Kernel Fleck

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Cornelius "Kernel" Fleck
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Profession Student
Gender Male
Species Human, Magician, Kah-Gash
Relatives Caspian Fleck (father)
Melena Fleck (mother)
Biological siblings:
Annabella Fleck (deceased)
Adoptive siblings:
Artery (demon, deceased)
Status Alive
Background Information
Book Universe The Demonata
Narrator of "Demon Thief"
"Dark Calling"

Cornelius "Kernel" Fleck is the main protagonist of Demon Thief, the second book of the series The Demonata by Darren Shan, and one of the three main characters in the series. The name "Kernel" was given as it is the closest he could pronounce his real name, Cornelius, when he was young. Kernel is the host of The Eye which gives him the ability, and the only one, to see patches of lights in the sky and slot them to create Window within short periods of time without spells. His character ostensibly shows chronic depression, solitude, and loneliness throughout the series. Although he hides his shattered emotions under cold, indifferent expression. Contrast with Grubbs Grady, Lord Loss once stated Kernel as a wise person, and occasionally shows his brief sympathy toward him.

The Demonata[edit]

Demon Thief[edit]

Kernel Fleck had magical abilities as a child - he constantly saw strange patches of light around him which he could seemingly manipulate through the power of his mind and the motion of his hands. He can make windows (portals) out of these patches. However, when he mentioned it to his parents and teachers, he was assumed to be crazy and consequently ignored. As a result, Kernel had no friends and was lonely throughout his childhood.

As Kernel lay restlessly in bed one night, he began to arrange the patches of light without knowing he was slowly assembling a window into the realm of the dreaded Lord Loss, a demon master. As the window formed, he was lured through it. After being brought into the demon master's universe, Kernel successfully transformed one of Lord Loss' demon servants, Artery, into a human child, which he named Art. When he returned, he could not remember any of the trip, but, despite his parents' mystification, they accepted the new baby as his younger "brother". Art is the reason Kernel goes into the universe of the Demonata.

Kernel's parents, disturbed by the coming of Art, moved into a village to start a new life. A year later, an elderly local woman summoned the demon named Cadaver into the universe of humans, who slaughtered dozens of schoolchildren and stole Art from Kernel. Following the demon back to its own universe, Kernel encounters the Magician, Beranabus and his "Disciples", who are pursuing Cadaver in an attempt to find a piece of a magical weapon called the 'Kah-Gash', which has the power to destroy entire Universes. To try to get back his brother, Kernel joins the Disciples. After a long pursuit they arrive in the realm of Lord Loss again, and it is found that the demon master had ordered Cadaver to steal Art back from Kernel. After another long struggle, within Lord Loss' magical chessboard, Kernel finds that he himself is the "Demon Thief" (i.e. the thief who stole the demon) instead of Cadaver (the Demon who stole Art). With great difficulty, he chooses to leave "Art" with Lord Loss, and returns home. However, he cannot resume his old life with his parents, and so joins Beranabus in his fight against the demons, becoming the magician's permanent assistant. At the end of this book, the two discover that the piece of the Kah-Gash for which Beranabus is searching for is actually Kernel himself.


He is mentioned by a "dream version" of Shark. He says "Too bad Kernel and Beranabus aren't here. It would have been a complete reunion."

Demon Apocalypse[edit]

Kernel is next seen in Demon Apocalypse, sitting in a cave by a fire as Beranabus brings in Grubbs. By now 30 years have passed since Demon Thief, but due to the time differences in the Demonata Universe, Kernel only looks around 16 years old. This version of Kernel has grown into a warrior, seemingly cold and dead; he hides his shattered emotions on the inside. At first when he meets Grubbs, he greets him with frosty stares and indifferent remarks. At one point, whilst fighting in the Demonata Universe, Kernel is so infuriated by Grubbs' lack of courage that he sends him back to the human universe. When Kernel and Beranabus join him again (two days later in Demonata time scale and seven weeks in human time scale), the Demonata have started invading through a tunnel in Carcery Vale and have already massacred millions.

Later that day Sharmila Mukherji enters their cave and tells them how the Demonata have progressed, together they go to meet with 11 other Disciples (including Shark) and plan an attack on the Demonata to send them back to their own universe. Unknown to Kernel until then, the only way to send them back is to sacrifice either himself or Grubbs. They travel in army helicopters with army troops to Carcery Vale, when they get there they find it bursting with Demonata and blooded human carcasses. Kernel follows Beranabus off their helicopter and charges through the crowds of Demonata throwing bolts of pink energy at them; however, they block his entrance to the cave in which the tunnel stands. As he tries to fight off the Demonata, he is struck in the eyes by Spine who injects him with flesh-eating maggots that cause him to writhe in pain.

Grubbs makes a magical connection to the rocks beneath him, within which Bec's soul is trapped. Together they create a shield around themselves, Kernel and Beranabus. Kernel is pulled into the connection and the three of them chant in unison and destroy the entire world outside of their shield. Kernel, Beranabus and Grubbs awake by the cave's entrance, as Beranabus tries to make sense of what happened in the battle; Kernel sits alone and removes the rest of the maggots from where his eyes once were. Beranabus concludes that Kernel, Grubbs and Bec's soul sent them back in time, which therefore means that together the three of them make up the Kah-Gash,[1] as only the weapon would have the power to do something like that.

When the time is right, the trio enter into the cave where the tunnel is being made, and there they find Juni Swan and Lord Loss chanting and Spine, Artery and Femur dancing around Dervish and Bill-E who were tied up and gagged. They discover that Juni is actually a disguised Nadia Moore and another fight entails, Kernel finding himself paired off again with Spine, who tries to dig his stinger into his eye-sockets even more. However, Kernel manages to get the upper hand and wraps Spine around a stalagmite.

When Juni is killed, they believe that the tunnel is destroyed but it turns out that the key to the tunnel's formation was actually Bill-E; Grubbs deals with Bill-E in the most painless way possible. Lord Loss gloats over the death, but then Bill-E's body is possessed by Bec , and brought back into motion by Grubbs' magic. She destroys Spine and Artery, then disfigures Lord Loss and forces him back to the Demonata universe.

They retreat back to the Grady household and Kernel sleeps in pain. Later he joins Beranabus outside and together they make a window to return to the Demonata universe, Grubbs comes out to meet them and together they leave to fight more Demons.

Death's Shadow[edit]

Kernel plays a small role in Death's Shadow, turning up with Beranabus and Grubbs on the hospital roof when Sharmila, Bec and Dervish are being attacked. After the battle, he goes with some of the Disciples, Beranabus and Bec to hunt down a newly resurrected Juni Swan on board a zombie infested ocean liner. It is his job to keep open a window to escape, but when the team retreat back towards him he is attacked by a large group of zombies and disappears after an explosion.

Wolf Island[edit]

He appears in Wolf Island but only plays a small role.

Dark Calling[edit]

It is revealed in the beginning of Dark Calling that Kernel is becoming increasingly aware that the "new lights" he is seeing with his reformed eyes, do not react to him. However they do whisper to him. They seem to be exerting some form of control over him, possibly through a spell, which prevents him from telling anyone about the whispers, or objecting to opinions that could lead to a trap. The most notable of this is when he spots Juni Swan on a cruise liner, sees it as a trap, but can do nothing from preventing his associates from going there anyway. Once there he is left on the top deck, keeping the window to the demon oasis open. He is shocked to see the "new lights" form into a sold ball of light which changes the color of the window and tells him to follow it into the window. Not wanting to abandon his friends, he refuses, but then the dead on board the liner rise and begin to attack. Kernel forms a magical shield to keep them out, but the ball of light possesses one of the zombies, breaks through the barrier and begins to wrestle with Kernel. It is at this point that we see the parallels between Dark Calling and Death's Shadow, when Bec emerges from the hull just as the zombie explodes, forcing Kernel back into the window.

The ball of light disguises itself as Art, the child Kernel believed to be his brother, (see Demon Thief), and reveals itself as one of the Old Creatures. It takes Kernel to the Crux (the point where the two universes meet) and tells him of the the original universe: a plane of 64 black and white squares, much like a chessboard, Old Creatures on the blacks, the Demonata on the Whites, separated from each other by the Kah-Gash. Kernel discovers how the universe was split in two, one for the Demonata, one for everything else, through an explosion caused by the Kah-Gash (i.e. the Big Bang). Art dies while evacuating Kernel from the Crux but is replaced on the other side on the window by another Old Creature bearing resemblance to Raz, another key Disciple from Demon Thief.

Raz shows Kernel a world inhabited by two of every species in the human universe. He then presents Kernel with a choice: stay and protect the ark as an immortal, keeping it safe from the Demonata and Death by opening windows to escape, or return to Earth to certain death. Kernel ponders this and decides, drawing on his experience in Demon Thief, to at least try and save the universe and not stay to wonder if he could have made a difference. It is revealed that the three parts of the Kah-Gash play a different part: Kernel acts as the Vision as he can see the lights, Bec is the memory due perhaps to her photographic memory while Grubbs acts as the Trigger, directing the power of the Kah-Gash to a specific target. Kernel decides that if the attack against Death fails, providing he survives, he will return to the Ark and fulfill his duty. He instructs Raz to wait and returns to earth.

He returns to a battle which he helps to win. He is initially surprised by Grubbs new wolfen appearance. While everyone discusses what to do next he is able to make the lights pulse for Beranabus and Bill-E Spleen, suggesting that their souls still exist within Death. First off, Grubbs, Bec and himself test the power of the Kah-Gash with very positive effects. Kernel opens a window to Beranabus, and leads Bec, Dervish, Meera Flame, Kirilli Kovacs, Grubbs and his remaining entourage of werewolves. They enter a dark realm but are able to locate Beranabus and set the remaining souls free, inconveniencing but not destroying Death. Beranabus makes it clear that they have no hope. The Shadow realm disappears and they are plunged into a battle with millions of demons headed by Lord Loss and Juni Swan. Kernel manages to open a window while Meera sacrifices herself to kill Juni Swan and Bec appears to be consorting with Lord Loss. They make their escape and Kernel reveals to Grubbs that he plans to return to the Ark. Grubbs appears to be resigned to this but instead blinds Kernel, preventing him from patching lights together to reach the Old Creature. Kernel is left injured and blind on the floor of the cave at the book's closing.

Hell's Heroes[edit]

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Kernel with the Lights and/or Old Creatures

Kernel is revealed at the opening of Hell's Heroes to be furious at Grubbs for blinding him (understandably)and addresses him with sarcastic comments and quips about his blindness and Grubbs's violent streak. Kernel is desperate to be free from the tyranny of the now wolfen Grubbs, wishing to return to the Ark as he now sees the fight against Death futile and needless. He follows Grubbs to Carcery Vale and is very pleased when Shark convinces Grubbs to attempt to reach Bec. However he is convinced that Bec has turned her back on the fate of the humans and has thrown her lot in with Lord Loss. He regains his sight in the demon universe and it is assumed that he does not lose it again. He returns to the Old Creature/Raz Warlo and is devastated when his hope of saving the Universe as the Sight of the Kah-Gash is snatched from him by Death in form of possessed Bec. He fights with insane passion when he realizes the fight is pointless. He works well with Grubbs at this stage, all contempt for the blinding inicident put behind him as they face their mutual enemy. He is willing to put the power of the Kah-Gash in Grubbs hands if he feel it will help. It is Kernel that picks up on Bec's plan when it is placed in front of him. As the Sight of the Kah-Gash it can be presumed that Kernel is in charge of finding the places in the universe that need rebuilding.


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Kernel without eyes.

It has been hinted that Kernel may possibly suffer from alopecia since he mentions being as bald since birth. Kernel is also of mixed race;[2] he mentions his skin being creamy brown, his mother being pale (white) and him being more his dad's colour. his eyes are a bright blue, something unusual for someone with his complexion.

In Demon Apocalypse Kernel is blinded by Spine, a scorpion-like demon with a human head. He can grow his eyes back with magic in the Demonata's universe, but they will disintegrate on returning to the human universe, unless he is only in the human world for a short time as shown in Death's Shadow. Also, his new eyes appear to show new patches of light that can be seen as shadows floating across his eyes to other people. These new lights are a constant irritation to him and he angrily bats them away at times. It is later revealed that these patches of lights are the "Old Creatures". They are magical beings which are mentioned in Books 4 and 7.


During his early years, Kernel was very lonely and even considered committing suicide on more than one occassion. Even later in his life, he was often depressed and miserable due to having to fight Demons for a living and having precious few friends. However Beranabus seemed to sympathize with him and Kernel seemed to be quite close to the magician. He later became close to Grubbs and Bec, though he grew to resent Grubbs for blinding him and began to suspect Bec was betraying them. However he later became friends with them again and helped them rebuild the universe.

Kernel appears to be grumpy almost all the time. As in Demon Apocalypse he greeted Grubbs the first time they met by giving him "sour-expression on his face", and ignores Grubbs when he tries to be friendly. Although Kernel still shows his occasionally caring personality at times and is way far from being heartless.

Powers and Abilities[edit]

Kernel has the power to heal wounds just like Grubbs. He also has an ability that neither Bec or Grubbs has: he can open windows very quickly to the demon worlds, without the use of spells. This is done by thinking about a certain place, person or thing in the Demonata universe, which causes specific lights to pulse; he is then able to connect these pulsing lights to form a window leading to the location ect. in question. His powers have grown considerably since his first appearance, as mentioned in Death's Shadow; he can keep tabs on a person and sense which universe that person is in, open windows even in places without magic (eg. Earth) and search for several people at the same time. He connects the patches of light that he sees when they are pulsing to make the windows. He also has the ability to put different appearances to things. When he stole Artery, he used magic to give the demon human features, thus transforming him into the apparently human infant which came to be called 'Art'.


ArteryorArt is Kernel's adoptive brother which is actually one of Lord Loss's familiars, Artery. Kernel transformed into normal looking baby and brought him back to his world. However, it is possible that Kernel suffered Lacunar amnesia as he unintentionally shut out the event and believed that "Art" had always been his younger brother. Kernel grew close to Art as he was the only one who he felt complete with. When Art was kidnapped by Cadaver, he attempted to follow and later regained his memory of transforming the demon. Kernel, heartbroken, leaves Art which has been transformed back to Artery with Lord Loss due to the fear of Art growing up with demon nature. However, Kernel still suffers from the event as a result he cannot kill baby-formed demons and slaughtered babies make him feel uneasy.

Beranabus is the disciple leader where Kernel works for him as the closest assistant. When first met, Beranabus tested Kernel magical ability by throwing at flesh-easting trees. He struggles free and become aware of his magic, though slight. He also grows respect for Beranabus after being his assistant for years.

Grubbs Grady is one of the protagonists along with Kernel and Bec. Kernel shows complete indifference in Grubbs when they first met. Though when Grubbs attempted to travel back to warn Dervish alone, Kernel managed to prevent him from possibly deadly task, showing that he is not entirely heartless. They later become friends until Grubbs clawed Kernel's eyes out to prevent him from going to the Ark. They later bond again and rebuild the universe along with Bec.

Bec McConn is one of the protagonists along with Kernel and Grubbs. Kernel and Bec are not very close and barely know each other. Still, they work as a team, having no trouble until Old Creatures in Raz Warlo (Old Creatures) disguise warns Kernel to watch for signs of Bec's treachery. Kernel's suspicion has been confirmed when he sees her making a deal with Lord Loss during the war. They later become friends again and rebuild the universe along with Grubbs.

Dervish Grady is one of the disciples who participate in "Follow the Demon Thief" task. Kernel first met Dervish at the concert. Dervish in his early years was a punk with purple spiked hair. When Kernel accepts Lord Loss's challenge to find the Demon Thief in the [[|Chess Board | Original board]], Dervish volunteers himself, along with Shark, to help Kernel. This bonds the pair and Kernel considers Dervish as a good friend.


  • May possibly suffer from alopecia since he mentions being as bald as a baby since birth.


External links[edit]

The Saga of Darren Shan: Darren Shan
The Demonata: Grubbs GradyKernel FleckBec McConn
The City trilogy: Capac RaimiAl Jeery
The Saga of Larten Crepsley: Larten Crepsley
Lady of the Shades: Ed Sievking
Zom-B: B Smith