The Nef were the prehistoric creators of the glittering plain in the earliest era of the Black Company series. The name was also used to refer to three entities - the Washane, the Washene, and the Washone - who were brought into existence by Shivetya to duplicate the original Nef.
According to Murgen, in She Is the Darkness, the Nef: "were the shape of men from the waist down and on their right sides. Their heads and left sides were masked by shawls that looked like they were made of polished brass fish scales. [...] Anybody that ugly for real should not have been allowed to climb out of the cradle."
Creating the plain Edit
Beyond their creation of the plain, and the apparent magnitude of their power, virtually nothing else was known about the Nef except that they were humanoid in shape.
The godlike sorcery of the Nef linked up sixteen different worlds, or planes, via physical overland routes symmetrically crossing the plain. Judging from the entirely different moons and stars visible in the skies of at least three of these various worlds, they must have been located on different planets, or perhaps even different dimensions of existence.
The original Nef simply disappeared from history. Many savage wars were waged across the plain after its creation, so it could be the case that they were killed in one of these events.
The Washane, the Washene, and the Washone Edit
According to one story, at some point after the disappearance of the Nef, the plain itself somehow created, or "imagined", an immortal golem known as Shivetya to serve the plain and maintain it. Another story has Shivetya being the last survivor of man-made entities. After his creation, Shivetya was lonely and brought three mental projections of the Nef into being, which he worshiped as his gods. These were named the Washane, the Washene, and the Washone. They would later be referred to as "the Nef" collectively, although they were not the original Nef. Despite being essentially ghosts who were dependent upon Shivetya for existence, they had all the attributes of individual, conscious beings. They were not simply figments of his imagination.
Books of Glittering Stone Edit
The Washane, the Washene, and the Washone appeared at random in the dreams, and later, even sometimes in the waking world, to people like Sleepy, Murgen, Blade, Willow Swan, and Croaker. They would manifest themselves on the plain or inside the fortress with no name, desperately trying to communicate, but rarely being understood. They were unspeakably ugly to human observers: their faces were so hideous that Croaker and Blade wondered if they were actually wearing masks. As such they were a confusing and deeply unsettling sight for humans.
When Croaker traded bodies with Shivetya, the Nef were given the responsibility of maintaining and healing the plain. Shukrat estimated that for the first time in perhaps their entire existence, the Nef were happy.