by Ben McSweeney for the Mistborn Adventure Game
|Featured In||Mistborn (series)|
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 during his Ascension, and so the kandra call him "Father". They have the ability to reshape their bodies and most are well practiced at imitation, making them extremely sought after as spies.
The First Generation of kandra were originally Terris Worldbringers. 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, and these closest friends were also given hemalurgic spikes which returned them to sentience and bestowed certain "blessings." He would later resort to breeding programs to try to eliminate Feruchemy from the Terris people entirely.
Kandra were the third and last of Rashek's creations. They were created with only two spikes and thus experience less influence from Ruin. Despite their greater independence, the First Generation was worried about governing themselves, so they created a legal code which was then approved by the Lord Ruler and became known as the First Contract. It would be the first thing a kandra learned when they gained sentience. All future generations of kandra were created by the first by granting blessings to mistwraiths.
Most kandra executed the Resolution, the First Generation's order to remove their blessings in an effort to prevent Ruin from influencing them and regaining his body. Eventually the people were able to replace their spikes, though it is unlikely that there will be any new kandra because hemalurgy is not widely known. This leaves them as some of the few who have a direct connection to Harmony. Those who went longer without their spikes lost significant portions of their memories. Some of them make appearances in The Alloy of Law as well as other books. They no longer take contracts and have taken a vow to live in animal bodies.
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. TenSoon suspected that the Second Generation took 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 was the decision of the First Generation.
Most kandra have an intense loathing for the human race as they are afraid of being controlled by Allomancy, their most closely-guarded secret. Bound by the Contract, a kandra will do its master's bidding without question. During the reign of the Lord Ruler, many noblemen hired kandra (using the Contract) to be spies for their respective houses. Kandra are, however, treated poorly in general, intensifying their deeply rooted hatred. Fulfulling 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.
”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.
There are more possible Blessings than the four already known. Allomancy can be granted to kandra, as shown when Bleeder uses the Allomantic abilities of a Coinshot, but only Harmony (and probably Bleeder) know the process for doing so. They can also burn Lerasium.
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.
After the Ascension
Kandra still exist after the Ascension but now serve Harmony as his agents , 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. They are often referred to as "Faceless Immortals" and reactions to them are mixed between reverence and scepticism as an urban legend.
After Ruin nearly took control over the Kandra, the surviving Kandra discovered a way to end their own lives on will to spare themselves should the situation require it. Many of the second generation Kandra ended their own lives using this method. Kandra also worked on a way to discover their own kind in guise, using a special substance injected in to the body that would cause a Kandra to "droop" briefly enough to disable it temporarily, but this is fatal to humans. 
Kandra still seem reluctant to cause harm and kill humans, although this has become considerably more lax.
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. The shapeshifting process may take anything from several hours or even days to as little as a few seconds.
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. Although Melaan has said that kandra have the ability to turn nerves off and thus experience no pain. 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. After the Catacendre the kandra developed a way to take their own lives at will.
Kandra are capable of assuming smaller shapes, but losing too much mass means that a kandra is unable to maintain their intelligence.
- The Hero of Ages chapter 62
- The Hero of Ages chapter 11
- I can guess two possible options for the kandra
— Theoryland - 2008-10-15#
- How are there kandra and koloss?
— Theoryland - 2012-1#
- Do they remember who they were?
— Theoryland - 2008-10-17#
- How do you buy a contract with a kandra in the Alloy of Law?
— Theoryland - 2012-11-6#
- Are there kandra hiding in any of your books beside Mistborn?
— Theoryland - 2014-4-16#
- Is the kandra worldhopper MeLaan?
— Theoryland - 2014-12-6#
- B&N book club Q&A
— Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages 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
— Theoryland - 2008-10-15#
- Mistborn Adventure Game chapter 12
- Are there more kinds of kandra blessings than just the four we've seen?
— Theoryland - September 2012#
- Hemalurgy can give Allomantic powers to Kandra.
— Theoryland - September 2012#
- If a Kandra eats a bead of Larasium, can he burn it?
— Theoryland - 13 August 2014#
- Shadows of Self chapter 7
- Shadows of Self chapter 13
- Shadows of Self chapter 12
- Shadows of Self chapter 19
- Shadows of Self chapter 20
- Shadows of Self chapter 11
- Shadows of Self chapter 21
- They must keep a certain mass to maintain intelligence and a bunny is very small.
— 17th Shard forums - 26 Feb, 2016#
|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 · Ettmetal|
|Era 1 books||Mistborn: The Final Empire · The Well of Ascension · The Hero of Ages · (Mistborn: Secret History · The Eleventh Metal)|
|Era 2 books||The Alloy of Law · Shadows of Self · The Bands of Mourning · The Lost Metal · (Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania)|
|Shards||Preservation · Ruin · Harmony|
|History||Classical Scadrial · Final Empire · Catacendre · Elendel · Southern Scadrian|
|Magic||Metallic Arts (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) · Metalborn · Mistborn · Misting · Savant · Ferring · Twinborn · Compounding · Atium · Lerasium · Ettmetal|
|Other Media||Mistborn Adventure Game · Mistborn: Birthright · Mistborn film · Mistborn: House War|