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 also 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.