Farideh met the devil in the dead of winter, seventeen years after she'd been left at the gates of a village on no one's map...
Ongoing novel series set in the Forgotten Realms by Erin M. Evans.Farideh and her twin sister Havilar are tieflings—humanoids with devilish features and ancestry. Abandoned as infants, they were raised by their dragonborn foster father Clanless Mehen in an isolated village in the south of Faerun- until a botched ritual summoning lead to Farideh making a pact with the Cambion devil Lorcan that got them kicked out, but also granted her the magical powers of a warlock.Fast-forward several months, and the three find themselves working as bounty hunters and heading for the devastated city of Neverwinter, while Farideh learns to master her powers and tries to deal with Lorcan's attempts to micromanage her life. Along the way they find themselves entangled with the Selunite priest Tam Zawad and a young man from Cormyr named Brin, both of whom have their own secrets. Upon arriving in Neverwinter, however, they become caught up in an elaborate web of treachery that may stretch all the way to the depths of the Nine Hells...The series so far consists of :
Affably Evil: Lorcan, as well as Yvon Claven, the general store owner/Ashmadai cultist, who is generally a friendly, pleasant man who looks out for his fellow cultists and is perfectly willing to dispense helpful advice to an inexperienced young warlock, while dealing in brutal blood sacrifice on the side., Of course, after the rest of his Ashmadai cell is wiped out, he goes into full-on Villainous Breakdown mode, which rather removes the affability.
Always Chaotic Evil: Devils are always lawful evil, thank you very much; Word of God describes them psychologically as being much like humans, but without any sort of filters like compassion and empathy to moderate their ambitions. Tieflings are often assumed to be this, but it's very explicitly shown to not be the case.
Anti-Hero: Lorcan is a Type V. He's definitely evil, but most of the other devils he opposes are much worse.
Artifact of Doom: The Book in Tarchamus' library turns out to not just be a sentient database- it actually contains a copy of the long-dead archwizard's personality. It lures people to the library, drains them of any knowledge they have that it doesn't already, then feeds them to the undead mummy of Tarchamus when it's through with them. Fortunately, by the end of Lesser Evils it's removed from the library and in Harper custody.
Bad Powers, Good People: The whole point of the series, basically- can Farideh use her dark powers to do good, without falling into evil herself?
Better The Devil You Know: A big part of why Farideh can be so oddly protective of Lorcan. Yes he's evil and manipulative, but she knows him, and she'd rather be bound to him than some other devil who might be much, much worse.
Big Bad Ensemble: Glasya, Sairche and Adolican Rhand are being set up as series-spanning antagonists (which one will end up as theBig Bad remains unclear). The Adversary shakes things up by having Asmodeus take a more direct interest in things, taking Rhand and possibly Sairche off the table, and revealing that Bryseis Kakistos is still around and probably more Big Bad-like than anyone at the moment. Each book so far has one too:
Brimstone Angels: Rohini
Lesser Evils: Tarchamus, through the medium of the Book and his undead mummy
The Adversary: A Big Bad Ensemble, with Adolican Rhand, Sairche, and the Nameless One all vying for the position.
Big Bad Wannabe: In The Adversary, Sairche is initially the most visible and dangerous of the main villains, but about halfway through Lorcan manages to defeat her, and she spends most of the rest of the book either in a forced alliance with her brother or at the mercy of the Nameless One.
Big Sister Mentor: Constancia was this to Brin, though she was his older cousin rather than a sibling. It's clear he respects her, even if their personalities tend to grate on each other.
Black Magician Girl / Lady of Black Magic: Farideh is right on the borderline between these- as a warlock, her magic is highly focused on destruction and offense, and in addition she's rather too reserved for the former trope but not mature or regal enough for the latter.
Chainmail Bikini: Not used, but a set of it appears in a general store in Neverwinter. Havilar wants to buy it, on the logic that it would look great on her, but Mehen puts his foot down, citing how utterly impractical it actually would be and stating that it's the sort of thing only worn by wannabe-adventuresses who have no real idea of the necessities of combat. All actual Action Girls in-series are much more practically dressed.
The Chessmaster: Practically a required skill for the higher-ranking devils.
Collector of the Strange: Lorcan collects warlocks- he went after Farideh in order to get a descendant of Bryseis Kakistos in his collection. He also warns, her, however, that he's far from the only devil with this hobby, and their ancestry means Farideh and Havilar are squarely in the sights of teh Hells.
The Corruption: Rohini gets hit by a bad case of this, courtesy of the aboleths. Yes, the aboleths are horrible enough to corrupt a devil.
Cry for the Devil: Well, not a literal devil in this case, but it's implied that this is the case for the Nameless One's history, and Farideh feels a kind of horrified sympathy for her.
Daddy's Little Villain: Glasya calls Asmodeus "Papa". He's the God of Evil, she's a powerful Archdevil and is busily plotting to take over his throne. It's implied that the only part of this he isn't thrilled with is the fact she was clumsy enough for him to catch.
Dance Battler: Havilar is rather fond of showing off her agility while fighting, much to Mehen's consternation.
Domestic Abuser: Lorcan to Farideh, especially in "Fire in the Blood" when they actually briefly get together. Highlights include poisoning Farideh to "protect" her and trying to sabotage her other relationships through violence and coercion.
The Dreaded: Devils in general. On a more mortal level, pretty much everyone who knows Adolican Rhand well is terrified of him, and if what Lorcan says about her is true, Bryseis Kakistos was this in life and in her homeland remains so after death. Then there's the Nameless One, who is is so dreaded she even worries Rhand.
Enemy Civil War: Glasya tries to provoke one between Asmodeus and the aboleths to begin undermining her father's powerbase.
Enemy Mine: The combined Harper and Zhentarim expedition to Tarchamus' library in Lesser Evils, traditional enemies working together because they both hate Netheril more.
In The Adversary, Lorcan press-gangs Sairche into an alliance after her own plans start unraveling. She's not exactly happy to be his ally, but they made a contract, and for devils, that's Serious Business.
From the same book, the Harper expedition to rescue Farideh from Rhand team up with a Thayan expedition after a short fight, recognizing that they have a common enemy in the Netherese.
Epic Fail: It's probably a very good thing Farideh can do magic, because when she tries to use her sword, this is the usual result (hint- it tends to involve the sword getting inadvertantly hurled an impressive distance).
Even Evil Has Standards: Devils may be Made of Evil, but they do have a keen appreciation for the proper way of doing things, hence their reliance on regulations, contracts, and the like, which they feel sets them above common fiends.
Evil Counterpart: The Nameless One, to Farideh. Both are young women who wield a portion of the power of a God of Evil, but Farideh fights against what she is while the Nameless One embraces it.
Evil Sorcerer: Most people would say Farideh is one merely for being a warlock. Adolican Rhand, on the other hand, is very much the genuine articlenote though several characters in The Adversary speculate that he's actually not very powerful, using force of personality, stolen knowledge, and sheer mean-spiritedness to make himself seem stronger than he is as was Tarchamus in life.
Girly Bruiser: Havilar is definitely the more overtly feminine of the twins- but she's also the one most likely to solve her problems with violence, which happens to be something she's very good at.
God of Evil: Asmodeus is explicitly described as such. In The Adversary Shar, goddess of darkness, despair, and entropy, is also important.
Good Is Not Nice: Constancia can be kind of a jerk, but it's clear she cares about her cousin Brin a lot and is simply trying to do what's best for him and their family.
Good Shepherd: Tam has some dark things in his past, but is nonetheless a devout priest dedicated both to his goddess and the people around him.
Half-Human Hybrid: Cambions like Lorcan and his sister Sairche are half-devil, half-mortal, which severely limits their capacity to rise in the infernal hierarchy. Tieflings are also supposed to be the descendants of humans and devils. Averted with the children of tieflings; it's clearly established that if one parent is a tiefling the child will always also be a tiefling, regardless of the other parent's race.
Healing Hands: Tam and Brin, as a cleric and paladin respectively, both have this ability.
Heroic Willpower: Farideh is able to throw off Rohini's attempt to dominate her by sheer determination not to help the devil that nearly killed her sister.
And in The Adversary she manages to throw off both her Superpowered Evil Sideand the Nameless One's despair aura simultaneously, though the scene is from Mehen's perspective so we don't get her thought process here firsthand.
Hive Caste System: The devils have one, but caste can be changed by the magic of the Archdevils. Devils are usually rewarded by being promoted to a more powerful form, and punished by being reverted to a lesser form. Lorcan and Sairche, who as cambions can't be changed in this way, are therefore perennial outsiders in the hierarchy.
Innocent Bigot: Brin freaks when he first sees Farideh and Havilar, being convinced that the sisters are devils (in his defense, he'd never actually seen a tiefling before, much less two of them). They set him straight, and he quickly feels bad for it.
In the Blood: This is the basis for at least some of the Fantastic Racism towards tieflings, as many people think that their devil blood makes them inherently evil; more personally, Farideh fears what this means for her and Havilar after learning that they're descended from Bryseis Kakistos and that Bryseis was a rather notorious monster.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dahl; he can be prickly and standoffish, but he's a good man at heart. Constancia is implied as well, though her "jerk" is on display much more often than her "heart of gold".
Knight in Shining Armor: Played with. Brin and Dahl are both paladins, and therefore supposed to fit this trope, but neither does. Brin would rather be normal, while Dahl lost his deity's favor for unspecified reasons several years before the story began.
The Lancer: Havilar, usually. Lorcan also has shades of this on occasions he's present in person.
Mark of the Supernatural: Farideh has one silver, one gold eye. This is significant because, when combined with the fact that she's a tiefling and a warlock, it's one of the traits that makes people tend to react with suspicion and prejudice to her.
Manipulative Bastard: Rohini, Lorcan, Sairche, Rhand, Tarchamus. Yeah, a series heavily concerned with ambitious devils and wizards is hip-deep in these.
Mind Rape: Anyone who spends too long around the Nameless One gets blasted with feelings of despair and nihilism. Prolonged exposure is enough to leave Sairche, of all people, a shivering wreck.
Monochromatic Eyes: Tiefling eyes are one solid color, one of many features that causes other humanoids to find them disquieting. Havilar's eyes are solid gold; Farideh has one gold eye, one silver eye- the only physical difference between them.
Non-Action Guy: Brin though nominally a paladin of Torm, tends to wind up getting his life saved by Havilar more often than not; his primary contribution is his divine magic from Torm. In The Adversary owing to having lived the years the twins lost, he's caught up a bit.
Out of Character: In The Adversary, Asmodeus shows up to give Lorcan cryptic orders and threaten him if he fails. Par for the course. He then ends with a silly, self-deprecating joke before leaving. Lorcan and Sairche spend several pages deeply shaken over what it can possibly mean when The King of Hell is cracking jokes, especially ones that aren't sadistic and at someone else's expense. They end up deciding they're better off not knowing.
Out-of-Character Alert: Havilar never lets her glaive out of her sight and is described as fawning over it as if it was her child. When she attacks the Ashmadai cult without it, it's a major tip-off to Farideh that something is very wrong. Turns out, she'd been possessed by Rohini.
Pardon My Klingon: Mehen, Havilar, and to a somewhat lesser extent Farideh will pepper their speech with Draconic insults and curses when they get frustrated.
Parental Abandonment: Farideh and Havilar's biological parents abandoned them as infants outside the village where they would grow up; at this point we don't know why. Lorcan suspects foul play on someone's part, but even he doesn't know for sure (but he does think that whoever their parents were, they weren't exactly model citizens). The Adversary reveals they were part of a plan to reincarnate Bryseis Kakistos, but they- or at least, the twins' biological mother- pulled out at the last minute, much to the displeasure of Bryseis' ghost, since she wants one of the twins for her new body.
Pet the Dog: Much as he'd like to deny it, Lorcan does have a soft spot for Farideh.
Put on a Bus: Mehen disappears for most of Lesser Evils. It turns out he was arrested for kidnapping Brin, though when Brin himself showed up he got him out of it between books, and Mehen's a major character again in The Adversary.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Subverted when Dahl discusses Rhand's backstory. He notes that Rhandwould have been wanted as a serial rapist- except that he brutally killed all his victims afterwards, so he's wanted as a serial killer instead, with the rapes being one more unpleasant detail.
Religion of Evil: The Ashmadai (mortal worshipers of Asmodeus) are most important as a group. Individual followers of the dark gods Bane, Cyric, and Shar show up in Lesser Evils as well.
The Scottish Trope: The Nameless One, obviously. Her true name is never revealed even to the reader.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Tarchamus, applying both to his near-mindless undead body and the copy of his personality stored in the Book.
Semi-Divine: The Adversary deals heavily in Chosen, people invested with some degree of a god's power. Most clearly, the Nameless One is a Chosen of Shar and Farideh (and maybe Havilar too) is a Chosen of Asmodeus.
Serial Killer: Apparently how Adolican Rhand spends his spare time. During the Time Skip, Dahl pinned it on him, but Rhand skipped town before he could be arrested.
The Starscream: The devil Archduchess Glasya is this to her father Asmodeus, the king of hell. It's implied he'd be quite dissapointed in her if she wasn't plotting to kill him and take his crown. On a broader scale, every devil wants to take their immediate superior's position by any means neccessary.
Stripperiffic: Apparently the original cover artist for Brimstone Angels put Farideh in a very stripperiffic outfit that the actual character would be mortified to be caught in public in; Evans explained this to the artist and the result was a cover that put Farideh in an outfit that covered her much better.
Further jabs are taken in The Adversary: when Farideh is forced to work with Adolican Rhand, he has his servants set out various skimpy dresses for her to wear. Fari takes great pleasure in shredding, blasting, and otherwise destroying them, as she's not about to go near a lecherous sociopath like Rhand without being as covered up as possible.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Played interestingly with the twins, as which is which varies depending on the situation. Havilar cares much more about things like fashion and boys and is generally more than a little silly, but she's more than a bit of a Blood Knight who gets frustrated with any problem that can't be solved with violence. Farideh, by contrast, is much more reserved and cares very little for appearance, but tends to be more thoughtful and willing to talk out her problems while being painfully aware she's not cut out to be a physical fighter.
Tyke Bomb: Implied in the case of the Nameless One, who is barely into her teens and already a willing vessel for the power of Shar.
Ultimate Evil: When Asmodeus appears in person at the end of the first book to chew out his daughter, it's only as a creepy voice and an overwhelmingly powerful sense of presence. His chat with Lorcan in The Adversary is played similarly.
Unholy Holy Sword: While not a weapon, the Book is certainly a magical object that initially appeared benevolent and useful, and turned out to be anything but.
Villain Team-Up: As of the end of Lesser Evils, one appears to be in the works between Sairche and Rhand. The Adversary explores it in detail.
Villain with Good Publicity: Even though people who know him well are generally varying degrees of creeped out by him, Adolican Rhand has still maintained his position as a member of Waterdeep's high society rather well.
Wham Episode: Hoo boy, The Adversary. Farideh gets tricked into cutting a deal with Sairche that loses her and Havilar seven years of their lives; Lorcan is back in the (moderately) good graces of the Hells; Rhand is dead and Sairche has seemingly had her metaphorical wings clipped, taking two of the most prominent bad guys in the series out of play, for now; Farideh is a Chosen of Asmodeus and Havilar likely is to; last but not least, Bryseis Kakistos' ghost is still kicking around, apparently intending to possess one of her great-granddaughters at the first opportunity.
Wild Card: Even the author has admitted she's not entirely sure if Lorcan will be a good guy or a bad guy in the long run.
Young and in Charge: The Nameless One is about thirteen/fourteen, but can order around even the likes of Adolican Rhand with impunity.