Literature Main YMMV
The Secret Texts
series of three books by Holly Lisle (
Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons
Courage of Falcons
), and a
Vincalis the Agitator.
Once upon a time,
of Hars Ticlarim was a place of beauty. The world of Matrin was
run on magic.
powered by a gazillion billion jillion forsaken people.
Utopia Justifies the Means
Vincalis the Agitator
is what happens when a few people (and a deity) decide to stop this process...leading to
The End of the World as We Know It
The trilogy takes place
a thousand years later
, where most people have been Scarred into looking like very random animal mixes via magic,
Magic is Evil
(but some still do it anyway),
abounds, and the souls of the Dragons from the first book are trying to take over the world again. But this time there's a secret society dedicated to stopping them, and a prophesied Messiah is supposed to come and save them all...
Warning: this series plays straight
subverts the entire
Fate and Prophecy Tropes
Provides Examples Of: After the End: well, a thousand years later after it for the trilogy A God Am I: the goal of many characters. All Men Are Perverts: cited by Yanth and Jain in a conversation about how the first thing any man notices about any woman is if he'd nail her. A Man Is Not a Virgin: Ry has actually been saving his first time for True Love. Ancient Tradition: the Falcons, though they aren't so much passive so much as they don't believe in offensive magic. Animal Motifs: Dragons for the really really evil magic users, Wolves for the evil magic users that come after them, Falcons for those who don't abuse others in order to do magic. Anti-Magic: Wraith, from the prequel. A Party Also Known as an Orgy: the Festival. HOO BOY. Weeklong anonymous orgy party where anything goes. Aristocrats Are Evil Arranged Marriage: Luercas and Velyn. Goes horribly (see below). Back from the Dead: Solander and the Dragons Because Destiny Says So: Hasmal is fated to have a horrific end that leads to good things for everyone else. Best Served Cold: Any character who thinks s/he's going to get revenge on all who screwed them over is brutally thwarted. Especially Danya, who kills her own kid and basically gives up everything to be able to go home and slaughter her rapists and any Family members she can find...but by the time she gets home, they're all dead already. Big Brother Is Watching Big Screwed-Up Family and The Clan: The Sabirs and Galweighs, probably all of the other great Families as well. Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Velyn Bi the Way: Rrru-eeth Bittersweet Ending Black Magic: oh, so very very much. Heck, there's black magic and REALLY black magic. The Wolves (regular black) operate under Necessary Drawback, causing Magic Misfire that turns parts of/your entire body monstrous, while the Dragons (REALLY black) practice Human Sacrifice and Powered by a Forsaken Child, only it's millions of sacrifices and forsakens. Blond Guys Are Evil: played straight and subverted Blue Blood: the stolti and the Families seem to be this, or at least equivalent. Bodyguard Betrayal Break the Cutie: Danya's story starts out with being kidnapped, tortured, raped, impregnated, magically changed beyond recognition and thrown out into the cold. And it only gets worse from there. The Captain: Ian. Rrru-eeth steals his ship and takes over the title later. Cassandra Truth: by the time Wraith finally confesses the truth, nobody cares in the slighest. The Chessmaster: most characters, though Luercas particularly stands out. Chick Magnet: part of the power of Karnee is giving off a yummy scent that turns on most of the opposite sex and makes your own gender pretty friendly to you as well. Kait finds being liked for this rather than for her personality to be a Blessed with Suck sort of thing. Hasmal is immune to it, though. Conflicting Loyalty Cool Airship Cruel and Unusual Death Curse: The Karnee curse. Which would mostly be a Cursed with Awesome (much better chances of survival, and they don't get further cursed in appearance by magical rehwah) if not for the fact that being caught as a Scarred is not only an automatic death sentence for you, but for your entire family as well. Dance of Romance: done repeatedly in Kait and Ry's dreams. Decided By One Vote: totally subverted. Deflector Shields Demonic Possession: well, wizard possession Disguised in Drag: Wraith has to get dressed up as a woman (by his cheerful crossdresser employees) to get out the door without attracting attention. Domestic Abuser: what Luercas does to Velyn Doomed by Canon Doomed Hometown: Oel Marinias, Oel Artis, and eventually almost all towns in the Hars Ticlarim. Calimekka isn't totally gone, but it pretty much gets magically mowed over by a new magical city being formed on top of it. Doomed Protagonist: Hasmal Downer Ending: Vincalis Ephebophile: Faregan, though later on he's revealed as a Lolicon too. And a Stalker with a Crush for Jess. What a creep. The End of the World as We Know It Evil Matriarch: Imogene Exact Words: Ry uses this when he's forced to swear loyalty to Rrru-eeth. He swears loyalty to "the true captain of this ship" to get around the spell, since he plans to bust her and turn her over to Ian anyway. Fake Defector: Ian Fantastic Racism: in Ibera, anyone who doesn't look 100% human is executed publically and horribly, along with their families. Doesn't matter if the fact that you look like a giant beast is due to magical rebound forced upon you. Fate Worse than Death: soul annihilation happens. Frequently. Constantly. Femme Fatalons: Danya Feuding Families: the Sabirs and the Galweighs Fiery Redhead: Velyn Five-Man Band: Ry's friends Floating Continent: Oel Artis Trevia is a floating city. Forbidden Zone For the Evulz The Glorious War of Brotherly Rivalry: Crispin is the pretty one and Anwyn is the smart one. In a huge state of confusion, you will find yourself cheering for the pretty one before his end. Goo Goo Godlike: Solander Government Conspiracy Grand Theft Me: Luercas Great Big Book of Everything: Vincalis's Secret Texts that prophesize everything that happens a thousand years after they were written. Supposedly. The Grotesque: pretty much anyone Scarred by magic that they didn't do. Guilt By Association Gag: thousands of people who got rounded up for public execution by the Hars Ticlarim. Heel-Face Turn: Patr (see below for why) Heroes Want Redheads: Wraith wants Velyn Heroic BSOD: the Falcons in general go through this after Solander's death. Heroic Sacrifice: many of 'em. Innocent Prodigy: Ulwe In Love with the Mark: Patr Inverted Trope: Wraith is The Man In Front Of The Man rather than The Man Behind the Man. Even after he's honest about this, nobody seems to really believe him about it. Just Between You and Me: Luercas and Danya's entire relationship in books 2 and 3. The Killer Becomes the Killed: Rrru-eeth La Résistance Laser-Guided Karma: Velyn. When she saves Jess's life for Wraith, she ends up falling in love with him. When she refuses to marry and have children with him because he's not a real Blue Blood, the Blue Blood she marries beats the crap out of her and refuses to let her carry any pregnancies to term. When Wraith gets her away from Luercas (but refuses to get back together with her), she throws a shit fit and squeals on him to everyone she can, and gets Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves. Last Kiss Likes Older Women: Hasmal Lolicon: Andrew and Faregan Long Lost Sibling: Ian Though played with in that the characters in question know they're related all along, but the reader and everyone else in the story is surprised. Lost Technology: and how. Lovable Sex Maniac: Dughall is personally responsible for drastically upping the birth rate in the Imumbarran islands. No, really, he has hundreds of kids and got declared a fertility god. Love at First Sight: Wraith and Velyn, Kait and Ry Love Dodecahedron: Solander loves Jess. Jess loves Wraith, but settles for Solander for awhile. Wraith loves Velyn. Velyn loves Wraith but boinks pretty much every male in her vicinity too. And then won't even marry him when he proposes. Lotus-Eater Machine: Wraith's birthplace. Magic is Evil: presumably the rule of Matrin after the Wizards' war, but that doesn't stop people from practicing it in secret anyway. And the Falcons's magic isn't. Magic Mirror and Sealed Evil in a Can: the Mirror of Souls The Magocracy: the Dragons Marked to Die: Hasmal, Dughall, Kait, Ry, though the latter two end up not having to. Solander is originally Marked to Die in Vincalis, the second time it's a surprise to everybody. Meaningful Name: Wraith likes them, but then again, he named himself. Mentor Occupational Hazard (combined with Heroic Sacrifice) Mindlink Mates: Ry and Kait can sense each other and share dreams. The Falcons seem to have their own version of this among the group in general. The Mole: done frequently Moral Myopia Morton's Fork: Wraith's dilemma is that he wants to save the Warreners from soul annihilation...but doing so will destroy the entire setup of the world and kill even more innocent people. In the execution, thanks to the other side's Phlebotinum Overdose, it gets even worse than planned. My Death Is Just the Beginning Nightmare Face: Imogene No Sell: Wraith is the only magical immune in a magical society, which enables him to stay alive and conscious enough to survive the place of his birth. The Nothing After Death Obviously Evil: again, about 60% of the characters. Offing the Offspring: Imogene wants to, Danya succeeds. Old Master: Dughall Opt Out: the top two Dragons quit in disgust over the use of human souls for fuel. Our Werewolves Are Different: Karnee mostly turn into werewolves, but can develop fins or wings under duress (i.e. drowning or jumping off something high). Overly Long Name: Kait's full name is a mouthful. Ulwe's isn't all that short either. Pen Name: Vincalis, Gellas Tomasin Platonic Life Partners: Hasmal and Kait are genuinely Just Friends, as Hasmal has no interest in her like that (see Likes Older Women). Prophecies Are Always Right: both played straight and heavily subverted when Solander is unexpectedly murdered by his mother. Psychic Powers: Ulwe has an odd variation of this, as she can read the thoughts of anyone traveling on the road. Pyrrhic Victory Rape as Drama: Danya. The Hellspawn Trio love to rape pretty much any female that gets near them. Rapid Aging: Alarista after giving her life energy to Dughall Really Gets Around: Velyn Rebel Leader: Wraith Red Right Hand: Danya gets an equivalent of this after murdering her son. The Reveal Revenge Before Reason: Danya is so set on getting revenge for what she has had done to her that she murders her own son because he'd make the world peaceful and thus she couldn't get revenge. Roma:: The Gyru-nalles. They also believe in Words Can Break My Bones and don't give out their true names. Scars Are Forever: played straight and subverted. Screw Destiny: Kait takes this attitude after Solander's death, figuring that since ALL prophecies have been proven wrong, they still have a shot. Secret Police Self Fulfilling Prophecy: Hasmal runs away to avoid meeting up with Kait again. After a random series of events leading him farther away from Halles, she finds him again on a ship they're both on heading for another continent. Shapeshifter Showdown Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Danya, oh so much Shrouded in Myth: Vincalis, also He Who Must Not Be Seen Slave Race: the population of the Warrens The Smurfette Principle: Most of the time, Kait is the only female in the group of male characters. Subverted on Ian's ship (where Rrru-eeth is the Token Girl until Kait arrives) and later on when Alarista joins the group. Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Luercas Sphere of Destruction Spikes of Villainy: played straight and subverted Star-Crossed Lovers: Hasmal and Alarista, Kait and Ry to a lesser extent. Straw Traitor: Rrru-eeth is a Scarred who hates Kait once she finds out that Kait is also Scarred. (Well, that and Kait's boinking the guy she loves.) Take Over the World Taking You with Me: Dughall has to do this in order to kill Luercas Technicolor Eyes: Velyn has copper Techno Babble: Dragons indulge in this a lot when talking about magic. Terrible Trio: Anwyn, Crispin, and Andrew. Together in Death Two Guys and a Girl: Ry, Kait, and Ian The Unfavourite: Ry seems to have been this even before he pissed off his mother. The Unpronounceable: Rrru-eeth's name sounds like a bird tweet. Underwater City Unlucky Childhood Friend: Jess though she seems to become the victorious version of this by the end Unwitting Instigator of Doom: many of them, but several are cited for the fall of the Hars Ticlarim for being too distracted by a cheating girlfriend, etc. and not checking out the magic thoroughly before using a deadly spell. Voluntary Shapeshifting: the Karnee and Luercas What Is Evil? What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Danya runs into this after getting heavily Scarred and forced to live with other Scarred. White Magic: the Falcons's sort is based on Equivalent Exchange, Cast from Hit Points, Cast from Lifespan, Blood Magic (a rare non-evil version). Compared to the other magical practices, this one is Willfully Weak.