Onos T'oolan, also known as "Tool", was a clanless, or unbound, T'lan Imass warrior,[1] though he had originally been part of the Tarad clan.[2] All the others of his clan had perished in the 28th Jaghut War.[3] He was over three hundred thousand years old, having been born in the autumn of the Bleak Year, the ninth son of his clan whetted as warrior in the Sixth Jaghut War.[4]

Onos was a massive, squat man with robust bones. Like other Imass, his leathery skin was a shiny nut brown, and his thinned flesh had the consistency of oak roots. His muscles had torn patches and at least one of his hands looked skeletal. Onos had a heavy chinless jawbone, high cheeks, a pronounced brow ridge, and his eyesockets were dark holes. His head creaked when he moved it. He dressed in rotting furs and wore the skull-cap of a horned beast as a helmet, one horn broken off at its base.[5]

His voice was described as being born of stones and dust.[6]

He bore a flint sword in his skeletal arms.[7] It had been invested with magic to prevent it from being broken or chipped, could cut through wards effortlessly and no Warren could resist it.[8] The T'lan Imass Warren being Elder, Tool was impervious to the effects of Otataral.[9]

In the language of the Imass, "Onos" meant "clanless man" and "T'oolan" meant "flawed flint".[10]

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

Tool by Jeanfverreault

Interpretation of Tool by jeanfverreault


Interpretation of Onos T'oolan by Yapattack

Onos T'oolan was first encountered on the Rhivi Plain when he burst from the ground during an attack by Ilgres Barghast on the party of Adjunct Lorn and killed one of the attackers by impaling him on his sword. Although with the help of Toc the Younger, Onos had saved the Adjunct's life, Lorn was angry with him. The T'lan Imass who was an integral part to Lorn's mission in the area was supposed to have made contact with her days earlier and the Barghast had likely been in the area in response to his presence. After having introduced himself, Onos contemplate the barrow nearby whilst Toc administered first aid to the Adjunct's injured arm. Onos told Lorn that the barrow had 'yielded truth' and that they were on the right path. Lorn explained to Toc that Onos would make his own way to Pale.[11]

When Onos rejoined the Adjunct in Pale, she called him 'Tool', a name he said he would accept given that it was suitable to his situation of a new beginning. He then told Lorn more about the history of his people than she knew to be in the Empire Annals. Amongst other things, he told her that he was the only one of his clan to have survived the twenty-eighth Jaghut war and the only one unbound to Logros. She supposed that it might be because of this that he was more loquacious than the other Imass she had met. Upon questioning, Tool also confirmed that he had indeed met the Emperor but that he was unable to tell her about the First Throne due to a binding imposed on all Logros T'lan Imass as well as Kron T'lan Imass after the Emperor's death.[12]

The first sword by artsed-d8t88mp

Interpretation of 'The First Sword' by Artsed

Onos had joined the Adjunct to release a Jaghut Tyrant from his barrow in the Gadrobi Hills in Darujhistan. As they journeyed there, he created a barrier around them for protection. At one point they witnessed a massive conflagration in the distance which Tool stated to be within that barrier and which involved the opening of a multitude of Warrens, amongst which he recognised Elder Warrens. Tool sensed that although the source had been destroyed, something had been born within.[13] He also sensed some of the attacks Hairlock was directing at Crone and when Lorn disregarded the possibility of a threat, taught her a lesson about being too complacent.[14]

Lorn voiced misgivings about their mission to free a Jaghut Tyrant from his barrow-- amongst them, doubts as to how they might find the barrow. Tool told her that he would be able to locate it as Tellann and Omtose Phellack were of 'the same flavour'. He also explained more about why he was chosen for the mission, boiling down to him being thought expandable, and shared some of his knowledge of Anomander Rake with her.[15]

Once they had found the barrow,[16] Tool squatted for a long time seemingly unmoving before the standing stone marking it.[17][18] He eventually rejoined Lorn and after binding a wound of hers, told her that it was time to open the tomb. He led her inside, past the residue of numerous wards dispersed by Tool’s Tellann power. Seeing the wards of his people, Tool told Lorn that he thought he now knew the name of the tyrant and that he shared her misgivings about freeing it but, like her, was compelled to do so. He also informed her that once their task was completed, due to the residual power of the Jaghut, he would be free of his vows. He would go in search of answers and he told her that she would be welcome to accompany him. Lorn, however, avoided giving a response to the offer.[19] Once in the tomb, they located the Jaghut's Finnest and Tool warned the Adjunct not to hold on to it for too long.[20]

When they parted company outside, Tool told Lorn that he would observe the Jaghut but would not interfere, however, should she change her mind and wish to come with him still, he would be in the area for another ten days.[21]

Tool later appeared before the newborn Darujhistan Azath House, protecting it alongside Captain Ganoes Paran from the Tyrant's now animated Finnest. The pair weakened the source of Raest's power long enough for the House to imprison the Finnest within its grounds.[22]

In Memories of IceEdit

Onos T'oolan by Jeanfverreault

Interpretation of Tool looking at the rent at Morn by Jeanfverreault

Toc and Tool

'Toc and Tool' Interpretation by Junalesca

Onos was once First Sword of the Logros T'lan Imass.[23]

He was befriended by Toc the Younger while travelling with Lady Envy's entourage. He was so touched by Toc's friendship that he came to think of the young man as a brother, so when Toc was taken prisoner by the Pannion Seer, Tool left Envy's side and set off to rescue his friend.

As a reward for freeing Toc the Younger, Togg returned Onos T'oolan to life. In his new form, Toc Anaster described him as "covered in scars - more scars of battle than Toc had ever seen on a single person before. Despite this, there was a comfort, there in his face - a gentleman's face, no more than twenty years of age, the features pronounced, heavy-boned, framed in long black hair devoid of any fetishes or braids. His eyes were a soft brown."

In Reaper's GaleEdit

It transpired that Onos had helped to negotiate the original treaty between the Malazan Empire and the Moranth.[24]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Onos T'oolan.

In Dust of DreamsEdit

War Council by Shadaan

Fictitious 'War Council' by Shadaan From left:Brys Beddict - Dassem Ultor - Krughava - Onos T'oolan - Fear Sengar - Gruntle

Onos T'oolan married Hetan, the daughter of Humbrall Taur, Warleader of the Senan clan of the White Face Barghast.[25] Taur died in an accident while traveling to Lether from Genebackis,[26] and Onos T'oolan was unanimously chosen as Warleader.[27] He and Hetan had a son called Absi.[28] Onos T'oolan was also stepfather to her twins Storii and Stavi, whose father was Kruppe of Darujhistan.[29]

Because of his aversion to unjust battle, Onos T'oolan was considered cowardly by the the Barghast, who constantly schemed to depose him.[30][31] Although Onos was an Imass, he sacrificed his life to save his Barghast clan from attack by his strongest rival.[32] His family was torn apart as a result.[33] Olar Ethil forced Toc Anaster to block Tool from reaching Hood's gate where he could have embarked upon his afterlife.[34] He eventually met other T'lan Imass who had participated in the Second Ritual of Tellann. Onos led them to slaughter the Barghast he held responsible for the murder of his family.[35]

In The Crippled GodEdit

Toolan family by Dejan Delic

Onos Toolan and his family by Dejan Delic

Three days after the slaughter, Onos led the remaining three thousand towards the convergence surrounding the Crippled God withstanding the powers of Olar Ethil in doing so.[36] He lead his force to take part in the Battle for the Spire as allies to the elder races of the K'Chain Che'Malle and the Jaghut, as well as supporting the Letherii and some Tarthenal.

In the battle the blood of the war god Fener rained down upon Tool and the T'lan Imass warriors making them along with the Jaghut they fought alongside mortal again. After the battle T'oolan was reunited with his wife and children, and left to live with the newly rejuvenated Imass race.

Significant plot details end here.


Adjunct Lorn: "Tell me Tool, what dominates your thoughts?"
Onos T'oolan: "I think of futility, Adjunct."
Adjunct Lorn: "Do all Imass think about futility?"
Onos T'oolan: "No. Few think at all."
Adjunct Lorn: "Why is that?"
Onos T'oolan: "Because, Adjunct, it is futile."
―Adjunct Lorn and First Sword Onos T'oolan[src]

Fan art galleryEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xv
  2. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.263
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.230
  4. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.202
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.202, UK MMPB p.273-275
  6. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.275
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, US HC p.202
  8. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.180
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.277
  10. Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.311
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.273-278
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.318-321
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 10, UK MMPB p.332/333
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 10, UK MMPB p.344-348
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.445-449
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.453/454
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.464
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.486
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 16, UK MMPB p.486-490
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 18, UK MMPB p.554/555
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 19, UK MMPB p.564
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.455-456
  23. Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB
  24. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 17, UK MMPB, p.752
  25. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
  26. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
  27. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
  28. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 10
  29. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4
  30. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 10
  31. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 12
  32. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 12
  33. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 15
  34. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 12
  35. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 24, UK HB p.868
  36. The Crippled God, Chapter 6, UK HB p.142-147
List of abbreviationsPaginationsHow to reference an article

See alsoEdit

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