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Currently a WIP standalone novel, with a potential sequel nebulously in the works. The authoress, Solar East, first conceived it in 2008 and it’s undergone two major plot overhauls since then.

The central theme of this story is, as the working title suggests, dragons and their purpose in the universe. That sounds philosophical and pretentious, probably, but I hope I’ve added a bit of original spin to my concept of dragons, brought it down to an individual level, and avoided being overbearingly allegorical. The main cast is fairly well-balanced between dragon and non-dragon characters (the primary protagonist being a bit of eachIt Makes Sense in Context), and most of the supporting characters are humans, elves, or dwarves. It includes a fair dose of stock fantasy tropes, but again, I hope I’ve tweaked them enough that it won’t feel like a rehash of Star Wars with Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons! (after all, someone already did that). The worldbuilding borrows a lot from Celtic and Japanese mythology.

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Currently lacks a map, but does include a pronunciation guide.

Important characters include:

  • Caradoc: our hero, the adopted son of a wealthy rural chieftain. Half-dragon, though he doesn’t know it. Twenty years of age.
  • Echachaeon, better known as Echa: a dragoness on the cusp of adulthood who meets Caradoc on his travels and becomes obsessed with helping him fulfill his destiny.
  • Sahira: a young southern ambassador’s daughter who resents her stringent home life and is being pursued romantically by the emperor’s son. Seventeen years of age.
  • Rhyannon: Caradoc’s youngest adopted sibling and only sister. A budding psychologist, albeit via lots of literary archetypes. Ten years of age.
  • Kel’Damial: Tyrant emperor of the southern provinces. Of northern stock on his father’s side.
  • Elamilaene: a dragoness who lives primarily in human form (under the assumed name Aislinne) as the wife and empress of Kel’Damial. True mother of Caradoc, doting adoptive mother of Thue’lien.
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  • Luzivra: One of the few living dragons who resides primarily in her natural form. The main (if secretive) villain and Elamilaene’s younger sister.
  • Thue’lien: The (secretly adopted) son of Kel’Damial and Aislinne, heir to the throne of the Suthesh empire and hopelessly in love with Sahira. Twenty years of age.
  • Sarinrydes, better known as Sinner: a dragon who lives in human shape as a blacksmith at a river port town.
  • Gatou: a dwarven warrior poet and high-ranking diplomat.
  • Lysaveander: an elf of the east, one of the only outsiders allowed access onto the dwarven island.
  • Ganhed and Miryam: Sahira’s parents.
  • Khenet and Mayil: Sahira’s younger twin brothers, thirteen years of age.
  • Brys and Roslyn: Caradoc’s adoptive parents.
  • Elfael and Addis: Caradoc and Rhyannon’s middle brothers, seventeen and fifteen years of age respectively.
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The Redemption of Dragons provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl / Lady of Adventure: Echa.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Kel’Damial is all work; his son Thue’lien is all play, much to his chagrin.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sahira to Caradoc, right after she accidentally blurts out that Thue’lien already asked her to marry him.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Ganhed. Mostly to his wife.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Sahira’s arc ends with her being crowned Empress of the southern provinces.
  • Bar Brawl: Caradoc instigates one in The Reef and Rig as a distraction so he can rescue Sahira.
  • The Bard: Rhyannon has elements of this trope – it’s not her profession, but she does assemble her brother’s adventures into stories and tries her hand at composing poetry about them.
  • Big Bad: Luzivra, although she’s pretty quiet about it.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Caradoc feels this strongly for Rhyannon, in the context of both her physical safety and her psychological wellbeing.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Rhyannon sees Caradoc this way; while he fulfills the trope in some ways, Caradoc also acknowledges that she sometimes puts expectations on him to be wiser than he really is.
  • Black Sheep: Caradoc. Not to his immediate family, but to everyone in his hometown.
  • Blood Knight: Addis, a practiced young fencer who is always spoiling for a fight.
  • Blue Blood: Lots of them, natural and adopted.
  • Bookworm: Rhyannon. It’s also hinted that both the Cáil parents fall under this trope as well, especially Roslyn.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Echa, in human shape.
  • Brainy Brunette: Sahira.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Sinner (at least once Rhyannon has thawed him out a bit).
  • The Caligula: Kel’Damial gets a brief stint as this trope, post-mental breakdown.
  • Calling The Old Woman Out: Caradoc does this to Elamilaene, when he realizes she basically threw him under the bus for the sake of her political ambitions. It’s a more subdued example of this trope—Caradoc is pretty bemused by the whole situation and is more hurt than angry, so it’s more of a conversation that turns into a massive guilt trip for Elamilaene than any outburst on Caradoc’s part.
    • Sahira later calls out Elamilaene on behalf of Thue’lien. This is an example of the angry version of this trope, and qualifies also as a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • The Charmer: Caradoc, minus active attempts at seduction.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Elamilaene, from Caradoc’s point of view.
  • The Chessmaster: Luzivra. In addition to secretly undercutting her sister’s plans for world domination, she is directly manipulating the actions of one society and fiddling with the administrative workings of another.
    • Aislinne would like to think she’s one, but Luzivra trumps her.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Sahira and Thue’lien’s sort-of-relationship, to both sets of parents. The reason their fathers hate the idea of their relationship so much is because they hate ‘‘each other’’, and can’t stand the idea of their kids getting together.
  • Damsel Errant: Echa becomes this for Caradoc, in a metaphysical/philosophical sort of way rather than literally.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sahira, when she is kidnapped and stranded in Casaeovre with no knowledge of the local language, and is rescued by Caradoc.
  • Dark Action Girl: Luzivra.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Echa, in human shape, has white-blond hair and olive skin.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Thue’lien. Though he is not aware of the extent to which this trope applies, and thinks the only love he needs to be happy is Sahira’s.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Discussed: Aislinne worries that Thue’lien will fall into this after losing Sahira.
  • The Dutiful Son: Elfael.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Averted. The two civilizations aren’t exactly bosom friends, but they do have trade agreements and don’t see anything odd about forming personal friendships between the races (though they do seem to draw the line at Interspecies Romance).
  • Enemy Mine: The Aristosi hate Luzivra, but they decide that revenge on all the dragons is better than revenge on just one, so they reluctantly agree to work with her.
  • Entitled to Have You: This is Thue’lien’s view regarding Sahira.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Averted with Kel’Damial, who tends to dress austerely—in contrast to his court, who generally play this trope straight.
  • Evil Overlord: Kel’Damial, though he’s a fairly restrained version of this trope.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Aislinne semi-consciously lets this trope govern how she raises Thue’lien.
  • The Face / The Social Expert: While traveling together, Caradoc and Sahira switch off these roles with each other, depending on what culture they’re in.
  • The Fair Folk: The elves are an ethereal race that, although they consider themselves “protectors” of the humans, exist in Casaeovrei folklore as mischievous, spiteful, and magically gifted. Depending on the region, most Casaeovrei either enact careful rituals to render the elves’ trickery harmless, or borderline worship them as deities in an attempt to appease their supposed malice.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Most notably the dwarves’ island to feudal Japan, though the Aristosi culture is inspired by Iceland and Casaeovre by rural Ireland.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Played straight and justified with Kel’Damial, who pressures Thue’lien to spend more time on his education and drop his pursuit of Sahira because he wants him to be a capable future emperor instead of an Inadequate Inheritor.
    • Averted with Brys and Rosyln, who encourage their children’s personal interests and dreams even at the expense of cultural norms (like letting Caradoc Walk the Earth instead of forcing him to settle down as the heir to the estate). Justified by Roslyn as making sense because, since they aren’t their children’s biological parents, they can’t predict their natural inclinations and skills based on their own personalities and tendencies. The Cáil family also has a healthy respect for Because Destiny Says So.
  • Farm Boy: (or more accurately, Shepherd Boy): Caradoc.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Miryam.
  • Foil: Rhyannon’s idealist versus Sinner’s cynic.
    • Sahira and Echa also foil one another, in both looks and personality, as opposite sides of the Love Triangle with Caradoc.
    • Luzivra and Elamilaene foil one another by having very similar goals and yet, when push comes to shove, ultimately different core values, as Elamilaene proves herself capable of willing self-sacrifice while Luzivra is not.
  • Functional Magic: The dragons’ Voluntary Shapeshifting powers. Many elves are born with a specific, limited magical gift as well (for example, the current queen can speak with animals).
  • The Good King: He doesn’t hold the title of “king", but Brys otherwise fits this trope.
  • Go-to Alias: Elamilaene goes by Aislinne when in human form. Luzivra goes by Lapis when in any shapeshifted form.
  • The Great Offscreen War / Civil War: the war that occurred some dozen years prior to the novel proper, obliterated the royal line of the southern provinces and paved the way for Kel’Damial to take the throne.
    • Also, the centuries-past war between the Houses of Aristos, in which the dragons played a vague but apparently pivotal role.
  • Grim Up North: the Houses of Aristos live in the northern wastelands, and they’re none too happy with the rest of the world.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with Caradoc (who is a Squishy Wizard) and Echa (who’s a dragon).
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Rhyannon.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Caradoc is the only one in existence, at least of the half-dragon variety.
  • Happily Adopted: All four of the Cáíl children. Though Caradoc has the obligatory drive to discover his biological parents, since he’s the protagonist of a fantasy epic.
  • Happily Married: Brys and Roslyn Cáil.
  • Hated Hometown: This is Sahira’s attitude towards Haraden — she wants nothing more than to get (and stay) away from its strict structure and rules.
  • The Heart: Echa primarily serves this role for Caradoc. Rhyannon has her moments too, usually earlier on.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Sahira has to keep insisting that she and Thue’lien aren’t romantically involved, but everyone thinks they are—and it could be argued that they do have a Romantic Friendship, despite not being sexually involved. It’s obvious to everyone but Sahira that Thue’lien is in love with her.
  • Heir Club for Men: The imperial council tries to pull this card when Caradoc nominates Sahira for the throne; Caradoc is having none of it.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Subverted; although Caradoc knows fencing technique and sometimes carries a rapier for show, he’s too physically weak to be very effective in a real fight.
  • Hero Insurance: Caradoc doesn’t worry about causing the destruction of an inn during his rescue of Sahira because he has wealthy parents.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The dwarves’ civilization is on an island, with (officially) no (and in practice very little) contact with the rest of the world, due to their “holier-than-thou” Proud Scholar Race worldview.
  • High Fantasy: Though at this stage it’s a little mix-and-match with Heroic Fantasy.
  • Holier Than Thou: Most of the dwarves fit this trope, having secluded themselves from other races in an attempt to preserve “the old ways”.
  • Home Sweet Home: Sahira’s character arc significantly revolves around the effect of her travels changing her perspective of Haraden from Hated Hometown to this – partly because she’s undergone a priorities shift, and partially because her home actually has changed in her absence.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl / Badass and Child Duo: Sinner and Rhyannon.
  • Humanity Ensues: Aislinne and Sinner.
  • Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: Inverted with Caradoc, who has a very grounded human father and a dragon mother.
  • I Am Who?: Caradoc.
  • Idle Rich: Thue’lien.
  • Ill Girl / Soap Opera Disease: Roslyn has a chronic condition called “desultory pyrexia”.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Thue’lien is very poorly suited to the post of emperor.
    • Caradoc views himself as falling under this trope as the heir to his father’s cheiftainship, although his father doesn’t quite agree.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Thue’lien seems like a self-obsessed narcissist to nearly everyone, even his own parents, and yet his self-confidence is practically zero – he’s done nothing in his life worthy of honor and that knowledge eats away at him. He’s given up on himself and acts like he loves being a prince, but can’t escape his "Well Done, Son!" Guy mindset and worries obsessively about what he’ll do once he inherits the throne and has real responsibility.
  • Internalized Categorism: Sinner is deeply ashamed of dragons as a whole, and thus of himself for being one. Unusual example of this trope in that his hatred of his race is self-inflicted, not impressed on him by society.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Sinner wears a pair.
  • Knight Errant: By the novel’s end, it looks like Caradoc is going to become one of these.
  • Lady of War: Elamilaene and Luzivra.
  • Language Barrier: Sahira only speaks Suthesh, the Aristosi only speak their native tongue, and everyone else in the bar speaks Casaeovrei.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Brys and Roslyn wanted children for years; the best they could manage were adoptees.
    • Garisse wants children more than anything, yet this law is in such strong force that she can’t even find a compatible mate with which to have kids.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Subverted. Although Caradoc did inherit Royal Blood from his father, it turns out to be less important than the dragon blood her got from his mother’s side.
    • Averted with Kel’Damial, whose Royal Blood comes from his mother’s side of the family.
  • Long-Lived: Elves typically live for around three centuries, and although their longevity is not explicitly stated, kieres can be assumed to be have a similar lifespan. Dragons may live much longer…so long, in fact, that no one is sure whether they have a natural limit to their lifespan or not. This may be averted with dragons who choose to live a life in the form of a shorter-lived creature, as they are subject to the natural aging and decay process of whatever body they inhabit.
  • Lonely at the Top: Aislinne experiences shades of this as Empress, since she has no one with whom she can share both her ambitions and secrets. She doesn’t express a lot of angst about it.
    • Sahira suffers from this after her coronation. However, this is largely because her friends are either dead or preoccupied with their own destinies, not because she alienated them while getting to the top.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Kel’Damial lives under this principle. Aislinne calls him out on it right before his death.
  • Mama Bear: Aislinne to Thue’lien.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Aislinne specifically adopts a kid that will grow up to look more like her husband than like herself, to smother any doubts her husband might ever having about the baby’s paternity (he has no idea the baby isn’t his natural son).
  • Man on Fire: Thue’lien dies ignominiously in a human sacrifice immolation ritual.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Caradoc is physically weak, intellectual, and a talk-out-his-feelings kind of guy, while Echa is a blunt, physically strong, risk-taking Action Girl . They also invert the trope Men Act, Women Are, as Caradoc’s primary importance in the story comes from who he is, and Echa’s from what she achieves.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: One of the main reasons Caradoc breaks off his budding romance with Sahira is because he knows she can’t handle (or more accurately, won’t enjoy) the life he’ll have to lead as The Chosen One.
  • Master of Illusion: Luzivra.
  • Maternally Challenged: Aislinne, to some degree. Although she genuinely loves both her sons, she continually prioritizes her ambitions over raising them, which results in her being absolutely unable to relate to either of them.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Averted with shapeshifted dragon pairings (such as Aislinne and Kel’Damial); even though dragons are extremely long-lived in their native forms, when they shapeshift into a mortal form they age accordingly, rendering them basically equal to their partner. (E.g., a dragon who marries a human will live a human lifespan as long as they stay in human form.)
    • Subverted with Caradoc and Echa: no one is sure how long their relative lifespans are, since there are no half-dragon precedents to tell whether Caradoc will have a human or dragon lifespan (or neither), and Echa shifts forms very frequently, which throws off her natural aging process.
  • Modest Royalty: Kel’Damial.
  • Mommy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You: Aislinne sees her choice to foster out the infant Caradoc as totally justified and ultimately for his benefit. Caradoc refuses to accept this.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Caradoc is abandoned by his birth mother and adopted by Brys and Roslyn Cáil.
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: Caradoc loves both Sahira (human) and Echa (dragon).
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Echa and Sinner both feel this way about the dragons, though they express their dismay very differently.
  • Mysterious Parent: Both of Caradoc’s parents (though he only meets his mother; by the time he discovers their identity, his father is dead).
  • Naïve Newcomer: Echa, early on.
  • Naked on Arrival: Because Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing, this is true of Echa when she first shifts into human form. (This is not her first appearance in the novel, but it’s the first appearance of her in a form where nakedness or lack thereof is applicable.)
  • News Travels Fast: Subverted when Sahira arrives in Azhord and she’s the only one who doesn’t know what’s happened to the royal family or that there’s a Succession Crisis underway.
  • Non-Action Guy: Caradoc; downplayed/justified – his dragon blood is constantly in danger of smothering his human side, leaving him too physically weak to be very helpful in combat, but he has lots of other useful abilities.
  • Not So Stoic: When Thue’lien is burned alive in front of her, Aislinne instantly shifts from the Ice Queen persona she is known for into a dragon full of Unstoppable Rage, enacting a violent Roaring Rampage of Revenge in about thirty seconds flat.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Thue’lien. This extends even to his father, who has no idea that Thue’lien is not his biological son.
  • Offered the Crown: Caradoc is – very reluctantly – when he arrives in Jiddar and is instantly recognizable as Aislinne’s son. He refuses it, and there’s another brief Succession Crisis until he suggests Sahira as an alternative heir. Even though she has no Royal Blood, the council then (still reluctantly) offers her the crown, which she accepts.
  • Offing the Offspring: A thoroughly disillusioned Kel’Damial gives Thue’lien to a group of priests as a human sacrifice.
  • Older Than They Look: Echa appears about 18 in human form but is really close to a century old. Aislinne appears to be in her 40s but almost ten times that old in reality. Justified because dragons mature more slowly than humans. Subverted, however, in that while they may stricly be older than they look in years, their physical appearance will always correspond with their maturity level. Hence, an adolescent dragon will look like an adolescent human; a very old dragon will shapeshift into an elderly human. So in terms of mental and emotional maturity, they look their age.
    • Played straight with many elves—at least to human eyes, as the physical changes elves undergo with age are subtle and not obvious to someone who wouldn’t know what to look for.
  • Omniglot: All dragons, by default. Caradoc gets in on it too, though in his case it gets chalked up to his advanced education and prodigious natural talent rather than a magical gift.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Averted with Caradoc, who has three siblings, and Sahira, who has two. Played straight with Thue’lien (justified in his case, considering how much trouble safely securing one child was for his mother) and Echa.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Kel’Damial’s real name is Savaneir, and the only living person who knows that is his wife.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Kel’Damial’s blatant blithe attitude in the face of her concerns about their son is what alerts Aislinne to the fact that he is having a mental breakdown.
  • Orphanage of Love: The children’s home run by Garisse. Although Garisse is herself a somewhat shady character, she is implied to be genuinely compassionate and a Friend to All Children.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Subverted; as part of his proof of his Royal Blood, Caradoc provides the imperial council with a seal which he claims was left with him as a foundling; it’s actually something his mother gave him as an adult.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. While many dwarves are craftsmen, many also have a scholarly bent and harbor a fondness for poetry, fine art, and smooth talking. They have far less of a rough accent than some humans.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Rhyannon, the only daughter in a family with three sons. Sahira also fits under this trope, but in her case it’s not plot-relevant.
  • Overlord Jr.: Thue’lien. But he’s a passive, self-centered, ineffectual one, creating a "Well Done, Son!" Guy-esque relationship with his bitter and much more competent father.
  • Papa Wolf: Ganhed – socially more so than physically. His daughter feels more like he’s an Overprotective Dad.
    • Defied with Brys; he does want to protect his children but also recognizes their need to prove themselves.
  • Parents as People: A lot of Thue’lien’s personality problems revolve around the emotional neglect he suffered as a result of this trope—he was always lower on his parents’ priority list than their empire.
    • Subverted with Brys, who, although he leads a busy life as a chieftain and has to deal with the ups and downs of his wife’s illness, is a pretty good father who invests a lot of time and affection into his kids.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Kel’Damial, who just wants to rule the world and doesn’t really subscribe to For the Evulz. Aislinne as well, although she is more cautious about creating potential enemies.
  • Precision F-Strike: from Aislinne. “Damn you, where is my son?!"
  • Prince Charmless: Thue’lien, in the view of basically everyone except Sahira.
  • Princely Young Man: Elfael is the Ice King type. Addis is the Prince Charming type.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The dwarves. Though many individuals are capable soldiers as well, putting them in the Warrior Poet category.
  • Proper Lady: Miryam, to the nth degree. Roslyn is a more laidback example.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: When Echa’s first transformation into human form leaves her Naked on Arrival, Caradoc quickly recommends that she ask Sahira for something to wear. Emphasized by the fact that Echa doesn’t realize at first that her nudity is socially unacceptable.
    Caradoc: Perhaps you’d best shift back before going back to camp.
    Echa: Why? You think they won’t recognize me? I have the eyes
    Caradoc: But no clothes!
  • Reluctant Ruler: Sahira after returning home and being Offered the Crown, to some degree.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: At Sahira’s coronation, she’s decked out in such elaborate finery that she has difficulty moving. It's the full look: Cool Crown, Pimped-Out Dress, signet ring, a variation on Opera Gloves — all tastefully accentuated with Gold Makes Everything Shiny.
  • Rightful King Returns: Subverted. He abdicates.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Thue’lien is burned alive by a sect of cultic priests, Elamilaene transforms into a dragon and slaughters them all, before murdering her husband, who instigated the murder, by throwing him off the palace roof.
  • Romantic False Lead: Sahira, for both Thue’lien and Caradoc.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Sahira for Caradoc, and Thue'lien for Sahira.
  • Royal Blood: Kel’Damial has just enough to make his claim as emperor legitimate. Caradoc has some too, although he doesn’t know it. Subverted with thue’lien, who has no idea that he technically isn’t royal.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kel’Damial (who cares far less abut the trappings of his position than he does about actually running his empire) and Aislinne. Very likely Sahira will be one of these, too.
  • Ruling Couple: Aislinne and Kel’Damial.
  • Secret Legacy: Caradoc’s Disappeared Dad is an emperor. His Missing Mom is an empress and a dragon.
  • Secretly Wealthy: The Cáil family is quite prosperous (and would appear so to anyone from their culture), yet to a southerner like Sahira, who is used to showy and colorful displays of wealth, their rustic aesthetic makes them appear lower-class. Caradoc also specifically invokes this trope, often choosing to travel incognito as a common shepherd.
    • Inverted with Aislinne prior to her marriage to Kel’Damial; she was actually almost penniless but managed to con southerners, including her husband-to-be, into thinking she was a rich Blue Blood.
  • Second Love: Although he does entertain feelings for Sahira, Caradoc ultimately gives his heart to Echa.
  • Single Line of Descent: Prior to the birth of his son, Kel’Damial was the last of the royal bloodline and thus the only legally-viable emperor. (Justified as most of the royal family died in a civil war, and he himself killed off what few were left afterwards.) This trope is half the reason he is still on the throne despite that most of his subjects hate him. After Kel’Damial’s death, Caradoc is the last of the line although when he turns down the crown and sets up a new dynasty he’s not part of, he is basically rendering his own Royal Blood (and that of any future descendants) meaningless.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Caradoc, and Aislinne in human or elven shape.
  • The Snark Knight: Sinner.
  • The Sociopath: Luzivra.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Sahira.
  • Squishy Wizard: Caradoc, although he doesn’t have magical powers so much as he has destiny showing up to do weird stuff on his behalf.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Rhyannon, and Luzivra kills her for it.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Caradoc experiences this upon returning to Vannes, although he’d been expecting it all along.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Kel’Damial.
  • Stalker with a Crush: If Thue’lien wasn’t a prince and “above the law”, his behavior towards Sahira would probably be viewed in this light.
  • Static Character: Thue’lien.
  • The Stoic: Elfael.
  • Switched at Birth: Aislinne secretly exchanged her true son for an orphan newborn on the night of his birth, because she expected Caradoc to die in infancy.
  • Succession Crisis: The southern provinces had one of these in backstory, which is how they ended up with a dictator for emperor. Another one ensues after Elamilaene murders her husband and vanishes.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Echa. Both the brilliance of her eyes and the color are a giveaway that she is a dragon when in shifted form.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Luzivra, who can “smell” Functional Magic, Voluntary Shapeshifting, and the presence of “fantastic” creatures (i.e., non-stock-humanoids).
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Aislinne drops Kel’Damial off the roof of the palace in recompense for his allowing Thue’lien to die.
  • Unexpected Successor: Kel’Damial was one in backstory.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Kel’Damial and Aislinne (though it’s not a love match, and Aislinne has yet another villainous agenda on top of the one she’s helping her husband work towards).
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: How things really stand between Thue’lien and Sahira.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: All dragons have an inborn ability to take on the form of sentient humanoids (humans, elves, dwarves, et cetera). They do not, however, have any choice in what their other forms look like, nor do their powers extend to Animorphism.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Kel’Damial views Thue’lien as spineless and useless, and has no respect for him whatsoever…which causes Thue’lien to sink further into passivity. It’s a vicious cycle.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Dragons, whether in natural or shapeshifted form, have very brilliant (sometimes strangely-colored) eyes. Back before dragons got relegated to “folklore” status, the eyes were always a dead giveaway of their true nature. Now they just ‘‘really’’ catch people’s attention.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Dragon?: Many of the dragons have come to feel this way about their race, considering elves, dwarves, and humans themselves to be an inherently less valuable form of life than their fellow dragons.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: Aislinne and Kel’Damial spend part of a chapter discussing their respective failure to raise Thue’lien into a capable prince.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Echa and Rhyannon.
  • WingedHumanoids: The kieres, a cousin race of elves, have wings instead of inborn magical talents, and are fully capable of flying with them.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: Rhyannon.
  • The X of Y / Working Title
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: How Kel’Damial usurped his throne in backstory—it involved killing off what was left of his family after a Civil War and marrying a foreigner.
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