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Literature / Chronicles of the Emerged World

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The Chronicles of the Emerged WorldCronache del Mondo Emerso — is an Italian fantasy saga written by Licia Troisi, and published also in several other European countries (Sadly, it is not yet out in the UK.)

The trilogy is set in the Emerged World, where Aster the Tyrant is launching a full-fledged war in order to take over the Eight Lands, and has almost taken control of all of them. The young girl Nihal, a half-elf (half-elves are considered a whole race in this setting) lives with her friends and her adoptive father in the Land of Wind, until the Tyrant invades and conquers it, destroying its cities and enslaving its people. Armed with the precious Black Crystal sword and, along with her friends Sennar and Laio and her master Ido, she begins her journey to become a Dragon Knight and fight the Tyrant and his army of monsters before it takes over the remaining free lands and more.

The trilogy's titles are Nihal of the Land of the Wind, The Mission of Sennar and The Talisman of Power. The series was well-received by readers and became quite popular. It also spawned two sequel trilogies known as The Wars of the Emerged World (The Guild of Assassins, The Two Warriors and A New Kingdom) and Legends of the Emerged World (Adhara's Destiny, Daughter of the Blood and The Last Heroes) but they did not reach the previous series' level of popularity.

The Chronicles of the Emerged World contains examples of:

  • All Your Powers Combined: When all the stones of the Talisman of Power are gathered, it's possible to use it to stop all spells of the Emerged World for a day, but it's Cast from Hit Points and eventually kills the user.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The fammin are a race of orc-like monsters created as soldiers by the Tyrant, and are at first presented as a typical evil-by-default, barbaric and sadistic species of orc stand-ins with no culture or interests beyond warring and killing people, and who can be massacred with no moral compunctions. There are however some rare exceptions called the "wrong ones", who still have feelings and free thoughts... but must obey the orders when their true name is spelled. When Nihal realizes this, and that the hordes of fammin she gleefully cut down over the course of the war were most likely innocent beings with no control over their actions... she doesn't take it well.
  • Atlantis: The Submerged World, a whole undersea kingdom far in the north. The first part of the second book is focused on Sennar's mission to persuade their King, Nereo, to send help against the Tyrant.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The sanctuary of time appears as a gigantic cubical edifice whose top is crowded with a mess of disparate buildings and with a river doing an eternal, gravity- and entropy-defying circuit of its walls. Its inside, which starts as a chaotic tangle of intersecting stairs and only gets weirder from there, goes way beyond just bizarre.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Stones, which are colored azure for Water, blue for Sea, yellow for Light, teal for Time, black for Darkness, red for Fire, brown for Stone and white for Wind.
  • Cool Sword: Nihal's adoptive father Livon forges a beautifully decorated bastard sword made of Black Crystal, the hardest substance in existence, for his daughter.
  • Curse: When a wizard cast a spell and dies before it's dispelled, said spell becomes a "Sigil" and can't be undone.
    • The Land of the Night was put under a sigil that constantly covers it in thick darkness and its inhabitants can see well in the dark.
    • Megisto and Aster were both cursed in this manner, the latter being cursed to turn to stone every day and only walk as a man by night and the latter to always seem like a young boy.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A little with Ido and Deinoforo in the third book. There's even an almost literal case of Eye for an Eye.
  • Doomed Home Town: Salazar in the Land of the Wind, which is overrun and put to the torch by the Tyrant's armies in the first book. By the time Nihal returns, there is nothing left of her hometown but rubble and broken walls.
  • Dragon Rider: A prevalent theme in the saga. Unlike Eragon, Dragon Knights here are more like elite troops than Magic Knights — they're powerful figures on the battlefield, but that is chiefly because of their intense combat training and of the large, fire-breathing predator carrying them around.
    • Most dragon riders in the series belong to a specific order of Dragon Knights based in the Land of the Sun, of which Nihal becomes part during the series. Both Nihal and Ido are part of this order and have a dragon, Oarf for Nihal and Vesa for Ido.
    • A secondary order of Dragon Knights, technically a subset of the first but in practice a largely independent group, is based in the Land of the Sea and rides the smaller species of blue dragons found there.
    • The Tyrant has at least four Black Dragon Knights serving him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For Nihal and Sennar, at least, a happy ending was only earned after years of war and tribulations.
  • Elemental Powers: Each land has a secret sanctuary dedicated to an element and where the sacred Stones for the Talisman of Power are kept.
  • Eldritch Location: The layout of the sanctuary of time, due to the power of its element, has very little to do with regular laws of time and space. Sennar and Nihal are first faced with a room filled with a chaotic tangle of stairways; the first one they try leads to a dead end, and leaves them in a completely different, empty room when they go back down. They are afterward left wandering in a seemingly infinite maze of rooms and stairways connected by doors that often vanish when crossed, and when comparing notes cannot agree on how much time they passed there — Sennar believes they were only in there a few hours, but Nihal experienced several days.
  • Elite Mooks: During the final battle inside the Fortress, Aster unleashes a horde of new, albino creatures on our heroes.
  • Enchanted Forest: The Forest, a thick and trackless wood that dominates the Land of the Wind's southern border. As most of the Land of the Wind is open prairie stretching out to the horizon, the Forest's thick vegetation and restricted sightlines seem alien, claustrophobic and frightening to the Land's inhabitants, leading to the rise of numerous legends about the Forest being a dangerous place full of vicious monsters lurking in its depths. In truth there's little in the way of danger in the Forest, and no actual monsters — however, it is home to a large community of pixies, as well as a Father of the Forest.
  • Eye Scream: Ido lose his eye against Deinoforo, and, unlike other examples, has to train for a long time in order to learn how to fight properly even with an eypatch.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Fortress, a huge tower made of Black Crystal in the middle of the Great Land.
  • Feathered Fiend: Amongst Aster's creations, there are some nasty fire-breathing birds ridden by miniature-size Fammin.
  • Foreshadowing: While sneaking past the Fammin barracks in the Land of the Days, the characters are surprised to feel a powerful sense of sorrow and suffering coming from within them. This serves as an early hint that the Fammin are as much victims of the Tyrant as anyone else.
  • Gaia's Lament: The Tyrant and his forces have no more regard for the natural world than they do for the people they subjugate, and their hunger for resources to fuel their constant warmongering strips new territories of resources in short order. Their rule over a Land is invariably marked by rampant deforestation and immense levels of pollution.
    • The Land of Days, one of the most thoroughly subjugated lands, is a desolate, barren wasteland home only to the Tyrant's fortress-cities and a few hardy, twisted plants; some of its main geographical features, Merith Lake and the Forest of Bersith, have by the books' time vanished completely — nothing is left of them but an enormous, polluted swamp.
    • The first thing Nihal notices when entering the subjugated Land of the Wind is how the Forest, once a vibrant mass of vegetation too thick to see more than a few meters from your position, has been reduced to a vast field of stumps and charred, lifeless trees.
  • Golem: Two golems wards protect the Sanctuary of Tarephen.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Nihal is a half-elf, and there were a whole race of them (although elves themselves are gone from a long time). Aster himself is a half-elf/human hybrid (half-elvish mother and human father).
  • Happily Ever After: Nihal and Sennar, although the sequels put a brutal end to that.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: When the Tyrant start using ghosts in battle, Soana and the other sorcerers counterattack by enchanting the swords of the soldiers with ghost-repelling spells. They're still, however, not very efficient, because ghosts need still four or five hits before being suppressed.
  • I Know Your True Name: The fammin's names are fragment of magical spells. The Wrong Ones are forced to fight against their will by using their names.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: On their way to the Submerged World, Sennar's ship come across a gargantuan sea beast, so large that they sail on its very body (which is described as looking like a sort of water equivalent of magma) and has several tentacles and a gaping mouth in the middle. It's the unnamed guardian of the World.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: It's possible to have warrior-wizards, although pure wizards usually have more powerful spells.
  • La Résistance: One is actively fighting the Tyrant forces in the Land of the Fire, and is lead by Aires.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Land of Fire. However, in a subversion, the main danger protecting the Sanctuary of Flaren is not a huge stream of lava but rather the poisonous vapors and foul gases of the area.
  • Meaningful Name: Several. Dola (Pain), Deinoforo (Terrorbringer), Aster (Star), Megisto (the Best One).
  • Mind Rape: Performed by Aster himself to a captured Sennar in book three.
  • Mooks: Fammin were created for this purpose. After Aster's demise, the remaining Fammin lose their evilness and are eventually spared.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Near the end of The Mission of Sennar, Aster decides to stop playing Mister Nice Guy and summon a huge army made of the ghosts of his deceased enemies. Which gets bigger and bigger as the good armies are decimated.
  • Not Always Evil: The Fammin are introduced as fairly standard Always Chaotic Evil orc stand-ins who live only to pillage, murder and destroy. It's later revealed that this is because they have essentially no free will, as Aster uses their true names to force them to do whatever he commands, and the Fammin have for the most part ceased to view themselves as anything other than tools to be wielded.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The classic European type; dragons are large, winged reptiles capable of breathing fire, and are highly intelligent but not truly sapient. They are used as mounts by elite military forces on both sides of the war, and several types exist:
    • Common dragons, the ones most often seen, are found in most lands. They are typically various shades of green, but some come in other colors such as red.
    • Blue dragons live in the Land of the Sea. Besides their color, they differ from common dragons in their smaller size and elongated, serpentine bodies.
    • Black dragons are ferocious creatures bred by the Tyrant and given to his top lieutenants as weapons, mounts and symbols of status.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Gnomes are actually more like dwarves, just taller than your usual dwarf. They hail from the Land of the Fire, where they forge weapons inside volcanoes.
  • Our Elves Are Different:
    • The true elves are nowhere to be seen in this saga but ruled the Emerged World in the past, until the humans and gnomes came and took over. The elves left for unknown lands, and have not been seen by the people of the Emerged World since. Little is known about them as a result, but they are commonly believed to have been a perfect people and beloved by the gods, and that they ruled the Emerged World in an era of unity and peace.
    • The humans and elves, in the time during which they shared the Emerged World, mingled to create a new species, the half-elves. Little is known about them either, as the Tyrant killed nearly all of them, except that they had pointy ears, blue hair and purple eyes, that they were skilled astronomers, and that they ruled the Land of Days before the Tyrant's time.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They're classic fantasy dwarves, essentially. They resemble short, stout humans, often with beards, and hail from the Land of Fire, where they forge weapons inside their homeland's volcanoes, and the Land of Stone, where they carved whole cities into the mountaintops. As these were some of the lands conquered by the Tyrant before the start of the series, a significant portion of their race has been slaughtered or enslaved by his forces.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They coexist with the albino-like inhabitants of the Submerged World and can swim underwater like fish. A secondary race known as sirenids also exists, resembling albino humans with gills on their necks, and arose from the intermingling of mermaids and humans.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Fammin — hairy, tusked humanoids with long arms, four-fingered hands and toes and powerful claws — fill the niche of Tolkienian orcs, being a race artificially created by the Tyrant to serve as an army of remorseless killing machines. They have effectively no free will, as the Tyrant and his servants use magic to compel them into doing whatever they wish, and some fammin retain enough conscience to dislike killing and war, and have to be magically forced to fight against their will.
  • Our Pixies Are Different: The pixies — folletti, in Italian — are diminutive winged humanoids very closely connected to magic and nature, and which make their homes in forests where other races do not go. They're a declining species in the series' time, as the Tyrant has destroyed most of the forests where they live and armies on both sides of the war are in the habit of systematically hunting them to force them to be scouts, jesters or mascots.
  • People of Hair Color: All half-elves have vivid purple hair.
  • Sea Monster:
    • The way to the Submerged World is guarded by a marine monstrosity so vast that the crew of the Black Demon doesn't even notice it at first — when they run aground on its flesh, their first thought is that the water has turned unusually thick somehow. The creature itself, from what can be seen, resembles a titanic polyp and hunts by waiting for ships or creatures to become stranded its flesh, at which point its pulls them towards its maw with ripples of its flesh and a veritable forest of tentacles.
    • The sanctuary in the Land of the Sea is guarded by a tentacled, multiheaded monster resembling Scylla.
  • Slave Mooks: The fammin. Their names are words in the language of magic, allowing the Tyrant's agents to magically control them and to force them to execute any order given them. The fammin are so used to having no choice in anything they do that they have no concept of personal choice or even of liking or disliking doing something — they are ordered to do something and they do it; this is simply how things are. In the climax of the first trilogy, when the Tyrant's magical hold is broken, they are so used to having an external will constantly directing them that its absence leaves them utterly lost — they cannot even defend themselves without someone ordering them to, and are cut down by the hundreds when the enemy army falls upon them.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: How many Knights behave towards Nihal. They eventually come to respect her more.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: The Black Crystal, used to forge Nihal's blade and the Fortress.
  • The Reveal: Dola is Ido's brother, Phos is actually the Guardian of Mawas and Aster is a half-elf/human hybrid with the body of a twelve-years-old child.
  • True-Breeding Hybrid:
    • When humans first entered the then elven-dominated Emerged World many centuries in the past, the intermingling of the two races led to the creation of the half-elves. While the elves eventually left the Emerged World, the half-elves had by then become numerous enough to form their own nation in the Land of the Days and become a numerous and powerful race... at least until their near-total genocide by the Tyrant shortly before the start of the series.
    • In the Submerged World, the intermingling of humans with mermaids resulted in the creation of the sirenids, a new species resembling albino humans with gills on their necks and equally at home on land and in the water.
  • When Trees Attack: The Father of the Forest in the Land of the Wind. Two axe-wielding Fammin found it out in the worst way possible.

Alternative Title(s): Nihal Of The Land Of The Wind