Mallick Rel was the chief advisor to High Fist Pormqual, the commander of the Malazan armies on Seven Cities. He spoke with a faint Gedorian Falari accent. Tavore suggested in The Bonehunters that Mallick Rel was from Falar, the last surviving member of the Gedorian Falari cult of the Jhistal.
Rel was described as being fat, with soft hands, full lips, heavy-lidded eyes and skin the colour of oiled leather. He spoke with a soft voice and his teeth were dyed green. He often wore ocean-blue robes and cloaks, and decorated his fingers with rings.
In Deadhouse Gates
Mallick was the true power behind the Malazan High Command at Aren, although his position was unrecognised by Empress Laseen. All of the High Fist's edicts came through Mallick and those who crossed him often met fatal misfortunes.
When Fist Coltaine was sent by the Empress to Hissar to assume command of the Malaz 7th Army, Mallick was sent to greet him as a calculated insult. The advisor informed Coltaine that he and his army were to march 400 leagues overland to be inspected by the High Fist. Coltaine ordered the priest ejected from his presence earning Mallick's enmity.
During the Whirlwind uprising, Kalam Mekhar overheard rebel bandits bragging of "a Jhistal inside" Aren. He mentioned it to Keneb, and while both were unfamiliar with the term Kalam thought it sounded like the rebellion's Shaved Knuckle in the Hole.
Under pressure from the Whirlwind, Coltaine was forced to abandon Hissar and lead his army across Seven Cities towards Aren. During that time his Chain of Dogs was denied any support from the Malazan High Command. When Coltaine and his surviving troops made their last stand outside Aren's gates, Pormqual and Mallick watched from the city's walls, refusing to intervene.
Afterwards, Mallick convinced Pormqual to make a sortie, ostensibly to rout Korbolo Dom's now exhausted troops. The High Fist was convinced this would be a glorious attack, not knowing that Rel was actually in league with Dom's troops. Pormqual and his ten thousand troops were quickly surrounded by overwhelming numbers and Mallick convinced the High Fist to surrender. Dom then ordered the High Fist killed and his soldiers crucified.
Before his death, the Imperial Historian Duiker had the last laugh on the gloating Mallick. Just before the army left Aren, Duiker had hurled an insult at Rel, calling him "Jhistal" which was overheard by Keneb. Realising that a betrayal was in the works, the captain informed his superior, Commander Blistig. As a result the City Guard stayed behind to defend the city thwarting Rel and Dom's plans to take it. Mallick was enraged.
In House of Chains
Mallick and Pullyk Alar were cast out of the Oasis in Raraku by Sha'ik for what Heboric described as their treacherous natures. Felisin Younger said that Sha'ik's camp was seething with dissent and noted that the pair's ejection weakened Korbolo Dom.
Korbolo and Kamist Reloe later revealed that Mallick was heading south as part of their plan to take the throne of the Malazan Empire. Korbolo held no trust for the jhistal priest, but admitted his usefulness. Kamist thought Mallick a clever man, who would play his role to perfection.
Febryl believed Mallick was on his way to Aren to surrender himself to the Empress. He suspected the priest would then claim he and Korbolo Dom had been secretly working in the Empress' interests all along, and that the disaster at Aren had been entirely Pormqual's fault.
In The Bonehunters
Mallick had been brought back to the Empire in chains, but by very clever manipulation, he wormed his way out by influencing the Claw, gaining many supporters, using whom he founded the Black Glove, an organization within the Claw loyal to him and not Laseen. He found supporters among the Claw because of Laseen's policies which had left enough Claws either disgruntled, or had made them lose family, such as Saygen Maral. He had also unleashed rumors, vilifying Coltaine, and raising Korbolo Dom to the status of a hero. Mallick ordered Banaschar's assassination, but it failed. Further, his pogrom against the Wickans failed, but he had succeeded in driving away the Adjunct, leaving Laseen without support.
In Dust of Dreams
In The Crippled God
Mallick, ever ambitious, plotted against Empress Laseen from his position as councilor and spokesman for the Imperial Assembly. He used his pet assassin Taya Radok to remove rivals from the Assembly and tricked others into committing acts of treason so they would be removed by the Claw. In this way he gained unprecedented control of the treasury and the government bureaucracy.
At the same time he fanned the flames of civil war by assisting the Empress' enemies, and keeping their presence hidden. Mallick bound his god Mael and compelled him to speed the journeys of the fleets of Urko Crust's Talian League secessionists and of the Crimson Guard to Quon Tali. He did not report the approach of either force to the Empress.
During the civil war's climactic Battle of the Plains at Li Heng, Mallick's loyal Claws struck, assassinating rivals. Mallick arrived on the field with thirty-five thousand soldiers of the Cawn Provincial Army just as hostilities were ending. Then High Mage Tayschrenn appeared to perish in battle with the mad mage Yathengar and Empress Laseen was assassinated in the field by Taya Radok. Mallick used the opportunity exert his leadership and bring charges of cowardice against the Sword of the Empire, Korbolo Dom, eliminating another rival.
Mallick soon became the new Emperor of the Malazan Empire to unanimous acclaim of the Assembly, regional governors, and Fists. Thereafter he was known as "Mallick Rel, the Merciful".
After the events of the Insurrection, Emperor Mallick Rel the Glorious began a rapid rebuilding of the Malazan capital Unta. He also granted himself such plenipotentiary powers to deal with the crisis that he had more personal authority than any Emperor that preceded him. Mallick had also worked out the details of the Wickan treaty of alliance while squirming under the gaze of the Wickan representative Su.
Mallick chose not to prosecute the officers who had rebelled against the Empress. In fact, he forgave and recruited two notorious yet capable renegade officers, Greymane and Rillish Jal Keth, to lead the Malazan Expeditionary Force. He assigned them to bring the mutinous Malazan 6th Army to heel in the Lands of Fist. The new Emperor was less concerned with maintaining old grudges than he was with undertaking whatever it took to win.
- "You risk all, but for a prize beyond your imaginings."
- ―Mallick Rel's fortune on the eve of the civil war
- "Mallick -- you disgust and amaze me."
Notes and references
- Deadhouse Gates, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.17
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.49
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.48/49
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 2, UK Bantam Press PB p.65
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 2, UK PB p.63
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 3, UK PB p.105
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22, US HC p.566
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, US HC p.38
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.56-58
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, US HC p.38
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.54-57
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9, US HC p.239
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 21
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 22
- House of Chains, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.282
- House of Chains, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.405-406
- House of Chains, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.678
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 22
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 2, UK Bantam Press PB p.65-70
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, US HC p.152
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 4, US HC p.170
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 3, US HC p.107
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 2, US HC p.153
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 5, US HC p.421
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 6, US HC p.514
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 3, US HC p.654
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 4, US HC p.663-664
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 4, US HC p.669
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 3 Chapter 4
- Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.158
- Stonewielder, Chapter 3, US HC p.162
- Stonewielder, Prologue, US HC p.33
- Stonewielder, Chapter 2, US HC p.112-113/128
- Stonewielder, Chapter 4, US HC p.188