The Ichani are the main antagonist in the The Black Magician trilogy. They are a group of Sachakan outcasts and 28 individuals. However, only nine of them partake in the attack on Kyralia. They utilize black magic which gives them immense energy. By harnessing the energy of their slaves, the Ichani grow stronger each passing day and it is said that the ten strongest of them could eliminate the entire Mage's Guild with ease.
The members of the Ichani are citizens of Sachaka who have been banished after earning the disfavor of the Sachakan king. For a long time, each Ichani remained for him- or herself but recently, they have banded together to launch an invasion of the neighboring country Kyralia - whose Mage's guild is responsible for the downfall of Sachaka.
After the war between Sachaka and Kyralia, which Sachaka lost due to the power of the newly-founded Kyralian mage's guild, a large part of Sachaka remained a desolate wasteland. However, while the Kyralian mages eventually decided to ban black magic and forgot about it during the centuries, most Sachakan mages kept using this power. Hundreds of years later - although this is not known to Kyralia and the allied countries due to Sachaka's remote position - their mages perform black magic still. As black magic means harnessing the energy of a person- to the extent that the black mage could harvest all the energy of the subject and thus kill it - the Sachakan mages were far more vigorous than the Kyralian ones.
The king of Sachaka eventually exiled several citizens into the wastelands. These people, known as the Ichane (which translates to "thief" or bandit"), remained in exile and became warlords of the wastelands. Each Ichani held several slaves from which they drew energy whenever possible. The Ichani never banded together, as they did not trust each other, and often warred against each other.
Eventually, Akkarin - a young member of the Mage's Guild - travelled to Sachaka. He was investigating old knowledge about the so-called "Higher Magic", which he found out to be Black Magic. In Sachaka, however, he was approached by one of the most powerful Ichani, a man called Dakova. As the Guild had no knowledge about the Ichani and their hate of Kyralians, Akkarin did not mistrust Dakova. However, once Dakova found out that Akkarin was a member of the Mage's Guild, he easily fought and defeated him. By reading his mind, Dakova found out that the Mage's Guild had forsaken black magic and was not near as powerful as the Ichani expected. Dakova shared this knowledge with the other Ichani via Mind He kept Akkarin as one of his many slaves and started draining his energy on a daily basis. He learned that Dakova was the brother of another powerful Ichani called Kariko and that the two brothers had openly declared that if harm should come to one of them, the other would avenge him.
Akkarin remained Dakova's slave for five years. Every evening, Dakova read Akkarin's mind to search for any plans of disobedience or escape. One day, Dakova attacked a rival Ichani but realized that he was about to lose the fight. Panicking, he drained the energy from his slaves and by doing so, killed all but Akkarin and Tarkan. After the battle, Dakova was weakened for many weeks until his brother Kariko arrived and gave him several slaves from which to drain new energy. Eventually, Dakova learned about another rival Ichani who was recovering from battle with another Ichani in an abandoned mine. Dakova decided to kill the man and sent his slaves into the mines to find the Ichani. Akkarin managed to find the Ichani but instead of fighting him or alerting Dakova, he approached the Ichani. The Ichani taught Akkarin how to use black magic and how to drain the energy of another being. Akkarin led the Ichani escape and returned to Dakova, claiming that he did not find any evidence of the Ichani but a secret cellar full of wine and food. Although his rival had escaped, Dakova was pleased about the wine and did not doubt Akkarin for what Akkarin was glad - since Dakova would have sensed the truth had he read Akkarin's mind. He started drinking the wine and eventually was drunk enough for Akkarin to strike. Akkarin first killed all of Dakova's slaves and took their energy except for Tarkan with whom he had developed a friendship. Akkarin then attacked Dakova who did not anticipate the fight, and managed to cut his skin. Through the breach in Dakova's skin, Akkarin was able to drain the energy of the Ichani until none was left inside him and Dakova died. Akkarin then made his way back to Kyralia where he was eventually appointed High Lord of the Mage's Guild, becoming their leader.
However, despite his death Dakova had managed to reach out to his brother via his mind and had both alerted Kariko to Akkarin's existance, his own dooming demise and the weakness of the Mage's Guild. After the death of his brother Kariko intended to carry out the vengeance he had vowed. He managed to unite all the warring Ichani under his leadership. Although most did not trust each other or even Kariko, they were united by their mutual hate for Kyralia and the Mage's Guild. As the guild was far weaker than they had believed they planned to invade Kyralia and to annihilate the guild, both to satisfy their thirst of vengeance and to win favor with the king of Sachaka so that they would be pardonned.
The Ichani started to send some of their slaves to Kyralia after teaching them black magic. After arriving in Kyralia, the slaves were to test the strength of the Guild and their High Lord Akkarin. The slaves started killing citizens of Imardin, the capital of Kyralia and the city where the Guild is located, to strenghten their power and to call out Akkarin. However, for five years all slaves that were sent to Kyralia were identified and killed by Akkarin.
Preparing their Invasion
The Ichani keep sending a slave to Imardin each few months to test the strenght of the city and the guild. As each slave kills multiple of the citizens, word spreads off ghastly serial murders in Imardin. Even the Mage's Guild starts investigating. Akkarin, in alliance with the thieves' guild, keeps hunting down and murdering all Ichani slaves.
After Akkarin's use of black magic is found out by the novice Sonea, Akkarin appoints her his personal protefée to prevent her from leaking his secret to the Guild. During her tutelage, Sonea learns Akkarin's true reasons for practicing the forbidden Black Magic and learns about the threat the Ichani pose to Kyralia. She does not believe him at first but changes her mind after he leads her to the most recent captured Ichani slaves who is held captive by the thieves' guild. By teaching Sonea how to enter a person's mind, Sonea learns the truth about the Ichani. However, Akkarin realizes that the man is hiding a blood jewel in his mouth - a jewel which transfers everything the carrier sees, hears or senses to Kariko. Thus, Kariko learns that Akkarin is training Sonea to be his protegée. After Sonea has learned the truth, Akkarin kills the slave.
Soon, another Ichani spy enters Kyralia and is noticed by the thieves. However, this time the spy is no slave but an Ichani. The woman starts killing people like the slaves before her did but when Akkarin turns up to confront her, he realizes that the woman is far more dangerous than anticipated. Both attack each other and the fight destroys the house they are in. However, the Ichani is unaware that Sonea, who has now been instructed in dark magic, has come with Akkarin. Sonea attacks the Ichani from behind and manages to drain all her energy - killing her. However, before fighting Akkarin the woman had attacked another Magician living in the city, Lord Jolen, and slaughtered him and his entire family and staff. As the woman was wearing robes similar to Akkarin's and left a ripped cloth bearing Akkarin's personal sigil, the Mage's Guild soon starts suspecting that Akkarin is the murder who has been terrorizing the city.
After a trial, both Akkarin and Sonea are banished to Sachaka. However, during the trial they inform the members of the Mage's Guild about the Ichani and although not everyone believes them, the Guild makes preparations for an Ichani invasion. When the news about the banishment of Akkarin and Sonea are broadcast through Mind Communication for all members of the Mage's Guild, the Ichani - who have been listening to the Guild's Mind Communication for years, learn that their old enemy is being banished into their territory. Kariko decides that the time for invasion has come but also sends some Ichani to capture Akkarin and Sonea once they have entered Sachaka. When the Guild's administrator Lorlen is informed by his disciple that Akkarin and Sonea have entered Sachakan ground, Kariko invades the Mind Communication between the two men and thanks them for the information - revealing himself to the Mage's Guild for the first time.
In Sachaka, Akkarin and Sonea manage to evade the two lesser Ichani sent to capture them. By sneaking up to their camp, they learn that the main Ichani force will enter Kyralia through the northern pass. Avala plans to join that force as fast as possible but Parika decides to join the smaller force invading through the eastern pass instead. Through the connection Akkarin has to Lorlen through a blood jewel, Akkarin sends Lorlen the information about what he just heard and confirms that the Ichani are about to invade Kyralia. As a result, Lorlen doubles the number of mages guarding the fortress that guards the northern border pass to 44 mages.
Akkarin and Sonea attempt to reach the southern pass before Parika but on the way they encounter the Ichani who is meeting up with his slaves. They manage to hide from the Ichani but Parika thus arrives at the pass before them. However, he does not plan to invade Kyralia directly but wants to recover the strength he lost during his journey first. While Parika is sleeping, Akkarin and Sonea attempt to get past his camp to enter Kyralia undetected and to return to Imardin to help the Guild against the Ichani. They manage to lure Parika away from his camp by creating an illusion. While Parika is gone, Akkarin slaughters his slaves so that Parika cannot use them later during the invasion. Afterwards, they flee over the border, aware that Parika will not cross the border until Kariko has done so in the North.
However, after fleeing into Kyralia they are soon captured by a mage who was sent to guard the southern pass. The mage plans to lead them back to Sachaka, however, once near the border they are attacked by Parika. Akkarin, Sonea and Dorrien attack Parika who is easily able to hold his own. Parika is able to smash their magic shields and forces Dorrien and Sonea to retreat. He catches up to them, however, and draws a knife to slice their skin and draw their energy. However, Sonea manages to heal the cut before Parika can drain her energy. As the Ichani and the Sachakan mages do not know healing magic, Parika does not understand what is happening. Sonea uses the opportunity to user her healing magic on Parika, sending it into his body and stopping the beating of his heart. This kills Parika and Akkarin swiftly swoops in to drain Parika's energy before they can be unleashed in a massive explosion )which happens when a mage dies).
Invasion of Kyralia
Just minutes after the death of Parika, Kariko and his eight followers attack the Fort and invade through the Northern Pass. They are aware that the mages in the Fort are warning the other mages via Mind Communication but make no attempt to stop it. The Ichani attack the gates while draining energy from their slaves who are standing right behind them. After breaking through the first gate, the Ichani invade the Fort. The battle and the efforts of repealing the Ichani are sent to the rest of the mages via mind communication by the desperate defenders. Nonetheless, the Ichani manage to sweep through the Fort with ease and kill most of the defending mages. Only Lord Makin remains and continues to send the events via Mind Communication until Kariko appears before him, knocks him out with ease and then breaks through the inner Gate, opening the path to Kyralia for the Ichani. After the Ichani have secured the Fort, Kariko orders Makin to send "live feed" again. Thus, the rest of the mages witness how Avala approaches Kariko and shows that she found another mage, Lord Fergun. Kariko orders Avala to get rid of him which she does by cutting his throat and draining his energy. Via Makin, Kariko then relays the message that he will be in Imardin soon and that he might leave some of the citizens alive if they open the gates for him and welcome him with slaves and gold. He then cuts Makin's throat, ending the transmission.
The Ichani make their way down to Imardin, stopping in every village on the way to feed on the energy of the population of Kyralia. Sonea and Akkarin travel down to Imardin as well, making plans on how to defeat the Ichani while travelling. They plan to seperate the Ichani from one another, as well as to focuss their attack on one Ichani because the Ichani are not used to working together or helping one another.
Eventually, the Ichani reach the city of Calia where the 22 mages initially sent to the Fort have headed to after the fall of the Fort. Their leader, Lord Yikmo, remains in contact with the Guild and - similar to Lord Makin - sends a transmission of the events via Mind Communication. Once the Ichani arrive in Calia, Kariko sends four of them through the streets to weed out the Guild Mages hidden somewhere in the city. The Guild Mages attack the Ichani by striking from the shadows and changing their positions immediately because the Ichani's powers are useless against enemies they cannot see. After an hour of fighting, only Yikmo and Rothen remain from the force sent by the guild. They plan to destroy the carts the Ichani are riding in order to slow them down on their way to Kyralia. Although they manage to destroy both carts,killing all the slaves aboard, Rothen is captured by Kariko who invades his mind and learns that Rothen was the mentor of Sonea before Akkarin became her mentor. After having learned that fact, Kariko decides to keep Rothen alive so that he can witness Sonea die first hand. Using Rothen's blood, Kariko creates a blood jewel, forcing Rothen to see, hear and sense whatever the wearer of the ring is experiencing. Planning to put the ring on Sonea before killing her, Kariko then leaves Rothen in Calia while he and his Ichani make their way down to Imardin. After the battle, Yikmo makes a transmission to the guild and reveals that all his men have been slain by the Ichani - unaware that Rothen is still alive.
When the king of Kyralia orders the Guild to call Akkarin back from his banishment, they try to use the Mind Communication to call him back. However, listening in to the conversation only the Ichani mockingly reply.
A day later, the Ichani arrive before the gates of Imardin. While the Ichani assemble before the gates, the mages and the king of Kyralia stand on top of the wall. The king shouts at the Ichani that they are not welcome in his city but only earns mocking replies from Kariko who demands that the king surrenders his city. He claims that if he surrenders, the king will be allowed to survive and serve him. However, he also claims that this offer is not for the mage's guild who will be eradicated completely. After Kariko finishes his speech, he and the Ichani attack the gates with magic. Meanwhile, the mages fire attack after attack down onto the Ichani, focussing their attacks on a single enemy. However, the Ichani succeed in breaking the gate and invade the city where they wage war against the defending mages. In the city, the mages once again attempt to approach the Ichani without being seen as to use the element of surprise against the Ichani's advanced power.
Once inside the city, Avala separates from the rest of the Ichani, strolling through the city and murdering each mage she encounters. Eventually, she sees Regin, a young novice fleeing from her and pursues him, sadistically mocking the horrified youngling. He is saved when Cery, one of the thieves, emerges from the secret tunnels underneath the city just beneath him. Moments after the novice has fled into the tunnels, Avala arrives in the street but cannot see her target anymore. Believing that the boy must have hidden in one of the nearby houses, Avala blasts open the door of one of them and starts searching for the boy. Meanwhile, Kariko captures one of the mages and while forcing Rothen to watch through the blood jewel, slits the man's throat and forces Rothen to experience to live through the man's pain and fear.
The Ichani eventually head to the palace of the king, fighting and killing every mage that steps into their way. the remainder of mages, led by Administrator Lorlen, steps into their way and attacks the Ichani and are able to focus all their attacks on Rashi. Eventually, Rashi has not enough energy left to maintain his shield and is hit by the attacks of the mages which knocks him into a wall and snaps his neck. However, Kariko then directly attacks Lorlen and his disciple Osen and breaks through their shield by detonating a nearby building. Lorlen is hit by the debris and killed. The rest of the Guild retreats, having realized that the battle is lost.
Meanwhile, Akkarin and Sonea who have also reached the city are informed that one of the Ichani has remained outside the walls of the city in the poorer districts to guard their slaves. They decide to use the opportunity to kill this Ichani. After Akkarin realizes that Lorlen is dying, he seperates from Sonea and leaves her to find the sole Ichani, Vikara, on her own. Meanwhile, the thieves are after Vikara as well and lure him into the poor district by wearing mage's robes and running from him. Vikara takes the bait and goes after the false mage. The thief lures the Ichani into a passway where other thieves have hidden spears which they ram into the Vikara's chest. Vikara is taken by surprise and killed by the spears but as Sonea is not close enough to drain his energy, Vikara's death unleashes all his unspent energy in a devastating explosion which destroys the entire block, killing all but Sonea who shields herself with magic.
Although two of the Ichani have been killed, Kariko and his four men have successfully entered the palace while Avala keeps wandering through the city. However, nearly all of the Guild's mages are spent - either dead, fleeing or too exhausted to fight. Sonea, Akkarin and the thieves continue fighting the Ichani, however. Using Regin as bait they manage to lure the Ichani Rikacha into one of the manses near the palace where they have previously left some bottles of wine which they have spiked with poison. According to their plan, Rikacha captures Regin but also drinks the wine. Before the Ichani can execute Regin, he succumbs to the drug and drops Regin. Realizing that he has been poisoned, Rikacha contacts Kariko via Mind Communication and asks for help but then falls to his knees and vomits blood. Akkarin and Sonea then approach the weak Ichani from behind, pierce Rikacha's skin and Akkarin drains all his energy, killing him.
After having conquered the palace, the Ichani set out again to loot the city. However, while heading into the palace, Cery realizes that Kariko and two other Ichani have returned. He witnesses a conversation between Kariko, Harikava and Sarika. At first they discuss Avala, who has seperated from them earlier, and come to the conclusion that she might leave Kyralia and invade another of the Allied Countrys soon. Kariko is uneasy because three Ichani have already been killed and he suspects that that might have been more than just bad luck. However, Kariko then reveals that he has called the Ichani back to the palace to show them the discovery he made: The ancient buldings like the palace have been built with magic, and magic is still coursing through its stones. He reveals that half the buildings of the inner part of the city are built that way and laughingly reveals that they can draw all the energy they need from the buildings. However, he tells the two others not to share the secret with the rest of the Ichani who have not followed his order to return to the palace. While the Ichani leave, Harikava seems to notice Cery and follows him while Cery flees deeper into the palace. After Cery is trapped in one of the rooms, he prepares to kill himself in order to prevent Harikava from draining him and reading his mind. However, he is saved by his associate Savara who seems to instil enough fear in Harikava that he leaves without attacking Cery.
While Kariko, Harikava and Sarika start tearing down buildings, Akkarin and Sonea go after another Ichani, Injika. When Injika enters the stable of one of the mansions in pursuit of a mage and another person, Sonea follows him into the stable and witnesses the Ichani heading through a door on the other side of the stable. To her shock, the two men he hunted have hidden in one of the boxes and one of them is revealed to be King Merin himself. Hearing the noise, Injika returns into the stable and sees Sonea, who is disguised as a common citizen. Injika uses his magic to draw Sonea into his arms and Sonea realizes that he intends to rape her. She uses some of her energy to blast him backwards but Injika recovers immediately and prepares himself for battle. However, as he still believes Sonea to be just a normal mage, Sonea has the advantage. She allows him to shatter her shield because she wants him to come closer to use the same healing attack she used on Parika. However, while she prepares her attack, Injika manages to cut her skin and while she manages to touch him and send her energy into his heart, Injika drains her energy through the cut. However, Akkarin attacks Injika from behind and this allows Sonea to break through to Injika and burst his heart. After Injika has died, Sonea absorbs his energy.
While venturing through the city, Avala eventually encounters the mage Dannyl. Refering to her murder of Fergun, she claims that the almost gave up the thought of finding a handsome mage in Kyralia. Dannyl attempts to flee but Avala locks every street with invisible barriers. She claims that she will not kill him but Dannyl remembers the death of Fergun and claims that Kariko would not allow her to keep him. She replies that Kariko might have changed his mind since they have invaded Kyralia. When Dannyl asks Avala why she would even consider keeping a mage, she just replies that her slaves are all dead and that she needs new ones, seducingly claiming that she likes to "reward" her favorite slaves. Dannyl refuses which angers Avala but before she can react, suddenly thieves in guild robes appear all around the plaza. Although none of them are real mages, Avala is distracted long enough to allow Dannyl to flee with the leader of the thieves into a tunnel. However, Avala kills all of the thieves above ground within seconds. Avala follows the men down into the tunnels where Dannyl and Faren have meanwhile met up with Sonea and Akkarin. Sonea and Akkarin prepare to take down Avala the same way they killed Injika but when Avala grabs Sonea, Sonea realizes that Avala has created a protective barrier on her skin. This prevents her from using healing magic on Avala and instead, Sonea has to fight her face-to-face.
While fighting, Avala contacts Kariko and shows her that she has located Sonea. Kariko tells her to read her thoughts in order to find out whether Akkarin is in the city as well. Kariko orders Avala to bring Sonea to him but Sonea enters the mind conversation as well and claims that she and Kariko will meet on her own terms. Kariko claims that he is looking forward to this and mentions that his blood jewel will force Rothen to watch her die - revealing to Sonea that Rothen is alive.
Avala keeps fighting Sonea and eventually manages to blind her. However, before she can take down Sonea, Akkarin joins the fight and attacks Avala. Avala, who has spent all her power fighting the mages and Sonea, is not able to keep on fighting and her shield breaks under Akkarin's attacks. Akkarin's last spell blasts Avala backwards into Sonea's shield, breaking Avala's spine and killing her. Searching her corpse, Akkarin and Sonea find a blood jewel and realize that Kariko now knows that Akkarin is in Imardin as well.
The death of Avala leaves only Kariko, Harikava and Sarika who are still on their way towards the guild, drawing energy from every building on their way. To prevent the Ichani from drawing the energy from the ancient buildings of the guild, Akkarin and Sonea decide to fight the remaining three Ichani head-on.
Arriving at the guild before the Ichani, Sonea and Akkarin confront Kariko, Harikava and Sarika once they arrive at the gates. Before the fight begins, Kariko mocks Akkarin who replies by mentioning how foolish it was of Kariko's brother Dakova to capture a guild mage. Although Akkarin reveals that he and Sonea have killed all missing Ichani, Kariko is sure that he can win the fight. He claims that this is the perfect end of his invasion, as he can finish Akkarin, avenge his brother and destroy the guild and thus avenge the Sachakan war - all in one stroke. The three Ichani then blast powerful magic attacks at Sonea and Akkarin who, in turn, target Kariko. Realizing that he is the target of their attacks, Kariko focusses on maintaining his shield while Harikava and Sarika keep attacking. The two sides keep attacking brutally but for a long time, none seems able to overpower the other. Eventually, the Ichani attack seem to get weaker which allows Akkarin and Sonea to slowly approach them during the battle while the Ichani fall back. However, this is revealed to be a ruse. While Akkarin and Sonea approach, Kariko suddenly levitates a knife he dropped earlier once Akkarin stands right on top of it. The blade is thrust into Akkarin's chest, mortally wounding him.
While dying, Akkarin sends Sonea all his power so that she can continue the battle. Using both her and Akkarin's energy, Sonea unleashes all her hate and grief in one powerful attack which she aims directly at the Ichani. Weakened from the battle, the Ichani are unable to keep up their shields much longer. Kariko is immediately hit by the energy and can only keep up his shield for a brief moment before being hit by the attack and being burned alive. The Ichani next to him tries to fall back but the fire attack sweeps over him, killing him as well. The remaining Ichani attempts to approach Sonea but his shield breaks as well, allowing Sonea to impale him with an energy blast.
In the aftermath of the invasion, almost half of the mages of the guild are revealed to having been slain by the eight Ichani.