SE once said Quon Tali was created by him and ICE to be a microcosm, containing a mix of human races and cultures. It’s my speculation that each group immigrated separately, with few of them being ‘native’ in the strict sense. The Seti perhaps, or the Kanese.

Also wanted to mention that ‘Malazan’ isn’t an ethnicity. Malazans can be any ethnicity from Nathii to Pardu to Talian.


Bloorian = from the City-State Bloor. Royal guard impaled by Dassem Ultor for using children as shields.
Cawn = Byzantium – controlling trade between east and west, Cawnese Provincial Army
Cawn – port of choice for any inland expedition, the harbor can support hundreds of ships, tax collectors and government (Chief Factor of Cawn) corrupt, rapacious, greedy, like port of call for the Crusades
Cawnese: Hanseatic League, Medici Bank, Bank of Amsterdam, Genoa, Maritime Republics
Dal Hon, Northern (Sub-Saharan Africa: Plains: Ngoni)
Dal Hon, Southern (Sub-Saharan Africa: Jungle/Tropical Forest: Baka) South Dal Honese, short and wide and black as onyx.
Dal Honese = Location: southern Quon Tali (Dal Hon Plains) Information: typically stubborn in disposition, often argumentative. Dal Honese have dark, curly hair and (usually) dark eyes along with medium-colored skin. Dal Hon – myriad of individual deities, Dal Honese Pantheon, strong independent women in the military
Falar = Dublin, Ireland
Falari (North-Western European: Irish) – ‘Falar’ is a region consisting of both islands and the northern-most parts of Quon Tali, with Delans, Strike and Walk the major island cities and Falair the main mainland city.
Falari = Location: Quon Tali/surrounding islands Information: a pale, small people with fiery red hair. The Falari are pre-malazan conquerors and thus not indigenous to the Falar Isles. The indigenous people were olive-skinned and dark-haired, iirc, as opposed to the red-haired and fair-skinned Falari. Delanss, capital city of the second most populous island of the Falaran subcontinent and archipelago, boasted prestigious long-established schools: Grieg’s Academy, the School of the Curved Blade, the Black Falcon School. Academies that rivalled the famous officers’ school of Strike Island. And privately, Kyle did not believe his friend would ever manage to push his way into such a closed, tightly knit market in what seemed such a closed, tightly knit society. As far as he could see, this region’s capitulation to its Malazan invaders seemed to have amounted to no more than changing the colour of the flags atop the harbour fortress. … expensive Falaran-style longswords and daggers, the blades straight and slim. 3 young nobles, condescneding, used to have others open and close doors for them. … the richly dressed Delanss noble in his furred robes and thick silver chains. Ruthan Gudd says he is from the island of Strike, whose people believe they are the only remaining original inhabitants of Falar. Mallick Rel is Falari. Excellent mariners. … the red- and gold-haired folk you see and think of as Falari were in fact invaders from the eastern ocean.
Fenn = Barghast.
Geni = Brazil (Amazon River states: Munduruku, Piraha) (Greymane = Minotaura Nogueira)
Geni (South-Eastern Asia: Chamorro), (Ecuador: Amazonian forest region: Huaorani)
Gris – Born in a northern province of Gris to poor farmers, From the sun-drenched south slopes of Gris, where grow the finest grapes
Itko Kan = Shanghai, coastal China, SE Asia (Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City) (Nagoya, Osaka) (Ainu, Jomon, Yayoi peoples)
Kanese (short, black hairs, epicanthic eyelids)
Kanese = Location: Quon Tali/surrounding islands Information: a cooperative people with the dark hair and eyes that are typical of the people of Quon Tali.
Kartool (Indian: Tamil, Veddas, Siddi)
Li Heng = Xanadu, Khanbaliq, (Wuhan, Zhengzou, Chengdu, Chongqing) (Song, Jin, Yuan, Qing, Shang Dynasty)
Malaz Island = Pirates
Malazan, Jakatan (Pirates: mix)
Malazan = Location: various continents (Quon Tali, Malaz Island) Information: hold the largest and most powerful empire on Genabackis, Quon Tali, and Seven Cities. It is a commercial empire, really—the benefits lie in economics, but Malazan rule tends to be more free than most others. An amalgam of people from all corners of the empire, it is an allegiance rather than a race, and as such might be avoided as an identifying label (unless in loyal or friendly territory). Seemingly involved in endless conquest. The imperial symbol is a taloned hand holding a crystal globe on a maroon background.
Nap Isles = Polynesia
Napan (blue-toned Polynesians)
Napan = Location: Quon Tali (Napan Isles) Information: humans with uniquely blue skin color and often large muscles. They have the worst aesthetic sense of all people, and generally opt for utility rather than beauty.
Nom Purge (Scandinavian: Norse)
Por Seti = Plains American Indians
Quon (Northern-European: Danish)
Quon (and Seti) = Location: Quon Tali/surrounding islands Information: a generic human population native to Quon Tali. The Seti were a tribe in the northern part of the continent, but have been thoroughly assimilated into the Quon culture that they have effectively ceased to exist. Some people with Seti blood display trinkets and charms to show their heritage, but it’s seen as an empty gesture. Quon tribes (those who stick to their roots) paint their faces with white ash and draw black death lines when headed into battle. The Seti are lancers and horse-archers.
Seti (American Indian: Plains Warriors: Comanche, Kiowa, Pawnee, Blackfoot)
Tali = Copenhagen, Northern Europe
Unta = (Mediterranean: Roman)
Untan = Location: Quon Tali (Unta) Information: a people with a proud history of conquerors. Nobles of the warrior caste have been replaced by nobles from the merchant class, who hoard gold and regularly engage in political subterfuge.
Wickan Plains = Eurasian Steppes (Kazakhstan, Ukraine)
Wickans (Euro-Asian Steppe: Kazakhstan: Cossacks, Tatars, Bulgars, or Ottoman Empire) Yurts used in colder windy grassland biomes with little wood, easy to break down and transport. Ukraine Zaporozhian Cossacks along the Black Sea, Rostov steppe nature preserve dammed for reservoirs and irrigation, flooded for farmland, of Askaniia-Nova Biosphere Reserve. However, if needs to be fertile but next to ocean maybe more like California coastal prairie grasslands: Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands. Land could have been colder at one point from Jaghut glaciers now receded so warmed up.
Wickan = Location: Quon Tali (Wickan Plains) Information: a tribal society from the northeast plains of Quon Tali. Historically, the clans have feuded with each other and have had little to do with outsiders, but the advance of the Malazan Empire has more or less brought them together. They are famed horse warriors, and their horsewives are women who have no equal in their care of horses. Their shamans deal mainly with spirits rather than warrens, and they believe in reincarnation—souls of great warlocks or warriors can be reborn in a child who previously had no soul. The three most prominent Wickan clans are the Crow (the strongest), the Foolish Dog, and the Weasel, all of which are loyal to the Malazan Empire. Yurts.

Nomadic – Seti, Wickan, Dal Honese (teepees, yurts, tents)
Island – Falari, Malazan, Jakatan, Kartool, Geni, Napan
City – Quon Tali, Unta, Li Heng (no fleet of ships crowding the river mouth)(ancient city, royal treasure of Li Heng)(Protectorate)(Marco Polo trade route), ”…one of the those fancy officer schools at Unta, Li Heng, or Tali.”
Exotic – Seven Cities, Genabackis, Barghast
Minor Powers – Cawn (Byzantium), Itko Kan, Gris (Spain), Bloor, Purage (Cardiff *Wales, Cimmeria)
… A series of uprisings and military conflicts within the Malazan Empire, … Among these mutinous city-states were Bloor, Gris and Cawn. …

The Malazan home defense forces, spread across the continent of Quon Tali. It is commanded by a High Fist in Unta (Anand during the Malazan Civil War), and sub-divided into regions, each commanded by a Fist.
#Quon Tali province – with headquarters in the city of Quon Tali (commanded by Fist Kal’il during the Malazan Civil War)
#Unta, Gris and the Wickan plains – headquarters in Unta (commanded by Fist D’Ebbin during the Malazan Civil War)
#Li Heng and surroundings – with headquarters in Li Heng (commanded by Fist Rheena, and later interim-Fist Storo Matash during the Malazan Civil War)
#Itko Kan and surroundings -
#Malaz Island – with headquarters in Malaz City (commanded by sub-Fist Pell during The Return; by Fist Aragan at the end of the Sha’ik Rebellion)
#The Seti Plains – with headquarters in Fort Saran (commanded by Fist Darlat prior to the Malazan Civil War, transfered to Fist Genist D’Irdrel at the beginning of the civil war)

Untan Confederacy, the Li Heng League (despotic rulers of the pre-empire days on Quon Tali) the Itko Kan-Cawn Por wars, the Seti Tide, the Wickan migrations, the Quon attempt at hegemony.

uyghur, torghut, paiwan, atayal, sakizaya

Manchu, Longshan, Shang, zhou, Qin dynasty.

Seven Cities – Middle-East and North-Africa: Berbers (Numidian Cavalry), Bedouins (sword dance,
7 Cities = North Africa/Middle East/India, Sahelian (grasslands along the Sahara).

1. Khundryl (Arabian Bedouin: Ajman tribe)

2. Gral (North Africa Berber: Riffian)

3. Pardu (North Africa Berber: Taureg)

4. Debrahl (West Africa: Wodaabe and Hausa (Sahelian cattle-herders and traders), Igbo (republic farmers, Kingdom of Nri)

West Africa: Burkina = Mossi (horsemen), Ghana = Soninke,

East Africa: Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea = Beja, Hadendoa, Zaghawa,

Nilotic = Nuer, The Plain Nilotes, who speak Maa languages: the Maasai, Samburu (+Rendeille) and Turkana, The Highland Nilotic: Marakwet, Nandi,

Bantu = Kenya: Kamba, Kikuyu

Central Africa including/below the Sahara = Sahelian kingdoms, Bornu Empire,

Seven Cities Tribes =Location: Seven Cities Information: many tribes with little outward differences, although all conform to the definition of “uncivilized.” They have an entirely undisciplined fighting style, and pay no particular allegiance to any one empire or other governing body. The Arak are horse warriors found in the Pan’potsun Odhan; Bhilard are east of the Nenoth Odhan; Can’eld (northeast of Ubaryd); Debrahl (northerly regions); Dhis’bahl (Omari and Nahal Hills); the Gral delight in pursuing vendettas and will actively seek reason to do so (from the Ehrlitan foothills down to the Pan’potsun Odhan); Kherahn Dhobri (Geleen Plain); Khundryl (west of the Nenoth Odhan); Pardu (north of the Geleen grasslands); the Semk paint their bodies with ash when in battle. The Semk was a squatter, more pugnacious-looking version of the Tithan. against the Semk and their undisciplined, two-handed fighting methods. (Karas Hills and Steps); Tithan, who paint their hands red, steppes horsewarriors, lancers and archers (south of Sialk); and the Tregyn (west of Sanimon).

Tanno = Location: Seven Cities Information: generally short and bow-legged. Skilled shamans are known as Spiritwalkers, who work magic through song and can “travel” the warrens and other worlds by astral projection.

North Genabakis

Nathii (Russia) (Krivich, Ilmen Slavs, Merya, Mordvins)

Central Genabakis

Daru and Gadrobi, /Akkadian Empire, Hurrians (former Mitanni now fallen)/ leading wars against the tall nomadic barbarian Amorites. / Elam, an ancient plundered civilization very different from the surrounding cultures

South Genabakis

Morn, Segulah, Trygalle, Elingarth.

Genabackis = Russia, Babylon

Darujihistan – medieval Baghdad, Cairo or Samarkand. The resonance of alchemy in the area also chimes with this line of thought.

Capan = Location: Genabackis (Capustan) Information: more of a city affiliation than an actual subset of human—they reside in the city-state of Capustan, governed by the Prince and the Mask Council of priests and priestesses. Some citizens have replaced tribal affiliation with allegiance to the city, and so prefer to be called Capan.

Daru = Location: Genabackis (Darujhistan) Information: like Capans, the Daru occupy their own city-state of Darujhistan and so the term “Daru” is more of an indication of allegiance rather than actual tribe or race. They have their own dialect, however, and locals are known for the curiosity and for spinning wild tales. They are an incredibly wealthy merchant people and have something of caste system—there are certain guilds for trade, and the city is governed by the Council of nobles as well as the hidden T’orrud Cabal of sorcerers and mages. Despite being too cheap to hire mercenaries or defenders, Darujhistan has never been successfully conquered. Fencing, rapiers.

Gadrobi = indigenous cultural group in central Genabackis. A pastoral people. Herders of goats and sheep. Gadrobi Hills.
Rhivi Plain = The Rhivii, from Genabackis are described as “small and brown skinned”.
Callows = A city on the continent of Genabackis. “Sulty arrived with breakfast…and a pot of Callows bitter coffee.”

Moranth = Location: Genabackis (Moranth Mountains) Information: descendants of the Imass, and as such are larger than humans. Allies of the Malazan Empire, they provide alchemical (explosive) munitions to the engineer corps of the Malazan military, and also sometimes participate in combat. They wear insectile, chitinous armor that obscures gender and facial recognition, although the color of the armor represents the Moranth Clan: Blue for the navy/fishing, Green for transport and couriers, Black for the regular military, Gold for the elite military, and Silver for the mages. The Silver Moranth are currently in control of their people. Transport and battle occur on the backs of oversized dragonfly-like creatures called “quorls,” capable of seating multiple people. Generally hostile to the Barghast, although both languages are comprehensible to each group.

Nathii = Traders, slavers with a vicious, mean, self-serving reputation. They had a big fleet with catapults attacking Malyntaeas City that the Malazans destroyed. They have mages, including a swamp necromancer and Silgar, who’s a slaver, Mael priest, and mage. Known as torturers who flay the skin one strip at a time – “Nathii have made the infliction of suffering an art – must be the cold winters or something”.

Genabarii – cultural group (and language) in north-west Genabackis. …a Genabarii broadsword and buckler. Had a royal line in a blood-red castle, now all dead, killed by the Malazan invasion.

Korhivi – Malyntaeas (City), they have a keep, capitulated, but now stirred up against the Malazans by the Crimson Guard.

Rhivi = Location: Genabackis (central plains/Rhivi Plains) Information: a pastoral nomadic society who move with herds of bhederin (similar to cattle). They are small in stature, with brown skin and dark hair and eyes. Generally not warlike, although they do have worthy outriders—they prefer to fight from horseback. lancers, horse-archers.

Seguleh = Location: Genabackis (Seguleh Island) Information: lithe, with dark hair and eyes. The Seguleh are mainly confined to their island on the south end of Genabackis, and are disinclined to travel. They are a warrior society, arranged by skill level -the best is known as the First, the second the Second, and so on. They wear masks, and the amount of white porcelain showing denotes rank. The First has a pure white mask, the Second one black stripe, the Third two black lines, and so on – initiates are called Blackmasks (First Level Initiates). Each position is open for regular challenge, but failure is not tolerated and death for one combatant or the other is the usual outcome. They are amazingly fast and quite strong, and their skill with swords is legendary. If the hierarchy is in doubt, they will challenge it – anyone who is perceived as a threat will be challenged, unless they are female, in which case the female must attack first. As a people, they seem taciturn, and communicate mainly through body language – they will not deign to speak to someone who does not have their respect or who does not outrank them.


Letherii Bluerose Akrynnai D’ras Bolkondo Saphinand

•Faraed •Fent •Letherii •Nerek •Tarthenal •Jheck •Awl’dan


Meckros = The Meckros live in massive, floating cities that travel across the oceans and trade with people on land. The only character to come from Meckros as of Reaper’s Gale is Withal, the weaponsmith, whose city was destroyed. A second city was found frozen in Coral Bay by Lady Envy and company. Withal also appears in Midnight Tides, after ice had destroyed his city leaving him the only survivor.

Trell (non-human): pastoral nomadic warrior society in transition to sedentarianism. GotM, Glossary
‘two centuries past…He’d known centuries already, wedded to war in what had become an ever-repeating cycle of raids, feuding and bloody sacrifices before the god of honour…He had been young when he walked out of the trader town that was his home. He was caught – like so many of his age back then – in a fevered backlash, rejecting the rotting immobility of the Trell towns and the elder warriors who’d become merchants trading in bhederin, goats and sheep, and now relived their fighting paths in the countless taverns and bars. He embraced the wandering ways of old, willingly suffered initiation into one of the back-land clans that had retained the traditional lifestyle.’
DG, UK MMPB, p.292-3

Thelomen Toblakai are one of the four founding races of Wu. They are genetically seperate from all Imass-based races (i.e. humans), and though Erikson does not go into detail about the facial features of such characters as Bellurdan, Karsa Orlong, or any of Orlong’s companions, they are doubtless somewhat alien to human readers. The Thelomen Toblakai have decendants at the time of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; these are the Teblor, Barghast , and Trell.


Seeds of Despair Greipr