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Literature / Broken Ring

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One month out of every year, the constellation of the Ring rises in the night sky above the world of Caliel.

But one year out of every ten, the brightest star is missing, and the Ring becomes... the Broken Ring.

Legend whispers that any promise, any pledge, any oath made under the Broken Ring will inevitably be broken.

The second book of The Caliel Cycle series, sequel to Dark Heart.

After the events of the first book, Myrren Kahliana and her friends have returned to their homeland. Myrren and Raine Destin, who were thrown together by chance and once despised each other, have fallen in love and are planning to be married. The only problem is that their chosen date falls in the month of the Broken Ring, a constellation considered to be a bad omen. They're advised to reschedule by friends and family, but they both consider the Broken Ring a mere superstition and ignore the advice.

However, the day after their wedding, everything starts going wrong. Myrren's best friend Shial wants to return home for her own wedding, and since she's already pregnant by her husband-to-be Kail, she can't delay long. Myrren doesn't want to miss Shial's wedding, but Raine can't come, since he has a family duty he can't forsake: to appear for the Choosing, a contest for high political office. The two of them get in a fight and end up going their separate ways.

Raine reluctantly travels to the city of Ral Vraxan, capitol of all the lands that worship the god Vraxor. With his friend Arvis by his side as his demonic bodyguard, he's ready to face off against his family's sworn enemies, the hated House of Arlavan. Until, that is, he meets the person he's competing against: the young and beautiful Lady Leah of Arlavan. Even with their houses virtually at war, and despite being rivals for the priesthood's selection, Raine and Leah become unlikely friends. He wants to believe that she had nothing to do with her family's many attempts to kill him, but how far can he really trust her?

Meanwhile, Myrren and her friends set out for Shial's home, the vast and ancient Shaelwood. But the journey of a lifetime becomes a nightmare, as she finds she's being pursued by strange, sinister beings that only she can see. Even her friends begin to doubt her sanity, until they discover for themselves that she's telling the truth...

Not to be confused with The Broken Ring: This Marriage Will Fail Anyway.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted with the elves, though explicitly called anarchists. They have no government, with the only thing resembling it being elders who provide advice and guidance.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Myrren and Raine are pulled apart by conflicting obligations: Myrren to attend her friend Shial's wedding, Raine to the Choosing in Ral Vraxan.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The senkata's attack on Ral Vraxan. The priests of Vraxor are among the most powerful magic users in Caliel, and the senkata laugh at them while slaughtering them with ease.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of the book, the senkata have stolen the Dark Heart and know how to use it, Myrren's faith is crumbling, and Shial has been banished from her own homeland.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Arvis asks one of the priests of Vraxor why they haven't been hailed as heroes for bringing back the Dark Heart.
  • Exposition Beam: To explain who they are and what they want, the senkata force eons of their memories through Myrren's head. She survives the experience, but likens it to "pouring a flood through a sieve".
  • Elective Monarchy / The Theocracy: Vraxor's country is ruled by his priests, but the "public face" of the regime is a Sovereign chosen by them from among the nobility.
  • Fantastic Racism: The elves of Shael are intensely suspicious and hostile toward outsiders. In their defense, they narrowly escaped disaster in a recent war against outside invaders.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Zigzagged. Vraxor's country has cannons, but not firearms for some unexplained reason.
  • Feuding Families: The conflict between the House of Destin and the House of Arlavan comes to a head at the Choosing.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Myrren nearly does when the senkata put their entire collective memory into her head.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Raine's parents' idea of "protecting" him is having Leah assassinated. He rages at them for trying, telling them he doesn't want anyone else killed in his name.
  • Living Shadow: The senkata, who are demons and appear like this in the mortal world.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Shial's pregnancy by Kail and desire to marry him becomes a serious problem to their acceptance by the community.
  • Mind Probe: The senkata reach into Myrren's mind to extract the knowledge of how to use the Dark Heart. It's a horrifying experience, which she compares to Mind Rape.
    She had never felt so violated in all her life. It was as if hands had run over every inch of her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Myrren accidentally released the senkata from their prison when she used the Dark Heart at the climax of the last book.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: At first, no one except Myrren can see the senkata. As she begins acting erratically in increasingly desperate attempts to prove they're real, her friends fear she's going mad.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Shael's people are of the wood-elf variety.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The senkata catch everyone who encounters them utterly unprepared, including Vraxor's priests, the Atma Knights and even the Goddess Shayna.
  • Portent of Doom: The titular Broken Ring, a constellation that appears once every ten years. Entire legislatures close down when it appears in the sky.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: How the senkata can kill. They form their normally shadowy forms into hard, jagged ends to slice with.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Myrren and Raine are married for only one day before getting in a fight and parting on bad terms.
  • Sex Slave: Tresse, Myrren's mother, was given to her father Warde as one at first, but he was honorable enough to free and then marry her.
  • Take a Third Option: Raine loses the Choosing, but Leah makes him second to her, creating the position of First Councillor on the spot for him.
  • Tree Top Town: Caer Shamine, in the elven forest, is a small city entirely set within trees.
  • Villain Team-Up: Kyrian and Wyre. The first is a Dark Messiah, the second an Ax-Crazy vamp, who meet and become a couple.
  • Wedding Finale: The book opens with Myrren and Raine's wedding, and closes with Shial and Kail's.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Myrren and Raine dismiss the idea of the Broken Ring as bad luck. Their marriage is almost immediately torn apart, and they wind up on opposite sides of the continent.