Tokoroth is a creature of evil represented in Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series (which is set 6000 years ago in prehistoric Europe during the Stone Age). These creatures appear frequently as minions of the Soul Eaters.
Tokoroths are among the most feared creatures the Forest has heard about. Only few people know about them, and even fewer talk about them. They're human children who have been raised in solitude and darkness as hosts for demons (dead creatures that have lost all the sense of right and wrong, living only for killing and destruction). It's believed that the dark art of creating a tokoroth has been forgotten, but the Soul Eaters have rediscovered it at some point.
A tokoroth's creation begins when a child under a certain age is taken and trapped in darkness and total isolation for months. He or she is barely given warmth and fed by rotting bat meat. Eventually, the child forgets their mother's touch and their own name. When the child is just an empty shell, the captor calls a demon and traps it inside the child's body. The child's own souls are trapped by those of the demon and they remain trapped until the tokoroth is killed.
A tokoroth makes no difference between good and bad or right and wrong. It feels no mercy in the slightest because it's been taught to hate the entire world. It obeys only its creator. Tokoroths are masters of stealth, stealing, mutilation, and fear-mongering. Despite having the stature of a child, they move very fast and are very quiet when they wish to be. They are also incredibly athletic, able to leap long distances. Many of the tokoroths presented in the series have wild hair and stick-like limbs. Their nails in both toes and fingers are long, yellow and sharpened. Their teeth are also sharpened and brown.
Role in the series
Tokoroths first appear in Spirit Walker. Tenris the Seal Mage had created two tokoroths — a boy and a girl with faces adorned by leaf tattoos — at some point while keeping low profile for years after the Great Fire. In order to find the destroyer of his another creation, he sends his two underlings to spread his plague by poisoning Forest's juniper berries. Torak and Renn repeatedly sense the tokoroths hiding in shadows. One of them bites Renn's hand at one point. Another follows Torak on his way to the Deep Forest in search of a cure. It shoots an arrow at a boar that has befriended Torak, leading it to attack him in pained fury. When Torak is captured by three Seal boys and taken to their island in the west, the tokoroths hide in the boys' canoes and continue stalking Torak on the island. At one point, they set a seal net which almost causes Torak to drown when he stumbles into it in nighttime.
When Tenris eventually reveals Torak his true colors and traps him to the Crag (the sacred cliff standing over the Sea) with the intention to eat his heart and gain his spirit walker powers, the tokoroths assist the Soul Eater in tying Torak to the altar and prepareing a firewall to separate the Crag from the island. When Wolf arrives to save his pack-brother, he lures the tokoroths after him and causes them to fall off a cliff. Following Tenris' death, Wolf leads Torak, Renn, and Bale to the dying tokoroths. With the demons driven away by Wolf, Renn places death marks on the children, allowing them to die free. The Seal Clan buries the bodies to the Sea.
In Outcast, Seshru the Viper Mage reveals her daughter Renn a terrible secret. The Soul Eater had gotten herself pregnant by Renn's father in order to make her own newborn a tokoroth. Before she could summon an elemental (the strongest type of demons) and trap it with the Fire Opal into Renn's body, Saeunn the Raven Mage rescued Renn. Renn is described as having little sharp teeth, possibly referring to her prevented future as a tokoroth.
In Oath Breaker, while Thiazzi the Oak Mage carries out his schemes in the Deep Forest, he captures several children both from the Deep Forest and the Open Forest. After his death, Wolf and Darkfur find the captured children in holes dug in a hill behind the Sacred Grove. The five children are thin as sticks, teeth sharpened and minds as bare white as a mistletoe's berries, yet they're still children. Unfortunately, one child has already become a tokoroth and fled towards the eastern High Mountains where Eostra, the Eagle Owl Mage — the last Soul Eater and the most powerful of them — is hiding.
In Ghost Hunter, Eostra has created several more tokoroths from children of the Mountain Clans. They assist her throughout the last book, but they are destroyed by Torak, Renn, Wolf, and Dark along with Eostra.
- Michelle Paver has based the idea of tokoroths on certain African beliefs and customs about monsters created from children who are brought up alone and in darkness. In Malawi, the author's birth country, they are called “tokoloshe”.