An imu is an image of an eyeless face, which is a symbol of the ancient earth magic of Rathillien. They are associated with Mother Ragga, the Earth Wife, as well as the works of the ancient powers on Rathillien, such as the Anarchies and the Heart of the Woods, both of which feature giant imus carved from diamantine which can be used to focus power by screaming.
In Mother Ragga's House, the ragged girl "imp" who lives there gives Jame a clay imu medallion. It tingles in her gloved hand and Jame is suspicious of it. However, it helps Jame survive multiple times. When she's attacked by the changer in Peshtar, the imu leaps at his face, sinking into his flesh with "a muffled hiss". When the changer rips it off, a circle of skin comes with it. Showing the imu saves her when the forest seems to be attacking her in the Anarchies; again, it is fed blood, from thorn-scratches. It appears to require feeding to function. Jame feeds it again later to see through the mists shrouding their way; this time, the imu bites through her leather glove to get its blood.
Finally, the imu guides her to the Heart of the Woods when she feeds it with Waster blood from Kin-Slayer's blade. It seems to help amplify her scream as she screams the changers to death there, and explodes in her hand.
Jame is given the imu again in Seeker's Mask by Lyra, who has temporarily taken on the role of the Earth Wife's imp. It is still covered in changer's skin; she theorizes that the skin may have restored the clay. The Earth Wife asks for a favor in return for hers, and suggests Jame's "dog"—Graykin. Jame suggests the use of her ears instead so the Earth Wife can hear, but then has to run out. Later she takes the imu out of her pocket and sees that it has grown eyes and ears, for the Earth Wife to see and hear through.
Jame uses the imu in To Ride a Rathorn and the Earth Wife mentions hearing through it.
- ↑ Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 3: Old Friends, Old Enemies" — " 'An imu, I think. I've run into them all over the more primitive parts of Rathillien. Many people carry them as charms.' "
- ↑ Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 5: Under Green Leaves" — "Four large stepping stones led across the Ever-quick, each one carved with an imu face."
- ↑ Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 7: A Rage of Rathorns" — "Jame could clearly see the huge, gape-mouthed imu faces on the far side, thrusting out of the diamantine lithons"
- ↑ Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 15: The Killing Ground" — "Above, other imus of diamantine emerged along the cliff heights, spitting earth from their frozen, gaping mouths. They were less well defined than the ones in the Anarchies but, it seemed, no less deadly."