As long as a Queen directly descended from Thelatimos rules Skala the kingdom will experience prosperity, or so says the prophecy.
In recent decades Queen Agnalain went mad and was succeeded by her son, Erius. Under his rule the country has fallen victim to repeated outbreaks of plague and seemingly unending droughts, causing many deaths and weakening Skala's power. To hold on to power despite these misfortunes, Erius destroys all evidence of the prophecy that demands Skala be ruled by queens to be prosperous and kills all potential female heirs but one: his sister.
Two wizards decide to take a stand against Erius after one is shown the image of a future queen. Knowing the last woman in Thelatimos's line is pregnant they devise a plan to protect her female child, a plan that will have grave consequences for all involved.
A literally and figuratively haunted young boy, Tobin, must figure out how to live his destiny, even though it opposes the experiences of his childhood in almost every way possible.
The Tamir Triad is the prequel to the Nightrunner series.
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Before Erius took the throne women would follow the example of the warriors queens and train for battle. Once Erius took over he relegated women back into the roles of servants and wives. Over the course of the Tamir Triad we get to meet the old generation of action girls and the new generation including Una, Ahra, and Tamir herself.
- Because Destiny Says So: The driving force of the series. Because Prophecies Are Always Right in Skala, the characters try their hardest to realize and follow any prophecies or visions they have.
- This is invoked in the death of Brother. Why must he die? To protect Tamir. Why must Tamir be protected? So she can be on the throne.
- This is why a very, very reluctant and bitter Lhel agrees to help Iya and Arkoniel: because she had a vision from her peoples' deity that she had to help them. She does what she can within that vision to make things as right as possible.
- This is why Tamir does some of the good things she does as Queen: because she saw those acts in visions. It is also why Tamir finally agrees to physically fight Korin for the throne after a vision shows her it must happen.
- Blood Magic: Blood (though not necessarily human blood) is used in a number of Hillfolk spells. Human blood is generally used only in small amounts, but animal blood may be used in larger quantities.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Between their odd customs, strange magic, ungroomed appearance, and tenuous grasp on the Skalan language, the Hillfolk are sometimes seen this way by humans, wizards, and Aurenfaie alike. Much to the surprise and dismay of non-Hillfolk, some (like Lhel) are often perfectly competent and more knowledgeable than our main characters.
- Creepy Doll: All of the dolls Ariani produces after Tobin is born, but none moreso than the doll known as Brother.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Outside of visions the Oracle will appear as a normal human being. Inside of visions the Oracle will appear as different things to different people. Arkoniel and Iya typically see the Oracle as a human regardless of context while Tamir sees the Oracle as an adult-sized Brother doll in her vision.
- Gender Bender Angst: Tobin was magically turned into a boy as a baby and raised as male to avoid her Evil Uncle. Growing up she felt loneliness and some confusion, such as when she wanted to go play with dolls but was told that boys don't play with dolls. Things got more confusing as she aged.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: Due either to their magic or their mixed human-Aurenfaie heritage, wizards are known to be sterile. This is not a problem for other magic users including the Aurenfaie and witches (hillfolk).
- I See Dead People: The Hillfolk are able to talk to and to some extent control spirits of all sorts (good, evil, unwilling, willing, dead, alive, etc.). Generally they use this power for good, helping the spirits to rest in peace or complete goals they were unable to complete.
- Tobin has the ability to see and interact with spirits, but only those tied to him by blood or other means. This includes Brother, past Queens of Skala, and his mother.
- Some wizards are able to do this, but their capacity to do so varies greatly based on type of spirit and the wizard's personal abilities.
- Long-Lived: The Aurenfaie are a long-lived species capable of using magic. Both are passed on to their human wizard offspring.
- Mutually Exclusive Magic: Since Oreska wizards and the Aurenfaie have a rather negative opinion of the Hillfolk none of them even attempt to understand the Hillfolk's magic.
- Iya and Arkoniel use this to their advantage when hiding Tamir, as they know the Oreska wizards at the palace will almost certainly be unable to detect, recognize, or undo a spell cast using the magic of the hillfolk.
- As Lhel shows Arkoniel, some Hillfolk spells operate in a similar-but-different manner to Oreska spells. When Arkoniel begins to understand, he realizes Hillfolk magic can be merged with Oreska magic to create a new kind of powerful magic.
- Mahti, one of the hillfolk, is able to carry out his tasks so successfully because the Oreska wizard Harriers cannot detect his magic.
- Necromancer: Skala's enemy has honest-to-god necromancers who are feared by all.
- No Periods, Period: Averted. Periods are brought up quite a bit in the story, and even act as major plot points.
- The Pig-Pen: All of the Hillfolk. They described as each having their own scent - none of which are pleasant. Leaves and twigs often get caught in their hair, their clothes are dirty, and they have an aversion to shoes. This definitely doesn't help their image problem.
- Prophecies Are Always Right:
- The golden tablet is correct: Skala is much better off in just about every way under a Queen.
- We also see that just about every scene the Oracle shows our heroes happens in a near identical manner later on.
- Raised as the Opposite Gender: Tamir is raised as her brother Tobin for her own safety. She is completely unaware of the fact that she is really a girl for the first twelve years of her life. Needless to say, she has trouble adjusting to and accepting the truth.
- Unequal Rites: Wizards and the Aurenfaie look down upon the Hillfolk for a number of reasons, but most notably due to a mistaken belief that the Hillfolk practice necromancy. Even when this mistake is corrected, the Hillfolk's use of blood magic doesn't exactly improve their image.
- Virgin Power: Oreska wizards are said to lose their power if/when they have sex. While this is certainly the case for some of them, others can have sex without fear of losing their powers.
- Witch Species: Humans cannot use magic unless they have some ancestry from a magic-bearing species, usually the fairy-like Aurenfaie. The Hillfolk are a more traditional witch species.
- Wizards Live Longer: Due at least in part to their Aurenfaie heritage wizards can live for several centuries. Unlike the Aurenfaie, who consistently age slowly throughout life, they age to adulthood at a normal rate before their aging process slows down.