The Dark Sea Annals are a HeroicFantasy book series by Christian author Wayne Thomas Batson. It follows the stories of many characters, all intertwined in a world where good and evil are in an eternal struggle for victory.

The first book, "Sword in the Stars" follows the story of Alastair Coldhollow, an ex-assassin who once worked for the BigBad, but seeks to atone for his past by finding the Halfainin and saving his world from the grip of evil, while the noble King Aravel must contend with his wicked brother Morlan and the savage Gorracks.

The second book, "The Errant King", focuses on Lochlan, the son of Aravel, who in more interested in seeing the world and getting to know his people than in following his royal duties. Behind the scenes, however, evil of all kinds begins to rise, and soon Loch realizes that it is up to him to fix his father's mistakes and protect his people.

The series is planned to be seven books long, with the third on its way.

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!!The Dark Sea Annals contains examples of:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Shepard Sebastian Sternbough.
* AchillesHeel: The only way to kill one of [[CompleteImmortality the Pureline]] is to [[spoiler:burn their heart]].
** Raudrim-Quevara is NighInvulnerable, with thick scales covering all of her vitals. Her only weak spot is a small patch of skin behind her ears. Cythraul exploits this to control her, and later [[spoiler:Loch and Ariana kill her by striking this spot with an arrow.]]
* ActionGirl: Ariana. Abbagael too, if the situation calls for it.
** All of the female rulers of the various races and provinces are Action Girls and/or [[LadyOfWar Ladies of War]].
* AlwaysChaoticEvil:
** Implied with the Gorracks, who are also NeutralEvil, depending on their leader.
** The monsters of the Gray Hour are definitely this.
* AnimalMotif: Morlan himself has wolves.
* APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil: [[spoiler:Cythraul was once Xanalos, the friend and best student of King Ealden, but Ealden’s incredibly strict standards of perfection were too much for Xanalos; no matter what he did, he was never good enough to please [[{{God}} the First One]], and thus he rebelled against all that Ealden stood for and began his [[FaceHeelTurn decent into darkness]]. He was executed by the Wayfolk, but being Pureline, he came back and began his life as Cythraul. Ealden deeply regretted the unfair amount of pressure that he put his student under, and in the second book, he confronted Cythraul in order to apologize and offer him a second chance. Cythraul was too far gone into evil to be saved and he killed his former teacher.]]
* ArcVillain: [[spoiler:Raudrim-Quevara is killed at the end of the second book, having played her role in Morlan’s scheme.]]
* TheAtoner: This is Alastair Coldhollow's entire story arc.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Alastair Coldhollow. Abbagael Rivynfleur. Cythraul Scarhaven. Anyone with the surname of Stormgarden (Aravel, Maren, Morlan, Lochlan). Duskan Vanimore. Laeriss Fenstalker. Pretty much everybody, actually.
* BadassGrandpa: Mosteryn the Old, an Elder Shepard with a fiery temper and the power to call lightning and storms.
* BadassPreacher: King Ealden could be considered this, as he is a firm follower of the First One and he conducts all of the religious ceremonies during the Ceremony of Crowns. He is also a viciously competent fighter.
* BarbarianTribe: The Gorracks.
* BattleCouple: Alastair and Abbagael (whenever she chooses to fight); Loch and Ariana; Hagen and Darrow Kurtz. It’s implied that Aravel and Maren were this back in their prime.
** Also the husband and wife Commanders of the city of Rel-Vigil, who bravely battled against Raudrim-Quevara until their deaths.
* BigBad: Morlan.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: The spirax, a species of cow-sized insects that look like a mix between a spider, a centipede, and a praying mantis and spin toxic webs to ensnare their prey.
* BiggerBad: Sabryne, this world's version of {{Satan}}.
* BloodKnight: Cythraul really, really likes killing things.
* BrotherSisterTeam: Tango and Meli, the young Spriggans who escape from the Hinterlands.
* CainAndAbel: Morlan and Aravel, respectively.
* CanisMajor: Skoll, Morlan’s huge pet blackwolf.
* ChekhovsGun: Tango’s note at the Venture Inn.
* ChekhovsSkill: Ariana’s uncanny ability to make a pin-point kill-shot on the water serpent proves [[{{Understatement}} quite useful]] later on.
* TheChessmaster: Morlan. See XanatosGambit.
* TheChosenOne: A double example. For the fabled Halfainin to rise there must first come the Caller. Alastair comes to the conclusion that he is the Caller, and desperately searches for the Halfainin, providing most of the plot for the first book.
* ComboPlatterPowers: [[spoiler:Due to the VictorGainsLosersPowers factor with the Shepards, Morlan gains the powers of TouchOfDeath, {{Teleportation}}, and BlowYouAway by killing their former wielders, one of which was [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness his former ally]].]]
* CompleteImmortality: The Pureline, rare individuals of any race born once every twelve generations that can live forever and have an ''extremely'' powerful HealingFactor, making them virtually impossible to kill. There is only one way to kill them. (See AchillesHeel).
* CoolSword: Three of them, actually. Alastair's Star Sword, Cythraul's Moonblade, and Loch's TalkingWeapon, [[AerithAndBob "Fred"]].
* CreepyCrows: Rooks are huge, vicious predatory birds that are the mortal enemies of the [[OurFairiesAreDifferent Willowfolk]].
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Cythraul is an expert at these.
** Special mention should go to [[spoiler:Morlan's]] TouchOfDeath. The victim's blood and skin turn black and begin to fester, boil, and rot, with their body heating up until they are literally boiled in their own blood. It's just as painful and squicky as it sounds.
* DarkIsEvil: Many examples.
* TheDarkTimes: When the Red Queen Quevara ruled the Hinterlands many long years past. Her reign was so cruel and terrifying that the people never even dare to speak her name.
* DifferentlyPoweredIndividual: The Shepards, who are individuals (mainly human and Wayfolk) that are born with superhuman powers, usually of the ElementalPowers variety. [[TheMentor Sebastian]] [[GreenThumb Sternbough]] and [[ShockAndAwe Mosteryn]] [[BadassGrandpa the Old]] are notable examples.
** [[spoiler:If a Shepard is killed by someone, [[VictorGainsLosersPowers then the killer gains their ability]], which both Morlan and Cythraul exploit to their advantage.]]
* DoubleWeapon: The glaives that are the standard weapons of the Wayfolk, notably King Ealden. [[spoiler:Telwyn gets Ealden’s glaive after the king dies]].
* TheDragon: Cythraul to Morlan. [[spoiler:After Morlan is banished across the Dark Sea, Cythraul becomes a DragonAscendant.]]
* TheDreaded: Both Raudrim and Quevara separately, but most especially when they fuse together; then she becomes a HeroKiller.
** The black ships of the Gray Hour.
** [[spoiler:The Dark Shepards are a major example. Even Morlan is wary of them.]]
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:King Drust, leader of the Windborne. Realizing that he has no options left, he flies right into the jaws of Raudrim-Quevara, hacking at her mouth and tongue with his axe and laughing madly as he goes.]]
* EvilRedhead: Quevara, even while in dragon form.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Cythraul is noted several times for his deep voice, which is described as low, slithering thunder.
* ElementalShapeshifter: Jonasim, the 17 year old human Shepard, can turn his skin into granite. [[spoiler:Cythraul later gains this power by killing Jonasim.]]
* EpicFlail: One of Cythraul’s weapons is curved blade attached to a long chain [[NothingUpMySleeve that is hidden up his sleeve]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath
* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence
* FatBastard: Choiros, the {{Jerkass}} archer from the Wetlands who is an antagonist to Ariana and Millard.
* FateWorseThanDeath: To be sent across the Dark Sea to the Isle of Lost Souls.
* FemmeFatalons: Quevara’s double as WolverineClaws.
* FictionalColour: The Windborne race can see many colors that the other races cannot. This seems to be due to their eagle-like eyesight.
* FishPeople: The Marinaens, one of the nine races of Myriad. They are bipedal, have [[AmazingTechnicolorPopulation blue, green, or purple skin]], three webbed fingers on their hands, and fins on their arms and legs. Somewhat overlaps with ApparentlyHumanMerfolk, as they have very human-like faces, but are otherwise recognizable as a totally separate race.
* FieryRedhead: Abbagael; in keeping with the AuthorAppeal of redheaded main heroines in his other series'.
** Quevara is literally this.
* {{Forgiveness}}: A major theme in the series, and the element that fueled Alastair Coldhollow’s HeelFaceTurn.
* FreudianExcuse: Morlan was always jealous of his twin brother Aravel, who was born only a few seconds before him, and thus gained the right to the throne. Feeling like he was always second-rate to his brother, Morlan tried to one-up him by winning the heart of Maren, with who they were both in love, but Maren saw the hatred inside Morlan and chose Aravel instead. Morlan took this as a personal insult and thought that she chose Aravel only because he would be the High King. In his lust for power and revenge he turned to BlackMagic and the rest is history.
** [[spoiler:For Cythraul’s FreudianExcuse, see APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil.]]
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Telwyn has the uncanny ability to tame almost any creature he comes across, which earns him a [[CoolPet pet snow drake]], Icetooth. [[spoiler:He tries and fails to tame Skoll, Morlan's pet blackwolf, and has to resort to killing the beast instead.]]
* FusionDance: The ancient dragon Raudrim and the tyrannical Queen of the Hinterlands, Quevara, were merged into one form, Raudrim-Quevara. This form is of the Composite and Mixed-Form-Shapeshifter variety. Quevara's mind is dominant, due to her being human, but the dragon's treasure-hoarding, animalistic instincts often guide her into doing more bestial acts, such as slaughtering a whole herd of scormount just ForTheEvulz. Her body, however, can take on either a human or dragon form, or a composite, such as her human form morphing her arm into the dragon's claw to impale someone on her talons.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Quevara, the Red Queen of the Hinterlands.
** Averted with Queen Maren, Queen Briawynn, Queen Savron, and all the other good queens.
* TheGoodKing: King Aravel, and later his son, King Lochlan.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: [[spoiler:Morlan notices that whenever he killed a Shepard, he would get a scar on his face in addition to their powers.]]
* GuysSmashGirlsShoot: Alastair is a MasterSwordsman, and Abbagael prefers to fight with a bow and arrow. Loch and Ariana fit this as well.
* HauntedCastle: Vulmarrow, both during and after Morlan ruled from it.
* HeroicFantasy / HighFantasy
* HeroKiller: Cythraul. [[spoiler:Literally, in the second book.]]
* HiddenWeapons: Cythraul is fond of keeping his toys hidden until the opportune time to strike.
* TheHighQueen: Maren
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: In the first book, Alastair impales Cythraul through his heart with the Star Sword, and leaves him for dead. [[CompleteImmortality Obviously]], he gets better. [[spoiler:In the second book Alastair does it again, but this time Cythraul recovers immediately by turning his flesh into stone and returns the favor. Unfortunately, Alastair [[KilledOffForReal does not get better]].]]
** This is also one of Quevara’s favorite methods of killing, via her long talons.
* InterruptedSuicide: [[spoiler:Sebastian Sternbough (several times) prevents Queen Maren from jumping into the Dark Sea after her DespairEventHorizon due to Aravel's horrible death.]]
* KingIncognito: Loch's whole plot in the second book is about him traveling around the land and mingling incognito with his subjects so that he can escape the pomp and pressure of being King and get to know his people more.
* KnifeNut: Cythraul, as expected.
** Queen Valaril Nascent, who took up rulership of the Fen province after Morlan [[spoiler:was banished]]. She carries several knives on her at all times and is considered to be one of the most proficient and lethal fighters in Myriad. She’s also a case of DarkIsNotEvil.
* LaResistance: By the end of the second book, [[spoiler:half of Myriad is a smoldering ruin thanks to Raudrim-Quevara, the Dark Shepards have returned, and Morlan has taken control of the throne]]. Naturally, Loch (along with Ariana and Telwyn) begins a rebel alliance, which will lead into the next book.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* MasterSwordsman: Alastair Coldhollow is the prime example, but Aravel, Morlan, and Cythraul are all highly skilled as well.
* MeaningfulName: The land of Myriad is home to a wide variety of peoples and creatures.
* TheMentor: Shepard Sebastian Sternbough is the wise mentor, adviser, and friend of Aravel, Maren, and Loch.
* MineralMacGuffin: Emberstones are gems that have magical properties, [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience depending on the color]]. Green stones speed up healing processes on non-lethal wounds, blue stones purify drinking water, yellow stones give off light when shaken, etc. When the emberstones mature long enough they become vaskerstones and their power greatly increases. Black vaskerstones are the rarest, and can be used like a CrystalBall to spy on and communicate with others. Morlan was in possession of the only known black vaskerstone (called The Eye of the North), which was made into a table.
* ModestRoyalty: King Aravel and Queen Maren are very humble rulers, but their son Lochlan ''is'' this trope and it is the focus of his story in the second book.
* MonsterMash: A rather terrifying version. During the dreaded Gray Hour on the coastlines of Myriad, a fleet of black ships appears on the horizon, and a swarm of monsters invades coastal towns and settlements, killing or abducting anyone in their path. Golems, shades, banshees, and several other unnamed beings number among them.
* NotQuiteDead: Both times that Cythraul is “killed”; first by taking a two-hundred foot fall and then by being stabbed through the heart. Due to his being Pureline, he survived both instances, but was nonetheless pissed off about them.
* OmnicidalManiac: Raudrim-Quevara. She sees life itself as an insult to her, and revels in burning and decimating everything in her path.
* OrphansOrdeal: Ariana's parents were killed by the creatures of the Gray Hour when she was small, giving her a deep-seeded fear of it and a longing for acceptance by her strict community.
* OurBansheesAreLouder: Banshees number among the horde of creatures in the Gray Hour.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Dragons are split into two categories: the huge, ancient wyrms of old, and the smaller drakes, which are considered to be like regular wildlife. Notable examples of each are Raudrim and Icetooth, respectively.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: The Stonehands are your basic dwarven race. Their cousins, the Spriggans, are more like {{Hobbits}}.
* OurElvesAreBetter: There are two sub-races of elves: the [[WarriorPoet Wayfolk]] and the [[InhumanlyBeautifulRace Elladorians]]. Subverted in that neither race, as a whole, views themselves as superior to other races, although there are individual exceptions (i.e. Cythraul).
* OurFairiesAreDifferent: The Willowfolk are a race of BadassAdorable sprites that live in the Greenshire Forest.
* OurWightsAreDifferent: These wights are the spirits if the dead that have been entrapped by Sabryne and are chained forever in the Abode of Wights. How they got that way has not yet been revealed.
* PointOfView: The series is written in the third-person, except for a few chapters in the second book that are told from Ariana's perspective.
* PrecisionFStrike: The books are generally profanity-free, but in ''The Errant King'', during [[spoiler:King Ealden’s]] confrontation with Cythraul, the latter gives him a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech and accentuates it bitterly by calling him a “self-righteous bastard”.
* PrecociousCrush: Tango has one on Clarisse Graymane.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Ariana and Millard.
* PowerNullifier: [[spoiler: What the Dark Shepards do to the normal Shepards.]]
* ProfessionalKiller: Alastair. He does a HeelFaceTurn and becomes TheAtoner, but he's still a pro when it comes to killing.
* ReligionOfEvil: The Sabrynites.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Pretty much ''every'' king or queen in the series is actively involved with defending their people.
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: Alastair and Abbagael.
* ShiningCity: Anglinore
* SoftSpokenSadist: Cythraul
* StrawMisogynist: In ‘’The Errant King’’, Ariana lives in a wetland village that is led by a group of Elders, who are ruthlessly strict and are repressive of women, especially when it comes to the use of weapons. The High Elder Plebian Scandeer is particularly misogynistic, and viciously refuses to allow Ariana to compete in the Huntmeet, despite the fact that she is one of best (if not the best) archers in the area. [[spoiler:He eventually gets a taste of humble pie when he is forced by tradition to award Ariana the Crimson Bow for killing the water serpent.]]
* StrikeMeDown: After Aravel defeats Morlan in their final duel, Morlan urges his brother to kill him, to finally end their feud. [[spoiler:Aravel doesn’t, and instead cuts off Morlan’s hand and banishes him across the Dark Sea, in what he sees as a FateWorseThanDeath. [[XanatosSpeedChess This is exactly what Morlan wanted]].]]
* TheStoic: King Ealden and Cythraul, partially due to their [[OurElvesAreBetter race]].
** [[spoiler:They both become NotSoStoic during their final confrontation.]]
* SupernaturalGoldEyes: Morlan’s eyes are described as being like those of a wolf.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Skappy and Fez, two guards in Anglinore.
* TokenEvilTeammate: Morlan was considered an ally to the Council of Myriad, due to being the High King's brother. While he was disrespectful of [[{{God}} the First One]] and drew the suspicion of several leaders with his cunning ways, his Wolfguard were a valuable asset to Myriad, and he showed no signs of open rebellion (at first). Once he shows his true colors, however, he goes right into being the BigBad.
* TortureTechnician: Cythraul, of course.
* TrappedInVillainy: The Spriggans that chose to serve Quevara, due to the only other alternative being death. One in particular, Vilnus Skevack, outright told her that he would follow her, but that he refused to kill his own kind. While she looked down upon such “weakness”, she was fine with it, as she preferred to kill people herself.
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: Loch, Telwyn, and Ariana.
* TheVamp: Quevara. When she returned to her former place of residence, she killed the current king and queen, and the way she killed the king is quite... suggestive. The queen enters her bedchamber to find Quevara passionately writhing about near the bed with her husband. Quevara turns to her and reveals that she had been eating his throat out; she calls it "kissing".
* WackyWaysideTribe: The Willowfolk
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: This is explored with [[spoiler:Cythraul. When he enters the Abode of Wights, he finds the last Queen of Grayvalon who was trapped inside and, due to also being Pureline, still alive in a body of flesh. She is crazed from the decades of solitude and begs Cythraul to kill her and end her misery. She shows him the only device that could kill either of them (a small pump filled with an incendiary power and a long needle used to inject it into the chest, thus [[KillItWithFire burning their heart]]) and tries to take it from him, imploring him to kill them both, specifically because of this trope. But being the sadistic prick that he is, Cythraul decides that LivingForeverIsAwesome and departs without killing her, [[AndIMustScream leaving her to an endless life of crazed loneliness in a dark, empty cavern]]. It is hinted, however, that deep down he really fears ending up like her.]]
* WingedHumanoid: The Windborne race.
* WiseBeyondHisYears: Telwyn [[spoiler:due to his being the Halfainin.]]
* WouldHurtAChild: As expected, Morlan, Cythraul, and Quevara; the latter two taking specific pleasure in it.
* XanatosGambit: Morlan’s plan. He first goads the Council of Myriad into starting a war with the Gorracks by sending out troops disguised as Gorrack soldiers to decimate villages, then bringing this to the attention of the Council and urging them to fight back. While Aravel and the other leaders are away at war, Morlan spys on them via [[CrystalBall The Eye of the North]], sends his troops to Anglinore and [[spoiler:begins gathering power for himself by killing specific Shepards]]. If Aravel is killed in the war, Morlan wins. If Aravel survives the war, he returns to a castle in Morlan’s possession and Morlan kills him. If Aravel defeats Morlan in combat and kills him, Morlan will have succeeded in corrupting the image of his brother, and he could possibly come back to life via Sabryne’s pact. If he doesn’t kill him, Morlan can play XanatosSpeedChess on whatever fate Aravel has for him. This happens to be [[FateWorseThanDeath sending him across the Dark Sea]], which is exactly what Morlan wanted. Morlan, [[spoiler: who had never previously revealed his Shepard powers, gives his brother [[TouchOfDeath one last handclasp]] before boarding the Ship of No Return, and uses the wind-controlling powers that he stole to guide the ship once it is out of sight. Even while he is gone, [[DragonAscendant Cythraul]] continues his plan by unleashing Raudrim-Quevara on the land, killing Alastair (the previous SpannerInTheWorks), and beginning experiments with [[{{Necromancer}} necromancy]] to forge an undead army.]] The results of all this have yet to be seen.