As an Elder God, he was called by many names. The colonists from the First Empire made their sacrifices to the salty seas in the name of Jhistal. The Tiste Edur knew the god as Mael, and their warriors in their war canoes opened their veins to feed the foam, and this red froth they called Bloodmane. The Jheck who lived upon the ice called the dark waters beneath that ice the Lady of Patience, Barutalan. The Faraed knew him as Mael, Elder God of the Seas, the Dweller Below. The Shake spoke of Neral, the Swallower. On Quon Tali one aspect of Mael was known as Chem, the Thousand-fold God, God of the waters, God of all the seas, God of a Thousand Moods, a Thousand Faces, and a Thousand Moods.
In his normal form, he was described as wide and squat with deep blue skin which faded to gold at the throat and bared belly. He had lank blond hair which hung down from a broad, almost flat pate and amber eyes.
Worshippers on Quon Tali cast folded leaves, flowers, and garlands into the water as offerings and prayers to Mael. Grisly blood rites of sacrifice were also an ancient tradition for attempting to gain the god's favour.
Sharks were Mael's chosen beasts of the sea.
Shortly after the sundering of Kurald Emurlahn, Mael observed the invasion of the Malazan world through a violent rent by the combined armies of Silchas Ruin's Tiste Andii and Scabandari Bloodeye's Tiste Edur. After the invaders defeated the army and Skykeeps of the K'Chain Che'Malle and Scabandari betrayed Silchas, Mael bargained with Gothos to preserve the destruction within a layer of ice. In return Mael would owe the Jaghut a debt. Mael also made an alliance with Kilmandaros from the other side of the invaders' gate to bring down Scabandari and scatter his people.
In modern times, Brys Beddict travelled to part of Mael's realm while working with the Ceda Kuru Qan to determine if Mael had been enslaved by Hannan Mosag. While there, he encountered the Guardian of the Names charged by Mael to protect a sanctuary of numerous Forgotten Gods. Without Mael's protection these gods without worshipers would have vanished and died, although Mael himself had not visited in thousands of years. After discovering one of Mael's charges had indeed been stolen by the Tiste Edur, Brys donated his own blood to recharge the strength of the sanctuary's Guardian.
While posing as Bugg, he was described as an old man, bald, with a wizened face and a grizzled head who squinted often.
During the Tiste Edur invasion of Letheras, Bugg worked furiously to blunt a Convergence of powers gathering in the city. He recruited Iron Bars and his squad of Crimson Guardsmen and led them to the hiding place of The Pack so it could be slain. This prevented B'nagga and his horde of Jheck from ascending and creating an empire of Soletaken with the Pack as their god.
Bugg then immediately directed Bars to the city's dead Azath Tower to delay the Seregahl who were attempting to escape their earthen prison. Bars was able to hold his own long enough for Silchas Ruin to make his own escape and dispatch the five formidable Tarthenal gods. He also aided Kuru Qan and a Jaghut Huntress in capturing and freezing the ancient sea-god that the Edur had bound to their service.
But Bugg's success in dealing with these threats came at great personal cost. He arrived too late to save Tehol from a group of Tiste Edur warriors tracking Mayen through the city and killing any Letherii in their path. Theradas Buhn and his warriors murdered Tehol's Shavankrats bodyguards and were in the process of kicking and stomping Tehol to death when Bugg came upon them. The manservant murdered the Edur with magic in rage and grief, then carried Tehol's body away.
Bugg took Tehol to a crypt below the Lether River and healed him as best he could, even replacing one of his eyes. Bugg then revealed himself to be Mael and told Tehol that their association had been an unceasing delight after an eternity of boredom. He claimed Tehol had resurrected in him the pleasure of existence then noted he would have to remove his master's memories of the conversation. The Guardian of the Names carrying Brys' body soon found Mael and the unconscious Tehol and passed Brys' knowledge of the names of the Forgotten Gods to the still living brother.
When Tehol awoke, the city had been conquered by the Edur. He thanked Bugg for allowing him to remember his servant's true identity and giving him the opportunity to grieve.
Afterwards, Mael paid a visit to the Crippled God's island to punish him for inciting the war between the Tiste Edur and the Kingdom of Lether, and the latter's subsequent capitulation. While doing so, he rescued Withal and Sandalath Drukorlat who were captive on the island.
Smiles recalled how her twin sister had been sacrificed to Mael. Her small village in Itko Kan resorted to old rituals when their nets failed to pull fish from the sea. The priests bound, weighted down, and drugged her sister with Durhang oil, then left her at the waterline to be taken by the tide and hungry crabs.
Mappo Runt, Iskaral Pust, and Spite travelled the Otataral Sea by ship. Mappo noticed Spite standing at the prow amidst a mud-brown haze conversing with seemingly no one. A gleeful Pust identified it as an intruding spirit that Mappo thought smelled of warm, dry, grasslands.
- "'Mael,' Iskaral Pust had said with a manic laugh, he's resisting, and getting his nose bloodied. Do you sense his fury, Trell? His spitting outrage? Hee. Hee hee. But she's not afraid of him, oh no, she's not afraid of anyone!...Outraged, yes...Yet, do you sense his reluctance? Oh, he struggles, but he knows too that she, who chooses to be in one place and not many, she is more than his match. Dare he focus? He doesn't even want this stupid war, hah! But oh, it is that very ambivalence that so frees his followers to do as they please!'"
- ―Iskaral Pust
After hours of arguing, the conversation was over and the Eres'al went on her way. Bottle later noted that the Eres'al's eerie wind was speeding Adjunct Tavore Paran's fleet home to Quon Tali through Mael's realm and there was nothing the "crusty barnacle" could do about it.
Later, when a dozen suns fell from the sky towards Otataral Island, Ganoes Paran hurriedly drew a card from the Deck of Dragons to find a god who would help save the world. He meant to call on Mael, but quickly realised he had mistakenly called on Hood.
Mael, in his guise as Bugg, helped Tehol to bring down the Letherii economy by creating a false shortage of finance and then flooding the markets with coin all at once. He was appointed Chancellor, Ceda, and Treasurer to Tehol Beddict when the latter was crowned King of the Lether.
Mael, again held the disguise of Bugg, standing by Tehol's right hand. He, along with Pinosel and Ursto Hoobutt, defended Seren Pedac and her unborn child during Fiddler's reading of the Deck of Dragons.
Notably, while meeting with the other elder gods Mael held to the elderly appearance of Bugg. He banned Errastas from Letheras and threatened to drown him if he should ever return there. Among the Elder Gods, Mael was still held in a position of power, having a High priest in the position to take the Malazan Throne.
Mallick Rel, the Jhistal priest, bound Mael through a blood ritual and used the God's power in his efforts to gain the Malazan throne. He compelled Mael to speed the journeys of the fleets of Urko Crust's Talian League secessionists and of the Crimson Guard to Quon Tali fanning the flames of civil war.
However, the prayers of Mael's new-found followers served to break these bindings, though Mael restrained himself from killing Rel in punishment.
As Greymane passed through the Warren of Ruse on his mission to destroy the Stormwall, Mael presented him with a reminder of the cost of his efforts. Ruse became a flooded plain awash with pale drowned corpses stinking of death. Although pained by the warning, Greymane was not dissuaded from his task.
Mael was said to have fled across the sea and formed his own realm.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Glossary, UK MMPB p.1186
- ↑ House of Chains, Glossary
- ↑ Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Dust of Dreams, Chapter 21
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.192
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 1, US HC p.564
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.24
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 1, US HC p.564-565
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.353-354
- ↑ House of Chains, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.186
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.24-25
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.194/203-205
- ↑ Reaper's Gale, Chapter 18, according to the Advocate Sleem: Bugg '[...] I cut a sliver [...] to pay for a haircut' / Sleem: 'You have no hair'
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.700/705-708
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.708
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.737-739
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.710-711
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.719-724/729-730
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.747-750
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.757-758
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.766-767
- ↑ Midnight Tides, Epilogue, US SFBC p.769-771
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.759-760
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.770
- ↑ The Bonehunters, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.780-782
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 3, US HC p.107
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 1, US HC p.564-565
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 11, US HC p.541-542
- ↑ Forge of Darkness, Chapter 16, UK HC p.501-2