[[quoteright:281:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elenium2_8244.jpg]]
After ten years in exile, tired, aging [[KnightInSourArmor Sir Sparhawk]] returns to his dirty, polluted home city of Cimmura to find that things have changed quite a bit in his absence. The incompetent King Aldreas has died under mysterious circumstances, and his youthful heir Ehlana is on the verge of death, her life preserved solely by an extremely risky spell. The city--and the kingdom of Elenia it rules--now is controlled in all but name by the corrupt [[SinisterMinister Primate Annias]] of the Elene Church, who's put a puppet ruler in control and is stripping the treasury bare to pay for his private campaign for the head of the Church. And his ally, the [[EvilCounterpart fallen Pandion Knight]] Martel, is stirring up trouble across the continent to discredit and ultimately destroy the Church Knights to which Sparhawk belongs.

Gathering a party of various companions, including champions of the [[ChurchMilitant Church Knights]], sorcerers of [[WitchSpecies Styricum]], [[LoveableRogue street thieves]], and his squire, Sparhawk sets out- both to thwart the designs of Annias, and to find a cure for the queen's suspicious illness. But increasingly, he and his companions are embroiled in a shadowy world of magic, powerful artifacts, and the evil God that craves them.

A SpiritualSuccessor to ''TheBelgariad'', the ''Elenium'' is nonetheless quite distinct and arguably serves as an example of DavidEddings at his best. It is both darker and more medieval in feel while still avoiding a CrapsackWorld, and contrasts the usual callow protagonist on a climb to greatness with its own cast of predominantly seasoned, somewhat cynical professionals. Particularly notable in that none of the knights--who are, essentially, paladins--are LawfulStupid, and that political action is increasingly as important to the story as classical adventuring.

There is a sequel trilogy called the ''Tamuli'' (which is covered here too).

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AbusivePrecursors: The Elder Gods.
* AccentRelapse: Inverted with Caalador, who speaks in an outrageously folksy Cammorian accent most of the time... until people tell him to cut it out.
* AccidentalAimingSkills: Kurik, when the Basilica is under siege.
* AccidentalMarriage: [[spoiler:Sparhawk accidentally proposes to Ehlana when, instead of returning her ancestral ring, twin to one he owns that symbolizes the link between their families, he instead puts his ring on her finger.]] Played with in that it's only accidental on his side. She knows from the beginning that he made a mistake, but she keeps him on the hook because she had wanted to marry him anyway.
* ActionGirl: Mirtai in ''The Tamuli''. It helps that her entire race is like this - slavers who attack a group of teenage Atan girls with dreadful intent wind up as eunuchs.
* AdiposeRex: Otha, the Emperor of Zemoch, is what happens when you take the villainous type of this trope and give him several ''centuries'' to perfect his laziness and corruption. He needs several strong men to carry his litter around (having long ago lost the ability to move under his own power) and is frequently described as a "slug" by the other characters.
* AdvantageBall: The Church Knights, by dint of their training, reputation, and armor, which is not only [[LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe protective]] but intimidating as well, tend to [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp]] any enemy force in combat, regardless of the opposition's numbers, equipment or tactics. The individual Knights tend to do this as well.
** The Lamorks as well, by virtue of using crossbows, which can pierce even the armor of the Church Knights.
** The Cyrgai possessed this in the distant past due to their advanced military strategies which made them a major threat to their more primitive neighbors. Most modern races hold the ball in comparison to the Cyrgai due to changes in military tactics and equipment.
* AlasPoorVillain: After everything Martel has done, when he lies dying Sparhawk and Sephrenia both gather to his side and mourn his death. Sephrenia even grants him her blessing, which she had withheld after Martel's fall from grace.
* TheAlcoholic:
** All it takes to get Krager to spill his entire life story is a barrel of Arcian red wine. And some cash, maybe. But mostly the wine. [[spoiler: While he gets away at the end of ''The Tamuli'', it's mentioned that the drink has taken its toll on his body, and he isn't likely to live long.]]
** Also King Wargun of Thalesia, who reaches the same state between the two series.
* AllAreEqualInDeath: Invoked in-universe when Sparhawk has to sneak into the catacombs under the Cimmura Cathedral.
* AllTrollsAreDifferent:
** Elenian Trolls are twice as tall as a human, covered in fur and leathery hide, [[TheAgeless immortal (though ''not'' invulnerable)]], and they live in the frozen mountains of Thalesia where packs have to live miles apart from one another because they'll usually kill each other on sight. They're also distantly related to humans and have not only their own culture but their own gods.
** And let's not even get into [[TheOgre the Ogres.]] They're even bigger.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Subverted with the Zemochs, who look like this at first but later turn out to be harmless after the EvilOverlord and [[GodOfEvil his god]] that were ruling them were... forcibly removed. Played largely straight with the Cyrgai, though they're more like Always StupidEvil as a result of centuries of inbreeding and fanaticism.
* AndIMustScream:
** Happens to a BigBad at the end of ''The Tamuli'' and to another minor villain. The Troll-Gods set them on fire (and in the minor villain's case, shove him into "No-Time," a kind of frozen moment) so that they will run and burn alone forever.
** The Powerless Ones, Gods whose worshipers have [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly all died and have been forgotten, reduced to little more than incoherent whispers wanting attention.]]
* AntiHero: Sparhawk, of the "Disney Anti-Hero" variety. He's got hard edges and can be rather petty or ruthless when he feels it's called for, but at heart he's an honorable man who lives for his duty to his knighthood, his nation, and ''especially'' his Queen.
* ArbitrarySkepticism:
** Played for laughs in the last book when a Tamuli scholar refuses, like the rest of his race, to believe in Trolls. [[BunnyEarsLawyer Ulath answers]] by [[CrowningMomentOfFunny calling a gargantuan, angry (illusionary) troll in the hall.]]
** Also: 'I'm an agnostic, Divine One.' 'Would you like to examine that last sentence for logical consistency, Stragen?'
* ArmyOfTheAges: Cyrgon does this in ''The Tamuli'', but it's less effective than most examples.
* ArmorIsUseless:
** ''Very'' averted. Armor is key to the Church Knights' way of battle, and while Atans fight in light armor they never actually clash with heavily armored troops and have the advantage of sheer size anyways.
** Played straight with Azash's undead guardians in the end of the first trilogy. They all wear huge menacing armor with spikes that look very frightening, because that's what the Zemochs thought armor was for - but they never understood the ''real'' purpose for armor, so the Zemoch armor is clumsy, incredibly unwieldy, and doesn't even protect properly; all those spikes only serve to direct a blow towards weak points instead of deflecting them. In fact, the armor is ''worse'' than useless.
** Also played with in the case of Adus, not because the armor is inherently useless but because it doesn't fit right. Also averted in that once he's down, his killer (an eight-year-old boy) needs help to get a sword through his breastplate to deliver a ''coup de grace''.
** Played with with Martel. It is not that his armor is ''useless'' (he ''is'' a trained Church Knight), but out of vanity he has his armor made in the finest (and heaviest) style in the world, with [[BlingOfWar gold details and ornamentation on it]], which tires him faster than the equally-skilled and equally-aged Sparhawk. And he admits it [[spoiler:with his dying breaths.]]
** Played straight, however, whenever crossbows are involved. Crossbow bolts can pierce armor as if it was a sheet of paper.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Bhelliom. Sure, you can [[spoiler:kill a god]] with it, but [[spoiler:you'll have to spank the Troll-Gods first.]]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The Dawn-men, explicitly stated to be ancestral to both humans and trolls, resemble nothing that appears in our own evolutionary lineage.
** Faran is at least 16 years old at the beginning of the series, as it takes around 6 years to train a warhorse and Martel remembers him from when he and Sparhawk were friends 10 years prior. The series takes about 2 years, with another 4 in the epilogue, and then 2 more between series, making him at least 24, but he's showing no signs of aging, despite horses only living about 30 years generally. His not aging might have something to do with a certain child goddess who likes to meddle and despises change.
*** Khalad does mention in the first book of the Tamuli that Sparhawk might want to start thinking about putting Faran out to pasture.
* AscendedExtra: Zalasta. He appears briefly in the Elenium as a friend of Sephrenia, but becomes much more prominent in the Tamuli. [[spoiler: He's also revealed to be a [[BigBadFriend Big Bad Friend]] and has been behind a lot of events in the Elenium]]
* AuthorityInNameOnly: Prince Avin Wargunsson might be Regent of Thalesia (to become King when insane father finally finishes dying), but every one of his subjects treats him as a complete joke. The King of Rendor is also stated to be this.
** Emperor Sarabian is treated this way by his own government in The Tamuli. His role has become so ceremonial that when he begins taking an active role in leading his empire, several characters wonder if it is even legal for him to do so at this point.
* AxCrazy:
** Subverted in the Tamuli when the Knights go undercover. Bevier cuts down the haft of his lochaber and plays the part of a PsychoForHire in Scarpa's army, and he [[LargeHam hams it up so much]] everyone in the army camp is completely terrified of him.
** [[TheBrute Adus]] as well, cutting through his own troops to reach Kalten in the final battle, while roaring like an animal.
* AnAxeToGrind:
** Berit and Bevier. Especially Bevier, whose favored weapon is an intimidating lochaber axe [[note]] [[http://www.swordplayalliance.com/img/galleries/general/axes/laxe03.jpg this is a lochaber.]][[/note]]. Characters frequently comment on just how murderous the thing looks, and he is fully capable of massive destruction with it. [[spoiler:In fact, it's ''so'' nasty looking that ''Azash'' flinches when the axe is thrown at him.]]
** Ulath, the most traditional axe-wielder of the group.
** And on the villainous side of things, [[TheBrute Adus]] who abandons his usual sword in favor of an axe in the final confrontation of ''The Elenium''.
* BabiesEverAfter: Only for [[spoiler:Sparhawk and Ehlana]]. Subverted in that their bouncing baby daughter is actually ''[[spoiler: Aphrael.]]'' [[spoiler: [[MindScrew At the same time she exists as Flute]]]]. When they do eventually meet, nobody non-magical suspects a thing except [[spoiler:[[OnlySaneMan Berit]]]], who sees that Sparhawk, Sephrenia, and Vanion are remarkably twitchy about it.
** Justified in that [[spoiler: the poison Ehlana was given made her barren, and Aphrael figured she'd kill two birds with one stone -- she needed somewhere safe to hide and get over the shock of a God's death (Ehlana's womb was perfect) and she'd give Ehlana the heir she needed.]]
** The only problem with that is Sephrenia getting miffed with Aphrael because she seems to know that the poison causes sterility, which seems odd, since it's [[spoiler:also universally fatal.]]
* BackFromTheDead:
** A major part of the plot in The Tamuli is someone calling up armies from the past.
** [[spoiler:Kurik]] does this twice, as his presence is needed to banish/reclaim the Bhelliom.
* BackToBackBadasses: Sparhawk's and Ehlana's respective ancestors, which served as the initial basis for the bond between the two families.
* BadAss:
** Just about every knight in the party is a champion of one of the orders, and Sparhawk's squire, Kurik, is described as one of the most gifted hand-to-hand combatants in the world. Sparhawk takes the prize from all of them, however. This is a guy who'd make Cthulhu curl up into a fetal position on the floor, and he in fact does kill a reasonably similar God. Even more, he does it with ''style.''
** Kurik is an enormous badass in his own right, peaking when he meets an arrogant young nobleman while being browbeaten into wearing Bevier's armour and scares the daylights out of him. As a follow-up, the young man's father is so horrified (his son was harassing a bunch of badass Church Knights and is so profoundly ignorant that he ''didn't know who they were'') that he disowns the clown, banishes his friends and packs his own wife off to a monastery. Bevier later says Kurik's a bigger man than him because he'd have just decapitated the kid "after his second remark".
---> "You wouldn't ''dare!''"
---> "''[[PreAssKickingOneLiner Try me.]]''"
--->"I have eight of my friends with me!"
---> *spit* "''That'' rabble?"
** Sparhawk gets his own lines like this:
---> '''Ulath:''' Are you ''mad'', Kalten? You want me to draw my sword on ''my own king?''"
---> '''Kalten:''' Of course not--just on his funeral cortege. If Wargun goes up against Sparhawk he'll be drinking heavenly mead after the first pass.
** Martel is an excellent villainous {{Badass}}.
** Patriarch Bergsten is a BadassPreacher, given that not even Sparhawk will risk a fight with him. Ulath notes that Bergsten would have been the Preceptor of the Genidian Knights if he'd stayed in the order instead of taking the cloth. [[spoiler: Patriarch Dolmant, as a former Pandion novice, may also qualify, although he's no doubt out of practice; it's stated that he was even a match for ''Sparhawk's father'' - and the Sparhawk line has always been renowned for its talent on the field of combat.]]
* BadassArmy:
** The Peloi and their ridiculously well-trained horses. Even the Church Knights step lightly around these guys. So does Otha, who invaded the West through Lamorkand in part because he didn't want to risk fighting the Peloi.
** Of course the Church Knights.
** And the Atans, really.
** Subverted with the Cyrgai. 10,000 years ago, they were the most powerful military in the world, and now they are extinct [[spoiler:or so everyone thinks. When they ''do'' run into Cyrgai in modern time, they are just as badass as they were 10,000 years ago...except everyone else has been LevelGrinding in badass that entire time]].
* BadassBookworm:
** Bevier, a poet and amateur actor, student of military history and siege engineering. And that's when he isn't out and about decapitating people with his [[AnAxeToGrind axe]].
** Ulath as well. One of the best fighters in the group, he mentions that the winters in Thalesia are so harsh that all one can do for months on end is read and think.
* BadBoss: Azash, Annias, Martel, and especially Adus, who at one point cuts through his own troops to reach Kalten.
* BadDreams: Sparhawk regularly dreams about the sound of the bells he followed after Martel's thugs attacked him in Rendor in the {{Backstory}}.
* BattleCouple: Mirtai is an ActionGirl and as much a warrior as any man. She towers over Kring, who is a horseman and about as deadly as she is--which deeply impresses Mirtai when she learns. [[spoiler: They get engaged, and due to their different cultures are planning to get married, ''twice'', by the end of the Tamuli.]]
* BeQuietNudge: Ehlana attempts this with her husband. Of course, since he's wearing plate armor, all she gets out of it is a bruised elbow.
* BerserkButton:
** If someone hurts Sephrenia, the entire Pandion Order will be [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge out for blood]]. They all call her "little mother," and they are twenty-five ''thousand'' of the toughest and most highly trained knights on the planet. Not to mention that the other three orders-- 75,000 more knights-- will tend to join in just on general principles.
-->'''Kalten:''' ''He can pull mountain ranges over his head to try to hide, but we'll still find him. The Church Knights aren't really very civilized, and when somebody hurts those we love, it brings out the worst in us.''
** Even Martel, apostate and traitor-cranked-up-to-eleven, feels this way. When Annias shows contempt toward Sephrenia, Martel warns Annias that Sparhawk is, deep down, a decent guy. Martel ''isn't''.
** Additionally, Sparhawk takes it very, ''very'' personally if anybody does anything to the Queen he's loved and protected since she was seven years old.
*** Berit, since he's crushing on Ehlana, also responds badly to this kind of behavior, just with less... [[TranquilFury restraint]] than Sparhawk.
** Stragen reacts much the same way to [[spoiler:Elron trying to kill Melidere]]. Pretty much par for the course in a DavidEddings series, really, since having characters respond to threats to their loved ones with [[TranquilFury the rage]] [[UnstoppableRage of a dying star]] is something of a SignatureStyle of his.
* BigBad: [[GodOfEvil Azash]] in the first trilogy. The second is a bit more complicated, with [[spoiler: [[PhysicalGod Cyrgon]], [[EvilSorceror Zalasta]] and [[EldritchAbomination Klael]] all vying for the role]]. By the end, even [[spoiler:Krager]] has thrown in his hat for the title.
* BigBadWannabe: Annias. He's smart, and a decent {{Chessmaster}}, but his SmugSnake tendencies typically bite him in the hindquarters, and he's no match for [[DragonInChief Martel]] or the real BigBad, [[GodOfEvil Azash]]. [[spoiler:Krager]] in the Tamuli.
* BigDamnHeroes: Zalasta gets one of these moments in the Tamuli when he wipes out a powerful enemy sorcerer and a [[DinosaursAreDragons giant dinosaur]] during a battle. [[spoiler:It's actually a big dramatic FalseFlagOperation designed to win the Elenes' trust]].
* BlackKnight:
** The first character we see in the series wears black plate, has a crooked nose, carries a huge sword, rides an evil-looking horse and quietly threatens anyone who gets in his way. His name is Sparhawk and [[DarkIsNotEvil he's the protagonist]].
** The entire Pandion Order invokes this trope. They have a reputation for being cruel and implacable warriors who torture prisoners graphically in their chapterhouses. They planted those rumors themselves, to make enemies believe they're even more BadAss than they already are (and to save them the trouble of ''actually'' having to torture people; that's a great deal of work, after all).
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: The trolls think nothing of eating other sentient beings (indeed, failing to eat what you kill is actually a sin against their God of Eat, even if the killing was done for other reasons), but they are deeply offended by abductions, poisonings, hostage-taking and other things that humans are liable to dismiss as DirtyBusiness. The troll-gods take a ''personal'' interest in punishing guilty humans when they find out that such things exist.
* BookEnds: The ''Elenium'' begins and, except for the epilogue, ends with Sparhawk slinking into Cimmura on a rainy night. The ''Tamuli'' begins the same way.
* BreakTheCutie: ''The Shining Ones'' is one huge one for [[spoiler: Sephrenia. First, it's revealed that there's a powerful Styric magician working with the other side, and every Styric magician of that caliber happens to be her friend. Then she's forced to go to Delphaeus, the home of the race she believes killed her family. Then she witnesses the rest of the party forming an alliance with them and completely disregarding her feelings with some very unkind words (to be fair, they didn't know and she wouldn't tell them) and then it's revealed that her old friend Zalasta was the traitor, and he was also behind her parents' murder and would have had her killed too. All because he wanted her for himself and was jealous that she was the chosen High Priestess of Aphrael.]]
* BrickJoke: Throughout the first trilogy, Sparhawk was booking passage on a particular ship giving the excuse that he was fleeing from an ugly heiress and her cousins to explain his desire for passage. Come the second trilogy, they end up on the same ship (Aphrael likes symmetry), and Sparhawk explains that he was caught by the cousins and forced to marry, gesturing to his beautiful wife.
* TheBrute: Adus. Kalten describes him as putting armor on a gorilla (who doesn't bathe). He's pretty much the archetype at its best: a mentally handicapped, rape- and torture-happy animalistic thug, who can't write and can barely read, but is a [[IdiotSavant savant]] when it comes to small-unit tactics, serves as TheDragon's chief enforcer, and is very, ''very'' dangerous in combat. Martel refers to him as a walking battle axe, and that's not too far off.
* BuryYourGays: Mirtai's former owner.
* CatchPhrase: Sparhawk -- "Neighbor." Martel -- "Old boy." Ulath -- "I ''hate'' sieges." And of course,
-->'''Anyone:''' Whose turn is it to do the cooking?
-->'''Ulath:''' Yours.
* TheCavalry: Wargun and his RedshirtArmy.
* ChekhovsGun: Sparhawk's ring. Aldreas' spear.
* ChekhovsSkill: Bevier's study of history and acting.
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler:Zalasta]]. [[spoiler:Xanetia]]'s recap of how [[TheReveal he is directly involved in everything bad that's happened in both the Elenium and the Tamuli]] up to that point goes on for around 20 pages.
* ChildhoodBrainDamage: The main characters meet a secondary, clearly handicapped character who was kicked in the head when young by a cow.
* ChivalrousPervert: Almost every time the party stops in a tavern Kalten takes a pass at the barmaids. Ulath just may be a bigger pervert, though it's more of an InformedAbility with him because we don't actually see him doing it, just read about it later.
* ChosenOne: Anakha, Bhelliom's chosen one. [[spoiler:That's Sparhawk to the rest of you.]]
* ChurchMilitant: The Church Knights, four holy orders of highly trained magic-using soldiers intended to defend the Church.
* CityOfGold: Matherion isn't quite gold, but the entire city is covered in polished nacre tiles that shine like a rainbow. Played with in that any time there's an earthquake or a brisk wind, some of the tiles fall off and the city looks like it has the pox. And the Empire subsequently goes through a financial crisis from buying new tiles.
-->"Behold!" Oscagne intoned quite formally. "Behold the seat of beauty and truth! Behold the home of wisdom and power! Behold fire-domed Matherion, the centre of the world!"
* CluelessChickMagnet:
** Berit, especially in ''Tamuli''. Someone wonders if they should tell him, only to be shushed by ALL the women present. Apparently, his innocent cluelessness is part of his attractiveness.
** Inverted by Bevier, who's attractive and knows it, but is pitching at the priesthood one day and refuses to act on it.
* ColdIron: Anathema to Bhelliom, so that any simple, mundane sword can destroy it, though doing so might obliterate the planet. Styrics and their gods also avoid iron, using bronze when metal tools are necessary, but this seems to be a cultural peculiarity rather than a weakness. It's revealed near the climax of the Tamuli that the Styric gods are actually sensitive to magnetism, and the way iron distorts magnetic fields is an extremely uncomfortable sensation for them, often described by Aphrael as "making my skin crawl".
* CooldownHug: Delivered by [[HiddenDepths Kalten]] to Sephrenia in ''The Shining Ones''. Given that he's a trained warrior, big enough to make three of her and knows she would never escalate her attempts to get out over scratching him and ineffectually hitting his chest, she doesn't have much choice but to give in eventually.
* CorruptChurch: The Elene Church was this in the past, which led to several factions breaking away and creating the Eshandists and the churches in the Elene kingdoms of Daresia. Some churchmen, notably [[SmugSnake Makova]], are still corrupt, but there are others who aren't.
* CrapsackWorld: Largely averted; though there are some hints at it in the settings, the people occupying them are pretty normal. Cimmura's a notable example setting-wise in that it's a polluted mess that's constantly being doused in rain, but it's also home to Ehlana, Sparhawk and a guild of NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters.
** Zemoch during the reign of Otha is described this way. Basically a cross between Mordor and the USSR.
* CriticalResearchFailure: An in-universe example: all the Trolls leave Thalesia in the Tamuli. Turns out [[spoiler:Cyrgon summoned them to do his bidding because ''[[YouFailBiologyForever he thought they were Dawn-Men (the ancestors of both Trolls and humans).]]'']]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath:
** Mirtai is very good at causing these, especially in her {{Backstory}}, including ripping the guts out of a pair of murderers while they were still alive and leaving them to ''burn to death in a blazing house with their guts around their feet.'' The other [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Atans]] encourage this. Justified because the guys in question had her owner killed.
** Hilariously subverted when in the end of ''The Hidden City'' she kills a man by throwing him out a window. Kalten asks what she did, she tells him "I defenestrated him" and he, believing that "defenestrating" means something much worse, tells her that it's a terrible thing to do to a man until she clears up the meaning.
** Sephrenia threatens a particularly obstinate Styric with this in the form of the "death spell," even going so far as to begin the incantation for it. Aphrael quickly chastises her with a reminder that she won't let Sephrenia cast that spell. Sephrenia just as quickly points out that he doesn't know that.
*** It's unclear whether Sephrenia is forbidden to cast that spell ''at all'', or if it's just that Aphrael is unwilling to impose the death penalty for a bit of backtalk. If Sephrenia is able to cast the death spell in other circumstances and other gods would be more willing to punish blasphemy, that may have helped her bluff.
* CrystalPrison: inverted in that the inhabitant is only in there to keep her alive.This is more of a short term HumanPopsicle for [[spoiler:Queen Ehlana, to save her from the poison until they can find a cure]]
** [[spoiler:This is also the Bhelliom's form on Earth, as it was forced into a sapphire in order to escape being trapped in iron.]]
* CurbStompBattle:
** Nearly every primary and secondary warrior character comments on this after fighting [[spoiler: the Cyrgai]]. In fact almost the entire Tamuli proves to be a long-running series of these, with the heroes often commenting on how uncreative their opponents are. It's especially bad during the climax, when just about every battle is horrifically lopsided in favour of the heroes. Most notably [[spoiler: Sparhawk versus Cyrgon, and [[AGodAmI Anakha]] versus Zalasta]].
** In ''Domes of Fire'', both a party of mounted Atans and some of Bevier's knights are killed by Mooks with crossbows. Both are very, very angry, and it's pointed out that crossbows are [[GameBreakingBug game breakers]] in this world because they can effectively punch through any armour the knights have got. One of their next actions is to find the crossbow depository and take it out.
* CursedWithAwesome: An unusually literal case with the [[spoiler: Delphae]]. The apparent 'curse' aspect is controllable to the point of having off-switches, and it causes them to gradually develop greater magical abilities (all of it under their full control). Understandably, the Knights wonder why this counts as a ''curse'', until it is explained that there is a difference in the fundamental nature of enchantments and curses -- enchantments 'sing in the air', revealing their presence to anyone with magic nearby, while curses are quiet and dampen the 'sound' of magic around them. Since [[spoiler: the Delphae]] are trying to hide, a curse was the most appropriate -- even if it is only ''[[LoopholeAbuse technically]]'' a curse.
** Originally this case fit the trope more conventionally: the Delphae are innately nonviolent, which is why their god needed to give them an edge in the first place, but this means they aren't emotionally equipped for the horror of what their touch does. Having to actually use it tends to cause them massive despair.
* CuteMute: Flute. Subverted in that [[spoiler:she can talk but chooses not to until the second book]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: Though the specifics are often quite different, in BroadStrokes TheElenium can be thought of as a DarkerAndEdgier evolution or spiritual successor to ''TheBelgariad.''
* DeadpanSnarker:
** The entire Thalesian race. Most of the main cast gets this way at times, too. It's Eddings, what do you expect?
** Sarabian.
--> '''Berit''': Well, your Majesty, it was your wife, Elysoun - the one with the unusual costume.
--> '''Sarabian''': Yes, I'm acquainted with her.
* DecapitatedArmy: The Zemochs aren't really evil, and are happy to forgo any plans for war once Azash has been wiped out.
* DeliberatelyCuteChild: Aphrael could well be the [[Pantheon/TropePantheons Trope Pantheon's]] goddess of Deliberately Cute Children. It turns out the child act is more or less AFormYouAreComfortableWith - and Aphrael uses it entirely so people will pick her up and give her kisses. Her true form is actually quite adult and never clearly described save for her eyes and her [[InnocentFanserviceGirl lack of clothes.]]\\
\\
The kisses and such have an ulterior motive: they make those people love her. Bhelliom outright states he's afraid of her because of this, because she can essentially wrap anyone around her little finger, itself included.
* DepravedHomosexual: Baron Harparin, one of Annias' minions, who is a pedophile. He's universally detested by all the characters and the butt of constant snide remarks from friend and foe alike. It's pretty clear that it is his pedophilia that people find despicable, not his homosexuality. One of Mirtai's former owners averts this while unfortunately falling victim to BuryYourGays.
* TheDevilIsALoser:
** Azash presents a pretty good case. He may be the most evil of the Elder Gods, but he's also an emasculated IdiotBall-carrying buffoon locked inside a clay idol. His minions can be pretty scary, though.
** Cyrgon even more so. This is a guy who deliberately bred up a race of inbred musclemen who haven't changed in millennia.
** Also justified in both cases. Azash is more like a primordial, evil force of nature than a real character, while Cyrgon is essentially the god of unthinking stagnation, having designed his chosen people at the dawn of time and become so attached to them that he is unwilling to change them one iota. His conservativism is a deliberate choice; despite his dislike of innovation, he learns quickly in a fight.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: [[spoiler:Azash gets wiped out by Sparhawk and Bhelliom]] in the third book. The other gods are understandably quite terrified.
* DissonantSerenity: Sparhawk is more frightening when he gets quiet than when he rages and roars. Even more true with Bevier, whose faith cause leads him to take ''shockingly'' violent action once he is certain he is on firm theological and moral ground. At one point he not only ''decapitates'' a corrupt [[HiredGuns church soldier]] that refuses to let them pass, he then leads the man's terrified subordinates in chanting ''prayers for the dead man's soul''.
* TheDragon: Otha is technically this for Azash, but as he's physically not up to much Dragoning, Martel fills the role in the FinalBattle. [[spoiler: Later on, [[PhysicalGod Cyrgon]] is pressed into duty to serve as this to [[EldritchAbomination Klael]]]] after arrogantly summoning it.
** DragonInChief: Martel, arguably. He's ostensibly working for Annias, Otha, and ultimately Azash, but as the above consist of a SmugSnake, an idiot, and a near-mindless EldritchAbomination, he's the one whose schemes really drive the plot, ''and'' he has the [[ShadowArchetype personal connection to the hero]] to boot.
* TheDreaded: The Shining Ones are the acme of terror for Tamuls, to the extent that even the [[BadassArmy Atans]] refuse to face them unless absolutely necessary. Subverted; they turn out to be a race of [[PerfectPacifistPeople pacifistic]] {{Mary Sue}}s.
* DualAgeModes: Although Aphrael spends most of her time as a child, she can be an adult if she wants. Or [[MesACrowd both at the same time]].
* DumbBlonde: Subverted by [[ObfuscatingStupidity Melidere]].
* DumbMuscle:
** On the side of villainy: Adus, the Cyrgai, and Klael's {{Giant Mook}}s.
** Kalten also counts. Though when it comes to social intelligence, he is more shrewd than anyone but Sparhawk thinks.
* DyingTruce: The final duel scenes in this and ''The Tamuli'' both wrap up with Sparhawk delivering the fatal blow and then having a respectful (if short) conversation with the one he just killed.
* EldritchAbomination: All the Elder Gods are like this, apparently. Azash, as the worst of them, also crosses over to GodOfEvil, as he's evil by both the standards of mortals ''and'' other Eldritch Abominations. [[spoiler: Klael is as far beyond the other {{Eldritch Abomination}}s as they are beyond humans.]]
* ElectiveMute: Flute, for the first book and part of the second.
* TheEmperor: Otha, and the TooDumbToLive King of the Cyrgai. Sarabian is a ReasonableAuthorityFigure though.
* TheEmpire: Zemoch. Tamuli is a more benevolent version, and the Cyrgai ''used'' to be this, until the rest of the world caught up to them and ultimately left them in the dust.
* EndlessDaytime: Sparhawk accidentally causes this when he uses Bhelliom to help him catch up with Martel ... but leaves the ''method'' up to the Troll-Gods.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas:
** No matter how depraved he becomes, Martel never stops loving Sephrenia.
** Lycheas and Arissa obviously care for each other, as does Lycheas's father [[spoiler:Annias]], demonstrated when he goes out of his way to get the two rescued from imprisonment and brings them into exile in Zemoch when his plan goes south.
** Scarpa calls out for his mother while he [[spoiler: [[{{Gorn}} is melted into goo by the Delphaeic curse]] This is an interesting one, as he had his mother killed when he began his StartOfDarkness.]]
* EvilCounterpart:
** Martel, to Sparhawk.
** Klael to Bhelliom.
* EvilFormerFriend: [[spoiler: Zalasta]] becomes this to [[spoiler: Sephrenia]]
** Martel is this to Sparhawk.
* EvilIsNotAToy: Cyrgon, Cyrgon, Cyrgon. Summoning Klael, a being of infinite power and malevolence, capable of eating Gods for breakfast and picking its teeth with {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, and trying to control it and make it his minion? That's just asking for trouble.
* EvilSorcerer: Otha. Martel ''tried'' to be this in the Backstory, but got caught and most of his powers were stripped away. [[spoiler: Also Zalasta in the Tamuli]].
* {{Expy}}: Too many to count, mostly lifted from TheBelgariad.
* FalseFriend: [[spoiler: Zalasta]], to everyone who isn't [[spoiler: Sephrenia. To her, he ends up as an EvilFormerFriend.]]
* FantasticCatholicism: The Church of Chyrellos--except that there is no Christ figure, so it's essentially Judaism in Catholic clothes.
* FantasticRacism: The quickest way to piss off a Troll is to insinuate that he ''might'' be an Ogre. Also there's the Elenes and the Styrics, the Styrics and the Zemochs, the Styrics and the Delphae...
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** Not taken to the all-consuming extent of the Belgariad, but in general the Elenes are English and French, the Thalasians are Scandinavians, the Cammorians are sort of Italian, the Pelosians are Russians (with the Peloi being Cossacks or Mongols) and Lamorks are Germans, the Styrics are Jews (though their religion is more like pre-Christian paganism, and they have some Roma influences thrown in as well), the Tamuls are Chinese, the Cyrgai are the worst examples of Greco-Romanic culture (particularly Sparta), and the Rendors are Arabs.
** There are also a few Fantasy Counterpart Religions: the Church of Chyrellos is obviously the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of Astel and its leader are {{Expy}}s of Eastern Orthodoxy and the Patriarch of Constantinople, respectively. And while the Rendors look like Muslims, at least from a xenophobic Western perspective, the history of their breakaway sect sounds a lot like the formation of Protestantism.
* FatBastard: Otha. He hasn't had to actually move in centuries, to the point that he ''can't walk at all.'' Subverted by Platime, who despite his
criminal status is no worse than the protagonists.
* FateWorseThanDeath: The touch of the Delphae, aka the Shining Ones, is regarded as this by Tamuls in general, to the point that they're willing to accept certain death of almost any other cause to escape it.
* TheFettered: While generally unscrupulous in their tactics and unconcerned with most secular laws, the Church Knights are absolutely unwilling to break church law or disobey ecclesiastical orders, which allows Annias a NearVillainVictory, just because they aren't willing to simply assassinate him or reveal his atrocities without absolute proof.
* FingerInTheMail: In ''The Tamuli'', instructions to Sparhawk from Ehlana's kidnappers include a lock of her hair as verification.
* FireForgedFriends: Sparhawk and Ehlana's ancestors, whose families are bound together after they end up back to back on a battlefield butchering bandits left and right.
* FiveBadBand:
** The major human villains form one: [[SmugSnake Annias]] is a BigBadWannabe, [[MagnificentBastard Martel]] is his DragonInChief, [[ConMan Krager]] is the EvilGenius, [[DumbMuscle Adus]] is TheBrute, [[TheVamp Princess]] Arissa is TheDarkChick, and Lycheas is TheLoad. Alternately, one can sub in [[GodOfEvil Azash]] as TheBigBad, move Annias to the position of EvilGenius, and put [[TheEmperor Otha]] and Martel in as CoDragons. Martel still manages to be DragonInChief though.
** The villains in the sequel also form one: [[spoiler: [[EldritchAbomination Klael]]]] is TheBigBad, [[spoiler: [[PhysicalGod Cyrgon]]]] is TheDragon, [[spoiler: [[EvilSorceror Zalasta]]]] is TheEvilGenius, [[LargeHam Sabre]] and co. are TheDarkChick, and the alien army provides [[GiantMook the muscle]].
* FiveManBand:
** TheHero: Sparhawk.
** TheLancer: Kalten.
** TheSmartGuy: Kurik.
** TheChick: Sephrenia.
** TheBigGuy: Ulath/Tynian/Bevier/Berit.
** [[TagalongKid Tagalong Kids]]: Talen and Flute.
** Or, if you like, you could make the {{BigGuy}}s their own band-within-a-band: Tynian as the [[TheLancer Big Lancer]], Bevier as the [[TheSmartGuy Big Smart Guy]], Ulath as the [[TheBigGuy Big Guy Squared]], and Berit as the [[TheChick Big Chick]], with Sparhawk as the Big Hero.
** Alternately, Kurik could be considered TheLancer, with Sephrenia as TheSmartGuy and Kalten as PluckyComicRelief.
* {{Flanderisation}}: Kalten starts off Sparhawk's lifelong best friend and backup man; Sparkhawk's equal in general knowledge, raw cunning, and combat ability, but who never got the hang of magic because his talent with the Styric language is close to nil. This maintains throughout the first book, and after that Kalten begins a slide for being a big dumb guy who's somehow missed everyday information (like what a 'diagonal' is).
** And then subverted, as the last couple books demonstrate that Kalten may not be ''book'' smart, but he thinks fast on his feet and can be remarkably clever. He's also shown to actually be able to understand the gist of most Styric conversations, even if he can't hope to pronounce the words.
*** Ultimately, it's a case of Kalten discovering ObfuscatingStupidity. He hides his intelligence behind the fact that everyone expects him to be stupid. Except Sparhawk, who's his main companion in the first book; the more he's around people who aren't Sparhawk, the stupider he acts.
--->'''Sparhawk:''' Kalten, sometimes you amaze me.
--->'''Kalten:''' I know, this stupid-looking face of mine is very useful sometimes.
* FloweryElizabethanEnglish: Appears several times. All the speaking dead, whether they died centuries before or a few days before. A man playing a resurrected dead hero speaks this way, plagiarizing an old play. Also [[spoiler: Bhelliom speaks this way]].
* FolkHero: Sabre tries to be one of these in the Tamuli, but his Zorro act is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]], [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], [[ButtMonkey mocked]] and generally played completely for laughs, with all the heroes treating him as a figure of fun and a complete joke. And then he [[spoiler:[[SaveThePrincess kidnaps Ehlana and Alean]]]] in the last book. It's ''still'' played for laughs, with Scarpa and Krager ruthlessly mocking him nonstop. It is only fair, since Sabre had to have Krager help him with [[spoiler: the kidnapping]].
* FrazettaMan:
** The Trolls embody this stereotype almost to a T, to the point of being so primitive it's stated they'd have died off centuries ago if they weren't immortal.
** When [[TokenNonHuman Bhlokw]] the troll joins the party in the Tamuli the species gets a more thorough fleshing-out. Ulath and Tynian even get to like him. Now if only he'd stop [[EatTheDog Eating The Dog]]....
** Also the Dawn-Men, but that's different. In fact only [[spoiler:Cyrgon]] fails to grasp that a Troll is not a Dawn-Man.
* FriendVersusLover
* TheFundamentalist: Patriarch Ortzel, the arch-conservative Lamork churchman who's got his heart set on forbidding the Church Knights from using magic. But since he's not Annias everyone [[spoiler:except Ehlana]] gets behind him as the good guys' candidate for Archprelate. Thankfully, he gets CharacterDevelopment later and becomes more cosmopolitan.
* GeniusBruiser: Most of the knights come close, but Ulath is probably the best example, being seven feet tall and [[TheQuietOne silent]], yet possessed of remarkable intellectual depth, particularly in the fields of religious study, history, and folklore.
** Then there's Bhlokw, a Troll Priest who cheerfully engages Ulath in philosophical debate (such as [[spoiler:whether the Gods should still be morally obeyed if they've gone crazy)]].
* GentlemanThief: Played perfectly straight with Stragen. Or should I say, ''Milord'' Stragen? Averted with Platime, whose attempts to be gentlemanly are wholly comical.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: Klael shows up randomly in the final book of the second series and promptly takes over as BigBad. Once explained it makes sense, and anyone familiar with TheMalloreon could see something like that coming, but it was still rather jarring.
* GeneralFailure: Otha.
* {{Giant Mook}}s: Klael's alien army in The Tamuli.
* AGodAmI:
** At the end of ''The Hidden City'', [[spoiler:Sparhawk realizes that as Anakha, he has more power than most of the gods. But he decides he doesn't want the responsibility and gives it all up]].
** One conversation suggests that all mortal races are gradually evolving to become like Gods, with the Delphae taking an accelerated course.
* GodOfEvil: Azash [[spoiler:and Cyrgon]].
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: The Elene God does not do one single thing through both series, although he is acknowledged as being real, incredibly powerful, and really boring at parties. The members of his ChurchMilitant actually pray to the Styric gods for magical abilities he could easily grant them. Though one churchman suggests that maybe if they'd actually tried asking him to grant them powers they could have avoided the slight ''institutionalized heresy'' that their entire military wing is involved with.
** The Elene God is based on ''God'' of the Roman Catholic Church. Like the Roman Catholic God, you are just supposed to have faith that he's working behind the scenes with his "grand plan" beyond your understanding.
** [[FridgeBrilliance On the other hand,]] if one considers that worshippers seem to be similar to their Gods, the Elenes highly value ''free will''--as shown in Sparhawk's argument with Aphrael about her insistence in manipulating everyone's lives to her liking.
** Then there are the Tamul gods, who are too busy partying and acting like children to actually do anything. Most Tamuli have trouble remembering any of their names.
** Inverted with the Atan gods. They are real and probably as powerful as the Styric gods, and take a keen interest in their worshippers, but the Atans consider it disrespectful to ask the gods for things they could fix themselves. They do invoke the gods, but only for really important occasions like weddings and coming-of-age-ceremonies.
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly:
** The Elene god and Azash are probably the two most powerful deities in the world [[spoiler: not counting Bhelliom and Klael]] because they have so many worshippers; ordinary Styric gods like Aphrael are substantially weaker. In the Tamuli, at one point the conspirators [[DangerouslyGenresavvy try to starve Aphrael to death by killing off enough of her worshippers that she'll lose the power to sustain herself]].
** Aphrael states at one point that outside of human perception the air is positively littered with the ghosts of dead gods whose worshippers are all gone.
** It's also implied that this may be the reason that the Elene god has commanded His followers to believe only in Him: He's afraid of the others poaching his followers. Aphrael reveals that in order for the knightly orders to receive Styric assistance, the Styric gods had to agree not to convert any knights.
* GoneHorriblyRight:
** The Atans are the result of an [[SuperBreedingProgram extended breeding experiment]] intended to produce the ultimate {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s. They succeeded so perfectly that they were forced to sell themselves into slavery to the Tamuls to prevent their own overdeveloped killer instincts from killing off the entire race over, say, an [[SeriousBusiness argument over the weather]].
** The Delphae are a race that can kill with a touch thanks to a [[CursedWithAwesome curse]] from their god and are hated by most other races in existence. This is all part of their god's master plan.
** The Cyrgai were cursed so that they could not travel beyond the borders of their own nation, or they would die instantly. Cyrgon commanded that they immediately set about using their female slaves to breed an army that would be able to cross the border, as the slaves were not Cyrgai. In their zeal, the Cyrgai overlooked their own women and crossbred themselves into [[spoiler:borderline]] extinction.
* GoodScarsEvilScars:
** Inverted. Sparhawk's nose was broken and healed crooked, making him look cruel and ugly. Martel only has silver hair over a surprisingly youthful face.
** Kring is noted as having several serious scars on his face and scalp, but they're noted as evidence of the rather physical path to leadership in his tribe.
* HappinessInSlavery:
** Played with extensively with the Atans, who as a whole believe they must always be "slaves" and that a completely "free" Atan is a very, very bad thing. This is due to them being such a ProudWarriorRace that generational blood feuds can be started over a disagreement about the weather, and so they as a race offered themselves as slaves to the Tamuls. Although, their "slavery" consists entirely of them agreeing to not kill anyone without permission and serve as the Tamuls' army, which allows them to be warriors and have glorious battles, without bringing their race to the edge of extinction from everyone killing everyone else for the slightest reason. And the Atans are all happy with this arrangement.
** This is exemplified with Mirtai's case, where instead of the normal institutionalized slavery of her people, she was kidnapped and forced into a more personal slavery, and despite hating the more personal nature of her slavery (no, not ''that'' way) she repeatedly refused and scoffed at any attempt to free her by Ehlana after she became her "slave", always saying that it was impossible for her people to ever be free, normally followed by a long list of people Ehlana knows that Mirtai would have killed by now for some type of insult if she had been free.
*** To clarify, she tells Ehlana at one point that, had she been free, she would have killed a major character for the unpardonable sin of [[FelonyMisdemeanor allowing his shadow to touch her.]]
** It's worse than it sounds. A high-ranking Tamul official, outraged over Arjuni slave raids, once authorized a punitive Atan expedition into Arjuna--without giving them any limits. They actually hanged the King and drove his subjects into the southern jungles, thus starting an economic crisis. It took centuries to convince the Arjuni to emerge from their hiding place.
** Alean, in a way. As a servant girl, she has no complaints about her indentured status other than her first employer (a noble notorious for his misdeeds, including raping his servants) and the fact that she and Kalten can't get married due to her common status.
* HarmlessVillain: Otha. Despite being the most powerful sorcerer in Zemoch and the mastermind behind the catastrophic invasion of the West, he's a FatBastard who can barely galvanize a corpse properly, as that would take ''thought''. Sure, he fought Sephrenia on a pretty even basis, but it's implied that slinging attack spells is not a complicated concept.
* HealItWithBooze: In the first book, Sparhawk does first aid on one of his companions by scrubbing the wound out with some cheap wine before bandaging it. When he gets back to base, Sephrenia, the team's medic/sorceress, is less than impressed.
* HeroicBastard: Talen and Stragen. Arguably Platime as well, considering that he's both one of the good guys and a self-admitted, unrepentant career criminal.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Tynian and Ulath.
* HiddenDepths:
** Melidere is introduced as Ehlana's lady-in-waiting, a baroness who is very intelligent but who knows that many feel threatened by intelligent, beautiful young women and so acts vacant because it's a good way to pick up information. It's revealed in ''The Shining Ones'' that she's also a criminal (her father shaved the edges of coins and re-milled them in order to create a rather significant fortune, and Melidere kept up the work).
** Kalten as well. In a two minute span, he manages to slip coded messages to Ehlana that he knows she and Alean are there, and that he, Caalador, and Bevier are all in disguise nearby. Ehlana even says that he passed more information than Sparhawk could have in an hour.
** Alean herself: a shy, demure servant girl who nonetheless comes up with a brilliant idea for safeguarding documents from the enemy (and then a way of spotting the forged documents that the heroes are looking for) while also enthralling Kalten, whose love-life has hitherto consisted of hitting on local barmaids, into settling down and becoming a proper husband.
* HiddenWeapons: Mirtai is always armed, to the point where she carries a spoon with the handle sharpened to the point of being a shiv. Special mention is made of her being "not visibly armed" at Ehlana's wedding.
* HideAndNoSeek:
** In the ''Tamuli'', Mirtai is telling her life-story as part of a 'ritual of passage into adulthood', and when she gets to a certain point, she asks Danae to fetch her some water, since all the talking has made her thirsty. Naturally, this heralds the beginning of a slightly more sordid part of her tale, which wasn't really appropriate for children.
** {{Lampshaded}} when Danae returns with the water and asks Mirtai if she has finished with the part that Danae isn't allowed to hear.
* HolyGround: From ''The Tamuli'', there is a concern that an Elene-style church has been consecrated (it hasn't).
* HorsingAround: Sir Sparhawk's horse Faran. Faran is infamous for his bad temper and a tendency to bite strangers (such that Sparhawk always has to warn handlers about it). In one of the later books, the child-goddess Aphrael tells Sparhawk that Faran only has a bad temper because he is trying to please Sparhawk by matching his personality. Much to Sparhawk's annoyance, Faran has a habit of prancing dramatically whenever Sparhawk rides him with his formal armour on. The horse is also remarked upon to be unusually intelligent, to the point of understanding Sparhawk's speech and having memorized the ritual entry into a Pandion Chapterhouse as well as Sparhawk has.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: [[spoiler:Sparhawk and Ehlana.]]
* HypocriticalHumor: A RunningGag in the Tamuli is [[GentlemanThief Stragan's]] infuriation [[ObfuscatingStupidity with Baroness Melidere]], one of Queen Ehlana's closest friends. She acts as, in Stragan's words, [[DumbBlonde "She makes it seem as if the light in her eyes is the sun streaming through the hole in the back of her head."]] He flat out says "I hate dishonest people." [[DontExplainTheJoke This coming from the]] [[ThievesGuild leader of all the criminals in the capital of Thalesia.]]
* IdiotSavant: Adus, when it comes to small-unit tactics.
* IfICantHaveYou: [[spoiler: Zalasta to Sephrenia]] He stabs her and then tells her "I love you."
* IKissYourHand: The standard greeting among Styrics.
* ISeeDeadPeople:
** Sephrenia gets regular visits from the ghosts of several Pandion knights, while Sparhawk shares a little chat with [[spoiler:the ghost of King Aldreas]].
** During the second book Tynian reveals himself as a {{Necromancer}} and goes around raising ghosts to help the party find Bhelliom. Sephrenia knows how it's done too, but she's TheChick, and thus claims (truthfully or not) that she's not strong enough to wrangle up ghosts. Given that necromancy is almost literally wrestling the dead into submission, she has a point.
* ImmuneToFate:
** The gods can see the destiny of every mortal, except one: [[spoiler:Sparhawk]]. He's known as the Anakha, meaning "without destiny". This made the gods so nervous they considered killing him before he was even born.
** Eventually it is revealed that [[spoiler:Sparhawk]] is immune because he was infused with the power of Bhelliom, an elemental force older and stronger than any god. Even while that power was dormant, it was so great that no god could see his future.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Bevier, with some variation. He behaves like the perfect devout knight, prays on a regular basis, feels guilty thinking about women... But as soon as he's certain that killing someone is morally justifiable, people who get in his way get to know what the business end of his giant lochaber axe feels like.
** Berit in the Tamuli. His innocence is what draws Elysoun to him, despite his protestations against sleeping with a married woman (her culture has no taboo against adultery). He also doesn't understand innuendo, setting up a swordsmanship demonstration for the Atan ladies who wanted to learn more about "Elene weaponry". [[spoiler:Eventually subverted; after Sparhawk gives him a talk about how sex really isn't that big a deal, he gives in to Elysoun's charms and even becomes a little jealous when she tells him she's sleeping around with other men as well.]]
* IncrediblyLamePun: "The Baron Harparin was so pleased that he completely lost his head."
* InsaneTrollLogic: From an actual Troll God no less. The reason that Tynian and Ulath can be in the "time of broken moments" and be jumped slightly through time so they exist in only the smallest, tiniest fraction of every moment rendering them unable to be seen/heard by anyone else, and yet perfectly see and understand everyone else they are trying to spy on? Because the Troll God Ghnomb thinks it works that way.
* KarmaHoudini: Arguably, Martel. Sure he dies, but it's a quick death after a fair fight, with the two people he cares about most by his side. In his own words, it's almost as good as a formal deathbed. And this after bringing untold suffering out of pure spite and greed. None of his victims died so well.
** Subverted with Krager. He gets away scot-free after helping the bad guys in the ''Elenium'' and he gets away scot-free after helping the bad guys in the ''Tamuli''. Once characters start complaining about that at the end of the ''Tamuli'', it is revealed that what he did ''not'' get away scot-free from was [[spoiler: drinking a lot of alcohol over the years. He's probably less than a year from death at the end of ''The Hidden City'', and the only reason he's not really suffering is that he's so delirious he wouldn't even notice someone stabbing him to death]].
* KickTheSonOfABitch: [[spoiler: How Zalasta treats his bastard son Scarpa.]]
* KnightInShiningArmor: Bevier. All the Cyrinic Knights are generally like this, what with the burnished armor, white surcoats, and such, but Bevier plays it completely straight.
* KnightInSourArmor: Sparhawk, of course, though most of the other knights fall into this territory.
* LamarckWasRight: Despite being a generation younger than his father, Khalad can do everything Kurik can do and immediately fills the squire role upon arrival. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because Khalad's family have [[LegacyOfService always been squires for the various generations of Sparhawks]] and he's just following the tradition. In fairness, Eddings does give Khalad his own personality, but there really is a lot of Kurik there.
* LargeHam:
** Sabre, who certainly ''tries'' to affect the mannerisms of a MagnificentBastard, but suffers from the fact that the closest he's ever come to the real deal is in old epics. The result is so thoroughly over-the-top and cliche that Sparhawk is amazed the guy's for real the first time he sees him. [[spoiler: Of course, he's just a little fish in the grand scheme of things]].
** Then there's Lilias, who only makes one appearance but puts on one ridiculously hammy show for her neighborhood with Sparhawk until their performance resembles a badly-written romance novel. Also, GagBoobs.
** Aren't we forgetting Bevier as [[PsychoForHire a one-eyed mercenary?]] He admitted to being an actor during his schooling, but I doubt he'd make it as a professional.
** Faran, whenever Sparhawk is in his armor.
** Even Sparhawk gets in on this when he is talking to Arasham, posing as a loyal disciple while pumping the old man for information.
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap: At least until the story shifts to Tamul, where it become a ''right''-justified fantasy map.
* LetsFightLikeGentlemen: The final duel between Sparhawk and Martel fits the bill. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the book constantly drives home that Sparhawk and Martel are evenly matched and both of them want to find out who's truly better. Once the outcome is certain, Martel admits he never had any doubts. [[spoiler: On his deathbed.]]
* LittleMissAlmighty: Aphrael, the Child Goddess
* LoadBearingBoss: After Azash and Otha are killed, the city of Zemoch starts to slowly fall apart as though thousands of years of attrition hit it all at once. It's less of a spectacular collapse and more of an accelerated decay.
* LoveableRogue: Talen. Oh so very Talen. Stragen also fits the bill.
* LoveHungry: Aphrael.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: [[spoiler:Zalasta]] really, ''really'' wants to win over [[spoiler:Sephrenia]].
* MagicKnight:
** Of the "Paladin" variety, although Pandions are more "Good but grey on the side of practicality." Technically all Church Knights are taught magic, but individual skills vary. In practice, Sparhawk does most of it. For extra special fun, the god who gives them magic powers is ''not'' the god they worship. [[spoiler:Aphrael is working on it, though.]] The Church is aware of this, but prefers not to talk about it.
** Subverted with Kalten, who's been taught by Sephrenia but is unable to make magic work and isn't ashamed to admit it. He just can't pronounce the Styric words, much less manage to think completely in Styric as necessary to cast spells. This is brought up as a joke every now and then.
* TheManBehindTheMan:
** [[spoiler:Sure, Annias looks like the real villain, but his whole scheme was Martel's baby all along.]]
** [[spoiler:Krager]] in the sequels.
** And [[spoiler: Zalasta.]]
* MayDecemberRomance: Sparhawk has got a good 20 to 30 years on [[spoiler:Ehlana]]. [[spoiler: And Sephrenia is ''considerably'' older than Vanion. Like, orders of magnitude older.]]
* MayflyDecemberRomance: While this doesn't quite appear, the foundation is firmly set for [[spoiler: Aphrael and Talen]].
* MedievalStasis: [[AvertedTrope Averted]] for the most part. The history behind the Elene kingdoms includes bronze-age warriors and the discovery of iron, and when the [[spoiler:Cyrgai]] show up in the second series they're all wearing bronze-age equipment and using antiquated phalanx tactics. Also, the borders of Cynesga have changed dramatically over time.
* MegatonPunch: Berit delivers one of these when Talen's BrattyHalfPint act starts to wear on the group. He throws in a punt for good measure.
* {{Mordor}}: Zemoch is a classic example.
* MrExposition: Every major character fills this role at one point or another, but the worst offender is Xanetia. At one point in The Shining Ones, she [[spoiler:reads the mind]] of TheChessmaster of the other side, and then explains exactly what he has been doing behind the scenes for the entirety of both trilogies to that point. In excruciating detail. In YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe. For about three chapters.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: Basically what happens whenever Kalten tries to speak Styric. Happens again when he is learning Tamul: he tries to say "smile" but it comes out wishing for a person's teeth to rot away. Also happens to Sparhawk in the first book when he magicks up a bouquet of flowers for Sephrenia but comes this close to conjuring up a handful of snakes.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Martel's name could be a historical ShoutOut to Charles Martel, a Frankish duke who stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe in the eighth century by using cunning, pragmatism and adaptability. [[EliteMooks And heavy professional infantry.]] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours.
* {{Narm}}: In universe example. In the Tamuli, a funeral ends up being a source of laughter as the priest delivering the eulogy couldn't keep a straight face, as the deceased [[spoiler:Prince Regent Avin Wargunson's skin was dyed purple from being drowned in red wine, and the people preparing the body couldn't get the wine out.]].
* NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters: Platime is one of these. Sure, he's committed almost every crime in the book, but not treason - and besides, he loves the Queen and pays his taxes!
** He's also never practiced witchcraft, committed barratry, or had carnal knowledge of an animal. [[SarcasmMode Truly, a virtuous man.]]
* NeverLearnedToRead: Sephrenia, by choice. She doesn't want to start thinking in Elene, so she doesn't want to learn to read it just to be on the safe side. We find out in the ''Tamuli'' that she '''can''' read Styric. She's just been letting everyone think Styric doesn't have a written form.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Possibly averted. The trolls aren't harmed by eating [[spoiler:the Klael-soldiers]], but they find the taste absolutely foul, and they probably gained no nutrition from it.
** ''Definitely'' averted in the case of [[spoiler:the Klael-soldiers' problems in Earth's atmosphere]].
* NoGuyWantsAnAmazon: Utterly averted by Kring, who worships Mirtai from the moment he sees her. In fact, the only worry he has about her is how the women of his tribe will react to dealing with such a strong-willed outsider. Also subverted in her past, as she had to ward off numerous rape attempts before becoming Ehlana's slave.
* NoLovesIntersect: Largely played straight, especially in the Tamuli. Averted, though, in the last book of the Elenium when Berit falls head over heels for [[spoiler:Ehlana]]. It leads to an undercurrent of extended tension between him and Sparhawk. Fortunately Sparhawk is able to defuse it.
* ObfuscatingStupidity:
** [[spoiler: As she points out huffily, Sephrenia and other Styrics aren't nearly so simple as they appear. She's fully trained in logic (though she prefers intuition); she ''can'' read (just not Elene, as noted above), and she deliberately downplayed her own immense powers while in Elenia to avoid appearing too threatening.]]
** [[spoiler: She]]'s not the only one. [[spoiler: Flute/Aphrael, Emperor Sarabian, and to an extent Bhelliom itself all qualify. Cyrgon's an interesting case, because his stupidity is genuine but a conscious choice stemming from his role as a god of unchanging militarism and tyranny; when push comes to shove, he ''can'' learn if he has to.]]
** Also, Kalten. He really isn't very good at academic pursuits, including magic, but he's surprisingly sharp behind his exaggerated loveable oaf persona.
*** This is best exemplified in ''The Hidden City'' when Kalten, Caalador, and Bevier infiltrate Natayos to see if Ehlana and Alean are there. When Alean recognizes the disguised Kalten [[SpottingTheThread by how he walks]], and Ehlana tells her to sing, he recognizes her voice... and immediately begins whistling a counterpoint to let them know he heard. Then he strikes up a conversation with the guards so he can slip in references to Caalador's accent and Bevier's axe. Ehlana herself calls him a "treasure" whom Alean should never let go of, since he gave them far more information than Sparhawk ever could have.
*** He is also the only one who is able to [[spoiler:help Sephrenia deal with Zalasta's betrayal]].
** Melidere, one of Ehlana's ladies in waiting, puts on the show of a DumbBlonde, while the truth is that Ehlana keeps her around for her brains.
* TheObiWan: Kurik is one of these. He's older than Sparhawk, more skilled than basically all the Church Knights, and the heroes defer to him more often than not. [[spoiler:And then he dies. He comes back in spirit a couple of times, whenever Aphrael takes the knights to the ocean cliff where they throw away and retrieve Bhelliom. During the retrieval]] Sparhawk has black spots appear in front of his eyes because he forgets to breathe. Kurik bashes him on the shoulder and calls him an idiot. [[spoiler:Cracking put down from a dead guy!]]
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The government of the Tamuli in regard to their 'absolute power' Emperor. He comments that he has to look out the window to get an accurate weather report.
* OhCrap:
** From ''The Tamuli'', "This is [[spoiler:Prince]] Sparhawk, the man who [[spoiler:destroyed the Elder God Azash]], and you've just insulted his wife." The listener reacts appropriately... by running for his life.
** Sephrenia's reaction when Sparhawk suggests killing [[spoiler:Azash.]]
* OldRetainer: Kurik, who has been Sparhawk's squire for all of Sparhawk's life, and has repeatedly turned down knighthood in spite of kicking knightly arse on a regular basis in favour of remaining a squire. Sparhawk comments that Kurik is as much a part of him as his hands.
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: In ''The Shining Ones'', Sephrenia, who has been established as largely non-violent, begins to spout racial hatred toward the Delphae and pretty much begs the others to kill them. Turns out [[spoiler: she thinks they killed her family.]]
** The narrator also gets a spot of OOC: most of the action is narrated using informal modern English. During Sparhawk's final confrontation with Zalasta in ''The Hidden City'', the narration abruptly shifts to stilted English in a hyper-formal register, and a few pages later, the reader discovers why.
* OrcusOnHisThrone: Otha, justified by the fact that he's largely incapable of ''getting up off'' said throne by now.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent:
** The Elder Gods are implied to have created several races of these as servants; the only ones the reader ever meets are [[KillItWithFire the Balrog-esque Damorks]] and the [[BigCreepyCrawlies insectile]] {{Scarily Competent Tracker}}s called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Seekers]]. There are also otherworldly monsters that serve [[spoiler: Klael]] and show up in the Tamuli, but its unclear if they really qualify as "demons" or not.
** Bhelliom stated the [[spoiler:Klael-soldiers]] are in fact [[spoiler:HumanoidAliens from one of Klael's planets]]. They're pretty badass; if they weren't [[spoiler:methane-breathers who wear out quickly in an Earth-like atmosphere]] things might have gone poorly. Fortunately, Khalad noticed their little quirk and was [[ImpressivePyrotechnics more than happy to exploit this]].
* {{Panacea}}: Any magical object presumably would work as a cure for Ehlana's ailment. Alas, magical objects are very rare in this world, as a creation of one requires for a god to permanently sacrifice part of their power. The protagonists eventually procure the Bhelliom [[spoiler:which, it turns out, isn't a magical object, but a creator of their world imprisoned in stone]].
* PaperThinDisguise: The monastery Sparhawk returns to in Rendor seems innocent enough to the actual Rendors. Everyone else knows it's [[spoiler:full of Cyrinic Knights there to spy on the Eshandists]].
* PetTheDog:
** Martel gets one of these moments when Annias calls Sephrenia a witch, prompting Martel to grab him by the collar and threaten him with things much worse than Sparhawk could ever do should he ever talk trash about "my little mother" again. While it's DisproportionateRetribution,it's also a sign that Martel still cares about Sephrenia even after everything he's done.
** There is also his [[spoiler:genuine sadness to learn that Kurik had been killed, for he had the same level of respect for the squire that most knights had.]]
** [[spoiler: Krager]] of all people to [[spoiler: Ehlana and Alean, after they've been mistreated by Scarpa.]]
** [[spoiler:Zalasta]] even gets one, when he [[spoiler:apologizes to Ehlana after Scarpa's mistreatment of her and Alean, and during Ehlana's captivity he ensures that she is treated well and converses with her daily.]] Not that it makes the reader care about him after [[spoiler:he stabs Sephrenia in the heart.]]
* PhysicalGod:
** Aphrael and Azash, not to mention the Styric pantheon and [[spoiler:Cyrgon]]. On top of them, Bhelliom and [[spoiler:Klael]].
** Also the troll-gods. The Elene god is implied to be this as well, though he never puts in a personal appearance.
* PlanetOfHats: Generally averted in the first series, though the Pelosians do wear literal funny hats. The second series plays it straight: the Tamuls are lazy administrators, the Atans are gigantic warriors, the Styrics are wizards, the eastern Elenes are melodramatic slave owners, the Arjuni are slave traders, the Tegans are mind-numbingly boring, the Cynesgans are evil mongrel people, and the Valesians are free-love nudists.
* PlatonicProstitution: Early on in the very first book, Sparhawk hires a prostitute because he wants to eavesdrop on some minor villains who are meeting in the room next to hers. The prostitute, a HookerWithAHeartOfGold who enjoys her work, considers herself to owe him a raincheck, which she reminds him about whenever they meet.
* PoorCommunicationKills: One of the Eshandist leaders had a problem being understood; when he yelled at his fanatic followers, "Fall upon your foes!" they heard "Fall upon your swords!" He spent the next several years wondering why he lost.
* PowerGlows: The Delphae. [[spoiler:Bhelliom and Klael in their true forms, too.]]
* PreventTheWar: After Sparhawk destroys Azash, the heroes are at pains to prevent King Wargun from launching a genocidal war against Zemoch anyway, despite the Zemochs being entirely nonthreatening without the lash of their dark god.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: The Atans and the Cyrgai, who both suffer from cultural Idiot Balls to greater or lesser extent (the Atans never back down from a fight, no matter how unlikely they are to win it; the Cyrgai are completely incapable of change.) [[spoiler: If you're wondering, Atans beat Cyrgai, hands down]].
** See HappinessInSlavery above; the Atans are so content to live exclusively as warriors that they willingly and intentionally enslaved their entire race to ensure their survival.
* PsychoForHire: Adus, Martel's [[TheBrute Brute]] and walking battle axe. In The Tamuli Bevier does an amazingly {{Large Ham}}my impression of one.
* PunchClockVillain: Krager, who's just in it for the booze.
** In the Tamuli, Krager [[spoiler:gets a MookPromotion and reveals himself as TheManBehindTheMan and the one really in league with the Cyrgai.]]
* RapeAsBackstory:
** This happened to Alean repeatedly, much to Kalten's consternation.
** Averted with Mirtai, whose old master tries to rape her and [[EyeScream pays for it]]. [[{{Gorn}} A lot]].
* ReallyGetsAround:
** Princess Arissa, who's literally slept with most of Cimmura, including King Aldreas (her ''brother'') [[spoiler:and Annias - the latter when she was twelve years old]].
** Elysoun is technically this in the Tamuli, though since she's also MsFanservice it's played for laughs. And FetishFuel, of course.
*** The difference between the two is that Elysoun does it because it isn't a sin in her culture. Arissa does it because it ''is'' a sin in her culture.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: The knights constantly ask about Sephrenia's real age. It quickly becomes a RunningGag.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: There are several, but Dolmant stands out. While corruption is far from universal in the church, he stands out above the rest in his honesty. Vanion and the other leaders of the Knightly orders also qualify.
* RecruitedFromTheGutter: Talen starts out as a street thief and is brought into the travelling group by Sparhawk after [[SinisterMinister Annias]] finds out he's been spying on his behalf. He later ends up a royal page (and Pandion novice-to-be) in the ''Tamuli''. Although [[spoiler: at least part of Sparhawk's motive is to keep [[SacrificialLion Kurik]]'s son safe.]]
* RedshirtArmy:
** The soldiers of the Church of Chyrellos might be a lampshade of this; they barely qualify as mooks, and they wear ''red tunics''.
** [[spoiler: The Cyrgai.]]
** [[spoiler:When confronted by Klael's giant alien warriors, even the Atans and the Church Knights fall into this catagory.]]
* ReligionOfEvil: Worshippers of Azash seem to literally ''worship'' evil (or at least, what we miserable mortals see as evil), while the religion of Cyrgon exists to prop up a militaristic totalitarian state.
* ReligionIsMagic: Played with in that the Church Knights' magic doesn't come from the Elene God, but from the Styric pantheon. For reference, your average Elene peasant thinks nothing of burning down Styric villages and massacring them all. Nobody stops to consider that the Elene God might grant the same kind of magic to the Church Knights. In fact Sephrenia calls the Archprelate out on it.
** It is noted that the Styric gods granting magic to the Church Knights had to agree not to try to convert their knights. Since [[spoiler: Stragen]] is not a Church Knight and has no intention of becoming a Church Knight, his use of magic based on knowing Styric and being observant around Pandion Knights inadvertently more-or-less swears him to Aphrael (he basically reacts by shrugging and saying there are worse gods that could have happened with).
* {{Retcon}}: In ''The Sapphire Rose'', Sephrenia is outraged at Mirtai referring to Ehlana as her owner and seems not to know much about the Atans or the Daresian continent. It's revealed in ''The Shining Ones'' that Sephrenia is from Astel originally, and even though she spends a lot of time away from the Daresian continent, it just seems unlikely that she wouldn't have heard of the Atans or their status as slaves, especially as they also guard the Styric city of Sarsos. It is possible, however, that because Sephrenia was concealing the existence of Sarsos, her true education, and the nature of the Styric people, she had to adopt such an attitude since she otherwise couldn't prove how she knew of the Atans and their slavery. Not seeming to know much about Daresia also falls under her ObfuscatingStupidity act.
*** It's possible that she was shocked to see an Atana in ''personal'' slavery in Eosia, as opposed to the ''institutional'' slavery that the Atans live in under the Tamuls.
** In ''The Ruby Knight'', Berit spends quite some time swimming around in a lake during the search for the Bhelliom. In ''Domes of Fire'', Sparhawk makes a remark to the effect that he isn't sure Berit knows how to swim. Huh.
** In ''The Sapphire Rose'', the box in which the Bhelliom is placed [[spoiler:before being thrown into the ocean]] is described as being made of steel (to restrain the jewel's power) and lined with gold (to conceal its presence), and is secured with a keyless padlock. In ''The Shining Ones'', upon [[spoiler:being retrieved]], the box is described as being made of gold and having no keyhole or padlock.
** In ''The Ruby Knight'', Sephrenia refers to the Troll Gods as "wise". Later, in the Tamuli, Xanetia says that the five Troll Gods combined have the intellect of a 5 year old child.
* RetiredBadass: Vanion in the second series. His anecdotal CrowningMomentOfAwesome may arguably be when he, a battered old man not far removed from being saved from his deathbed, challenges ''the entire population of Sarsos'' to a race to prove a point about their lack of physical fitness. He gets out to a big lead until he trips in a rabbit hole and sprains his ankle. ''And he still wins.''
* RevengeBeforeReason: This might as well be Lamorkand's national motto. The entire country is in a constant state of turmoil because landowners will go to war at the drop of the hat.
* RollInTheHay: Kurik strongly implies that his eldest was conceived in this manner, and later, while visiting his farm, he and his wife (whom he had not seen for several months) enter the scene with him muttering that the boys need to do better at weeding the thistles out of the hay.
* RoyalDecree: The written variation. The Council are about to destroy it... until they're reminded that destroying a royal decree is punished by death.
** Becomes a circular argument with a Cynesgan border guard. Sparhawk presents a decree from Sarabian granting their party passage through all borders in the Empire. The guard believes it is a fake and asserts that it is punishable by death to forge a royal decree, and Sparhawk retorts that it is punishable by death to ignore one. He reasons that one of them is about to be in big trouble. [[spoiler:The guard, it turns out. The Knights kill all the border guards when they realize that the delay is so reinforcements can arrive.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Mostly used realistically. The royals play pivotal roles as leaders in many events, but only rarely get their hands dirty. Subverted hilariously by King Soros of Pelosia, who comes along for the ride with TheCavalry but spends so much time praying it's up to Patriarch Bergsten to run the show.
* RunningGag: Several, some of which spread across both trilogies:
** Sparhawk often shudders at the theologial ramifications of various actions/events.
** Sparhawk never remembers to oil his equipment, leading to it getting rusty.
** [[BlatantLies Wine is only kept around by various churchmen for medicinal purposes.]]
** '''Sephrenia:''' "Elenes..."
* SacrificialLion: For the entire trilogy, we've seen that [[spoiler:Kurik]] is a match for any of the knights, and indeed instructed several of them in combat. This makes it especially jarring when he is unceremoniously slaughtered by Adus.
* SafetyInMuggles
* SapientSteed: Faran is not only foul-tempered and fond of showing off, he's also very intelligent. Aphrael once remarked Faran acts the way he does because that's what Sparhawk expects in his steed.
* [[SaveThePrincess Save The Queen]]: The plot of the first two and a half books. Makes a reappearance in the final novel as well.
* ScaryImpracticalArmor: When Sparhawk and company reach Zemoch they find a horde of [[spoiler:undead]] soldiers wearing this. It gives them pause until they realize it's worse than useless. Apparently the Zemochs saw fully-armoured Church Knights bearing down on them during the last war but didn't understand the point of plate mail. They only knew it was really damn scary, so they started making armour designed entirely to intimidate.
** Of course, this also relates to a somewhat extended CrowningMomentOfFunny, as Sephrenia points out how pathetic it is that the entire Elene world is shaking over their boots over a complete moron who can't even think of a decent purpose to [[spoiler:create the above undead.]], and also as Talen gives a hilarious suggestion to Berit [[DisasterDominoes as to what to do after they pass said soldiers...]]
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: The Seekers of Azash.
* SealedGoodInACan: [[spoiler: Bhelliom is a (mostly) benevolent and very powerful creator of the world]].
* SealedEvilInACan:
** Azash, who was sealed inside a clay idol of himself. He did find some ways around this, however--it turns out his spirit can enter ''any'' identical idol as well, and he had a huge temple-fortress built around the original.
** [[spoiler: The Cyrgai later on are more like Sealed Evil In A City.]]
** [[spoiler:KlŠl]] is sorta this (although the can is a form of a mountain-sized monster). In its real form it's much more powerful eternal spirit of destruction, but series of mishaps made it stuck as a giant monster.
* SedgwickSpeech: In the midst of the big siege in the third book [[DeceptiveDisciple Ulesim]] gets up in front of the Rendors and delivers a huge speech about attacking the city relentlessly. And then Kurik nails him between the eyes with a crossbow bolt in mid-sentence. The ensuing chatter is a minor CrowningMomentOfFunny.
* SemiDivine: The Delphaes in ''The Shining Ones'' started as humans but now are slowly evolving into gods. As a result, they possess awesome powers, but they can also melt alive anyone who gets too close to them. Eventually, they fully evolve into gods and leave the earth forever.
* ServantRace: The Cynesgans started existence as a race of literal bastards, born from women raped by Cyrgai soldiers. They were pressed into service as cannon fodder and scapegoats and later purposefully bred by the Cyrgai in an attempt to create an army immune to the curse that kept pure-blooded Cyrgai from leaving their own lands.
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Ehlana, as Sparhawk quickly discovers.
* ShipperOnDeck: Aphrael, about midway through the ''Tamuli''.
* ShoutOut / {{Homage}}: The entire subplot involving Ghasek in ''The Ruby Knight'' (involving the ChekhovsGunman Bellina no less) could have been lifted straight out of a HammerHorror movie. The terrified people in the nearby village, the HatePlague-infected minstrel, the creepy forest setting with its chilling moonlight, the haunted castle, the discovery in the basement, the FateWorseThanDeath for Bellina in the end--it has it all. And it was incredibly effective, disturbing, and a major source of horror to some.
** It is also a ShoutOut to Real Life serial killer [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erzebet_Bathory Countess Elizabeth Bathory]], who [[spoiler: kept a TortureCellar in her castle and was eventually condemned to be walled up in her quarters.]]
** The story of Otha, [[BlatantLies innocent goatherder]], following a lost member of his herd and coming across the idol of Azash, who then commands him to worship him and convert the rest of Eosia to his ReligionOfEvil, very much feels like a dark and [[RefugeInAudacity rather ballsy]] subversion of the story of [[Literature/TheBible Moses and the Burning Bush]].
* StatuesqueStunner: Mirtai, the Atan giantess who towers over all the Church Knights. She could pass for tall and dark if you overlook [[KnifeNut the dozen or so knives she carries everywhere]]. That includes knives strapped to her knees [[GroinAttack specifically for kneeing men in the crotch.]]
* TheSiege: One of these forms a large arc in the third book. There's another one in the Tamuli. They come into play as a running gag, too: Thalesians ''hate'' sieges. (They're perfectly willing to engage in one, and do it very competently, but they ''hate'' sieges. Just ask them.)
** When Ulath is called on his constant vocal hatred of sieges despite being almost as quick as resident siege guru Bevier to suggest forting up, hilarity ensues:
---> '''Ulath:''' Thalesians are ''supposed'' to hate sieges. We're not patient enough for them.
---> '''Bevier:''' Didn't King Wargun's grandfather endure a siege for 6 years once?
---> '''Ulath:''' Yes, but he didn't ''enjoy'' it.
* SinisterMinister: Primate Annias, who doubles as Elenia's EvilChancellor.
* SmugSnake: Annias and Otha.
** Krager in ''The Tamuli''. In his first appearance he boasts about how everything Martel (the true MagnificentBastard of the series) accomplished was due to his tutelage, how if it had been ''Krager'' advising Azash then he surely would have won, how the defeat he just suffered was merely an inconvenience, and how Sparhawk would be facing far greater opposition than before. It then turns out that all of Cyrgon and co's schemes are thwarted far easier than Martel and Azash's, their ranks consist of idiots and {{Harmless Villain}}s, and it becomes very clear that Krager was talking out his ass.
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil: Apparently averted, as Cyrgon, the Tamuli's GodOfEvil, is less powerful, less intelligent (arguably), and less evil than the Elenium's Azash. [[spoiler: [[DoubleSubversion And then in the third book]], [[EldritchAbomination Klael]] shows up...]]
* SquishyWizard: Otha is an unusually [[FatBastard literal]] version of this trope.
* SpannerInTheWorks: Sephrenia and Aphrael were consistently doing this to [[spoiler:Zalasta]] without ever realizing it.
* {{Streetwalker}}: Prostitutes pop up in minor speaking roles quite often, especially early in the Elenium. They're usually portrayed sympathetically. Sparhawk even gets a brief adventure [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin gathering evidence in a brothel]]. And this Troper says that without so much as a wink.
* StrictlyFormula: The series, like TheBelgariad, quite deliberately and shamelessly rips from myth and medieval literature. And it's [[TropesAreNotBad awesome.]] As Eddings put it with respect to the Belgariad, ripping off myth is "the literary equivalent of peddling dope."
* StickyFingers: Talen. It's become a RunningGag, to the point where Sparhawk automatically tells Talen to empty his pockets if there's a ''chance'' he might have stolen any small valuables recently.
* StopWorshippingMe: Averted. The God of the Atans doesn't go in for grand displays (except during ''very'' important ceremonies), and his people don't bother him much unless it's important, so he's on the unusual side for a god. The flip side is he is obligated to at least see what a worshipper wants when they do call for his attention. Used to advantage when Aphrael needs his permission to take an Atan to her personal domain for healing.
* StoryBreakerPower: Xanetia positively ''oozes'' these. She's effectively immortal, she can read minds [[spoiler:and thus promptly discovers the ManipulativeBastard]], she can melt people ''and scenery'' to goo with a touch, she can [[spoiler:touch Bhelliom without being obliterated]], she can turn invisible, and her magic makes absolutely no "sound." Once she joins the party she's effectively a one-stop shop for all your GameBreaker needs. There are several issues, though; [[spoiler:firstly, Sephrenia starts out loathing her, due to old racial prejudice (and the fact she thinks Xanetia's people killed her family), causing everyone to futilely attempt reasoning with her, and she eventually breaks from the group for a while. Secondly everyone else on the continent is terrified of the Delphae and Xanetia is almost constantly in disguise, which she admits is somewhat painful for her. Thirdly, she is not only a helper, she is a hostage for her people's good faith; if they betray the party, Xanetia - effectively their crown princess - is to be killed.]] This causes various degrees of tension for some time.
* StoutStrength: By the time of ''The Tamuli'', the knights of Sparhawk's generation are middle-aged, and they're no longer as slim and trim as they once were. Kalten in particular tends to strain the buttons on his doublet. They'll still cut you clean in two with one blow, even if you're wearing bronze armor (steel tends to take a bit more effort).
* StrangeSecretEntrance: The city of Cyrga is found this way, involving a long and detailed set of instructions from an oasis across the desert and culminating with finding the exact spot where an illusion conceals an entrance through the mountains by lining them up with the Pillars of Cyrgon.
* SugarBowl: Aphrael's world, where lovable animals romp in peace under a rainbow sky.
* SupernaturalSensitivity
* SurroundedByIdiots: [[spoiler:[[TheMole Zalasta]]'s]] mooks include [[HeManWomanHater Scarpa]], [[SissyVillain Sabre]] and [[PunchClockVillain Krager]] - an insane misogynist, an effeminate poseur and a drunk respectively. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, indeed. (He's quite aware he's doing so, too.)
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Kurik is replaced by his son, Khalad, in the ''Tamuli''.
* TerrainSculpting: when trolls invade northern Tamuli, the Bhelliom responds by creating a humongous escarpment to separate them.
* ThievesGuild: Played straight and on a grand scale. Sure, Platime's chief thief in Cimmura, but every town everywhere has its own thieves' guild, and they all coordinate to some extent.
* TimeStandsStill: Played straight by the Troll-Gods, starting when Sparhawk browbeats Ghnomb into helping him catch up to [[spoiler:Martel]]. Used pretty heavily in the second series.
** Averted by Aphrael, whose time compression technique is closer to YearInsideHourOutside.
* TooDumbToLive: The Cyrgai exemplify this trope to its most literal extent: by breeding almost exclusively with Cynesgans they essentially ''bred their own race out of existence'' [[spoiler:until Cyrgon stepped in]]. At this point they're so hopelessly inbred and isolated they can barely function. Forget bronze age armour, standard issue kit for these guys is the IdiotBall.
** Hell, Cyrgon himself. And it's entirely deliberate, seeing as he ''is'' capable of adapting and thinking but freely chooses not to. Still, trying to [[spoiler:make a minion out of [[EldritchAbomination Klael]]]] was a bit of a bonehead move. To say the least.
** This is how the king of the Atans dies in the Tamuli. He attacks an enormous Eldritch Abomination several thousand times larger than himself, on foot, with a sword, without realizing that it might actually be able to kill him. He dies feeling sorry for it, because it's been unfortunate enough to come up against him.
* TopGod: His worshipers insist that the Elene God is this (when they're not denying the existence of other gods completely). He's not - He isn't qualitatively different from any of the other gods, nor does he have any authority over them unless they enter His territory. He ''is'' however far more powerful than any of the other gods due to His [[GodNeedsPrayerBadly immense number of worshipers.]]
* TortureCellar: Bellina has one of these. The Pandions are rumoured to have them, too - as does the Church of Chyrellos, though everyone insists they never get used.
** The faux-Elenic castle in ''The Tamuli'' had a lovingly recreated one. Stragen used it to ensure the musicians played an actual fanfare rather than notably discordant Tamul music.
* TranquilFury: Sparhawk, oh good ''God'' Sparhawk. At the end of ''The Sapphire Rose'', when [[spoiler: Kurik dies, [[UnstoppableRage Sparhawk murders his way through many, many soldiers in a state of complete serene anger]] and is only distracted ''when Kalten suggests he go kill Martel.'']] It works because it's going to be more satisfying taking his anger out on the one who is ultimately responsible. Then there's ''The Hidden City'', when Sparhawk learns that [[spoiler: Ehlana was kidnapped.]] A lot of people expect him to go berserk, but instead, he shuts down his emotions after a little angsting, then works out plans to nullify his enemies' plots and arranges for several armies to head towards the stronghold. ([[spoiler: Each army, by the way, is ''individually'' more than capable of [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill butchering the Cyrgai armies.]]]])
* TricksterArchetype: Aphrael is one of the weakest gods, but she's ''very'' good at getting what she wants via a combination of clever planning and Obfuscating Cuteness.
* TwentyFourHourArmor: Averted. The Knights have full plate armour but usually travel in mailshirts because the actual armor is such a damned inconvenience most of the time.
** For example, there is a scene in which Sparhawk wakes up one morning and basically finds an excuse not to put his armor on just yet, because it's had all night to get chilled.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Sparhawk's friends constantly make cracks about how ugly he is. [[spoiler:Ehlana]], on the other hand, is anything but.
** This ties into a RunningGag throughout the Elenium where Sparhawk keeps booking passage with a sailor named Sorgi by telling him he's running away from an ugly heiress whose cousins want to force him to marry her. They meet again in the Tamuli, and Sorgi sees Ehlana.
--> '''Sorgi:''' "They didn't force you to marry her, did they?"
--> '''Sparhawk:''' "I'm afraid so, my friend. That's my wife on that grey horse there."
--> '''Sorgi:''' (stares with his mouth hanging open)
--> '''Sparhawk:''' (mournfully) "Horrible, isn't it?"
** Also Kring and [[spoiler:Mirtai. Subverted in that Kring's scars, which have been gained in numerous battles, make Mirtai decide he's worth marrying.]]
* UnskilledButStrong: Otha was granted terrible powers by Azash. He has no clue what to do with them, since he's a not particularly bright or ambitious shepherd who happened to stumble across an EldritchAbomination. This is best shown by him raising a legion of terrible undead warriors. They defend the flagstone they are standing on, and react to nothing else. This is an enemy that could be defeated by ''walking around it''. [[spoiler:[[DisasterDominoes Or by giving just one soldier a push onto another square...]]]]
* UnwantedHarem: Berit develops one of these in the second series. Apparently something about his eyelashes drives women wild.
* TheUnReveal: In ''The Shining Ones'' there's a few mentions of the Cyrgai Wars, in which the Delphae and Styrics made an alliance and battled the Cyrgai, only for (allegedly) the Styrics to betray them, nearly causing the Delphae to become extinct. This sparked a feud between the races that was never resolved, and the actual truth was blurred so much that pretty much everyone has their own story. Sparhawk repeatedly asks Xanetia and Sephrenia to tell him the truth, and when they refuse, he threatens to ask Bhelliom, since it's a neutral observer. This horrifies both of them, but eventually Sparhawk gets so fed up of their bitchy cat-fight that he tells them that he no longer cares about what happened, and he wants their fighting to stop. We never do find out what happened.
* TheVamp: Arissa, although her efforts to subvert the protagonists fail spectacularly.
* VillainBall[=/=]IdiotBall: Annias grabs this in the first book by carrying out the second phase of one of his schemes before determining that the first step succeeded, with predictably poor results. This is noted by Sparhawk as being very out of character (SmugSnake that he is, Annias isn't ''that'' sloppy), and is one of the first signs that ''something'' (read: Azash) is messing with the lesser villains' minds. The same thing happens to Martel when Sparhawk puts a freeze on one of his schemes.
** It's explained that at least part of it was because they were being controlled by a Styric -Elenes and other races have complex, sharp minds, but Styrics are generally simpler and will be taken in by simple things--so while the ploys would have worked on Styrics, they didn't work on Elenes, and especially not the good guys, who knew Annias and Martel well enough to know how they generally operated.
** Each Cyrgai was issued a personal Idiot Ball at birth, and they were executed if they ever lost it, i.e. began to show signs of becoming too intelligent.
* VillainForgotToLevelGrind: The Cyrgai never got any ''weaker'', but believing they represented perfection they never bothered changing, and so the rest of the world buckled down for some serious level-grinding (ten thousand years worth) and blew past them. Against modern Church Knights and Atans the [[RedshirtArmy Cyrgai are hilariously useless.]]
** The Cyrgai actually have fossilized. Lack of actual opposition turned their martial training into little more than a formalized dance which gets easily taken apart by any competent warrior with real-world experience. Likewise, they spent a lot of time ''looking'' impressive but it's not a good idea to strike a heroic pose during a real fight.
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler: Zalasta]] was always pretty crazy, but he was very good at hiding it. After seeing his grand plans crash down around him, however, he pretty much completely loses it [[spoiler: and is almost totally AxeCrazy by the time he crashes Sephrenia's wedding at the end]].
* VillainousGlutton: Otha, oh so much.
* VillainousIncest: Aldreas and Arissa.
* VowOfCelibacy: The first book notes that the Pandion Knights had originally taken an oath to never marry (and by implication never have sex). However, due to a shortage of Pandions and applicants for knighthood they were allowed by the church to take back their vows so they could marry and have children.
* WifeHusbandry:
** Sort of. Ehlana settles on Sparhawk years before she hits puberty, but that wasn't his own doing.
** [[spoiler: Aphrael also settles on Talen]] but they're much closer in apparent age.
* WigDressAccent: Played with early in the first book when Sephrenia decks out Sparhawk and Kalten in elaborate disguises so they can move around Cimmura without drawing the attention of the [[{{Mooks}} church soldiers]]. [[PaperThinDisguise It doesn't work.]]
* WorthyOpponent:
** Even though they hate each others' guts [[spoiler: until the final battle]], Martel admits that he still has respect for Sparhawk. Also crosses over with FoeYay; he refers to Sparhawk and Sephrenia as the only two people he's ever truly loved, and at another point he remarks:
--> ''I'd give my soul to be a man like Sparhawk.''
** [[spoiler: Cyrgon]] at his end.
* WrongInsultOffence: In ''Domes of Fire'', Stragen takes the Styric Council to task for not being more proactive in the emerging crisis in Daresia. When one of the Councillors answers by calling him a bastard, he shrugs it off... because he literally is the illegitimate son of a nobleman. He then proceeds to point out he is also a swindler, murderer, and thief (since he is also the head of a thieves' guild), glibly implying that anything they could call him would not be insulting in the least.
** Goes into CrowningMomentOfFunny territory, since he does it ''in their own language.''
* XtremeKoolLetterz: It's spelled KlŠl, for no apparent reason, although a reasonable guess is that it is to emphasize KlŠl's [[EldritchAbomination utterly alien]] nature.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Said word for word by Azash, as he [[TakingYouWithMe kills both Otha and Annias amidst his death throes]].
* ZergRush: The Rendors' main tactic.

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