The current Emperor of the Gurkish Empire, also known as Uthman the Merciless.
- Cain and Abel: It's said that Uthman personally strangled his older brothers so that he could obtain the throne.
- The Emperor: He's the current Emperor of Gurkhul. When several regions tried to take advantage of his ascension to leave the Empire, Uthman responded by crushing the rebellions and taking their people as slaves in punishment.
- The Evil Prince: He murdered his brothers so he could assume the throne.
- The Ghost: Six books in and he has yet to make a personal appearance.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Uthman's more than fine with bloodshed, but when the Siege of Dagoska resulted in far more casualties than he anticipated, Uthman defies Khalul in a bid to make peace with the Union instead.
- The Red Baron: He's called Uthman the Merciless following an incident where he crushed the regional rebellions that sprung up following his ascension and enslaving their people.
- Youngest Child Wins: He was the youngest son of the previous Emperor. It's said he handled the problem of the line of succession by murdering all the brothers that stood in his way.
Khalul "The Prophet"
The second of the Magi The religious leader of the Gurkish Empire and the true power behind the Emperor.
- Archenemy: He's Bayaz's nemesis, the two having been rivals then enemies for centuries.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: While Bethod, Arch Lector Sult and Tolomei are other threats during the original trilogy, the biggest threat comes from Khalul's armies coming to conquer the Union and Bayaz who is much more evil than he first appears.
- Dark Messiah: He's the religious leader of the Gurkish Empire and is called the Prophet, believed to be the voice of God by his people. He's used religion to manipulate the Gurkish Empire for centuries, all to advance his goal of vengeance against Bayaz.
- Evil vs. Evil: It's revealed his war against Bayaz boils down to this. A cannibalistic theocrat obsessed with revenge versus a self-righteous megalomaniac who wants power.
- The Ghost: Despite the massive threat his forces pose and how far-reaching his influence is felt, Khalul has never personally appeared in the first six books released.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Khalul has openly defied the Second Law that forbids eating the flesh of men, and actually has an army of cannibalistic mages at his beck and call.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Khalul had noble intentions at first, but he has become an unequivocal villain despite his initial pursuit of justice.
- The Man in Front of the Man: While an Emperor officially leads Gurkhul, Khalul is the true power behind the throne. Whereas Bayaz controls the Union through economics and commerce, Khalul controls his empire through religion, acting as the Prophet and the Voice of God, effectively making him the theocrat.
- Orcus on His Throne: Even when his army comes to conquer the Union and bring Bayaz to justice, Khalul remains in the Gurkish capital of Sarkant, relying on his right-hand, Mamum, to act in his place.
- Rival Turned Evil: Khalul and Bayaz were Juvens' first apprentices and have been rivals ever since they first met centuries ago. Khalul eventually went on to blame Bayaz for their master's death, and has fallen into villainy in an attempt to bring his rival to justice for his perceived crimes. It's unclear whether Bayaz is guilty of the crime Khalul accuses him of, but Bayaz is definitely just as evil as Khalul, possibly moreso.
- Sinister Minister: Khalul is the religious leader of the Church of Gurkhul and a cannibalistic monster obsessed with getting vengeance on Bayaz.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: All the evil Khalul has done is to bring his evil brother Mage to justice for his crimes.
- You Killed My Father: Everything he's done has been in an effort to bring Bayaz to justice for the murder of Juvens, which Khalul believes Bayaz committed.
The Hundred Words
The first apprentice taken by Khalul. Together, the two of them broke the Second Law and ate the flesh of men.
- Affably Evil: Mamun is surprisingly cordial when dealing with Jezal before his army attacks Adua.
- Determinator: Even after nearly being eradicated by a Fantastic Nuke which took out most of his army, Mamun still doesn't give up trying to kill Bayaz. It takes Ferro crushing his skull in her hands to put him down for good.
- The Dragon: He is Khalul's first apprentice, most trusted enforcer and leader of the Hundred Words. Khalul sends Mamun to personally oversee the destruction of Adua and Bayaz's death.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Mamun is horrified when he learns Bayaz has the Seed and plans on using it. Even though he and his master have broken the Second Law, he's still against breaking the First Law.
- In Sharp Ends, when a holy man offers himself to Mamun to save a group of innocents, Mamun treats him with respect, honors the deal and vows he will 'reach the Prophet's table with honor.'
- Mouth of Sauron: Khalul sends Mamun to speak in his stead when negotiating with the Union. In The Last Argument of Kings, Khalul does not directly attack Adua, leaving Mamun to do it in his stead.
- Not Quite Dead: He manages to survive Bayaz wiping out his army with the Seed and ambushes Ferro, whom he plans on killing and replacing to get close to Bayaz and kill him. Instead Ferro kills him for good.
- Pet the Dog: When a priest sacrifices himself, knowing he will become Khalul's next meal, Mamun honors his bargain, despite there being zero reason he has to besides giving his word.
- Oh, Crap!: His reaction when he finds out that Bayaz has the Seed and is ready to use it to wipe out him and his army of Eaters.
- Your Head Asplode: Ferro uses her newfound power from her exposure to the Seed to crush his skull in her hands.
- Villain Respect: Mamun is nothing but respectful towards a priest who offers his life to save his flock.
One of Khalul's most dangerous disciples, she works to further his interests in Styria and the North against Bayaz.
- Affably Evil: She's pleasant and relaxed despite being an evil Eater and when Monza spurns her offer to work with Khalul, Ishri treats it with charming relaxation.
- Badass Longcoat: She's often dressed in a long coat.
- Bandage Babe: Ishri is wrapped in bandages from neck to toe.
- Black Eyes of Evil: She's a cannibal with pure black eyes.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She's mentioned in the original trilogy, but doesn't appear in person until later.
- Combo Platter Powers: Aside from the enhanced strength and speed that all Eaters possess, she's able to teleport and read people's minds. In The Heroes, it's implied that she also has some kind of influence over the weather.
- The Dragon: Seems to have taken over as Khalul's right hand after Mamun's death at the end of the original trilogy.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Comes with being an Eater.
- Lean and Mean: She's tall and impossibly thin.
- Mouth of Sauron: Serves as Khalul's representative in Best Served Cold and The Heroes, backing his interests in Styria and the North.
- Mysterious Backer: She offers support to Grand Duke Rogont and Monza Murcatto in their wars against Grand Duke Orso in Styria, and then Black Dow against the Union in the North, all to further Khalul's interests abroad.
- Red Baron: Also known as "the East Wind."
- Scary Black Woman: Her dark skin makes her stick out among the white Northmen in The Heroes.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In The Heroes, she angrily leaves Black Dow after he agrees to fight Calder in a duel, regarding it as a barbaric costume and an unnecessary risk.
- Telepathy: It's implied that she can read people's minds.
- Troll: It's clear Ishri enjoys using her powers to mess with people.
- Villain Teleportation: Seems to be able to appear out of nowhere, and disappear just as easily.
One of Khalul's Eaters sent to spy for the Gurkish in Dagoska.
- Creepy Child: She still looks like a child, but is one of Khalul's Eaters.
- Forced into Evil: She didn't have any choice in becoming evil, Khalul's priests forced her to cannibalize her mother, and she only gave in because she was afraid to die. She's personally disgusted with her current existence but doesn't have any other choice but to cannibalize others if she wants to survive.
- Kill It with Fire: Glokta overcomes her healing factor by ordering her burned to death.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Glokta's Practicals torture her using every method they can think of, but since she doesnt feel pain and her body heals itself, she just smiles the entire time.
- The Mole: She's a spy for the Gurkish, posing as a servant for Davoust, the former Inquisition Superior for Dagoska.
- Not Afraid to Die: She says she's not afraid to die and knows that she deserves it. Glokta grants her wish by having her burned alive.
- Reluctant Psycho: She's disgusted and horrified at what she's become but she has to keep eating human flesh to survive and she believes Khalul truly is the voice of God so his victory is inevitable.
- Self-Made Orphan: Khalul's priests forced her to cannibalize her mother. She tried to resist them, but she was too scared of dying and gave in.
An ex-slave of the Gurkish Empire, now the most feared rebel in Gurkhul.
- The Archer: She's an almost impossibly good shot due to her demon blood.
- Axe-Crazy: Killing people is generally her first impulse, though she's not completely unreasonable.
- Commonality Connection: With Glokta
- Do You Want to Copulate?: She very bluntly propositions Logen.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Well, mostly human, but she has demon blood.
- Honor Among Thieves: Introduced burying a couple of her companions, fellow bandits who she generally despised, because you bury your companions when they die.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Well, more yellow, but they indicate her demonic ancestry.
- Trauma Conga Line: Her life prior to the books.
- Troll: There's a large part of Ferro that just enjoys provoking people.
- Verbal Tic: She hisses when angry, which is written out as "Ssssss."