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A series of books by C. L. Wilson that blends High Fantasy and Romance together. It began in 2007 with the publication of the first novel, Lord of the Fading Lands, which was followed by a sequel within a month. Originally intended as one book, the Tairen Soul series has expanded to become a quintet.Novels in the series include:
In the distant past, a cataclysmic, continent-wide war later called the Mage Wars swept across the world of Eloran, drawing the various races into an extended and bloody struggle. The primary combatants of the war were the Eld, a long-lived race of human-like mortals dedicated to mastering all magics and conquering the world, and the Fey, a race of wonderful, beautiful, heroic, dedicated, proud, silvery luminescent-skinned humanoids who consider themselves the champions of light.During the war, the mages of Eld killed Sariel, the E'tani (mate) of Rainier vel'En Daris, a Tairen Soul (Fey who have the ability to transform into Tairen), and the Feyreisen(Fey King). Rain, being quite put out over the death of his girlfriend, promptly went insane and decided to scorch all life from the face of the world. After slaughtering millions in a mad blood frenzy, he was finally detained by the rest of the Fey. By this time, the Mage Wars had ended, with the Eld withdrawing and seemingly disappearing. Rain was brought back to the Fey homeland, the Fading Lands, and kept in quiet seclusion as his madness raged.1,000 years later, Rain, feeling much more calm after a centuries long cool-off, emerges from solitude and uses the immensely powerful Eye of Truth to try to deduce how to help the dying Tairen. It sends him to Celieria, the capital of the human kingdom, with a vague image of a woman with red hair and green eyes.In Celieria, Ellysetta Baristani, the 24-year old adopted daughter of a woodcarver, is nearing the end of her years of marriage-eligibility, and finds herself being forced into a betrothal with the butcher's son Den Brodson. When it is learned that the Tairen Soul is coming to Celieria, Ellie's younger twin sisters ask her to accompany them to the ceremony. Unexpectedly, during the ceremony, Rain appears and claims Ellysetta as his Shei'tani, his one-and-only, soulmated mindlinked true love.Originally starting off as a Paranormal Romance situated around Rain and Ellysetta, the Tairen Soul series eventually expands into a High Fantasy plot involving heavy amounts of magic, politics, and The End of the World as We Know It, with the forces of darkness being led by Vadim Maur, the High Mage of the resurrected mages of Eld, with an increased focus on worldbuilding and plot.
Altar the Speed: Rain and Ellysetta in the first two books. They're literally betrothed within days of meeting each other, and married within three weeks. Rain originally wanted to be married within three days.
Always Chaotic Evil: Rain believes that the Eld are this. Subverted when Gaelen calls him out on this belief, saying that the Eld are not born evil but rather corrupted by society under the mages. Also subverted by the dahl'reisen. Played straight with the Mharog.
The Archmage: The Tairen Souls are the greatest magic weavers among the Fey. For the Eld, the High Mage(Vadim Maur) is this.
Arranged Marriage: Between Ellysetta and Den Brodson. Rain later threatens the Celierian royalty with national war if they don't dissolve the marriage contract, and pays Brodson's parents a huge sum to make sure they don't have any complaints.
Berserk Button: For most Fey, Azrahn; for the kitten Love, magic in general; for Rain, anything that has to do with the Eld; for Gaelen, anyone attempting to harm his sister; for Ellysetta, someone trying to harm ANYONE she cares about. Fey in general have a no-tolerance policy towards any slight or offense given to their mates.
Beta Couple: Adrial and Talisa. They're one of the rare examples of the trope who end up less fortunate than the protagonists.
Body Snatcher: The Eld can change bodies multiple times, which is how they cheat death.
Black Magic: Azrahn. Which later turns out to not be as evil as the Fey thought.
Cannot Tell a Lie: Fey. The text seems to imply that although they are not honest, and do mislead, they are physically incapable of saying something technically not true. Like many other examples of the trope they love to formulate things they don't want to say as mistakably as possible.
Contrived Coincidence: Fanir, an Elf who guides Elysetta turns out to be the son of one of the millions of good people Rain killed. He gets to forgive Rain in his dad's place.
Cute Kitten: The white kitten Love. Subverted in that she turns murderous when magic is used around her. Later Invoked by Den Brodson, who finds a litter of kittens and uses them to lure Ellysetta's sisters out of hiding.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Azrahn, the soul magic. So dangerous and forbidden among Fey that one use is enough for instant banishment from the Fading Lands for life.
Deadpan Snarker: Gaelen. In the last book, Rain also explicitly mentions that Ellysetta has a deadpan sense of humor.
The Feraz witch, when taking magically powerful male prisoners in payment for Chemaz, mentions that she will return them in no time when Maur grumbles about wanting to use those men for breeding purposes. She obviously never mentions the condition they will be returned in, but she does rattle a bag of Chemaz. Turns out that its made from their bones.
Entitled to Have You: Colum believes that his unrequited feelings for Talisa give him the right to hit her when she falls in love with someone else. It's not enough for Talisa to be his wife note Celerian marriages are nearly always made for political or familial reasons, as Talisa knows. and live with him, he must totally dominate her heart and mind.
Eternal Love: Typical for fey couples. Special mention to Shan and Elfeya who have been together a thousand years already when they're captured and spend a thousand years supporting each other in a Torture Cellar.
For the Evulz: The Mharog. They have fallen so deep into darkness that there is utterly no goodness left in any part of their souls, and they live only to extinguish the life of others.
Friends with Benefits: How Talisa's Arranged Marriage with DiSebourne was pretty much going before Adrial showed up. Ellysetta also viewed her relationship with Rain as something like this until the second book.
Functional Magic: Fey magic is Force Magic that works by Elemental Powers and Inherent Gift. There is also Device Magic (magical items and Sel'dor), Rule Magic (many of Vadim Maur's rituals), and Theurgy (drawing on and summoning demons from the Well of Souls).
Genetic Memory: Ellysetta is able to remember and use skills that were picked up by her biological father.
Good Hurts Evil: Love hurts the Mharog. The presence of dahl'reisen and especially Mharog cause pain to empathetic Fey women.
Good Is Dumb: Rain feels that the Eld are building strength, and goes to tell the mortals in Celieria that. All he has for prooof is....nothing. He is astounded when they don't just believe his gut instinct.
The Ruling Body of the Fey is so against using the forbidden soul magic, Azhran, that they refuse to use it even if doing so spells imminent destruction for the Fey and Tairen, and instant success for the Eld.
How Do I Shot Web?: When Ellysetta first starts using her power, her inexperience causes her to overdo things, often resulting in overly forceful and blunt weaves.
Humans by Any Other Name: The term human or even Man is never used, instead they are called Celierian, Eld and especially mortal. The term "man" is occasionally even applied to male Fey. It should be noted, however, that the Eld are not truly humans, having unique traits such as their extended longevities.
I Am Who?: Ellysetta's parentage is ambiguous right from the start, until it is eventually revealed that she is actually a Fey, and a Tairen Soul, who was conceived by two renowned Fey who were captured during the Mage Wars and used as breeding stock by Vadim Maur in an attempt to engineer the ultimate Tairen Soul.
Immortal Procreation Clause: Fey already have low birth rates and girls are born only from Mindlink Mates couples. The author explicitly states that immortals need this trope in order to not "overrun the planet like an unchecked bunny population."
In the Blood: What a lot of characters seem to believe, if the world really supports this assumption remains to be seen.
Knight Templar: Rain really, really, really, really hates the Eld and anything to do with them. It gets to the point where Ellysetta purposefully conceals that one of her Celierian friends has Eld ancestry, out of worry that Rain would overreact. He gets better about it later on.
The Lancer: Bel, both to Rain and in Ellysetta's quintet.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Zigzagged with Ellysetta's parentage. It is hinted at the end of the first book that Vadim Maur is Ellysetta's father. In the second book, Gaelen proves that Ellysetta does not have Eld blood, because she does not possess the Eld immunity to Sel'dor, meaning that she can't be Maur's daughter. At the end of that book, Vadim Maur reveals to Ellysetta that he is not her biological parent, but rather, the "father of her soul" having engineered her spirit to be born into his controlled breeding program with Azrahn. In the third book, it is confirmed that Ellysetta was born with her powers as a result of Maur binding a Tairen soul to hers in order to engineer a Tairen Soul.
Medieval Stasis: Not many advances in the thousand years since the Mage Wars, it seems.
Meganeko: The Tairen behave like ancient, overgrown housecats.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Fey women stay out of combat, and are protected by the male characters. Dying to defend a female is considered the ideal death for a Fey warrior. There are also legends of hundreds or thousands of male Fey dying to protect one female, and these are considered heroic and glorious. Justified to a degree by the fact that Fey women are completely unable to physically defend themselves due to their empathy, and are considerably fewer in number compared to Fey men, due to girls only being born to Truemated couples.
Mind Rape: Fey Shei'dalins are known for doing this. Ellysetta is extremely uneasy around them because of this. Ironically, Ellysetta later becomes a Shei'dalin herself. And performs a Mind Rape.
The Mharog are much, much worse. They exude an aura of evil and malice so pervasively that just standing near them is unbearably painful for empathetic Fey women, and the slightest contact with their flesh would instantly kill Ellysetta.
The Nicknamer: Kieran, both to people he likes and dislikes. Lorelle, for example, he calls, "little Fey'cha." (Fey'cha being the Feyan term for "knife.") After seeing Den Brodsen go Stalker with a Crush on Ellysetta, he calls him "sausage" at every opportunity.
Not So Stoic: Gaelen has his moments too, despite being a thousand years old man.
Elysetta is hysterical for most of the story.
Rain is constantly annoyed with humans for wanting things like logical proof. He is also often crying over his difficult past.
Meliandra is tougher then anyone else in the books, but even she has her limits.
One True Love: Fey truemates. One thing this series does right regarding this trope, however, is making a distinction between "mates of the heart" (e.g. Rain and Sariel), non-truemates who nevertheless fall in love and choose to marry, and "mates of the soul", or those who are truemates. Even after Rain finds Ellysetta, his feelings for Sariel are never trivialized.
A non-Fey example is Dorian and Annoura's Perfectly Arranged Marriage. After his death, Annoura finds a letter in which he describes his love and unwavering devotion to her- to the extent of calling her the Fey word for soulmate- and the narrative treats his feelings as valid.
Power Nullifier: Being shot with Sel'dor arrows makes it nearly impossible for a Fey to use magic.
The Power of Love: Applied rather literally to the Shei'dalins. It is revealed in the final book that this is actually a type of Azrahn, the Black Magic.
Power Perversion Potential: Tairen Soul characters freely indulge in all the uses for magic that most of the time exist only in the readers' imagination. Some examples include: removing clothes by magic, using Spirit magic illusions to experience sexual fantasies, exciting others with magic, spinning a weave over a whole crowd of assembled nobles that sends them all into a mating frenzy with the closest person, etc.
Reverse Harem: They (officially) do not want to be together or sleep with Ellie, but she certainly is surrounded by handsome men who swear they'll die to do her bidding. It's somewhere between friendship and Courtly Love with Ellie and Bel at least.
That Came Out Wrong: At least once per book; between Rain and Ellysetta in the first two, and by a Shei'dalin to Ellysetta in the third, who implied that Ellysetta enjoyed watching violence and fighting.
Time Abyss: The Eye of Truth, the Grandfather tree and especially Galad Hawksheart (+10,000 years old), who has counted every soul who ever was born into his extended family and they number in the hundreds of thousands.
“It’s been too long since I’ve been a mate. I had forgotten the two rules.”
“The two rules?” she echoed.
“Aiyah. Sariel taught me.” He held up his index finger. “Rule one: in any dispute between mates, the male is always to blame, even when he is clearly blameless. Rule two”—his middle finger joined the first—“whenever in doubt, refer to rule one.”
The Unfettered: Many. Galad Hawksheart is willing to let anything happen - if only by proxy and manipulation - to make sure prophecies play out in the way they're supposed to, but he doesn't indulge or spare himself the slightest bit either. While Gaelen is able to feel all those things, he is fettered neither by Fey honor nor mercy, moral qualms or his own wellbeing in protecting the fading lands. Vadim Maur is pure evil and to become ruler of the world he's afraid of neither pain, nor powerful foes nor eldritch beings and he knows no pity.
What the Hell, Hero?: Several instances, particularly when Rain is called out by the Elves in the fourth book.
And was it really necessary for a powerful magical immortal (Rain) to get physical with a powerless, nineteen year old girl (Kelissande) because she was arrogant to his girlfriend (Elysetta). It implies that he doesn't think Elysetta can stand up for herself even a little bit, and it shows that he is petty and abuses his powers.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Rain points out that Fey and other natural immortas don't have any problem with this, but mortals who's lives are unnaturally extended eventually become, "bitter." It's also shown that immortality even for them can mean millennia of living with growing pain and regret.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Male Fey. Except when Rain thrown Kelissande into the water for daring to suggest Elysetta wasn't that great.