A chachaoong (generally spelled chachaung in English) is a member of a race of people similar to, but a bit different from, humans. It is what the nine Tals, and the majority of the main characters, call themselves. No one knows why they refer to themselves this way, or where the name came from; it has simply always been this way.
It is unknown when or where chachaoongs are born. They simply come into being, rather than being born from a mother like humans. Though they look exactly like humans, chachaoongs develop abilities far surpassing those possessed by normal human beings. Chachaoongs are usually born in isolated locations, often in the wilderness somewhere. They are occasionally taken in by humans since they look like human children; however they usually become aware that they are different from others and often run away and learn to survive on their own.
For this reason, they have a low survival rate and many die very young. However, because they have no parents, chachaoong infants are more developed than human infants. Though they cannot immediately speak, and otherwise exhibit normal baby behavior such as cooing and mouthing objects, they can walk immediately from birth as a defense to help them escape predators.
There are at least two chachaoong "generations". It is unclear exactly how long the first generation has lasted, but the first generation most likely started centuries prior and continued until modern times. Now, the chachaoongs sit at a turning point where it is time for the second generation to begin. Jack is believed to be the first chachaoong, and is the current king of the first generation. In order for the second generation to start, he must choose an heir to to take his place on the throne. Until that happens, the second generation cannot successfully begin.
Above all chachaoongs stands their king, whom they see as more of a god than a simple monarch. Jack's origins are somewhat mysterious, but he is said to be the first, and oldest chachaoong and his power is immense. Most chachaoongs are unable to even stand in his presence, much less challenge his right to the throne due to the sheer enormity of his power.
His right hand is Cheoyong, whose job is to justify the chachaoongs that are breaking the rules as well as care for the dead and maintain general order. Other important chachaoongs are the Tals, a set of nine very strong chachaoongs who wear unique masks based on historical Korean mask-dramas. Their exact function is something of a mystery but they seem to be stronger than most (but not all) other chachaoongs. They were specifically appointed to their positions by Jack, and they may have specific duties they are required to fulfill.
Beneath the Tals are all the normal chachaoongs. While some of them are extremely powerful to the point of being on par with the Tals, they hold no known position. Power plays and fights are extremely common, and almost expected within chachaoong society as pacifism is a trait that is not encouraged.
Finally, Yu Jin is the successor to the throne. For most of Part 1, he refuses to accept this role and has no real power to command others. It is interesting to note that most of the Tals end up reside at Yu Jin's side, though this is, in large part, through sheer happenstance.
Though they look normal, chachaoongs have abilities that border on the supernatural.
- Materialization: A basic ability is to physically materialize the mental image of a weapon into a functional weapon to be used in battle. If the chachaoong loses focus or consciousness, or attempts to maintain the materialization for too long, it will result in the weapon disappearing as well. Weapons can be as simple as a fly swatter, and as complex as massive cannons and other firearms. Thus far, there are two distinct types of weapons that can be materialized:
- Independent Materialization: This form of materialization focuses on the creation of an independent object to be manipulated by the chachaoong. Materialization is near instantaneous. Types of weapons range from swords, axes and whips, to weapons with working parts, such as fire arms or explosives.
- Fusion Materialization: This form of materialization fuses a part of the body with a materialized weapon. They are faster than independent types and tend to be stronger when clashing with others at equal strength, but if the fusion type is damaged, the body is also damaged. Fusion weapons so far, appear as an armored claw that forms over the arm.
- Enhanced Strength: Chachaoongs have a higher threshold for physical strength than humans, as well as higher physical capabilities in general. They have been seen doing many impossible things such as jumping from buildings or balancing on streetlights.
- Yongmas: Some chachaoongs have mythical beasts they can summon to fight with them. Most of these beasts have a humanoid form, but some can take on an animal or beast form as well. Yongmas have various unique abilities that can be utilized by their masters. Like chachaoongs, yongmas are unique. Most of them have a distinct personality and are capable of acting on their own to at least some degree.
- Unique Skills: Many chachaoongs go on to develop special abilities that are uniquely theirs. These can range from foresight and tracking abilities to generating poisons within their body. It is unclear if all chachaoongs can develop special abilities with time or not; some have only been seen using weapon materialization.
- All chachaoongs are aware that they are a chachaoong. Yu Jin is a unique case, however.
- The life expectancy of a chachaoong is 500-1000 years, but so far there have been no chachaoongs who have reached their life expectancy.
- It is unusual and taboo for chachaoongs to be twins; this is considered a fatal error that must be cleaned up.
- It has been stated that the first generation chachaoongs are prototypes for the second generation. It is Cheoyong's job to erase all errors (such as twins) from the first generation so they will not reappear in the second.
- The number of chachaoongs in the world is always the same. The moment one dies, another is born to take his or her place.
- The title chachaoong or chachaung means "shaman" in Old Korean. (See also: Namhae of Silla)