“If you look hard and long, you can find us. If you listen hard and long, you can hear any of us, call any of us that you wish.”
The Immortals is the second series set in the Tortall Universe. Veralidaine Sarrasri, more commonly called Daine, is a a thirteen-year-old girl on the run from her past. She has a "knack for animals" that borders on the supernatural, attracting the attention of Numair Salmalin, the archmage of Tortall. As he instructs her, they realize that her power may be greater than either of them can imagineMeanwhile, a centuries-old barrier has been broken in the world. Fierce and mythical creature known as immortals start to invade the human lands, and while many are benign, many begin to attack and prey on humans. Joining Tortall's efforts to deal with the sudden menace, Daine finds herself caught up in a conflict that spirals far out of the mortal scale.A character sheet can be found here. Beware of spoilers.
The Emperor Mage
The Realms of the Gods
Tropes present in this series include:
90% of Your Brain: In Wolf-Speaker, Daine refers to the (now discredited) idea that humans use little of their brains when comparing them to Brokefang who, changed by her magic, had ideas in "each nook and cranny of his skull." She is horrified by her discovery.
A God Am I: Emperor Ozorne all but bans worship of the gods, declaring that "if the people need to worship someone, they can worship him."
Action Mom: Thayet, founder of the Queen's Riders. They're a cavalry group with many female members.
The Ageless: The immortals have this form of immortality. Eternal life, unless ended by accident or intended harm.
Amplified Animal Aptitude: This happens to any animals that spend a lot of time around Daine. She's not happy about it because they're not used to the sudden influx of intelligence and it makes their lives very complicated.
Amputation Stops Spread: In Wolf-Speaker, a mage cuts off her hand when she gets a drop of "bloodrain", a potent magic poison, on her skin. Had it reached her bloodstream, she would have rotted inside out. (And this is why you wear gloves in chemistry, kids.)
Animal Eye Spy: Daine learns to do this in Wolf Speaker, where it promptly becomes a plot point.
Animal Stereotypes: Wild magic, anyone? A number of them are also purposefully broken — bats aren't evil (reflecting how they're seen as symbols of luck in many Asian countries) among others.
Animal Talk: "The People" have one language which seems to be magical in nature. They usually don't think to do so except when they're influenced by Daine's human intelligence.
Animate Dead: The Graveyard Hag, patron goddess of Carthak, can do this. She gives Daine the power—temporarily—as part of her plan to get rid of Ozorne.
An unusual defied example in the last book. The gods give Daine the choice between this or remaining human (and being bound to whichever realm she picked). She chose to stay human.
Played straight with Sarra. Weiryn petitioned the other gods to let her become a minor goddess instead of going to the Black God. She's now known as the Green Lady and watches over mothers and childbirth in her old village.
Asleep for Days: This happens to Daine multiple times, from calling forth the Kraken, overusing shapeshifting abilities, and moving between the mortal and divine realms.
Blue and Orange Morality: This overlaps with Deliberate Values Dissonance, as Daine does not consider what is best for humans to be more important than what is best for animals. She does conclude at one point that some of the predatory animals which she loves reduce her to tears with their hunting tactics, but she loves them still and doesn't consider them evil for having such natures.
Blob Monster: The "skinners" from the final book—giant nightmare blobs made of Chaos itself that are immune to weapons and most magic. Daine and Numair are only saved from them when they're yanked into the Divine Realm. The darkings are a smaller, noncombatant, and rather friendlier version. Okay, they're Ozorne's spies, but they turn on him after they become sentient.
Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: In the last book, Daine is interrupted in a lake by a tauros. She improvises a sling with her towel and decides she can't bathe unarmed again.
Continuity Drift: Wild magic does not fit within the rules of magic as laid down in Song of the Lioness. Hand waved by being subtle enough in most practitioners to be commonly disregarded as folk tale fodder.
Also the Immortals themselves: in the earlier Song of the Lioness Quartet the only creatures around were mundane ones you'd find in the corresponding Earth habitats (although sometimes an animal could be uncommonly large, and they might be turned more dangerous by sorcery. And then there'sFaithful but he's a constellation, not exactly a real cat). If creatures like dragons are mentioned it's with the implication that they are as mythical in the Tortall-verse as in our world. In The Immortals we find that these kinds of creatures do exist but have spent millennia sealed into the Divine Realms - from where they are now gradually being released by the bad guys. Since there was no hint of their reality and imprisonment in The Song Of The Lioness, we can assume it's a ret-con, but it's actually done very well. The explanation for the creatures' appearance isn't a hand-wave, it's a major part of the series (which is why it's called The Immortals).
Deity of Human Origin: The Green Lady, a minor goddess of healing and childbirth. She's Sarra, Daine's mother.
Divine Date: In the backstory. Sarra's unknown lover was Weiryn, which was why she never married a village man despite her neighbors' urging.
Does Not Know His Own Strength: Numair, magically speaking, especially when compared to the Queenscoves in Protector of the Small, who require incredibly precise control in their healing. In a variation on the trope, Numair is perfectly aware of his strength and its limitations, he just can't control it because he's trained himself in big, power-consuming spells his whole life and doesn't have the precision needed for small things and is openly envious of 'lesser' mages. Most mages can use magic to put out their candles; Numair has to get up and blow his out because if he used his magic he'd blow up the candle, as well as the table it was on and the wall behind it.
Equivalent Exchange: Certain powerful spells have an opposite effect. So when Numair turns Tristan into a tree, somewhere in the world a tree becomes a man.
Fake Kill Scare: Played with in Emperor Mage, when the titular emperor has a certain someone killed. This angers everyone's favorite Wild Mage, and she proceeds to call up some ZOMBIE DINOSAUR SKELETONS and every other living animal in the area, destroy a palace and most of the city, and do quite a bit more damage. When that certain someone shows up, proving to her that it was a magical clone of himself that had been killed, she cools off, answering "What happened?'' with "I thought you were dead. I lost my temper."
False Flag Operation: Carthak disguises its warships as pirates in their attempt to kill Thayet and the royal children so that Tortall can't declare war. When Tortall sends a peace delegation, Ozorne kidnaps Daine so he can frame her and declare war on Tortall.
Fantasy Pantheon: With the last book being called The Realm of the Gods, you can expect them to step into center stage. This series establishes that there are major and minor gods, and that mortals, like Daine's late mother, can sometimes become divine.
Friend to All Living Things: Deconstructed with Ozorne, who is popular enough with his animals, particularly his birds, but is otherwise a very, very nasty man. On the other hand, Daine is nature's friend through and through.
Gone Horribly Right: At the end of Emperor Mage, Daine and Rikash force Ozorne to turn into a Stormwing. In the next book, he has taken leadership of several Stormwing clans, used his immortal powers to create a network of spies and very nasty magic killers, and makes a deal with the ruler of Chaos that comes close to destroying the divine and human realms.
Green Aesop: In Wolf-Speaker Tristan and Yolane think nothing of exploiting the land to get at the black opals leading to more then a few animals to become very angry over the loss of their homes. Daine tries to talk them out of it by "thinking selfishly" and pointing out that in a few generations, the land will be so ruined that they'll be beggared trying to support themselves. (They don't listen.)
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Daine can talk to animals. She proves on many occasions that speaking to animals gives her huge advantages in war and intrigue. For instance, she can prevent an army from marching as they have no edible food, no water, no horses, and hardly a strap of leather or piece of rope that hasn't been chewed through; a logistics nightmare.
Heroic Bastard: Daine is illegitimate, as indicated by her matronymic "Sarrasri" from her mother Sarra, and this affects her and how other see her throughout The Immortals. However, in Realms of The Gods we find out that her father is really Weiryn, the god of the hunt, and her mother has gone up to join him to become The Green Lady, a minor Goddess. Daine very briefly considers changing her patronymic to Weirynsra before deciding to keep her old one after having been through so much with it.
Heroic Safe Mode: Daine's reaction to hearing that Numair was executed in Emperor Mage.
Hot for Student: Daine and Numair. Daine had reached the age where she would be considered an adult before she even realized Numair liked her, and Numair himself seemed initially reluctant when Daine brought it up.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: Stormwings were created by a human mage in the hopes that their depredations would discourage war. Rikash points out that humans would just stop waging war, there would be no war dead to desecrate and they'd go away. It's not the Stormwings' fault that they'll never be unemployed. (Well, not the fault of the Stormwings who actually follow the rules on these things.)
Jerk Ass Gods: This series firmly establishes that the gods are not nice beings. Mithros in particular is a dick. "Sorry Daine, never mind that you just singlehandedly saved us all from being devoured by the queen of Nightmare Fuel herself, but because you cause a mild ruckus wherever you go, you'll never be allowed to see your parents again in their realm unless they beg us nicely."
Interspecies Romance: Daine's mother, Sarra, and Weiryn, the God of the Hunt—although Sarra was elevated to a minor goddess after her death.
Involuntary Shapeshifting / Karmic Transformation: Emperor Ozorne is turned into a Stormwing at the end of Emperor Mage. Immortals are incapable of holding mortal office, meaning Ozorne immediately loses his throne, and they also can't use the mortal Gift, leaving him more or less powerless for some time until he figures out Stormwing magic.
Just Friends: Before their Relationship Upgrade, the situation between Daine and Numair was slightly... complicated, although it didn't show as much on the surface.
Lizard Folk: Basilisks are sapient, bipedal lizards with a gift for languages and the power to turn things into rock. Tkaa, the only one to have a role so far, identifies their species' Hat as "travel and gossip"; he ends up teaching the pages' class on immortals in the next quartet.
Magical Defibrillator: A literal example, as Alanna uses magical electricity to jump start Daine's heart after Daine inadvertently stopped her own heart with wild magic.
Modest Royalty: Daine is shocked when she first meets Jonathan and Thayet since they don't look like her mental image of royalty.
Mundane Utility: Daine uses her powers to manage farm animals and get a job herding ponies. At the time, she has no idea just how much potential she really has.
Naked First Impression: The first time Daine is properly introduced to Numair, he's naked, having just shifted back into human form from hawk form. Not to be confused with Naked on Arrival, though, since upon arrival Numair was a hawk, and a hawk can't be considered naked.
Daine: This is Skysong, but mostly we call her Kit, or Kitten.
nicknaming a dragon Big Blue.
Noble Demon: The Stormwings appear first as enemies because nobody is inclined to like beings who live on fear and desecrate those dead in war. Rikash, however, points out that they can't help the way they were designed, and says that humans could prevent their depredations simply by not having wars.
Not So Extinct: All the immortal species returning from the Divine Realms.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Numair in Wolf-Speaker refers to depending on Tristan remembering him as having been a "book-bound idiot" back in Carthak.
Odd Friendship: Daine and Rikash the Stormwing. She even names one of her kids after him after he dies.
Our Dragons Are Different: They give birth to live young, and change color depending on their mood, although each has a unique neutral coloration. The fourth book reveals that they're extremely political and can take decades to come to any sort of consensus, and are semi-divine. An adult dragon feels comfortable backhandedly defying Tortall's Jerkass Gods.
Stormwings are a race of birdlike beings who live to desecrate the dead (in a largely futile effort to make people reluctant to wage war) and they're made of sharp metal that can cut up birds, so Daine doesn't like them. Then she meets Rikash, the one who befriended the lonely Maura and reveals that they are fond of children.
Lord Imrah of Legann is described as bald, with a large belly, hawk nose and pockmarked face, giving him a cruel appearance. Daine noticed him feeding one of the darkings, and when confronted, joked that it was a shadow of it's former self.
The Prophecy: It's a bad prophecy! Uuosae, Queen of Chaos, will eventually defeat her divine siblings and turn all realms to Chaos; in other words destroying everything. Most of The Realms of the Gods is about preventing this from happening.
Jonathan retains this role, as well as his wife Thayet jian Wilima, who will leave court functions to join the Queen's Riders.
Ozorne and Kaddar of Carthak are quite active too, although Kaddar thinks his uncle should pay more attention to their people's welfare.
Razor Wings: Stormwings are covered in steel/metal feathers which are extremely sharp.
Raised by Wolves: Daine wasn't actually raised by them, but the pack near her home did take her in after her mother's death.
Reality Changing Miniature: The shield over Dunlath valley in Wolf Speaker is created by a tiny map of the valley with magical opals embedded in it. The shield drops when Daine smashes the map up.
Refusing Paradise: The choice Daine makes at the end of the fourth book. Although she had promised Sarra she would stay early in the book, Daine changes her mind after everything that happens—she feels more at home in the mortal realm.
Relationship Upgrade: The Realm of the Gods has Daine and Numair realizing that they were meant for each other. There was some minor foreshadowing to this point, but the fact that Daine was in her early teens and Numair in his late twenties, and her teacher, made Numair reluctant to bring it up.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Daine. Once before the beginning of Wild Magic and later after fining out that Numair was killed. Sadly, the person her revenge was supposed to be directed at turned into a Stormwing and his innocent nephew had to pay the damages.
Science Marches On: Father Universe and Mother Flame sentence the Queen of Chaos to live in a dead star until a new star is born—an event that happens about once a year in Real Life. Then again, this may be justified by the fact that constellations are established as sentient beings elsewhere, so they probably don't operate quite the same way.
Semi-Divine: Daine's father is a minor god and her mother Sarra was a mortal villagewoman. Sarra herself became a local goddess after her death.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Daine wears a formal dress at the start of Emperor Mage because of the high class functions.
Shown Their Work: The animal behavior in these books are very well-researched, and Daine's healing abilities require her to learn their anatomy so she doesn't botch the job.
Particularly evident in Wolf Speaker, when Daine is reunited with the wolf pack she knew at home. Just as you might be thinking how unrealistic it is for wolves to be able to strategise like this, Daine thinks the same thing, and concludes that they must have leveled up when they licked her wounds after she was injured.
Took a Level in Badass: At the beginning of the series, Daine is a grieving fourteen-year-old exile who has a knack with animals. By the third book, she can command a herd of dinosaur skeletons and turn herself into a bear.
Supernatural Sensitivity: Numair shows Daine a spell that reveals the magical aura of everything that exists (living, dead, inanimate) in the first book of The Immortals. With all the various colors of bright magical light, it just begs to be Fan-Art.
Unstoppable Rage: Please don't piss Daine off. Otherwise you'll be dealing with skeleton zombie dinosaurs crushing your palace. Numair will turn you into a tree.
Perhaps less dramatically, if she is in the form of a giant bird, don't follow close behind her. Just... don't.
What Happened to the Mouse?: So many people asked about what happened to the tree that became a man that Pierce wrote a short story about it for an anthology.
It was never specified what happened to Varice Kingsford at the end of Emperor Mage. We can't even be sure if she knows her ex-lover is alive, seeing that we never saw them speak to each other after Daine told her to flee and hide.
Technically, all of the dinosaurs had been defeated and allowed to move on to the afterlife. But Daine had managed to get some hyenas, who The Prophecy had stated would bring about Ozorne's downfall, to help her, and had transformed into one. So it was actually abdicate, and allow himself to face justice, be transformed into a Stormwing, thereby placing him under their jurisdiction, or be killed by hyenas. Naturally, he chose the option that would allow him to continue to be the Big Bad.