"Your soul calls out. Mine answers, beloved."
A series of books by C. L. Wilson that blends High Fantasy
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:
- Lord of the Fading Lands (2007)
- Lady of Light and Shadows (2007)
- King of Sword and Sky (2008)
- Queen of Song and Souls (2009)
- Crown of Crystal Flame (2010)
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
), 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
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.
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Melliandra
- Alien Sky: With two moons, the Mother and the Daughter.
- All Women Are Lustful: Annoura, Jiarine Montevero, Kelissande Minset, every single Feraz female, etc.
- 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.
- Ambition Is Evil
- Anatomically Impossible Sex: In several instances, characters have nonstop sex for several hours on end.
- Anti-Magic: Sel'dor, which disrupts Fey magic and causes them extreme pain. There are also springs in the Fading Lands which give out water that has the same effect on the Eld.
- Anti-Villain: Gaelen vel Serranis.
- Apocalypse Maiden: What Ellysetta will become if Vadim Maur has his way.
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- 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.
- In the second book, Talisa and DiSebourne.
- The Atoner: Rain, Gaelen.
- Author Appeal
- Author Vocabulary Calendar
- Barrier Maiden: Ellysetta.
- Beautiful All Along: It turns out that Ellysetta's "plain" looks are merely an illusion, and she's actually incredibly gorgeous.
- Because Destiny Says So: The Elves are absolutely hardcore about this.
- 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.
- Big Damn Heroes: The official job of Ellysetta's numerous lu'tan.
- Blondes Are Evil: Kelissande Minset, Ellysetta's rival.
- 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.
- Can't Argue with Elves: Poor Annoura.
- The Chessmaster: Vadim Maur. He's been doing it for centuries.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Rain pretty much behaves this way towards Ellysetta throughout the whole first book, if his thoughts are any indication.
- Christmas Cake: Ellysetta at the beginning of the first book.
- Convicted by Public Opinion: Bel.
- 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.
- Dark Lord: Gaelen's official title. However, he isn't exactly what you'd expect from a Dark Lord. From a more traditional Dark Lord, see Vadim Maur and Seledorn.
- 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.
- Deal with the Devil
- Disproportionate Retribution: Fey tend to enact this whenever any slight is given to their mates. Rain in particular is prone to this.
- Distracted by the Sexy
- Double Standard: At the beginning of Queen of Song and Souls, Ellysetta complains about this when Rain repeatedly puts himself in danger but doesn't let her do the same thing.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Whenever Rain is described from Ellysetta's perspective.
- Elemental Powers: Magic is based around Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, and Spirit.
- The Empath: Fey women, including Ellysetta. Those that can use magic are also . . .
- Empathic Healer
- 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 and live with him, he must totally dominate her heart and mind.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Rain almost caused this a thousand years ago. The Eld have returned to try and finish the job.
- 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.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: What Ellysetta finds out when she probes the mind of one of the Mages of Eld.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Mharog are so bad that even the Eld won't go near them.
- Evil Chancellor: Lord Sebourne.
- Evil Sorcerer: Vadim Maur eats, breathes, lives this trope... while cackling madly.
- Face-Heel Turn: Gaelen encounters a former comrade who had been turned by the Eld.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Becoming a Mharog.
- Faux Action Girl: Ellysetta
- Female Gaze
- Fertile Feet: Pregnant Fey women; flowers literally bloom in their steps.
- Fictionary: Feyan.
- 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.
- Friend to All Children: Kieran, Rain.
- Friend to All Living Things
- 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.
- Gender-Restricted Ability: Healing and empathy can only be used by females. On the downside, having these abilities forces one to become a pacifist. Except for Ellysetta.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Combined with Red Eyes, Take Warning when a mage uses Azrahn.
- God of Evil: Seledorn.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Annoura.
- 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.
- Grand Theft Me: What Vadim Maur plans to do to Ellysetta.
- Gray Eyes: Vadim Maur, Melliandra.
- Green Eyes: Ellysetta.
- Guilty Pleasures: It's a series in which the protagonists are Mary Sues by any reasonable standard, and Our Elves Are Better is played repeatedly and blatantly straight. Why is it so damn enjoyable?
- Hands-On Approach: Rain gleefully Lampshades this while training Ellysetta in magic.
- Heel-Face Turn: Gaelen.
- Hell: The Well of Souls.
- Hell Fire: Mage Fire, Tairen Fire.
- Hero Insurance: Averted by Rain; after devouring some livestock that belong to the local ranchers, he repays them by using his magic to spin gold out of the earth.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Rain. Scorching the world and killing millions tends to leave a black mark on your reputation.
- Honor Before Reason: Fey to the extreme.
- Hot Witch: Sheyl
- 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.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Ellysetta.
- Instant Expert: Ellysetta. Justified to a degree by her drawing memories psychically from her biological father.
- Intimate Healing: Rather literally in Rain's case.
- 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.
- Magic Knight: Elite Fey warriors, especially Rain.
- Male Gaze: Rain's POV, especially when Ellysetta is present.
- Malicious Slander: The Eld use this a lot in an attempt to discredit the Fey, and most of the time, it works.
- Mama Bear: Though she doesn't actually have children, Ellysetta responds fiercely to anyone she cares about being threatened. The female Tairen as well.
- Manipulative Bastard: Kolis Manza. Quite a popular tendency among the Mages of Eld.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Any time a Fey is together with a
- 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.
- Mental Affair: Rain and Ellysetta, oh so many times.
- Million Mook March: The Army of Darkness.
- Mind Link Mates: Rain and Ellysetta, along with all other Fey Truemates.
- 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.
- Moustache de Plume: "C.L. Wilson" is a woman.
- 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.
- Numerological Motif: Five. Five Elemental Powers, five Fey warriors in a quintet, five-fold weaves, five books in the series, etc.
- Omniscient Morality License: Galad Hawksheart, the king of the Elves. Maybe. The Fey don't think so, Galad himself anguishes over it but stays firm that he did the right thing.
- 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.
- Orgasmically Delicious: Keflee.
- Our Angels Are Different: "Light Maiden" is used commonly as a euphemism.
- Our Demons Are Different
- Our Dragons Are Different: Tairen are basically big cats + dragons with human level intelligence. More literal dragons also exist, and show up in the last book as allies of the Eld.
- Our Elves Are Better: The race that are actually called Elves are most similar to Wood Elves. The Fey can be thought of as the High Elven equivalent.
- Papa Wolf: Every single male Fey or Tairen.
- Personality Powers: Each member of Ellysetta's quintet specializes in a different elemental power, and their personalities match. Lamp Shaded by Rain.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Rain, during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and Ellysetta when she really cracks down.
- 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.
- Psychic Powers: Spirit magic.
- Puny Earthlings: Poor Celierians. They're not that weak, but heavily outclassed by the Fey and not the author's favorites anyway.
- Purple Eyes: Rain.
- Really 700 Years Old: Fey in general, Vadim Maur, Galad Hawksheart.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Using Azrahn causes the user's eyes to turn red, always a bad sign.
- Relationship Upgrade: Rain and Ellysetta, four times in the series.
- 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.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Scorching of the World.
- Screw You, Elves!: A lot of Celierians say this to the Fey, and the Eld make a job out of doing it. Some Fey themselves, particularly Tajik, do the same thing to the Elves.
- Sixth Ranger: Gaelen vel Serranis.
- Smug Snake: Queen Annoura.
- Split Personality: Tairen Souls have two minds, one Fey, and one Tairen. Makes sense, since Tairen Souls are effectively the merging of two different souls. The Tairen mind even thinks in plural, we.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: It seems that any important character turns out to have some Fey blood.
- Stalker with a Crush: After his attempt to betrothe himself to her is thrwarted, Den Brodson becomes this for Ellysetta.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Adrial and Talisa.
- 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.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ellysetta's adopted sisters, Lorelle and Lillis.
- Top God: Adelis.
- The Unfair Sex: Lamp Shaded by Rain.
“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.
- Unstoppable Rage
- UST: Ho boy, is this ever taken to the utmost extreme between Rain and Ellysetta.
- Vain Sorceress: Mages of Eld, both male and female.
- The Vamp: Feraz women.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Tairen Soul are Fey who have the ability to assume a Tairen form.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Rain.
- 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.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Vadim Maur.
- 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.