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** Zane in ''On a Pale Horse''. Justified because of the logical paradox that is in play at the time: When he took the office of Death, his soul became temporarily balanced between good and evil. As such, if he were to die, Death would have to collect his soul...and he's Death. Since collecting his own soul is physically impossible, he can't die. Death in general has this. At the end of the book it's revealed that the cloak is more of a MagicFeather: Death can only die if he (at least subconsciously) desires to (Which can happen as Death is guaranteed entry into heaven). As such, the only way for Death to die is if he wants it (Essentially it requires Death to kill Death).

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** Zane in ''On a Pale Horse''. Justified because of the logical paradox that is in play at the time: When he took the office of Death, his soul became temporarily balanced between good and evil. As such, if he were to die, Death would have to collect his soul...and he's Death. Since collecting his own soul is physically impossible, he can't die. Death in general has this. At the end of the book it's revealed that the cloak is more of a MagicFeather: Death can only die if he (at least subconsciously) desires to (Which can happen as Death is guaranteed entry into heaven).to. As such, the only way for Death to die is if he wants it (Essentially it requires Death to kill Death).



** Though Death moves on to the afterlife naturally, with some implication that he gets to go to Heaven as a reward for his service. The previous officeholder of Evil, however, immediately gets damned and can thus be called upon by his successor.

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* HonorBeforeReason: By the seventh book, it's clear that Satan and the other Incarnations are actually on the same side. The reason that Satan opposes [[spoiler: the overthrow of God]] is essentially because he's been fighting the Incarnations for centuries and it would be unsporting to not at least ''try'' to oppose them, even if [[spoiler: their success would give him a complete victory too]].

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[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/incarnations_of_immortality.png]]

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* PurgatoryAndLimbo: Limbo is where the various Incarnations live when they aren't on Earth actively running the universe. Their "support staff", the people who serve and support the Incarnations in their jobs, are all dead people who weren't good enough to get into Heaven, nor evil enough to be sentenced to Hell.


* BetterTheDevilYouKnow: Literally. After [[spoiler: Parry abdicates his position as Satan]], the vacant office automatically goes to the (current) most evil man in the world: a serial murderer, rapist, and pedophile. The other Incarnations agree that they vastly preferred Parry to his replacement.

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* BetterTheDevilYouKnow: Literally. After [[spoiler: After Parry abdicates his position as Satan]], Satan, the vacant office automatically goes to the (current) most evil man in the world: a serial murderer, rapist, and pedophile. pedophile.]] The other Incarnations agree that they vastly preferred Parry to his replacement.


* BetterTheDevilYouKnow: Literally. After [[spoiler: Parry abdicates his position as Satan]], the other Incarnations agree that they vastly preferred him to his replacement.

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* BetterTheDevilYouKnow: Literally. After [[spoiler: Parry abdicates his position as Satan]], the vacant office automatically goes to the (current) most evil man in the world: a serial murderer, rapist, and pedophile. The other Incarnations agree that they vastly preferred him Parry to his replacement.

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* BeenThereShapedHistory: Lilah was the serpent that caused Adam and Eve to fall from grace.

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* TheDeathOfDeath: {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s like Death are revealed to be "Offices" that are filled by specific mortals. In ''On a Pale Horse'', a suicidal man is so startled to see Death come for him that he [[BoomHeadshot puts a bullet through the Grim Reaper's head]], only to learn that YouKillItYouBoughtIt. It's mentioned that Death's armor is completely invulnerable, but sooner or later everyone gets careless or [[WhoWantsToLiveForever bored]] enough to let themselves be killed.


* ''On a Pale Horse''
* ''Bearing an Hourglass''
* ''With a Tangled Skein''
* ''Wielding a Red Sword''
* ''Being a Green Mother''
* ''For Love of Evil''
* ''Under a Velvet Cloak''

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* ** ''On a Pale Horse''
* ** ''Bearing an Hourglass''
* ** ''With a Tangled Skein''
* ** ''Wielding a Red Sword''
* ** ''Being a Green Mother''
* ** ''For Love of Evil''
* ** ''Under a Velvet Cloak''

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* HeavensDevils: This is how it's supposed to work, but in practice the system has broken down and God and Satan are not working together. Supposedly, Satan is corrupting people and manipulating souls for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, while God is not minding the store, leaving the other Incarnations to fight against Satan's plots. In his own book, however, Satan is portrayed as a Punch-Clock Villain who has gotten tired of the system's breakdown, and is plotting a takeover so that he can update the system's definitions of Good and Evil, and stop souls who are supposed to go to Heaven from ending up in Hell. [[spoiler: After the Incarnations defeat Satan's final plot, God is fired, Satan chooses God's replacement, and the system starts working again.]]


* StrictlyFormula: The first five books, and to a lesser extent the sixth, follow a rather linear path: We are introduced to the soon-to-be-incarnation, who because of some issue related to someone they are in love with, becomes an incarnation (often because they cannot be with the one they love). The new incarnation gets the run down of their office and the office's supporting cast. Meets the other Incarnations and Satan. Uncovers Satan's scheme, and narrowly averts it, usually by learning the full extent of their duty as an Incarnation, usually using it as a bluff or threat against Satan (Death threatens to kill Satan, War threatens to start the end of days before Satan can win, Fate threatens to cut the strands of fate of all of Satan's minions).
** Interestingly, the above plots even happen in the sixth book, where Satan is the protagonist. Instead of beating Satan, Satan needs to beat his successor to reclaim the office. The third book also mixes things up by having the whole thing happen twice - with Niobe first as Clotho then later when she returns as the middle aspect of fate, Lachesis.

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* StrictlyFormula: The first five four books, and to a lesser extent the sixth, follow a rather linear path: We are introduced to the soon-to-be-incarnation, who because of some issue related to someone they are in love with, becomes an incarnation (often because they cannot be with the one they love). The new incarnation gets the run down of their office and the office's supporting cast. Meets the other Incarnations and Satan. Uncovers Satan's scheme, and narrowly averts it, usually by learning the full extent of their duty as an Incarnation, usually using it as a bluff or threat against Satan (Death threatens to kill Satan, War threatens to start the end of days before Satan can win, Fate threatens to cut the strands of fate of all of Satan's minions).
** Interestingly, the above plots even happen in the sixth book, where Satan is the protagonist. Instead of beating Satan, Satan needs to beat his successor to reclaim the office. The third book also mixes things up by having the whole thing happen twice - with Niobe first as Clotho then later when she returns as the middle aspect of fate, Lachesis. The fifth book is about Orb, but gives her very little time as Gaea, and [[spoiler: Satan wins this round, though he has to die to do it]].


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* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler: Satan wins Orb's love and her hand in marriage, but to do so, he has to burn his own life out and damn himself to Hell. His death is temporary, though.]]


** The moral axis of the universe is dominated by a form of Christian morality laid down in the first century. [[SexIsEvil Sex Is Largely Evil]], bastards are born halfway-damned already by Original Sin, and suicide is seen as grave sin instead of a psychological problem. [[spoiler: The crux of Satan's plan is to get a new God who is as evil as possible by the old standards and has suffered terribly from them while being, in fact, of unimpeachably good character, because that's exactly the kind of woman who can help ''fix'' the world's moral mess.]]

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** The moral axis of the universe is dominated by a form of Christian morality laid down in the first century. [[SexIsEvil Sex Is Largely Evil]], bastards are born halfway-damned already by Original Sin, and suicide is seen as grave sin instead of a psychological problem. [[spoiler: The crux of Satan's plan is to get a new God who is as evil as possible by the old standards and has suffered terribly from them them, while being, in fact, actually being of unimpeachably good moral character, because that's exactly the kind of woman who can help ''fix'' the world's moral mess.]]


BrickJoke: [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Orlene]], when inside the body of one of the flying saucer hostages, has to tell the terrorists that the captain refuses to surrender control to them. The person she's possessing is too frightened to do so, so Orlene does it for her with the rather ballsy, "when God kisses Satan and the Incarnations applaud, maybe then". [[spoiler:And then it happens at the end, once she is made God(dess) and kisses Parry in thanks for him making it all possible.]]

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* BrickJoke: [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Orlene]], when inside the body of one of the flying saucer hostages, has to tell the terrorists that the captain refuses to surrender control to them. The person she's possessing is too frightened to do so, so Orlene does it for her with the rather ballsy, "when God kisses Satan and the Incarnations applaud, maybe then". [[spoiler:And then it happens at the end, once she is made God(dess) and kisses Parry in thanks for him making it all possible.]]


BrickJoke: [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Orlene]], when inside the body of one of the flying saucer hostages, has to tell the terrorists that the captain refuses to surrender control to them. The person she's possessing is too frightened to do so, so Orlene does it for her with the rather ballsy, "when God kisses Satan and the Incarnations applaud, maybe then". [[spoiler:And then it happens at the end, once she is made God(dess) and kisses Parry in thanks for him making it all possible.]]



* CoolHorse: Death's steed, Mortis. War's steed, Werre.
* CoolOldGuy: Nicolai and JHVH.
* CueTheFlyingPigs[=/=]BrickJoke: [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Orlene]], when inside the body of one of the flying saucer hostages, has to tell the terrorists that the captain refuses to surrender control to them. The person she's possessing is too frightened to do so, so Orlene does it for her with the rather ballsy, "when God kisses Satan and the Incarnations applaud, maybe then". [[spoiler:And then it happens at the end, once she is made God(dess) and kisses Parry in thanks for him making it all possible.]]

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* CoolHorse: Two examples:
**
Death's steed, Mortis. Mortis.
**
War's steed, Werre.
* CoolOldGuy: Nicolai and Two examples::
** Nicolai
**
JHVH.
* CueTheFlyingPigs[=/=]BrickJoke: CueTheFlyingPigs: [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Orlene]], when inside the body of one of the flying saucer hostages, has to tell the terrorists that the captain refuses to surrender control to them. The person she's possessing is too frightened to do so, so Orlene does it for her with the rather ballsy, "when God kisses Satan and the Incarnations applaud, maybe then". [[spoiler:And then it happens at the end, once she is made God(dess) and kisses Parry in thanks for him making it all possible.]]



* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Six out of the seven books have a "[Verb] [a/an] [Noun]" pattern for their titles:
* ''On a Pale Horse''
* ''Bearing an Hourglass''
* ''With a Tangled Skein''
* ''Wielding a Red Sword''
* ''Being a Green Mother''
* ''For Love of Evil''
* ''Under a Velvet Cloak''



** Possibly subverted, as both Orlene and Jolie were transformed into a ''specific'' man (the grown version of Orlene's child) to show what his genetic affliction would do to him. [[spoiler: The purpose of this was ultimately to teach Orlene to show compassion even towards rapists, which is relevant to her future role.]]

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** Possibly subverted, as both Orlene and Jolie were transformed into a ''specific'' man (the grown version of Orlene's child) to show what his genetic affliction would do to him. [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:The purpose of this was ultimately to teach Orlene to show compassion even towards rapists, which is relevant to her future role.]]



-->'''Satan''': What do you want?
-->'''Norton''': Need you ask, sirrah? [[labelnote:Explanation]]This was the CatchPhrase for [[PrincessClassic Excelsia]], one of the actors in the mock-adventure serial/virtual novels Norton gets sent into to entice him into going along with Satan's plans, and keep him from interfering in various schemes of the Prince of Lies. (And who also, incidentally, [[BecomingTheMask had grown to love her role so much]] [[LostInCharacter that she believed she actually]] ''[[LostInCharacter was]]'' [[LostInCharacter Excelsia]], and thus urged Norton to do the right thing, [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy even if it meant leaving her to go fight Satan]].) In other words, Norton was doing a CallBack to the very thing which was supposed to make him Satan's pawn but [[HoistByHisOwnPetard had instead led to him coming back to be a hero]].[[/labelnote]]

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-->'''Satan''': What do you want?
-->'''Norton''':
want?\\
'''Norton''':
Need you ask, sirrah? [[labelnote:Explanation]]This was the CatchPhrase for [[PrincessClassic Excelsia]], one of the actors in the mock-adventure serial/virtual novels Norton gets sent into to entice him into going along with Satan's plans, and keep him from interfering in various schemes of the Prince of Lies. (And who also, incidentally, [[BecomingTheMask had grown to love her role so much]] [[LostInCharacter that she believed she actually]] ''[[LostInCharacter was]]'' [[LostInCharacter Excelsia]], and thus urged Norton to do the right thing, [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy even if it meant leaving her to go fight Satan]].) In other words, Norton was doing a CallBack to the very thing which was supposed to make him Satan's pawn but [[HoistByHisOwnPetard had instead led to him coming back to be a hero]].[[/labelnote]]



* {{Retcon}}: Satan in the first four books appeared to be pure, irredeemable evil. In the fifth book, he gets cast more sympathetically, and after that he's a NecessarilyEvil [[PunchClockVillain Punch Clock]] AntiVillain. Re-reading the series later thus has some interesting effects, particularly in how the later characterization makes scenes common to all the books look when the reader sees them again from the Incarnations' perspectives.

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* {{Retcon}}: Satan in the first four books appeared to be pure, irredeemable evil. In the fifth book, he gets cast more sympathetically, and after that he's a NecessarilyEvil [[PunchClockVillain Punch Clock]] {{Punch Clock|Villain}} AntiVillain. Re-reading the series later thus has some interesting effects, particularly in how the later characterization makes scenes common to all the books look when the reader sees them again from the Incarnations' perspectives.



* SecretTestOfCharacter: ''And Eternity'' has one of these, when Orlene asks Thanatos to give her the soul of an infant to repair the damage done to her baby's. He takes her to a dumpster where an abandoned baby is about to be crushed, and tells Orlene to take the infant's soul. [[spoiler: She refuses and instead asks Thanatos to save the baby, even if it means failing her quest. Thanatos saves the infant, then explains that the test was to see whether Orlene would value a soul for its own sake, instead of as a means to an end, and agrees to get her a soul from an infant who couldn't be saved.]]

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* SecretTestOfCharacter: ''And Eternity'' has one of these, when Orlene asks Thanatos to give her the soul of an infant to repair the damage done to her baby's. He takes her to a dumpster where an abandoned baby is about to be crushed, and tells Orlene to take the infant's soul. [[spoiler: She [[spoiler:She refuses and instead asks Thanatos to save the baby, even if it means failing her quest. Thanatos saves the infant, then explains that the test was to see whether Orlene would value a soul for its own sake, instead of as a means to an end, and agrees to get her a soul from an infant who couldn't be saved.]]



* SinsOfOurFathers: It turns out the malady in Gawain's family which eventually dooms Orlene's baby came about thanks to [[KingArthur the original Gawain]] [[SexIsEvil giving in to temptation with Kerena]] and thus failing to be pure enough to obtain the Holy Grail. Her conversion to vampirism while pregnant doesn't help their child much, either.

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* SinsOfOurFathers: It turns out the malady in Gawain's family which eventually dooms Orlene's baby came about thanks to [[KingArthur [[Myth/KingArthur the original Gawain]] [[SexIsEvil giving in to temptation with Kerena]] and thus failing to be pure enough to obtain the Holy Grail. Her conversion to vampirism while pregnant doesn't help their child much, either.



* SympatheticPOV: The sixth book.

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* SympatheticPOV: The sixth book.book, which focuses on Satan.



* VaporWear: Gaea (the one before Orb) and Lilah. Gaea because she [[InnocentFanserviceGirl doesn't really see the point in clothing]], Lilah because she's [[HornyDevils a succubus]].
* VillainousBreakdown: Satan in ''Wielding a Red Sword'' when [[spoiler: Mars threatens to start World War III and the Apocalypse early.]] Satan may have been faking, though.

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* VaporWear: Gaea (the one Two cases:
** Gaea, the Incarnation of Nature,
before Orb) and Lilah. Gaea Orb, because she [[InnocentFanserviceGirl doesn't really see the point in clothing]], clothing]].
**
Lilah because she's [[HornyDevils a succubus]].
* VillainousBreakdown: Satan in ''Wielding a Red Sword'' when [[spoiler: Mars [[spoiler:Mars threatens to start World War III and the Apocalypse early.]] Satan may have been faking, though.



* XanatosGambit: By the end, things end up arranged so that Satan gets what he wanted regardless of whether Good or Evil ends up in charge of the world. [[spoiler: If Good wins, God gets replaced by someone who is going to do the job properly. If Evil wins, Satan gets to take over. Either way, Hell stops getting souls who don't deserve to be there.]]

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* XanatosGambit: By the end, things end up arranged so that Satan gets what he wanted regardless of whether Good or Evil ends up in charge of the world. [[spoiler: If [[spoiler:If Good wins, God gets replaced by someone who is going to do the job properly. If Evil wins, Satan gets to take over. Either way, Hell stops getting souls who don't deserve to be there.]]

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* TakesOneToKillOne: A convoluted version of this, but the Incarnation of Death can only die by consenting to their death, since Death is supreme in its own domain as [[spoiler:Zane realizes at the climax of the first book]]. As the Incarnation of Death is guaranteed passage in heaven upon its death, an Incarnation of Death can subconsciously "consent" Death, out of wariness of the office. Zane's predecessor subconsciously consented to his Death when he got shot by Zane, as he was not wearing his [[MagicFeather cloak of protection]] properly.

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