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Literature / Heralds of Rhimn

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Heralds of Rhimn is an LGBTQ+ Dark Fantasy series authored and designed by J.L. Heeren. The only book out in the series is Shadow Herald as of May 2021, but the author has stated that the total series will be a quartet with the next books listed as Frostbitten Prophet, Ember Warrior, and Breathing Gods.

In the magical world of Rhimn, where few gods remain and each has an agenda of their own, a Herald is a god’s highest servant — bound to carry out their god’s will until the day of their death.

But not every Herald is happy with their role.

Heralds of Rhimn follows Navaeli the Shadow Herald as she struggles against the yoke of her demanding goddess, Silamir. She finds romance in a handsome hooligan girl, Crislie Crimsworth, and kinship with a young feyrie thief named Meparik. But this newly-knit family of misfits also finds strife as the feyrie folk of Rhimn prepare to fight the cruel sun god and his regime of iron-clad knights.

Navaeli, Crislie, and Meparik must navigate the perils of politics and revolution together, or become just another casualty in the newest spat between the gods.


The series contains the following tropes:

    Shadow Herald 
  • After Action Patch Up: Navaeli and Crislie end up patching each other up a few times. Not that they mind.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Crislie and Navaeli have one when they get together at the end of the book.
  • Blind Seer: Ainzel and her god, Thah.
  • Cast from Stamina: A Herald’s magic works like this up until a certain point, where it becomes Cast from Hit Points instead.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Crislie, Navaeli, Inkantik, and Gildhe are all confirmed to be either not straight or not cis in Shadow Herald, and the author has stated that other side characters will have their LGBTQ+ identities explored more in the later books.
    • Meparik is asexual, but it’s not given much focus, given that he’s currently eleven years old and living through a revolution.
  • The Chosen One: A Herald is essentially a divinely-appointed Chosen One to a god.
  • Cold Iron: Fey are burned by Gardhe’s sacred element.
  • Death of Personality: Navaeli’s fate, should she allow Silamir to steal her body for good.
  • Divine Conflict: Between Gardhe and the other gods.
  • Divine Intervention: Occasionally bestowed on Navaeli by Silamir, or Meparik by the Romne, but the intervention comes with caveats.
  • Dramatic Slip: Once by Navaeli and once by Meparik.
  • Expressive Ears: The fey. Meparik admits that he has trouble reading human emotions since their ears are “useless.”
  • Fantastic Racism: The fey have it rough.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: A significantly smaller one than there used to be, due to The Immortal Reckoning. Consists of the sun god, a star goddess, twin gods of the earth, and a goddess of reincarnation who came back from the dead.
  • Genius Loci: A god’s holy ground is this.
  • Henotheistic Society: The characters who don’t abstain from worship entirely tend to favor one god for worship over the others, with the small exception of characters who worship the Romne as one entity.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Navaeli, Crislie, and Meparik by the end of the book.
  • Glamour: Supposedly a power the fey have; however, it turns out to be a philosophy of survival rather than actual magic.
  • God-Emperor: Herald-Regent Elaina Lilisie Ayowen.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Silamir frequently refuses to help Navaeli out, citing her need to preserve her power for more important matters, and Fraihz is too sickly to give Meparik much help, usually.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: What happens when you put Knight Jeidhe and Silamir in the same room. Silamir wins.
  • Hand Signals: Gesture, a Sign Language which Meparik uses to communicate, and which is commonly used in feyrie courts to keep out of the Irongardhe’s earshot.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Crislie brushes out Navaeli’s feathers during a quiet moment in the plot.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Brightfate, a sunlit sword bloodforged by Gardhe himself. It glows, burns, absorbs the souls of anyone it kills — oh, and if you kill a Herald with it, it will also kill the god they’re bound to. Unfortunately for Navaeli, it belongs to Regent Elaina.
  • Jerkass Gods: Silamir and Gardhe at the very least, if not Rhimn’s pantheon as a whole.
  • Knight Templar: Most of the Irongardhe knights could fall under this trope, but Knight Jeidhe and Regent Elaina are especially prominent examples.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Some fey, like Charlan, have animal characteristics derived from whichever god they reincarnated from.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Mortals experience phantom sensations when interacting with gods, often in the realm of taste and smell. For instance, Silamir’s voice smells “of ash and crushed bones” to Navaeli, and Meparik tastes bitter acorn tannins every time Fraihz contacts him.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: No fuss is made over Inky’s preference for men, Gildhe’s pronouns, or Crislie and Navaeli’s attraction to each other. Ma Crimsworth refers to Crislie’s potential future partner as a “spouse”, and Navaeli even outright states that fey decide their gender identities for themselves.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: They’re spontaneously born from the souls of dead gods, tend to explode if they attempt ritual magic, form tight-knit courts that resemble families or clans, and their glamour is a philosophy rather than a magical ability. The iron allergy is pretty standard though.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Meparik and Crislie’s first meeting, unbeknownst to Crislie until a few chapters later.
  • Power at a Price: A Herald can wield immense magical power, but that requires their god’s blessing and co-operation. Even if they have that, a Herald can only do so much spellwork before burning out because Holy Is Not Safe… and you’re straight out of luck if your god is too weak to help you.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Implied to be more complicated than this. Nonetheless, Ainzel’s prediction for Navaeli comes to pass just as she said, and the glimpses of the future that Meparik gets are pretty accurate too.
  • Religion is Magic: While ritual magic exists — which isn’t inherently connected to the gods — the most magically potent people on Rhimn are Heralds.
  • Sleep Cute: Implied with Crislie and Navaeli in the Reaches, and then directly invoked after they escape Talimour.
  • Soul-Powered Engine: Bloodforged enchantments, unfortunately for the fey.
  • The Theocracy: Gadhi is ruled by the Irongardhe, who elevate Gardhe ruthlessly above the other gods.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Meparik gets seasick.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Played straight with Commander Atevia, but very much subverted with her coworker, Knight Jeidhe.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Crislie and Navaeli first properly meet Meparik in Stonehold. He’s not doing so well, but he helps them out the one way that he knows how.
  • You Must Be Cold: Crislie lends Navaeli her doublet after Navaeli dives into freezing water to save Meparik.
  • Villainous BSoD: Commander Atevia after realizing that she’s been sent to kill children.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Talimour’s feyrie-inhabited Upper Reaches.

Alternative Title(s): Shadow Herald