One blast of extraordinary magic...
One gift of unimaginable power...
A trilogy of fantasy books written by Gail Dayton that center around Naitan Captain Kallista Varyl. The books, The Compass Rose, The Barbed Rose, and The Eternal Rose are mostly set in Adara, a matriarchal country populated by both normal humans and naitani (Singular: naitan). In Adara, a family unit, called an ilian (Plural: iliani) is formed when a minimum or four and a maximum of twelve people in any combination or ratio of genders marry each other. Each person in an ilian is an ilias to the others (Plural: iliasti)
The first book, The Compass Rose, opens on Kallista and her bodyguard Torchay fighting a losing battle against invading forces. Kallista calls on The One in desperation and is, somewhat surprisingly for her, answered. Now, Kallista is a Godstruck naitan, the first to live in a thousand years.
Faced with learning to control this new form of magic, Kallista must also deal with Godstruck mates (by and large men she's never met before) appearing out of the woodwork. Kallista must travel with her new family into Tibre, the invading nation to confront a demon-possesed king.
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: All the female protagonists.
- Action Mom: By the third book, almost all the female protagonists have had kids.
- Ascended Extra: Joh and Viyelle, very minor characters in the first book, come back to become iliasti in the second book.
- Badass Family: The Varyl ilian. Even without the Godmarked magic, they are all talented warriors.
- Big Bad: Zughralithiss.
- Bodyguard Crush: Torchay to Kallista.
- Call to Adventure: Kallista's godmarked are compelled to go seek her out if they are not immediately nearby when they receive their mark.
- The Chosen One: Kallista, and to a lesser extent, her ilian.
- Combat by Champion: The whole Southern judicial system is based on this.
- Deader than Dead: When Stone begins to recover from the poison in The Eternal Rose, Merinda chops off his head because "he was coming back".
- Dead Person Conversation: Kallista has these with Belandra (the last Godstruck naitan), her many-times great-grandmother Domnia, and her ilias Stone.
- Declaration of Protection: Starts with Torchay and just escalates from there as each ilias is added. The ladies tend to do pretty well by themselves, but the men are definitely a wee bit protective.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In The Eternal Rose, two fighters literally become lovers when the Action Girl wins.
- Disability Super Power: Both Fox and Gweric gain these after losing their sight.
- Divine Intervention: It's called being Godstruck.
- Dual Wielding: Torchay wields a matched set of Heldring blades.
- Elemental Powers: Some North and South naitans have distinct examples (Throwing Lightening and Fire, respectively).
- Even Evil Has Standards: Stone is not evil himself (as demonstrated by his taking steps to avoid harm to non-combatants even when he was still in the Tibran military), but he grew up in an evil system and never questioned its values until he was forcibly removed from it. Part of that system is that women are essentially sex slaves - though to be fair, nearly everyone is a slave of some kind, that's what you get when a demon secretly rules the country. But that's supposed to be limited to adult women. Stone is shocked and horrified when he learns that Aisse was raped by a member of the Ruler caste "before her rites". He tries to rationalize it to himself, convince himself that the Ruler "must have had a reason", but ultimately this knowledge is a major part of what convinces him to Defect From Decadence.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: The series has a society where the size of a marriage ranges from a minimum of four to a maximum of twelve.
- Fanservice: In-universe all the men are described as "handsome," "beautiful," "stunning" or some other equally impressive-sounding adjective. Also, pretty much each guy is a different bodytype/coloring.
- Fetish: Some of the sex scenes involve a mild case of bondage.
- Finish Him!: The master of Obed's old School uses thi.s
- Fire-Forged Friends: Obed and Torchay.
- Functional Magic: Each naitan is born with only one gift. Unless you get Godstruck.
- North magic deals with inanimate objects and weather, i.e. lightening and wind
- East magic is related to healing, growing, and new beginnings
- Southern magic is "of the hearth and home." Some examples are baking bread that lasts longer than normal and throwing fire.
- West magic deals in "mysteries." It was more or less wiped out in the last hundred years, but it largely seems to deal with death and intangible things like telepathy
- Healing Hands: Many East naitans exhibit this, and Kallista develops it after becoming Godstruck.
- Heroic BSoD: Kallista has one when Stone dies.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: The reason Kallista resists her feelings for Torchay throughout the first book.
- Iron Lady: Serysta Reinine. Also, General Uskenda
- Lady Land: Adara is a Matriarchal society. All young Adarans serve in the military, but men are rarely promoted as officers. Women are also more likely to be naitani than men.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Played straight doubly so: Kallista has sex once each with Stone and Torchay in a single night in The Compass Rose. Not only does she get pregnant with twins, but each of the two men fathered one of the twins.
- Aisse, infertile because she was raped at a young age, has sex with Fox once and still conceives a child.
- Love Dodecahedron: Just... the Varyl ilian. With eleven adult members if you choose to include Merinda they are a very literal example
- Magical Abortion: Merinda considers this when she realizes how dangerous life with the Varyl ilian can be.
- Magic Genetics: The way one becomes a naitan. It's supposedly a gender-related trait as more women become naitani than men.
- Magic Versus Science: In a very literal sense. Adara has been predominant in their region for centuries because they have a high population of magic-users. Their military is primarily oriented toward dealing with bandits and pirates. They were not ready to deal with an invading army of conquest armed with muskets and cannon - which have longer range than military magic-users, and which can be mass-produced (magic-users in the setting must be born).
- Adara is running into similar problems in non-military areas as well. One of their economic concerns before the war started was traders returning from foreign countries with reports that their magical goods, which once had a monopoly, are now having to compete with non-magical equivalents. For example, a magically-treated cloak may keep the rain off you better than a chemically-treated one, but the chemically-treated one is much less expensive and can be mass-produced.
- Mama Bear: Do not mess with the children. Due to the natures of an ilian, and this one in particular, you will have to deal with not one Mama Bear, but four.
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Kallista often grumbles about the sensitive pride of men, or their inability to listen.
- Morning Sickness: Kallista suffers during The Commpass Rose and is followed by Merinda in The Barbed Rose
- Only a Flesh Wound: Torchay gets gutted pretty frequently, but he gets better.
- Orgasmic Combat: Kallista's magic feels really really good when she calls it from her Godmarked mates. Even in battle.
- Papa Wolf: See Mama Bear above, but instead of four, there are six Papa Wolves.
- Playing with Fire: this is the magic of some South naitans.
- Pregnant Badass: Kallista spends most of the second half of The Compass Rose pregnant, but that doesn't stop her from crossing an ocean, infiltrating hostile territory, getting captured, assisting in her own rescue, and killing a false god.
- Resigned to the Call: Eventually, Kallista's attitude moves toward this. It gets worse again when she's selected to be the next Reinine
- Screaming Birth: Averted. Aisse is silent while giving birth to Niona because she knows bandits are nearby.
- Shirtless Scene: Played straight with most of the male characters. Subverted with Obed, who's extremely uncomfortable unless he's completely covered.