- Nina: "You may still die in the Dregs."
- Inej: "I may. But I'll die on my feet with a knife in my hand."
- — Nina and Inej on joining the gang, Six of Crows
Inej Ghafa is a member of the Dregs known as the Wraith. She works as the Dregs' spy, and is one of the protagonists of the Six of Crows duology. Inej is Suli and was raised performing with her family as an acrobat.
Inej grew up traveling around Ravka in Suli caravans and performing acrobatics with her family. She learned to walk the high wire barefoot as a young child with her father and cousins, and she only fell once. Inej was more comfortable on the high wire than even other members of her family and loved the freedom of walking in the air.
When she was fourteen, Inej was with her family on the west coast near Os Kervo performing in a summer carnival. She was awakened from a nap and captured by slavers early one morning and subsequently sold to Tante Heleen, the owner of a pleasure house in Ketterdam, where she was forced to work in the Menagerie as an indenture.
When Inej first met Kaz Brekker, she overheard him asking Heleen for information about the brothel's clients. Inej later approached Kaz and offered to help him but he did not respond and walked away. Kaz returned the next night to buy her contract from Heleen and gave Inej the choice to join the Dregs. Inej joined the Dregs just days after her fifteenth birthday. Over time, Kaz gave Inej her first knife, taught her to crack safes and pick pockets, and named her the Wraith.
When Nina Zenik arrived in Ketterdam, Inej climbed to Nina's room at the Emerald Palace in the middle of the night and offered her membership in the Dregs. Inej earned Nina's trust, being just a few months younger than Nina and also from Ravka, and convinced Nina to join the Dregs.
Six of Crows
Inej is at the parley between the Black Tips and the Dregs. She climbs on the roof of the Exchange and prevents stadwatch guard Van Daal from shooting the Dregs. After the parley concludes, Inej fires Rojakke from the Crow Club on Kaz's orders. When Kaz returns to the Slat to report to Per Haskell, Inej spies on their conversation from a hidden grate in a closet on the second floor. She then follows Kaz to his rooms, where Kaz explains they were hired for a job for Jan Van Eck.
Inej, wearing a Grey Imp costume, arrives at Hellgate prison for the Hellshow separately from Kaz and Nina. Inej assesses Matthias Helvar and dresses him for the Komedie Brute so they can escape Hellgate.
While on the West Stave buying supplies for the trip to Fjerda, Inej is accosted by Tante Heleen. Shaken, Inej runs for the harbor, but is quickly engaged in the battle at the docks. Oomen, one of the Black Tips, catches her and stabs her in the side; she manages to stab him as well, but Inej is badly injured. Inej prepares to take her own life to avoid capture, but Kaz finds her and carries her to the schooner. On the way, she falls unconscious due to her wound.
Nina takes care of Inej on the Ferolind for three days before Inej wakes up. Through conversations on the ship, Inej learns bits of Jesper and Kaz's personal histories. After the Ferolind docks, the Crows trek across the Fjerdan north, and Nina tries to teach Inej some Fjerdan.
The Crows reach Djerholm and finalize their preparations for the heist, and Inej and Matthias discuss the meaning of "home" and Nina Zenik. When they ambush and enter the prison wagon, Inej notices Kaz's panic and helps ground him by talking to him. In the Ice Court prison, the Crows realize the incinerator now runs in the afternoon, ruining their plan to escape. However, Wylan finds Inej's Fabrikator-made slippers and Kaz's gloves in the laundry and Inej begins to climb the incinerator shaft. Nevertheless, her shoes begin to melt and the heat is unbearable, and Inej contemplates falling and giving up.
Rain begins to fall, cooling Inej and the incinerator shaft, and Inej decides what she wants to do with her future: destroy slavers who supply pleasure houses on the sea. Will renewed, Inej climbs to the top of the shaft and secures a rope for the rest of the Crows to climb up. Jesper and Nina heal her feet which had fused to the rubber of her shoes. However, the prison is under Yellow Protocol alarms, preventing the Crows from passing the checkpoints to enter the White Island.
Inej suggests she and Nina enter with the Menagerie, disguising themselves as the Suli and Kaelish girls, respectively. Inej is detained at the checkpoint, where she encounters Heleen, who recognizes Inej. Inej strangles Heleen and steals her diamond choker before being taken back through the prison gate by Fjerdan guards. Jesper and Wylan free Inej from the guards, and Inej gives the boys Heleen's diamond to make a drill. Inej then jumps through the hole in the glass and lands on top of one of the tanks, which she commandeers and uses to destroy the glass, and the three crash through the Ice Court wall in the tank.
Back on the Ferolind, Inej and Nina discuss their hopes and plans for their futures. Inej and Kaz talk about the state of their relationship; Kaz asks Inej to stay with him in Ketterdam, but Inej is unwilling to settle for so little.
When they return to Ketterdam, Inej, Kaz, Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan (disguised as Kuwei Yul-Bo) row to Vellgeluk for the exchange with Van Eck. Van Eck realizes that Kaz cares for Inej, and she is captured by one of his Squallers to be used as leverage against Kaz.
After being captured by Van Eck's Squallers, Inej wakes up bound and blindfolded. She observes a tiny vent, and begins refusing to eat in order to become small enough to fit through it. Inej worries that Kaz will not trade Kuwei Yul-Bo for her. Adem Bajan brings her meals and tries to converse with her, but Inej usually refuses conversation. Using the shards of a broken bowl, Inej cuts through her bonds and climbs into the vent, eventually emerging in a theater on Eil Komedie. However, Van Eck is waiting for her with guards who drag her onto a prop table while he interrogates her for the locations of the Dregs' safe houses. Inej refuses, and Van Eck orders a guard to break her legs with a steel mallet. Frightened, Inej tells him Kaz will not trade for her if she cannot be a spider; Van Eck agrees and puts her back in her room with a promise to come back tomorrow. Inej curses Bajan to be forsaken by the Suli.
Inej decides to give Van Eck the locations of old, unused Dregs safehouses. Van Eck calls her bluff and informs her Kaz is on his way to Eil Komedie; Inej fears for Kaz and her friends. However, a serving boy delivers the news that Alys Van Eck has been kidnapped, along with a ransom note from Kaz. Inej laughs, breaks Van Eck's nose, and threatens him with the graphic death of his unborn child.
At noon the next day, Van Eck brings Inej, hooded and shackled, to Goedmedbridge. When Van Eck reveals his ploy and calls the stadwatch, Kaz quickly frees Inej. She jumps from the bridge into a flower boat, Kaz dresses her as Mister Crimson, and the two jump back onto the bridge. After running from the Kherguud's explosions of the brothels, Kaz leads her to the warehouse district and into a safehouse. Kaz asks if she was hurt, but Inej does not tell him about the mallet. She rests for a few hours before Kaz returns and takes her to Black Veil Island, where the rest of the Crows are waiting.
The Crows tell her about recent developments, including the arrival of Jesper's father and Kaz selling his holdings to Pekka Rollins. Kaz reveals his plan to have Inej climb Van Eck's sugar silos at Sweet Reef to infect them with Wylan's chemical weevil. When Nina wants to smuggle Ketterdam's Grisha safely out of the reach of the Kherguud, Inej sides with her, forcing Kaz to accommodate Nina's wish. That night, Inej leaves Black Veil with Kaz. They intercept Per Haskell, who tries to take Inej for a different job, but she disappears. Inej and Kaz continue to the Church of Barter, where they climb to the top to view the Van Eck mansion; Inej does further reconnaissance and reports back to Kaz in the gondel. When they return to Black Veil, Inej tells Kaz that Van Eck planned to shatter her legs, and he confesses that he would still care for her even if she was no longer the Wraith.
Inej tells the Crows her plan to get her own ship. Then, she and Nina head to Van Eck's sugar silos at Sweet Reef, where Inej climbs a silo, destroys the sugar with Wylan's chemical weevil, and walks a high wire to another silo. She is nearly pushed into the decaying sugar by Dunyasha Lazareva, who attacks Inej on the roof of the silo, then follows her onto the high wire and hits her with throwing stars. Inej nearly makes it across the wire, but Dunyasha releases the line, causing Inej to fall. Corpses under Nina's control catch Inej with the net; Dunyasha leaves, unwilling to face Nina's army.
Kaz and Wylan meet the girls at the silos and head to the Geldrenner Hotel to regroup. After Kaz and Jesper's fight, Inej speaks with Jesper and tells him about the Suli apology: "This action will have no echo." When the Crows reconvene to discuss Kaz's plan to auction Kuwei, Inej tells them about her encounter with Dunyasha. Inej begins to re-do her bandages in the hotel bathroom, where Kaz asks her to help him plot a route to the Slat across the rooftops. Kaz also reveals he paid off her indenture and gives Inej her contract.
Kaz carefully bandages Inej's wounds, and as he touches her, Inej grounds him again with her voice. He kisses her neck but immediately suffers a panic attack and refuses to tell Inej what happened to him. Against Kaz's orders, Inej follows him to the Slat, where she hides in the rafters and watches Kaz fight the Dregs. When it seems he will be killed, Inej prepares to interfere in the fight and kill the gang members, but Kaz signals for her to stay hidden and completes his coup.
Inej delivers a letter to Zoya Nazyalensky and Genya Safin, spies on the embassies, and retrieves one of the fliers announcing Kuwei's auction. On the morning of the auction, she climbs the Church of Barter to plant explosives and stash Jesper's rifle. From the top of Ghezen's thumb, Inej watches the auction proceedings until Dunyasha appears on the roof, demanding a fight. Inej follows Kaz's advice and looks for Dunyasha's tell, managing to seriously wound the mercenary. Dunyasha pretends to surrender, then throws dust in Inej's eyes, blinding her. Inej realizes which tiles of the roof are loose and causes Dunyasha to step on one; the mercenary falls to her death.
She runs to the chapel and retrieves Jesper's rifle. After Jesper shoots Kuwei, Inej and Kaz are locked in the chapel by Pekka Rollins. Inej prepares to fight Rollins, but Kaz stays her hand; he reveals he buried Pekka's son alive and forces Rollins to beg at his feet. Inej is horrified until she realizes Kaz was bluffing. Kaz tells her he staged an outbreak of their faked plague at the Menagerie, forcing out Tante Heleen. Inej and Kaz watch Zoya revive Kuwei. Inej returns to find Matthias dying in Nina's arms, and she encourages Nina to let Matthias go and reunite with his god. At the Van Eck house, the Crows convert the boat into a bodyman's barge to smuggle Colm, Kuwei, Nina, and Matthias's body out of Ketterdam and hold a small funeral for Matthias.
Inej spends the next three weeks living at the Van Eck house with Jesper and Wylan, researching warships and collecting information on slavers. One night she finds a note in her room from Kaz, and she meets him at Fifth Harbor the next morning. Although Inej prepares to say goodbye to Kaz, he shows her the warship he bought her sitting in the harbor. They hold hands. Kaz then shows her that he brought her parents to Ketterdam to see her again, and she cries with happiness.
In the final chapter, Inej finds Pekka Rollins's country house and sneaks in at night. She begins to cut out his heart, then leaves him with a threat to finish the job if Rollins ever returns to Ketterdam.
Rule of Wolves
Inej has continued to hunt slavers on her ship the Wraith. At one point, she slathered two slavers in tar and crow feathers and dumped them at the entrance to the Stadhall with a note pinned to the captain's chest declaring that one of the men of the Merchant Council, Gert Van Verent, was dealing in slaves.
Nikolai Lantsov introduces Inej to Zoya at the queen's coronation. She nearly identifies Alina Starkov, but Nikolai leads Inej away to meet Linnea Opjer and talk about ships and cannons. After the ceremony, Inej leaves Ravka with Nina and Hanne Brum.
Personality and traits
Inej is mostly known for her reserved nature. She is mentally incredibly strong, and goes for her own aspirations without hesitation. She is quiet and morally unwavering, unafraid to speak her opinion when she feels it is needed. She is skeptical of most people but is not outwardly harsh, and willing to offer her friendship to those who have proven themselves to be good people. Inej is religiously traditional, often reciting Suli proverbs as advice and general commentary. She feels more secure with knives in her possession, preferably her own, and takes comfort in the strength of her title, "the Wraith".
Inej is Suli and as such, has brown skin and dark brown, almost black, eyes. She has long, black hair which she usually keeps tightly bound in a braided coil. She wears breeches, tunics, and quilted vests in dark colors. While doing spy work, she wears a hooded cloak. Inej is lithe and muscular but is shorter than most of her companions. According to Leigh Bardugo, Inej's height is 5′3″ - 5′4″.
Skills and abilities
Because of her background as an acrobat, Inej has excellent climbing skills, agility, and body coordination. She also has a gift for stealth, never making any sound as she moves. She is deadly with her knives and can kill and incapacitate as needed.
Inej had custom Fabrikator-made leather slippers with coarse rubber soles, perfectly fitted to her feet and capable of gripping any surface. However, her slippers melted in the incinerator at the Ice Court. While working for the Dregs, she carries brass knuckles in a pocket on her right hip, climbing spikes, and pads on her knees for crawling and climbing. The pads also hide blades that are activated by a trigger on her ankles.
Inej has many knives, all of which are named after Saints. The ones hidden in her forearms have quick releases: Sankt Petyr on her right hand, her first knife given to her by Kaz, and Sankta Alina, a knife with a bone handle. Sankta Marya and Sankta Anastasia are on her thighs, Sankt Vladimir in one of her boots, and Sankta Lizabeta (with a rose-engraved handle) on her belt.
When Inej left Ketterdam, Kaz gave her a warship named the Wraith, which she uses to hunt slavers.
Inej and Kaz form an extremely close relationship over the two years she works for the Dregs. Kaz comes to trust her more than anyone else and relies on her and her abilities. Despite Kaz's rough personality and brutal reputation, Inej believes Kaz has a good heart deep down and continually points out kind actions he has taken that aren't exclusively rooted in profit. When Kaz is threatened, Inej fears for him and becomes violently protective; the reverse is true as well.
Although Inej reciprocates Kaz's romantic feelings toward her, she continues to put her life goals above her relationship with him. Kaz also continually denies his feelings for Inej and claims his interest in her is merely economic. When Kaz asks Inej to stay in Ketterdam with him, she is conflicted as Kaz keeps his walls up and she will not “settle for so little.” She tells him he needs to be a better person and open himself to her before they can pursue a relationship. Inej regrets that Kaz chose his armor over her, but admits that it might be for the best, since she doesn't know if she could handle a physical relationship either after her experiences at the Menagerie.
Kaz eventually begins to show that he cares about Inej as more than an investment. When Inej inquires whether he'd still care about her if she were no longer useful as a spy, he surprises her by telling her he would. Kaz further shows his love for her by liquidating his assets to buy out her indenture, for which she is deeply grateful. They share a charged moment in the Geldrenner Hotel; Kaz attempts to kiss her, but his haphephobia rears its head and they break apart.
At the end of Crooked Kingdom, Inej prepares to leave Ketterdam and laments that she will never have a romantic relationship with Kaz. However, Kaz gifts her with a warship so that she can fulfill her dream of hunting slavers and his only request in exchange is that she will return to Ketterdam (and him); Inej agrees that she is not done with the city (and Kaz) yet. Inej holds her hand at her side to see if Kaz will make the effort to touch her without gloves; he does, and they hold hands for the first time. The ending leaves open the possibility of a romantic future between the two of them.
In Rule of Wolves, Nikolai Lantsov brokers with Kaz for aid in stealing titanium from the Kerch military. Nikolai convinces him to help by promising him information on the izmars'ya, which pose a grave threat to Inej. Despite initially denying that he knows the Wraith, Kaz soon agrees, then recruits Jesper and Wylan for the job by telling them it will keep Inej safe.
Jesper and Inej work together as members of the Dregs. They have a close friendship and show immense care towards each other. When Inej is injured as the Crows leave Ketterdam, Jesper is incredibly distressed and visits her sickbed regularly. Throughout the duology, Jesper battles an addiction to gambling; in Crooked Kingdom, Inej encourages him to take the first step to remedy his addiction. They occasionally bond over their crushes on Kaz, too. Jesper and Inej are shown to have a mutual understanding of and respect for each other.
Inej recruited Nina to the Dregs at Kaz's instruction, and Nina and Inej quickly formed a close bond. The two trust each other immensely and take comfort in each other's presence. When Inej is stabbed in the battle to escape the Ketterdam harbor, Nina nurses her back to health. Nina and Inej are shown to be invested in the other's future happiness, and they regularly support each other throughout the Crows' jobs in Ketterdam. When Matthias is killed, Inej comforts Nina.
- Inej's astrological sign is Cancer.
- "How tall are your The dregs characters?" on Leigh Bardugo's Tumblr
- Six of Crows, chapter 4
- Six of Crows, chapter 2
- Six of Crows, Chapter 12
- Six of Crows, Chapter 18
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 37
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 44
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 7
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 23
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 27
- Six of Crows, Chapter 13
- Six of Crows, Chapter 45
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 8
- Six of Crows, Chapter 23
- Six of Crows, Chapter 42
- Collector's edition of Crooked Kingdom
|Main Characters||Kaz Brekker • Inej Ghafa • Jesper Fahey • Nina Zenik • Matthias Helvar • Wylan Van Eck • Kuwei Yul-Bo • Jan Van Eck • Pekka Rollins|
|Minor Characters||Joost • Anya • Emil Retvenko • Councilman Hoede • Geels • Bo Yul-Bayur • Per Haskell • Tante Heleen • Jordie Rietveld • Specht • Rotty • Jarl Brum • Cornelis Smeet • Adem Bajan • Colm Fahey • Aditi Hilli • Alys Van Eck • Marya Hendriks • Zoya Nazyalensky • Sturmhond • Genya Safin • Dunyasha Lazareva • Anika • Pim • Keeg • Roeder • Karl Dryden • Jellen Radmakker|
|Locations||Ketterdam • The Barrel • Hellgate • Ice Court • Djerholm • Black Veil Island • Kerch • Fjerda • Ravka • Novyi Zem • Shu Han • Wandering Isle|
|Groups||The Dregs • Dime Lions • Black Tips • Stadwatch • Grisha • Drüskelle • The Menagerie • House of the White Rose • Merchant Council • Council of Tides • Khergud Soldiers|
|Events||Hringkälla • Hellshow • Queen's Lady Plague • Komedie Brute|
|Miscellaneous||Jurda • Jurda parem • Kefta • Indenture • Djel • Ghezen|