Grisha are humans who practice the Small Science. They are traditionally divided into three orders, Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki, with each order being further divided into specialized types.
Grisha were historically considered witches.
In stories, Yaromir Lantsov, the first Lantsov king, prayed to the Saints to help defend his country against Fjerda and Shu Han. A group of monks who could transform into beasts arrived to fight, but had to endure the obisbaya ritual to return to their human forms after the battle. Those who survived and became the king's holy soldiers were the Priestguard. Some claim the first Priestguard were Grisha, and the animals they became were the first amplifiers.
Often principles such as 'like calls to like' are used to explain Grisha power, and most Grisha see their powers as "extensions" of the natural world which is why they don't call their power "magic" but instead Small Science. For example, Inferni cannot produce fire but can manipulate naturally occurring combustible gases, and Durasts do not create metal: rather, they simply have the ability to alter it.
Grisha who don't use their powers for extended periods of time are said to grow weaker over time. This is due to their powers being an ability like sight or communication. When you don't use the ability it gets weaker, for you don't have a need for it.
Most Grisha gain their ability at a young age. In Ravka, children are tested by Grisha Examiners as soon as their powers are detectable and, if present, are subsequently sent to train in the Little Palace. Although the conditions for the inheritance of Grisha powers is not clear, there are cases of children manifesting the same abilities that their Grisha parent has, or one of them if both parents have special abilities (in the case of Shadow Summoners, for instance, it is known that their power has preference over other Grisha abilities in their bloodline, and there are no cases of Shadow Summoners unrelated to that family).
Ravka relies on Grisha for safety against its enemies. The Second Army is made up entirely of Grisha and was formerly led by the Darkling, as well as by the Sun Summoner for a brief time. Though the Grisha fight most of Ravka's wars and inflict the most damage upon enemies, they are considered witches and corrupt sorcerers and regarded with suspicion and distrust by many humans, including those who serve in the First Army.
Upon the rise of the Sun Summoner, a tentative alliance formed between the First and Second Armies, who have contempt for each other still. Both armies served under the official but somewhat superficial command of King Alexander III before Nikolai Lantsov inherited the Ravkan throne.
Grisha in Fjerda are still considered witches and are hunted by drüskelle.
In Novyi Zem, Grisha are referred to as zowa, meaning "blessed". There are teachers in the west where many zowa are sent to train.
Grisha in Kerch are usually sold as slaves.
Grisha in Shu Han are experimented upon.
- Main article: Corporalki
The Order of the Living and the Dead
- Main article: Etherealki
The Order of Summoners
- Special cases:
- Main article: Materialki
The Order of Fabrikators
- In the Russian language, Grisha is a diminutive of the name Grigori. One of the most famous owners of this name is Grigori Rasputin, a charlatan born to a family of poor coachmen, who eventually became a counselor of the imperial family and during his lifetime was popularly recognized as a mage and saint.
- Two Grisha have a better chance of having a Grisha child, but the child can also be born without powers. Grisha sometimes have trouble conceiving.
- King of Scars, chapter 9
- Tailors' abilities blur the lines between Fabrikators and Heartrenders, so they do not fall neatly into either Order.
- "Two Grisha have a better chance of having a Grisha child, but there's no guarantee. Also, Grisha sometimes have trouble conceiving." Leigh Bardugo on Goodreads.