When there's hell to pay, I'm the bill collector.
In the beginning, the world was made of beauty and of magick. Before there were humans, there were gods and those who served them and did their bidding whatever their bidding was.
When the gods began to war against themselves, a new breed was born out of their senseless violence. Chthonians by name, these new creatures came from the earth that flowed red with the blood of the gods. Born of mortals, the Chthonians were created to protect the mortal species from the gods or other divinely created beings who would prey on them.
And though they were born from mortal parents, they, themselves, were immortal beings who emerged with the powers of a god. More to the point, they emerged with the power to kill a god and not destroy the universe in the process. But for every god killed, Chthonians weaken themselves and should they kill too many, they will die from it.
To maintain the peace and end the Primus Bellum (First War of the Gods), the soldiers of the gods were ordered to be put down. None were to survive. The gods were forced to divide up the world and to create their own pantheons and make pacts to not invade or war against each other again. Chthonian law took precedence and together they were able to bring peace to the world once more and to protect the new life-form of mankind.
They are the check and balance system for the universe. A failsafe to the gods who might wish to abuse their powers. . . .
Or were until they turned on each other for reasons known only to themselves. All that can be said is that in spite of their powers, the Chthonians were not without corruption. Nor were they infallible. And it wasn’t long before they bickered, too. Brutal and harsh, the Chthonian Wars were as debilitating as the Primus Bellum. And it made a vicious dent in their breed.
Now the handful who have survived, watch over mankind with a bitter eye and with no real leader. Because of their hostility toward one another, the earth has been divided between them for safekeeping and they are highly territorial.
No one knows how to destroy the Chthonians. The only person who could kill a Chthonian is another Chthonian. With one noted exception: Daraxerxes is the only god ever born who could kill a Chthonian.
SPECIAL NOTES (please note these will contain SPOILERS to those unfamiliar with the series):
Their powers don’t work on creatures like Nick. Born of the darkest part of the universe, the Malachai are immune to all but one enemy.
What readers saw in Night Embrace with Acheron has nothing to do with Chthonians. That was an Apostolos/Harbinger end-the-world fit. Chthonians protect the world, and the two warring powers inside Ash were in conflict as the one power sought to summon his mother from her realm, and the other sought to quell it. The two were ripping him apart.
Ash is a contradiction and he’s supposed to be. So you can’t apply what was shown there to any other character because Acheron is unique unto himself. No other character to date is a harbinger (Nick is a Malachai). The gods on the floor recognized the Chthonian powers coming out to stop the unleashed Harbinger powers that were erupting and that was what they commented on.
Otherwise, Ash would have ended the world that night as Apostolos. Ash wasn’t becoming a Chthonian then, he’d been in possession of those powers long before this time. He wasn’t dying or anything else. That was simply him losing control of his demonic harbinger side and the stolen Chthonian powers trying to subdue his Apostolos side. So while some of that is similar to the birth of a Chthonian, it’s not exactly the same.
Styxx has a similar reaction in his book because he is Acheron’s identical twin and therefore, again, he shares that DNA. They are not normal Chthonians, and therefore they have powers and reactions unlike the others.
Acheron is called a Chthonian because he has godkiller powers that he stole in the womb from Styxx. On the surface, Acheron appears to be one of them (i.e. born of mortal parents and can kill gods). So there are those, such as Jared, who still refer to him as a Chthonian. However, we know Acheron wasn’t actually human so he couldn’t “really” be Chthonian. That was happenstance.
But under the technical definition of Chthonian (godkiller born of mortal parents and the Chthonian child is then immortal, not the parents), Acheron “can” be referred to as Chthonian by those who don’t know the truth of his real parentage, or those who want to argue semantics, but he was never meant to be born Chthonian.
That’s why he’s normally referred to as a godkiller or Dark-Hunter in the series by Sherri and not as a Chthonian. Ash has never really been a Chthonian and hasn’t ever done their job. He did not take on that role or responsibility. So while he can be technically labeled as one, he’s not one. It’s why he doesn’t function as one in the series. And why he doesn’t have a Chthonic territory that he watches over.
Styxx, on the other hand, would have been a full Chthonian had Acheron not been in the womb with him. Styxx is the *only* Chthonian whose birth has been shown so far in the series.
Savitar has never gone into how he became Chthonian and received his powers. Ever. No one knows anything about Sav. At all.
As Sherri has stated in the books here are the rules: Chthonians are immortals born to mortal parents. They are godkillers. They are not gods. They are a balance. They were created to protect humans during the Primus Bellum when the gods were running amok. They divided the world between them to protect the humans and those who couldn’t fight the gods. In time, they turned on each other and fought their own war. They virtually annihilated each other. Only a small number of them are left. Nine with the new addition of Styxx.
The only ones we’ve met: Sav, Styxx, ZT. Ecanus was mentioned in Time Untime, and is the Chthonian for South America. And Acheron who is technically called one.
10. Acheron (only because he’s sort of called one)