This is a list of characters in R. Scott Bakker's The Second Apocalypse that are introduced in the first trilogy, The Prince of Nothing. For the main character page, see here.
Main POV Characters
A Mandate sorcerer and spy who stumbles into events far beyond his control or understanding.
- Badass Bookworm: A bookish sorcerer and war-cant master.
- Badass Grandpa: By the second trilogy Achamian is in his late sixties.
- Bi the Way: Achamian had a homosexual relationship with a fellow Mandate initiate when he was younger. In a throwaway line, he mentions that after Esmenet gets a haircut which makes her look more boyish she looks more attractive to him. It's not clear where he falls on the Kinsey scale, but Akka is attracted to men in some capacity.
- 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: Achamian has a very dry sense of humor.
- 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.
- Doom Magnet: Achamian feels that he is a walking lodestone for tragedy and misery, especially after the death of Inrao. He even tries to bring up this fact as a reason why Mimara shouldn't look for him to be her teacher because misery and heartbreak will always follow Achamian.
- The Exile: Self-imposed. After repudiating Kellhus and the Mandate, Achamian goes into hiding in the highlands of Galeoth.
- Forced to Watch: The torture of his friend, Xinemus.
- 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 BSoD: Has quite of few of these over the course of the series.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Has a very platonic, close relationship with Xinemus, though they haven't seen each other in many years.
- In-Series Nickname: Is called Akka as a diminutive form of his first name.
- I Should Write a Book About This: A rather dark version that's played for drama. Achamian's The Compendium of the First Holy War is his historical account of the events of the first trilogy. Unfortunately, some of the heretical insinuations about the Holy Aspect-Emperor mean that Akka is persona non grata throughout the New Empire.
- Knight In Sour Armor: As a Mandate Schoolman, Achamian's primary concern is always trying to thwart the Consult and protect humanity. He also happens to be a deeply jaded, cynical man.
- Like a Son to Me: Feels that Inrao and Proyas are his surrogate children even if Achamian doesn't verbalize this sentiment.
- MayDecember Romance: With Mimara, as he is some thirty years older than her.
- Mentor Archetype: Is mostly a Deconstruction. Achamian refuses to give into Mentor Occupational Hazard and be discarded by those who want to use him merely for his knowledge. He comes to outlive at least one of his beloved students which gives him tremendous anguish and grief. Achamian also comes to hate one of his students that viewed him for his utility as a teachera resource to be exploited.
- The Mentor: Is a mentor figure to Inrao, Proyas, Kellhus and Mimara in various degrees and flavors.
- Odd Friendship: With Xinemus. A Conriyan caste-noble and a Mandate schoolman.
- Omniglot: Not to the absurd level as Kellhus, but Achamian can speak many languages.
- Parental Substitute: Becomes a father figure for Mimara. She believes he is her actual father, Achamian is not so sure.
- 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.
- Powers via Possession: After he escapes from the Scarlet Spires, Achamian describes the exercise of the Gnosis as more powerful than normal. It's been speculated that in demanding circumstances Mandate Schoolman can be be possessed by Seswatha to become even stronger. A similar circumstance in The Great Ordeal all but confirms this.
- 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-Cayûti's life as well.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Not an overt example. It's implied that Achamian could easily be promoted to administrative class for the Mandate or even be a member of the Quorum. But his feud with Nautzera over the incident with Inrao means that Achamian is still pulling field duty as a spy.
- Refuge in Audacity: When Mimara begins annoying him with her questions, Achamian starts singing a child's nursery rhyme. To whit, "to match her ridiculousness with his own."
- Wizard Beard: His long beard with five grey/white streaks in it is frequently mentioned.
A Dûnyain monk, product of an ancient breeding experiment, sent into the outside world to track down his exiled father.
- The Ace: As Dûnyain, Kellhus surpasses all rational expectations of competency in every task he undertakes. According to Word of God, Kellhus is a prodigy even among the Dûnyain. But that doesn't mean that Kellhus is right.
- All for Nothing: All of the cruelties, sacrifices and evils that Kellhus has committed, all the exigencies of the Thousandfold Thought and the Great Ordeal end up being completely worthless when the No-God is resurrected and his Ordeal is destroyed.
- The Antichrist: Kellhus is ultimately a lying, manipulative tyrant who is responsible for innumerable atrocities, is possessed by the In-Universe equivalent of Satan, and whose actions and deeds pave the way for the doom of Mankind in the imminent Second Apocalypse.
- The Archmage: Kellhus's command of the Metagnosis means he is indisputably the most powerful sorcerer in all of Eärwa.
- Arrow Catch: One of Kellhus's many abilities, he can easily snatch arrows out of the air. At another point he catches a javelin being thrown at him, then tosses it back at his attacker.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Is both the Holy Aspect-Emperor of the Three Seas and the greatest warrior-mage in the known world.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Hinted at throughout the series and ultimately discussed in The Unholy Consult, Kellhus has a blind spot toward Esmenet and Achamian, which is about as close to love as he can get.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of The Thousandfold Thought Kellhus is proclaimed the Holy Aspect-Emperor of the Three Seas. Most of his followers react with tremendous jubilation. The POV character who witnesses the crowning, Achamian, is less than enthused.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: So long as he has someone to teach him or even just watch Kellhus 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 etc. etc. You could call him the greatest philosopher... if only he believed anything he said.
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: Catches Cnaiür's sword with his hands and disarms him while they duel on the escarpments of the Hethantas.
- Battle Trophy: Of a metaphysical variant. In the second trilogy, Kellhus keeps the heads of two Ciphrang strapped to his girdle.
- Beyond the Impossible: Kellhus is able to do things previously considered impossible with the Gnosis.
- Big Bad: From the perspective of the Orthodox factions and the Fanim rebels, Kellhus is the greatest evil in the world.
- Big Damn Heroes: Arrives to save the remaining Schoolmen on the smoking heights of Irsûlor. Also returns to Momemn at the end of The Great Ordeal to save Esmenet.
- Big Good: Played with. The vast majority of humanity perceive Kellhus as a messianic savior who will defeat the Consult. But the truth remains to be seen.
- Character Title: The titular Prince of Nothing, Warrior-Prophet and Aspect-Emperor all refer to Kellhus.
- 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. Cnaiür 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. Kellhus makes himself the messiah of a new religion by manipulating everyone into believing he is the Chosen One. If we can believe Celmomas's vision, Kellhus may have been annointed by Gilgaöl. So Kellhus is a bit of a Reconstruction.
- Cool Sword: Kellhus always carries the same sword, Enshoiya (meaning Certainty), that he brought from Ishuäl, which is described as looking peculiar and having a long handle. It's presumably made by Dûnyain, so it must be of excellent quality.
- 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.
- Deal with the Devil: Kellhus studied the Daimos deeply, acquiring a large number of Ciphrang minions that he turns loose in the final battle. He states, "I have struck treaties with the Pit."
- Demonic Possession: Ajokli inhabits him during his confrontation with the Mutilated.
- Dynamic Entry: Kellhus uses the Transposition Cant to dramatically enter a room at a key moment, or to attack an unsuspecting foe.
- Determinator: Kellhus will reach Shimeh and find his father, no matter what obstacles impede him. Kellhus will also bring salvation to humanity, no matter what obstacles impede him. Although what species of salvation that will be remains to be seen.
- Emperor Scientist: In order to fulfill the demands of the Thousandfold Thought, Kellhus uses his prodigious intellect to make several technological advancement and innovations, mostly in regards to warfare. These include: the titanic siege towers that the Ordeal uses to assault Sakarpus; the creation of the Billows, battle-robes for all Schoolmen and Witches that reduce the chances of death by enemy Chorae; also changing the standard positioning of Chorae on nobles or soldiers, which in the first trilogy are usually bound to the hand of the wearer, in the second series all Chorae are bound to the navel with a kind of girdlepresumably because an arm or hand can be damaged or severed, while the torso is a much more centered place to secure a Chorae.
- Empowered Badass Normal: For most of the first two books, Kellhus is about as badass as you can get while still being something like normal. (Other than being hyper-intelligent and having exceptional strength, endurance, and reflexes, he doesn't actually have any supernatural abilities.) And then Achamian teaches him the Gnosis, the most powerful sorcery in the modern world. Kellhus, already extremely influential and capable, becomes almost horrifyingly powerful.
- Eviler Than Thou: Rants to the Consult about how he/Ajokli will make the world a living Hell, harvesting the suffering of mankind.
- Fake Aristocrat: Played with. Kellhus is an Anasûrimbor and as such is a member of the greatest dynasty in human history. But Kellhus is definitely not a Prince of Atrithau, which he pretends to be in order to be considered an equal of the other Great Names.
- Flaw Exploitation: What he does to everyone.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Kellhus is a subtle variant. As a Dûnyain he is basically an organic supercomputer with vestigial emotions. His persona as a charismatic, charming, insightful and helpful friend is a mechanism to facilitate his manipulations. Oddly enough, once he is the Aspect-Emperor and people believe he is a living god, he is allowed to act colder and be more detached from humanity.
- Four-Star Badass: Is the de facto leader of the Holy War in The Thousandfold Thought and the supreme commander of the Great Ordeal in the second trilogy. Kellhus can kick ass just like all his subordinates, especially so after he is taught the Gnosis.
- 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.
- Genius Bruiser: Kellhus is both an intellectual powerhouse and an incredibly strong warrior.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: At the end of The Great Ordeal, Kellhus utilizes a daimotic cant to fetter a demon in Malowebi's body. Kellhus's eyes glow crimson red like "blown upon coals."
- God-Emperor: In the second trilogy, Kellhus is worshiped as a living God by millions of people and is the leader of a massive polity.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: According to the Mandate, when an "Anasûrimbor returns" as the Celmomian Prophecy states that will mean the Second Apocalypse is nigh. One of Kellhus's titles is the Harbinger.
- Healing Hands: Averted. Xinemus remarks that the most famous ability of God's prophet, Inri Sejenus, was his ability to heal others. The fact that Kellhus, a supposed prophet, doesn't have this healing ability is a red flag for Achamian.
- Heroic BSoD: He mentally shuts down while he is hanged from the tree, before his "resurrection". He explicitly tells Proyas that the Circumfix "broke" him.
- Holy Backlight: The haloes on Kellhus's wrists and head have the effect of Kellhus looking like he is continuously bathed in holy, golden light.
- Holy Halo: Kellhus has halos of light around his hands and head like "an ethereal golden plate." He claims not to understand why they're there and asks his father about it.
- Hyper-Awareness: The ultra-perceptive Kellhus turns his superior perception abilities into a superpower.
- I Call It "Vera": Kellhus's disciples name his distinctive sword Enshoiya, which means "Certainty" in Sheyic. This is fitting, considering that at least one character states that Kellhus's greatest weapon is the ignorant certainty he can exploit in people.
- I Have Many Names: Kellhus accrues plenty of titles and epithets over the course of the story, including: Prince of Atrithau, Warrior-Prophet, Prince of God, Blessed One, Son of Heaven, Most Holy, Lord-and-Master, Holy Aspect-Emperor, High King of Kûniüri, and the Harbinger. Less flattering are: Prince of Nothing, False Prophet, Kurcifra, and the Demon.
- Instant Expert: Can learn languages overnight. Complex philosophical topics, historical tracts and sorcerous incantations only need to be explained to him once for Kellhus to have grasped them completely.
- Large and in Charge: Few people are taller than Kellhus, and he's the Aspect-Emperor of the Three Seas.
- Living Lie Detector: Easily the scariest of Kellhus' abilities. All the Dunyain have the ability to read human faces, but Kellhus has a terrifying level of penetration.
- Magic Knight: Kellhus is both an extremely powerful warrior and a peerless sorcerer with his command of the Metagnosis.
- Master of Your Domain: A skill all Dûnyain possess is full control over their bodily function due to their heightened conditioning.
- Master Swordsman: Kellhus's rigorous Dûnyain training means that he is peerless as a mundane swordsmanall he has to do is look at his opponent's body language and predict his movements.
- Messianic Archetype: Is either a deconstruction or a very dark and ruthless salvific figure. The deconstruction is that Kellhus is a liar who manipulates everyone into believing he is a savior. The horror comes when it just may be that Kellhus actually is the person that the God ordained to save humanity, and that his lying manipulations are indistinguishable from what the God wills.
- Necessary Evil: Kellhus tells Achamian that he has no illusions about what an inhuman monster he is, but goodness alone would not save humanity from the Consult. Everything evil that Kellhus has done has all been pursuant to the salvation of mankind.
- Neck Lift: Kellhus picks up quite a few people by the neck. It signifies his immense physical strength courtesy of his Dûnyain heritage.
- After overpowering Cnaiür, Kellhus lifts him up by the neck and holds him over an escarpment in the Hethantas Mountains.
- When tensions rise between a group of Orthodox and Zaudunyani in Caraskand, an emaciated Orthodox agitator charges Kellhus to attack. Kellhus lifts the man up by the throat, breaks his neck, then tosses his body like a "sack of bundled rags" towards the other gathered Orthodox.
- When Kellhus needs to make a point about his divinity, he lifts Achamian up by the neck, forcing him to look at the sun.
- At the end of The Great Ordeal, Kellhus lifts Fanayal up by the neck to demonstrate his physical power and then breaks the neck of the Bandit Padirajah.
- No-Sell: Kellhus is immune to the horrors of the Inverse Fire because he isn't afraid of damnation. Because of his covenant with Ajokli, Kellhus sees himself as a "hunger descending" and not fodder for the Ciphrang.
- Not So Stoic: When his long-buried emotions are brought back, Kellhus is finally forced to admit his care for Esmi. And when Akka begs him to spare Proyas, asking him to tolerate a single loose thread, Kellhus informs Akka that Akka himself fits that description with a touch of melancholy ruefulness.
- Omniglot: Kellhus can learn new languages in days and commits them to memory. He has an absurd level of languages at his disposal.
- Omniscient Morality License: Kellhus plays the card of "it's all part of the God's plan" when some of his followers or disciples question his terrifying decisions. He says as much to Proyas in The White-Luck Warrior when commenting on all the atrocities in the Unification Wars: "Nothing is more complicated than virtue and sin. All the evils you have committed in my nameall of them have their place." Subverted once he reveals the truth in order to mind-rape Nersei Proyas into a Heroic BSOD state. He tells Proyas that everything he has said is a lie, and that Proyas has the blood of millions on his hands.
- Outliving One's Offspring:
- At the beginning of The Judging Eye, we learn that one of his children by Esmenet was born with severe deformities, and quickly killed after birth according to custom.
- Over the course of the Aspect-Emperor series, several of his children die in quick succession (Samarmas in The Judging Eye, Inrilatas in The White-Luck Warrior, Koringhus and Theliopa in The Great Ordeal).
- Person of Mass Destruction: More powerful than any Gnostic sorcerer, and possibly the most powerful living being in the history of Eärwa.
- Rousing Speech: Kellhus's oratory skills are one of his greatest tools for manipulating the people of the Three Seas.
- Before the Holy War sallies forth from Caraskand, Kellhus invigorates the Men of the Tusk with an inflammatory speech.
- After capturing Gerotha, Kellhus gives a speech which is an homage to the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V.
- Kellhus knows that he needs enough time to confront his father and as such the Holy War will assault Shimeh without his leadership. He delivers a firebrand speech in order to stir up the Inrithi so that they will have the morale and faith to survive the battle until Kellhus can return.
- Another example is when the Great Ordeal is marching out of Sakarpus, Kellhus gives a speech to his army. The POV then switches to the Sakarpi who are watching from their ruined city. The people of the Lonely City can instinctively feel how epic, powerful and moving Kellhus's speech isand they can't even understand the language.
- He gives another epic speech before the Battle of Dagliash, where he disappears in mid-air and speaks from the heavens. During this speech, Proyas realizes he's gradually going insane, and that the Great Ordeal is becoming more like the Consult.
- Sanity Slippage: Maybe, it's hard to know for certain, but Kellhus may have been deranged by the experience of going through the Circumfixion. When going to Kyudea to confront his father, he begins hearing the jackals and wolves speaking to him as they chase him across the fields. He then starts laughing maniacally. Moënghus himself declares that the Wilderness has broken him rather than enlightened.
- Self-Made Orphan: The very reason why Kellhus was sent into the wilderness to find his father Moënghus was to kill him. And he eventually does.
- Smug Super: Downplayed. Kellhus doesn't really have the emotional depth to take personal satisfaction in his abilities. But his internal monologues about how inferior worldborn humans are and the confidence he has in his Dûnyain training can give off this impression.
- The Social Expert: Kellhus is a master of social engineering.
- Sorcerous Overlord: In the second trilogy, Kellhus is the sorcerer-god-king of the New Empire.
- Stepford Smiler: Kellhus has no passion at all. He only smiles as part of his manipulation of others.
- Supporting Leader: In the second trilogy. Despite being one of the central characters and most important figures of the story, Kellhus gets considerably less "screentime" in the second trilogy. Other characters are the main focus, with Kellhus being more in the background.
- Teleport Spam: Kellhus uses the Transposition Cant to its maximal effect, outmaneuvering his enemies, deflecting projectiles and just being as untargetable as possible.
- Took a Level in Badass: Kellhus without the gnosis could outfight the greatest warriors, out-think the greatest scholars and bend men's hearts to his will, but he could still be blasted to chalk by a sorcerer. When he gains and masters the Gnosis, however, he becomes the single most powerful being the world, perhaps ever.
- Training from Hell: The Dûnyain train constantly to facilitate both greater physical and mental fortitude in their members, and Kellhus is no exception.
- Übermensch: All of the Dûnyain are basically Nietzschean superhumans, but especially Kellhus.
- Warrior Therapist: As a Dûnyain, Kellhus is able to effortlessly read and categorize the thoughts of enemy generals, warriors, and leaders.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: It's subtle and rarely mentioned, but implied that Kellhus comes to have some affection for Esmenet, though he doesn't really understand what it is because emotions are so alien to him.
- In The Warrior Prophet Esmenet comes to meet him on top of the citadel in Caraskand, and almost slips from the ramparts. Kellhus finds himself "puzzled by a sudden shortness of breath. The fall would have been fatal."
- At the end of The Great Ordeal, his vestigial emotions are making a return and Kellhus abandons his army and returns home out of love for Esmenet. It's implied that the Sranc meat, which is awakening the rest of the Great Ordeal's darkest primal urges, has awakened Kellhus' humanity.
An ordinary prostitute who is thrown into an extraordinary situation.
- Betty and Veronica: The "Veronica" to Serwë's "Betty" in the first two books.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Esmenet is one of the kindest people in the series, but when she's angry? When Mimara is discovered in a brothel, Esmenet goes into a fury and has the entire area put to the sword.
- 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.
- Character Tic: Tilting her head to the side.
- Death Seeker: Briefly. After the birth of Theliopa and with Kellhus away fighting in Nilnamesh, Esmenet says she was contemplating suicide out of complete melancholy.
- Doting Parent: When younger, Esmi utterly doted on her beloved Mimara and was the best mom a single-mother prostitute could've been. Zigzagged when in a moment of horrible weakness, she sold Mimara to slavers during a famine. When she tries to reconnect with Mimara later, Mimara is having none of it.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Esmi's character is mostly a deconstruction of this archetypewhat if the hooker isn't content with their lot in life, and what is the evolution of their character whilst trying to change their life? She's still a fundamentally good person, so plays it straight enough.
- In-Series Nickname: Is called Esmi as a diminutive form of her name.
- Mama Bear: To her children. She'll defend her evil sons to the death, even if they're obviously in the wrong. This is certainly Esmi overcompensating and feeling guilty for having sold her daughter Mimara into sex slavery as a child.
- Mark of Shame: All the prostitutes in Sumna are given tattoos that are parodies of legitimate Gierran Priestess tattoos. It's supposed to make them somewhat more pious. However, it's mostly just to shame them and keep them in their place. Esmenet is deeply ashamed of her tattoo; once she leaves Sumna she takes great care to hide it to avoid unwanted hostility and contempt.
- Meaningful Name: Esmenet was also the name of the wife of Angeshraël, the most important of the Old Prophets of the Tusk.
- My Greatest Failure: Selling Mimara may have been the only way to save her during the famine, but it was also driven by selfishness. Esmenet has never forgiven herself for it, moreso when Mimara is recovered and utterly despises her for it.
- Never Learned to Read: As a caste-menial woman, Esmenet was never taught how to read or write. Her lover Achamian, himself a bookish scholar, never bothered to share this with her. Kellhus's invitation to teach her to read is the greatest tool he has to seduce her.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: The narrative of a low-class prostitute rising to the heights of empire is loosely based on Empress Theodora, wife of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
- Not Quite Dead: Still alive at the start of The Unholy Consult, despite the imperial palace collapsing from the quake.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Her daughter died some years before the beginning of the first trilogy. This trope is later subverted when it turns out that Esmenet actually sold her into slavery.
- At the beginning of The Judging Eye, we learn that one of her children by Kellhus was born with severe deformities, and quickly killed after birth according to custom.
- Over the course of the Aspect-Emperor series, several of her children die in quick succession (Samarmas in The Judging Eye, Inrilatas in The White-Luck Warrior and Theliopa in The Great Ordeal).
- Parental Neglect: One of the things she blames herself for.
- Rags to Riches: Esmi goes from being a lowly prostitute, scorned by society and condemned in religious scripture, to being wife of the Warrior-Prophet and eventually Empress-Consort of the Three Seas.
- Rape as Backstory: Sexually abused by her father and sold to a brothel, something she later did to her daughter Mimara.
- The Spymaster: Serves Kellhus as his Intricati during The Thousandfold Thought.
- Street Smart: Seems to be her greatest attribute, in the first book at least.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Throughout most of the second trilogy.
Cnaiür urs Skiötha
A Scylvendi chieftain with a fearsome reputation.
- The Ace: Subverted. Cnaiür is easily the mightiest warrior and greatest war-leader of all the Scylvendi tribes. But the scandal of killing his own father to become Chieftain and his homosexual relationship with Moënghus means that he will never be fully accepted by the People of War.
- Armoured Closet Gay: Cnaiür was seduced by Moënghus. He's driven to 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.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The Scylvendi are led by their strongest warriors. Cnaiür is the King-of-Tribes at the end of The Great Ordeal.
- Badass Boast: Half of the series' examples come from him.
- Badass Normal: He has no sorcerous ability or Dûnyain training, yet he's still an incredible fighter and extremely intelligent.
- Badass Grandpa: Come the end of The Great Ordeal. Cnaiür is somewhere in his sixties.
- Barbarian Hero: Cnaiür is a deconstruction of this archetype. He comes from a tribe with Mongolic customs who are obsessed with war and pride themselves on being pure and hardened by the difficulty of their life on the Jiünati Steppes. Cnaiür even looks like Conan the Barbarian: he has black hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. However, rather than being a heroic counterweight to the corruption of the Three Seas and the Inrithi civilization, Cnaiür is even worse: he is insanely paranoid, cannot understand why the Inrithi soldiers bring prostitutes along as part of their campaign (when one can just rape the native women of the land one conquers), is on the constant brink of a murderous rage, and ends up working with the Consult.
- Barbarian Tribe: He belongs to one.
- Berserk Button: Being called a faggot will press Cnaiür's. In fact, any insult might set off Cnaiür.
- Blood Knight: Cnaiür is only truly at peace when he is "worshiping" War.
- Broken Ace: Cnaiür feels that he is forever dishonored by Moënghus and can never redeem himself in the eyes of his people. This state of being is further reinforced when Mimara looks upon Cnaiür with the Judging Eye. She describes his soul as "... no mere splinter, but a mighty shard ... possessed of what would have been a hero's soul, were it not for Anasûrimbor Moënghus."
- Covered in Scars: Of the ritual kind. Each person that a Scylvendi kills is commemorated with a ritual cut on their arms, referred to as a swazond. Cnaiür has over two hundred swazond on his arms at the beginning of the first trilogy.
- Dark Messiah: It's revealed in The Unholy Consult, that after returning to the Hallowed Steppe, Cnaiür had set out to completely unite the Scylvendi tribes. Destroying all opponents, Cnaiür has brought the fractious tribes of the Scylvendi under one banner as one People. He's even described as a savage reflection of his sworn foe, Kellhus, all in order to wreak his vengeance.
- Depraved Bisexual: Quite depraved by the fact that Moënghus seduced him.
- Establishing Character Moment: Cnaiür is introduced trying to give sensible strategic advice to his fellow tribal leaders, but they mock and ignore him. This establishes Cnaiür as a skilled warrior and hints at the shame that stalks his every step.
- Four-Star Badass: Commanded the Holy War against Skauras at Anwurat. Is also the leader of all the Syclvendi tribes at the end of The Great Ordeal.
- Genius Bruiser: Cnaiür is a pretty pensive, and philosophical character. He's also a ruthless barbarian warlord who can lay waste to dozens of men in combat.
- A God Am I: During his fight with the Nansur at Joktha, he seems to become possessed by Gilgaöl, the god of war. His ravings take on the personality of Gilgaöl, claiming to have stalked the Nansur for a thousand years. Or maybe he's just gone completely insane.
- In-Series Nickname: Man-killing Cnaiür, Breaker-of-horses-and-men, and Most Violent of all Men. Was also called Nayu by his father when he was younger. It's also what Moënghus calls him.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Cnaiür's eyes are described as only making him look even more powerful and intense.
- Large and in Charge: Cnaiür is a hulking and imposing warrior, and he's the King-of-Tribes come The Great Ordeal.
- Lightning Bruiser: Absurdly strong, tough and quick. Cnaiür even gets in a good hit on Kellhus while they are fighting on the escarpments of the Hethantas.
- Mad Love: Cnaiür develops a very twisted kind of love/obsession for Serwë, who wants nothing to do with him — mainly because his way of expressing this "love" involves repeatedly raping her.
- Master Swordsman: Cnaiür is only matched by Kellhus for his skills with a blade.
- Not Quite Dead: Last seen contemplating the slitting of his own throat in The Thousandfold Thought. He's then assumed dead for the second trilogy. Come the final chapter of The Great Ordeal, Cnaiür reappears as the King-of-Tribes leading a vast army of Scylvendi marching north to aid the Consulta Wham Episode of titanic caliber.
- Odd Friendship: Seems to have a meaningful friendship with Proyas. Cnaiür warns Achamian about Conphas's incoming army solely to save Proyas from potential harm.
- Pet the Dog: During the Battle of Anwurat, Cnaiür attempts to save a woman and her infant from the Kianene assault. They both die anyways thanks to the indiscriminate destruction of the Scarlet Spires.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Scylvendi are "the people of war."
- Rated M for Manly: Cnaiür strives to be as masculine as possible. Most of it is an act to compensate for the shame of his homosexual desires.
- Rousing Speech: Gives a curt one to his meager forces at Joktha.
- Sanity Slippage: Cnaiür goes increasingly crazy in the third volume, after Serwë's death and Kellhus' ascent to becoming the Messiah and a living god.
- Screaming Warrior: Cnaiür loves to scream threats and taunts at his enemies before and during combat.
- Sole Survivor: The entire Inrithi garrison at Joktha is destroyed by the Nansur, except for Cnaiür.
- Took a Level in Badass: When he was a teenager Cnaiür was barely able to complete a mandatory rite of passage in the Scylvendi culture. Before he met Moënghus, Cnaiür was a middling Scylvendi and wasn't held in much regard by his tribe. A far cry from the character we meet thirty years later in the series proper.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Implied after Mimara looks at Cnaiür with the Judging Eye. He is described as a glorious "Prince of Hell." Rather than being fodder for the Ciphrang, it seems like Cnaiür will ascend to some kind of demonhood because of his strong soul.
- Uncertain Doom: Last seen in The Unholy Consult approaching the No-God on foot challenging "Kellhus" to reveal himself.
- Uriah Gambit: Is a victim of two notable plans to get him killed in combat.
- At Kiyuth, Xunnurit gives Cnaiür and his Utemot the task of assaulting the Nasueret Column. The Nasueret are noted to be one of the crack units in the Empire, only matched by the Selial Column in their martial discipline. By withholding reinforcements, Bannut and Yursalka hoped that Cnaiür would be killed fighting against the elite Column. Luckily, as part of his plans, Conphas had switched the standards of his Columns, and Cnaiür was only fighting a standard unit probably filled with green recruits.
- Later in The Thousandfold Thought, Cnaiür realizes that Conphas was placed in his custody because Kellhus knew that Conphas would attempt to revolt, gain the upper hand and try to kill Cnaiür.
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.
- Fallen Princess: Downplayed example. Serwë wasn't from a tremendously noteworthy family, but her father was a Chieftain of the Nymbricani.
- Fate Worse than Death: Kellhus tells Proyas that he was unable to save Serwë, that she burns in Hell.
- Informed Attractiveness: We're told many times how almost impossibly beautiful she is. Even Esmenet, herself a beauty, is intimidated.
- In-Series Nickname: Serchaa.
- Rape as Drama: Happens to her at several points.
- Sex Slave: This was Serwë's fate after being sold to House Gaunum.
- Waif Prophet: Downplayed example. In a throwaway moment Serwë says she sees vast hordes of people bowing down before Kellhus, along with Kellhus killing the Padirajah in battle. With "inexplicable certainty, she knew this." Both of these things happen after Serwë's death and Kellhus is cut down from the Circumfix.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Despite having undergone tremendous trauma and hardship, Serwë believes that Kellhus is a living god and a sign of her divine importance and the rightness of the world.
Nautzera is a senior member of the Mandate Quorum, one of Achamian's immediate superiors.
- The Archmage: As the effective leader of the Mandate at the beginning of the series, he's arguably the most powerful sorcerer in human society at that point.
- Da Chief: Is Achamian's immediate superior and has the tone of an imperious police chief.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a very sharp tongue.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Even though he is an ally, Nautzera and Simas have a good cop/bad cop dynamic when they try to convince Achamian to go to Sumna. Nautzera is the bad cop. Achamian thinks that Nautzera hates him, but in private it's revealed that Simas is the one pushing Nautzera to play this role.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has a reputation as being a jerk and is very condescending to Achamian in a Quorum meeting, but part of it is an act. When Achamian reestablishes contact after escaping the Scarlet Spires, Nautzera is positively overjoyed and questions Achamian about his well-being, assuring him they will seek vengeance upon the Spires for hurting one of their own.
- Knight Templar: A nonreligious variant. Nautzera dogmatically believes that the Consult is still active and believes that any action the Mandate takes to defeat them or avert the Second Apocalypse is justified.
- Large and in Charge: Is at least six feet tall and is said to tower over Achamian.
- Manipulative Bastard: Tells Achamian that if he doesn't go on the mission to Sumna they will send someone less sentimental to court Inrao. It's implied they would be forced to use cants of compulsion.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the red to Simas's blue.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Reacts with dismay and muted anger about Simas not giving Achamian all the intelligence they have when they send him to Sumna. Also how Nautzera reacts to Achamian repudiating Kellhus as the end of The Thousandfold Thought.
Polchias Simas is Drusas Achamian's old teacher and a member of the Quorum, the ruling council of the School of Mandate.
- The Archmage: One of the Quorum of the Mandate.
- Artificial Human: Is a skin-spy.
- Foreshadowing: It's noted early that despite Simas's advanced age he has flawless vision. A subtle indication he is not human.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Plays the good cop to Nautzera's bad. In private, it's revealed that Simas is the one pushing Nautzera to play the bad cop role.
- The Mentor: Simas was the mentor of Achamian when he was first inducted into the Mandate.
- Mole in Charge: The Consult has a skin-spy as one of the senior members of the Mandate.
- Pragmatic Hero: Nautzera notes that Simas is pretty ruthless and lacking in sentimentality. Subverted when he's revealed to be a mole for the Consult.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the blue to Nautzera's red.
- The Soulless: Averted. Simas is an aberration as a skin-spy that can utilize sorcery because he possesses a soul.
The Thousand Temples
The Shriah of the Thousand Temples, and primary instigator of the Inrithi Holy War.
- Affectionate Nickname: Esmenet calls him Maitha, a diminutive form of his full name.
- Badass Preacher: Comports himself as an imposing priest and holy man. Esmenet describes him as "carrying himself with neck-breaking strength."
- Bodyguarding a Badass: Is always surrounded by Inchausti, the elite Shrial Knights who protect the Shriah. Maithanet can handle himself.
- The Consigliere: To Esmenet at the beginning of the second trilogy. Inrilatas mocks how Maithanet tries to act like "a more human version of Kellhus" in order to facilitate this relationship.
- The Dragon: To Anasûrimbor Moënghus.
- Failed a Spot Check: Enforced by the powers of the White-Luck Warrior. The assassin is said to be waiting in the obvious spot that exists in every room in the world that goes unnoticed, this is right before he fatally stabs Maithanet.
- Famous Last Words: Sister! You must tell my broth!"
- Foreshadowing: His ascent to power is meant to parallel Kellhus. A complete stranger from far-off foreign lands arrives taking control of a corrupt and decadent institution. It's remarked upon by Achamian that Maithanet's mysterious origins are to his benefit as Shriah, insulating him from seemingly being a product of the already-corrupt Shrial Apparati.
- High Priest: The Shriah is considered the living Apostle of the Latter Prophet, as well as the administrative ruler of the Thousand Temples, and the spiritual leader of all Inrithi.
- In-Series Nickname: Is referred to as Uncle Holy in the second trilogy.
- Large and in Charge: Achamian notes that he makes the tall priests next to him look "womanish."
- Made of Iron: Recovers from almost being choked to death with unnatural quickness.
- Man in White: Is always described as wearing impeccably austere white tunics and robes.
- Meaningful Name: "Maithanet" means Instruction in Thoti-Eännoreanthe language of the Tusk.
- Mole in Charge: For Anasûrimbor Moënghus within the Thousand Temples.
- Only Sane Man: Anasûrimbor Moënghus had six half-Dûnyain children. Maithanet was the only child that had expressed "balance" and so was permitted to live.
- Red Herring: There are plenty of clues in the first book that Maithanet is a Consult plantspecifically a skin-spy. This is Achamian's theory as well. Maithanet is a part of a larger conspiracy, but he isn't a Consult agent.
- Refuge in Audacity: Maithanet's confrontation with Xerius in The Warrior Prophet is so unsubtle in its lack of tact that it becomes quite audacious.
- Rousing Speech: Delivers a stirring speech outside the Junriüma on the Morn of Ascension, formally declaring the Holy War to reconquer Shimeh.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Has remarkably little "screentime" in the first trilogy. He sets the entire plot in motion by calling for the Holy War.
- Turbulent Priest: Is an unsettling religious figure for most of the Great Factions of the Three Seas. In the words of Achamian, the corrupt and ineffective administration of the Thousand Temples had been a constant in the political calculus of the Three Seas. Maithanet completely upsets the status quo.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Deposes Esmenet thinking that he needs to gain control of the New Empire to forestall its collapse. Afterward he concludes that this is fallacy, that the utility of the Empire ended once the Great Ordeal marched.
- Your Head Asplode: Collapsing in the face of Inrilatas with a bone-crushing punch.
A former Mandate initiate and student of Achamian's. He abandoned the Mandate and became a Shrial priest in Sumna.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: The strongest argument for him to avoid falling into the hands of the Consult.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Is a kind, simple Shrial priest. He can still use Gnostic cants if he were so inclined.
- Defector from Decadence: How Inrao viewed leaving the Mandate.
- Driven to Suicide: Inrao wasn't going to survive the Consult, so he commits suicide to prevent them from learning anything more.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Achamian is haunted by his failure to protect Inrao.
- Nice Guy: A tender, innocent young man.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Barely makes it one quarter into the first book.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Dies not even one quarter into The Darkness That Comes Before.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Is only alive for about two chapters.
Grandmaster of the Shrial Knights. Also the Shriah's envoy and proxy representative within the Holy War.
- Annoying Arrows: Averted. Is struck by an arrow in the armpit which kills him on the plains of Shairizor.
- Badass Grandpa: Is noted to have grey hair. Always leads the charge of his Knights from the frontline.
- Church Militant: Is the Grandmaster of the Shrial Knights, the military branch of the Thousand Temples.
- Frontline General: Leads every charge of the Shrial Knights from the front.
- Knight Templar: Is perhaps the most dogmatic and religious of the Great Names. It comes with the territory of being a Shrial Knight.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Gotian's role as the proxy representative of Maithanet within the Holy War means he is analogous to Bishop Adhemar who was appointed the proxy representative of Urban II within the First Crusade.
- Only Sane Man: Is the only perspicacious Great Name leading up to the Fifth Battle of Mengedda. The Norsirai Great Names impulsively want to fight Skauras as soon as possible. Gotian is the only one who is rightly worried about what Skauras may be doing to prepare for them.
- Warrior Monk: Is a Shrial Knight.
The First Knight-Commander of the Shrial Knights.
- Artificial Human: Is a skin-spy.
- Big Damn Heroes: Has a few timely arrivals to save other characters.
- Rescues Esmenet from being harassed by provincial thugs.
- Kills Martemus before he can assassinate Conphas.
- Church Militant: Is a member of the Shrial Knights, naturally.
- Final Boss: For Cnaiür at the end of The Warrior Prophet.
- The Heavy: For the Consult in the first two books. With Aurang far too removed from the actual conflict this means that Sarcellus is the most direct and active of the Consult's agents.
- Honey Trap: A rare male version. The Consult sent Sarcellus to seduce Esmenet and then try to get her to spy on Achamian in turn. Esmi is taken in by Sarcellus's wealth but is too distrusting to open up to Sarcellus further.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: After getting fed up toying with Cnaiür, Sarcellus drops any pretense of being human and starts fighting at full capability.
- In the Back: Courtesy of Cnaiür.
- Jerkass: Sarcellus's defining character trait is being a haughty asshole.
- Knight in Shining Armor. Subverted in this case. Sarcellus rescues Esmi and acts like this to impress her but it's all a manipulation.
- Legacy Character: An odd version. The original Sarcellus was killed many years before the series begins. The first skin-spy is killed at Mengedda, who is then replaced by another "Sarcellus." Everyone believes that there is only one Sarcellus, except for Kellhus who recognizes that there are multiple "Sarcelluses."
- Number Two: Is the First Knight-Commander and thus second to Gotian.
- Off with His Head!: Is decapitated by Cnaiür.
- The Soulless: Skin-spies don't have souls.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: It's what makes him so immediately attractive to Esmi.
- Warrior Monk: Is a Shrial Knight.
The Nansur Empire
Ikurei Xerius III
The Nansur Emperor and one of the most powerful men in the Three Seas.
- Cain and Abel: Xerius had his brother executed to maintain control over the Imperial Mantle.
- 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. He then orders his guards to scourge whoever steals it.
- Depraved Bisexual: In a throwaway line it's mentioned how Istriya provides Xerius with both male and female sex-slaves.
- 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.
- The Emperor: Of the Nansurium.
- Evil Uncle: To his nephew, Conphas. Though Conphas isn't much better than Xerius.
- Neck Snap: Has his neck broken from a skin-spy pretending to be his mother.
- No Historical Figures 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: To Nersei Calmemunis mostly.
- Parental Incest: With his mother.
- Properly Paranoid: Is always worried about his own family, the Saik, the Cishaurim, or some other faction trying to manipulate him. Xerius's paranoia becomes justified when it's revealed how deeply the Consult had been secreted in his court.
- Royally Screwed Up: The Ikurei royal family is quite screwed up.
- Smug Snake: Xerius thinks very highly of his shrewdness, and lets others know about it, but he's not as clever as he thinks he is.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Conhpas. Both have little love or trust for one another, but are forced to work together to deal with the Inrithi and all the political forces external to the Nansurium.
- Undignified Death: Shitting yourself while screaming for help from your guards isn't the most graceful act before your death.
The nephew and heir of Emperor Xerius, and the finest general in the known world.
- Admiring the Abomination: Conphas wistfully praises Cnaiür's skill as a general and warrior but is also aware of the anathema nature of the Scylvendi race.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Conphas's death can tonally seem rather pitiable with all his pride and ambitions crashing down so swiftly.
- Always Someone Better: Conphas believes himself peerless in nearly all aspects of life. It's implied that Conphas's pathological contempt of Kellhus and designs to destroy him are driven by his desire to prove he is Kellhus's better. Kellhus lampshades this in his deconstruction of Conphas's identity early in The Thousandfold Thought.
- Big Bad Wannabe: On his own Conphas is an incredibly formidable and efficacious antagonist. But in the Gambit Pileup between the Consult and the Dûnyain, Conphas is ultimately rather irrelevant. In the second trilogy he's remembered almost solely as the "Last Ikurei Emperor" and for little elsea footnote in history. Even his legendary victory over the Scylvendi is trivialized by the monumental actions of Kellhus and the imminent Second Apocalypse.
- Bishōnen: 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 Cnaiür (who brutally rapes him) and Saubon (who defeats his army and kills him).
- Catch-Phrase: "War is intellect."
- The Cavalry: Arrives at Shimeh to provide relief to the Kianene defending the city.
- The Chessmaster: To an even greater degree than his uncle.
- Consummate Liar: Conphas's ability to lie goes hand in hand with his sociopathic nature.
- The Dandy: Always dresses impeccably.
- The Dragon: As Exalt-General, Conphas is the supreme commander of the Nansur military and answers only to the Emperor.
- Dragon with an Agenda: When the time would be opportune, Conphas hopes to usurp the throne from his Uncle. Conphas never gets around to directly confronting Xerius though, due to being preoccupied with the Holy War.
- Dragon Ascendant: Becomes the Emperor of the Nansurium in The Thousandfold Thought after his Uncle's assassination.
- Evil Nephew: To his Uncle. But it's not like Xerius is a paragon of moral virtue either.
- The Evil Prince: More like evil Exalt-General. Conphas is never once referred to as a prince, though he is Xerius's heir. He's still this trope.
- The Emperor: Very briefly. Only about a month passes between Xerius's assassination and the Battle of Shimeh.
- Famous Last Words: "I defeated the Scylvendi, you were there! No man could do such a thing!"
- A God Am I: Falls deeper and deeper into his narcissistic delusions of divinity as the Holy War continues.
- Insufferable Genius: He really likes to lecture people on his great intellect.
- I Am the Noun: A rare implied variant after Proyas suggests he may seize Conphas for questioning.Conphas:"What? You propose to arrest me?"Proyas:"You propose to arrest Prince Kellhus."Conphas:"You would find it hard to arrest an army."Proyas:"I see no army."Conphas:"But you do..."
- Karmic Death: Conphas continuously berates and disparages Saubon throughout The Warrior Prophet and humiliates Achamian when he implores the Great Names to spare Kellhus. Achamian obliterates Conphas's command coterie and Saubon arrives at Shimeh, prepared to kill Conphasand does.
- Klingon Promotion: Aims to attain the throne early by killing his Uncle.
- Lack of Empathy: Probably his greatest flaw. Despite his tremendous intellect and analytical mind, Conphas can't really fathom the emotions that motivate those around him. This leads to dizzying blind spots relating to many characters including: Martemus, Biaxi Sompas, Cnaiür, and the vast majority of his army once they reach Shimeh.
- The Mole: He was sent to ensure the Holy War fails, as part of a political deal with the Kianene.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Inspired by Alexius Comnenus's military expertise.
- Not So Different: Tells Cnaiür that they are both "brothers"superior humans to their fellows. Cnaiür laughs in Conphas's face.
- Off with His Head!: Is decapitated by Saubon outside Shimeh.
- Rape as Drama: Is raped by Cnaiür during his internment at Joktha.
- Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Invoked, but ultimately subverted. Cnaiür says that he wants to teach Conphas a lesson about life by raping him. It has about as much effect on Conphas as a slap on the wrist. He actually expresses concern for how little he's bothered by the whole affair.
- Red Baron: Gains the title "The Lion of Kiyuth" after his tremendous victory over the Scylvendi tribes at the Kiyuth River. Most rank and file soldiers of the Nansurium shorten it to simply, "The Lion."
- The Sociopath: In the words of Kellhus, Conphas has a "pathological disregard for the estimations of other men."
- The Strategist: Is a peerless tactician and strategist. It's this famous ability which makes him such a powerful bargaining chip for Xerius in negotiating the concession of the Indenture.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With his Uncle. They both distrust each other to a tremendous degree, but are forced to cooperate to deal with the Men of the Tusk and the Holy War.
- The Unfettered: He wistfully thinks about how lesser souls have "voices in their heads" that cause them to follow laws or submit themselves to authority. Conphas thinks he is free of such a limiting nature.
- Wicked Cultured: Is a well-read Nansur caste-noble and a master of jnan. War is intellect after all.
- You Killed My Father: Completely averted. Conphas doesn't bear his uncle the slightest resentment for the execution of his father.
Mother of Emperor Ikurei Xerius III, once famed for her legendary beauty.
- Artificial Human: Istriya was replaced by a skin-spy at some point before The Darkness that Comes Before begins.
- Evil Matriarch: Of the Ikurei Dynasty.
- Foreshadowing: It's mentioned early in the first book how Istriya has been acting oddly of late, not conducting herself in accordance with the unspoken rules that the Ikurei use when negotiating each other's foibles. In The Warrior Prophet Istriya's only appearance is her pumping Xerius for information about how he was able to uncover Skeaös being a spy. She also claims that the evidence of this "Cishaurim spy" means that Xerius should dissolve his treaty with Kian and continue the Holy War to Shimeh and destroy the Cishaurim. All subtle clues to demonstrate that Istriya has been a skin-spy since the first pages of The Darkness that Comes Before.
- I Was Quite a Looker: She used to be a renowned beauty, but now she is quite old.
- Master Swordsman: As a skin-spy Istriya can shred through dozens of Eothic Guard when she is chasing Xerius through the Andiamine Heights.
- Only Sane Man: Thinks she is this when discussing negotiations with the Fanimin her eyes, the enemy. The rank idiocy of agreeing to "cut off one limb but not cut off the other" is something that strikes her as absurd.
- The Soulless: As a skin-spy.
Prime Counsel to Ikurei Xerius, having served in that capacity for thirty years.
- Artificial Human: Is revealed to be a skin-spy at the end of The Darkness That Comes Before.
- The Consigliere: The primary duty of the Prime Counsel is to advise the Nansur Emperor.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a few good jibes at the expense of the Men of the Tusk.
- Gonk: His face is described as looking like a brown, shriveled apple with two black pits for eyes along with a toothless, palsied mouth. Combined with Conphas's description of him swinging his arms like an "old monkey" and the visual image of Skeaös is pretty much this.
- Foreshadowing: Conphas is surprised that the aged Skeaös has "the endurance of a monkey" when climbing the vast staircase of the Andiamine Heights. This tremendous physical fitness foreshadows the revelation that Skeaös is a skin-spy and not a normal human.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Has been the master plotter and schemer serving Xerius for many years.
- Hidden Depths: Skeaös's musings about futurity to Conphas are supposed to demonstrate his deeper character. Subverted in that as a skin-spy, Skeaös is only performing the mimicry of depth.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Goes into the mode of the supplicant sycophant when he needs to placate Xerius.
- The Rival: It's noted that Skeaös and Cememketri have a muted rivalry within the court politics of Momemn.
- The Soulless: Skin-spies don't have souls.
- Treacherous Advisor: Has been Xerius' closest advisor for years and is a Consult agent.
Nansur general and aide to Ikurei Conphas.
- Becoming the Mask: Goes to Kellhus's sermons to be a spy for the benefit of Conphas. Martemus soon abandons his mission and becomes an actual Zaudunyani convert.
- Foil: Invoked. Conphas says that he values Martemus and his taciturn nature as a foil to his own personality.
- Number Two: To his Exalt-General, Conphas.
- Off with His Head!: Is decapitated by Sarcellus.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He's a good guy, but he's loyal to Conphas. He struggles mightily between his loyalty to Conphas and his conscience, which is manipulated by Kellhus.
- Social Climber: Not an overt example. Conphas notes how his eyes "light up" when they discuss imperial politics and matters of state.
- Working-Class Hero: Has a provincial accent and isn't from a rich family. He became Conphas's aide on merit rather than privilege.
The Nansur General of the Kidruhil. Eldest son of Patridomos Coronsas.
- Blue Blood: A member of House Biaxi, one of the most prestigious and powerful Houses of the Congregate.
- Field Promotion: Conphas tempts Sompas with a possible promotion to Exalt-General to motivate him. Sompas doesn't think it would be worth it.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Is raped to death by a skin-spynot a good way to go.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Is hunting for Cnaiür at first. Soon his cavalry patrols begin disappearing and Sompas quickly realizes that he is the one being hunted.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Acts like a sycophant in the presence of Conphas. Ultimately subverted in that it's all an act.
- Rank Up: After Thallei Numemarius is killed during the cleansing of Shigek, Sompas is promoted to General of the Kidruhil.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After he is deployed with the Kidruhil to track down Cnaiür, he rides for Kellhus hoping to gain some favor by revealing Conphas's imminent attack.
Grandmaster of the Imperial Saik and adviser of Ikurei Xerius.
- The Archmage: Of the Imperial Saik.
- Badass Grandpa: He's quite old, but he's the Grandmaster of the Imperial Saik.
- Court Mage: Is the Grandmaster of an entire order of court mages.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Cememketri is left in sopping pieces by Achamian. From the perspective of a fleeing Conphas, "The Saik Grandmaster's blood was blown like sleet across his back."
- The Rival: To Skeaös within the court of Xerius.
- Social Climber: Shiropti are looked down upon as thieves and usurers by Nansur and are thus relegated to a much lower social status in the Nansurium. Conphas notes that for Cememketri to have risen to the rank of Grandmaster speaks of both great ability and great ambition.
- Token Minority: Is Shiropti, an ethnic Shigeki living in the Nansurium.
The Grand Seneschal to Ikurei Xerius.
- Killed Off for Real: Is killed during the earthquake that wracks Momemn at the end of The Great Ordeal.
- Mauve Shirt: Appears or is mentioned in all six published books. He is little more than background setting.
- Undying Loyalty: Is loyal to whomever happens to be in power on the Andiamine Heights. Be it House Ikurei or House Anasûrimbor.
Lords of the Holy War
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.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: During the Holy War, he leads every cavalry charge from the front. At the Battle of Tertae Fields he kills the Kianene champion, Cojirani.
- Broken Pedestal: Has one for Kellhus in The Great Ordeal. The Aspect-Emperor explains to Proyas that he is a False Prophet who is a manipulative liar and has been deceiving all of the Zaudunyani.
- Dead Guy Junior: Names his son after Xinemus.
- Death Seeker: Implied after Kellhus reveals that he is false prophet. Proyas desperately pleads to Kellhus that he wants to lead the strike force to Dagliash because he knows that it will likely be a suicide mission. Kellhus denies him this and gives the mission to Saubon.
- The Fettered: Proyas's primary motivation is maintaining his religious duty and following scriptural law.
- Frontline General: Leads the assault on Shimeh's walls from the front.
- The Fundamentalist: Proyas's religious nature drives him to the point that it destroys his friendship with Achamian.
- Happily Married: Probably the only example in these books, though he barely spends any time with his family due to the constant state of war.
- Heroic BSoD: In The Great Ordeal, after Kellhus explains he is a false prophet and everything Proyas has done in his name has been a manipulation, Proyas is completely despondent for the rest of the novel.
- Honorary Uncle: Is one to Kellhus's children. Proyas reflects that he is closer to Kayûtas than his actual children because he apprenticed him when Kayûtas first joined the Kidruhil.
- Karmic Death: After presiding over the deaths of millions of people in the Unification Wars all pursuant to the greater good of defeating the Consult, Kellhus finally sacrifices Proyas himself in order to reach victory.
- In-Series Nickname: Is called Prosha as diminutive form of his name.
- Knight Templar: He is a deeply religious man, which puts him at odds with Achamian, since his religion condemns all sorcerers as unclean and sinful.
- Mercy Kill: Moënghus strangles him to death, so Proyas won't have to suffer burning alive in the Umbilicus.
- Mouth of Sauron: Proyas is viewed as an evil emissary from the perspective of Varalt Harweel when the Great Ordeal comes to Sakarpus, with Kellhus as the Evil Overlordthe False Prophet from the South.
- Rape as Drama: Happens to Proyas at the hands of Kellhus in The Great Ordeal.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Of Kellhus's two Exalt-Generals, Proyas is the Blue Oni to Saubon's Red. Proyas is shown to be much more calm, introspective and taciturn than his Galeoth counterpart.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: His main activeness is concentrated upon prosecuting a holy war, but Proyas is a very proactive leader.
- The Scapegoat: In order to assuage anguish about the cannibalism and other atrocities the Great Ordeal committed to cross Agongorea, Kellhus claims that Proyas has defected to the Consult and tried to impede the righteousness of the Ordeal's purpose. The onus of all the atrocities are then laid at Proyas' feet.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had his cousin, Calmemunis, whipped for impiety after the Battle of Parempti. This fostered tremendous bitterness in Calmemunis who begrudged Proyas his inevitable command of the Conriyan contingent of the Holy War. Calmemunis's resentment was a key motivating factor in leading the Vulgar Holy War into Kian prematurelya catastrophic defeat for Proyas as a Man of the Tusk.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Proyas is desperate to prove his worth to many people in his life. These include: his father, Eukernas, the King of Conriya, his childhood mentor Achamian, and his Lord-and-Prophet, Kellhus.
- Warrior Prince: Heir to a kingdom and yet still leads his men into battle. He is, however, less martially inclined than other Great Names.
- The Wise Prince: Sometimes. When Proyas isn't in Knight Templar mode he is a pretty somber and wise leader.
- What You Are in the Dark: He views his interactions with Achamian during the course of the Holy War to be a demonstration of his piety and duty.
- You Are in Command Now: Kellhus abandons the Great Ordeal after the Battle of Dagliashperhaps permanently. With Saubon dead, Proyas is the de facto leader of the Ordeal, at least for now.
The Conriyan Marshal of Attrempus.
- Big Damn Heroes: Zin attempts to rescue Achamian from the Scarlet Spires. It doesn't go so well.
- Eye Scream: At the hands of Iyokus and his torturers.
- A Father to His Men: To the Attempan Conriyans in the Holy War, and more generally to all his countrymen.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Has a very close relationship with Achamian, even if politics and life keep them from seeing each other for years.
- In-Series Nickname: Zin.
- Like a Son to Me: Feels like Proyas is his surrogate son. In fact, it's this shared sentiment between Zin and Akka that makes them such close friends.
- Number Two: Is Proyas's second-in-command for the Conriyan contingent of the Holy War.
- Odd Friendship: With Achamian.
- Only Sane Man: Is usually the most sober-minded commander in the Conriyan war councils. He's an excellent strategist and a worldly, tolerant man in spite of being a devout Inrithi.
- Opposed Mentors: Long ago with Achamian. Xinemus and he would quarrel over Proyas's schedule and be somewhat pugnacious to each other. They eventually come to respect one another, and their common affection for Proyas makes them close friends.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Says as much to Proyas when he resigns as Marshal and goes to rescue Achamian from the Scarlet Spires.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In The Thousandfold Thought. Justified due to losing his eyesight and becoming much more embittered.
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: Saubon was born a prince, but achieved his loftier status by kicking ass and being bold on the battlefield.
- Badass Crew: Saubon's elite band of soldiers, the Knights of the Desert Lion.
- Badass Normal: His stand against the Coyauri at Mengedda proves Saubon's martial prowess.
- The Brute: A more intelligent example than most, but Saubon serves Kellhus as a merciless butcher in his capacity at Exalt-General. During the Unification when Kellhus needed stubborn Orthodox resistance crushed without mercy, he would call upon Saubon to get the job done.
- The Cavalry: Arrives at Shimeh to provide reinforcements for the Inrithi assaulting the city.
- Dragged Off to Hell: After Saubon dies, we experience him being dragged down to Hell from his POV.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Saubon isn't stupid, but he is way out of his depth dealing with the likes of Conphas, Cnaiür and Kellhus, so his good ideas tend to come across as this.
- Four-Star Badass: At the Fifth Battle of Mengedda, Saubon is the de facto commander of all the Inrithi deployed against Skauras. He's also one of the most capable warriors in the Holy War.
- Heel Realization: Saubon has a horrible recognition of his wickedness as he is dying, returning to the vision at Mengedda whilst feeling his soul being dragged off to Hell. He desperately cries out, vainly imploring his younger self to "not trust Kellhus."
- Last Stand: Saubon and his elite knights hole up and prepare to fight to the bitter end as Dagliash is being overrun.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Saubon comments on how the actions of the Great Ordeal are "scripture in the making", an ongoing story, and that both he and Proyas will have archetypal roles to fill in that story.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Saubon reflects that he prefers striplings to large women, but will make an exception for the leading Swayali witch in the Great Ordeal because of her exotic red hair.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Compare with Bohemond of Taranto, one of the principal leaders of the First Crusade.
- Red Baron: The Fanim begin to refer to Saubon as "The Blond Beast" after his impossible feats of arms at Mengedda. By the second trilogy, "The Desert Lion" is his moniker in some circles.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Of Kellhus's two Exalt-Generals, Saubon is the Red Oni to Proyas's Blue. Saubon is shown to be more belligerent, impulsive and mercurial than his Conriyan counterpart.
- The Rival:
- In the first trilogy, Saubon is the personal rival 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.
- In the second trilogy, he has a muted rivalry with Proyas. As the two Exalt-Generals, they stand equally above all other men in the Empire. Unlike his previous rivalry, however, Saubon constantly comes out ahead of Proyas.
- Sir Swearsalot: Not to a profound level, but Saubon is the most foul-mouthed of all the POV characters.
- Stable Time Loop: Saubon experiences a horrifying metaphysical time loop in The Great Ordeal. In The Warrior Prophet, Saubon sees his own body among the dead at Mengedda, a nerve-wracking encounter that rattles him for the rest of his life. Nearly twenty-two years later, whilst dying at Dagliash, Saubon returns to that vision at Mengedda as the body on the ground. Dying Saubon looks with surreal recognition at his younger past-self.
- Warrior Prince: Is the most warlike of Eryeat's sons. It's why Saubon is given command of the Galeoth contingent.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He was the seventh son of his father, and a lot of his motivation, at least as a young man, is getting respect from his father.
The Galeoth Earl of Gaenri, and nephew to Coithus Saubon.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Subverted. Athjeäri is easily the youngest of all the Great Nameshe's only about twenty-two during the first trilogy. Despite his youth, he's still regarded as one of the best commanders in the Holy War, is respected by all contingents of the Inrithi and even becomes The Dreaded to the Kianene.
- Badass Normal: Is a peerless cavalry leader, he outfights and outmaneuvers enemy forces much larger than his own.
- Cavalry Officer: One of the best, he leads the Holy War's outrider companies.
- Eye Scream: Is killed by a sword thrust into his face.
- Hates Small Talk: Hates the intricacies of jnan. As Kellhus notes, Athjeäri has little patience commiserating with others on matters not related to war.
- Hot-Blooded: In the Omniscient POV sections he is always described as being "impetuous", "brash" or "daring."
- Morality Chain: Downplayed for his Uncle, Saubon, who isn't a particularly good person, but his relationship with his nephew is his most humanizing trait. After Athjeäri's death, Saubon becomes a much more ruthless and pitiless character.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Based upon Tancred of Hauteville. Tancred was the nephew of Bohemond of Taranto, just like Athjeäri to Saubon. Unlike Tancred, Athjeäri doesn't survive the Holy War to Shimeh/Jerusalem.
- Number Two: To his Uncle, Saubon, as leader of the Galeoth contingent.
- Red Baron: The Fanim call him "Hurall'arkeet"Wind has Teeth in Kianiin reference to the daring swiftness of his cavalry raids.
- Replacement Goldfish: Saubon sublimated his adoring affection for his sister onto her son.
Earl of Agansanor, and leader of the Tydonni contingent of the Holy War.
- Badass Grandpa: A grey-bearded father of adult sons who accompany him to war and one of the most capable warriors in the Holy War.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Was certainly a bombastic warrior in his youth. Is much more somber in his old age.
- Death Equals Redemption: Gothyelk joins the Holy War to die in the service of Sejenus and be absolved of his sins.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a famous warhammer in battle.
- Duel to the Death: Engages in a duel with Fanayal upon the plains of Shairizor. Fanayal wins.
- In-Series Nickname: Is called "The Old Hammer" in affection by his men. Also "The Martyr of Shimeh".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's introduced loudly chastising one of his sons, but Kellhus sees instantly that he's doing it out of love.
- Manly Tears: When his youngest son is killed during the assault on the Citadel of the Dog.
- Old Soldier: Has been a warrior for a long time. He fought Proyas's father, Eukernas, at the Battle of Maän nearly twenty years before the Holy War.
- Worf Had the Flu: Is still wounded from fighting during the Siege of Caraskand so he isn't able to command the Tydonni forces at the Battle of Tertae Fields.
The eldest son of King Hringa Rauschang of Thunyerus and leader of the Thunyeri contingent of the Holy War.
- Brains and Brawn: Seems to be the brawn to Hulwarga's brains in their Sibling Team.
- Icy Blue Eyes: His eyes only enhance the implacable nature of Skaiyelt.
- Scars Are Forever: Is described as having a pox-scarred face that lends him an unnerving aspect.
- The Plague: Is a victim of hemoplexy whilst besieging Caraskand.
- Warrior Prince: The Thunyeri are a pretty martial people.
Second son of King Hringa Rauschang of Thunyerus.
- Brains and Brawn: Seems to be the brains to Skaiyelt's brawn.
- In-Series Nickname: Called "The Limper." It's not from an actual wound or physical defect. He just has a very awkward gait.
- Kill It with Fire: Employs lots of torches and fire in order to panic the Fanim elephants at the Battle of Tertae Fields.
- Warrior Prince: It's expected as a Thunyeri.
- You Are in Command Now: After the death of his elder brother, he leads the Thunyeri contingent.
The Scarlet Spires
Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires and de facto ruler of High Ainon.
- Ambiguously Gay: A throwaway line states that Eli was rumored to be close to Sasheoka "in the manner of Ainon men".
- Ambition Is Evil: Conphas notes that a man who ascended in the Spires' hierarchy from Subdidact to Grandmaster in two years has to be ferociously ambitious and hungry for power.
- The Archmage: As a Grandmaster, Eli is the most powerful of the Scarlet Magi.
- Break the Haughty: What happens to Eli over the course of The Prince of Nothing.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After the events of Caraskand, Iyokus finds Eli in a drunken stupor.
- Humiliation Conga: Starts towards the end of The Warrior Prophet and doesn't stop from there. Eli goes through the wringer: finding out the King-Regent of High Ainon had been a skin-spy, the Scarlet Spires being forced to eat their books to survive Caraskand, discovering he was wrong about the Cishaurim and that the Consult are real, being completely subordinated to Kellhus and the desires of the Zaudunyani, handing over Iyokus to Achamian because he had no other choice, being bossed around by Esmenet, compelled to assault Shimeh with the last meagre remnants of his school, and being killed by Seökti whilst the Scarlet Spires are annihilated by the Cishaurim.
- In-Series Nickname: Most people call him Eli.
- It's Personal: The assassination of Sasheoka, his beloved mentor and predecessor, is what motivates him to join the Holy War and destroy the Cishaurim.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: All over the place. Eli believes Achamian is responsible for Geshrunni's death. Akka is in a way, by showing the Consult who the Mandate's informant was. Eli also thinks that Achamian knows the truth of the "Cishaurim spy" that was revealed in the Ikurei dungeons. Akka does know something, but the skin-spy has nothing to do with the Cishaurim.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He hopes to obliterate the Cishaurim, using the Holy War as his instrument.
- Smug Snake: Eli is actually a pretty smooth operator and plotter. But he's severely outclassed and outplayed throughout the first trilogy which means he doesn't ever really graduate to full mastermind.
- Sorcerous Overlord: The Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires is the real ruler of High Ainon.
- Straight Edge Evil: It is considered de rigueur in High Ainon for caste-nobles to partake of Chanv. Eli is turned off by the uniform lack of information about its origins and never indulges the drug.
- Villainous Breakdown: Happens in sputters over The Thousandfold Thought.
- Wicked Cultured: Is a Schoolman from High Ainon.
Master of Spies for the Scarlet Spires, and a Chanv addict.
- Cassandra Truth: Warns Eli that the Mandate should be given more credit for their warnings about the Consult. Also expresses doubts about the skin-spies being related to the Cishaurim.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Presides over the interrogation of prisoners as the Master of Spies.
- Demoted to Extra: In the first trilogy, Iyokus is a fairly important secondary character who even gets his own POV sections from time to time. In the second trilogy he is basically a footnote in the Great Ordeal's council meetings and has little to no dialogue.
- Evil Albino: His skin is colorless due to chanv.
- Eye Scream: Xinemus demands an eye for an eye, both in fact.
- HeelFace Turn: Once Kellhus assumes power, he recognizes Kellhus's authority and leads the Scarlet Spires in his name.
- The Mentor: For Kellhus in regards to the Daimotic arts. It's noted that during a lull in the Unification Wars, Iyokus spends a good two weeks rigorously teaching Kellhus the principles of the Daimos. We finally see some of what Kellhus learned at the end of The Great Ordeal.
- Number Two: Is Eli's second-in-command.
- Older Than They Look: Chanv extends the lifespan of a person, so he's quite old and still spry.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He's against torturing Achamian because he knows that it has no chance of success, so why bother?
- Rank Up: Becomes Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires at the end of The Thousandfold Thought.
- Red Baron: "The Blind Necromancer."
- The Spymaster: Is the Master of Spies for the Spires.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Iyokus summons a Ciphrang to distract Achamian long enough for him to escape the Scarlet Spires' compound in Iothiah.
- Summon Magic: An expert in Daimotic sorcery, which is the summoning of demons.
- Villanous Valour: When cornered by Achamian and a cadre of Chorae bowmen, Iyokus knows he can't run. He tells Achamian that he won't beg for mercy and prepares to fight even though he is thoroughly outmatched.
- Wicked Cultured: Wants to visit the ruins of Mengedda just to observe the historic site for his own enlightenment.
Nation of Kian
Kascamandri ab Tepherokar
Padirajah of Kian. Lord of the Cleansed Lands.
- Adipose Rex: Described as needing significant help to mount his horse. His brief appearance in the Omniscient POV has him consoling himself with food after the disastrous loss of Caraskand.
- Miles Gloriosus: He tries to be a wartime leader for his people, but his actual battle plans have to be facilitated by his son or more competent deputies. Kascamandri comes off as a blustering leader and rather ineffective general.
- Off with His Head!: Decapitated by Kellhus at the Battle of Tertae Fields.
- Orcus on His Throne: He initially trusts his warlike deputies and vassalsSkauras, Cinganjehoi and his son, Fanayalto be able to handle the threat of the Holy War themselves without his direct leadership. After Caraskand is besieged, Kascamandri takes to the field with a massive relief force to rescue his son-in-law, Imbeyan.
Fanayal ab Kascamandri
Crown-Prince of Kian. Commander of the Coyauri.
- Anti-Villain: In the first trilogy Fanayal is a type IV, he's only an antagonist insofar as he is opposed to the destruction of his homeland and nation at the hands of the Inrithi.
- Bling of War: Fanayal is always wearing the golden cuirass of the Coyaurithe elite Kianene heavy cavalry.
- Cain and Abel: Fanayal's youngest brother, Massar, becomes a devoted follower of Kellhus. If the brothers ever reunite, it probably won't go well. Given the Grey and Grey Morality of the series, neither is portrayed as anymore good or evil than the other. With Massar killed by Sranc and Fanayal dead at the end of The Great Ordeal, this sibling rivalry won't get anymore development.
- Cycle of Revenge: Fanayal's brutal sack of Iothiah and massacre of the Zaudunyani there is meant to be retribution for the same actions the Inrithi took against the Fanim living in Shigek twenty years previously.
- Didn't Think This Through: Fanayal's siege of Momemn in The Great Ordeal becomes rather untenable due to his lack of foresight. He has the raw manpower to encircle the city, but without a navy he can't stop Momemn from being resupplied from the sea. As the siege goes on more of his forces desert whilst the Zaudunyani remain steadfast.
- Frontline General: Fights at the head of his cavalry formations in every battle.
- Hero Antagonist: In the first trilogy, Fanayal desperately tries to defend his country from the invading Inrithi.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Has definitey become a much darker character by The Aspect-Emperor trilogy. The valiant prince of the first trilogy has become a ruthless insurgent fighting tooth and nail against the authority of the New Empire.
- In-Series Nickname: Is consistently referred to as "Golden Fanyal" or "The Golden Padirajah"epithets never given to his father. Known as the "Bandit Padirajah" come The Aspect-Emepror trilogy.
- Killed Off for Real: Receives a dramatic neck lift from Kellhus before he snaps his neck at the end of The Great Ordeal.
- La Résistance: Leads the armies of Fanim Insurrectionists in the second trilogy.
- Last of His Kind: Malowebi remarks how in the past, the Fanim Grandees who came to Zeüm had the bearing of heroes and mighty warriors. Out of his ragtag band of Fanim rebels, Fanayal is the only one who maintains the regal bearing of his predecessors.
- Rebel Leader: For the Fanim who refuse to submit to Kellhus.
- The Strategist: His stratagems throughout The Thousandfold Thought demonstrate Fanayal's aptitude as a tactician: sending a False Flag Operation of civilians to try and assassinate Kellhus, trying to disseminate false information to the Holy War about the disposition of troops in Shimeh, destroying his own walls to facilitate faster cavalry deployment and hiding a strong contingent of his forces in the sewers to outflank the Inrithi.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Seems to have an underdog ethos in the second trilogy. Malowebi has a much more sobering appraisal of Fanayal's likelihood of success.
- Warrior Prince: Is a competent fighter and charismatic prince.
Skauras ab Nalajan
Sapatishah-Governor of Shigek.
- Disc-One Final Boss: For the Inrithi Holy War.
- Dragon-in-Chief: As a Sapatishah he is technically subordinate to the Padirajah. There is a reason the Inrithi are more afraid of Skauras.
- Face Death with Dignity: As the Inrithi begin storming Anwurat, Skauras very calmly burns the letter from Xerius revealing the hidden treaty with the Nansur. He offers up his final and most solemn prayer to The Solitary God and serenely waits for the end.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In the final moments of his life he contemplates how wicked acts are always required as a matter of statecraft and warand how no soul is more wicked than his.
- In-Series Nickname: Called "Sutis Sutadra" by the Nansur for nearly four decadesThe Southern Jackal.
- Insult Backfire: Xerius tries to humiliate Skauras about the death of his son in order to goad him to anger. But Skauras responds with muted melancholy, saying that his woe is something Xerius will soon share.
- Modest Royalty: Not of the royal family, but one of the most important aristocrats in Kian. He's only ever described as wearing very spartan black robes.
- Nerves of Steel: Calmly filing your nails as enemy arrows pock the ground around you without showing a hint of fear?definitely this.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Skauras is loosely based on Kilij Arslan, the Sultan of Rûm, who was the first noteworthy Islamic potentate the First Crusade had to contend with.
- Real Men Love Jesus: They love the Solitary God, at any rate.
- Rousing Speech: Is heard giving one to his army at the Fifth Battle of Mengedda. However, due to lack of Translation Convention, the Inrithi (as well as the reader) can't understand Skauras.
- The Strategist: Isn't much of a fighter but can always out-think his enemies, it's what makes him such a formidable adversary.
- Trickster Mentor: Was a cunning and guileful mentor figure for both Fanayal and Conphas. They learned well.
- We Have Reserves: Justified as it's all part of the arithmetic of war. Skauras sacrifices thousands of his cavalry to safely screen his fourteen Cishaurim at the Fifth Battle of Mengedda. At Anwurat he intentionally places his Shigeki levies in the center of his battle formations knowing full well that they will be utterly annihilated by the Inrithi forward advance. Skauras does this so that the Inrithi will over-commit and extend their frontlines allowing Cinganjehoi and Fanayal to smash them from behind.
Cinganjehoi ab Sakjal
Sapatishah-Governor of Eumarna.
- Badass Normal: Is the most formidable warrior of the Kianene armies.
- The Brute: Is the brutal attack dog of the Kianene armies.
- Frontline General: Leads every cavalry charge from the front formations.
- Generation Xerox: His son is said to be Cinganjehoi's spitting image during the second trilogyexcept that he is a zealous servant of Kellhus.
- Names to Run Away From: The Tiger of Eumarna.
- Off with His Head!: Is beheaded by Sirpal Uranyanka fighting behind the Skilura Aqueduct.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sets aside his bitter feud with Kascamandri to deal with the invading Inrithi.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Narrowly averted. It's mentioned that Cinganjehoi had revolted against Kascamandri at least once and has been bitterly feuding with the ruling family of Kian for years. He sets aside his grudge to deal with the bigger threatthe Inrithi Holy War.
High Heresiarch of the Cishaurim.
- Arch-Enemy: Is the mortal enemy of Eleäzaras.
- The Archmage: As Heresiarch, Seökti is a more spiritual version of an Archmage with shades of High Priest.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The Heresiarch usually has the strongest Water.
- Duel to the Death: Engages in a duel with Eleäzaras above the smoking ruins of Shimeh. Eli doesn't win.
- Disability Superpower: The Cishaurim blind themselves to gain access to the Water and Seökti is no exception.
- Final Boss: Is the last great obstacle for Kellhus to overcome in the first trilogy.
- High Priest: A more informal variety of a spiritual leader. The Cishaurim are regarded as highest priests of the Fanim religion and the "Firstborn of the Solitary God"Seökti is the highest of their order.
- Hope Spot: After defeating the Scarlet Spires, he and the remaining Incandati were most likely about to join Fanayal on the Shairizor to drive back the Inrithi, saving their city and faith from defeat. Then Kellhus teleports above the Sacred Heights.
Second-in-command of the Cishaurim, and emissary of the Padirajah. A powerful sorcerer.
- Archnemesis Dad: He and his son, Kellhus, don't have a truly antagonistic relationship, since the Dûnyain have evolved past that sort of thing, but they do end up coming into a lethal conflict over, how-shall-we-say, differing philosophies on how the Thousandfold Thought should be followed.
- Big Bad: He may have orchestrated the entirety of the Holy War and be responsible for immeasurable disasters and atrocities, but it is all part of the plan to save humanity from the Consult.
- Brought Down to Badass: Being blinded and only having vestigial Cishaurim abilities only slightly impeded Moënghus.
- The Chessmaster: The entire Holy War, from beginning to end, is his plan. He was the hidden leader of the heathens, his son Maithanet in the position of Shriah launched the Holy war, and his other son, Kellhus, took control of the Holy War, setting himself up as a Messianic Archetype. All to unite the Three Seas against the threat of the No-God.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Appears very early in The Darkness That Comes Before, where he is the emissary of the Kianene Empire. He facilitates a conversation between Xerius and Skauras, and then disappears. Is much more important than could be initially surmised.
- The Exile: Moënghus was exiled from the Dûnyain for being too contaminated by the external world to return.
- Gone Horribly Right: From Moënghus's perspective regarding the Thousandfold Thought, Kellhus followed his conditioned ground to the letter, uniting both the Inrithi and Fanim under one new religion. The only catch is that Kellhus wan't supposed to actually believe he was the savior of humanity. By thinking he is an actual God-ordained Prophet, Kellhus has gone off-script from his father's original plans.
- The Law of Conservation of Detail: Is described as being unnaturally pale, speaking Sheyic flawlessly, and having scarred arms like a Scylvendi. All important details that point to his true identity.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Maithanet and the secret faction of the Cishaurim that serves Moënghus.
- Mouth of Sauron: He comes to Momemn as a herald and emissary for the Kianene Empire.
- Not So Different: From Kellhus's perspective. He claims that once Moënghus comprehends the facts of his damnation, he will come to see tyranny in what is holy and war against judgement just like the Consult.
- Number Two: Is described as the second-in-command to Seökti.
- Paper Tiger: Cememketri talks about Mallahet as if he is a truly dangerous enemy that should be feared. The truth is that Moënghus has very little power of the Water and isn't really much of threat in a straight up fight.
- Patricide: Is a victim of this at the hands of his son, Kellhus.
- The Plan: The titular Thousandfold Thought is his. The blueprint for orchestrating humanity's salvation.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Moënghus himself only appears in three chapters in the first trilogy. He is the architect of much of the plot.
- Walking Spoiler: Just a little bit.
- Weak, but Skilled: Moënghus says that he has great aptitude for cants that require subtlety over raw strength. He is still considered one of the weakest Cishaurim.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: According to Kellhus, Moënghus no longer has any purpose within the Thousandfold Thought.
- You're Insane!: Claims that Kellhus has lost his mind for claiming to hear the No-God and be an actual Prophet.