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Literature / Kroniki Drugiego Kręgu

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He's lonely, cannot speak or hear, but his abilities are vast - Kamyk is an orphan with a rare talent of Illusion Weaver. Adopted by a humble Watcher, he becomes friends with a young, slightly rebellious dragon, who helps him reach out into the world.

Cute and cuddly? Well, yes and no. You see, Lengorchia may be magical, but magic does not solve any problems. People do. And dragons. And in this series by Ewa Białołęcka problems do tend to pile on them, swell and grow multiple appendages.

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Though the dragons are quite cuddly. Just don't piss them off.

First published as a short story (in 1994), it grew in the telling:

  • Tkacz Iluzji (1997, five short stories)
  • Naznaczeni błękitem (2005, a reworked version of Tkacz Iluzji)
  • Kamień na szczycie (2002; 2011)
  • Piołun i miód (2003; 2011)
  • Czas złych baśni (unreleased yet)

Set in the same world are Przyczajony rycerz, ukryty smok translation  trilogy of funny short stories starring a young Tomboy dragon Oura and a (very) reluctant dragon-slayer Eril, and Saga o ludziach MODu translation , "MOD" standing for Miejski Oddział Drakonizacyjny, or Urban Draconisation Division - the boys and girls who deal with dragon-related crime. Both shed some more light on dragon/human Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle.

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Could use a better description.


Tropes:

  • Animal Eye Spy: The Bestiar mages. They usually have Familiars and, due to Squick, refrain from eating meat.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Oura basically behaves like a curious, friendly girl in her mid-teens (dragons live a lot longer, mind). But she is a dragon. Hurt her friend, and she might just, erm... bite you. In half.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Dragons are unsure whether humans can be eaten. Pożeracz Chmur openly claims we taste bad, but he's a Troll.
  • Cool Teacher: Kowal. Not just by contrast with his predecessor.
  • Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: Between dragons and humans (Kamyk is the first to explain to dragons that smiling does not mean "come and get it"), as well as between various human cultures (see Values Dissonance below).
  • Disability Superpower: Kamyk's talent "ate his ears". Other mages also have various disabilities - the more talented ones tend to have it worse.
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  • Dragon Rider: You must be very good friends with the dragon for him/her to let you ride his/her back, but Pożeracz Chmur practically considers Kamyk his brother.
  • The Dragonslayer: MOD, notably, isn't an organisation of these - dragons are sentient, reasonable beings who deserve fair trial. In fact, it's dragon abusers whom the MOD guys and gals despise the most.
    • Eril got roped into dragon slaying while very, very drunk. He regrets that a lot.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Dream Guide mages.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Mages only - "Blues" are full mages, "Blacks" are lower class. Also, mages are classified according to the nature of their particular gift (some gifts are more prestigeous than others).
  • Functional Magic: Inherent Gift, has to be practiced. Possibilites include: transmuting things into other things (Creators), telepathy (several castes, especially Watchers and Speakers), teleportation of self and others (Wanderers), pyrokinesis (Sparks), total recall (Guardians of Words).
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Magic is believed to be one (for humans), because of the way it's inherited. The mages should repeat their biology class, though.
  • Healing Factor: Makes it extremely difficult to kill a dragon, although not impossible.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Kamyk and Pożeracz Chmur. Some other mages also befriend dragons. Eril and Oura become fast friends, too, fairly quickly, although she's taken a humanoid shape and he thinks she's an elf. When Eril learns what Oura is (thanks to some Big Damn Heroes on her part), it's quite a mind-opening experience for him.
  • Interspecies Romance: It doesn't last, but Jagoda, when Pożeracz Chmur meets her, is pale, white-haired, red-eyed, wiry and looks just so HOT to dragon standards. He's just the age to seek a partner, so... Human-girl serenading ensues.
  • Invisibility: Kamyk invents a way to be invisible (while living on the street) with his talent.
  • Master of Illusion: Illusion Weavers, like Kamyk and Wiatr-na-Szczycie.
  • Not Good with People: Jagoda, who spent most of her childhood with dragons.
  • The Oldest Profession: The Flower Garden is a brothel only for the use of mages. The girls (and boys) are taken good care of, and if they give birth to a little future mage, he'll be discreetly adopted by nice people. Actually, the girls are specifically chosen for their ability to give birth to mages - apparently detectable by measuring their faces and such - because mages do not want to be a Dying Race.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Very cat-like in their biology, not counting the fact that they fly and are sentient. And have several magical talents just by virtue of being dragons. It is strongly suggested they might have been artificially made. Some Blue and Orange Morality owing to the fact that they are purely hunter society. Also, hoarding shinies? It's a symptom of senility.
  • Painful Transformation: Sometimes dragon shapeshifting gets dangerous, especially for young and underfed dragons.
  • Parental Substitute: Płowy, for Kamyk.
  • Pass Fail: An interesting example - Oura takes human form, which is insufficient to fool Eril, but since she was aiming for "not a dragon", and he thought she was an elf, it was good enough.
  • Platonic Prostitution: A twist. The girls from the Garden agree to help Kamyk, but only if he comes over to give them a nice illusion show. He's happy to deliver.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Happens to Kamyk several times.
  • The Sacred Darkness: The Lady of Arrows, also known as the Lady of Gateways, goddess of death. Not remotely evil.
  • Sadist Teacher: Arena, who never made full mage and takes it out on the students.
  • Schizo Tech: Medieval European Fantasy world that has microscopes and advanced medicine (also, healing magic).
  • Sensory Overload: Hero's Blood, if taken in a small dose, will enhance your senses. An overdose turns every. Single. Sensation into a first-class Brown Note - it has been used as means of subduction and torture.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Dragons are sleek, furry and rather large. Cross between Falkor and a cat.
  • Significant Sketch Book: Nocny Śpiewak translation  is an accomplished artist. His and Kamyk's dorm is filled with Śpiewak's drawings of architecture and girls (his two major interests).
  • Super Registration Act: Lengorchian parents are required to register their magical children with the Circle. Registered mages enjoy a number of legal privileges and can count on the Circle to provide them with financial support and career opportunities. Problems start if a mage becomes too independent. The Circle is not above imprisoning, torturing or even killing such individuals to maintain control.
  • Telepathy: Several mage castes. Watchers (such as Jagoda and Płowy) are receiving telepaths only. All the dragons are telepathic, too.
  • This Bed of Rose's: Róża (Rose) and Srebrzanka's help is, in fact, a crucial part of the protagonist' scheme.
  • Tomboy: Jagoda is a veritable Jungle Princess. Oura shudders at the thought of finding a mate and laying eggs, laughs at her sister for grooming all day long and would rather fly around, satisfying her boundless curiosity. Also likes maths.
  • Weather Manipulation: The Wind Master mages, at least stronger ones.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Averted Trope - Nocny Kwiat is an angel of a woman, though her stepdaughter still dislikes her. Mildly. She's a bit of a grouch.
  • Wiki Rule: Here: http://kroniki-drugiego-kregu.wikia.com/wiki/Kroniki_Drugiego_Kręgu (Polish only)
  • Wizarding School: Actually the bulk of mage's education is history, biology etc., but they do have their own school in a fancy castle.
  • Values Dissonance: In-Universe, between Lengorchians, whose women are free to be treated like dirt and left with fatherless children, and the Haiga, who buy their wives but take good care of them.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Dragons, but they need a lot of food beforehand (or they start "eating up" any surrounding matter). They also have to have a "pattern" i.e. genetic (? Pożeracz Chmur "works it out" from Kamyk's blood) information of whatever they're changing into. So a dragon can't shapeshift into just any human, only the human whose pattern he has.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: "Illusions do not wound. Faith wounds."

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