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The Knife of the White Stone is an in-progress work by aija, with this page being used mainly for worldbuilding. It is an Urban Fantasy novel borrowing heavily from Celtic Mythology.


The Knife of the White Stone contains the following tropes:

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    Series Tropes 
  • Action Girl: Almost every woman qualifies.
    • Action Mom: Paula Chen, the legal guardian of most of Clan Hart, is a housewife and a non-partling, but has enough training (and the pure human blood) to put up a fight when her kids are threatened.
    • Badass Adorable Mitka takes out opponents three times her size and hundreds of times her power level through sheer wit and determination.
    • Cute Bruiser Cassie.
  • Animated Dead: Technically, all fae.
  • Adult Fear: After the war that destroyed the previous generation, Clan Hart consists of teenagers, a child, and two non-magical adults who watch the kids go into battle and shoulder the responsibilities of a full Clan.
  • Always Identical Twins: Nick and Bryony
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted with Nick and Bry, and possibly Cassie and Mitka, but Played Straight with all fae nobility.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Is pretty much how magic distribution works.
  • Background Magic Field: Leaks through the gateways.
  • Badass Boast: These are super popular.
  • Badass Cape: All members of a clan have ceremonial robes, though they avoid them at all costs as clumsy and impractical.
  • Badass Family: All the active clan families are this, but Hart (Bryony, Nick, and their various strays and adoptees) define their story by attempting to regain this status. It works.
  • Being Good Sucks: Bryony clearly thinks so, struggling with the responsibility of her role.
  • Berserk Button: Attacking someone a fae or partling owes loyalty. Particularly strong with Gatekeepers and, interestingly, Stefan.
  • Big Fancy House: Hart Manor.
  • Blessed with Suck: Nick's visions, which render him disoriented and almost immobile.
    • And as of the end of Book One, Mitka, who becomes the third most powerful being in the universe. By dying horribly.
  • Blood Knight: Bryony, and to a degree Cassie.
  • Blood Magic: The most difficult form, which only part-humans can perform.
  • Bond Creatures: Fae and partlings.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Whilst the main cast are quite an ethnic mix, only Paula (White, Polish) and Cassie (Black, Irish) were raised outside of the UK. Nick and Bry are half-German, Alyx is (biologically) Half-Polish, Nala is a second-generation Kenyan immigrant, and Stefan and Mitka are Polish-Arabic.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Glamour, and especially healing, take a lot of focus and energy from partlings. Fae still need to focus, but have an abundance of energy.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Of the three viewpoint characters, Bry is a bisexual transwoman, Alyx is a lesbian, and Stefan's sexuality is unknown. Beyond this there is asexual Nick, pansexual Cassie, and lesbian Nala. Fae sexualities, however, are pretty vague and undefined. Paula is the only character to be confirmed straight, though her husband Jude is (naturally) in a committed relationship with a woman.
  • Child Soldiers: Stefan is a textbook example. All clan children have shades of this, as even those who leave are expected to learn to defend themselves magically from an early age, and most start active missions in their early teens. The Harts are particularly egregious, having taken this upon themselves after their family's deaths when they were eight.
  • Combat Pragmatist: All the partlings we meet favour this style, with limited magic and complicated but powerful healing factors; but Mitka, Alyx, and Stefan are probably the most obvious— if only because the three of them are particularly diminutive, and struggle to use even brief spurts of Super Strength.
  • Crippling Over Specialization: Nala, whose determination to learn helaing meant that she's fairly behind in combat magic.
  • Dances and Balls: A hallmark of the fae.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Well, Dark is pretty evil. But Douglas, a black horse shapeshifter with deep water associations, and the Szewka siblings, who are associated with shadows throughout, are all fundamentally good characters.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Poor Stefan. A common fault of partlings, who are communal creatures, and a near-deadly flaw amongst the fae.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Her mother's suicide for Alyx, Nick's abduction for Bry. Stefan's comes when Mitka dies.
  • Dysfunction Junction
  • Elemental Powers: They call them 'flashy glamour,' mostly.
  • The Empath: All fae and partlings.
  • Fainting Seer: Anyone who strays too far into the web of empathy.
  • Family Eye Resemblance: Pops up regularly in all the clans.
    • The most plot-relevant are the Szewka family's sharp hazel eyes, compares to shattered glass by two different characters. These are particularly striking on Mitka and Stefan, who are both mixed race, but serve as the final clue for Nala to realise that Alyx is their older sister.
    • The Hart family also have "leafy" Green Eyes, which indicate their devotion to the druidic nature of magic, but have different connotations for each of the twins.
    • Cassie's eyes are a bright amber brown, which she shares with the rest of the O'Sheens back home.
    • The Kipyegos all have wide, dark brown eyes, which indicate Nala's innocence.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted, traditionally feminine Paula is a mediocre cook with no passion for it. Tomboyish Bryony, however, loves to cook and destresses by baking.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • At the beginning of the book, Clan Hart has:
      • The Leader: Bryony, the Gatekeeper and most passionate fighter restrained by her responsibility to her clan.
      • The Smart Guy: Her more level-headed, but devoted, brother Nick, second in command who uses Psychic Powers to bring in information.
      • The Lancer: Cassie, with a cheerier, bubblier personality than either twin, acts as a foil to them both.
      • The Big Guy: Douglas, their token fae companion, is more magically powerful than any of the partlings, and functions mainly as their transport.
      • The Chick, The Load: Jude and Paula occupy this spot when they accompany the partlings, being mostly untrained humans.
    • Later added is Sixth Ranger Mitka and full-time Chick Nala.
  • Fragile Speedster: Nick and Rue both favour this style of magic, enhancing short bursts of speed to attack and retreat before an strength enhanced opponent can deliver damage.
  • Friend to All Living Things: All partlings have bonds with animals, the the degree varies. Stefan's closeness to animals is an early sign that he's not entirely how Bryony sees him.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Alyx, signifying her cool, calculating approach.
  • Generatoinal Magic Decline: As partlings are distanced from their fae ancestor, though this is counteracted by time in the fae realm.
  • Glamour: The main magic used through the series.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Bryony and Stefan both have serious scarring, but hers are easily hidden by her clothes whereas his is over his face.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Bry stops to admire the way Mitka and Stefan fight. Being both halflings and tiny, it's very elegant.
  • Greyand Gray Morality: An argument could be made that Nala is a genuinely good person. That's about it.
    • Bryony, the most clear-cut hero in the book, sacrifices an eleven year old girl who came to her for help to protect her country.
    • Stefan, our second viewpoint character, has entirely selfless or noble goals throughout the book, but has in the past spent his entire life in service to his warlord father, including the abduction and torture of a child barely older than he was at the time and a long series of assassinations.
    • Alyx is the most obvious villain of the piece, with her quest of genocide, genuinely believes this is the greatest good for the greatest number, and is repeatedly shown to be emotionally crippled by her own actions.
  • Healing Factor: All fae and partlings have one, but like most glamour it requires both the focus and knowledge to reconstruct the damage without causing further anatomical harm. This has little impact for fae, who, being dead, function fine without nerves or blood vessels, but humans and partlings usually only heal the absolute necessities, and rely on trained healers like Nala and Alyx.
  • Hidden Badass: Most partlings are smaller, or look younger, than full humans. They use glamour to enhance individual skills, such as speed or strength, in short bursts, making them a lot more deadly in a fight than they seem.
  • Hidden Depths: Quiet, artistic Nick Hart is every bit as dangerous as his sister.
  • Hopeless War: The entire duty of the clan is to maintain the veil, generation after generation, knowing it will never end.
    • Alyx, however, intends to put an end to it.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: A lot of partlings, but especially the Szewka kids.
  • Improbably Aiming Skills: Another combat use of glamour.
  • Inherent in the System: Wojciech is only able to get as far as he did by exploiting the flaws of the Gatekeeper system— he hires full humans rather than relying on partling bonds, and raises his children completely isolated so they cannot give their loyalty away to anyone else.
  • Invisibility: A tricky use of glamour.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Memories and even scars can be inherited from fae to partling.
  • Magic A Is Magic A
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: The fae always know who can see them.
  • Magnificent Bastard: A widely reputed trait of the new Szewka line, whilst the old had been known for closeness to the fae.
  • Model Couple: Jude and Paula.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Wojciech Szewka was the Big Bad of the previous generation, and even after betraying him, his son is reviled as his inheritor. Stefan wants nothing to do with the action, and is only involved in fae affairs and clan politics when Undying Loyalty and Chronic Hero Syndrome force him out of hiding. His daughters, despite being entirely ignored or accepted by the magical community, are two of the most vicious and destructive characters present.
  • Mundane Utility: The clan bonds are always active, and get used just as much for talking to your friend in the next room as they are for combat.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Jude is not fond of Paula's family. Also applicable to Cassie's parents.
  • One True Threesome: Cassie's relationship with the twins is... complicated. They're not sexuallyinvolved, but she shows a romantic connect ion with Nick and a sexual attraction to his identical twin sister Bryony, who indicates she might be aromantic.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: The Hart clan's closeness is shown through their bickering about TV shows and movies as they return from a mission.
  • Psychic Powers: All fae, partlings, and even people close to partlings have this to some degree.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: Averted.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Fae can look any age they want.
  • Ritual Magic: Exclusive to Clans.
  • Spanner in the Works: Stefan, to Wojciech, and later Mitka and Nala, to [[Spoiler: Alyx]].
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Bryony and Cassie have this dynamic. So do Alyx and Nala, to an extent, though in a considerably less platonic manner.
  • True Companions: The clan bond is this.
  • True Sight: The defining characteristic of a partling (the point where this breeds out is the point where one is considered fully human).
  • Scars Are Forever: Healing magic does nothing about scars. The most obvious are Stefan's facial scar, and the scarring all up Bryony's left side from the car wreck.
  • Sibling Team: Stefan and Mitka. Nick and Bryony also qualify, though they are seldom seen without Cassie.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Somewhere in the middle, with a grand emphasis on True Companions and The Power of Love but the world going out of its way to pound every last drop of optimism out of the main cast, including the villain.
  • Undying Loyalty: Defining trait of the fae, consdiered equivalent to human morality. Most partlings operate on a balance of the two, with some having abundance of loyalty (Stefan, Mitka), and others morality (Nala, Nick), whilst those who are bound by neither are unanimously feared (Alyx).
  • Villain Protagonist: Alyx is one of the three main viewpoint characters, though she's not revealed as a villain until the end of the first book.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Fae can use enough glamour to do this fully.
  • Waif-Fu: The effect of smaller characters using glamour in a fight. A particular favourite of Stefan and Mitka.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Bryony and Nick have just finished school as the first book starts, and are trying to work out if they can afford the time constraints of university. Cassie is still in sixth form, and Jude is a history teacher at the same school. By the end of the book, med student Nala has joined them, and fellow new recruit Mitka is about to start her first year of secondary school.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Cassie's eyes are emphasised by almost everyone who meets them, wide and honey-brown.
    • By contrast, Mitka, Stefan and Alyx have piercing hazel eyes which are repeatedly described as attention-grabbing and even captivating, but not in a positive way.
  • Wild Magic
  • The Woobie: Several, most notably Nick, Stefan, and Mitka.
  • You Are Worth Hell: The dynamic of Mitka and Stefan throughout, who seem to be vying for the title of Most Pessimistic Child in all other aspects.
  • Younger Than They Look: In addition to the Really 700 Years Old fae, this is very common amongst partlings. Halflings Stefan and Mitka combine this with being significantly shorter than the rest of the cast to shave a good five or six years off their appearances.

    Book One Tropes 
  • Adult Fear
    • Nala meets her girlfriend for a relaxing evening, only to realise that Alyx is the third Szewka child. The moment she tries to assure herself that this doesn't automatically make Alyx evil, the bomb goes off.
    • Stefan, aged sixteen, ruthlessly attacks his father, flees with his eleven year old sister, and lives on the streets with her for a year as they are hunted by an unkillable Winter Knight. When he finally finds somebody willing to take them in, after eleven months of searching, they are betrayed and Mitka dies anyway.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Stefan and Mitka.
  • Break the Cutie: Nala, at the end.
    • Stefan and Mitka are of the Creepy Cute variety, and come pre-broken.
  • Deal with the Devil: Wojciech makes one, as did his mother.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did you just set a court knight on fire?
  • The Hero's Journey: Three overlapping, one for each viewpoint character.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Nick can be heard playing upstairs in several of Bryony's basement scenes.
  • MacGuffin: The Knife.
  • Mysterious Waif: Both Mitka and Stefan qualify, but only Mitka is reacted to with sympathy, where Stefan is reviled.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Stefan delivers an incredible one of the to Dark, culminating in setting them both on fire to make sure he goes down.
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: Stefan and Mitka. {{Justified Trope Justified,]] as they've been on the run for eleven months by the beginning of the book.
  • Rape as Backstory: Stefan heavily implies this whilst being interrogated by Bryony. He is trying to manipulate her, though, so whether he can be believed is up to interpretation.
  • Real Name as an Alias: Nobody realizes who Wojciech's eldest child is, despite nobody making any attempt to hide it, because Stefan and Mitka both refer to them by the Polish diminutive of their name and Paula, the other Polish speaker, never encounters them.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Falls towards the cynical end. The entire book is a series of characters trying to protect an elven year old child, until Bryony betrays her, Stefan almost dies protecting her, and she sacrifices herself to being him back. Things are looking up when she returns as herself, until Alyx sets off a bomb that destroys the entire Kipyego clan.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Stefan is crawling by the end of his last fight with Dark. He still wins.
  • You Have Failed Me: What faces Dark if he fails to capture Mitka, and how she defeats him the first time he comes to the manor.

    Book Two Tropes 
  • The Atoner: Bryony spends most of this book helping and teaching the young princess after taking her in out of guilt over her part in killing Mitka.
  • Bad Dreams: Provide a lot of the exposition.
  • Taking the Heat: Stefan does this willingly for Mitka, since she is reintegrating into society whilst he goes into hiding.

    Book Three Tropes 

    Character Tropes 

Lady Gatekeeper Bryony Hart

  • Bi the Way
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Whilst she struggles with the responsibility of a Gatekeeper at a young age, Bry clearly adores the warrior lifestyle of the Clan.
  • Boyish Short Hair: To match her Action Girl Tomboy attitude.
  • Brutal Honesty: Tends towards this.
  • Byronic Hero: Attractive, charismatic, dynamic leader who struggles with her personal integrity in the challenges of leadership too young. She's intelligent and educated with an edge of cunning, but brooding and prone to emotional volatility due to being jaded by her past and deeply passionate in her beliefs and her feelings. Driven and determined to the point of self-destruction.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Lost her leg and much of her mobility in a staged car crash shortly after the massacre of her entire family, from which her brother was kidnapped whilst she was pinned in the wreckage.
  • Expy: Of Lord Byron.
  • Green Eyes: Straddling the druidic and untrustworthy kinds.
  • Handicapped Badass: A single below-the-knee amputee, with significant damage to the rest of her side up to the shoulder, who once used her prosthetic leg as a club to beat an enemy off her.
  • Hellbent For Leather: Marking her as more dynamic than her Nature Hero styled brother and other partlings.
  • Megaton Punch: Her magic-powered signiature move.
  • Protagonist
  • Transgender: Has an identical twin brother, Nick, though she transitioned very young, so only he knew her whilst she was still presenting as male.

Nicholas "Nick" Hart

Cassidy "Cassie" O'Sheen

Stefan Caleb Szewka

  • Alliterative Name: Stefan Szewka.
  • The Atoner: Is deeply conflicted over his past— not guilty, as he was obeying his Gatekeeper, but willing to try and fix the damage he caused.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As well as Undying Loyalty to his actual little sister, Stefan is pretty protective of other children or vulnurable people.
  • Bishōnen: Despite a noticable facial scar, Stefan is repeatedly described as almost identical to his eleven-year old sister, with the same sharp, elfin features which give him a distinctly feminine appearance.
  • Broken Bird: Is utterly shattered by Mitka's death, and remains a total shell even after the book. Had shades of this before, after growing up with Wojciech.
  • Byronic Hero
  • Creepy Child: Defintely used to be one, possibly a little old for it at sixteen.
  • Cowardly Lion: Admits repeatedly that he's terrified of basically everyone. This doesn't stop him.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Raised by Wojciech Szewka in the full knowledge that he was born in a failed experiment which eventually resulted in Mitka, and therefore there on severance. Was trained under Wojciech and eventually pressed into service, with his first assassination at four. This alienated anyone who might have been convinced to help him and, between this and an unusually strong Undying Loyalty even for a halfling, he was resigned to his position. Then Mitka asked him to save her life.
  • Delinquent Hair: Long and scraggly.
  • Deuteragonist
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Guile Hero: Almost compulsively manipulative of those around him.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Seems to like these, reflecting his evasive personality.
  • In the Hood: Wears a baggy black hoodie that obscures most of his features.
  • Meaningful Name: Stefan, meaning crown, gives a sense of the weight of Wojciecz's vast expectations whilst simultaneously representing Stefan's dogged faith to his own ideals and heritage.
    • His Hebrew name, Caleb, means "dog/faithful", which is his primary role as Mitka's protector and aid.
    • Szewka, seperately, is a Meaningful Name for the entire family, meaning 'shoemaker' as a reference to the story of the elves and the shoemaker to show the family's long history of connection with the solitary fae.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Has a Jewish-Polish father and a mother of unknown heritage who passed on his ashy gold skin tone.
  • Nervous Wreck: Justified.
  • The Quiet One: Is actually more suited to this than admittedly shy Cute Mute Nick.
  • Submissive Badass
  • Teens Are Short: Whilst Bryony, Nick, and Cassie are all in their teens, sixteen-year-old Stefan is considerably shorter than any of the other non-child characters, at around 5'6".
  • Promotion to Parent: To Mitka.
  • Reluctant Warrior: He really doesn't want to fight anyone. Ever. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to fight him.
  • Servile Snarker, or Deadpan Snarker when eventually independent(ish).
  • Shrinking Violet: Genuinely wants to be left alone to look after his sister, shrinks back from any human (or fae) interaction, and goes out of his way to fade into the background.
  • The Southpaw: Does not help his villainous reputation.
  • Submissive Badass: Can not only take on a fae knight, but, with a little self-sacrifice manages to send him running. However, Stefan is a shy, traumatised teenager, who quickly caves to the least pressure unless it contradicts his Undying Loyalty.

Princess Mieczyława "Mitka" Sarai Szewka-Chen of the Land of Eternal Winter, Heir to the Unseelie Throne, Queen of the Forgotten Court

  • Big Brother Worship: Stefan raised her, and she is quietly as devoted to him as he is to her.
  • Braids of Action: Wears her hair in an elaborate crown of braids, some loose over her back, which Stefan threads with flowers and shells (or whatever comes to mind).
  • Creepy Child: And fully aware of it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Raised in he same hellish circumstances as her brother, but rather than being put to use, she was totally ignored by everyone except Stefan for eleven years until her father attempted to cut her throat.
  • Driven to Suicide: a convoluted version, since she transforms rather than dies, but the imminent death of her brother is what convinces her to allow the sacrifice to go ahead.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: First seen in an oversized red hoodie.
  • Little Miss Snarker
  • Little Miss Badass
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Stefan.
  • Meaningful Name: 'Mieczyława' means 'glory of the sword', whereas her middle name 'Miriam' is derived from Hebrew roots of water, rebellion, bitterness, and elevation, all of which can be seen as representing different points in her arc. Further, both names are recycled (Mieczyława for her grandmother and Miriam the name that Mieczyława senior chose for elder sister Alyx's Hebrew name), indicating Wojciecz's inability to see her as a child rather than a tradable commodity.
    • Sarai, her Hebrew name, means "my princess", referring to her father's plans for her, but is given by her brother, indicating possessiveness. It is also the first name of Sarah in the Torah, reflecting her human unfinished form.
    • Szewka, seperately, is a Meaningful Name for the entire family, meaning 'shoemaker' as a reference to the story of the elves and the shoemaker to show the family's long history of connection with the solitary fae.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Has a Jewish-Polish father and a mother of unknown origin who oassed on her ashy gold skin tone.
  • Punched Across the Room: Even after her Superpower Upgrade, she's still an eleven year old girl.
  • Safety in Indifference: Much less emotional than her brother, due to suffering Parental Neglect.
  • Screaming Warrior
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Strong resemblance to this, especially after she dies.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Already pretty badass, but definitely scarier after she dies.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Whilst this is common amongst the book's teenagers, eleven year old Mitka's quiet resignation to her own death is probably the most evident.
  • Woman in White: The white blouse she borrows from Bryony is noted quite a few times, and is what she eventually dies wearing.

Nala Kipyego

Alyx Kilbee

Paula Chen

  • The Caretaker: Is neither fond of this role nor paticularly suited to it, but since she manages Hart Farm, whilst most of the others work out of the home, she is often saddled with homemaking.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Gray Eyes: Reflect her Ice Queen tendencies, but with her long blonde hair give her an (unearned) air of innocence.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Whilst not the nicest, she's possibly the most lawful character, as she is the first to speak up on Stefan's behalf.
  • Non-Indicative Name: She's a white Polish woman, having taken her (Chinese British) husband's name.
  • Only Sane Man: Is the only one to see a problem with keeping a sixteen year old boy in an unlit basement ad infinitum, although this may be partly unfamiliarity with partling capabilities.
  • Prim and Proper Bun
  • Statuesque Stunner
  • True Blue Feminity: Often described wearing blue.

Jude Chen

Arthur Chen

Wojciech Szewka

  • Abusive Parents
  • Badass Decay: Was once the Evil Mastermind that threw all of Europe into war, but has since been thrown out by his allies and bested repeatedly by his own children.
  • Complete Monster: Ineffective as he is by the book's opening, his actions still overshadow each and every one of the protagonists.

Douglas

  • Brutal Honesty: Prefers this to typical fae mind games.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Only joined Clan Hart due to the lack of living options, what with his home lake being filled in for housing developements. Despite this, and his constant grumbling and snipes about humans, he risks death rescuing Bryony when she travels into dangerous territory.

Dark

Light

Rue

The Queen/Mab

  • The High Queen: Her Court seem to see her as this. For all her callousness, she is a competent and even benevolent towards her land, if not her people, ruler.

The King/Oberon

  • The Good King: Much like Mab, he genuinely is benevolent and beloved by his Court. Less so to those who aren't his responsibility.
  • Happily Married: Unlike The Queen, is married to one of his courtiers, Titania.

Mieczyława Szewka Sr./The Phoenix of Warsaw

Frostbite

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