- The Maelstrom: The origin of all things. The Maelstrom is the force, or entity, that gave birth to the Three. It has never communicated with any of its children, and not even the gods fully understand its nature. Yeine perceives it during her lovemaking with Nahadoth in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms as “a sound: a titanic, awful roar.” The gods describe it as a churning storm, not just of energy or matter but of concepts as well. Most godlings, demons, or mortals who approach too closely are torn apart by its raging power.
- Gods: The creator entities of the Inheritance Trilogy. Gods are equally at home as corporeal or incorporeal beings, are able to travel virtually anywhere in creation, and have complete power over all material and metaphysical objects and concepts. Only three gods exist at the beginning of the trilogy: Nahadoth, Itempas, and Yeine. Enefa was murdered by Itempas, and eventually replaced by Yeine. Individually the gods are extremely powerful, but not omnipotent or omniscient. Only the Three acting in concert have absolute power, rivaled only by the Maelstrom.
- Godlings: Godlings are immortal children of either the Three or other godlings, or some combination thereof. Each has an affinity and antithesis, and all possess the ability to travel anywhere and manipulate matter, including their own bodies. Beyond this, their powers vary widely per individual. Godlings exist in three rankings: niwwah, mnasat, and elontid. In The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh defines the demons as a fourth ranking, but notes that they are all (to his knowledge) dead. Godlings named thus far include:
- Sieh the Trickster: One of the Enefadeh; god of childhood/mischief/innocence/caprice. A child of Nahadoth and Enefa. Niwwah.
- Zhakkarn of the Blood: One of the Enefadeh; goddess of battle. A child of Nahadoth and Enefa. Niwwah.
- Kurue the Wise: One of the Enefadeh; goddess of wisdom. A child of Itempas and Enefa. Niwwah.
- Madding: A child of Itempas and Enefa; god of obligation, murdered by the New Lights. Niwwah.
- Role: A child of Nahadoth and Enefa; goddess of compassion, murdered by the New Lights. Niwwah.
- Lil the Hunger: A child of Nahadoth and Itempas; goddess of hunger. Elontid.
- Nemmer: A child of Nahadoth and Enefa; goddess of secrets. Niwwah.
- Paitya: One of Madding’s lieutenants; affinity and parentage unknown. Murdered by the New Lights.
- Kitr: One of Madding’s lieutenants; affinity and parentage unknown. Mnasat.
- Dump: “The Lord of Discards”; affinity and parentage unknown. Murdered by the New Lights.
- Nahadoth’s Shadow/Hado/Ahad: A child of Nahadoth, with some assistance from Yeine; god of love.
- Eyem-Sutah: God of commerce; affinity and parentage unknown.
- Egan: A godling who now works in the Arms of Night; affinity and parentage unknown.
- Selforine: A former lover of Sieh. Affinity and parentage unknown.
- Elishad: A former lover of Sieh. Affinity and parentage unknown.
- Nsana: A former lover of Sieh. A child of Nahadoth and Enefa; god of dreams.
- Spider: A former lover of Sieh. A child of Nahadoth and Enefa. Affinity unknown, though she is a prophet, able to see the future.
- Kahl: A child of Sieh and Enefa; god of vengeance. Elontid.
Or more specifically, human races. There are many sentient species in the universe, though only one matters for the Inheritance Trilogy. Below are the relevant subgroups of humankind:
- Darre: Primary ethnic group of the barony of Darr, on the High North continent. A small population of ethnic Mencheyev also inhabit Darr, and many Darre are at least partially descended from other ethnic groups conquered or captured during the nation’s warrior past. Matriarchial/egalitarian, ruled by a council of respected elders with a young warrior as their figurehead (the ennu). Darre tend toward short stature and deep-chestedness. They have brown skin and long black or brown hair; many Darre also have epicanthic-fold eyes. Like most High Northers, they may be a distant offshoot of the Tema people.
- Amn: Primary ethnic group of most nations on the Senm continent. Amn have white skin but varying hair and eye colors and morphology, legacy of their past as nomadic barbarians raiding and conquering other ethnic groups. Egalitarian, ruled by the Arameri family, the Nobles’ Consortium, and the Order of Itempas. Amn once spoke many languages, but since the Gods’ War they speak only Senmite.
- Maroneh: Primary ethnic group of Nimaro,. Maroneh have black to dark brown skin and brown or black hair; their hair has a natural tight coil. There were once over 100 separate ethnicities in the Maroland, but the survivors of the Maroland’s sinking have become a single group calling themselves Maro’n’neh, or “those who mourn Maro”.
- Ken: Most populous of the island races, in the east. Known for their seafaring and shipbuilding. Generally pale-skinned and tall, with brown or red hair. Their language is Kenti. Offshoot races of the Ken include the Irtin and the Uthre.
- Min: An island race. Known for their seacraft and piracy.
- Teman: The people of the Teman Protectorate, a collection of several smaller nations which act as a union. They are ruled by the Triadice. Temans are of moderate height, generally have black or brown hair, and have brown skin of varying shades. Most Temans wear their hair in “cable locks” — long locks of hair which have been bound together until the hair fibers fuse. Wealthy Temans decorate their hair with jewels and wire made of precious metal; poorer Temans use found objects (e.g., seashells). Tema’s capitol, Antema, is the oldest city in the world, and the only city to survive the Gods’ War intact.
- Tokken: A High North race. Fierce warriors, patriarchial.
- Uthre: The people of the island kingdom of Uthr. Conquered the neighboring land of Irt in a bloodless conquest that was later approved by the Nobles’ Consortium. The Uthre resemble the Ken.
- Narshes: A High North race. Their nation was conquered centuries ago; they exist as a minority in several High Northern countries.
- Irti: The people of the island kingdom of Irt. Irt was annexed by the neighboring land of Uthr in a bloodless conquest that was later approved by the Nobles’ Consortium. The Irti resemble the Ken.
The Demon Race
Demons, in the world of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, are the offspring of a mating between gods and humans. They are mortal, like humans, and for the most part resemble humans, though there are some cases of demons bearing visible “deformities” as a marker of their inhuman heritage. (An example is Oree Shoth’s eyes, which are specialized to see magic but incapable of seeing anything else.) Since nearly all mortal humans have gods somewhere in their lineage, the designation of “demon” refers to degree of godly heritage — generally only those who are 1/8th god or greater. Some mortals with more distant godly heritage are also deemed demons if they are throwbacks in some way. They must possess the three traits which mark a demon:
- Abnormally powerful (for a mortal) magical abilities
- Unusually long lifespan (averaging 200 years)
- “Toxic blood”; the blood of demons is a deadly poison to gods if ingested or otherwise inserted into the god’s corporeal body.
The discovery of this last trait, the demons’ deadly blood, caused their downfall as the gods then turned on them and hunted them to near extinction. Only a few demon lineages now survive, in secret and sometimes unknown even to themselves. The only known demons at the time of the Inheritance Trilogy include Oree Shoth, her father (deceased), her daughter Glee Shoth, Itempan priest and scrivener Dateh Lorillalia, Shahar Arameri the younger, Dekarta Arameri the younger, and Remath Arameri. Sieh and Itempas also remember Shinda Arameri, Itempas’ first demon child (deceased).
Little is known of the age before the Demon War — that period in which they lived and walked freely among the realms. There were possibly thousands of them at the height of this age.
In many cultures demons were hailed as mortal gods due to their great magical abilities. They were generally regarded as more approachable than “pure” gods. In The Broken Kingdoms Appendix 2, Nemue Sarfith Enulai speaks of Yiho of the Shoth Clan — a daughter of Enefa, and likely an ancestor of Oree Shoth — who created salmonlike river fish to feed her countrymen during a famine. As a result of this and other boons provided by the demons, many mortals helped to hide their local demons when the gods turned on them. In the Maroland, demons became a special class of bodyguard-historians called enulai, who helped to guard and guide the royal family of the various Maro peoples until the Maroland’s destruction.
Most demons were the descendants of Nahadoth via hundreds of mortal men and women, though godlings parented many as well. The goddess Enefa bore comparatively few demon children, as carrying these children made her unwell (a warning of their deadly blood). The god Itempas is known to have fathered only two demons: Shinda Arameri, son of Shahar Arameri; and Glee Shoth, daughter of Oree Shoth.