The kandra are a race of creatures on Scadrial, featured in the Mistborn trilogy. The First Generation of kandra were created by the Lord Ruler through the use of Hemalurgy, resulting in the kandra calling him "Father". The principal usage of the kandra are as spies, because of their notable ability to imitate any being.
The First Generation of kandra were converted by the Lord Ruler, from pre-Ascension Terris Worldbringers, the sect of spiritual leaders and Feruchemists. As the power from the Well of Ascension was waning, Rashek as the newly ascended Lord Ruler, spoke into the minds of his packmen and trusted friends, in a secret communication that Ruin could not see or hear. Rashek shared with them his Ascension knowledge of Ruin's future plans of eventual freedom to destroy the world, resulting in the kandra Contract with Rashek, and containing secret instructions only communicated in their minds. Rashek's friends were Feruchemists and could not be given Allomancy, for he recognized their powers posed a threat, of any combined abilities like his own. He offered them a bargain, immortality in exchange for their Feruchemy, which they gave up, along with their humanity. His companions still live, as the very Terris packmen who climbed to the Well with him, as the First Generation, and the founders of the kandra people. The Father then transformed every living Feruchemist into mistwraiths, but he returned his good friends to sentience with Hemalurgic spikes. Allomancy was given to political allies, the nine beads of Lerasium at the Well, making the Original Nine Ancient Allomancer supporters. The Lord Ruler spent ten centuries trying to breed Feruchemy out of the Terris population, in fear that someday someone would be born with both Feruchemy and Allomancy.
Kandra were made third and last, as the Lord Ruler's power waned but his knowledge had increased. Accordingly, kandra are different, more subtle creations than the others created using Hemalurgy. They have more independence of will than koloss or Inquisitors, who are more affected by Ruin and driven powerfully to kill. The Hemalurgic metal spikes distort the humanity in the recipient, but kandra are spiked when they are mistwraiths, not humans, and the spikes actually grant some measure of humanity to them. The additional benefits that the Blessings grant are also different than those granted to Inquisitors. Instead of granting Feruchemical or Allomantic powers that grant temporary and sometimes spectacular bursts of strength, the Blessings given to kandra grant increased abilities that are consistent and stable.
Because of their advanced age, the First Generation appear to be made of darker coloured flesh which tended to hang off them. The bones that they wear are their own original bones, from when they were Terris packmen.
When kandra are in their Homeland, all subsequent Generations prefer the form of a True Body, which is a set of false, generally human-shaped bones that are crafted by a kandra artisan. Some True Body forms are quartz, and kandra show off their True Bodies by creating translucent skin that allows the stone to sparkle faintly in the light. Kandra have spent ten centuries enslaved to humankind, serving the Contracts in an effort to keep themselves safe. Most of the kandra hate humans for their situation, but ironically, most kandra True Bodies are human-shaped, two arms, two legs, faces, even while they curse humankind for keeping them enslaved.
The kandra are known to be secretive, keeping to themselves and mistrusting of all others including each other. Kandra keep religiously to a social mandate they call the "Contract", which is the system by which they offer their services to humans. In order to hire a kandra, they are to be paid in atium.
They referred to the Lord Ruler as the Father, because he was responsible for their creation. After his death, TenSoon advocated that Vin should be considered the Mother, because she was the one who had slain the Lord Ruler. It is unknown if other kandra accepted this title for her or not.
The First Generation typically only communicates with the Second Generation. The First Generation were the first kandra created by the Lord Ruler. All subsequent generations were then created by the Firsts, every hundred years. During the approximate thousand years of the Lord Ruler's reign, there have been Eleven Generations, with a Twelfth Generation unlikely, as their Father is dead. In general all decisions about law and order are communicated to the lower generations by the Second Generation as a sort of government officials.
Most kandra have an intense loathing for the human race as they are afraid of being controlled by allomancy, as is their most deep secret. Binded by The Contract a kandra will do their masters bidding without question. Kandra are however treated badly in general, intensifying their deeply rooted disaffection. Doing contracts is their way of 'paying for their freedom' to prevent humans from seeking ways to enslave them in other ways and finding out about formerly mentioned secret.
“They were of Preservation all along.”—Harmony on the Kandra
The kandra believed that they were Preservation, while the koloss, humans and Inquisitors were of Ruin. This was true despite the fact that, like other Hemalurgically-created races, they were possessed of Hemalurgic spikes. The Lord Ruler created the kandra to be his spies, and the noble class believed they were spies for the new government. They often used the kandra in the way they thought they were meant to be used, but ultimately Rashek's plan was for them to be double agents against Ruin. According to the plan, Ruin would believe that he could take control of the Kandra whenever he wanted, as they were planted with Hemalurgic spikes. However, due to a clause in the First Contract, as well as the Trust and the Resolution, instead of being used by Ruin, they would pull their spikes free when and if Ruin were to try and seize control of them. During the events of The Hero of Ages, this plan came to fruition exactly as the Lord Ruler had planned, and this disrupted Ruin's efforts and ultimately led to his demise, demonstrating the kandra's true allegiance had always lain with Preservation.
While the First Generation was created directly by the Lord Ruler, the First Generation created all subsequent generations of kandra through "Blessings", spikes creating using the art of Hemalurgy. The Lord Ruler would provide Hemalurgic metal spikes to the kandra each century, in a number requested, and the kandra would use these spikes to convert mistwraiths into full kandra. Two of the same types of spike made up a Blessing, and one Blessing converted a mistwraith into a sentient kandra. During the thousand plus years of the Lord Ruler's reign, there have been Eleven Generations, with a Twelfth Generation unlikely, as their Father is dead. Without the Lord Ruler, the kandra cannot create new Blessings, or new kandra. It is revealed in the The Hero of Ages that First Generation of kandra are immortal, created from the Lord Ruler's former Terris companions. Kandra do not appear to die of natural causes.
There are four different blessings available to make a kandra. All four grant mistwraiths sentience and convert them into kandra, but they also have additional benefits.
- Blessing of Awareness
- A pair of tin spikes which grant a kandra increased senses, similar to Allomantically burning tin.
- Blessing of Potency
- A pair of iron spikes which give a kandra more strength that is like an Allomancer burning pewter. It is not exactly the same however, and it will not grant you the limitless energy you receive by burning pewter.
- Blessing of Presence
- A pair of copper spikes which grant increased mental capability. This capability includes the ability to focus despite physical discomfort or distraction, exceptionally sharp memory, resistance to madness, and the inability to lapse into unconsciousness due to shock. This Blessing also counters at least some of the mental weakness that is caused by Hemalurgy; kandra with these spikes are much less vulnerable to being controlled by Ruin than is the norm.
- Blessing of Stability
- Rarely used, the Blessing of Stability is a pair of zinc spikes that endows its receiver with emotional fortitude, rendering them much more resistant to control by emotional Allomancy.
Relation To Mistwraiths
As stated previously, kandra are mistwraiths altered by hemalurgy and given sentience. Despite the physical similarities, and indeed origins as a mistwraith, kandra are considered a separate species in the Final Empire.
Kandra have the ability to shapeshift. However, they only have the ability to change into and take the appearance of any creature they have digested. Because of this, in order for a kandra to appear as anyone in particular, the subject must be dead and be digested.
Especially skilled kandra are able to make their own adjustments to the shape of the creature they are taking. Although mimicking an existing unique individual or creature is most common, the most skilled kandra can build a creature using just a skull and/or set of bones and build a working structure to gain the ability to move around freely and communicate.
Kandra living in the homeland are known to build bodies out of uncommon materials like stone, gems and wood. In this regards a 'true body' is seen as a sort of luxury body that mostly look human.
Kandra are also known as unmatched actors. Before assuming the role of a certain person, a kandra will spend a significant amount of time observing the individual in order to learn their mannerisms, history and relationships. Because of this, it is almost impossible to tell a kandra from the actual individual they are impersonating.
Because of their ability to change shape as their bodies are mere flesh, most damage to a kandra is of no consequence, although they do feel the same physical pain by the afflicted trauma. One notable exception to this is being bathed in acid. This leads to kandra guards mostly using hammers to break bones, thus hindering movement.
Kandra do not die naturally, with the First Generation's age identical to the Lord Ruler's, exceeding a thousand years. One of the kandra secrets references the unknown acid mixture, which is one of two known processes that can kill a kandra, the other of a kandra digesting another kandra. Otherwise they are essentially immortal.
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages page 140
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages page 144
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages Chapter 9
- The Hero of Ages chapter 38 epigraph
- Mistborn Adventure Game chapter 12
- The Hero of Ages chapter 39
- The Hero of Ages chapter 2
- The Hero of Ages chapter 24
- OreSeur Resistant to Ruin's manipulations
- Mistborn Adventure Game chapter 2
|The Metallic Arts|
|Arts||Allomancy · Feruchemy · Hemalurgy|
|Concepts||Metalborn · Snapping · Savants · Metalminds · Twinborn · Compounding · Blessings|
|Constructs||Steel Inquisitors · Koloss · Kandra|
|Base Metals||Iron · Steel · Tin · Pewter · Zinc · Brass · Copper · Bronze · Cadmium · Bendalloy · Gold · Electrum · Chromium · Nicrosil · Aluminum · Duralumin|
|God Metals||Atium · Malatium · Lerasium|
|Mistborn Series (Scadrial)|
|Books||First Mistborn Trilogy (Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages) · Mistborn Adventures (The Alloy of Law)|
|Shards||Preservation · Ruin · Harmony*|
|Races and Creatures||Skaa · Nobles · Terrismen · Inquisitors · Koloss · Kandra · Mistwraiths · Southern Peoples of Scadrial|
|Magic||Metallic Arts (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) · Metalborn · Mistborn · Misting · Savant · Ferring · Twinborn · Compounding · Atium · Lerasium|
|Other Media||Mistborn Adventure Game · The Eleventh Metal · A House of Ashes · Mistborn: Birthright · Mistborn film|