Seeds of Despair
The Thelomen Toblakai are an intelligent, humanoid race found in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. The Malazan Book of the Fallen is an epic Fantasy series written by Canadian author Steven Erikson, published in ten volumes starting with
Physiology The Thelomen Toblakai are humanoid, though taller and generally more physically robust than humans, with broad, flat faces. Pure-blood Toblakai stand at over seven feet tall, and disproportionately muscled enough to seem wide. They are capable of interbreeding with humans to produce viable half-breeds, but seem to have a different evolutionary descent, as marked by having four lungs rather than two. On the continent of Genabackis (where Karsa Orlong, the most prominent Toblakai comes from) the tribes of the Teblor appear to have several advantages which are wholly contained to their tribe. The Teblor heal much more quickly than humans do, to the point where bruises can be seen to visibly fade. They are also invulnerable to infectious diseases and possess a limited immunity to magic. Lower level magic does not affect them and even High level magic may fail or not have its intended effect. This may be a natural protection as a result of physiology, or possibly due to their consumption of blood-oil, a compound which may contain the magic-deadening otataral. This consumption of blood-oil may also be the cause of their rapid healing, but this is not explained as of Reaper’s Gale.
It is known that certain Thelomen Toblakai can become their own Warrens; the exact abilities and circumstances that surround this are unknown. Karsa Orlong appears to be one such, channeling his Warren into the ability to ignore the structures and effects of spells, even Elder such as the T’lan Imass’ Tellann. However, Karsa Orlong and his tribe’s immunity to magic may also come from the use of blood-oil.
Culture Thelomen Toblakai or their descendants are scattered across the Malazan world, and appear to exist on all continents under a variety of names – Teblor, Fenn, Tarthenal and Toblakai. They are a fallen people; once possessing high civilization, cities and books, most now live in tribes and eke out a barbaric existence breeding horses and feuding with nearby tribes. The greatest details are known about the Teblor on Genabackis through the story of Karsa Orlong. At some point long ago, the Teblor built cities on the Genabackis, but for an unknown reasons their blood became “thin and clouded. ” Icarium, the half-Toblakai, gave them rules to purify their blood, separating husbands, wives, and children into different tribes and giving them laws to live by and a new society based on the raising of horses, hunting, raiding, and fishing. Thousands of years later, the Teblor live in their separate tribes, some of which have vanished, some of which have become enslaved by nearby humans.
On the continent of Lether, the Tarthenal have been conquered and enslaved by the Letherii. Their culture is forgotten and one of the few activities they still remember are the rituals of propitiation for their terrifying gods. They had five gods, called the Seregahl, the Wrath Wielders. The gods of the Tarthenal were not worshiped to draw their attention and blessings, but instead sacrifices were performed to turn their gazes away and keep them from manifesting. When the Tarthenal were conquered, their lasts acts were to die defending their shrines, terrified not of the attackers, but of their own gods. These gods were killed by Silchas Ruin with help from the Avowed of the Crimson Guard, Iron Bars, and the Tarthenal, Ublala.
Interactions with the Malazan Empire The Theloman Toblakai have had various interactions with the Malazan Empire. Karsa Orlong was enslaved by the Malazan Empire and transported to the Seven Cities continent, and later came across the Malazans in the aftermath of the battle in Raraku. Bellurdan Skullcrusher is a Thelomen Toblakai mage in the Malazan army. He appears briefly in Gardens of the Moon, and is mentioned in House of Chains as the High Mage who forged the otataral-quenched long-knife bought by Kalam. The weapon in question proves that Bellurdan uses an Elder Warren, as the knife was invested, an impossible task with human Warrens due to otataral’s magic-deadening properties.
Appearances in the Novels
The tribes of the Teblor and the character Karsa Orlong are the most prominent Thelomen Toblakai in the Malazan series. Karsa is a phenomenal combatant, incredibly swift, decisive and vicious. He occupies (unwillingly) the position of Knight of Chains in High House Chains of the Deck of Dragons. On the continent of Lether, the fallen Tartheno play a role in the events surrounding the conquest of the Edur. A half-Tarthenal criminal is instrumental in preventing the five Tartheno gods from escaping the Azath house and saving the Avowed Crimson Guardsman Iron Bars. In Memories of Ice, it was revealed that the Toblakai traveled with the mortal Imass who were not in time for the Ritual. The Imass eventually evolved into the Barghast people who live on Genabackis.