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The characters of the Second Apocalypse books, and related tropes.

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Drusas Achamian

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

Anasurimbor Kellhus

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

  • A God Am I: Kellhus comes to believe this in the end.
    • It's a common fan theory that belief affects reality in Eärwa, which means that Kellhus intends to make himself a God, since he will be able to rewrite reality simply by virtue of being worshipped by millions.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Most Triumphant Example. So long as he has someone to teach him or even just watch Khellus can master seemingly ANYTHING. He is the greatest swordsman, greatest mage, greatest general, greatest politician the world may have ever seen. Almost everyone who ever meets him regards him as their greatest friend/teacher/leader ect ect. You could call him the greatest philsopher... if only he believed anything he said.
  • The Chessmaster: He never, ever tells anyone to do his bidding "because I want to". Kellhus can find out everyone's innermost desire or motivation, and then appeal to that. Cnaiur scarily describes Kellhus' and his father's powers of manipulation when he breaks down completely. "They makes us love! They make us love!"
  • The Chosen One: A total deconstruction of this trope, since Kellhus makes himself the Messiah of a new religion by manipulating everyone into believing he is the Chosen One.
  • Dark Messiah
  • Flaw Exploitation: What he does to everyone.
  • Heroic BSOD: He has this while he is hanged from the tree, before his "resurrection".
  • Hyper Awareness: The ultra-perceptive Kellhus turns this into a superpower.
  • Instant Expert
  • Living Lie Detector: This is easily the scariest of Kellhus' abilities. All the Dunyain have the ability to read human faces, but Kellhus takes this to a new terrifying level.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The very reason why Kellhus was sent to find his father Moenghus was to kill him. And he eventually does.
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Ubermensch: All of the Dunyain, but especially Kellhus.
  • Villain Protagonist: Not unlikely that he is one.


A prostitute in the metropolis of Sumna.

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


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

  • Break the Cutie: She's already been broken...and then Inrilatas
  • Broken Bird: An extreme case, since she was sold into slavery by her mother and was a child prostitute half her life.
  • The Chosen One: She's the real thing. Kellhus is just a pretender.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold
  • Parental Incest: Achamian, who is most likely her father (and she thinks of him as such), has sex with her. And impregnates her.
    • However, it's unlikely that she'll carry her father's child to term, since the Judging Eye (which exists outside of the life-and-death cycle) doesn't allow the bearer's children to be born alive.
  • Rape as Drama: It happened to Mimara as a young child, and continued up to her early twenties until Esmenet found her and took her out of the brothel. At the end of book five, she gets raped again by Galian.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality

Cnaiur urs Skiotha

A Scylvendi chieftain with a fearsome reputation.


A Norsirai girl purchased as a concubine by a Nansur noble house.

Ikurei Xerius

The Nansur

Ikurei Conphas

Xerius's nephew and heir, and the finest general in the known world.

Nersei Proyas

Heir to the throne of Conriya, and one of the Lords of the Holy War.

Coithus Saubon

Youngest son of the King of Galeoth, and one of the Lords of the Holy War.

Varalt Sorweel

Prince of the distant city-state of Sakarpus.

Psatma Nannaferi

The hidden high priestess of the mother-goddess Yatwer.


A Nonman sorcerer in strange company.

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

The Skin Eaters

Savage mercenaries culling Sranc scalps in the northern wilderness.

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

The Consult

An ancient conspiracy of sorcerers, Nonmen, and darker things, responsible for the First Apocalypse.

  • Alien Invasion
  • Bio Tech: All of the Inchoroi are the products of successive Graftings, species-wide rewrites of their genotype, meant to enhance various abilities and capacities, such as the ability to elicit certain sexual responses from their victims, via pheromone locks. The addition of humanoid vocal apparatuses is perhaps the most famous of these genetic upgrades. (Word of God)
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Why are the Consult trying to wipe out humanity? To save their souls. The metaphysics of the universe are such that objective morality exists, along with redemption and damnation. The Inchoroi effectively crossed the Moral Event Horizon long before they crash-landed on Eärwa, and are wholly and entirely damned for their actions. Also, sorcerers are all damned for singing in the "voice of the God". However, as the Inchoroi discovered, the reduction of the number of "ensouled" beings below a certain number - 144,000 souls - serves to completely seal off the connection of the Outside with the living world, thus creating the possibility of saving the Inchoroi and Consult from damnation.
  • Depraved Bisexual
  • Eldritch Abomination: Aurang and Aurax are this in their original shapes, and possibly the No-God as well. It's not known yet whether the No-God is made of souls, or if he's a physical Eldritch Abomination. However, it's likely we'll find out by the next book...
  • For the Evulz: The original motivation of the Inchoroi, who have a malignant obsession with the sexual.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Apart from one epilogue scene, Aurang only appears in a shape not his own. For convenience's sake he often uses a synthese, a bio-engineered avian body with a small humanoid face, as his temporary form. Aurang flies around in this bird-like body whenever he's communicating with his Mooks.
  • Old Master: Aurax was this to the human Consult sorcerers.
  • Omnicidal Maniac
  • One-Gender Race: The Inchoroi, now that only the twin brothers remain of the whole species. However, the Seswatha dream in the third book implies that Inchoroi aren't born with genders in the human sense (but merely bio-engineer themselves to grow whatever sex organs they wish), as they were were birthed by their organic spaceship (Golgotterath is described as "a dead womb.")
  • Orcus on His Throne: Aurax and most of the Consult members.
  • Rape as Drama: Happens to men, women, and babies when they fall into the Inchoroi's claws.
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