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Literature / Perfidious Ploys

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Perfidious Ploys is from the Anthologies of Ullord. It is a crossover work involving the sama, the brotherhood of assassins, characters from the journeying bard series, traveling clerics series and characters from Myrefall. The plot jumps, following each group throughout the course of several days. When following the assassins, they are often setting everything up that their commander has ordered. When following the sama, their plans and the succession of their throne are discussed. When following the journeying bard and traveling clerics, the events are their normal, daily lives. Lastly, the Myrefall clerics of Mara are followed in their investigation and pursuit of the assassins that have cropped up frequently over the past few weeks.

Ariana, Lucas, Dashel, Saymette and Nasius are treated as the central characters of the story despite the revolving focus character.

  • Big Bad Vesna to some degrees and Dreihanith and Saymette for other happenings.
  • The Dragon
    • Dashel and Teigue both act as one to Vesna.
    • Who the dragon and who the big bad are among the sama is up for debate.
  • Even Evil Has Standards Dashel and his party are all disturbed by the sama's plans. And they even briefly consider intervening to stop them, but Dashel forces them to follow their orders only.
  • Foil There are a few examples of them throughout.
    • Lucas and Saymette are this to the other. Both are princes, the eldest child, and have closer ties to their siblings than to their parents, but there are many differences.
      • Lucas is warm, generous, kind, gentle, loving and selfless enough to exchange his freedom for the lives of strangers.
      • Saymette is cold, selfish, controlling, domineering and he hates being given answers and lessons in morality.
      • The two key differences shown between them in scenes are the battle scenes. Lucas stands at the front, not bothered by the army he and his companions stand to fight while Saymette stays in back, letting his subordinates do the initial fighting. And when they both decide that casting is their way of winning the fight, Lucas kneels on the ground and draws his casting circle with his fingers. Saymette stands while his subordinates draw him in the center of his casting circle.
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    • Ariana and Lucas are foils to Arabella and Eli. All four are Vesna's children. But, Ariana and Lucas pulled away from their destiny as assassins and instead became good, loving people with a respect for mortal lives.
    • Dreihanith and Vesna operate under strange moral codes.
      • Both are power-hungry and they feel entitled to things, Vesna because she earned her title and reputation as a terrifying assassin while Dreihanith is king and feels simply entitled.
      • Vesna, however, feels that there is a certain amount of professionalism and respect that should be shown to another ruler. Dreihanith and his children are good at faking this sort of respect.
      • Both are evil, but Vesna draws lines where they seem appropriate. She is not above abduction, murder and contractual obligations for marriage being upheld above freedoms and wants. Dreihanith believes in any means necessary.
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  • Has a Type Ariana's loves have all been tall, muscular, rugged, with long hair, terse, and covered in scars.
  • Internal Reveal There are a few of these, and some have a spoiler nature and will be marked as such so you may read at ease of not spoiling too much.
    • To most of the characters, Ariana and Lucas having blood ties to assassins.
    • To Ariana and various other characters that Nasius is alive. This means to Vesna that Dashel did not complete his assignment and has been lying to her for several years about this.
  • Irony
    • Nasius would have given up and let Mara take him to the afterlife in normal circumstances. He is a Mara cleric and trained to accept even his own death. But, Dashel, who was sent to kill him, taunts him and rubs in his intent to abduct Ariana and marry her himself. Without thoughts of Ariana's safety and happiness forced upon him in his dying moments, Dashel would probably have succeeded with his mission.
    • Saymette's call to Pramod led to a slight advantage in battle despite the sama worshipping Pramod as if he were evil and needs appeased.
    • Ariana's call to Pramod led to her getting past Saymette's guards when she had intent to kill him. When Saymette was still protected by Pramod.
    • Ariana's Pramod spell also led to her keeping Nasius from falling under too much notice of her mother who was revealed to utilize her divine gifts in a brutally efficient way. Given Vesna cared enough about Nasius and Ariana's relationship in the past to want to kill him to sever her daughter's safety in a Mara temple town. And Ariana's divine abilities alone would not be capable of this since Vesna is a consecrated, too and thus immune so Ariana's positive appreciation for Pramod gave him reason to stay with her and to use his own abilities to protect Ariana and Nasius.
    • There are several Mara clerics present with a lot of assassins on the battlefield as well and all of the assassins and Mara clerics don't act out toward the other party. Largely because of Vesna's actions and then her orders.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters If you missed the list of who all is featured in the story in the summary section, there are dozens of characters in this story alone. That includes the gods as well as many characters who have appeared in additional works.
  • Mama Bear
    • Ariana. The only reason she cooperates instead of fights is the safety of Rylen. And when she believes he is in danger, the gentle, quiet performer fades and her assassin training kicks in.
    • Vesna. She negotiates to save her two youngest children from a life of sexual servitude and brood-making. And then she shows up to kill the man who would dare to force that life upon her eldest children.
  • Mundane Solution Ariana's suggestion for solving their problem of not being able to see the sama soldiers is to ask why Lucas didn't just ask Manu to give them the knowledge of where the soldiers are.
  • Murder, Inc. The brotherhood of assassins.
  • Mysterious Observers Looking to Be Entertained The gods are shown to be watching the battle. And some are actively hoping to be prayed to during.
  • Nonchalant Dodge Aeson does this when he opens the prison door. Aeson picks the lock, then stands behind the door as he opens it. He and the others expect that Ariana and Lucas are blindly attacking anybody who comes into the room.
  • Papa Wolf
    • Rythis. He loves his son dearly and any sort of threat to his son sends him into berserk ninja mode.
    • Teigue. He happily accepts an assignment that includes him protecting Lucas. And he is incredibly, terrifyingly protective of his children. With soldier and assassin experience to back that up.
  • The Reveal
    • Ariana and Lucas' assassin heritage, and their titles as prince and princess of their mother's assassin domain are first revealed here. Prior to this, Ariana's affiliation with Mara clerics was never addressed and Lucas' want for a bodyguard due to assassins was never completely explained to even Nila.
    • Vesna is a consecrated. Those who pay attention to comments about it running in families may have had an inkling already.
    • That Dashel was the one who 'killed' Nasius.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains Inverted and justified.
    • The villains mostly came from the snowy mountains and the arctic tundra. And they were aware of where they would be. So the majority of the villains at least have cloaks. The heroes on the other hand were dragged to the snowy fields by the actions of the villains.
    • Specifically with the cover art, Ariana (left) is a performer, more often than not, a belly dancer and acrobat. She tends to wear less clothing for both. She also has a higher tolerance for cold than most of the other characters. And she was abducted in her day to day wear with no time to change into more sensible clothing.
  • Strong Family Resemblance
    • Ariana and Lucas are practically twins. They got their red hair and tall, athletic builds from their father.
    • Vesna has white hair, chestnut eyes and a very slight build. As do her two youngest children.
  • They Do If you happen to read this before any of the journeying bard stories or traveling cleric stories, you find out that Ariana and Rythis are effectively married and that Lucas and Nila were in the beginning stages of their relationship.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior
    • Dashel's party includes a teenage girl who kills people and takes contracts to do so just like every other assassin.
    • Vesna's two youngest children applaud and cheer for her viscous murder after witnessing it.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React This is the structure of most of the book. And the reason for so many inconveniences the heroes experience.
  • Your Cheating Heart Ariana and Nasius. Neither has gotten over the other and when they first see the other, that becomes glaringly obvious.

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