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Literature / Grimoire's Soul

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Kesterline's unlikely heroes.

Grimoire's Soul is an ongoing fantasy Web Serial Novel by Peri Akman, author of the Warlocks of the Sigil series, whose first chapter was released on February 10, 2020.

Ceyda Lucrece is a spirited teenage aristocrat living in the sleepy coastal town of Bricketfriar on the island continent Magocracy of Kesterline, who ends up coming across a talking spellbook named Doc containing extremely powerful magic. Forging an unlikely friendship/quasi-sibling bond, the two end up discovering that Ceyda's world is far wider and more dangerous than either could've imagined.

It can be read on WordPress.

Due to the spoiler-ridden nature of this story, there are unmarked spoilers below. If you choose to proceed, You Have Been Warned.


  • Abusive Parents: When Ceyda proves too troublesome for her parents, they decide that the best thing to do is to give her a lobotomy, which causes her to run away near the end of Part 1.
  • After the End: Kesterline is believed by the general populace to be the last inhabitable place on the planet following a cataclysmic war centuries ago. As Ceyda learns later on, the emphasis here is on believed, as there's plenty of humans elsewhere in the world, Kesterline just happens to be an isolationist nation that strictly controls who knows about the outside world.
  • All There in the Manual: Tidbits about the world that are mostly glossed over or just not discussed in the main story can be read about on the main website.
  • Ambadassador: Kesterline uses Mages whenever they have to undergo dealings with the outside world, and they're pretty skilled in a fight.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Ceyda has light brown skin and curly hair, standing out amongst the otherwise mostly white-coded Kesterline citizens we see, but no defined race as we'd understand it.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Interlude 1 takes place from the perspective of Ceyda's younger brother Medhi as he undergoes training to become a Mage.
    • Interlude 2 is from the perspective of Hadrian as they get involved in a car show and later drag race around when Ceyda is getting kidnapped by Kesterline mages.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Inverted, Ceyda's more the annoying older sibling from Medhi's perspective as they have issues getting along.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Harper is one of the nicest characters in the story. She's also quite capable and willing to ruthlessly kill Kesterline Mages with her blood magic.
  • Bloody Murder: Harper's specialty is in blood magic, which she uses to easily dispatch the Kesterline mages holding her hostage due to Sebastian choosing to leave her alone, but can also be used to heal by using it to clot wounds.
  • Brain in a Jar: As Ceyda travels by boat to the Atrium, she meets a woman named Oksana whose brain was placed in a jar after they got hit by an automobile and their skull completely shattered upon hitting the ground. She's implied to be using either her old body with some added cybernetics or an artificial one puppeteered by the brain.
  • Brainwashing: Medhi's Interlude ends with him being brainwashed by Towcard into the new identity of Sebastien as an alternative to killing him for learning more than he was supposed to of Kesterline's dark secrets.
  • City on the Water: The Atrium is a city located at the geographical center of Lystrata, floating in the ocean separating Kesterline from the countries of the eastern continent's westernmost shores, and serves as a hub for the rich and powerful of Lystrata.
  • Compelling Voice: Near the end of Part 1, Ceyda figures out that her unique magical ability is getting people to do whatever she asks. It's subtle enough that she doesn't realize she's been using it for quite some time until she's at Rembrandt and the other Mage's mercy, and because she asks, they do things that they otherwise wouldn't. She learns during her time at the Atrium that this is because her unique magic is related to Yore, the Avatar of Protection, and there is only supposed to be one Yore magic user in the world. As the existence of a second Yore user would be considered problematic by the people of the Atrium and elsewhere, due to how dangerous the ability to compel anyone to do what you say is, Ceyda is convinced to keep this ability to herself.
  • Constructed World: Grimoire's Soul begins in Kesterline, the westernmost continent on the world of Lystrata.
  • Cool Shades: Mages are almost always seen wearing sunglasses, no matter the time of day. In at least Rembrandt's case, they also serve to hide how his eyes have extra pupils.
  • Culture Clash: After Harper saves Sebastian he gives her his grimoire to signify his surrender, which she looks strangely at, which turns out in the following chapter to be because where Harper's from, giving a person your spellbook is how one does a marriage proposal.
  • Death is Cheap: In the Atrium resurrection spells are common enough that someone getting killed in a fight is considered roughly as bad as getting seriously cut up in a bar fight as long as the spell's done in time, they don't have issues with time magic working on them, and it doesn't happen to someone "important" such as a politician.
  • Damsel in Distress: Part 2 ends with Ceyda and Reiner getting captured by Rembrandt and the other Mages to be carted back to Kesterline for questioning.
  • Double Standard: While in an Atrium nightclub, Ceyda notes the hypocrisy of the Kesterline Mages picking up women to provocatively dance and have sex with when back in Kesterline she'd get slut shamed for even imagining doing the same, especially when some of the Mages happen to be married while she's single.
  • Dramatic Irony: Rembrandt finds the concept of Ceyda and "Sebastian" fighting hilarious since he's the former's brother Medhi but brainwashed, but Ceyda doesn't recognize him at all, and he refuses to spell it out to her.
  • Dystopia: Kesterline is a deeply misogynistic and classist society where the only people who get any real benefits for the most part are male nobles, and keeps control by making people believe that the outside world is little more than an irradiated wasteland and that only the (male and noble only) Mage core can do magic. As for those who do manage to leave, Kesterline attempts to forcibly return them.
  • Elite Mooks: The Sons of Kesterline are Mages that have been brainwashed into new identities and serve as Kesterline's strongest warriors.
  • Everyone Is a Super: In the world of Lystrata almost everyone can use magic, though in Kesterline the populace is led into believing that only male nobles in the Mage core can.
  • Familiar: Familiars can be formed by someone bonding their soul with an existing animal, or creating one outright. They can also speak with one another telepathically. Upon learning this, Ceyda decides that she wants a dragon familiar, but later on gets a snake, Scallop.
  • Fantastic Caste System: In Kesterline it breaks down for the most part by class and gender, with nobles having their cores revealed at the age of 14:
    • Male only:
      • Mage: The only caste believed capable of using magic, their job is serving as a combination of both police and military. They also have numerous subcores within the main Mage core.
      • Spearhead: Politicians and general leadership positions.
      • Gaslamp: Core with a focus on finances, laws, and writing.
    • Female only:
      • Lighthouse: Raise not only their children but the children of others.
      • Chatelaine: More or less quiet but skilled wives.
    • Towers are the the only noble core that people of both genders can be, and are most well known for being the best family men and women, though male Towers get to be doctors and teachers.
    • Within the working class there are Pillars, who do every job that isn't covered by the Chisels, who serve as craftsmen.
  • Fantastical Social Services: The Dysfunctional Magic Unit, or DMU, of the Atrium is effectively a boarding house/therapy center for those who either cannot use magic at all or only with great effort, which is treated as a disability in a society where everyone is otherwise capable of using magic.
  • Fish out of Water: Ceyda in Part 2 leaves the late 19th Century-esque Kesterline and ends up at the 21st Century-esque Atrium, and ends up having to get used to how things work in a city in millions as opposed to the at most thousands seen in Kesterline's largest cities.
  • Glasses Are Sexy: In Kesterline glasses are seen as something erotic, especially on Chatelaines like Ceyda.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Kesterline is on a roughly late 19th Century tech novel, with electric lamps being a new novel invention when the story takes place. This turns out to be the result of Kesterline's isolation from the rest of the world, as the Atrium where part 2 takes place is roughly on par with 21st Century Earth, and the rest of the world is implied to be similar.
  • Grayscale of Evil: Kesterline's Mages are basically its Secret Police, and they normally wear mostly white robes and shoes with black accents.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Kesterline's reputation to the world at large is that of a mysterious place whose people keep to themselves and rebuff contact save for when they send their Mages outside for limited dealings with the outside world.
  • Irony: Chatelaines are considered a good match for Mages as a wife. Rembrandt is the main Mage Ceyda interacts with, and is also the closest thing she has to an Arch-Enemy, with no love lost between them.
  • Just Between You and Me: Ceyda's Yore magic allows her to invoke this by compelling people to answer her questions, even when they otherwise wouldn't.
  • Language Barrier: Harper ends up sneaking aboard the boat back to Kesterline with Ceyda and Reiner unbeknownst to either, and runs into the issue that she and Ceyda can't directly communicate because neither speaks the other's language without the Translator Microbes of the Atrium. It's mostly solved when Reiner uses effectively the spell equivalent of Google Translate to read out Harper's words for Ceyda, but she can't communicate with any other Kesterline citizens directly.
  • Logical Weakness: Since Ceyda needs to speak to use Yore magic, shutting her up works pretty good for stopping it.
  • The Masquerade: As far as most people in Kesterline are concerned, the world outside the continent is a lifeless, magically irradiated hellscape.
  • Magitek: One form grimoires can take is a computer tablet just as capable of casting spells as anything else.
  • Meaningful Name: The Pillars are the main pillar of Kesterline society, being the majority of the servant underclass who serve the nobles and keep things running.
  • Military Mage: Kesterline's Mages double as both its state police and the closest thing it has to a military, as due to their isolationism and lack of large-scale conflict, a proper standing army doesn't make much sense. Towcard lampshades how the Mages keep doing mass recruiting despite the fact that all they have to fight is a minor Pillar rebellion every so often.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: During Part 3, Harper's the most openly friendly even with the issue of a language barrier (Nice), Reiner's cynical and cantankerous (Mean), and Ceyda's between the two.
  • Non-Indicative Name: While the term "grimoire" would imply a book, they can come in all sorts of shapes, from the books and scrolls that you might expect, to even bones and technological items like combat tablets.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Ifrit range from small imps to beings larger than a man, and are quite dangerous.
  • People Puppets: Reiner's magic has her using her bees to puppeteer corpses.
  • Playing with Fire: The Firemite is a species of termite native to Kesterline's tropical rainforest that can breathe fire.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The reason why Kesterline Mages are shown to be so powerful is because they draw energy from people chained to beds and drained of their magic.
  • Puberty Superpower: People generally gain the ability to use magic via personal grimoire at age 14. Kesterline uses social control to convince people that for the most part only nobles, and only male nobles of the Mage core at that, can use magic, but the reality is that almost everyone has the potential to use it.
  • Rank Up: Between their last meeting with Ceyda and meeting them again at the Atrium, Rembrandt gets a promotion that allows him to learn about the outside world.
  • Really Gets Around: The main stereotype regarding Chatelaines apart from them being pretty but dumb outside of their Core specialties, is that they'll have lots of sex with pretty much anyone.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Scallop, Ceyda's snake familiar, has a tendency to drag out "s" sounds while speaking.
  • Spell Book: The main method of using magic in Kesterline and in the world at large is via grimoire, commonly taking the form of an actual book, but also including objects like scrolls, bones, and computer tablets.
  • Straight Edge Evil: While in the Atrium, apart from going to the nightclub in the first place, Rembrandt doesn't really indulge in the same vices as the other Mages.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Archeon looks pretty scrawny, but he's capable of easily lifting Ceyda by the neck and snapping it if not for her shields.
  • Synchronization: Due to Ceyda and Reiner's soul bond, any damage suffered by one will be suffered by the other.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Ceyda and Reiner have issues getting along, but their soul bond forces them to work together anyway.
    • Reiner and Doc dislike each other immensely, with only Ceyda keeping them together.
  • Translation Convention: The only language that is spoken in Kesterline is Lystratan, which for our benefit is translated as English. When Ceyda ends up at the Atrium and has to deal with many other languages, they are also translated by the translator spells as English.
  • Translator Microbes: Outside of Kesterline, translation spells are fairly common for dealing with people from various locales, as shown in the Atrium. However, the translation spells don't always translate things completely.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Ceyda finds out in Part 2 that sometimes people can be born without the ability to use magic at all or only with great difficulty, even when their parents are both magic users, which is treated as a disability by the Atrium, hence the existence of the DMU or Dysfunctional Magic Unit.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Ceyda has pretty powerful magic with Doc in hand apart from her Yore magic, but her lack of skill means that she's at a disadvantage fighting against the more limited but more experienced and properly trained Kesterline Mages.
  • Villain Has a Point: Towcard may be willing to kill Medhi because he's learned too much, such as the fact that the Kesterline government has been keeping people to be used as batteries for their magic, but he's also quite correct that Kesterline's social system is built on nothing but lies, even if he breaks it to Medhi in the least kind way.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: The higher ranked Mages are allowed to know the truth about the greater world outside Kesterline, mainly that it's not just a magically irradiated wasteland.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Rembrandt is not only willing to critically harm Ceyda in her fights with him, he also takes great pleasure in doing so.