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Literature: Astral Dawn

Tyr: I take no pride in destroying one so weak, but you are much too dangerous.
Caspian: No one's ever called me dangerous before.
Tyr: And no one ever will again.
->-Astral Dawn: The End of Paradise

Astral Dawn is a fantasy series written by Adam R. Brown. The series has eight planned novels and currently, the first one has been published. It is a story about Caspian Knoll, an ordinary young man living a terribly boring and sometimes stressful life who unexpectedly has a dream like no other one fateful night. Caspian first encounters a beautiful flying woman named Ixchel who drives him to follow her to Celestial City. Not certain of what to make of his situation, Caspian follows her, finding he too can fly. From then on, the young man enters a beautiful world many would liken to Heaven. But all is not well in Denmark, as they say, when Caspian begins seeing people he doesn't think belongs there, and only he seems to notice them.

Currently, only the first entry in the series is available at Amazon.

Astral Dawn: The End of Paradise

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl - The Mayan moon goddess, Ixchel, is one of the most powerful spirits around and is very tough combatant on top of that. She wields large twin daggers with frightening skill. There are other feminine high spirits who live up to this trope, including Zenobia, Oya, Hera, Boadicea, Rashani, Pele and Tia.
  • Action Girlfriend - Ixchel is this to Caspian. She's a powerful Mayan moon goddess who is highly skilled with two large knives she fashioned from her center. Caspian felt very fortunate with her at his side.
  • Action Mom - After having many children in many different lives, Ixchel is part of this category. Other goddesses like Hera fit into this trope as well, though most others are not seen in action as often as Ixchel throughout the Astral Dawn series.
  • All Myths Are True - The Aash Ra are the beings humans envisioned as angels. They have a similar effect on several intelligent species throughout the Nursery of Dimensions (multiverse). The high spirits have a similar effect on humans, implanting the ideas in their minds that eventually became the myths and legends to be told, retold and reimagined for thousands of years, even through Caspian's time.
  • Amnesiac Hero - Caspian has no memories of who he was in previous lives.
  • Arch-Enemy - Caspian soon makes a terrible enemy in the dark spirit, Ciaran Devlyn.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence - Several people who died managed to ascend to a higher plane of reality, the spirit world, also called the astral plane. Simon determined the astral plane to be what he called an influential dimension. In other words, a higher dimension that had an overlapping effect on the dimensions below. He discovered the first three dimensions were the physical dimensions while the dimensions above were all non-physical, exerting influence on the 3rd dimension in various ways. Time brought motion and spatial separation, for example. The spirits lived peacefully on the astral plane, content to have others (the angels) rule over them. That eventually changed during the Astral Dawn in which the spirits grew to understand what they were and could become.
  • Astral Projection - Caspian possessed the ability to astral project at an unprecedented level, going where no one had gone before. He astral projected all the way into a higher dimensional plane (the astral plane) not once, not twice, but three different times. Caspian even astral projected through time. Each time he performed this incredible feat, he left his body in a state of slumber over the course of a single night. Granted, he had the help of a talisman he bought in hopes of changing his luck in life.
  • Aura Vision - The high spirits gained the ability to see the auras of lower spirits emitted through their physical bodies as mortal humans. White auras indicated a person of a positive or virtuous nature. Red auras indicated a person of a negative or vile nature. The lack of an aura meant the person was going to die soon. Spirits can also detect the auras of other spirits outside of a body. The only exception is when a sufficiently powerful high spirit intentionally cloaks its aura through a technique or while in possession of a body. Caspian, on the other hand, had the ability to see right through any attempt at divine subterfuge. He was able to see the Defilers for what they were when no one else could and was also able to perceive their auras despite their best efforts to conceal them from spiritual sight.
  • Because Destiny Says So - Caspian learns he is one of the Destined, an elite group of individuals who are meant to fulfill certain destinies that ultimately benefit others around them.
  • Big Bad - Devlyn is the Big Bad throughout the story, especially the first three books in the series.
  • Blood Knight - The Norse god of war, Tyr, loves war like most people love peace. The only reason he's involved in the Defiler invasion of the Seven Heavens is because it gives him new opponents to fight and destroy. He takes great pleasure in his work, much to the dread of the spirits of light.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels - The Aash Ra have served in this role on numerous worlds throughout the multiverse. They once openly ruled Averya until they left when they noticed the spirits evolving during a period they called the Astral Dawn.
  • Cool Sword - Caspian forges himself a pretty cool katana sword with a silver blade at Miyagi Mitsuki's dojo. The sword later turns gold after he becomes more powerful during his mission through time to save his other selves. Another cool sword Caspian tries to acquire is the Sword of Fracture, a straight sword with a crystal blade. That's pretty cool.
  • Cosmic Egg - Caspian discovered the truth about the universe's origin. There actually was a Cosmic Egg and he had to find it to retrieve the Sword of Fracture, the only sure means of defeating Devlyn and preserving the universe.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils - The Aash Ra Va have always been there to ensure darkness is equally represented to the light. They existed as the demon lords of the various Hells throughout the multiverse. Some time after the dark spirits of Nazyra started becoming more aware (The Awakening), the Aash Ra Va gradually left Nazyra. The last one to depart was Veyothiel after a fierce battle with three notable dark spirits, Devlyn, Set and Tyr.
  • Detect Evil - Caspian has the ability to detect dark spirits to degrees even further than most high spirits. The Aash Ra possess an equally high level of perception.
  • Divine Conflict - The great Astral War involves the high spirits of darkness and light. They fight each other over the fate of the creation stones of the Seven Heavens. Little do the Defilers know, Devlyn also planned to take the creation stones of the Nine Dark Worlds as well.
  • Dream Land - The many worlds of the astral plane could be considered dream worlds because of the very nature of this level of reality. The astral plane is an influential dimension of thought and energy, making it literally the stuff of imagination. Simon explains to Caspian the laws that dominate the astral plane are called dream physics, because everything that happens or can happen is in line with all that's possible in dreams. There is one spirit god's personal realm that is intended to function as an actual dream world; Hypnos is lord of the Land of Nod, a place that holds significance for Caspian and later his son as well.
  • Dream Walker - Caspian becomes a powerful dream walker when he astral projects into the astral plane. This trope is taken to even greater extremes when he "dream walks" through time and even inhabits the bodies of other people for short periods.
  • Dream Weaver - All high spirits are essentially dream weavers with their ability to make use of the astral plane's so-called dream physics. Ixchel explains aspects of Averya to Caspian, telling him every spirit has his or her own private pocket dimension called a dream realm. A dream realm is tied to whoever created it and only the creator can allow entrance or exit from that world. She introduces Caspian to her dream realm for a little "heart-to-heart" and later uses it to hide him from Tyr.
  • Dream Within a Dream - Caspian experiences this when he enters Ixchel's dream realm. He was already on the astral plane, a dream-like plane of reality, while in the process of having a dream connected to his still-sleeping body back on Earth.
  • Elemental Powers - The high spirits can manipulate matter and energy when on the mortal plane.
  • Energy Beings - The high spirits are so evolved, they are more like beings of energy than vague specters trapped in between the mortal world and the hereafter.
  • Erotic Dream - During Caspian's first dream voyage to Celestial City, he finally catches up to a beautiful Mayan goddess named Ixchel (ee-shell). She takes him to her dream realm and they soon make passionate love.
  • Evil Weapon - The Unified Stone, comprised of the creation stones from all the worlds of Heaven and Hell, is good or evil depending on its user. Devlyn is the one to use the mighty weapon, thus making it evil.
  • Flight - While low spirits cannot fly, high spirits can accomplish flight due to their greater energy capacity. In addition, as the high spirits became one with higher dimensional energy (astral energy), they moved completely beyond the physical laws of the mortal plane. High spirits can fly using their minds with general ease. Caspian manages this because he was initially in a dream. However, he retains the power of flight even after leaving his body for the astral plane. Flying quickly became one of Caspian's favorite activities.
  • Forged By the Gods - The mighty Sword of Fracture, a sword with a crystal blade, is the only weapon that can stop Devlyn. That's what Magali tells Caspian before sending him off on a journey to find it. Magali created the sword with the power to fracture astral objects into separate working fragments. She hid it inside of another divine object called the Cosmic Egg. This particular object is beyond even the reality of the astral plane, leading other spirits like Simon to doubt its existence. However, with new senses that allow him to track the Egg, Caspian sets out on the search with a team of Keepers, including his mentor, friend and lover, Ixchel.
  • Girl of My Dreams - Ixchel appears in Caspian's dream, the first denizen of Celestial City or any of the Seven Heavens he ever sees. She entices him to follow her, which he does. Caspian eventually catches up to Ixchel and they begin what soon becomes a beautiful relationship. This relationship goes even further when Caspian sees her again in the mortal world.
  • God - Caspian learns of an ancient spirit who was extremely powerful and was thought to be a genuine creator god.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly - The high spirits who became gods came to realize they were so far beyond the 3rd dimension, they were not bound by normal space-time. They were able to maintain their connection to specific time periods in order to continue receiving psychic energy from their followers. While the followers eventually decreased and or died-off from humanity's point of view, from the high spirits' perspective, their followers continue to thrive and their faith is unwavering.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon - Many of the tropes involving weapons used by the good guys and the bad guys is held up for the most part throughout the series with some interesting uncommon weapons thrown in for a little flavor. Caspian's weapon of choice is the katana sword, a choice inspired by the many televisions shows and movies of anime he'd watched for much of his life. Conversely, the dark god, Tyr, uses a large battle ax, a weapon heavily drawn from his time as a mortal warrior.
  • Guardian Angel - Magali serves this role for many wayward spirits, especially Caspian.
  • Guardian of the Multiverse - The Aash Ra serve as the guardians of the Nursery. The Nursery of Dimenions is their name for the multiverse. The Aash Ra believed the Nursery would always be safe, but that confidence waned when the anomalous dimension came into existence. The Aash Ra don't fully understand it and are frustrated by the fact they can't see into it as clearly as all other universes.
  • Healing Factor - All spirits have the ability to recover from psychic wounds. Not all spirits actually do heal, however, as Caspian learned during his training in Celestial City. The spirits who recover from psychic trauma evolve to become strong light spirits. The spirits who are not as fortunate become dark spirits.
  • Heaven - Averya is this place in the story. Averya is actually a vast super galaxy that exists on a higher dimensional plane of reality. Within it are countless worlds connected to the spirits and minds of the worlds they pass on from. For the people of Earth, this takes the form of the Seven Heavens, including Celestial City, Elysium, Aaru, Tian, Paradiso, Valhalla and Providence.
  • Hell - Averya's dark counterpart is an equally vast super galaxy called Nazyra. It too contains several worlds connected to the spirits and minds of the worlds they pass on from. For the people of Earth, this has taken the form of the Nine Dark Worlds, including Abaddon, Nifhel, Priscillius, Amenti, Inferno, Tartarus, Gehenna, Uffern and Mammon City. Mammon City is where Set rose to power after he, Devlyn and Tyr defeated its former lord, Veyothiel.
  • Hero's Muse - Ixchel plays the role of Caspian's muse in a way, inspiring him and encouraging him, as he realizes his ultimate destiny. Magali first serves as his guide before Ixchel takes over.
  • I Am Who? - Magali leaves Caspian bewildered when she tells him he's a Destined One. He's later shocked to learn the truth of his connection to an ancient entity.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race - All the high spirits of Averya look beautiful. No matter what form they choose, be it a man, a woman, a mermaid, an elf or a satyr, they will always be the most beautiful version the human mind can conceive. A dimensional law that restricts spirits to only projecting appearances that reflect their true nature is what causes this. When Ixchel explains to Caspian that a light spirit can't make itself look ugly or terrifying, Caspian realizes Celestial City has been invaded by dark spirits.
  • Intangibility - All spirits, low spirits and high spirits, can pass through 3-dimensional matter. The Aash Ra can easily accomplish this as well.
  • Katanas Are Just Better - Caspian created his personal astral weapon to be a replica of a Japanese katana sword. He did this because "katanas are cool".
  • Love Goddess - There are many love goddesses among the high spirits of Averya, including Atargatis, who helps Caspian find Ixchel. Ixchel is the Mayan goddess of the moon who becomes Caspian's love interest and guide through the spirit world. Ixchel is also a goddess of love and follows wherever her passion leads her. She makes a point of sharing this with Caspian before things get deeply intimate.
  • Mental Time Travel - The high spirits can shift through time as well as space using the power of their minds. A special group of them called the Keepers make great use of this ability when they prevent Caspian from being destroyed in the recent past.
  • The Multiverse - The multiverse exists as a vast collection of distant points of light. Those points of light represent entire universes. Existing as unique beings in the multiverse are the great Aash Ra. They call the multiverse the Nursery of Dimensions and hold keeping it safe to be their highest duty. Amont the countless number of universes is one universe that is not like the others. The Aash Ra cannot fully perceive the course of space-time within this universe and cannot erase this universe from existence. This has led them to calling this universe the anomalous dimension. It is here where the Astral Dawn saga takes place. References to the Nursery are made throughout the series, especially the primary trilogy (The End of Paradise, The Moment of Creation and Design of Destiny) and the final trilogy (The Maganu Saga).
  • Named Weapons - The special weapon Magali created is called the Sword of Fracture.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability - The high spirits and Aash Ra are invulnerable to physical trauma. They cannot be hurt in the way physical beings can. However, their centers, the totality of their consciousness and the core of their energy matrix, are not invincible. Only objects of astral matter or a higher dimensional material can damage a spirit's center.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here - Caspian thinks of life in Baltimore City to be quite boring and non-eventful. He specifically believes this of his personal life, which never seems to include any interesting like a better-paying job and a car with working AC.
  • The Omnipresent - The Aash Ra have the ability to literally be everywhere at once. Their hybrid progeny have the same power, especially one who surprised them with its astounding level of power.
  • Omniscient - The Aash Ra are all omniscient. Most of them learn seeing everything can sometimes blind them to the smallest details. Even the Aash Ra's head council admitted there were certain areas of space-time they could not fully perceive, especially as it pertained to the anomalous dimension.
  • Or Was It a Dream - Caspian is left to wonder if his dream was truly just that after waking from it. By the time he enters one of those extraordinary dreams for a third time, he's become used to the ambiguous nature of that reality.
  • Our Angels Are Different - The Aash Ra, an ancient race that predates the creation of the universe, are extradimensional aliens that safeguard the multiverse. They call it the Nursery of Dimensions.
  • Our Demons Are Different - The Aash Ra Va are those of the Aash Ra who have chosen to uphold the Great Balance by following the path of darkness. Like their kin, they are extremely powerful and hail from a higher dimensional plane beyond even the astral plane.
  • Our Gods Are Greater - The high spirits of Averya and Nazyra prove to be far more than average ghost one might see on Earth. They have evolved to become fully aware and developed great powers that allow them to traverse time and space at will. Many of the high spirits became the immaterial gods of the old world. The high spirits also learned how to remain linked to a certain section of space-time, thus for them their worshippers never vanish and they retain the power they gain from them.
  • Our Spirits Are Different - Unlike the spirits thought of in scary stories around the camp fire, the high spirits are truly divine beings who have evolved beyond the need for bodies and even beyond the limitations of the 3-dimensional mortal world.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different - The high spirits are capable of using their psychic power to travel through space and time. Their method of teleportation, called shifting, is how they get around space-time like its nothing. The Keepers made use of this ability with Caspian in order to keep his other selves from previous lifetimes safe. Instead of teaching Caspian how to shift through time, Simon had him and the Keepers make use of a machine he built called the Vantage Point. With it, he's able to focus his mind on a single point of space-time wherever (and whenever) one of his other selves is in danger. Simon also has the Vantage Point cut off the blocks of time that comprise his other selves' lifetimes from spiritual presence to prevent any further incursions by the Defilers.
  • Past-Life Memories - Caspian remembers bits and pieces from the lives he lived from each of this other selves. He also recalls events involving an ancient being he doesn't remember ever meeting.
  • Psychic Powers - The high spirits developed many psychic abilities, including telepathy, psychokinesis, empathy, spatial shifting, matter manipulation, energy projection and the omnisense.
  • Puppeteer Parasite - The spirits and Aash Ra have the ability to possess the bodies of 3-dimensional beings and creatures, displacing the less powerful spirit within. The lesser spirit is not destroyed or pushed out, merely pushed to the background, somewhere in the deepest recesses of the occupied mind. Ixchel taught Caspian how to do this during their mission through time.
  • Pure Energy - All spirits, especially high spirits, are composed of the same energy as the astral plane. This energy is not like any known energy born of the 3-dimensional universe. It is instead a much higher form of the same with properties that go well beyond the laws of physics mortal scientists are familiar with.
  • Reality Warper - The high spirits possess psychic power to the degree they can warp reality. While this is fairly easy for them to accomplish on the astral plane, on a lower plane, such as the physical plane where mortals dwell, this ability is hampered by the laws governing that dimension. High spirits can still manipulate energy and matter on the 3-dimensional plane, but cannot affect the flow of time or manipulate inanimate objects to the degree of making them come to life.
    • The Aash Ra, including the Aash Ra Va and Aash Ra Ktah, also have the ability to warp reality, though as higher beings, they are not limited by dimensional laws. The drawback is forcing reality at the 3-dimensional level to warp at extremes risks causing the collapse of a planet, a galaxy or possibly an entire universe.
    • Devlyn greatly increased his ability to warp reality when he merged with the Unified Stone. He intended to use his greater power to remake Earth in such a way that he and his beloved Mira would be immortal and living together in an eternal corporeal paradise. The power of the stone would have gotten him what he wanted, but at the cost of the entire universe as a result of the catastrophic ripple effects.
  • Reincarnation - Caspian learns all spirits lived several different lifetimes as different people throughout time and space, including him. This provided the MacGuffin for the second novel in the primary trilogy (the first three books) of the series. Caspian and the Keepers had to travel through time in order to get ahead of a team of Defilers sent to destroy his other selves.
  • Reveal - Caspian learns a great deal about himself and others around him throughout the series. He learns he is a Destined One with a great destiny linked to the astral plane.
    • Caspian learns of familial connections that bring new dimensions to his world.
    • One big reveal leaves Caspian changed forever. He just has to remember what it is in time to save everyone.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy - Caspian Knoll is about as average as you can get with the exception of his acumen for mathematics. He isn't ugly, but far from the most attractive. He's not a weakling, but isn't exactly one of the strongest or toughest guys around either.
  • Seers - The high spirits learned to see across all time and space across the Earth's lifetime. They can do the same with the entire galaxy. Although high spirits can perceive the future, they are also aware "the future" is fluid and is subject to variation and sometimes total change.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Caspian unintentionally goes to his personal Moment of Creation despite Simon's earlier warning. He fulfills his destiny by doing this, but doesn't realize it until much later while helping the Keepers defend the Seven Heavens from the invading Defilers.
  • Spiritual Sports - The high spirits of Averya play many games. Ixchel introduces Caspian to the game of aerial tag while they search the city for any more dark spirits in hiding. Caspian enjoys the game and even relaxes a little from the anxiety he feels from seeing the dark spirits, some of whom look like nightmares come to life.
  • Spirit World - The astral plane, which contains the Heaven-like Averya and the hellish Nazyra, is the spirit world of this series.
  • Super Senses - Ethereal beings like the spirits and the Aash Ra do not see or hear with physical eyes and ears. They instead of powerful minds capable of psychic vision and hearing, often to a scale much greater than might be seen in a mortal human. The high spirits refer to their psychic way of perceiving the environment around them the omnisense. With it, they can see and hear, even taste, touch and smell using the power of their minds.
  • Super Strength - During the Keeper mission to save his other selves from the Defilers, Caspian learned possessing the bodies of ordinary humans can result in them gaining a degree of superhuman strength. However, Ixchel warns him not to use it too much or it could result in the body he inhabits to break down from the constant strain.
  • Telekinesis - The high spirits possess the ability to project their energy in a way that resembles the phenomenon of psychokinesis. They also devised a way of using this ability as an offensive weapon. The act of executing focused or wide projections of force is called psychokinetic force waves. Most just call the attack, psycho wave, for short. Ixchel taught Caspian how to perform psycho waves so that he'd be able to defend himself against a dark spirit.
  • Telepathy - The spirits and Aash Ra are all capable of telepathy.
  • Teleporters and Transporters - The high spirits of Averya and Nazyra discovered a means of teleportation called spatial shifting. They essentially think themselves to one place or another. They can also use this ability to time travel.
  • Threshold Guardians - This trope is subverted. Magali safeguards the exiting side of the Way of Ascension. She doesn't keep people out of the astral plane, she instead guides those who have been fortunate enough to ascend. As an Aash Ra, Magali can watch the Way of Ascension for more incoming souls while actually being somewhere else and talking to someone. After leaving his dream, which also meant leaving his sleeping body, Caspian entered the astral plane to see Magali. She later helped him find Ixchel.
  • Time Dilation - The astral plane experiences time at a much faster rate than the mortal plane does. For every 8 hours that passes on the mortal plane, an entire month passes for the spirit world. Caspian took advantage of this, enjoying a month-long vacation with Ixchel before finally returning to his sleeping body on Earth, just in time for breakfast on the morning following the night he left.
  • Time Travel - Caspian and the Keepers travel back through time in the second novel, The Moment of Creation.
  • Unlikely Hero - Of all the unlikely heroes, Caspian seems to fit the bill all too well. Even he questions his importance in light of his very plain and frustrating existence as a human. However, Caspian proves pivotal in preventing the downfall of Celestial City (Eternal Paradise) and succeeds in making a difference in the Astral War.
  • Ultimate Life Form - The high spirits started off as ordinary mortal humans who died and, like all souls, departed their non-functioning bodies. The high spirits, who were once low spirits, evolved through a process of psychological and spiritual evolution called the Astral Dawn. One of the things they discovered is that they weren't "dead" in the limited sense humans often thought of death. They were very much alive and could be "killed" if their energy and consciousness were ever violently dispersed throughout the universe. While this would not mean they'd be dead in the total sense, everything they were would be lost. This discovery led their most inquisitive minds, such as Simon, to determine they had become energy beings who were no longer bound to the physical plane or in need of physical bodies to exist and or affect the physical world.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend - Ixchel and Caspian form a close bond. He loves her deeply and she loves him the same way. That same love can fuel her rage whenever she sees a dark spirit getting the better of Caspian. Ixchel can keep her cool during a fight, but she will not hold back in any confrontation she takes up in Caspian's defense.
  • War God - There are many war gods among the high spirits of light and darkness. On the side of the Defilers is the Norse god of war, Tyr. He joins his comrades, Devlyn and Set, on a mission to Celestial City to steal their creation stone and ultimately conquer the Seven Heavens.
  • We Used to Be Friends - Caspian learns of a connection between him and Devlyn. They apparently used to be the best of friends in another life.
  • X-Ray Vision - The high spirits mastered their omnisense to the point of being able to "see" in ways they could not as mortal humans. One of the techniques they created was the ability to filter out certain objects within their wide range of psychic sensing. The result is they can see what lies beyond an object by envisioning it as transparent or non-existent. After some occasional humorous tests in their worlds, they traveled back to Earth to test it further. They realized they could do the same with 3-dimensional matter. As such, a high spirit can see through a wall just by deciding not to acknowledge its existence.