Pahn Kahl

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Pahn Kahl
Ethnicity Pahn Kahl
World Nalthis
Universe Cosmere

But everyone knows the Pahn Kahl are practically Hallandren.

Lightsong on the Pahn Kahl[1]

Pahn Kahl is a small territory under the control of Hallandren on Nalthis.[2] The Pahn Kahl form a distinct but often overlooked group within the culturally dominant Hallandren, with a separate language and religion.[3] They were formerly an independent country, but were absorbed into Hallandren after their defeat in the Manywar.[4] Three centuries later, many of the Pahn Kahl still longed for independence.[5]

Geography and Ecology[edit]

Perhaps you can imagine their surprise upon arriving here? A place with beaches of fine, soft sand, with fruits aplenty, and with strange, alien forests?

—Hoid telling a story about the discovery of the Hallandren lowlands

The Pahn Kahl people live in the Hallandren lowlands.[6] These lowlands have a tropical climate,[6] although the growth of plants in this region is also partly helped by investiture from Endowment’s perpendicularity.[7] The soil in this valley is also the only place on Nalthis where the Tears of Edgli grow.[6] To the east of this valley is a large landlocked body of water called the Bright Sea.[8] The lowlands suffer from frequent earthquakes.[9]

Elephants and zebras are said to be exotic creatures from "the south.” Whether this means they come from the area in which the Pahn Kahl live or south of this area is unclear.[10] The jungle in which the Pahn Kahl live is inhabited by panthers, parrots, monkeys, and crocodiles.[6][11][10] The Bright Sea is also full of life, including many sorts of mussels, fish, and tentacled creatures.[12][13][14]


People and language[edit]

The Pahn Kahl are racially different from the dominantly Hallandren population.[2] They have a different skin tone and facial features than the Hallandren.[2]They are also shorter on average than the Hallandren. Pahn Kahl also have their own language.[15] Its words are full of airy sounds. Despite these differences, they are often mistaken for Hallandren, to their irritation.[1] The Pahn Kahl have no problem with giving away their breath like the Idrians. They have many skilled awakeners. [16]


The Pahn Kahl religion has similarities with the Iridescent Tones, but is more abstract and does not include worship of the Returned.[17] Rather, it involves a kind of nature worship where the storms of the Bright Sea are revered as manifestations of the unity of their five gods.[17] Their religion also has more a focus on the Voice that calls the Returned,[18] that is actually Endowment.[19] It is uncertain how they relate this Voice to their five gods.

In their theology, the Returned are those who lived just lives but died lacking in faith. They are forbidden entrance into heaven but are not sent to hell. Instead, they are given a second chance to find the true faith in life by Returning.[17] Many of the Pahn Kahl do not mind the Returned, and accept the God King as monarch.[3] They simply see the Returned as misguided. Since they do not see them as divinities, the only thing the Pahn Kahl find extraordinary about the Returned is the strength of their BioChroma.

Many outsiders consider the Pahn Kahl religion to be simplistic, especially in contrast with the elaborate doctrine of the Iridescent Tones.[1] In fact, many people in Hallandren and beyond have no understanding of the religion or are not even aware that the Pahn Kahl have their own separate religion at all.[3][1][20] Unfortunately, some aspects of the Pahn Kahl religion have been forgotten even by its followers, due in part to their single-minded desire for independence from Hallandren.[18]


As Pahn Kahl is located in the jungle they have access to many unique resources and products, which they can trade with faraway lands. They also used to, and may still, fish the Bright Sea.[6] Due to their location near Endowment’s perpendicularity they might also be able to grow the Tears of Edgli in their province. Nonetheless Pahn Kahl are often employed in the dye fields,[21] though their overseers are Hallandren.


Only one example of Pahn Kahl cuisine is currently known. The sweet pastries called tinkfans are considered to be a delicacy.[22] They are even eaten by the Returned in the Court of Gods. Tinkfans are traditionally consumed in small bites, with a small piece of bread eaten between each bite as a palate cleanser. [22]

Within Hallandren[edit]

Within the kingdom of Hallandren, the Pahn Kahl were often ignored[23], seen as second class citizens[21] typically less trustworthy than the Hallandren.[22] On the other hand, many not familiar with the Pahn Kahl may struggle to differentiate the Pahn Kahl from the other Hallandren; oftentimes they are not seen as their own distinct people.[1] This confusion is a great annoyance to them. The Pahn Kahl are often marginalized by the Hallandren, and are very frustrated with being ignored and subjugated by them.[17] This is especially infuriating to them as the Pahn Kahl were the first people in the region, and have been conquered by relative newcomers.[5]

Many of the Pahn Kahl live a difficult life, working under harsh overseers in the dye fields.[21] Some have managed to work their way into high importance but low prestige jobs, such as stewards and servants for the priests and Returned in the Court of the Gods. This provides a far better life than working in the dye fields. This work is however unstable, anytime a new God King is chosen, all his workers lose their jobs.[21] In addition to this, Pahn Kahl servants have to work harder to gain jobs within the theocracy, and those jobs are often more difficult than the Hallandren servants.[21] They all required to wear brown robes[3][24] and are forbidden to speak to or touch the God King himself.[21] In fact they are not even permitted to be servants to the God King,[22] although they may be servants to his wife.[25] Pahn Kahl are also not permitted to serve as priests to the gods either.[3]

All these things have led to their rebellious spirit[17] and their desire for revenge and freedom.[4] Consumed by their anger, as well as their desire for independence, the Pahn Kahl have lost much of their cultural identity..[18]



The Pahn Kahl people are the natives to the Hallandren jungle.[6], during their early history they lived in a collection of fishing villages along the coast.[6] When the people of Chedesh began exploring other parts of the Inner Sea's coastline a group of their ships discovered this valley filled with jungles.[6] One of the explorers, Vo, died and became the first Returned while on one of the ships in the bay.[6] He then died again a week later. Dismissing the native Pahn Kahl, his crewmates founded a kingdom on the site and named it Hanald.[6]

As Hanald grew the Pahn Kahl established their own kingdom, claiming the southern parts of the lowlands.[6]

Tensions and the Manywar[edit]

As the dye trade was one of the main reasons for Hanald’s quick growth, they started a monopoly on the dye trade, and other kingdoms, including Pahn Kahl, quickly grew to resent them because of it, and also started hoping to take control of Hallandren and share in the dye profits.[6]

As Hanald grew they turned their attention towards the newly discovered art of awakening. During this time major discoveries and developments were made in awakening.[6] A lot of these discoveries were made by the Five Scholars,[6] a few examples include the command to make lifeless with a single breath[6] and the invention of Ichor-alcohol.[26] These discoveries allowed nations to build far larger and cheaper armies.[6] Because many of these discoveries were made in Hanald the other nations grew scared as they would only get behind farther and farther as time passed.

At some point, one of the Returned in Hanald had a vision of war.[6] This ended up being the catalyst for a war, as it prompted Strifelover to strike preemptively against the other nations.[6]

What was to become known as the Manywar broke out.[6] The Pahn Kahl generally hold that this war was the fault of Hanald's royal family, who they accuse of seeking new Awakening techniques and Lifeless without realizing these could be turned against them.[6] At some point the kingdom of Pahn Kahl joined or created the Pahn Unity along with multiple other kingdoms. This coalition would fight against the forces of Hanald[27] the famous battle of The Twilight Falls is a well known example of this. The leader of the Pahn Unity died in this battle.[27]

Near the end of the war Pahn Kahl was conquered by Hanald, its people being enslaved and made to work. After the Manywar ended and Hanald split Pahn Kahl became a province in the south of Hallandren. It’s people would eventually become second class citizens, over time the Pahn Kahl people became heavily associated with their conquerors, with few outside of Pahn Kahl understanding or caring about the difference between the two peoples.[3] Most Pahn Kahl work hard labour intensive jobs in the dye fields. While the people kept wishing for independence Pahn Kahl earned a reputation for being a quiet and peaceful province.[2]

Failed Rebellions[edit]

For more information see Vahr, and the Pahn Kahl rebellion.

You're from Pahn Kahl, yet everyone always just assumes that your people are Hallandren. The Pahn Kahl people were here first, in this land, but it was taken from you. Now you're just another province, part of the kingdom of your conquerors.

— Siri to Bluefingers[5]

Despite their defeat, the Pahn Kahl were not content to remain subjugated. Approximately three hundred years after the defeat of the Pahn Unity, around the year 321,[28] a Pahn Kahl man named Vahr began to foment rebellion among the Pahn Kahl dye workers[29] and dissidents.[30] He convinced many of them to give him their Breath and began to assemble an army.[30] Little to Vahr's knowledge, a second group of Pahn Kahl, led by the God King Susebron's steward, Havarseth, were also independently plotting a rebellion.[5] Havarseth, also known as Bluefingers, felt that Vahr's rebellion was drawing too much attention to the Pahn Kahl people.[30] Bluefingers leaked information about Vahr into the Court of the Gods resulting in Vahr's capture and the end of his rebellion.[31]

Bluefingers's own rebellion was far more subtle than Vahr's. As he did not have his own army,[5] he instead conspired to instigate a war between Hallandren and Idris, hoping that in the fighting Pahn Kahl could declare independence and break away.[32] Due to his high-level position as the God King's steward, Bluefingers was in the perfect position to manipulate events,[23] and his actions were often overlooked or ignored because of his race.[23]

Bluefingers sneaked Pahn Kahl Awakeners into the Court through tunnels[16] to begin Breaking the Lifeless in Hallandren's armies.[33] He later used these Lifeless, along with mercenaries and Pahn Kahl scribes disguised as priests to take control of the God King's palace and capture both the God King and his wife, Sisirinah.[2] He also gained control of the rest of Hallandren's forty thousand Lifeless soldiers by forcing the Returned gods Lightsong and Blushweaver to reveal their Commands.[14] These Lifeless were then Commanded to march on Idris to start a new war.

Bluefingers intended to kill both Blushweaver and Lightsong then plant their corpses surrounded by Idrian bodies, making it appear as if Idrian rebels had killed them in retaliation for deploying the Lifeless against Idris.[2] He also intended to kill both Siri and Susebron and make it appear as if the God King had his wife sacrificed on an altar and had been killed by vengeful Idrian assassins.[2][4]

However, Lightsong thwarted these plans by healing the God King's maimed tongue with his divine Breath, allowing Susebron to finally make use of his incredibly strong BioChroma to save Siri, and defeat the Pahn Kahl rebels.[4] Peacegiver, who had been attempting to prevent this conflict on his own in the guise of Vasher, gave Susebron control of his ancient army of Lifeless, Kalad's Phantoms.[32] Susebron used this army to defeat the Lifeless soldiers that were marching on Idris, preventing the war between the two kingdoms and quashing the Pahn Kahl rebellion.[29]

Notable People[edit]

  • Vahr: A failed revolutionary who tried to lead the Pahn Kahl to freedom through force.[29]
  • Tonk Fah: A mercenary working for Denth.[34]
  • Havarseth: Also called Bluefingers, serves as steward to the God King while plotting his own rebellion.[3]


  • Brandon often adds an additional "h" to Pahn Kahl words in order to distinguish them and make them sound "airier".[15]
  • One of Brandon's concerns is that he made the Pahn Kahl too forgettable to the reader as well, lessening the impact of their rebellion.[35]
  • One of the things that would be explored further in Nightblood, the sequel to Warbreaker is the Pahn Kahl and their culture.[18]


  1. a b c d e Warbreaker chapter 14#
  2. a b c d e f g Warbreaker chapter 55#
  3. a b c d e f g Warbreaker chapter 15#
  4. a b c d Warbreaker chapter 57#
  5. a b c d e Warbreaker chapter 54#
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Warbreaker chapter 32#
  7. SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  8. Warbreaker chapter 4#
  9. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-18#
  10. a b Warbreaker chapter 27#
  11. Warbreaker chapter 35#
  12. Warbreaker chapter 22#
  13. Warbreaker chapter 40#
  14. a b Warbreaker chapter 53#
  15. a b Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-09-23#
  16. a b Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-05-23#
  17. a b c d e Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-11-23#
  18. a b c d Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  19. Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  20. Warbreaker chapter 29#
  21. a b c d e f Warbreaker chapter 34#
  22. a b c d Warbreaker chapter 36#
  23. a b c Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-09-07#
  24. Warbreaker chapter 24#
  25. Warbreaker chapter 48#
  26. Warbreaker epilogue#
  27. a b Warbreaker chapter 26#
  28. Map of T'Telir
  29. a b c Warbreaker prologue#
  30. a b c Warbreaker chapter 1#
  31. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-12-14#
  32. a b Warbreaker chapter 58#
  33. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-01-18#
  34. Warbreaker chapter 56#
  35. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-06-15#
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Windrunner (talk) 02:47, 20 December 2016 (MST)