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Literature / The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

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A series of books by Britain-dwelling writer Michelle Paver. It is set in northern Europe — most likely Scandinavia — six thousand years ago and widely concerns the hunter-gatherer clans that live in the Forest, but specifically concerns Torak note  of Wolf Clan, as well as his wolf "pack-brother" called Wolf and his friend Renn of Raven Clan. The books follow the three companions as they stop a group of evil Mages (shamans) gone rogue, called Soul Eaters. The series takes place over approximately four years.

There are six books, with the final one released in August 2009:

  • Wolf Brother
    • This is set almost entirely in the Forest, and largely serves as an introduction to the characters, the world, and the clan system. It begins with Torak's father being killed by an enormous bear-demon. Torak, surviving without his father for the first time, finds and pretty much adopts an orphaned wolf cub, who he appropriately names Wolf. The rest of the book is about Torak's quest (with Wolf and Renn) to hunt down and slay the bear. Soul Eater No.1, Torak's father the Wolf Mage, is killed. But we don't find out that he was a Soul Eater until the end of the next book.
  • Spirit Walker
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    • This one expands the world a little. In it, Torak heads out to find a cure for a plague. His journey takes him to the islands west of the Forest and introduces us to the Seal Clan, where he meets a Seal Clan boy called Bale. Soul Eater No.2, Tenris the Seal Mage, is killed.
  • Soul Eater
    • The world is expanded again. This time, Torak and Renn travel to the tundra north of the Forest to rescue Wolf, who is kidnapped by the Soul Eaters. We are introduced to the Ice Clans, particularly the White Fox Clan. Soul Eater No.3, Nef the Bat Mage, is killed.
  • Outcast
    • Unlike its predecessors, this one takes place entirely within the Forest and particularly around a lake called Lake Axehead. Torak is thrown out of the Raven Clan for something that happened in Soul Eater. We meet more clans, including the Boar and the Otter clan. Soul Eater No.4, Seshru the Viper Mage — and Renn's mother — is killed.
  • Oath Breaker
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    • Takes place mostly within the Deep Forest, amongst the mysterious Deep Forest clans such as Auroch, Forest Horse, and Torak's mother's clan, the Red Deer. Bale is killed by Soul Eater No.5, Thiazzi the Oak Mage. Torak, Wolf, Renn and Raven Clan chief Fin-Kedinn set off to get revenge, heading deep into the dark heart of the Forest and running afoul of the clans that live there. Except the Red Deer, who are strictly pacifistic. Soul Eater No.5, Thiazzi the Oak Mage, is killed.
  • Ghost Hunter
    • Mainly takes place in the eastern High Mountains, with clans such as Mountain Hare, Rowan, Swan, and the mysterious Hidden People. It follows Torak's journey to confront the final Soul Eater, Eostra, after the latter spreads a mysterious disease and fear throughout the lands. Soul Eater No.6, Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage, is killed… and Torak. note 

In 2019, Paver decided to write three sequels set after Ghost Hunter. The first sequel, Viper's Daughter, is set two summers after Ghost Hunter and was released in April 2020. The second one, Skin Taker, was released in April 2021, while the final part, Wolfbane, was released in 2022.

  • Viper's Daughter
    • This book returns us to the arctic north, expanding the lives of the Ice Clans, particularly the Narwals, further. Renn has a troubled feeling that she's somehow going to hurt Torak, so she sets out north alone to find a solution. Torak and Wolf chase her down all the way to an island in the northern sea that's called the Edge of the World. The antagonist is Naiginn, the demon-son of Seshru and Tenris.
  • Skin Taker
    • In midwinter, the Forest is hit by a shooting star called the Thunderstar. With the hibernating animals woken up, multiple animals, trees and people killed, the surviving clans struggling to survive, and the First Tree (the northern lights) gone, chaos rules. Learning of a rite that's their only chance to bring the First Tree back, Torak, Renn and Wolf venture into the Deep Forest where its surviving clans have banded together under a mysterious Great Leader who keeps them save from evil Skin-Takers. Naiginn returns as the main antagonist.
  • Wolfbane
    • It's early spring in the Forest when Wolf, pursued by the enemy who wants to devour his souls, is swept out to the Sea. Torak and Renn brave the Sea to rescue their pack-brother and acquaint themselves with the Kelp Clan of the Kelp Island. Naiginn is finally finished off.

Even if Stone Age-set adventures aren't your cup of tea, these are worth reading for the worldbuilding. Ms Paver has done a lot of research into the world she writes about. She has also written a similar series set in the Bronze Age Greece, called Gods and Warriors.

Most of the the character tropes are on the character page.


Examples:

  • Achey Scars: In Viper's Daughter, Torak, Renn and Wolf feel the scars they received in the previous books from tokoroths and the demon bear itch when they're in Naiginn's presence. It's the only warning they receive of his demonic nature before he reveals his true colors.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: All humans (and presumably animals, trees, and geologic features) have a name-soul, a clan-soul, and a world-soul. Part of their death rites involves drawing circles made of red ochre on the dying person's feet, chest, and forehead, to ensure their souls don't become separated. These souls can also be corrupted by soul-sickness, as happens to Torak in the fourth book. If the name-soul is missing or sick, the person becomes a ghost, forgetting their identity. If the clan-soul is missing (or if the three souls are scattered), a demon is formed (though the clan-soul becoming sick just makes someone lose their connection to nature). The most powerful demons, Elementals, are formed when a geologic feature like a waterfall "dies" and its souls are scattered.note  If the world-soul is lost, the owner becomes a Lost One, trapped forever in a dark void.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Ghost Hunter ends with Torak and Renn leaving the Clans to explore the unexplored parts of the Forest.
  • Apocalypse How: In Skin Taker, the Thunderstar destroys a large part of the Open Forest and the northern side of the Deep Forest.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Wolf Brother: The demon bear.
    • Spirit Walker: Tenris who's also the Greater-Scope Villain of Wolf Brother.
    • Soul Eater: Nef, Seshru, Thiazzi and Eostra.
    • Outcast: Seshru.
    • Oath Breaker: Thiazzi.
    • Ghost Hunter: Eostra.
    • Viper's Daughter, Skin Taker and Wolfbane: Naiginn.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In Oath Breaker, Gaup of the Salmon Clan has his hand cut off by the Aurochs who then place it at the border of the Deep Forest as a warning to stay away. Fin-Kedinn tells that cutting off hands was a punishment practiced during the bad times that followed the Great Wave, and the Clans forbade it long ago.
  • Artifact of Doom: The fire opal, the source of the Soul Eaters' power. It's a red glowing stone that's said to be light from the eye of the Great Auroch, the most powerful demon ever. Whoever wields it can control demons. When Torak's father scattered the Soul Eaters in the Great Fire, he shattered the fire opal into three pieces which the heroes need to find and destroy one by one. The problem is that their power can be extinguished only by being buried under earth/stone, and a living creature must die at the same time.
  • Awful Truth: Several of these are found out throughout the series.
    • Spirit Walker: Tenris, the Seal Mage who has acted kindly towards Torak for the entire book, reveals himself to be a Soul Eater who wants to kill him in order to gain his power as a spirit walker. He's also the one who created the plague and just to experiment it, used it to kill four Seals, including Bale's little brother. If that wasn't bad enough, he reveals himself to be the Soul Eater who created the demon bear that killed Torak's father in the previous book (which was precisely what the bear was created for). To further add insult to injury, he's also the brother of Torak's father and therefore Torak's uncle. In the last chapter of the book, Torak finds out from Fin-Kedinn that his father was killed by the Soul Eaters for deserting them.
    • Outcast: Seshru reveals to Torak that his best friend Renn is her daughter in order to alienate them from each other. She also reveals to Renn that she birthed her only so that she could make her infant a tokoroth, when Renn had been told that Seshru had intended to sacrifice her.
  • Babies Ever After: The Grand Finale of the series has the newest cubs of Wolf and Darkfur as well as the three chicks of Rip and Rek.
  • Back from the Dead: Torak dies in the final fight of Ghost Hunter, but Wolf guides his souls back in his body. The same happens with reversed roles in Wolfbane..
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Being the Stone Age, hunting for food is mundane, but the prey is respected through proper homages and by using what's not eaten in toolmaking. There are also reserves for hunting predators. Several times the Soul Eaters perpetrate the crime of hunting down predators, killing them for certain parts and leaving the rest to rot. Thiazzi in particular enjoys torturing Wolf and the other caught predators in Soul Eater and slowly killing others with fire in Oath Breaker. The Crippled Wanderer traps a demon in a bear's body, and by the time of Ghost Hunter, Eostra has corrupted a pack of dogs into her bloodthirsty minions. The only Soul Eater to show reserves in animal cruelty is Nef who also performs a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Battle Bolas: In Viper's Daughter, the Narwals give Torak "slingstones", which function like a bolas. He uses them to take down Naiginn at the end of the book.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The main antagonist of Wolf Brother is a brown bear that has been turned into an Ax-Crazy monster by the demon trapped within its body. In Soul Eater and Viper's Daughter, the heroes are several times troubled by normal polar bears. They also clash in Skin Taker with brown bears that have been awoken from hibernation by the Thunderstar. There are also subversions in that Torak is able to thwart the bad guys by spirit walking in bears.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't ever, ever, ever lie or keep things from Torak. Ever. And don't even think about hurting someone he loves.
    • And DO NOT EVER think of damaging, breaking, maiming, buffeting or in any way hurting Renn's bow and quiver of arrows.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: In Ghost Hunter, Eostra has captured seven dogs from the Mountain Clans and turned them into a pack of bloodthirsty minions.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The heroes aren't perfect and do some unsavory things, which is partly justified by the harsh setting they live in. The Soul Eaters and demons, on the other hand, don't care about anything but their own destructive desires.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Bale is the blonde, Torak is the brunette, and Renn is the redhead. However, none of them entirely fit the stereotypes. In the Forest, Bale's a bit of a klutz since he doesn't know how to manage, but at the Sea, he goes so far as to being an Insufferable Genius. Torak is clever enough (more than clever enough when it comes to tracking since he is a Scarily Competent Tracker,) but he can be incredibly stupid and impulsive. Renn is definitely a Fiery Redhead, but she's also the calm, practical and rational one.
  • Brain Food: Naiginn, who was already shown to like eating brains in Viper's Daughter, has discovered in Skin Taker that eating the brains of living creatures weakens the spell that keeps his demon souls trapped in mortal flesh.
  • Braving the Blizzard:
    • In Wolf Brother, the heroes are surprised by a snowstorm when they're searching for the last Nanuak piece on an ice river. Renn is separated from Torak and Wolf and ends up almost dying before the latter two find her.
    • In Soul Eater, Torak and Renn are surprised by another snowstorm in the Far North. Inuktiluk comes to their rescue.
    • Renn is once again almost killed by a blizzard in Ghost Hunter, only for Torak to save her again.
  • Brutish Bulls: The most powerful demon of the Otherworld is called the Great Auroch. When the World Spirit threw him from the sky after a terrible battle, a small part of his evil settled on every living creature. He escapes into the night sky every autumn and grows in power during the winter. When he's at his most powerful, the red star that's his eye is at its highest, and the demons are at the top of their power by that time. The fire opal itself is stated to be light from the Great Auroch's eye.
  • Cannibalism Superpower:
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Torak in Ghost Hunter, but it ends well.
  • Cave Mouth: The characters frequently compare entering a cave as if they're inside a huge creature. When Torak and Renn ask the Walker where he found his claw-like stone in Wolf Brother, he talks about "stone mouth" and "the killing earth that gulps and swallows". At first the two kids think he's referring to some stone creature until Renn realizes that he's actually talking about the mouth of the cave that contains a doorway to the Otherworld. In Ghost Hunter, Torak has a sense of foreboding of likely having to confront Eostra in a cave:
    Twice in his life he'd ventured into caves: once in the time of the bear, to find the stone tooth, and once in the Far North, to rescue Wolf. Both times, the Walker had warned him. ‘Once you've gone in,’ the old man had said, ‘you'll never be whole.’ The Walker was mad, but now and then, he showed flashes of sanity. His warnings had force. Torak had a sudden presentiment that if he ignored them – if he ventured again into a cave – the jaws of the earth would snap shut on him for ever.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Fa's knife. While it's a beautifully made thing, it's also unwieldy for a boy of Torak's age when he first gets it. It holds a fragment of the fire opal.
    • In Spirit Walker, Torak draws his clan-tattoo in great detail (including the small scar cutting through it) on a white pebble and leaves it for Renn to tell her that he's left to search for a cure to the sickness. In Outcast, Seshru gets the pebble in her hands and uses it to work her magics on him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Walker, a.k.a. Narrander, the seventh Soul Eater who was said to have died in the Great Fire.
  • The Clan: Everyone (except Torak) is a member of a clan named after an animal totem (though sometimes it's a species of tree). Some are nomadic, like the Wolf Clan, while others are seasonal migrants, like the Raven Clan. The clans of the Seal Islands and the Otter Clan of Lake Axehead are sedentary, since they live in places rich enough in food that they don't have to migrate (and in the case of the islanders, there's nowhere to go except the other islands). Each clan has a leader and a mage, and there doesn't seem to be a bias towards intra- or inter-clan marriage (when inter-clan couples have children, they choose one of the clans for their child, and can choose the other for a different child).
  • Climbing Climax:
    • The final fight against the demon bear and Hord takes place as Torak and Wolf are climbing to the Mountain of the World Spirit in Wolf Brother.
    • The final fight of Oath Breaker has Torak climbing up the Great Oak as Thiazzi chases him to the top.
    • The climax of Skin Taker has Renn and Dark climbing up a rockfall so that they can perform the Rite to bring the First Tree back. Naiginn chases them to stop them while Torak (who's spirit walked in a bear) and Wolf attempt to thwart him.
  • Comet of Doom: The Thunderstar in Skin Taker. Some characters do believe that the World Spirit sent it as divine punishment.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Pretty much the point of Outcast.
  • Costume Porn: At least once per book there's an incredibly detailed description of a character's clothing, so the author can show her research.
  • Creepy Twins: The Otter Mage(s). They're two children, a boy and a girl, but are considered and even called as one.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: I'm sorry. Aside from that, the Raven Clan are pretty nice people on the whole.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In Viper's Daughter, Renn has two dreams in which Seshru (who's been dead since Outcast) mocks her that Renn can never escape from how similar she's to her Soul Eater mother.
  • Death By Child Birth: Torak seems to believe that his mother died this way until Spirit Walker. Renn claims that her mother died during her birth, but she is lying.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Nef the Bat Mage sacrifices her life to destroy the first fire opal fragment in order to repay her debt to Torak's father.
  • Death of a Child: There are children being frequently put in danger, and sometimes killed. There's the woman in Oath Breaker who miscarries.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Bale is murdererd by Thiazzi in the beginning of Oath Breaker shortly after he has told Torak that he intends to ask Renn to be his mate.
  • Demonic Possession: With powerful dark magic, demons can be summoned from the Otherworld and trapped inside the bodies of living creatures. The host body's souls are then trapped inside with no possibility to be freed unless the host is killed. The demon bear from the first book is created by Tenris trapping an elemental, the most powerful type of demons, inside a bear's body. Tokoroths are created by trapping demons inside the bodies of young children that have been reduced into Empty Shells. Naiginn from Viper's Daughter is revealed to be a grown-up tokoroth.
  • Determinator: Darkfur in Ghost Hunter. Oh boy.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin:
    • Before Torak can go to the Mountain of the World Spirit in Wolf Brother, he must first find the three strongest pieces of the Nanuak (a flowing life-force that every living creature has) and offer them to the World Spirit so that its anger over the demon bear's creation will dissipate enough for it to destroy the bear.
    • The Fire Opal was shattered into three pieces during the Great Fire, so each piece must be found and destroyed separately.
  • Disney Villain Death: Several characters — good and evil — meet their demise this way.
    • In Wolf Brother, the demon bear and Hord are engulfed by an avalanche.
    • In Soul Eater, Nef deliberately jumps into a crevasse in order to destroy the first Fire Opal fragment as atonement.
    • In Oath Breaker, Bale is thrown down the Crag by Thiazzi, while Thiazzi himself falls from the top branch of the Great Oak when he's ignited.
    • In Ghost Hunter, Eostra falls into a chasm created by the Hidden People summoned by the Walker. Torak falls along with her, but he gets better.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Wolf. A wolf named Wolf. Torak was recently orphaned when he named him, and presumably wasn't in a good state of mind to come up with something more imaginative.
  • Doom Magnet: Torak! In Outcast, Dyrati accuses Renn of this. Renn denies it, but later wonders if it's true. And for a supporting character, Aki never seems to catch a break.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Ghost Hunter, refers both to Torak searching for the ghostlike Eostra (as the first six titles all refer to roles he takes) and to Eostra herself, who can raise the dead. A third meaning is name-dropped in the text by Krukoslik, who refers to Wolf (and wolves in general) as ghost hunters due to how silently they track their prey.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • In Soul Eater, while in pursuit of Wolf, Torak dreams of a suffocating tree, the beat of leathery wings, creatures that slither beside him, and the ominous call of a bird. He later meets the last Soul Eaters: Thiazzi the Oak Mage, Nef the Bat Mage, Seshru the Viper Mage, and Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage.
    • Renn, as a potential mage, gets this too. She has a dream of Torak raising his axe to kill Wolf — but it doesn't come to pass because while he really intended to cut off the part of Wolf's tail that was infected, he couldn't bring himself to do it. In Viper's Daughter, she gets dreams and visions of her harming Torak, which makes her leave him and head north. It turns out they were planted in her mind by Naiginn.
  • Dream Weaver: Seshru. In Outcast, she sends Torak a dream to meet her at a spring. At the time, he believes it was Renn who was in the dream, hinting the resemblance between Renn and Seshru.
  • Dying Candle: While searching for the third piece of the Nanuak in Wolf Brother, Torak ends up taking refuge in a shelter where a man has frozen to death. When he sees a sandstone lamp in the man's hand, he imagines how it must have felt for the man to watch the lamp's flame as his life flickered and sank. This leads to Torak having an "Eureka!" Moment and realize that the lamp is the Nanuak's third piece because it was described in a riddle as "coldest of all, the darkest light", and "the darkest light" refers to the last light one sees before dying.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: With equal parts of Bittersweet Ending in Ghost Hunter. The Soul Eaters are defeated, but Torak finds himself unable to live with the clans after all that's happened. At least Renn goes with him, even though it means leaving her beloved uncle and Torak's foster father behind. And of course, Wolf, his mate, and their last-surviving cub go with them, along with Rip and Rek. As for the Grand Finale of Wolfbane, Naiginn is killed and his demon souls are successfully sent to the Otherworld, but Fin-Kedinn loses his life to make that happen. Dark becomes the Ravens' new leader and has Kujai by his side, while Torak and Renn can continue their lives with their wolf pack.
  • Eskimo Land: The Ice Clans of the Far North are based on real-life Inuit. The Chukchi people's traditional ways also gave the author ideas for the Narwal Clan's lifestyle.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Nef the Bat Mage is devoted to the Soul Eaters' seemingly noble cause, but she hates it when Thiazzi tortures the captured predators and Torak just out of sadism.
    • The mad Red Deer Woman calling herself the Chosen One unleashes a wildfire in the Deep Forest and leaves Torak trapped to offer him to the fire. When he manages to escape and survive, the Chosen One believes that since the fire let him live, he's blessed. When he's held captive by the Deep Forest Clans who intend to kill him, the Chosen One thinks they have no right to kill the one spared by the fire, so she puts sleeping-potion in their drinks so that Renn can free Torak more easily.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: The demon bear is so corrupted that scavengers avoid everything it kills.
  • Everyone Can See It: In Outcast Seshru uses this to bait Renn into telling Torak that Seshru is her mother. In the beginning of Ghost Hunter, Fin-Kedinn does everything he can to keep Torak and Renn away from each other, because he knows that if they became mates, they would leave the Raven Clan. It ends up happening, but he's alright with it. Later in the book, Dark asks Torak if he and Renn are mates without even meeting her.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Crippled Wanderer (AKA Tenris) to Torak's father (his younger brother) and Fin-Kedinn (his childhood friend). Like the former, he was devoted to Magecraft in his childhood, but while Torak's father wanted to learn about the world and help people with his talents, Tenris has always wanted power to dominate others. These opposing motives were their reasons to join the Healers (the future Soul Eaters). Both are also skilled at remaining beneath notice and covering their tracks. Like Fin-Kedinn, Tenris is a highly influential man in his clan and the region they live in, even though they're scarred/injured. While Tenris plays nice with Torak, the boy considers him to be a more friendly and less distant Fin-Kedinn, but he's ultimately proven to be much more heartless and dishonorable. Both of them have lost a brother, but while Fin-Kedinn takes care of his brother's children Renn and Hord, Tenris tries to kill for power his nephew Torak whom Fin-Kedinn eventually adopts.
    • Seshru to Renn. Both are clever and secretive like their clan totems (viper and raven), display similar abilities in Magecraft, and are willing to break the clan laws in the name of their goals (Renn's goals just aren't selfish). Like the evil mother, like the good daughter.
    • Eostra to the Walker. Both are outwardly cadaverous, refer to themselves in the third person and display mental illness. The Walker is irritant and threatening, but he's ultimately harmless as long as he's left alone and will help people who help him. Eostra in turn is unambiguously heartless and dangerous to everyone and everything. The Walker treats affectionately the little animals he keeps as pets, while Eostra treats as tools the animals she has corrupted into her monstrous minions. Both are rather powerful for mages, with the Walker having some kind of a connection with the Hidden People and Eostra being a necromancer. By the end of the series, they are all that's left of the seven Soul Eaters until the Walker plays a pivotal role in Eostra's destruction.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The Soul Eater who trapped an elemental demon inside a bear's body was unable to control the beast that went rampage across the Forest. In Soul Eater, Seshru lampshades this.
    Seshru: The mistake others made in the past was to overreach themselves. Our brother who is lost summoned an elemental and trapped it in a great bear. Of course he couldn't control it. It was a magnificent madness.
  • Facial Markings: All people of the Clans have a clan-tattoo, usually on their face, to signify their clan. Torak has two lines of dots on each cheek (the Wolf Clan symbol), with a scar running through one dot. The scar becomes important when it's revealed in the fourth book that he's Clanless, not a member of the Wolf Clan as he'd previously believed. He's also given a Mark of Shame on his forehead in that book, when he's formally made an outcast. Renn has three parallel bars on each cheek (the Raven Clan symbol), and gets a special marking when she starts menstruating. Dark is one of the only characters to not have a tattoo (at least until Skin Taker), since he was abandoned as a child before he was old enough to get his.
  • The Fair Folk: The Hidden People are this kind of fairy — they're essentially huldra.
  • Fanatical Fire: This pops up in Oath Breaker. Not only do the warring Deep Forest clans believe the others to be wicked, but they each also think their own way of handling fire is the only correct one. Thiazzi, the Soul Eater who has deceived them to think like this, burns animals to death while using the last Fire Opal piece to protect himself from fire and preaching that he will make all the clans strong by uniting them. The strongest example of this, however, is Thiazzi's minion called the Chosen One, a pyromaniac who worships fire and believes only Thiazzi knows how to properly respect.
  • Fatal Attractor: If Bale hadn't fallen for Renn, then he and Torak wouldn't have argued, Torak wouldn't have stormed away from Bale, and Bale wouldn't have been murdered by Thiazzi.
  • Fangs Are Evil:
    • Tokoroths have sharpened teeth.
    • Averted with the Kelp Clan; they file their front teeth to fangs in reverence to wolves, but they're no more evil than people in general.
  • Flat World: Though the series takes place in our world, it is set 6,000 years ago. Naturally, their beliefs are different, and it is suggested that they believe the Earthy is flat. In Soul Eater, when Torak and Renn travel to the Far North, Renn is anxious that they might accidentally miss the end of the world. In Viper's Daughter, the closest they come to the Edge of the World is the volcanic island in the northern sea.
    Renn: It's the edge of the world. How far does it go on? What if we fall off?
  • Foreshadowing: Some very subtle ones.
    • When Torak puts the Death Marks on Fa, he only awkwardly manages to put the mark over his heart because of an old scar Fa had. That's where he cut out the mark of the Soul Eaters, which Torak later forcibly receives in Soul Eater and later cuts away in Outcast, receiving a similar scar.
    • In Wolf Brother, when Fin-Kedinn tells Torak about the Soul Eaters for the first time, he describes each shortly, but deliberately leaves two of them without description. It ultimately turns out that those two Soul Eaters were Torak's father and the Walker, the only members of the group who didn't turn evil, and also the two whom Torak has already met.
    • In Wolf Brother, Fin-Kedinn pales when he notices Torak's medicine horn. That's because it's his mother's, who Fin-Kedinn was in love with when he was younger.
    • Torak nearly drowns in Wolf Brother. He finds it very painful and wonders if that's how death feels. Turns out no, it's what spirit walking feels like.
    • In Wolf Brother, Wolf doesn't return anything Torak throws. He finally decides to return something when Torak throws the Macguffin of the story.
    • When Bale first sees Torak's clan totem (a wolf skin) in Spirit Walker, he thinks that a wolf must be a miserable creature. Torak responds that his tone would be different if he'd seen one living wolf. When Bale sees Wolf at the book's end, he's immediately humbled.
    • While saying farewells to Torak in Spirit Walker, Bale says that he might visit the Forest after all one day; since Wolf has traveled in a boat, why couldn't a Seal visit the Forest? This eventually happens in Outcast.
    • In Soul Eater, Seshru's voice reminds Wolf of Renn's voice.
    • In Soul Eater, Seshru mocks Nef when the latter defends Torak from Thiazzi's bullying, claiming that she's always eager to play the mother. The Bat Mage retorts by asking what does the Viper Mage know about mothering. In Outcast it turns out that Seshru abandoned her son Hord in order to join the Soul Eaters and later got herself pregnant with Renn only so that she could have her own tokoroth. And later in Viper's Daughter, she's revealed to have birthed Naiginn and actually succeeded in binding a demon in her infant.
    • In Outcast, the Otter Mage tells Bale that he needs to use his time wisely. He dies in the next book.
    • When Torak, attempting to get the stone tooth in Wolf Brother, is assaulted by a small demon, he slashes at it with Fa's knife and it immediately flees. The knife contains a shard of the fire opal, which can be used to command demons.
    • Torak and Renn encounter the Walker again in Soul Eater, who is very unhappy at having lost his pet mouse Narik since the first book. Torak worries about him some, but Renn tells him to forget about it because "Narik's dead".
    • There are some hints to Naiginn's true nature as a demon before it's revealed. For example, when he says to Renn that if he could do Magecraft, he would have used it to throw Torak and Wolf off the trail. When she insists that he wouldn't have because of their mother Seshru, he snaps that yes he would have.
  • Generation Xerox: Torak and his dad. This cannot be overstated.
  • Ghost Amnesia: If one loses one's name-soul due to not getting the proper rites, one becomes a ghost, forgetting identity, name, and all memories of one's life.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The good guys get scars they can hide under their hair or clothing, while the bad guys are injured on faces and hands. They're all plot-important anyway, though.
  • The Great Fire:
    • One that's even called by the trope name occurred when the Soul Eaters were diminished in the backstory. They attempted to release demons from a hill at the edge of the Deep Forest, but Torak's father used fire to banish the demons back. Unfortunately, the fire got out of hand, and the entire valley around the hill was burned. Some of the Soul Eaters, especially Tenris were injured, and Narrander lost his sanity when his captured son Narik died before he could rescue him.
      Fin-Kedinn: Many summers ago, this hill was thick with trees. Birch, rowan, in cracks between the rocks. Holding the demons inside. Soul's Night. Long past. People came to let them out. […] One man stopped them. He set a fire on the hill. Banished the demons back into the rocks. But the fire escaped. Terrible… It can leap into a tree faster than a lynx, and when it does – when it gets into the branches – it goes where it likes. You wouldn't believe how fast. It ate the whole valley.
    • In Oath Breaker, the Chosen One ignites a fire in the Deep Forest which Torak is forced to survive from.
  • Groin Attack: Dark receives one in Skin Taker from his own father.
  • Had to Be Sharp: The Narwal Clan from Viper's Daughter lives northernmost in the Far North, so they raise their children in extreme strictness so that they can survive there. Because of this upbringing, they consider themselves superior to the rest of the Ice Clans, and especially to the Forest Clans (whom they call Softbellies).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Torak faces the dangers of this trope when he seeks revenge against Thiazzi for Bale's death in Oath Breaker. He once again dances on the razor's edge in Wolfbane in his desperation to save Wolf from Naiginn. It's lampshaded in both books.
    Torak: All the things I'm not supposed to do. I'm not allowed to spirit walk in a bird. Can't kill my bone kinNaiginn's not bound by any of it.
    Renn: He's a demon, Torak. You're human.
    Torak: To catch your prey, you've got to think like it.
    Renn: But not become it!
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nef at the end of Soul Eater, and Aki at the end of Outcast.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: The only person other than Renn that Torak ever feels attracted to is Renn's mother. Clearly, Torak is Rennsexual.
  • Heroic BSoD: Renn gets this pretty bad in Ghost Hunter after Torak dies. It ends quickly, however, when he comes back to life.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In Soul Eater, Renn attempts to destroy the first Fire Opal piece by jumping with it in a chasm. She's stopped by Nef who does the sacrifice herself to repay her debt to Torak's father.
    • It's revealed in Oath Breaker that Torak's mother agreed to give up her own life and declare her son clanless so that the World Spirit would ease Torak's burden of fighting the evil his father had helped create by making Torak a spirit walker.
    • In Wolfbane, after being mortally wounded by Naiginn, Fin-Kedinn uses the last of his strength to throw Dark's spear at Naiginn before the ice demon can sever Wolf's head. Though he dies soon after, he not only saves Wolf from having his souls consumed by Naiginn, but he also ensures that Torak and Renn won't be cast out for kinslaying and Dark won't have to stain his hands with blood.
  • Honorable Elephant: The mammoths on the Island at the Edge of the World are not aggressive towards the heroes unless their young are involved. One bull does attack the other mammoths and Torak, but only because it's been shot with a poisoned arrow. After it's killed, the entire herd mourns for it while giving it a touching burial. When demons attempt to escape from the Otherworld onto the island, the spirits of the deceased mammoths keep them contained.
  • Horned Humanoid: The World Spirit takes the form of a tall man with deer antlers in the summer (possibly based on the Celtic god Cernunnos).
  • Horrifying the Horror: Thiazzi the Oak Mage is the strongest man of the Forest and an extremely sadistic and violent sociopath… yet even he is afraid of Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Four of the Soul Eaters can be compared to the Four Horsemen by their personal attributes and the plots in the books they serve as primary antagonists.
    • The Crippled Wanderer (Tenris) is Pestilence (an alternative interpretation of Conquest): the sickness he created and had his tokoroths spread is the driving plot point of Spirit Walker. In addition to that, the demon bear he created runs rampage across the Forest and grows more powerful in Wolf Brother. (If the bear hadn't been killed before the zenith of the Great Auroch's red eye, it would have become invincible.) Tenris has also won complete trust of the Sea clans over the years, making him the real authority figure of the Seal Islands.
    • Thiazzi is War: not only he's the strongest man of the Forest and the most violent Soul Eater, but in Oath Breaker he drives the Deep Forest clans into warring among each other, and then he unites both sides and nearly leads them into war with the Open Forest clans.
    • Seshru is Famine: in Outcast, she causes Lake Axehead to gradually dry and grow sick with deformed and inedible fish (she's responsible only about the latter), which are the main food source of the Otter Clan. She also stirs a metaphorical famine in Torak by making him lose his skills and knowledge through soul-sickness.
    • Eostra is Death: she has always been obsessed with the secrets of the dead and even resembles a corpse. In her youth she resurrected a boy, and in Ghost Hunter, she summons the spirits of the deceased Soul Eaters.
  • Hufflepuff House: There are dozens of clans, but only the Raven Clan has significant screen time across multiple books (since it's the one the main characters live with). The Seal, White Fox, Otter, Wolf, Red Deer, Forest Horse, Auroch, Mountain Hare, Narwal and Kelp Clans get some focus, but each only for one book. And some clans, like the Cormorant, Whale, Ptarmigan, Rowan, etc. either don't appear at all or might as well not be there.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • Discussed in Wolf Brother; the prophecy concerning the demon bear states that the Listener will give his "heart's blood" to the Mountain of the World Spirit so that the latter will destroy the bear. One interpretation of the prophecy is that Torak must be sacrificed as an offering for the Mountain. Hord in particular advocates for this alternative. The prophecy actually means that Wolf must stay at the Mountain.
    • In Soul Eater, human is one of the nine hunters the Soul Eaters intend to sacrifice to create protective charms against demons. That's why they allow Akoomik's son (whom Torak impersonates) to become their apprentice.
    • Fin-Kedinn tells that during the dark times that followed the Great Wave, clans used to sacrifice other hunters, including humans.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: While at Waigo in Viper's Daughter, Renn is given green sludge to eat. She spits it out when she's told it's ptarmigan droppings, something the Narwal men think is appropriate to feed their women with.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In the climax of Soul Eater, Torak, controlling the body of a polar bear, has Thiazzi at his mercy and wants to kill the Soul Eater. However, Wolf's gaze convinces him to spare Thiazzi because he doesn't want to become like the Soul Eaters anymore than he already has.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: In Soul Eater, Torak takes the place of an apprentice Soul Eater, in order to infiltrate them and save Wolf. He has to help them with a ceremony that involves killing one of each of hunting animals: A bear, a lynx, an eagle, a wolverine, a wolf, an otter, an owl, a fox and a human. The Soul Eaters are planning on Torak being the human. In the book's society, killing a hunter is seen as extremely dishonorable and evil. He's asked to kill the owl, and for Wolf's sake, he does.
  • Immortality Seeker: In Ghost Hunter, Eostra plans to steal Torak's spirit walker power and use it to live forever by using one body after another.
  • Inescapable Net:
    • In Spirit Walker, tokoroths trick Torak to end up being caught in a seal net, and he nearly drowns as he's left at the mercy of a tide before Wolf frees him by biting the net open.
    • In Wolfbane, Dark prepares a special net to trap Naiginn's demon souls to prevent him from seeking a new host upon death. After Naiginn's impaled by a special spear, the net is thrown on him before he's swept away by a torrent. When his corpse is found still entrapped by the net, Dark burns it all before sinking the ashes to the bottom of the Sea.
  • Insufferable Genius: Bale, at least when he's in his homeland by the Sea. In the Forest, he tries to be one in the beginning, but Renn quickly puts an end to that.
  • Island of Mystery: The Island at the Edge of the World in Viper's Daughter. It has a volcanic terrain and is said to be guarded by the spirits of mammoths that keep demons trapped in the Otherworld. It also turns out to be the last domain of the remaining living mammoths. Seshru gave birth to Naiginn under the island's ice mountain after the Narwal Mage Marupai, the only man to have found the island, took her there, and she trapped a demon inside her infant. Since that's the only place where the masking spell of the past Viper Mage can be undone by a Mage related to Naiginn, he takes Renn there. After both Marupai and Naiginn die, Torak destroys the map to the island so that the last mammoths can live in peace without humans hunting them.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: The seventh book states that killing one's bone kin would be breaking one of the oldest laws that results in being permanently cast out. That's why Renn and Torak cannot directly kill Naiginn who's Renn's half-brother as well as Torak's cousin.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The mere mentioning of the demon bear is serious business. There's also Eostra, the perpetually masked necromancer whom even all the other Soul Eaters fear instinctively.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • Thiazzi the Oak Mage and Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage are the last living members of their respective clans, with the others having died out of sickness. It's also stated in Ghost Hunter that all humans used to be spirit walkers, but Torak is the last one to ever exist and that all the future generations will have to remember spirit walkers from is their companionship with dogs.
    • The mammoths living on the Island at the Edge of the World are the last ones of their kind. In real life, the last known mammoths lived on Wrangel Island until 4,000 years ago.
  • Laughing Mad: Torak while he's suffering from soul-sickness.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Double gender flipped, and averted because Renn already knew that Seshru was her mother. Seshru and Torak didn't find out until Outcast and, oh boy, there was hell to pay.
  • Magic Meteor: In Skin Taker, the material for the green arrowhead needed for the rite to summon the First Tree back is gained from a piece of the Thunderstar.
  • Mammoths Mean Ice Age: The series takes place long after the latest ice age of the northern Europe (remembered as the Great Cold in the series), with the stories telling how the humans' ancestors drove the mammoths to extinction in their greed. The Narwal Clan in particular holds the mammoths sacred, using their bones to build their shelters and occasionally finding a frozen carcass in the ground of the Far North. The last mammoths are living on the Island at the Edge of the World (in real life, the last mammoths are known to have lived on Wrangel Island until 2500–2000 BC).
  • Man on Fire: In the backstory, Tenris survives it; Narik does not.
  • Mineral MacGuffin:
    • The three fire opal pieces are shining red stones.
    • In Skin Taker, the special rite for bringing the First Tree back requires four arrows with arrowheads made from specific minerals; blue for the Sea, red for fire, white for snow and green for the Forest. Dark bargains the first two from the Hidden People, Pebble gives him the white one, and the green one called heartstone turns out to be a piece of the Thunderstar.
  • Nephewism:
    • After Renn and Hord's father died when Renn was seven summers old, their paternal uncle Fin-Kedinn took them in.
    • In the Narwal Clan, boys are raised by uncles instead of fathers because they don't think fathers are strict enough.
  • Non-Human Sidekick:
    • Wolf to Torak. In Outcast, he and Renn receive the ravens Rip and Rek.
    • The albino boy Dark has the white raven Ark.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. When Renn begins menstruating in Outcast, a red bar is tattooed by the clan tattoo on her face.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Torak and Renn are able to avoid being found in the Deep Forest by climbing trees because the local clans seldom look up. Fin-Kedinn even says they're similar to deer in that regard.
  • No Social Skills:
    • Torak. This gets him in trouble with pretty much all the clans he stumbles into since he's completely unaware of their traditions, having been kept away from them his whole life.
    • Dark in Ghost Hunter. Justified since he has lived in the Mountains with the white raven Ark as his only (living) company after the Swan Clan left him to die at the age of eight.
  • No Woman's Land: The Narwal Clan from Viper's Daughter is highly oppressive of their women. The men call women "half-men", provide them with less suitable food, clothing and shelter, believe they can't be mages or archers (they think Renn is capable of Magecraft only because she has the souls of a man), and punish them violently if they think they're acting out of line. The Narwals have to buy women from other clans that aren't nearly as chauvinistic as them.
  • Noun Verber: The titling scheme.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Torak and Renn in Ghost Hunter.
  • Official Couple: Torak and Renn. Oh, the rage on the fan boards, when Bale told Torak that he was going to ask Renn to be his mate in Oath Breaker. It turned to delight when he died horribly. Poor guy.
  • Ominous Owl:
    • Only applies to eagle owls. This is presumably because the entire Eagle Owl Clan was wiped out because their last mage Eostra performed a forbidden rite by resurrecting one of their members.
    • In Viper's Daughter, Torak keeps seeing a snowy owl, which he believes is the Guardian of the North judging him for killing one of its kind years before. He makes peace with it by saving an eagle from drowning, after which his hunting luck returns.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Torak has two:
    • His mother's medicine horn, which holds sacred red ochre used in magecraft and death rites, and is all he has to remember her by. In Oath Breaker, we find out that she carved it out of an antler tine from the World Spirit.
    • Torak's dad gives him his knife before he dies. Which is kind of two trinkets in one, because it also contains a chunk of fire opal.
  • Our Demons Are Different: In this setting, a demon is a deceased creature that has lost its clan-soul out of its three souls. As the result, it has no sense of right and wrong, and it hates all living things, wanting to destroy them. An elemental is the most powerful type of demon that can be born out of something as hugely powerful as an ice river or a waterfall. Demons can also be invoked from the Otherworld and bound in living things, a Stone Age zombie.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Eostra is a very corpse-like mage and a necromancer who desires to live forever and rule everything forever.
  • Our Souls Are Different: To start with, everyone has three: the name-soul, clan-soul, and world-soul. They seem to align roughly to one's identity, one's conscience, and one's ability to interact with the world, respectively. Nobody can go to the afterlife unless they have all three still together.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Losing one's child too early is common in a stone-age Europe.
    • During Wolf Brother, Oslak and Vedna's son is killed by the demon bear.
    • The Seal Clan's leader Islinn lost his son to the sickness of Tenris three years before Spirit Walker.
    • Akoomik from the White Fox Clan lost her infant son only one month before Soul Eater.
    • Nef's son starved when the prey fled their part of the Forest. She tried to commit suicide, only to be saved by Torak's father.
    • Seshru lives longer than Hord by a year and a half.
    • In Oath Breaker, Bale's father has to send his murdered son on the Death Journey. Only a few years earlier, his younger son was killed by Tenris' sickness.
    • When the mad Red Deer woman calling herself the Chosen One was struck by lightning, her unborn child died.
    • The Mountain Clans are so used to child mortality that they don't give them names if they don't reach the age of eight years.
    • It's revealed in Ghost Hunter that the Walker's madness was caused by his son Narik dying during the Great Fire.
    • In Ghost Hunter, Wolf and Darkfur have lost one of their three cubs to sickness, while another one is killed by Eostra's eagle owl. In Skin Taker, they lose two more cubs when the Thunderstar strikes.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Wolf, of course. When he becomes a papa.
    • Among humans, Torak's father dies for him, Fin-Kedinn is hugely protective of his niece Renn (and later Torak as well to the point of fostering him), and Narrander gets to avenge his son Narik as well.
  • Physical God: The World Spirit, though the Clans' religion doesn't exactly involve worship, being more animist in nature.
  • Pointy Ears: The Bat Clan members cut their ears' tips in order to make them look pointed like their totem's ears.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: When Wolf dies in Wolfbane, Torak spirit walks in his pack brother's corpse, is able to see the latter's spirit with Wolf's eyes, and convinces him to return to his body and keep living.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Tokoroths are demon-possessed children that are created as underlings of evil mages. Young enough children are trapped in darkness and isolation for months until they become Empty Shells, after which demons are conjured and trapped inside the children. Renn was birthed by Seshru for this purpose only, but Saeunn saved the baby in time. Seshru nonetheless got her wish after giving birth to Naiginn, and thanks to her masking spell, he's a rare example of a grown-up tokoroth.
  • Power Tattoo: In Soul Eater, Renn gets lightning bolt tattoos on her arms to protect her against evil.
  • Power Trio: Torak, Renn and Wolf. They get things done.
  • Prophet Eyes: The girl half of the Otter Mage.
  • Punished for Sympathy: Outcasts are to be killed on sight, and the same applies to anyone who helps them. Of course, this doesn't prevent Renn from helping Torak when he's cast out.
  • Raised as a Host: It's revealed in the fourth book that Seshru gave birth to Renn only in order to create a tokoroth out of the newborn. Fortunately, Saeunn rescued the baby in time. Unfortunately, Seshru went on to give birth to Naiginn, and no one stopped her from trapping an ice demon in him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Torak is at the mercy of the Big Bad of the eight book, he defiantly tells Naiginn that for all his posturing, he's ultimately a fraud who needs others to fear him.
    Torak: Even if you're right — if Renn's death and Wolf can't help — what then? You think I'm going to beg for my life? Is that why you're keeping me alive? You need me to tell you you're the greatest, most powerful being in the Forest — instead of some ugly little demon who scuttled out of a hole in the ice. Everything about you is a sham. You can dress up in all the bearskins you like, but you'll never have the power you say you have. I'm the spirit walker. If I become bear, I do it for real. […] I'm the spirit walker, not you — and you can't stand that! I have the power you lack. […] You'd like me to be scared. You need me weak. Truth is, you're the one who's weak.
  • Red Herring: Torak's ability to spirit walk is this in Ghost Hunter. He carries the root that allows him to do so all book long, until the final confrontation, where he spirit walks into Eostra herself… to absolutely no effect. Her will is far too strong for him to make her do anything, and he has a hard time escaping from her mind.
  • Religion of Evil: The Soul Eaters, who practice evil rituals based on predator (and human) sacrifice, for the purposes of controlling demons. There's no indication that they worship any higher power than themselves, and most of their rituals deliberately subvert and pervert the Clan traditions of respect for nature.
  • The Reveal: At least one big once per book.
  • The Rival: Bale. Until he dies. Though, really, Torak forgives him super-fast.
  • Running Both Sides: In book 5, Thiazzi the Oak Mage has killed the Forest Horse Clan's mage and become the new mage (or impersonated the old one), riling up the clan against the Auroch Clan to start a clan war. Renn goes to reveal this to the Auroch Mage, only to find out that Thiazzi is the Auroch Mage as well.
  • Running Gag: No one can stomach the mash that the Otter Clan makes. Except Bale.
  • Secret Test of Character: Near the end of Wolf Brother, Fin-Kedinn reveals that he wanted to see if Torak can use his head after learning the identity of the boy's father. That's why he proclaimed that the boy shall be killed, leading him to dueling with Hord. He also left Torak under not-so-heavy guard and allowed him to retain Wolf.
  • Self-Harm: The Auroch Clan members carve their flesh to make their skin look like bark and as self-punishment as well.
  • Ship Sinking: Renn and Bale. Not too many fans were upset.
  • Sibling Murder: Turns out Tenris specifically created the demon bear to kill his brother, Torak's father. This is specifically noted as one of the most heinous sins in Clan culture, and the reason Renn can't kill Naiginn herself.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: This is the entire reason for Torak's existence. His father was a Soul-Eater, and though he tried to atone by starting the Great Fire and scattering the Soul-Eaters, the task of actually defeating them fell to Torak, who wasn't even born at the time. The World Spirit gave Torak the power to spirit walk, but made him be clanless so that no one clan would be more powerful. And it was also behind Torak's mother dying soon after she gave birth to him.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Torak and Renn. Twice.
  • Soul Eating:
    • The Soul Eaters have this reputation, but it's mostly to scare the masses. Only Eostra is capable of snaring souls and eating them. In Ghost Hunter, her Evil Plan is to take Torak's spirit walker power by eating his world-soul (for that's where his power lies) and spit out his name-soul and clan-soul, making him a Lost One.
      Krukoslik: They say she walks with a three-pronged spear for snaring souls. They say that if you hear her cry, you're lost. That cry rips the souls from your marrow. With her spear she snares them. She devours them. Eostra truly is an eater of souls.
    • The Big Bad of the last three books, Naiginn, desires to feast on the souls of the living like all demons do. However, since he's bound by Seshru's charm, he has to settle for the shreds of souls clinging to the eyes, tongues and brains of dead creatures. By the time of Skin Taker, he has found out that by eating the brains of still living creatures, he can feast on souls and weaken the charm. After he understands that Wolf has the brightest souls of the Forest, he decides eating his brains will finally free himself.
  • Spoiler Title: Doubling as a Late-Arrival Spoiler, if you see the title Viper's Daughter before reading Outcast, you can probably guess it refers to Renn.
  • A Storm Is Coming: At the ending of Viper's Daughter, the characters see signs that an unusually bad winter will come up, foreshadowing the setting of Skin Taker.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Mostly of the cultural type. Each clan has their distinct tattoos to mark their members with. Depending on the clan, these tattoos situate somewhere in the neck, face, hands or arms. There's also protective tattoos, like the lightning marks Renn receives during Soul Eater. The Soul Eaters have tattooed on their chests their symbol, the black healer's fork. Outcasts forcibly receive a black ring on their foreheads to mark them as obligable to be killed on sight.
  • Tell Me About My Father!: Torak to Fin-Kedinn. In Oath Breaker, he gender-flips it while talking to Durrain.
  • There Is No Cure: By the time of the final book, the scar Fin-Kedinn received on his leg from the demon bear has grown increasingly painful despite Renn and Dark's attempts to help. Even the Walker can't do anything to Fin-Kedinn's leg and says the Raven Leader has two options; amputation or death. He ends up choosing the latter through a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Third-Person Person: The Walker, Eostra (though only in Ghost Hunter) and the pyromaniacal Red Deer woman from Oath Breaker.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: In Oath Breaker, Thiazzi impersonates the Wild Horse Mage and the Auroch Mage.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Torak, Bale and Renn in Spirit Walker, Outcast, and then a little in Oath Breaker. It doesn't end well…
  • The Unreveal: Despite a fair bit of build-up, we never find out what Torak's father was called.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The murderous bear possessed by a demon. In its very first scene, it mortally wounds the main Kid Hero's father, and a mere mentioning of it is related gravely. Afterwards only Eostra — the most powerful Soul Eater whom even the rest of them fear — comes close enough to qualify as well.
  • Villainous Legacy: Even after the villains have been killed, their evil actions leave marks that are regularly referred to. For example, the plot of Viper's Daughter is driven by Naiginn, the demon-possessed son of Seshru and Tenris (who are both long dead at this point), trying to make Renn break the masking spell which their mother cast on him and can only be broken by a Mage related to Seshru.
  • Villainous Lineage: Though Torak and Renn become a mated pair, they're not planning to have children because Renn's mother as well as Torak's father and uncle were Soul Eaters, and they don't want to risk letting the darkness of the Soul Eaters to live on.
  • Wham Line: Several throughout the series.
    • Spirit Walker:
      Torak: He was my father.
      Tenris: He was my brother.
    • Outcast:
      Seshru: She [Renn] is my daughter!
    • Viper's Daughter:
      Naiginn: What do you call a tokoroth when it grows up?
      Renn: That's never happened.
      Naiginn: But what if it did? And what if, instead of a tokoroth — instead of some feeble little demon trapped in the worthless flesh of a childwhat if you found yourself face to face with an all-powerful ice demon in the body of a grown man? What would you call that, sister? Me.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Fin-Kedinn with Torak's father… and Tenris… and the Walker, considering what they have now can hardly be called friendship.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Poi gets the shadow sickness in Ghost Hunter, as part of Eostra's spell, and we never find out if he gets better.
  • What Would X Do?: When Renn is brought to the Island at the Edge of the World by Naiginn, she finds herself asking what would their mother Seshru do. Renn ends up lying to Naiginn like Seshru would.
  • World of Ham: When the four remaining Soul Eaters were gathered together in Soul Eater, they were this trope. Except Nef.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Soul Eaters are essentially a Stone Age terrorist group, with the random civilian attacks that would imply. They abuse children and animals alike, and because of their dark magic, they double as a prehistoric devil-worshipping cult!
  • Wrecked Weapon: When Thiazzi captures Renn in Oath Breaker, he snaps her beloved bow in two. Since Fin-Kedinn made it for her and he was badly injured the last time she saw him, she takes it as an omen of his death. She's wrong.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Aside from all the Soul Eating Eostra does, she also binds the souls of all the other Soul Eaters to do her bidding.

Alternative Title(s): Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness

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