I just finished the second book and I still don't understand the usage of paths.

Coltaine took about 3 months to reach Aren since the riot. Tavore took more or less the same time to reach Aren via the sea.

Why didn't the Empress send anyone to Aren in the meanwhile, to check what Pormqual and Nok were doing? The Empress trusts Pormqual but obviously in a riot the logical thing would be to send more counsellors.

Why didn't Tavore just travel through a path (opened by some wizard or the Claw) straight to Aren?

Some characters travel freely through paths to conveniently help Erikson relocate his characters around the huge Malaz map, so I don't understand why Tavore has to sit down in a boat for 3 months instead of checking on Pormqual's incompetence.

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    travel through the paths are never "safe". sending single individuals is one thing, but whole armies is always a bad idea. Not to mention through the entire series the path's are even less safe then usual due to the crippled god. Tavore's sword also made it so she did not have easy access to warrens due to the otataral on the blade.
    – Himarm
    Jan 4, 2017 at 13:14
  • I am not talking about a whole army and that's ok for Tavore individual case, but some experienced cadre mage like Tayschrenn couldnt do that? or are all the paths "blocked" by the crippled god?
    – lapinkoira
    Jan 4, 2017 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


The specific reason Tavore could not simply travel through the warrens is because of her Otataral sword. The sword negates all non-elder magic in its vicinity. While she could "leave the sword behind" the sword is a unique tool the adjuncts used to effectively make themselves immune from the vast majority of normal magic users.

The warrens themselves are not, "safe" places and so travel through them is usually limited to very powerful magic users.

In a world of extremely unstable magic, with beings 100's of thousands of years old, gods, demi-gods, lurking around every corner, sometimes its simply best to take a boat.

  • Ok that make sense in Tavore's case. But how there isnt somebody like a cadre mage or some agent from the claw able to walk through some known path like the imperial path. Aren is inside the empire "network" isnt some remote lost place...
    – lapinkoira
    Jan 4, 2017 at 14:15
  • @lapinkoira i believe in book 3 or 4 we see a claw assassin moving around in the imperial warren in aren. the urgency of the situation must not have warrented it. They dont really care. The issue with Malazan series is that the magic system is super complicated, theirs 100 million things happening in the book at once, and sometime(most of the time) you never find out all the details about a situation, even after finishing all 10 books, and the 7 eislmount books >.< . on top of that, we have gods interacting with people left and right that could solve all our problems, but just dont.
    – Himarm
    Jan 4, 2017 at 14:24
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    @lapinkoira the Claw was, at that point, already under the influence of Korbolo Dom. So even if she would have sent a Claw, nothing would have changed. Laseen knew at that point that the Claw was compromised.
    – Jakob
    Jan 25, 2017 at 13:20

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