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Literature / The Children of Man

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The Children of Man is a cycle of Epic Fantasy by Elizabeth C. Mock.

Long ago, the world was ruled and led by the light mages. Commanding the unified power of the light, they were all but omnipotent, leading mankind into a golden age. But then they grew enamored with the power of black magic, and began to experiment. The result was the Shattering, a massive arcane cataclysm that tore the light magic into its six component colors: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple.Thus were born the Orders, six bodies of wizard-monks designed to serve humanity, hoping to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors. Three thousand years pass, and the world changes. Then things begin to get interesting. A decade after a massive war tore the world apart, three individuals are on the run. Rafela Durante, heir to the massive Durante fortune, trained red mage, and now a Gray, is searching for the Shrine of Shattering, which legends say can reverse the transformation into a Gray. Kademan Hawthorne has been framed for the murder of his fiancée, and must evade pursuit while he searches out the one truly responsible. Jair's awesome talent for green magic unwittingly wiped out an entire town, and now he has a bounty on his head. Together, these three will uncover a conspiracy that could turn their world upside-down and inside-out.


This series as a whole provides examples of:

  • Anti-Magic: Greys can become colorless, essentially causing magic to pass through them. They can also turn color magic into grey magic, which can be used to fuel spells just like regular magic. In addition, a Grier's blue magic will protect him from most color spells.
  • Black Magic: Both literally and metaphorically. Unlike the color magics, which are morally neutral, black is inherently evil. However, its ability to mimic the effects of any color magic also makes it very powerful.
  • Blood Magic: A red mage (or possibly just Faela) can use a sample of someone's blood to read their memories or track their location.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: A person's eye color reflects their magical talent. A blue mage will have blue eyes, a yellow mage golden eyes, etc. Someone with access to multiple colors generally has brown eyes, while Grays have reflective silver eyes.
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  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Magic is divided into the six colors, plus black and gray, which are a bit outside the system.
  • Dance Battler: Talise's unique yellow-based fighting style.
  • Defense Mechanism Superpower: Blue magic, in addition to providing prophecies, will generally act to protect its vessels. One time, a blue mage fell off a cliff, and the blue magic manifested a protective bubble around her, causing her to just bounce down the cliff unharmed. This effect can fail, as the Oracle and her Grier are murdered near the end of the first book.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Eve is seduced by the Brethren halfway through the second book.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Downplayed. Firearms were just recently invented, and the Durante line has a monopoly on their manufacture. This means that whoever controls the Durante's loyalties has a massive strategic advantage in war.
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  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: Firearms are a recent invention in the setting, and the Merchant House Evensong has a monopoly on their manufacture. This makes securing Evensong's loyalties a major priority for both sides in an upcoming war.
  • Heel–Face Turn: All Grays, as you can only become one by first using black magic and then rejecting it.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Red magic heals, but it can also directly kill. Also, Talise Murphy uses the art-focused yellow magic offensively.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: There are six color magics, each with a fairly well-defined domain
    • Red magic heals, but it can also kill.
    • Yellow magic is related to art and performance, and can create illusions and manipulate emotions.
    • Orange magic is connected to law and order. It can boost its user's physique, and can be used to restrain someone, seek out targets, or create magically binding contracts.
    • Purple magic can be used to teleport or move through time.
    • Green magic acts as the fuel for the other forms, and can be manipulated directly to infuse an area's plants and animals with life, or drain away the same.
    • Blue magic reveals the future. In low levels, it grants uncanny intuition, while powerful blue mages become prophets.
  • Magical Native American: The Deoraghan. They are a distinct ethnic and political unit, divided into multiple nomadic tribes. They are also much more powerfully magical than any other race (nearly every Deoraghan can use magic, while only about one in ten non-Deoraghan can) and are the only people left who worship Lior, this setting's incarnation of the Christian God.
  • Magic Knight: Most orange mages, since they essentially function as a police force.
  • Master of Illusion: Yellow mages. Yellow is the magic of art and performance, but can also be used to entrance or deceive.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Ever since the Shattering, no one person has been able to use all six colors (the maximum seems to be four, and even that's very rare). Black's ability to avert this (since black touches and corrupts all six colors, it can be used to mimic any of them) is part of why it's so tempting.
  • The Order: Six of them, founded after the Shattering to control and train the six forms of color mage.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Inverted. Red eyes mark you as a Tereskan, an order of healers who are one of this setting's primary forces for good.