I have been watching the Gurkish, as I have these many years. That is my allotted task. My penance, for the part I played in the schism that has split my order.

–Yulwei, Before They Are Hanged

Yulwei, also known as The Watcher, is the Fourth of the Magi, one of Juvens' original twelve apprentices. He's the only of the Magi who has remained loyal to Bayaz, spending his time in Gurkhul spying on Khalul.

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Yulwei is a tall, thin, sinewy old man with very dark skin even for Kanta, black as coal. His hair is a mass of grey ropes about his face, some hanging down as low as his waist. He has dark eyes, almost black. He wears a simple robe and bangles round his wrists, stacked to cover half his forearms. His voice is rich and deep[1]

He comes off as kindly, good-hearted, and calm. He regrets the rift that has split the Order of Magi, and even offers the Eaters a chance to flee, before he kills them. A cautious man, Juvens once told him, one cannot watch forever. He remains loyal to Bayaz, and is convinced of his version of how Juvens and Tolomei died, despite his own recollection. However, he does frequently asks Bayaz to reconfirm he did not kill Juvens. Even Bayaz considers him a good man, and is concerned how far Yulwei will follow him down the dark path he plans.


Yulwei's specialisation as a Magus is to alter reality, to divert people's attention and become invisible to them, or even to appear as someone different in their eyes. He can make someone think they are seeing a man instead of a woman, or hide a person so completely that other people, even a few inches away, can look straight through them.[1][2]

He has the ability to turn bones into water and burn people from the inside.[3] He also has the power of telekinesis, as he showed at the House of the Maker.


Yulwei claims to originally come from somewhere south of the southern continent of Kanta, not on any maps. The Fourth of Juvens' apprentices, Yulwei was among the eleven Magi who made war on Kanedias after the death of their master Juvens. He, Zacharus, and Cawneil barely survived their encounter with the Maker in the siege of the House of the Maker.

In the past, Yulwei was close with Khalul, but now he thinks his claims that Bayaz really killed Juvens are lies. He remains loyal to Bayaz, despite most of his Order now holding Bayaz in contempt. He spends his time wandering the south, spying on the activities of Khalul and his Eaters.

The Blade ItselfEdit

Yulwei searches the Badlands for the escaped slave and notorious bandit Ferro Maljinn. He finds her alone, after a recent fight with Gurkish soldiers, burying her dead companions. She tries to attack him, but he uses his Art to deflect her arrows. He offers to help her evade the soldiers and Eaters hunting her, and she reluctantly accepted.[1] Thanks to Yulwei's power, they are able to walk straight though the Gurkish encampments without being seen. Reaching the coast, Yulwei observes hidden harbours with scores of Gurkish ships. The Gurkish may be planning more than just retaking Dagoska. He redoubles their pace.[2]

Nearing Dagoska and concerned about sneaking them through so many soldiers, Yulwei scouts ahead alone. Despite Ferro’s willingness to follow him out of the desert, she’s reticent about going to The Union, and flees into the night. When Yulwei finds her again, she is being attacked by two Eaters. He admonishes them for breaking Euz’s law, and offers them a chance to leave. When they refuse, he attacks with his Art, turning the sister’s bones to water, and burns the brother from within. Ferro recovers remarkably quickly, as she always does, and finally admits that she cannot survive without Yulwei.[3]

In Adua, Yulwei takes her to Bayaz, who is looking for a Devil-Blood like Ferro for his journey to retrieve The Seed. Wary of Bayaz' drastic solution to the Gurkish horde of Eaters, Yulwei tries to talk him out of it, and even offers to reason with Khalul. However, Bayaz rebuffs the offer; it is The Seed or nothing. The conversation ends with Bayaz assuring Yulwei that he with do right by Ferro. After convincing Ferro to stay with Bayaz, he departed once more for Gurkhul to continue his spying. As he leaves, he awkwardly hugs Ferro goodbye.[4]

Before They Are HangedEdit

With Dagoska on the brink of being besieged by the Gurkish, Yulwei appears in Sand dan Glokta's room at night. He warns the Superior that twenty thousand Gurkish spears with three great siege engines are closing the noose of the city, and behind it all marches Khalul’s army of Eaters, the Hundred Words. He adds that the Gurkish now have a navy, upsetting the balance of power at sea[5].

The Superior is somewhat sceptical, and demands to know who killed his predecessor, Superior Davoust. Yulwei declares that there is an Eater in Dagoska who killed Davoust to protect the identity of a traitor. Yulwei then promptly disappears without another word[5].

Last Argument of KingsEdit

After Bayaz' failed journey to the Edge of the World, Yulwei returns to Adua to report that the Gurkish have invaded Midderland near Keln. Seemingly Lord Brock has turned traitor to allow the Gurkish through his lands. Khalul has not come himself, preferring to allow Mamun to lead his army of Eaters. Yulwei urges Bayaz to flee, but the old Magus refuses; even without the Seed, he has plans.

As the Gurkish lay siege to Adua, Bayaz announces that they must return to the House of the Maker, to get The Divider and other weapons. While Yulwei, Bayaz, and Quai go get the weapons, Ferro explores the series of rings above the first hall. At the centre she finds The Seed. Here, in the House of the Maker, all this time. Bayaz orders Ferro to leave immediately, and seal it to the box in his room. Yet, Quai tells her to stay in a commanding voice. Quai’s face dissolves and becomes Tolomei, daughter of the Maker, who wants The Seed herself to throw open the gates to The Other Side. They battle, with Yulwei joining the fight, but none can stand before Tolomei’s power. Bayaz, willing to sacrifice anything and anyone, pulls down the roof atop both Yulwei and Tolomei. And Ferro and Bayaz flee, with Bayaz locking the pair in the House. Ferro feels sorrow for the good man who saved her life in the desert, and Bayaz claims regret also, but good men will only go so far along dark paths. They must now walk a very dark path together.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Blade Itself, Part II, What Freedom Looks Like
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Blade Itself, Part II, Better Than Death
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Blade Itself, Part II, Her Kind Fight Everything
  4. The Blade Itself, Part II, Each Man Worships Himself
  5. 5.0 5.1 Before They Are Hanged, One Hundred Words
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