Characters / Second Apocalypse

The characters of the Second Apocalypse books, and related tropes. Needs a little help from editors.

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     The First Trilogy 

Drusas Achamian

A Mandate sorcerer and spy who stumbles into events far beyond his control or understanding.

  • Badass Bookworm
  • Badass Grandpa: in the second series.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Akka is introduced as a dumpy, middle-aged, not-especially-competent spy with self-confidence issues. And then he starts casting spells.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Defector from Decadence: at the end of the first series, turns his back on Kellhus's court and goes off to live in the wilderness and research his dreams of Seswatha.
  • Distinguishing Mark: All sorcerers have a metaphysical stain that other sorcerers can see, due to them warping the fabric of reality with their magic. The narrative also makes frequent references to the distinguishing five streaks of white in his beard.
  • The Hermit: After he abandons Kellhus and Esmenet when he realizes Kellhus is a manipulating liar, he ends up in the wilderness of the northern highlands as a lone hermit. This is how we find him in the beginning of the second trilogy.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.
  • Knight in Sour Armor
  • Person of Mass Destruction: As a former sorcerer of the Mandate and a War Chant master, Achamian can slaughter whole companies of soldiers or Sranc with his words. Wielding the Gnosis, he's more powerful than several Anagogic sorcerers put together.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: A staple of the School of Mandate, where all sorcerers have to relive the ordeals of Seswatha in their dreams every night, in order to remember what they are fighting against. It appears that Achamian's dreams are unique, exploring parts of Seswatha's life ranging from prosaic and banal to deeply kept secrets. He ends up dreaming of Nau-Cayuti's life as well.

Anasurimbor Kellhus

A Dunyain monk, sent into the outside world to find his exiled father.

  • A God Am I: While hanging in the Circumfix, Kellhus has a vision that he truly has been selected to save the world, and he's convinced most of the world that he's a divine being.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Most Triumphant Example. So long as he has someone to teach him or even just watch Khellus can master seemingly ANYTHING. He is the greatest swordsman, greatest mage, greatest general, greatest politician the world may have ever seen. Almost everyone who ever meets him regards him as their greatest friend/teacher/leader ect ect. You could call him the greatest philosopher... if only he believed anything he said.
  • The Chessmaster: He never, ever tells anyone to do his bidding "because I want to". Kellhus can find out everyone's innermost desire or motivation, and then appeal to that. Cnaiur scarily describes Kellhus' and his father's powers of manipulation when he breaks down completely. "They makes us love! They make us love!"
  • The Chosen One: A total deconstruction of this trope, since Kellhus makes himself the Messiah of a new religion by manipulating everyone into believing he is the Chosen One.
  • Dark Messiah: Kellhus believes that he is the chosen one to save the world from the Apocalypse, and he's set himself in the position where most of the world believes him. However, he does so with brutally pragmatic strategies that cause untold suffering and death along the way.
  • Flaw Exploitation: What he does to everyone.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: He has this while he is hanged from the tree, before his "resurrection".
  • Hyper Awareness: The ultra-perceptive Kellhus turns this into a superpower.
  • Instant Expert
  • Living Lie Detector: This is easily the scariest of Kellhus' abilities. All the Dunyain have the ability to read human faces, but Kellhus takes this to a new terrifying level.
  • Master of Your Domain: a skill all Dunyain possess.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The very reason why Kellhus was sent to find his father Moenghus was to kill him. And he eventually does.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kellhus has no passion. He only smiles as part of his manipulation of others.
  • ▄bermensch: All of the Dunyain are basically Nietzschean superhumans, but especially Kellhus.


An ordinary prostitute in the metropolis of Sumna, who is thrown into an extraordinary situation.

  • Betty and Veronica: The "Veronica" to SerwŰ's "Betty" in the first two books.
  • Big Fancy House: In the second trilogy she's the wife of Kellhus and her house is the lavish imperial palace on the Andiamine Heights. From a street hooker to the Empress of the Three Seas. Not bad.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold
  • Mama Bear: To her children. She'll defend her sons to the death, even if they're obviously in the wrong. This is probably Esmi overcompensating and feeling guilty for having sold Mimara into slavery as a child.
  • Parental Neglect: One of the things she blames herself for.
  • Rags to Riches: Esmi from being a lowly prostitute, scorned by society and condemned in religious scripture, to being wife of the Warrior-Prophet and eventually God-Empress of the Three Seas.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask

Cnaiur urs Skiotha

A Scylvendi chieftain with a fearsome reputation.

  • Armoured Closet Gay: Cnaiur was seduced by Moenghus. He's become the greatest warrior of the Scylvendi, but nothing can wash away his shame. He does lust after women, however, so he's not exclusively gay.
  • Badass Normal
  • Barbarian Tribe: He belongs to one.
  • Depraved Bisexual
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy
  • Mad Love: Cnaiur develops a very twisted kind of love/obsession for SerwŰ, who wants nothing to do with him — mainly because his way of expressing this "love" involves repeatedly raping her.
  • Sanity Slippage: Cnaiur goes increasingly crazy in the third volume, after SerwŰ's death and Kellhus' ascent to becoming the Messiah and a living god.
  • Screaming Warrior: Cnaiur loves to scream threats and taunts at his enemies before and during combat.


A Norsirai girl purchased as a concubine by a Nansur noble house. She falls in love with Kellhus, becoming his first and most loyal disciple.

  • Betty and Veronica: The "Betty" to Esmenet's "Veronica".
  • Break the Cutie: Sold into sexual slavery as a child by her father, taken prisoner by Scylvendi, and finally broken fatally by Sarcellus when she resists Kellhus' arrest.
  • Brainless Beauty: She's one of the dumbest characters in the series. Kellhus has her utterly within his spell.
  • Informed Attractiveness: We're told many times how almost impossibly beautiful she is. Even Esmenet, herself a beauty, is intimidated.
  • Rape as Drama: Happens to her at several points.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist

Ikurei Xerius

The Nansur Emperor and most powerful man in the Three Seas, second only to the Shriah.

  • Cain and Abel: His backstory.
  • The Caligula: Xerius lapses into "Caligula moments" when he's excited or angry. At one point, he throws a golden wine-cup off his balcony just for fun, and remarks that some servant will undoubtedly steal it...before ordering his guards to scourge whoever steals it.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Not particularly bright, but he has his moments. Conphas notes in regards to Xerius how proud lesser men are of their fleeting moments of brilliance.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: An interesting case; inspired by the political maneuvering and perceived decadence of Alexius Comnenus, the Emperor of Byzantium. For Alexius's military success, see below.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Parental Incest: With his mother.
  • Royally Screwed Up
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Probably not actually the greatest Emperor the Nansurium has ever seen.

Ikurei Conphas

The nephew and heir of Emperor Xerius, and the finest general in the known world.

  • Bishounen: He's extremely handsome, and his appearance is described as "godlike" when he's particularly triumphant.
  • Break the Haughty: This narcissist is eventually broken, at the hands of CnaiŘr (who brutally rapes him) and Saubon (who defeats his army and kills him).
  • The Chessmaster: To an even greater degree than his uncle.
  • The Dandy
  • The Evil Prince
  • A God Am I: Falls deeper and deeper into this narcissistic delusion as the Holy War continues.
  • Insufferable Genius: He really likes to lecture people on his great intellect.
  • The Mole: He was sent to ensure the Holy War fails, as part of a political deal with the Kianene.
  • Klingon Promotion: Aims to attain the throne early in this method.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Inspired by Alexius Comnenus's military expertise.
  • Rape as Drama: Happens to him.
  • The Strategist: in general, and specifically offers to serve this role to the Holy War.
  • The Unfettered

Nersei Proyas

Heir to the kingship of Conriya, and one of the principal Lords of the Holy War. Formerly the student and almost surrogate son of Drusas Achamian, he has hence turned to religious fervor and has a very ambivalent relationship to his former mentor.

Coithus Saubon

The youngest son of the King of Galeoth, and one of the main Lords of the Holy War.

  • Abusive Parents: Specifically his brutal father, King Eryeat of Galeoth.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking
  • Badass Normal
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Saubon isn't stupid, but he is way out of his depth dealing with the likes of Conphas, Cnaiur and Kellhus, so his good ideas tend to come across as this.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Compare with Bohemond of Taranto, one of the principal leaders of the First Crusade.
  • The Rival: He is this to Conphas, who considers him an idiot and doesn't hold him in much respect. His deep grudge towards Conphas is due to losing a war against him, prior to the Holy War. This is also based on Bohemond of Taranto, who had fought a war against the Byzantine Greeks right before the First Crusade.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Possibly even worse than Proyas.

     The Second Trilogy 


Esmenet's oldest daughter and sold into slavery as a child to avoid starvation.

  • Break the Cutie: She's already been broken...and then Inrilatas
  • Broken Bird: An extreme case, since she was sold into slavery by her mother and was a child prostitute half her life.
  • The Chosen One: She's the real thing. Kellhus is just a pretender.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold
  • Parental Incest: Achamian and Mimara have sex once, soon after first meeting. Mimara is fairly convinced that he's her father, but he's pretty convinced that he's not, but still treats her as such. Both immediately regret the event.
  • Rape as Backstory
  • Rape as Drama: It happened to Mimara as a young child, and continued up to her early twenties until Esmenet found her and took her out of the brothel. At the end of book five, she gets raped again by Galian.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality

Anasurimbor Kayűtas

Esmenet's and Kellhus' oldest son, and the heir to Kellhus' empire.

Anasurimbor Serwa

Esmenet's first daughter with Kellhus, sent away to be raised by witches from a young age.

  • Action Girl
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Battle of the Horde, she rescues Sorweel from being raped and eaten by pursuing Sranc in the nick of time. Sorweel, however, just wishes to die.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Mimara, in many ways.
  • Femme Fatale: Serwa certainly appears as one in Sorweel's eyes.
  • Hot Witch
  • Incest Is Relative: Moenghus isn't really her brother (they are not blood relatives, nor were they raised together), although her sexual relationship with him is treated as incest.
  • Lady of War

Anasurimbor Theliopa

Esmenet's and Kellhus' second daughter, who serves as an adviser to the imperial throne.

Anasurimbor Inrilatas

Esmenet's son with Kellhus. He is the most obvious example of Dunyain breeding when it goes terribly wrong. He inherited his father's superhuman intellect, but not his mental fortitude. Consequently, he went completely insane as a child.

Anasurimbor Kelmomas

Esmenet's youngest and most beloved son with Kellhus, twin brother of the mentally-handicapped Samarmas, and a gifted young boy who isn't quite what he seems to be...

  • Cain and Abel: Kelmomas and Samarmas.
  • The Chessmaster: Kelmomas, while still a child, orchestrates a civil war between Esmenet and the Thousand Temples, by getting Inrilatas killed by Maithanet.
  • Child Prodigy
  • Enfant Terrible: And how!
  • Eye Scream: Beware of Kelmomas and his skewer.
  • In the Blood: Like his siblings, a lot of Kelmomas' "peculiarities" are due to his blood.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Or rather, obfuscating youth. It doesn't enter anyone's mind that a cute eight-year-old could possibly be an Evil Genius in disguise.
  • Split Personality: Kelmomas and his twin Samarmas shared minds when they were born, and spent all their time staring into each other's eyes. When they finally were separated, Samarmas was reduced to a mentally handicapped Empty Shell because his higher faculties were left in Kelmomas' mind. This left Kelmomas with a Split Personality, and Samarmas' thoughts usually express themselves as a voice inside Kelmomas' head.
  • Sssssnaketalk: The voice in Kelmomas' head sometimes talks like this.

Varalt Sorweel

Prince of the distant northern city-state of Sakarpus, which lies in the way of the Great Ordeal; after his city is defeated, Sorweel is taken along as a hostage by Kellhus.

Psatma Nannaferi

The hidden matriarch of the cult for the mother-goddess Yatwer.


A Nonman sorcerer in strange company.

  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In the middle of his and Mimara's romantic talk, he tells her that he wants to strangle her and torture her to death. (And this is actually him being heartfelt and romantic, in his own insane way.)
  • Broken Bird: In his case, broken several hundred times over countless myriads of years. Most of his memories are trauma heaped upon trauma.
  • Defector from Decadence: He abandoned his own kingdom, Ishterebinth, when they succumbed to mass dementia and joined the Consult. Sarl says that they found the Nonman exile "like a coin in the mud."
  • Dissonant Serenity
  • Failure Knight: Cleric has lived for millennia, and seen all his victories become undone. In ancient times, he finished the war of extermination against the Inchoroi, and concealed the Min-Uroikas forever with sorcery. It would have ended there, if not Aurang and Aurax had survived. Actually, the whole Nonman species fits this trope.
  • The Fog of Ages: Nonmen have mortal minds inside immortal bodies that can live for millennia after millennia. Quite a few go insane from the amnesia. They have so many memories piled up inside them, that they can only remember the most traumatic events (by PTSD). The insane Nonmen who are addicted to violence for memory's sake, such as Cleric, are known as Erratics.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: He has several.
  • Immortality Hurts
  • Last of His Kind
  • Loving a Shadow: His wife, who died in the Womb-Plague. To make him happier, Mimara shaves her head and eyebrows to look more like a Nonwoman.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: His long life has taken a terrible toll on his mind.

The Skin Eaters

Savage mercenaries culling Sranc scalps in the northern wilderness.

  • Badass Normal: Pokwas, Xonghis and especially the Captain.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The happy-go-lucky Soma, a bumbling airhead who is rather out-of-place in the scalping band. Even during the ordeal in Cil-Aujas, he is unaffected by the horrors around him and turns out to be a Consult skin-spy.
  • Blood Knight: The Captain is the epitome of this trope.
  • The Consigliere: The Captain is this to Cleric, who is almost completely dependent on him. Cleric, like all remaining Nonmen, is an insane amnesiac who needs to have a human consigliere (called an elju, meaning "book") to refresh his memory and keep him grounded in reality. Sarl also fills the second-in-command role to Kosoter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Galian is a constant source of snark, especially when he's teasing Soma.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Skin Eaters are largely a bunch of amoral bastards, but even they have only the deepest hatred for the Stone Hags, an outlaw band of scalpers who prey on other humans instead of Sranc.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Sarl doesn't do too well in Cil-Aujas. His body is fine, but his sanity never recovers from the Mind Rape.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Skin Eaters have fought Sranc for so long that they've become hardened to an extreme degree. "The rules of the slog" definitely prove this. After hunting monsters as a career, they've become pretty monstrous themselves.
  • HeelľFace Turn: Soma turns out to be a skin-spy, and thus a bad guy. Yet he is grateful to Mimara for saving his life in Cil-Aujas, and so he protects her from the Sranc in a battle, knowing that he will expose himself as a skin-spy when doing so. In the end, the Soma skin-spy gives his own life to save Mimara and her unborn baby from Galian.
  • Madness Mantra: Sarl and his insane ranting. "The slog of the slogs!"
  • Master Swordsman: Pokwas, a Zeumi sword-dancer and Scary Black Man extraordinaire. Soma also morphs into a killing machine during battle and this is how Mimara clocks him for a skin-spy.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Pokwas, Oxwora, and Xonghis.
    • Averted with the Captain, who is an Ainoni. It's remarked upon that Kosoter is savage as a desert tribesman but actually is from Ainon, an over-civilized nation known for softness and hedonism. "It seemed absurd to imagine him reclining at the night-long bacchanals of eating and vomiting so popular with the Ainoni nobility, that he'd plotted with men too fat to walk, that he'd worn porcelain masks for negotiations and powdered his face white before riding to war."
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
  • Sanity Slippage: Half the Skin Eaters lose their minds after the ordeal in the black halls of Cil-Aujas. Sarl is the most obvious case.
  • Scary Black Man: Pokwas.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Captain summarily executes anyone who cries, has a mental breakdown, is badly wounded, or otherwise slows down the scalpers. With a casual ruthlessness, he kills many people for being "burdens" on the journey to Sauglish. At first, Achamian is horrified by this and thinks Kosoter is an insane loon, but then sees the cold-blooded logic in this. By the end, he has accepted the Captain's brutal methods as the only way to get the journey to its destination. And he's right.
    • When the few surviving scalpers finally do reach the dead city, Galian pulls this one and kills the Captain.

     The Consult 

An ancient conspiracy of sorcerers, Nonmen, and darker things, responsible for the First Apocalypse. They serve as the Big Bad of the story.

  • Alien Invasion: The Inchoroi, of whom only two remain.
  • Bio Tech: All of the Inchoroi are the products of successive Graftings, species-wide rewrites of their genotype, meant to enhance various abilities and capacities, such as the ability to elicit certain sexual responses from their victims, via pheromone locks. The addition of humanoid vocal apparatuses and genitals is perhaps the most famous of these genetic upgrades. (Word of God)
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Why are the Consult trying to wipe out humanity? To save their souls. The metaphysics of the universe are such that objective morality exists, along with redemption and damnation. The Inchoroi effectively crossed the Moral Event Horizon long before they crash-landed on Eńrwa, and are wholly and entirely damned for their actions. Also, sorcerers are all damned for singing in the "voice of the God". However, as the Inchoroi discovered, the reduction of the number of "ensouled" beings below a certain number - 144,000 souls - serves to completely seal off the connection of the Outside with the living world, thus creating the possibility of saving the Inchoroi and Consult from damnation.
  • Body Horror: Shae÷nanra.
  • Deal with the Devil: This was how Shae÷nanra ended up forming the Consult together with the Inchoroi monsters.
  • Depraved Bisexual
  • Eldritch Abomination: Aurang and Aurax are this in their original shapes, and possibly the No-God as well. It's not known yet whether the No-God is made of souls, or if he's a physical Eldritch Abomination. However, it's likely we'll find out by the next book...
  • For the Evulz: The original motivation of the Inchoroi, who have a malignant obsession with the sexual.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Apart from one epilogue scene, Aurang only appears in a shape not his own. For convenience's sake he often uses a synthese, a bio-engineered bird body with a small humanoid face, as his temporary form. Aurang flies around in this bird shape whenever he's communicating with his Mooks.
  • Immortals Fear Death: And understandably, as they are all damned to eternal suffering in the afterlife.
  • Immortality Seeker:
    • Shae÷nanra and the human Consult sorcerers.
    • The Nonmen were the original example of this, when they accepted the gift of immortality from the Inchoroi.
  • Immortality Immorality
  • Lost Technology: The Inchoroi seem to be ignorant of how their Tekne works. They are unable to build new weapons.
  • Old Master: Pretty much all of them.
  • The Older Immortal: The two Inchoroi brothers are vastly older than the rest of the Consult (who are already several thousand years old).
  • Omnicidal Maniac
  • One-Gender Race: The Inchoroi, now that only the twin brothers remain of the whole species. However, the Seswatha dream in the third book implies that Inchoroi aren't born with genders in the human sense (but merely bio-engineer themselves to grow whatever sex organs they wish), as they were birthed by their organic spaceship (Golgotterath is described as "a dead womb.")
  • Orcus on His Throne: Shae÷nanra and most of the Consult members.
    • Shae÷nanra, in his current grotesque state, isn't - how to put it? - physically capable of moving beyond his throne.
  • Rage Against the Heavens
  • Rape as Drama: Happens to men, women, and babies when they fall into the Inchoroi's claws.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shae÷nanra started out as this.