This is strictly for the fans of and amongst those only, those who have finished all the 10 books of the Malazan Book of Fallen. This particular study relates to exploring the supposed bad assedness of the Forkrul Assail and the Tiste Liosan, and why in my opinion, their bad assedness was the same kinda bad assedness which is typically ascribed to either Bond villains (or in some case, the Bond villains henchmen) or Bollywood villains and their henchmen. This bad assedness arises more from actually screwing with weak people, which kinda evaporates like alcohol in a slightly largish gathering consisting of drunks, when faced with anything resembling heroic bad assedness, such as the hero in the aforementioned Bollywood movies or James Bond in the Bond movies.
So to start with, the Forkrul Assail – one of the four elder races in the Malazan world. They are larger than humans, have two hearts and two of every other organ, have limbs with multiple joints which enables them to move at spectacular speeds, draw sorcery from the ancient hold of Akhrast Korvalain, are said to possess the ability to control people through their voices and communicate with each other telepathically. There are 12 of them called Pures – these are the pure blooded Forkruls, the ones that command the army and are the Lawful Inquisitors, and have the ability to command thousands of troops through their voices. The next in hierarchy are the Higher Watered, followed by the Lesser Watered and then the Shriven, who are nothing but those enslaved to the voices. The Higher Watered and Lesser Watered have varying powers, including the ability to command and use the Akhrast Korvalain. The race is supposed to be bad ass enough to have actually brought down their God and destroyed the being, represented in the book as a scrouge of locusts, and other insects.
So these are the bad asses, who collectively have enslaved half a continent – the Kolanse part of the Letherii continent and have purportedly decimated the better part of the this land. So how do these phenomenally challenging creatures die, one would presume after causing an immense amount of misery to the Bonehunters, the K'ell army, the Imass army, the Host and the Jaghut Army. Well, I list below the causes of death of these so called phenomenal creatures:
1. Sister Reverence – purported to be the best, oldest and strongest of the Pures. She is killed by a combination of Gesler, Bent and Hood. Well, to be honest, Gesler does most of the hard work, Bent helps a bit and Hood comes in a closes of what could have been a tight fight if she had been alive. In the scale of bad ass deaths, this is the bad assest of the lot, with the damage to the team good being the death of Gesler. On a scale of 1 – 10, I would rate damage to team at a 7 (Gesler after all was an almost ascendant).
2. Brother Diligence – The next most powerful being in the army. He is the one sent to command the army facing down the collective might of the Letherii, the Bolkando and the Gilk. His death is probably the next most bad assesst, as it involves Brys Beddict doing some seriously fucked up stuff like reciting the names of all the Gods that you think of. But, you know what, what is the collective damage to the team good here, despite the bad ass nature of the death. None – all parties involved are saved. Rate the damage here as 5 – I mean Brys is almost lost.
3. Sister Equity – I mean this one's death is almost sad. She walks into a meeting with Hood, Felash and Shurq Ellale and has her face bitten off by Hood. I mean that is so sad. Rating of Damage – 1. She doesn't even get a chance to do any damage.
4. Sister Freedom – The one with atleast a reasonable body count. Leads the army against the Bonehunters. She is taken on by the Seven Unbound and the Khundryl Burned Tears. She kills all but Nom Kala, who along with Warleader Gall manages to finish her off. Rating of damage – 6.
5. Brother Serenity – He is the commander of the forces along with Erekala of the Perish Grey Helms who faces Ganoes and the Host. Is killed by the Quick Ben and Kalam Mekhar combination. Doesn't do much damage. Damage Rating of 3.
6. Brother Grave – leads the army against the sappers and marines gathered around the body of the Crippled God. Secondly, leads an army of 3000+ against 200 odd sappers and marines and still loses. Gets killed again by the duo of Quick Ben and Kalam Mekhar. Without causing much damage. Damage Rating of 2.
7. Brother Aloft – takes on the main core of the Bonehunters – faced by the foursome of Adjunct Tavore Paran, Lostara Yil, Ruthan Gudd and Henar Vyrgulf. Does a significant amount of damage to the foursome, which is something since Ruthan Gudd seems to be some form of God and the Adjunct is the Adjunct. But is then eaten alive by the swarm of locusts summoned by Badalle. Not bad I would say. Damage Rating – 6.
8. Sister Calm – after being released by Karsa and gang, she does significant damage to Denom. But then in the end after fighting with Mappo Trell, she is killed by Ublala Pung of all people. Damage rating – 4.
9. Brother or Sister Repose – is killed by Yedan Drygg when he enters the Blind Gallan Road. Along with 8 Tiste Liosan. Alone. Yedan does this. Without even the Hust Sword. Even more pathetic than the death of Sister Equity. Damage Rating – 1.
So for a bad ass set of villains their ability to cause significant damage to the forces arrayed against them seems to be limited. So is their bad assedness an essential macguffin. We are told about the Just Wars – where the Assail faced off against the Tiste Liosan – supposedly a war which raged for centuries and eons and never ended. The Liosan are supposed to be as bad ass as the Assail – and well, for the record, they, their Hounds, and their Soletakens are all faced down by Yedan Drygg with a Hust sword and a bunch of Shake and Letherii soldiers. I mean – these are the dudes who could take on Rake and Ruin. I mean, they are completely and utterly destroyed by one Hust sword. How is that bad ass?
So my conclusion is that the Assail and the Tiste Liosan are played up as bad asses only to make the Malazans and the Watch to look even more bad ass.