Literature: The Fallen Moon
aka: The Dark Griffin
"If you think your father was a great man, then ask yourself why he betrayed me. And ask yourself why even death did not stop me from killing him."The Fallen Moon
is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Australian author K.J. Taylor. With the exception of the first book, the series has no clear hero. One main character is an undead psychopath, and the other is a fanatical bigot.
The trilogy consists of:
- The Dark Griffin
- The Griffin's Flight
- The Griffin's War
There is also a sequel trilogy, The Risen Sun
.In addition, the author has an unpublished collection of short stories which are prequels or otherwise linked to the main series.
This series provides examples of:
- Arc Words: Several times after the first book Arenadd tells a character "Join me". Depending on the context - and it is often unclear initially which context applies - he then either frees them or kills them...
- Back from the Dead: Skandar's magic is the ability to help the Night God create kraeai kran ae by bringing back Arren/Arenadd, repeatedly. It happens five times by the end of the trilogy; he has one persistent God.
- Bad Dreams: Arren dreams about falling. Both a memory of when he was a child and Foreshadowing.
- Betty and Veronica: Although mostly not in direct competition thanks to a case of That Man Is Dead, Flell and Skade are in a type of Betty and Veronica relationship with Arren/Arenadd. Flell (Betty) is a nice, gentle, wellborn griffiner who loves Arren despite her society's prejudice against Northerners. Skade (Veronica) is an exiled and shapechanged griffin with her species more aggressive traits, but becomes loyal to and dependent on Arenadd. The differences in his two girlfriends highlight the changes in Arren/Arenadd over the course of the trilogy.
- Despair Event Horizon: Arren after Eluna dies. Later revealed that he was almost Driven to Suicide.
- Deus ex Machina: In the final battle, Erian thinks he is safe inside the Sun Temple but then a solar eclipse occurs, weakening Gryphus' power enough to let Arenadd enter the temple where they fight and Arenadd kills him.
- The Dog Bites Back: Rannagon tricks Arren into a job that's supposed to kill him. After Eluna dies instead, Arren blames it on Rannagon, and procedes to kill him and burn down his city. Rannagon claims that he was only trying to discredit him.
- Driven to Suicide: Skade when Arenadd first meets her has just tried to drown herself.
- Elkin after Erian and Kraal die decides that it is Better to Die than Be Killed.
- Arenadd after Skade dies, although his God refuses to let him.
- Arren after Eluna dies, although his friends come just in time to change his mind.
- Driven to Villainy: All Arren wanted to be was a proper Southern griffiner, but the Southerners refused to give him a chance. As soon as he looked to be put in a real position of power on the Council, they/Rannagon took away everything he had gained. Given what happened next, they should have just accepted his loyalty.
- Extra Dimensional Shortcut: Skandar's magic is the ability to travel quickly and invisibly between places by passing through a 'shadow world'. The Night God's favour allows Arenadd to share this ability. In addition to faster and unimpeded travel, it is also used for advantages during fights – allowing the user easy retreat and the ability to strike their opponent while remaining untouchable/intangible.
- In the third book, Arrenadd uses it to kidnap Elkin, getting past her guards and taking her quickly to a safe place.
- Fantastic Slur: Calling Northerners 'darkrobe' as reference to their slave uniform. In defiance of this, from the time he accepts his Northern heritage, Arenadd refuses to wear anything except the robe his parents made him.
- The original design for the slave robe is based off the black woollen robes previously worn by Northern kings.
- Foreshadowing: Arren’s fear of heights and the edge of the city is established very early on. Then, in the climax of the first book he is shot and falls off the edge while being pursued... and just after he had decided to surrender.
- Gladiator Games: The griffin fights in the Arena. Arren volunteers to fight Darkheart as a Condemned Contestant to try and win his freedom. Unfortunately, it ends as a tie...
- Heavenly Blue: Flell and Erian (and Rannagon) both have bright blue eyes due to being descended from Baraher the Blessed. He wasthe leader of the first group of people to settle Cymria, and was chosen by the sun god Gryphus.
- Hero Antagonist: Erian. Technically, he is hunting down an escaped mass murderer who also killed his father; and by the end of the series he is at least as sympathetic as Arenadd.
- Heroic Bastard: Erian is the bastard son of Rannagon. Although presented as antagonist to Arenadd, he contains many of the typical qualities of a hero, particularly once we start seeing some of his POV.
- Huge Griffin Tiny Girl: Kraal is the largest and most powerful griffin ever seen (equal only to his son, Skandar) yet he chose to be partnered to Elkin,the sick young daughter of the previous Eyre Master. People are initially surprised, but it turns out that with his magic to keep her healthy she makes a highly intelligent and politically savvy Eyre Mistress.
- Human Sacrifice: Northerners practice this for the Blood Moon
- Identity Amnesia: Fully committing himself to the Night God causes Arenadd to lose all personal memories of Arren. Particularly convenient given that two of the three people he has been tasked with killing are his (ex-)girlfriend and their daughter...
- Interspecies Romance: Arenadd and Skade, sort of. She was a griffin, but got physically turned into a human and started developing human emotions
- Karmic Transformation: Skade is turned into a human as punishment for killing humans.
- La Résistance: The Northerner rebels hiding out in the mountains. When Arenadd and Skandar arrive to act as figureheads, they are finally able to start the full-blown rebellion to reclaim the North.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Arren captures the black griffin then sells him to the Arena where he is kept in a cage and forced to fight for the audience’s entertainment. The same thing then happens to him when he is convicted of stealing a griffin chick.
- Also, at the very start of the series, he raids a smuggling den in his role as Master of Trade, Eluna killing a man who tries to escape. The man’s friends and family are the ones who beat him up and put the slave collar on him
- Long-Lost Relative: Arenadd discovers that Caedmon, the slave elder from Herbstitt, is actually his great-uncle, and the griffiner leader of the Northern rebels, Arddryn, is his great-aunt. When they were younger his grandfather was arrested and sold inteo slavery in the south. Arddryn then started a rebellion to free the North, but it was crushed and she fled while Caedmon was sold along with the other captured fighters.
- Arenadd also meets Arddryn’s daughter and his (second) cousin (once removed), Saeddryn.
- Arddryn herself dies before seeing Caedmon again, but hears about him from Arenadd.
- Made a Slave: The Northerners as a race have this as their Backstory after being conquered by the Southerners.
- [[Spoiler: Arenadd is captured as an escaped slave in Herbstitt]]. This is important in showing him what the life of a Northern slave is actually like, starting to turn his mind from personal revenge towards freeing the North. He later escapes, taking all the other Herbstitt slaves with him.
- His parents were slaves as children, but were freed when Eagleholm had to sell or free all its slaves to raise funds. They are then captured and enslaved again by Erian when they try to escape to follow Arren, both as bait and revenge against him. Erian keeps his mother but sells his father at Herbstitt, where he is reunited with his son.
- Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: While Cardock can excuse Arren killing Rannagon as revenge for Eluna and being pushed too far, he has a harder time dealing with the realisation that he killed the guards in the slave barracks, and the amount of extortion and similar he practiced while Master of Trade (even if he needed the money because the Eyrie wouldn’t pay him fairly.* Meaningful Rename: Arenadd accepting his Northern name and heritage.
- His original name change also counts, choosing Arren Cardockson as a way of rejecting his Northern family and trying to fit in with the Southerners.
- Also Darkheart being freed and becoming Skandar.
- Mistaken for Servant: Arren, at least twice after Eluna dies; once when returning with the dark griffin, and again by Erian in the Hatchery. Partially justified in that he is one of the few Northerners in the South who is not a slave, and in the second instance he is actually wearing a slave collar.
- New Child Left Behind: Flell got pregnant just before Arren’s life fell apart. She tried to tell him on the final night when he came to ask her forgiveness, but he left before she had a chance. After that, she didn’t what to tell him and it wasn’t safe to even if she found him. He finds out 20 years later.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Arenadd’s attitude towards burning the Eyrie (revenge against Rannagon which snowballed slightly) and stealing/freeing the Herbstitt slaves (to cover his escape and spite the Southerners). Also his initial success as a griffiner seemed to prove that Northerers could be ‘civilized’, but he spent the entire time denying his heritage. He ends up leading the revolution anyway.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The Kraeai kran ae is the Night God's avatar. While he is unable to die (or at least, she keeps bringing him Back from the Dead) is also has no heartbeat and is not truly alive.
- Place of Power: Arenadd is first able to talk with the Night God from within Taranis’ Throne: a stone circle.
- Erian and Sennek journey to the Isle of the Sun in hopes of finding guidance and a weapon against him.
- Preemptive Apology: Arren to Flell before he kills her father and (accidentally) burns the Eyrie to the ground
- Reforged into a Minion: This is basically what the Night God has done to Arenadd, particularly once she starts taking his memories
- Reformed, but Rejected: Arren, on a racial level. Despite from a very young age having done everything he can to cut himself off from his Northern heritage, people in Eagleholm refuse to see him as anything other than ‘the blackrobe griffiner’. With a few exceptions, only Eluna’s presence gains him even grudging respect to his face.
- Sapient Steed: the griffins. They are intelligent and have their own language, but are usually willing to let their partner fly on them.
- Shadow Walker: Skandar's magic is the ability to travel quickly and invisibly between places by passing through a 'shadow world'. The Night God's favour allows Arenadd to share this ability.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Arren finding the cave in book two. Turns out, he wasn't cursed, he is a curse, and he's told in no uncertain terms that he isn't welcome there.
- Slave Brand: Northerner slaves have a brand on the back of their hand. Arenadd gets one when he is captured in Herbstitt
- Slave Collar: Worn by Northerner slaves from childhood, and now with spikes on the inside! They can be broken and removed only if hit in the correct spot
- Slave Liberation: the Resistance’s motivation. Uses primarily types A and B (steal and buy slaves to free them)
- Slave Race: enough of the Northerners are slaves to qualify
- Sssssnake Talk: Griffish has elements of this due to trying to get the words around a beak.
- Solar and Lunar: The Southerners worship the sun god, Gryphus, while the Northerners worship Scathach, the Night God. Erian and Arenadd are the chosen avatars for their respective gods.
- Stars Are Souls: When a Northerner dies the Night God gathers their soul and places them in the sky as a star. When Skade dies, the Night God rewards Arenadd for his work by agreeing to turn her into a star as well, rather than allowing her to go back to the land magic like other griffins. Gryphus gives his followers a more stereotypical Heaven.
- Talking in Your Sleep: Arren sleeptalks calling for help because he is falling
- Technicolour Eyes: Skandar has silver eyes; justified because he is a griffin.
- That Man Is Dead: Arenadd about Arren when he gives up on trying to fit in with the Southerners. Rather more literal than most examples of this trope...
- The Berserker: Arren/Arenadd. Developing this trait is a sign of his downward spiral after Eluna dies. The Southerners believe it to be a trait of all Northerners and use his behaviour as proof that their mistrust of him was justified.
- The Chosen One: Arren was chosen by the Night God to free the Northerner slaves and reclaim the North, while Gryphus chose Erian to stop him.
- The Magocracy: Griffiners occupy all important government positions
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: Arenadd after being captured in Malvern. Granted, he was killed, but since he was already technically dead he simply came back. While his mortal enemy was standing triumphantly over his body. Oh Crap indeed.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Arenadd accepting his Northern heritage after being told in no uncertain terms that he will never be accepted as a Southerner.
- This Is My Human: Most of the griffins have this sort of attitude, and frequently refer to their partner in this way
- Total Eclipse of the Plot: The Blood Moon is a lunar eclipse. It involves a very important Northern ritual requiring Human Sacrifice, and is the first time Arenadd meets the Night God.
- Trauma Conga Line: Arren; particularly in the first book. In order, he loses his money, his griffin, his trust, his job, his self-respect, his faith, his sanity, his freedom and his life.
- Trojan Prisoner: Need to get a bunch of runaway slaves through a guard checkpoint? Have the hero’s girlfriend (the only one not a member of the Slave Race) borrow his griffin and pretend to be a griffiner with an entourage. If the bluff fails, move to plan B
- Unscrupulous Hero: Erain. While he is trying to catch a mass murderer, he threatens to torture said murderer's parents, and he still enslaves them when they prove they don't know anything.
- Arenadd also frequently fits this category.