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Snow: I have dreams. Memories of other lives I've lived. Many, many lives, but all of them long ago. I remember when my kind flew in our hundreds. I remember the silver gods and the very breaking of the earth itself, then a hundred lives of bright thoughts and flying free. And then, Little One Kailin, something changed, and everything since has faded into an eternal dull blur, dim and impenetrable. Out of reach. All of my kin are still sleepwalking their lives...In my dreams your kind were never anything more than prey, and your thoughts were always filled with hopeless terror. Why would you wish to return to such a world?
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A Memory of Flames is a fantasy series written by Stephen Deas. So far, it consists of four books: The Adamantine Palace, The King of the Crags, The Order of the Scales and The Black Mausoleum. Once, dragons and other strange monsters ruled the world and humans were simply prey. Thanks to the intervention of a mysterious figure called The Silver King, however, the dragons were tamed (read: drugged into docility) and became the cavalry of kings and queens, kept in check by a mysterious organization known as The Order of the Scales. It's been so long since dragons were free that most humans have forgotten just how dangerous they truly are.

Instead, they play games of twisted politics that would rival Niccolò Machiavelli's works. Their ultimate goal is to become the speaker—the king of kings—and reside in the Adamantine Palace. They will do anything to achieve that, including murder.

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Then one day a dragon named Snow, the first perfect white to have ever been bred, escapes from captivity. Aided by a revenge-driven mercenary named Kemir, they seek to free all dragons from their slavery and return the world to its former state of dragon rule—which would be mankind's destruction.

Basically, the story is about what things would be really like if dragons were as common, powerful and intelligent as people these days would like them to be while humans made them subservient to their riders to play the Dragon Rider trope straight. Short answer? Not good.

The next trilogy "The Silver Kings" composed of 3 books: The Dragon Queen, The Splintered Gods and The Silver Kings bridge the events between The Order of the Scales and The Black Mausoleum and characters from The Thief Taker series also join the cast here.

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There will be flames.

This series provides examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Zafir, as the Speaker of the Realms, was awful and caused so much turmoil that even her puppet master Jehal regretted his plans with her. Everyone else hated her long before that, with her reputation so bad that in the Silver Kings trilogy she had to conquer her enemies with force just to get them to listen to her request to help them.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Elemental Men's bladeless knife will form an invisible blade of air that can shear through steel armour and dragonscale with ease.
  • Aerith and Bob: Among the tamed dragons you have names across the board. Simple ones (Snow, Onyx), poetic ones (Silence, Unmaker), compound ones (Wraithwing, Awestriker), two-word ones (Morning Sun, Storm's Shadow) to just plain weird ones (B'thannan). According to Stephen Deas each eyrie has a different naming pattern for dragons.
  • Affably Evil: Kithyr, the Taiytekei and the dragons can all be polite, friendly and in the dragons' case, even heartwarming at times. Usually right before they kill a whole bunch of people.
  • After the End: From the The Black Mausoleum onwards, humanity in the world of A Memory of Flames is reduced to cowering in caverns and scavenging for what food they can find in there. In the 2 or 3 years between the stories in A Memory of Flames and the The Silver Kings trilogy, the population of the Realms have been so reduced that the surviving humans can fit in a small town.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemists produce the potions that puts dragons into stupor and they also brew the treatment for Dragon Disease. It's because of magic, that alchemy works because these potions are nothing more than a bit of dragon blood, the blood of an alchemist and whatever the alchemist puts in to mask the flavour.
  • Anti-Magic: Dragons naturally drain magic that isn't divine. Because the world of the Realms have so many, magic is weak. This also means that Taiytekei magic attacks such as their lightning bolts have greatly reduced effect against dragons and the dreaded Elemental Men assassins lose their vaunted invisibility when near a dragon.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: If you're a king, you are in possession of a few hundred dragons.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Vale goes from being the nameless leader of the Adamantine Guard in The Adamantine Palace to a heroic protagonist in the next two books.
    • In Order Of The Scales the nameless Adamantine Guardsmen that tries to kill Silence is fully fleshed out in The Black Mausoleum.
  • The Atoner: Zafir was Jehal's puppet tyrant but even before she was petty, amoral, violent and often thought with her crotch (to the point where Jehal sometimes thought she was stupid). After getting deposed and enslaved on another world, she's learnt empathy for others during her adventures and regrets the damage she's caused. When she gets the chance to return to her own world with an army, it's for restoring order to the nearly destroyed world rather than simple conquest.
  • Awesome McCoolname:
    • Silence's and Blackscar's true names: Crisp Cold Shaft Of Winter Sunlight and Black Scar Of Sorrow Over The Earth, respectively.
    • I am Red Lin Feyn, daughter in blood of Feyn Charin and the Crimson Sunburst, enchantress, navigator. Arbiter of the Dralamut. To give a clearer view: Feyn Charin is the first guy to explore the Storm-Dark, who finds a way to move between world, Crimson Sunburst is the woman who goes to war against the residential boogey man- the elemental man and very nearly won. Both title of enchantress and navigator ain't for pushovers either.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Bizarrely, Snow of all characters gets a moment, saving Kemir and Kataros from pirates in the nick of time.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Everyone is bad, even the sympathetically-displayed characters, although some are much worse than others. The possible exceptions are Vale Tassan, Kataros and Lystra. Snow could also be excused due to the fact that she's not human. Justified in that it's a Crapsack World.
  • Bling of War: Taiyeteki wears gold and glass armour to battle. Justified since it is the only kind of armour that can withstand lightning strike.
  • Blood Magic: Alchemists were originally known as Bloodmages, they had managed to get some Silver King blood to ingest which gave them magical powers. The Bloodmages then defeated the Silver King at the cost of having only 3 survivors remaining from the entire order. After capturing him, they stuck a spigot in his head and drain him for blood to make new members that they renamed Alchemists as rebranding. Bloodmages can use their blood to mindcontrol anything that ingested it and they can also cause their blood to become so corrosive that it'll even melt through a dragon.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • We don't know enough about the Taiytakei to judge them, but it seems to be this. Snow claims that dragons have no morals whatsoever in a Screw the Rules, I Make Them! fashion.
    • Actually, dragons did have morals, they used to be incredibly loyal to their master but due to years of mind-slaving, they become like this. And the Taiytakei is actually like a bunch of rich guys playing with really dangerous stuff.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Deconstructed. Both dragons and humans alike will regularly let their enemies go or make silly mistakes, because of inherit flaws in their nature.
  • Born-Again Immortality: When a dragon dies, its soul wanders in purgatory for a little while, before it returns as a hatchling.
  • Canon Welding: The Black Mausoleum to both the original three books and The Thief Taker series. The next trilogy continues from there.
  • Changing of the Guard: With Jehal and the other "heroes" of the first books dead or too busy hiding and starving, saving the world from the dragon uprising falls to the characters who had been transported to another world - Zafir, Bellepherose and long-lost Adamantine Man, Tuuran.
  • The Chosen Zero: Played with. Kemir is probably the Red Rider, but he doesn't deal out very much justice.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Snow can, apparently, read Kemir's mind so well that she knows what he's going to do before he knows. Snow also manages to guess each and every one of Jehal's secret fears while he's literally shitting himself about the fact that she's about to squeeze him to death.
  • Demoted to Extra: Shezira goes from being a major protagonist and one of the few genuine "good guys" in The Adamantine Palace (though that may merely be because she simply had no opportunity to do anything bad) to speaking in only one chapter in The King of the Crags. The effects of her imprisonment are felt throughout the series, however.
  • Destructive Saviour: Zafir is the one to ultimately save the remnants of humanity, but before that she left a trail of carnage on two different worlds. Everyone agrees she's become a great hero, but Lystra worries about the next time...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Meteroa kills a dragon without any divine weapons.
  • Downer Ending: Things really aren't looking too good for the human race now that dragons are ruling the roost again. It's implied that the end of the world is not far away, either.
  • Dragon Rider: Deconstructed. People do ride dragons, in much the same way that knights rode horses, and the dragons themselves are similar to modern fantasy—they speak telepathically, can form bonds with humans, immortal, etc. The downside? The dragons hate their slavery, and are regularly drugged to keep them docile. The series kicks off just before a dragon manages to break free of its bonds...and the total carnage that follows this. This is to essentially answer the question as what would really happen if humans forced a race of sapient and intelligent beings like dragons to be their glorified steeds like a standard Dragon Rider work. Not only do the dragons refuse to be ridden willingly in the first place, treating them like second-class citizens despite them outclassing humans in multiple aspects is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, with the whole "drugged into compliance" that is mainly responsible for the whole "bond" in the first place making the whole affair even more horribly skewed in favour of humans. In short, a Dragon Rider work playing straight with these elements is in actuality creating a hideously one-sided relationship that uses terms like "bond", "friendship" and A Boy and His X as a smokescreen to cover up its horrible implications.
    • An exception happens solely with Zafira and her dragon Diamond Eye, both have similar personalities so they have a truly friendly relation to the point where Diamond Eye offers her "one last lifetime of service" and with her role as the true inheritor of the Adamantine Spear and Diamond Eye partially under control by the Black Moon, who sees Zafira as his pet dragonrider - the two also have a supernatural bond.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The quadrat in The Black Mausoleum all have serious issues: Kataros is a Broken Bird and persecuted by everyone due to being an alchemist, Jasaan is sick of life, Skjorl borders on pure evil, and Siff's just insane.
  • The Empath: Awakened dragons can read feelings, and their own emotions are projected onto those around them. Since dragons are usually always enraged, the effect on humans is...not pretty.
  • Equivalent Exchange: With the Adamantine Spear: What you do with it, it will do to you. So if you use it to kill...though this limitation doesn't apply with certain individuals.
  • Failed a Spot Check: This causes a character's death. He forgets that he's wearing the armor of a dragon knight when he walks into a village filled with people who have hated dragon knights for generations. All the more bizarre when the character himself hates knights.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Two examples: Zafir, what with her complete inability to run anything properly, and Jaslyn, who is essentially responsible for all the deaths at Outwatch due to her awakening of Silence.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Kind of. The "worst" dragon we see is black, while the most empathetic (in a relative sense) is white. Blackscar, described as an unusually intelligent and patient dragon, is golden.
  • Handicapped Badass: Rider Semian, after being crippled in one leg by Kemir's arrows, manages to hold his own in a rematch while not having the protection of his armor and escape from several angry dragons.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Zafir thinks with her loins and use to never think about consequences, her actions eventually lead her puppet master/lover Jehal to think she's actually stupid. After becoming enslaved on another world, just to survive her cunning and willpower had to grow by magnitudes, to the point where she goes from an interesting slave to being a veritable queen on another world.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Deconstructed. Jasaan bitterly remarks that because of Skjorl's brave and heroic death, he'll only be remembered for that, and not all the horrible things he did in his life.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Skjorl is compared several times throughout the fourth book as worse than a dragon, and he even admits it to himself in the book's climax.
    • The Dragon Queen goes further in this idea: the only way to tame the dragons is for riders to be as tough, as ruthless and as unyielding as the dragons they command. So in a retrospective, Skjorl is the ideal Adamantine Man. He was probably the same before the dragons awakened, the Crapsack World setting just brings out the worst of him.
  • Hidden Badass: Lystra in the third book. Winning a duel after just giving birth? Awesome.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Majority of the protagonists are humans. Ironic when you consider the central premise...
  • I am a Humanitarian: In the fourth book, both Skjorl and Jaasan eat human flesh without much of a fuss. Justified in that they've got absolutely no other food.
  • I Call It "Vera": Skjorl names his axe "Dragon-blooded" after using it to kill Bright Lands Under Starlight.
  • I Know Your True Name: Averted. A dragon's true name is not given lightly, but they aren't secret and spells can't be worked on them, as Snow explains to Kemir.
  • Immortals Fear Death: The dragons are absolutely terrified of the Black Moon, because it's disrupting their cycle of rebirth.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap:
    Jaslyn: "You'll starve. You'll die."
    Silence: Yes. Again and again and again, and each time I will return. What does it matter to us?'
    • Invoked by Isentine. Like most fictions, a dragon body can survive for many centuries—but most, due to their disregard for their own lives, barely make it past twenty years. This is not including the hatchlings that commit suicide by starving themselves to death, refusing to accept a lifetime of slavery.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: There are always the same number of dragons in the universe, because dragon souls are immortal and simply recycle bodies with all the memories of their previous lives. The entire number is not known due to the secrecy of dragon kings about how many monsters they own, but it's suspected to be about a thousand. Hence the overwhelming majority of eggs laid by dragons do not hatch, as they can only do so when there's a dragon soul in purgatory waiting to be reborn.
  • Incest Is Relative: Meteroa really, really liked his nephew Calzarin, who may have also been his son.
  • Insistent Terminology: Skjorl and Kataros insist on calling the Disaster Scavengers "ferals" and "men" respectively, highlighting the differences in their nature.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lots and lots.
    • The Adamantine Palace: Sollos, Hyram, Kailin, Nastria, Aliphera and Ash (inasmuch that we never see him again).
    • The King of the Crags: Shezira, Valgar, Sakabian and his family, Jostan, Semian, Nadira
    • The Order of the Scales: Meteroa, Kemir, Isentine, Kithyr, The Picker, Valmeyan, Prince Tichane, Jehal, Vale, Almiri, Sirion. Yeah.
    • The Black Mausoleum: Surprisingly few, considering previous instalments: Skjorl and Siff.
  • Kill the God: The half-god Black Moon killed a Goddess and took her power, he then slew and remade his brothers and sisters into dragon servants before he was killed by his brother, the Silver King. The Black Moon of the 2nd trilogy of stories is but a fragment of the original and this is slain by Zafir.
  • Kissing Cousins: Doesn't actually happen, but Sakabian really has a thing for his cousin Zafir.
  • Last of Their Kind: These are the last generation of Alchemists, with the Silver King released After the End, there's no more source of half-god blood to create more Alchemists.
  • Legendary Weapon: The Adamantine Spear. This is the symbol of power for the Speaker of the Realms and was the weapon of the Silver King, the half-god deity of the Realms. It turned out to be even greater than that. The Adamantine Spear was originally known as the Earth Spear and it contains the power of a slain Goddess, making it capable of instantly killing dragons and half-gods.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The dragons' view. They can't understand why a human would willingly die when they don't know what's facing them.
  • Mercy Kill: Jehal to his father.
    Jehal: "I'm not sorry I'm doing this...I should have done it a long time ago."
  • Mind Rape: Dragons are capable of this; this is most apparent when Reborn!Silence breaks the mind of a Scales simply by "telling him the truth".
  • Mood Whiplash: There's a tear-jerking heart-to-heart between Snow and Kemir in which Kemir tells Snow that she can't go around wantonly killing babies and children, because they're innocent and might just serve a higher purpose. Snow thinks this over, agrees, and promptly eats the boy in question's parents.
  • Mystical Plague: When a dragon breaks out of its egg, the amniotic fluid within is dangerous to humans. It causes Dragon Disease a.k.a the Statue Plague where a person will progressively develop a stonelike scaliness of skin that spreads throughout the body and eventually kills the victim. Victims can spread the illness to others through physical contact and the only treatment is a potion from an alchemist which temporarily halts the disease but doesn't cure it. Because of generations of long-term exposure and the magic-poor nature of the Realms, the disease in the people there happens very slowly but for the Taiyeki with their magic-rich world, the progression is rapid.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Vale is the Night Watchman. If that doesn't tip you off, he also has another name when he goes to war. The Scorpion King.
    • Invoked with the given names of some dragons, such as Silence, Sabre, Vengeance and Unmaker. Played straight with some of the dragons' true names.
    • Jehal is known as the Viper. It's justified.
    • We never do find out the Picker's real name...
  • Necessarily Evil: Outsiders are required to do some pretty awful things just to stay alive.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Many examples. Basically, the dragons' return is the result of a whole string of mistakes made by people who really, really should have known better, such as refusing to give the alchemists more resources to create potions, despite knowing that they're the only things keeping the dragons under control, or the kings ignoring the rogue dragon let loose in the Worldspine even though there have been so many historic examples of what one dragon can do. In a more specific example, the Outwatch massacre could have been avoided or at least delayed if a) Jaslyn had listened to her alchemists or b) Isentine had grown a spine and killed the monster.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Valmeyan spelt his own demise when he forced all his enemies to unite against him. The Taytakei soldiers ended their own campaign when one of their desperately-sought after dragon eggs has the misfortune of hatching Silence.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Kemir doesn't particularly want the dragons free; he just doesn't want there to be any more dragon knights. However, Snow once claims that this is not the case.
    Kemir: If you die, dragon, who will free the others?
    Snow: (seemingly puzzled that he had to ask) You, Kemir. You will do it.
  • Not So Different:
    • Skjorl defeats Blackscar because he knows that the dragon simply can't take the pragmatic course of action—that would be too easy and unsatisfying. He knows this because...
    • When Kemir has been forcibly ejected from the rogue dragons' group he questions the morality of his actions, and comes to the conclusion that it doesn't matter—he is who he is, and he does what he does to survive.
    Snow: So do we, Kemir.
  • Oh, Crap!: Anybody who has the misfortune to be in target of the dragons, but special mentions to Silence.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Dragons are creatures of impulse and destruction and whim. Common behaviour for them is abandoning a hidden enemy even if they know where he is, landing in places where there's no room to take off again, and attacking at night even when they don't do very well in it. The characters are far more frightened of Blackscar, a dragon who waited outside Skjorl's hiding place for months, than they are of other dragons. Justified in that he is much, much older than the other dragons and has learned patience.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In Deas' universe, dragons are at least fifty feet tall, were apparently created by magic, don't need to breathe, are capable of mind-raping humans, have immortal souls that simply recycle bodies (which burst into flame when they die), are highly anti-magical and think of humans as nothing more than amusing food. Did we mention they used to rule the world? Did we mention that humans have been keeping them as pets? And it turns out, the dragons are actually half-gods who were victims of a Baleful Polymorph.
  • One-Man Army:
    • The chapter A Taste of Happiness in Book Two shows exactly what one angry dragon can do.
    • Upto Eleven in the final chapters of The Dragon Queen. One fully-trained dragon and rider against a city defended by Tesla Coil, Flying Airship and Lightning-flinging Titan? they don't stand a chance.
    • Upto Eleven again in the final chapters of The Silver Kings where the above team, Zafira and Diamond Eye slaughter an army of dragons with the Adamantine Spear and Diamond Eye's teeth and claws.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Adamantine Spear will turn a dragon into stone with but a single scratch. Taiyekei sorceress Chiang-Li creates an anti-dragon weapon, explosive spears that contain the annihilating divine substance Stormdark which will disintegrate a dragon in an exploding cloud (though it has no effect on the Black Moon).
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Played With. Snow is a much kinder dragon when it's just herself and Kemir, but becomes extremely short-tempered and destructive once she joins up with her own kind. Kemir's character, on the other hand, quickly degenerates without anyone to restrain him, and it's only when he meets up with Kataros that he begins to redeem himself. Both lampshade this.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Snow describes herself as one.
    Kemir: "Dragons aren't weapons."
    Snow: No, Kemir, that is exactly what we are. But not for you.
    • The Black Mausoleum reveals that dragons were designed as the ultimate weapon for use in the Silver Kings' wars.
  • Pet the Dog: For an amoral killing machine, Snow has a number of moments, culminating in when she spares a little boy on Kemir's request and then spends half the day carefully cooking a meal for him.
  • Prophecy Twist: The prophecy that moves King of the Crags is as follows: And out of the sun shall come a white dragon, and with the white dragon a red rider. Thieves and liars shall quiver and weep, for the red rider's name shall be Justice, and the dragon shall be Vengeance. The prophecy does come true to an extent—there is a white dragon and there is a red rider ( Kemir) and thieves and liars do quiver and weep—along with the rest of the human race. But in reality, it's the white dragon that brings justice, and the red rider that brings vengeance.
  • Primal Fear: Zafir bounces back from getting gang-raped like nothing had happened, she'll match wills with an angry demigod and will fight dragons in melee, but if she's in total darkness she'll fall apart immediately and despite her best efforts she's still as terrified of the dark as the first time she developed this phobia.
  • Psychic Link: Anyone who drinks a potion made by an alchemist is psychically linked to that particular alchemist and the drinker can even be controlled through this link.
  • Rape as Drama: During her enslavement, Zafir gets gangraped because a wealthy prince wants to show her who's boss. She gets the last laugh as she's a carrier Dragon Disease which kills her rapists and spreads rapidly throughout that world. Zafir was also regularly raped by her stepfather when she was a child. This led to her fear of the dark.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It's been one of the few topics that the series has stayed unusually light on; but whenever we do see rape, it's treated as a Moral Event Horizon.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: If the pasts of Outsiders like Kemir and Siff are anything to go by, this is incredibly common even in peacetime.
  • Rebellious Princess: Deconstructed. Jaslyn is a princess who loves dragons more than people and loathes the thought of being Queen, which she eventually becomes. However, her desire for rebellion leads her to single-handedly do more harm to the realms than anyone save Kemir; she raises and awakens Silence, one of the most bloodthirsty and cruel dragons of all. The trope comes full-circle when she is eventually driven virtually to madness by the potions designed to protect her from Hatchling Disease and submits to her new role.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Although not seriously believed, Hyram was actually correct when he maintained that King Tyan, Jehal's father, was being poisoned. However, he was wrong about it being Jehal doing it. It's actually Meteroa, Tyan's brother and Jehal's uncle and The Dragon.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Jehal's brother had a few...issues. Namely killing virtually his entire family and having an affair with his uncle.
  • Science Marches On: In the old days, a heap of people had to be sacrificed a week to keep the dragons under control. Now...
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Dragons are actually the brothers and sisters of the half-gods Black Moon and the Silver King. Black Moon would isolate these individual demigods to steal their power and enslave them, changing their form into weapons that he'd useful.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In the first books, Zafir recalled the killing of her stepfather. He was busy raping her and she stole a dagger from a nearby Adamantine Man and stabbed her stepfather with it. The Adamantine Man was blamed for the murder and as punishment, he was sold to the Teyiteki as a slave. In the second trilogy, Zafir discovers the man, Tuuran and they eventually talk of the outcomes that incident had.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Kemir regularly mocks and insults Snow, a dragon who thinks so little of him that she occasionally forgets that he's on her back and breaks his face.
  • Summon to Hand: Zafir had bonded with the Adamantine Spear by giving it some of her blood in the ceremony to be made Speaker. As a result she can summon the Spear to her hand with a mental command.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.:
    • Another deconstruction involving Skjorl. At first, during his chapters, Skjorl appears simply to be a hard-hearted but pragmatic Anti-Hero. However, when we see him through the eyes of other characters, he's as much a monster as the dragons he hunts, and that's even before we get to Scarsdale...
    • Likewise, known bad people such as Jehal, Zafir. become a lot more easy to like when we're in their head.
  • Take That!: The books contain some pretty unsubtle jabs towards people who think that life would be so much better if dragons were in it, or want to become dragon riders/dragon soul mates, as per its deconstruction of the Dragon Rider trope. This is especially apparent in the character Jaslyn, in where her fantasy of essentially having a being that is superior to her in practically every way be her personal servant gets hit hard with a reality check courtesy of the dragon she is trying to impose them on.
    Jaslyn: (to herself, but the dragon, Silence, can read her thoughts) Silence! This is my Silence! Why is my Silence so cold and hostile?
    Silence: Because you are my enemy, Princess Jaslyn. You would like to have me as I was. Stupified. I can see it in you, a great desire. I am not the creature you once flew. I am not some beast of burden. I am a dragon, and dragons do not serve men. Find another creature to be your slave. Be gone.
    Jaslyn: Could we not live together? Work together?
  • Take a Third Option: With neither dragons or humans capable of coming to peace, Zafir ends the dilemna. She discovered that as the wielder of the Adamantine Spear, she can open a gate back to the Silver Kings homeworld. A deal is struck with the dragons and they return to their homeworld where they're remade back into the half-gods they once were.
  • Title Drop: Everyone wants to be in the Adamantine Palace. The King of the Worldspine is known as The King of the Crags. Dragons are kept drugged to their eyeballs by The Order of the Scales. The Black Mausoleum is also where everyone wants to be at.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Acknowledged in the epilogue by Lystra written for her son. The threat of the dragons and the Black Moon are over thanks to Zafir and her companions. Unfortunately now a Dark Moon is devouring the sun - slowly turning the world into a wintry wasteland. Zafir has become The Hermit and her companions and the last Alchemists have left to travel to other worlds. The remaining humans hope Zafir will return with the Adamantine Spear and save the world again, but Lystra doubts she will...
  • We Have Become Complacent: Most humans don't even know that dragons are only kept dumb by potions, and most of the ones who do know don't care. Even after a whole bunch of dragons awaken and start blowing up castles, they're far more concerned about their petty power struggles, to the alchemists' dismay.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bizarrely enough, Jehal of all people.
    Jehal: "I do wish you could have told me, just once, that you were proud of what I've done. That I'm not a monster like Calzarin."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In-universe example. Vale and Zafir both wonder over what actually happened to Knight-Marshal Nastria.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A few examples, but the one that most stands out is when Snow prevents Kemir from raping a female dragon knight with a healthy helping of irony and "I told you so."
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Two examples. Jaslyn wilfully awakens Silence, believing he will be her Loyal Animal Companion. The next comes with Sakabian, who labours under the Everything but the Girl trope. Neither end well.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Snow's justification for throwing Kemir off a mountain and telling him she'll kill him. To be fair, she made that clear from the start.
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