Ussü [oo-soo] was the High Mage and Advisor to Yeull 'ul Taith, the self-styled "Overlord" of Fist. He had been a cadre mage during the Korelri Campaign and stayed loyal to the Malaz 6th Army when it went renegade and cut ties with the Malazan Empire.
Because Fist's patron goddess the "Blessed Lady" prevented mages from accessing any Warrens but her own, he pursued his old Mockra-based divinatory powers by other, darker, means, including experimenting with blood sacrifices. His three apprentices, Seel, Temeth, and Yurgen, assisted with his efforts.
Ussü was a tall slim man who dressed in thick ivory and cream robes sashed at the waist over shirt, trousers, and sandals. He had long and thoroughly grey hair as well as a grey beard and his hands were palsied and liver-spotted.
Seeking to restore his access to the warrens, Ussü discovered he could briefly tap the power of the Lady through sacrifice. He began his experiments with animals, but soon discovered humans provided the best results. He and his apprentices drugged their subject with oil of durhang, then cut an opening into the chest cavity allowing Ussü to clench the heart. As the subject's heart raced in fear and then died, Ussü gained a tenuous hold of Mockra, allowing him to divine visions of the future.
The Lady was aware of these usurpations of her power and sometimes spoke to Ussü through the mouths of his victims. Although she called this misuse heresy, she did not attempt to punish the high mage. Instead she sought to recruit him to her faith for his great potential. During one session of experimentation, Ussü's subject was possessed by the Queen of Dreams who expressed her sense of disappointment and betrayal in the Mockra mage before trying to murder him. As she departed she erased the minds of his apprentices.
When the Malazan Expeditionary Force arrived in Fist to bring the 6th Army to heel, Ussü attempted to provide the Overlord with sensible advice, but Yeull's response was based in fear and paranoia. Ussü and Borun, the Black Moranth commander, were sent to the Roolian fortress at Three Sisters, but their suggestions were met with contempt by overall commander Enesh-jer. After fighting with Greymane's forces ground to a stalemate, the Overlord recalled the pair and the Roolian defence was broken.
Yeull brought Ussü with him to the Stormwall where the high mage was given access to Iron Bars, one of the Crimson Guard Avowed. The near immortal Bars gave Ussü access to powers greater than ever before. He was able to locate Greymane and correctly interpreted the purpose of the weapon he carried. His warnings to the Stormguard went unheeded. He was even able to hold Guardsmen Blues, Fingers, and Shell momentarily at bay.
Ussü perished because he did not fully appreciate Bars' recuperative powers. The Avowed strangled the mage from the operating table even as the mage attempted to crush his heart. As Ussü died he made a shocking insight into the nature of the Avowed's powers, but this knowledge died with him.
Notes and references
- Mid-series Discussion: Novels of the Malazan Empire by Ian C. Esslemont - A Critical Dragon - As pronounced by Ian C. Esslemont at 1:13:25
- Stonewielder, Chapter 3, UK TPB p.132
- Stonewielder, Chapter 9, US HC p.480
- Stonewielder, Chapter 10, UK TPB p.491
- Stonewielder, Chapter 11, UK TPB p.569
- Stonewielder, Chapter 4, US HC p.196-197
- Stonewielder, Chapter 4, US HC p.197-198
- Stonewielder, Chapter 6, US HC p.320
- Stonewielder, Chapter 6, US HC p.301/323-324
- Stonewielder, Chapter 8, US HC p.394
- Stonewielder, Chapter 11, US HC p.573-574
- Stonewielder, Chapter 12, US HC p.585-591