Loiosh is a male jhereg, a winged reptile whose teeth inflict poison on its victims. He comes from the jungles lying west of Adrilankha, but spent his life mostly in Adrilankha, also crossing the Dragaeran landscape and the East, in the company of assassin-traveller Vlad Taltos. The pair have a matching sense of humor.
In witchcraft, a witch calls upon a familiar, like Loiosh, to help him to perform a spell. They can talk psionically with their witch. Loiosh also distracts when dealing with multiple enemies.
Loiosh met another jhereg due to complex circumstances, becoming mates. The same circumstances led to her becoming Vlad's companion.
- See also Meta:Loiosh.
Vlad acquired Loiosh as an egg, in a psychic bargain with Loiosh's mother, a wild jhereg. Vlad has more than kept to the terms of the bargain (good hunting, companionship, and fresh meat every day).
Loiosh is known for his biting, sarcastic wit, which Vlad sometimes has cause to be grateful he is the only one normally capable of hearing. (Morrolan and Cawti can also converse psychically with Loiosh.) He also has a great fondness for dead teckla, specifically for putting them on Vlad's pillow. (At least, he threatens to do so; we don't know if he actually ever has.)
Loiosh's duties include monitoring Vlad's mental state, particularly when he is performing witchcraft. Loiosh may also be called upon to examine Vlad's memories to see if he is under the influence of any nefarious magics.
Loiosh has saved Vlad's life on several occasions, and in several ways. He will often warn Vlad of approaching danger, fly in the face of his attackers, or even warn Vlad of the presence of hostile sorcery.
During Vlad's run from the Jhereg Organization, however, Loiosh has proven to be vulnerable to tracing spells that others used to try to locate Vlad through him. It is a testament to Loiosh's abilities that he has recently (with the aid of Godslayer) been able to prevent such location spells from succeeding.
Loiosh has certain talents that exceed Vlad's. He is more difficult to fool with illusion spells, and can instantly detect undead people. He almost blew Sethra's alter ego identity the moment he first met Sethra:
"That's her, boss? Sethra Lavode?"
"Yeah. What do you think?"
"Boss, she's a vampire."
"I'd wondered about that. But is she a good vampire or a --"
"Have we ever run into her before?"
"Umm, Loiosh, I think we'd remember if we had."
"Yeah, I guess."
Note that Loiosh had these initial suspicions confirmed later on, as he was riding Vlad's shoulder when the two discussed the matter in Orca. Thus, he also shares Sethra's secret.
Loiosh continues to aid and protect Vlad, as well as provide a springboard for his wry sense of humor. During Vlad's recent struggles against the Left Hand of the Jhereg, Loiosh mostly provided lookout services for Vlad (along with Rocza) in order to avoid drawing undue attention to him.
"We could go back to Herth's place, spit in his soup and see what he says about that." --(Teckla (book))
"Can I eat him, boss?" --(Teckla (book))
"I'd tell her if I had two teckla I'd give her one."
"Two dead teckla on your pillow."
"Shut Up, Boss." --(as in Vlad's frequent comment "Shut up, Loiosh.")
"You're pretty smart for a mammal." --(Jhegaala (book))
"Dammit, Boss, I'm a jhereg, not a bloodhound." --(Jhegaala (book))
"Boss, I will never, ever understand flightless people." --(Iorich (book))