[The Three-Faced God] chose three races from different threshold worlds to be his champions and forged them into the Kencyrath. […] The warriors and craftsmen of the Kencyrath were the strong, easy-tempered Kendar. These capable, self-reliant men and women found that their god had altered their basic natures so that they must now either serve a Highborn lord or suffer great emotional distress. This ensured the Kencyrath's continued existence. Of all the ways in which the Three-Faced God manipulated his people, however, it was perhaps the most cruel.
– God Stalk, "Appendix III: The Kencyrath"
The Kendar are one of the Three People of the Kencyrath. They form the armies, workers, artists and suchlike roles. Kendar were given the need to serve Highborn, and do not function well without a Lord to follow. Although the Kendar possess a magic of their own it is a subtle thing next to the obvious powers of a Shanir, although their subtle magic can thwart the power of a Shanir.
Kendar can cross-breed with Highborn, and such children are the source of Kendar Shanir. With other Kendar, Kendar women can control contraception at will. However, given the power politics, Highborn men often take Kendar women as lovers, and with Highborn men, Kendar women cannot control contraception. It's for this reason that half-Highborn half-Kendar bastards are a common, if somewhat embarrassing occurrence. These half breeds still find their uses as solders or priests among their houses and can be easily manipulated by their need for acceptance among their people.
Kendar pairs are referred to as mates. Whether or not Kendar couples can be formalized in any way isn't known. Because Kendar women can control contraception at will with other Kendar, prospective Kendar parents may ask their lord to sanction their child's birth before the baby is conceived, to guarantee the baby a place in their house. Though part-Highborn count their paternal Highborn heritage, among pure Kendar, decent is traced though the mother's line. But while more distant paternal relatives may not count, Kendar fathers are very much a part of their children's life, such as Hallik and his son Harn. Male Kendar can breast-feed if necessary.
↑To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter VI: The Lordan's Coat", II — " 'Just out of curiosity, were you trying to kill me?' 'Trinity, no. I'd never fought a Highborn before, much less a lady. I had no idea you were so fragile.' "
↑Seeker's Mask, "Part IV: Restormir", I — "Only one, a cadet named Rue, was shorter than Jame, although the Kendar girl outweighed the Highborn by a good thirty pounds."
↑Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 6: The High Council" — " 'Adric thinks that senility is contagious. […] Just be grateful that a full-blooded Kendar like you never catches it.' "
↑Seeker's Mask, "Interim II: Kothifir Encampment" — " 'I hope," he said, 'that there was nothing worse in that wine than a sedative.' Ardeth shrugged. 'An infusion of black nightshade never hurt any Highborn. The dose wasn't measured for a Kendar, though. You should never have made him drink it.' "
↑To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter VI: The Lordan's Coat", IV — " 'What is it, I wonder, that draws Highborn men to Kendar women? One rarely hears of the reverse. Among our own kind, we can control conception as well—or ill—as Highborn ladies. But not with Highborn lovers. They take us and use us and cast off our children as the whim takes them.' "
↑ 6.06.1Honor's Paradox, "Chapter XIII: Secrets", I — " 'I and my mate would like to have another child.' […] To sanction the birth of an infant was to guarantee it a place in one’s house."
↑Bound in Blood, "Chapter VIII: Glass of a Different Color", I — " 'I wonder how my great-granddaughter Brier is doing.' […] 'Wait a minute. Brier Iron-thorn is your kin?' 'Not exactly, since we only trace bloodlines on the mother's side.' "
↑To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter I: An Unfortunate Arrival", II — "She was a Min-drear and would hold true to her bond, if not for her lord's sake then for her mother and her mother's mother before her."
↑The Sea of Time, "Chapter XV: Winter's Tales" — " 'I didn’t know that male Kendar could breast-feed if necessary.' "