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Page history last edited by Eloth 12 years, 10 months ago

The Moranth


" In our eyes deeds have measure. We judge. We act upon our judgements. As in Pale, we match spirit with spirit...Eighteen thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine souls departed in the purge of Pale. One for each Moranth confirmed as a victim of Pale’s history of enmity towards us. Spirit with spirit, Bird That Steals...There are worms within your empire’s flesh. But such degradation is natural in all bodies. Your people’s infection is not yet fatal. It can be scoured clean. The Moranth are skilled at such efforts.





The Moranth are a mysterious and reclusive race of humanoids residing upon the continent of Genabackis. They reside in cities built in their native territory of Cloud Forest, though no outsider has ever claimed to have seen these settlements. The Moranth are never seen without their armor, which has been described as making them look insect-like. They are one of several races descended from the ancient T'lan Imass, and are divided by a strict caste/clan system. Different clans are determined by the color of armor they wear. They are a divided people, each caste in fanatic competition with each other. During the reign of the Malazan Empire, the Silver Moranth clan dominated the Moranth clans. The Moranth defy the cliche of barbaric peoples, and are said to have Annals and written histories dating back seven thousand years.


The Moranth are renowned for their alchemical prowess.The Moranth munitions they gave to the Malazans completely changed the practice of warfare for the Empire, being a major contribution to the success of the Genabackian campaign. Their method of transport is unique among Genabackian society, having tamed the airborn insect-like creatures, the Quorl.


The Moranth have contributed greatly to many Malazan military campaigns. Notably, in the books we have seen the Moranth and their sense of vengeance when they breached the city of Pale, after the bloody siege that took place there. Also, they are noted for their contributions during the siege of Coral, where they transported the Bridgeburners into the city. During that battle, they dropped munitions on the city and also transported more soldiers into the city after the Bridgeburner's preemptive strike.


The Moranth share ties with the Barghast, due to their mutual ancestors, the T'lan Imass. They consider the Barghast their Fallen Kin, though the Barghast see otherwise. They speak the same language as the Barghast shouldermen, which Cafal claims is: "the language that rose from the pit of darkness from whence all thought and all words first came."


Considering their ancestry, it is fair to say their language is possibly derived from the ancient tongue of the T'lan Imass, and may even be that same language. Cafal's claims to it being the first language are suspect however, due to the K'Chain Che'Malle race of sentient lizards predating the rise of the Imass. All in all, it is fair to say the Moranth speak a language derived from the Imass tongue, and is probably one of the oldest tongues among the manifold human populations of the Malazan world.


The Moranth have had contact with the Tiste Edur as well. The Edur appear to have arrived at Cloud Forest due to the presence of a piece of the shattered warren, Kurald Emurlahn, where they encountered the Barghast who came to be known as the Moranth. The Edur were few and the Moranth welcomed them. The Edur exchanged ideas with them, and taught them alchemy, without which, they may never have come to prominence by producing their explosive munitions.


Known Moranth Clans/Castes

Green - The Green Moranth are mainly involved with transportation, whether it be transporting provisions or people to wherever they need to be. 

Black - The Black Moranth are the most encountered caste in the books, due to their involvements with Malazan military campaigns. Lead by Twist.

Gold - The Gold Moranth seem to be largely comprised of elite warriors. They reluctantly agreed to march against Caladan Brood. 

Silver - The Silver Moranth are the dominant clan in Moranth society. According to Steven Erikson, they are comprised of Mages. They are the reason why the Malazans posess the munition technology of the Moranth, for the munitions were meant for use against mages.

Blue - The Blue Moranth, are a seafaring clan who know the ways of the water.

References and Sources:


Steven Erikson: "Originally, before the dominance of the Silver caste among the Moranth, the munitions existed to counter sorcery, or, rather, to kill sorcerors. Now, since the Silver are mages, the munitions are strictly export items only, and it seems supply is drying up....(Q and A with wotmania (2003)


"Allies. They're claiming their hour of blood. At the end of that hour there would be a few score thousand fewer survivors among the citizens of Pale. The long savage history between the neighbouring peoples was about to have the scales of retribution balanced. By the sword." - (GoTM) - thoughts of Tattersail


The alliance between the Moranth and the Empire had changed the 

face of Imperial war. The Malazan tactics here on Genabackis had 

twisted into a new shape, one increasingly dependent on transport by air 

of both soldiers and supplies. Such dependency was dangerous, as far as 

Whiskeyjack was concerned. We know so little about these Moranth – 

no one has ever seen their cities in the forest. I can’t even tell their sex. 

Most scholars held that they were true humans, but there was no way to 

tell – the Moranth collected their own dead from the battlefields. There 

would be trouble in the Empire if the Moranth ever exercised a thirst for 

power. From what he had heard, however, the various colour factions 

among them marked an ever-changing hierarchy, and the rivalry and 

competition remained at a fanatical pitch.

 - (GoTM p.72)

'He knew something of the history of grim enmity between  

the Moranth and the citizens of the once Free City of Pale. Contested 

trade routes, two mercantile powers at each other’s throat. And Pale won 

more often than not. At long last it seemed that the black-armoured 

warriors from beyond the western mountains, whose faces remained 

hidden behind the chitinous visors on their helms and who spoke in 

clicks and buzzes, were evening the score'  - Whiskeyjack -. (GoTM p.84)


"..different clans don’t like to mix. The Moranth are made up of a bunch of clans, got colours for names, and wear them too. Nobody gets confused that way." - (GoTM p.62-3)


'...a hell of a time getting the Gold legions – their élite warriors – to fight Caladan Brood. Seems they consider him too honourable to treat as an enemy. The whole alliance was on shaky ground for a while there, but in the end they marched.'- (GoTM p.72) - Dujek Onearm


"The Moranth speak the language of the Barghast shouldermen – the holy tongue – the language that rose from the pit of darkness from whence all thought and all words first came. The Moranth claim kinship with the Barghast – they call us their Fallen Kin. But it is they who have fallen, not us. They who have found a shadowed forest in which to live. They who have embraced the alchemies of the T’isten’ur. They who made peace with the demons long ago, exchanging secrets, before retreating into their mountain fastnesses and hiding for ever behind their insect masks." - Cafal (the name T'isten'ur is derived from Tiste Edur)

"Children of the Shattered Warren. A fragment had been discovered, in the vast forest of Moranth that would become our new homeland. Kurald Emurlahn, the true face of Shadow. There were so few Tiste Edur left, we chose to welcome them. The last of them are gone now, from Moranth Wood, long gone, but their legacy is what has made us as we are.'

'Achievant, it may take me a while to make sense of what you've just described. I have questions—'

Twist shrugged again. 'We did not slay the Tiste Edur. In Barghast eyes, that is our greatest crime. I wonder, however, if the Elder Spirits - now gods - see it in similar light.'" - (MoI p.325)


"'So - they can't take it off?  Really?'

Eyes shut, Heuk gave an exaggerated nod.  'Never.  Doesn't come off.'"  - (Referring to the armor of a female Gold Moranth, TourmalinRotCG, US mmpb p. 676)



Notable Members:

Twist, leader of the Black Moranth clan.


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