, and that the Korelri were denying them access to their own territory and blocking some kind of ancient obligation, or holy pilgrimage (SW, p. 47). It is unclear what exactly this ‘ancient obligation’ is, but it appears to have something to do with the Lady, who mentions the Stormriders as her ‘ancient enemy’ that ‘followed her even unto [Korel]’ (SW, p. 471).


Greymane’s sword


‘An artefact unique in all existence, but for one other’ (SW, p. 100). Greymane received the grey blade that gave him the name Stonewielder when he attempted to strike an accord with the Stormriders. They claim they found it at the bottom of the sea, that it was very old, and Greymane claims they gave it to him out of gratitude for talking to them, not out of any deal he made (SW, p. 47-48). This is belied by the fact that later when talking to Devaleth Greymane states that ‘[he] was handed two ghastly choices decades ago...Mass murder on the one hand – and an unending atrocity of blood and death on the other’ (SW, p. 427), obviously referring to having to choose between breaking the Wall and letting the conflict continue without surcease.


The sword ‘channels D’riss directly’ (SW, p. 454) and bears similarities to Brood’s hammer. It channels the power of the earth, and Greymane seemed somewhat immune to the Lady’s attempt to use the land against the army in Rool, associating him rather strongly with Burn, or at the very least Tennes. He was originally named Stonewielder by the indigenous peoples of the Screaming Range who claimed Greymane fit ancient prophecies of the Wall’s destruction – the ‘stone’s revenge against the Wall’ (SW, p. 454). This presents the Wall as a monumental abomination of the land, which, if the Lady is actually a fragment of the Crippled God, dovetails with Burn needing to excise the Crippled God from her flesh or die, and thus all civilisation with it (something Brood is also supposed to prevent). Greymane seems to be able to conjure it at will, there being numerous instances where it has just appeared in his hands (RotCG, p. 16; SW, p. 238, 455).


Consorting with the Stormriders has also given Greymane a resistance to cold, and like Ruthan Gudd, seems to be able to sheathe himself in ice (RotCG, p. 20, 50).


Arrest and denouncement by High Command


Trying to broker peace with the Riders saw Greymane marked for death by the Korelri and arrested by the Malazans. The Chosen considered Greymane to be ‘betraying humanity’ by forming ‘unholy pacts with the Ice Demons’ (SW, p. 47; RotCG, p. 39). The Malazans considered Greymane to be betraying the army (SW, p. 48), possibly due to the power he gained through the sword. It is suggested by Rillish that this was merely an excuse to pin the failure of the campaign on Greymane however, as he states ‘procedures had been rushed’ and ‘testimony was thin, if not fabricated’ (SW, p. 143).


He is tried and convicted by the Imperial governor Hemel ‘Et Kalal, along with others such as Enesh-jer, Yuell and Rillish (SW, p. 333). Greymane then flees Korel (SW, p. 143), while his supporters scatter to avoid facing death. Ipshank and Manask flee south across the Ice Wastes towards Stratem (MoI, p. 529), Ruthan Gudd heads to Malaz Island with the remnants of the Thirteenth Army (DoD, p. 541), and Martal (another vocal supporter of Greymane) heads towards the mountains south of Blight, where she encounters Beneth, spiritual leader of the Army of Reform (SW, p. 340).


After Greymane’s arrest the Sixth eventually mutinies and severs all ties with the Empire. Hemet ‘El Kalal is soon found dead and the next Fist ostensibly commits suicide, leaving Yuell as Overlord of Fist and commander of the Sixth Army (SW, p. 96).


Time with the Crimson Guard and in Falar


The next time we see or hear of Greymane he is serving in the Crimson Guard under Second Company Commander Shimmer in Bael, who was assisting with the defeat of a warlock named Shen who was siphoning the power of a dreaming Ascendant that turned out to be Osseric (RotCG, p. 20). He accompanies the Crimson Guard on their invasion of Quon Tali, and gained a captaincy and command of a flank from Shimmer (RotCG, p. 367). Despite not being Avowed himself, his input and leadership were nevertheless respected by some in the Guard, such as Smoky, Shimmer and Stoop.


After the Crimson Guard’s invasion fails, Greymane retires to Delanss on the Falar subcontinent to open a fighting academy with Kyle (SW, p. 19). Not long after, Greymane is tracked down by four Korelri Chosen, who proceed to try and kill him for treating with the Riders (SW, p. 46). He was forced to flee with Kyle, but is soon tracked down by agents of the new Emperor Mallick Rel, namely Fist Khemet Shul, Reshal (a Claw), and Admiral Swirl of the Blue Moranth. The Emperor reinstates Greymane as High Fist and Commander of the Fourth and Eighth Armies, in preparation for a new invasion of Korel. Realising in the wake of the Chosen attack and being tracked down by the Malazans that he will never be able to hide, he accepts Mallick Rel’s offer (SW p. 94).


Second Korel Invasion


Along with the Blue Moranth and Admiral Nok, Greymane then achieves what none had yet managed – he breaks the Mare blockade and proceeds to capture the Skolati city of Aamil on the eastern coast of Fist. With Mare’s dominance of the sea broken, the Blue Moranth advance towards the city of Banith while Greymane leads his army inland, leaving Fist Khemet Shul in Aamil to consolidate the Skolati region. The Lady appears to try and resist them, as Greymane’s army is beset by landslides and flash floods (SW, p. 238). He is again held up in Rool by the Sixth Army under Enesh-jer, at the Three Sisters fortress on the Ancy river.After an intense period of privation Greymane leads a charge and eventually breaks the Sixth’s hold over the important crossing point (SW, p. 333). The Sixth then flee to Korel and broker a deal with the Korelri, whereby they would provide ten thousand men for the Wall if the Korelri help them reconquer Rool in the spring (SW, p. 344). Greymane and his army follow in their wake, and invade Korel itself, landing just south of Kor (SW, p. 424).


After watching the army establish a beachhead on the Korel coast, Greymane leaves the army to its own devices and heads to Wind Tower, the westernmost tower on the Wall, using Devaleth’s warren. There he takes out his sword and strikes a blow deep into the Wall, causing it to fall and thus creating untold loss of life by the enormous tidal wave and floods that follow, fulfilling one of the choices offered him decades earlier when he received his sword from the Stormriders.

Apparent Death


In the process Greymane manages to get himself trapped under the Wall, and apparently dies:

'Oh shit. I’m under the wall.
Well, he chided himself, you didn’t really think you’d survive this, did you?' - SW, p. 456


Greymane yanked again, frantic, but his limbs would not budge. He stared down at his hands, trapped in the raw living stone, and only then did the beautiful poetry of it dawn upon him and he threw back his head to laugh aloud. Oh ye gods, you have outdone yourselves! Laugh at the fool mortal, for only now do I see it. Stonewielder indeed! Yes. You scheming bastards and bitches!
‘Damn you all to Hood’s deepest pits!’
The foaming flood struck him. His feet were swept from under him; he was trapped under the raging flow. Branches and other driven trash smashed into him and he could hold his breath no longer. The air burst from his searing lungs in a froth of bubbles.

He never drew another.

As his consciousness faded he thought he felt hands grasp him there beneath the surface. He did not know if it was his delirious fancy or not, or what it might mean, for all went to dark then and he allowed himself release without regret, without anger, without expectation of anything. - SW, p. 457


Below, unknowably far down in the black depths of the Hole, a figure glimmered. The unnatural clarity of the water allowed extraordinary detail. An armoured giant of a fellow in a full helm and holding, point-downward on his breast, a great grey blade. - SW, p. 494

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