Talamandas was a shaman of the White Face Barghast whose spirit had become tethered to a sticksnare after his death. The Barghast placed sticksnares about the barrows of their dead to prevent their spirits from wandering.
Talamandas appeared as a tiny man-shaped figure made out of sticks, twisted grasses, and knotted twine. He had an acorn for a head and fingers made of twig. His weight was insubstantial and he trailed sorcery like smoke.
In Memories of Ice
Talamandas had been imprisoned inside a barrow south of the Barghast Range until his barrow was violated by Korbal Broach and Bauchelain. After dragging him out, the necromancers made him their slave and used the shaman to track the undead K'Chain Che'Malle K'ell Hunters that were stalking them. Before the necromancers could discover his true name and plunder his secrets, the sticksnare escaped.
The Bridgeburner mage, Quick Ben, found the bedraggled sticksnare entrapped by wards while traveling through Hood's Realm. Noting that Quick Ben was on his way to the White Face clans and desparate to communicate with his people, Talamandas entered into a bargain with the mage. He offered Quick Ben his true name and revealed the secret history of the Barghast as descendants of the Imass who had once made their life upon the seas. After returning to land the Barghast culture stagnated and the spirits of the First Families they worshipped became trapped. Talamandas sought to free the spirits so that they could become true gods to guide his people and save them. Quick Ben was impressed by the shaman's quest and freed him, much to the sticksnare's astonishment.
Quick Ben continued on towards the Barghast Range until he was pulled down through the earth into the Barghast Warren. Talamandas reappeared saying his attempt to communicate with the Barghast war chief, Humbrall Taur, had been thwarted by the clan shouldermen. The sticksnare made another bargain with Quick Ben. The Elder Spirits of the Warren would allow the Bridgeburners access to their magic, untainted by the poison of the Crippled God, in exchange for informing Taur of the Founding Spirits' imprisonment within Capustan. The Bridgeburner healer, Mallet, used the spirits' power to save Trotts' life and secure an alliance between the Barghast and the Malazan Empire. Taur made plans to retrieve the bodies of his ancestors.
As the Crippled God's infection of the Warrens progressed, Quick Ben found he could no longer safely access his magic. After the Barghast lifted the Siege of Capustan and rescued their ancestors, Talamandas appeared before the mage once again. He praised Quick Ben for attempting to counter the Crippled God and offered his services on behalf of his gods. The sticksnare would ride invisibly on Quick Ben's shoulder and shield him from the Warrens' infection. The mage accepted the offer, but quickly deduced that Talamandas' protection was actually a gift of Hood and not the spirits.
Quick Ben used his newfound access to magic to confront Bauchelain and Korbal Broach much to Talamandas' displeasure. The mage deftly warded off the necromancers' attacks with twelve Warrens before blasting them both unconscious. In the process, he came to the realisation that Talamandas had become the Magi of High House Death. Without the sticksnare's knowledge, he summoned Hood and committed the god to giving Talamandas his freedom when their agreement was over.
Talamandas accompanied Quick Ben during the fighting at the Siege of Coral and to confront the Pannion Seer in his keep. At Quick Ben's shout, the sticksnare opened a magic portal just as Moon's Spawn came crashing down on the keep. The portal brought Quick Ben, Ganoes Paran, the Seer, and Kilava to safety in Morn where the sticksnare sat atop the Seer's chest to imprison him. Quick Ben made a deal with the Seer to end the Pannion War and thwart that aspect of the Crippled God's plans.
In Dust of Dreams
Talamandas lived as a sticksnare among the White Face Barghast, but the warriors did not take him seriously. According to Setoc, they said "dead warlocks never have anything good to say" and they referred to him as a "Malazan puppet".
- "I do not mock you, Wizard. Indeed, I am humbled by the depth of your...integrity. To find such, in a common soldier, one serving a malevolent, spiteful Empress, who sits on a blood-stained throne, ruling an empire of murderers--"
- ―Talamandas, on the Malazan Empire
Notes and references
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.221
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.318
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.606/634
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.233
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.225-227/233
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.316-320
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.395-412
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.606-610/654
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.633-641/648-657
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.859
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.943/961-967
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.967
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 8