The wraiths — formally referred to as caiohene and sometimes called “star-fallen” — are entities from beyond the boundary of the sky, come to this world on their colony ships while fleeing a ‘Greater Light’ that sought to destroy them. The gravity of this realm compresses them into a bipedal form while close to the ground; only when they are flying can they unfurl into their native shape, and even that is a thin shadow of what they are when free of a gravity-well. While they are not the first to use magic here, they were the first to teach it to humanity. Some are benevolent, but most are either reclusive or hostile.
Technically immortal, they can be physically destroyed but not killed; their essence will slip into the Grey unless captured by magic or a fellow wraith, and from there will slowly find its way to a spire to be reembodied. The ‘new’ wraith loses a certain amount of their prior memories, with the rest fading like a dream, but retains its personality.
Reembodiment can be forced upon a captive wraith, with the result being complete amnesia and the subjugation of the victim to the captor’s will; this often comes with a complete change in personality. Subjugation can also be performed on a free wraith, but without the loss of memory.
All caiohene speak their common language, caioleth, and (used to) follow the commanders of the Flight flagships, the sanwy. They are also all capable of arcane magic, but some do not choose to cultivate it.
Due to the effects of the Skinchanger-Wraith War and their own internal conflicts, the caiohene now divide themselves by geographic area and sometimes by Flight. There are seven groups:
The Airahene, or Mist-Folk, who live in the Forest of Mists and defend it from incursion by humans and their cousins the Haelhene. They maintain control over the spires of Tantaelastarr and Syllastria, and are of the First Flight. Led by a council.
The Caradhene, or Thorn-Folk, who live in the Thornland of Haaraka. While most Haarakash are ordinary humans, up to ten thousand of them bear a caiohene ‘soul’ in addition to their human one, placed there by the Carad Narath to prevent the caiohene individual from reembodying itself. There is currently no spire in the Thornland. Most of the souls were of the First and Fourth Flight, but there are others.
The Haelhene, or True-Folk, who dwell on the sentient White Isle of Ylwenna and sometimes in their outposts elsewhere. They are extremely hostile to all other entities, including their fellow caiohene, and frequently capture humans for use in biological experimentation. The spire Ahnvanir is seated on Ylwenna, with Hlacaasteia and Erestoia placed elsewhere as outposts, and the island of Akarridi used as an experimentation base. Most were of the Fourth Flight, but many have been stolen from other Flights and ‘subjugated’ by a Fourth Flight master, losing the memories of their previous lives.
The Loyuhene, or Night-Folk, who used to live in the Forest of Night until the destruction of their main spire, Anlirindallora, forced them to flee to the protection of their Airahene neighbors. Most are of the First Flight.
The Luuihene, or Snow-Folk, who live in the snowy hills northwest of Kerrindryr and east of Gejara. They maintain control over the spires of Iseilian, Lassaltir and Sancareia. Most are of the Third Flight, with a few of the Second.
The Suvihene, or Sand-Folk, who live in the southern Desert of Aervach and work extensively with the human tribes there. They maintain control over the spires of Melleraia, Rosivinarr and Cahavarran. Most are of the Fifth Flight, with a few from the other four.
The Tiiahene, or Woods-Folk, who live in the Border Forest west of Jernizan and cooperate with the skinchangers there. While they lost control of the spire Liunaitheia long ago, they maintain small detachments in the immovable spires of Viraellan and Noravar, both distant from their base. Most are of the Second Flight, with a few of the First and Third.
Tirindai of the First Flight
- Commander of the flagship Tantaelastarr
- Former wielder of key-crystal Belleter
- Was the sanwy of the airahene and loyuhene until ‘death‘
- Now Carad Narath (Thorn Protector) of the Haarakash
Darcaniel of the Second Flight
- Commander of the flagship Liunaitheia
- Wielder of key-crystal Vondhyaer
- Sanwy of the tiiahene of the Border Forest
- Partner to the sky dragon Syloer
Ylwai of the Third Flight
- Commander of the flagship Iseilian
- Wielder of key-crystal Valonar
- Sanwy of the luuihene of the northern wastes
- Slayer of Hythrak the Songbird
Lalliel of the Fourth Flight
- Commander of the flagship Hlacaasteia
- Former wielder of key-crystal Sesshonyar
- Sanwy of the haelhene of Ylwenna (the White Isle)
- Betrayer of the caiohene forces on the Wrecking Shore
Sanaatiel of the Fifth Flight
Daenivar of Nightmares
- Former member of the high command of the haelhene
- Kuthrallan’s rival in arcane study and human experimentation
- Devoured by the Blood Goddess and returned as her ‘son’
- Current owner of the Second Flight flagship Liunaitheia
Mallandriach of Ylwenna
- Member of the high command of the haelhene
- Master of House Mallandriach
- Former master of Ilshenrir Eisaia je’sa Vallindas
Seimaranth of Tantaelastarr
- Member of the airahene council
- Ilshenrir’s teacher (eshar)
- Former member of the airahene council
- Rescuer and former mentor of Ilshenrir
- ‘Died’ in combat somewhere over the Imperial Heartlands