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Type Hemalurgic construct
Sapient Yes
World of Origin Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
This page or section needs to be updated with new information for The Bands of Mourning, The Lost Metal, and Tress of the Emerald Sea!
Be aware that in its current state, it may not include all additional content yet.

The kandra are a species on Scadrial first created by the Lord Ruler during his Ascension. They have the ability to reshape their bodies and most are well-practiced at imitation, making them extremely sought-after as spies.


Appearance and Anatomy[edit]

Physically, the kandra resemble mistwraiths in their natural form. Unlike the mistwraiths, they are sentient, courtesy of two Hemalurgic spikes implanted in them. While mistwraiths are simply gelatinous conglomerates of various creatures, kandra can actually absorb a body and take on all of its characteristics.

When impersonating a specific person, a kandra will use that person's bones and reshape their body to look exactly like that person's. When in the Homeland, most kandra use a True Body, which is a set of false 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.[1] A True Body does not have to be human-shaped, but most are. The members of the First Generation do not wear True Bodies, as the kandra did not originally know how to make them. Instead, they wear their own bones from before they became kandra.[2]

Kandra store their cognitive system throughout their entire body, and can form an organ which functions as a brain to think.[3] It doesn't need to be inside the head, and can be placed at a safer location in the kandra's body.[4] Kandra flesh will retain its appearance when cut free of their bodies.[5] They give off a smell that other kandra can detect which communicates their gender.[6] The smell that they give off is decided by the kandra in question, as a result of their control over their physiology, this smell can be masculine, feminine, neutral, a mix, or something completely different.[6]

Kandra cannot naturally reproduce, but if they replicated human organs, it would be possible for them to have a child that is part kandra and human.[7][8][9]


While the First Generation were created directly by the Lord Ruler, the First Generation creates all subsequent generations of kandra through "Blessings," a pair of Hemalurgic spikes charged with a human physical or mental attribute. The Lord Ruler provides Hemalurgic metal spikes to the kandra each century, in a number requested, and the kandra use these spikes to convert mistwraiths into full kandra. One Blessing converts a mistwraith into a sentient kandra. Kandra take longer to reach maturity than a human normally would take.[10] During the years of the Lord Ruler's reign, there are a total of eleven Generations, with a Twelfth Generation unlikely, as the Father is dead. The kandra do not know how to make new kandra spikes, though they have an inkling.[11]


All this time, and he’s never come to see me. Wise, I suppose. He knows I keep a vat of acid just for him. It’s one of the only ways to be sure about them, you know. That or a good fire.

Kandra do not appear to die of natural causes, but they are not immortal, just incredibly long-lived.[13] One of the kandra secrets references the unknown acid mixture. Being bathed in acid can effectively kill a kandra, so this is one way how misbehaved kandra were executed in kandra homeland during the Final Empire with the other way being starvation. They can also be killed by fire.[12]

Because of their ability to change shape, most damage to a kandra is of no consequence; they do feel normal physical pain as a result of trauma, though MeLaan has said that kandra have the ability to turn nerves off and thus experience no pain.[14] This leads to kandra guards mostly using hammers to break bones, thus hindering movement.

A kandra digesting another kandra can perform the killing, but it is unknown if the two kandra will fight and try to eat each other during the process. After the Catacendre, the kandra develop a way to take their own lives at will. Also developed by the kandra post-Catacendre is a liquid which upon injection will incapacitate kandra and make them transparent, but will not make them unconscious.[15] Removing or destroying both of their spikes will revert them into a mistwraith.[16]


A kandra with transparent skin

Kandra have the ability to shapeshift. However, in most cases, 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. The shapeshifting process may take anything from several hours or even days to as little as a few seconds.[17] The digestion is necessary also because kandra cannot create hair, fur, bones, or singer carapace, so these parts they must get from the digested victims, and be put into place one by one.[18]

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 use just a skull or set of bones to build a working structure to gain the ability to move around freely and communicate. Being without bones will make kandra unable to move fast, speak or form any proper shape, but doesn't affect their mental ability.[19] Kandra can create bodies without a beating heart, which helps reduce caloric intake.[20] They can crack simple locks by inserting part of their body into the mechanism.[3]

Kandra are known to be 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. As a result, it is almost impossible to tell a kandra apart from the actual individual they are impersonating. Wearing a body can influence how a kandra acts, such as wearing a dog's body causing them to adopt dog-like mannerisms.[21] However, this is not caused by following the Spiritual ideal of the body they are wearing.[22]

In combat, kandra can form powerful muscles and heal most wounds immediately, utilizing their ability to shapeshift. Their True Bodies can have specializations for combat, such as aluminum bones and hidden weapons. They can also turn off their nerves that cause pain.[14]

Some kandra build bodies for combat purposes; these bodies can be made of metal to be stronger and heavier and can have sharp bones to use as knives.[23]

Kandra are capable of assuming smaller shapes, but losing too much mass will cause a kandra to be unable to maintain their intelligence.[24] They are unable to divide their consciousness between multiple brains.[20]

Losing one or both of their Blessings leaves holes in a kandra's memories.[16] The longer without their Blessings, the bigger the holes will be.[25] Removing a single spike will cause a kandra to lose their sanity. Kandra with only one spike will refuse a spike from another kandra, and this process can cause radical changes in personality, memory, and temperament. Kandra missing both spikes revert to a mistwraith, with only a trace of their former consciousness. In both cases, returning their missing spikes will restore their mind.[16][15]

It is theoretically possible for a kandra to become a Knight Radiant, if they manage to convince a spren to bond with them.[26] Digesting a Lifeless could have weird side effects.[27]


There are four different Blessings available to make a kandra. All grant mistwraiths sentience and convert them into kandra, but they also have additional benefits.[28] The Blessing comes from the effect that the Hemalurgic spike steals.[29] They are typically slender, and less than three inches long.[3] The longer a Blessing is out of a kandra, the weaker it becomes.[25]

Blessing of Awareness
A pair of tin spikes that grant a kandra increased senses, similar to Allomantically burning tin.[28][30][29]
Blessing of Potency
A pair of iron spikes that give a kandra more strength, like that of an Allomancer burning pewter.[28][30][29] It is not exactly the same effect, however; it does not grant the limitless energy received from burning pewter.
Blessing of Presence
A pair of copper spikes that grant increased mental capability.[28][30][29] 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.[19][31] This Blessing also counters at least some of the mental weakness that is caused by Hemalurgy; kandra with this Blessing are much less vulnerable to being controlled by Ruin than others.[32]
Blessing of Stability
A pair of zinc spikes that endows its receiver with emotional fortitude, rendering them much more resistant to control by emotional Allomancy.[28][30][29] This Blessing was rarely used.[33]

A kandra can survive with only one spike, but they lose some of their sanity while doing so.[16] A kandra with one spike cannot be controlled by Ruin or Harmony.[34]

There are more possible Blessings than the four already known.[35] Kandra can get access to Allomancy through Hemalurgy[36] or lerasium.[37] They can also get access to Feruchemy through unknown means.[38] Despite the fact that kandra are Invested, they are still able to worldhop.[39][40][41]


TenSoon being judged in the Homeland

The Final Empire[edit]

The First Generation of kandra were originally Rashek's fellow Terris packmen. During his ascension, Rashek realized that a person with both Allomancy and Feruchemy would pose a serious threat to the stability of the Final Empire, so he spoke directly to the minds of his closest friends, making a deal with them to trade their Feruchemy for immortality. All living Feruchemists were transformed into mistwraiths, but he gave Hemalurgic spikes to the packmen, transforming them into the First Generation.[42] They were to become his spies and informants.

Kandra were the third and last of Rashek's creations. They were created with two Hemalurgic spikes and thus are less susceptible to the influence of Ruin or other Shards. The First Generation of kandra, the Lord Ruler's friends, created a legal code which was later approved by the Lord Ruler. This code is known as the First Contract. The Contract is the first thing a kandra learns upon gaining sentience.[43] All future generations of kandra are created by the first by granting Blessings in the form of Hemalurgic spikes to mistwraiths.

Right before the Catacendre, the majority kandra executed the Resolution. The First Generation ordered every kandra to remove their Blessings in an effort to prevent Ruin from influencing them and regaining his body. They are eventually able to replace their spikes, though it is unlikely that there will be any new kandra, as Hemalurgy is not widely known.[44] Since Harmony has absorbed Ruin into himself, kandra are now under his direct control. Kandra that go without their spikes for long periods of time lose significant portions of their memories.[45][46]

After the Catacendre[edit]

Kandra still exist after the Ascension but now serve Harmony as his agents,[34] using their abilities to blend in with those around them to perform tasks given by Harmony. They are known by Elendel society due to their mention in the Words of Founding, but their mention is reportedly vague.[34] They are often referred to as "Faceless Immortals", and reactions to them are mixed between reverence[47] and skepticism as an urban legend.[48]

Since the Catacendre, some kandra have traveled to other worlds,[49][50] likely to gather information for Harmony, though most have remained on Scadrial.[51] One female kandra not acting under Harmony's orders was likely on Roshar in early 1174.[52]

After Ruin nearly takes control over the kandra, the surviving kandra discover a way to end their own lives at will to spare themselves should the situation require it.[53] Many of the Second Generation end their own lives using this method.[54] By 342 PC, the kandra also know of a way to uncover members of their own kind in disguise, using a special substance injected into the body that causes a kandra to "droop" briefly enough to disable it temporarily. Unfortunately, the injection is fatal to humans.[47]

Kandra still seem reluctant to cause harm and kill humans, although this has become considerably more lax.[55]

Although the Kandra Homeland has long been abandoned and revered as a holy place, kandra still get together, albeit under a human guise and in human society.[54]

The confrontation between Harmony and Trell led to Harmony deciding to start sending Kandra off-world as his agents on other planets, to help deal with the rising threat of Trell.[56][21]

On multiple planets, Kandra are the reason for talking animals in stories and folklore.[57]

At some point long after the events of the first confrontation between Harmony and Trell, Sazed is said by Hoid to have released the Kandra as a whole, presumably from his own control. The true meaning of this statement is currently unknown.[58]


Kandra have spent ten centuries enslaved to humankind, serving the Contracts in an effort to keep themselves safe. Most kandra hate humans for their situation, but, ironically, most kandra True Bodies are human-shaped, with two arms, two legs, and a face, even while they curse humankind for keeping them enslaved.[1]

There are other jobs for kandra to perform in the Homeland, such as the teaching and instruction of young kandra, which is considered a prestigious job among kandra.[59]

They refer to the Lord Ruler as the Father, because he is responsible for their creation. After his death, TenSoon advocates that Vin should be considered the Mother, because she is the one who slays the Lord Ruler. It is unknown if other kandra accept this title for her or not.

The First Generation typically only communicates with the Second Generation. All subsequent generations are then created by the Seconds, 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 the Father is dead. In general, all decisions about law and order are communicated to the lower generations by the Second Generation, acting as something like government officials. TenSoon suspects that the Second Generation takes advantage of being the only ones who the First Generation would speak to by making many policies on their own, then telling the younger kandra that it is the decision of the First Generation.


In the early days of the Final Empire, the kandra attempted to remain secret and blend into human society. However, humans feared their abilities, calling them monsters, and began using Allomancy to hunt them down, by way of the Flaw, and kill them. After a few centuries, the kandra were almost extinct.[60][43] Out of desperation, the kandra agreed to become servants to humans, never leaving the Homeland unless out on a Contract.[61]

As a result of this history, kandra are secretive about their culture and have an intense loathing for humans, which is only made worse by the poor treatment they often receive from their masters. Despite this, they adhere to their Contracts without question, and are often used as spies by the nobility. Fulfilling 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 their weakness to Allomancy. The terms of a Contract always prohibit a kandra from killing a human, changing bodies without permission, and revealing kandra secrets, and require the kandra to return to the Homeland if they break the terms of the Contract or if their master dies before the Contract expires.

On top of that, the fulfilling of Contracts also has another purpose. A Contract must be paid for in atium, which is then brought to the Homeland where it is stockpiled in a metal vault known as the Trust. They do this because atium is condensed power of Ruin, and by storing it in a place where Ruin has no influence they deny him access to a part of his power.

All Contracts are modelled on the First Contract.[43] During the time of the Final Empire, Contracts were arranged by leaving a message at a designated place in Luthadel. A kandra Contracted to the Lord Ruler would then go to the client and act as an intermediary while the papers were signed and payment collected. The kandra—a member of the Fifth Generation during the later days of the Final Empire—would then return to the kandra Homeland where a kandra would be assigned to the Contract.[62] The punishment for a kandra who broke a Contract is death.[19] The details of the Contract were never disclosed to non-kandra, not even the Lord Ruler—though the kandra likely would have shared them with him if he asked.[62]


They were of Preservation all along.

Harmony on the kandra[63]

The kandra initially believe that they are of Preservation, while the koloss, humans and Inquisitors are of Ruin. This is despite the fact that, like other Hemalurgically-created races, they have Hemalurgic spikes, which are of Ruin. The Lord Ruler creates the kandra to be his spies, and the noble class believe them to be spies for the new government. They often use the kandra as such, but Rashek's ultimate plan is for them to be double agents against Ruin, with their essence being of him but their Intent being of Preservation. According to the plan, Ruin would believe that he could take control of the kandra whenever he wanted, as they are 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 to seize control of them. Just prior to the Battle of Hathsin, this plan comes to fruition exactly as the Lord Ruler had planned, disrupting Ruin's efforts and ultimately leading to his demise, demonstrating that the kandra's true allegiance has always lain with Preservation.

Notable Kandra[edit]


  • The Blessing of Stability is rarely used because Brandon added it late in the development of The Hero of Ages, after realizing that the structure of the powers of metals in Hemalurgy required a second mental Blessing.[33]
  • At least one unidentified kandra is a worldhopper, and has made an appearance in Oathbringer.[41] They are not an agent of Harmony.[52]


  1. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 7#
  2. The Hero of Ages chapter 68#
  3. a b c The Bands of Mourning chapter 19#
  4. /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-01-17#
  5. The Bands of Mourning chapter 6#
  6. a b Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-29#
  7. Dragonsteel 2022
    Arcanum - 2022-11-14#
  8. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2018-03-10#
  9. Dragonsteel 2023
    Arcanum - 2023-11-21#
  10. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
  11. Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-06-11#
  12. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 60#
  13. Read For Pixels 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-09-01#
  14. a b The Bands of Mourning chapter 24#
  15. a b The Bands of Mourning chapter 29#
  16. a b c d The Bands of Mourning chapter 3#
  17. Shadows of Self chapter 21#
  18. Shadows of Self Leeds UK signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-22#
  19. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 2#
  20. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 18#
  21. a b The Lost Metal chapter 11#
  22. YouTube Spoiler Stream 4
    Arcanum - 2022-06-16#
  23. The Bands of Mourning chapter 16#
  24. Calamity Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-24#
  25. a b The Bands of Mourning chapter 21#
  26. Warsaw signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-18#
  27. YouTube Spoiler Stream 3
    Arcanum - 2021-12-16#
  28. a b c d e The Hero of Ages chapter 38 epigraph#
  29. a b c d e Skyward release party
    Arcanum - 2018-11-06#
  30. a b c d Hemalurgy Table
  31. The Hero of Ages chapter 24#
  32. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  33. a b The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2009-11-17#
  34. a b c Shadows of Self chapter 7#
  35. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-26#
  36. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-27#
  37. Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A
    Arcanum - 2014-08-13#
  38. Shadows of Self chapter 16#
  39. The Lost Metal epilogue 6#
  40. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 22#
  41. a b JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-21#
  42. The Hero of Ages chapter 62#
  43. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 11#
  44. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  45. /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-01-20#
  46. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  47. a b Shadows of Self chapter 13#
  48. Shadows of Self chapter 12#
  49. Arcanum Unbounded signing Seattle
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  50. JordanCon 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-04-11#
  51. Shadows of Self San Jose signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-09#
  52. a b YouTube Spoiler Stream 5
    Arcanum - 2022-12-02#
  53. Shadows of Self chapter 19#
  54. a b Shadows of Self chapter 20#
  55. Shadows of Self chapter 11#
  56. The Lost Metal chapter 1#
  57. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 28#
  58. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 42#
  59. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2009-07-16#
  60. The Well of Ascension chapter 22#
  61. The Well of Ascension chapter 40#
  62. a b The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-02-09#
  63. The Hero of Ages chapter 80 epigraph#
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