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Gadgeteer Genius: Romans have a scientific and technological tradition that out paces all the other civilizations presented. The Malwa have technology but don't really know how to use it because it was just given them out of hand. They think about it the way a spoiled rich kid thinks about money. Romans, by contrast, once proper hints are given are able to take to modern technology like a duck to water.
Lightning Bruiser: When Belisarius' Cataphracts(heavy cavalry) are in the neighborhood, it is best for the enemy to be elsewhere.
Battle Couple: with Antonia. Though only rarely do they appear on the same battlefield they coordinate strategy together, and Rana Sanga once speculates that Antonia was assigned to the African theater because he knew that she would relieve him on time.
Berserk Button: All of Belisarius' soldiers know that they had better not commit atrocities while he is in command.
Had To Be Sharp: A rather odd variation. Her experience as a courtesan allowed her to read the thoughts of the Malwa she was spying on when they had decided to assassinate her. And growing up in the streets of Alexandria and being taught knife work by her father(a disreputable chariot-racer)helped her survive the assassination, not to mention helping several of the "assassins" to NOT survive it.
Historical-Domain Character: Interestingly enough the Real Life Antonina sometimes accompanied Belisarius on campaigns and was trusted with important staff and diplomatic duties. She was also known as a skilled court intriguer who could watch his back at the times when he left her in Constantinople.
Combat Aestheticist : Has a disaggreement with Maurice about this. When Sittas says that he dislikes the changes coming from technology, Maurice points out that he grew up in a war-torn countryside while Sittas grew up in a mansion in Constantinople, that if Maurice knew a better way of making a living he would take it, and that frankly he preferred just to survive thank you very much. Despite this, Sittas is sensible enough to be a skillful commander and actually does get to have some of his beloved cataphract charges.
Fat Idiot: Definite subversion. Sittas is more than willing to act the part, and a completely shameless hedonist, but is also a highly skilled strategist and a skilled lancer.
The Ace: He possesses great strength, even greater speed, and a good amount of military knowledge. And he is perhaps THE most skilled combatant in the entire series (Raghunath Rao, Ousanas, Anastasius, and Rana Sanga are also top competitors, but in terms of sheer skill alone, he dominates).
Animal Motifs: Valentinian is often referred to as a human weasel, due to his pinched face, extreme speed, and complete lack of compunction when it comes to killing. Indians, however, refer to him as the Mongoose, which has similar characteristics, but with overtones of courage and loyalty.
Combat Pragmatist: This is almost a religion to him. He has utter intolerance for any thought of any hand-to-hand combat technique that does not contribute to victory and is noted for the economy of his style. The one time he deviates is when he meets Rana Sanga who believes in Let's Fight Like Gentlemen. Valentinian is so impressed by Rana Sanga(as well as the fact that he can tell he is being promoted in reputation from "the weasal" to "the mongoose") that he decides to use a more spectacular technique for once and gets a scar for his pains. If he hadn't, though, he might actually have killed Sanga, thus preventing Sanga's Heel-Face Turn that brings the Rajputs to the good side.
Crazy-Prepared: Again, his belief in perfectionism with regard to hand-to-hand combat is almost religious. He even took the time to train Rajiv Sanga how to fight with kitchen knives and household accessories. After all even a prince might find himself without a sword.
Everyone Has Standards: While his morality is minimal and he has no inhibitions about killing, he is actually horrified by the sight of a war-rape victim the party finds at a slave market(even though she is hardly the first she's seen), and while he would stoop to a utilitarian Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique if need be, he would have resigned if ordered to torture people simply to amuse the perversions of Malwa courtiers.
The Ace: Face it: when you possess enormous strength, an immense amount of skill, perfect fitness, a ridiculously large amount of knowledge, and more than 7 feet in height, as well as being as fast as most other cataphracts...
Bad Ass: When you and Valentinian are considered equal in the amount of punishment can deal out...
The Big Guy: Let's face it: if your strength is compared to that of a guy who ruptures bodies with a single spear thrust, and decapitates people with javelin throws… there's a good chance you'd be this. Even more so because of his immense skill (if not finesse) in combat.
Genius Bruiser: He tortures new recruits… by cornering them and making them discuss history and philosophy with him. He is more than able to quote a historical battle while he's decapitating someone with a mace.
Lightning Bruiser: You'd think he'd be a Mighty Glacier, but he has shown himself to be ridiculously fit and as fast as or faster than most other soldiers. And, well, he's a giant with immense fitness, loaded up with muscle and a master of the lance and mace.
Being Bullied Makes You Evil: It is said several times that one of his motives was the bigotry he endured until he was to powerful to be openly bigoted against with safety. This made him obsessed with showing the world he was better then them with his skill as a Chessmaster.
Challenge Seeker: He greatest desire is to prove his skill at chessmastery and he lusts after intrigue the way some men lust after money and others after women. In a way he is a Blood Knight of intrigue.
Eunuchs Are Evil : His "evilness level" varies through the series but he is a eunuch.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: To Adjutasutra. To Theodora before that though he betrays her and cooperates in a conspiracy that would have ended in her life. Then saves her life before escaping when he decides the conspiracy is hopeless.
A Shared Suffering: With Theodora. They can't be considered Happily Married because they are both too big of grouches to be happily anything. But there is nothing wrong with their relationship and it is the only thing about either of them that can possibly be considered endearing.
Worrying for the Wrong Reason: Belisarius' popularity made him so nervous that Irene hinted that Belisarius would actually be safer on a long and dangerous fact-finding trip to India. He didn't notice the Malwa conspiracy.
Murder in the wife
Justinian's devoted wife and Empress. Regent after his blindness.
Ambition Is Evil: played with as with Justinian. Ambition doesn't make her evil but it does make her not nice.
Grumpy Old Woman: She is not quite 40, but the grumpy more than makes up for it.
Phoetius and Tahmina later actually make a system for categorizing Theodora's moods. It mostly deals with the gradations of her bad moods as the times she is in a good mood are too seldom to bother with.
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She was of said profession before she married and she has a heart of gold mainly toward Justinian. A heart of iron toward almost everyone else.
Rags to Royalty: She was not just a Courtesan like Antonina but an actual Sex Slave. Antonina comments that while whisperers are more charitable toward her because at least she was picky about her clients, it should have been the other way because Theodora was forced rather then merely pressured by poverty.
Insatiable Newlyweds: Zigzagged. When first he saw his wife he had one night and then went off to war. When he met her later after being blinded in battle they were effectively still newlyweds. And this time they were insatiable.
The Dulcinea Effect: Zig-Zagged. When first we meet her she is about to be raped and the two retired veterans nearby are too jaded to help until she offers money. Later she attracts this more and more.
Good Is Not Soft: She wasn't a skilled medic as such. What she did do was hire a pair of soldiers as personal enforcers and then persuaded the staff of mismanaged millitary hospitals to observe proper sanitary conditions by the effective means of threatening to beat them up.
Daddy's Girl: Reconstructed. Her father has too much of a Sugar and Ice Personality to look upon anyone with more then formal courtesy whatever his feelings. However Shakuntala realizes that he got Rao as her bodyguard and teacher because he cared about her deeply however incapable he was of showing affection.
Happiness in Slavery: To Belisarius before his service to Shakuntala. Justified because he would otherwise have had a worse slavery and Belisarius gave him a promise of future freedom and a cause to work for.
Noble Bigot: He is more then a little uptight about caste sensibilities. To be fair he applies that even to himself; he is disturbed that Shakuntala wants him as a counselor as obviously only a Brahmin would be fit for such a job. In any case this prejudice interferes with his advice about Shakuntala's upcoming marriage.
Bad Ass: He defeats a lot of people, nearly offs Belisarius and defeats Valentinian in an incredibly close match (basically, Valentinian was actually about to win, but then lost the match due to a complete fluke and a bit of arrogance). The only one to ever fight him to a draw was Raghunath Rao, and everyone was shocked when it happened.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Inverted. Sanga is tall, strong, and described as the pinnacle of Rajput manhood. His wife is short, plump plain-looking and was grey-haired before her thirtieth birthday. Sanga loves her more than anything.
I Am Not My Father: Toyed with. Rajiv's best combat instructor is the one that gets it into the kid's skull that he will never match his father in size and power so he should adjust his style accordingly before he gets himself killed.
Nice to the Waiter: One of his Crowning Moments was when Rana Sanga was storming the gate. He felt pity on several of the low-born Malwa mooks, rushed out and demanded fealty of them and then ordered them to get out of the way. When his father saw them he accepted their surrender. Whereupon Rajiv joined Rana Sanga in conquering the rest of the city.
Elective Monarchy: Sort of. While it is hereditary, the commanders of the Sarwen(regiments) have the right of veto.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Their emperor's list of titles is exactly the territories he is ruling at the time with no fol-de-rol about listing mythological claims and wishful thinking. When they conquer a territory it is added to the Emperor's title and when they lose it it is taken away. And that is that.
The dawazz to Eon. A dawazz's job is to teach a member of the royal family the realities of the world, and teach them to overcome them and build morality. Along the way, it may be that the dawazz has to defend his charge. In both of these, Ousanas was the obvious choice.
The Ace: The guy who tracked down Raghunath Rao himself, and then began discussing advanced philosophy with him. And, well, his spear strikes can rupture human bodies.
Animal Motifs: Panther, like Rao. But also because he was once mauled by one.
Scary Black Man: Not really; he usually doesn't appear very menacing, usually relying on the others in his party to put on a grand show. But then, the pirates start swarming on board, and you learn what a man who hunts lions, elephants, and buffalo can do to human flesh.
Half-Ethopian, Half-Arab. Formally an partisan fighter leading bedouin against Axumite incursions but decided the fight was hopeless. Latter served Eon's father in the same role as Ousanas, and became a councilor of Eon.
Ambadassador: When first met he was an escort to Eon's mission to Constantinople.
Succession Crisis: She lived through two major succession crises' in the series, one when Eon's family was killed (which she was called upon to solve) and one after the death of Eon when the only heir was a baby.
That's actually a subversion. To true Persians, according to the book, every part of the Persian empire that isn't Iranian is simply Non-Iran as things non-Iranian are unworthy of calling to attention.
Man of Wealth and Taste: His wine goblets are so expensive that the Romans are reluctant to drink from them until told that he is so rich that he didn't need to think about the price, that he had two chests of them, and anyway if they dropped them his thick and gorgeous rug on his tent floor would keep them from breaking.
Non-Idle Rich: He looks just like a typical Upper-Class Twit, but Belisarius notes the scar on his thumb came from pulling a bow-string and the wrinkles around his eyes came from straining them examining the terrain of battlefields.
Happiness in Slavery : Played with. After being captured the defecting Kushan POWs insist on being called Belisarius' "slaves" for the sake of propriety even though they are obviously happier fighting against Malwa then for it.
Jack-of-All-Trades: They are efficient as horsemen, as footmen, and as sappers; they can fight in both the plains and the mountains. The only thing they have a hard time adapting to is naval warfare and they can at least intimidate sailors on ships they requisition.
Feudal Overlord: The Pathan call him "great king" instead of king because calling him king would imply that they are his subjects whereas "great king" means simply that their tribal chiefs do homage to him.
Establishing Character Moment: They first appear in Aide's vision as a massive, unstoppable army subjecting the Roman Empire to Rape, Pillage, and Burn. The first time we see them for real, they're doing exactly that to Andhra, slaughtering just about everyone in the capital except for its teenage princess Shakuntala, who is then taken to be the concubine of the series' resident psychopath.
One of a series of woman chosen to be the avatar or "sheath" of Link. Raised specifically for this purpose. When Link takes over their personality is erased and they are simply Link.Holi died during the Siege of Charax. She was replaced by Great Lady Sati
Disproportionate Retribution: His response to any inconvenience. He has everyone who survived Raghunath Rao's rescue of Shakuntala impaled for failing at the impossible task of stopping him, including an old woman. His policy with regards to the rebellion in the Deccan is to punish every villager in areas where rebellions occur, and impalement is the least severe punishment he inflicts on them.
Karmic Death: Raghunath Rao emasculates and castrates him and severs the nerves in his arms and legs before impaling him on the short stake he carved his throne into.
It's All About Me: During his death he considers it of no importance that the city is being stormed and everyone else has a battle to fight. He is going to have an escort to guard his precious sedan-chair and if he can't have that it is proof that his men are failing their duty.
Man of Wealth and Taste: Subverted. He indeed has lots of wealth and he drags enough of into the field with him to make a full-scale palace(which does little for his already negligible military effectiveness). However he has absolutely no taste in how he displays it.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Subverted. No he is not "The Ruthless", he is not "The Cruel", nor is he "The Terrible". He is the Vile One. People may fear his mooks but they will never respect him personally.
Sex Slave: He tortures them in the process until they are completely traumatized even though he has enough power to have the minimal decency to just order them to have sex with him rather then physically ravishing them. It is specially noted that in other countries "concubine" means "aristocrat's pampered junior wife" whereas to him it means "Venandekatra's next rape victim".
Pragmatic Villainy: He calls himself "practical". Rana Sanga notes that this means he doesn't consider himself honorable but that he does at least consider himself sane, and evil in Damodara's experience usually turns out to be Stupid Evil. Damadara is prepared to carry out schemes, assassinations, and even occasional war crimes. What he is not going to do is spectacular cruelty for the fun of it, especially when it is counterproductive.