Seeds of Despair
The most prominent empire on the world, originating on Malaz Island off the coast of Quon Tali. Its holdings stretch from the northern part of Seven Cities to the northern tip of Genabackis, and further expansion into Korelri is underway. The empire itself is ruled from Unta by the Emperor (or Empress), and its military might is responsible for much of its success. In addition, the Emperor/Empress commands the Claw, a secret organization of assassins who eliminate anyone who might pose a threat to the empire.
One might believe that the Malazans are nothing but land-grabbers—while true to a certain extent, the territories under Malazan control fare quite well. There will always be a military presence and rulers may be replaced by others loyal to the empire, but economically and politically, conquered cities are quite free. Where possible the Malazans use local rulers, religions and customs to rule, creating a continuity of control from the pre-Imperial regime which should reduce the risk of natives banding together patriotically to eject the foreigners. In terms of wealth, those under occupation fare better from the increased trade, and Malazan rule is much less oppressive than most home-grown leaders would be. One might wonder why resistance to the empire’s expansion would exist at all…
Resistance to the expansion of the Malazan Empire on Genabackis was accomplished through a loose coalition of city-states, which ultimately failed to stop the conquest. Of that coalition, only Darujhistan remains independent, while to the south, the rest of the Genabackan city-states are growing increasingly nervous about future Malazan campaigns. Growing unease might signal another alliance, and some cities are currently looking to hire mercenaries for protection—the war business is booming on Genabackis, at least.
Rebellion on Seven Cities takes on a religious aspect—the Whirlwind Goddess in Holy Desert Raraku is the spirit of resistance, and currently poses the greatest threat to Malazan control on the continent. Its followers are many, and each of the main seven cities seems to be leaning more towards casting off the yoke of conquest rather than cooperation. Only time will tell how effective the Whirlwind is in opposing the empire.
Resistance to the Malazan Empire on Korelri appears as the remarkably successful Korelri Compact. Cities and nations have banded together in an attempt to oust the empire, and while they have managed to prevent further expansion, it seems the Malazans have dug their heels in and are fighting back as hard as they can.
Claw assassins (the Empire’s Assassin cult) They have their own chain of command outside the normal Malazan military system, and answer directly only to the Empress herself.
Darujhistan, the last free city state in the northern continent
The Pannion Dominion, a religous fanatic army of cannibals
the Crippled God, bent on vengeance and destruction. What was he in his own world? Involved in his own war – offense/defense, protecting, but now no longer there to shield them. p550 BH