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Literature / The Deed of Paksenarrion

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Action Girl. Well, yes.

"In a sheepfarmer's low stone house, high in the hills above Three Firs, two swords hang now above the mantelpiece. [...] The other is a very different matter: long and straight, keen-edged, of the finest sword-steel, silvery and glinting blue even in yellow firelight. The pommel's knot design is centered with the deeply graven seal of St. Gird; the cross-hilts are gracefully shaped and chased in gold.
[Old Dorthan reminds his grandchildren] of the day a stranger rode up, robed and mantled in white, an old man with thin silver hair, and handed down the box [with a scroll] and the sword, naked as it hangs now.
"Keep these," the stranger said, "in memory of your daughter Paksenarrion. She wishes you to have them and has no need of them." And though he accepted water from their well, he would say no more of Paksenarrion, whether she lived or lay buried far away, whether she would return or no.
The scroll Dorthan reads is headed The Deed of Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter of Three Firs, and many are the tales of courage and adventure written therein."
— Prologue, Sheepfarmer's Daughter

The first series written by Elizabeth Moon first released in 1988, a work of Heroic Fantasy divided into three books:

  • Sheepfarmer's Daughter - 18 year old Paksenarrion ("Paks" for short) runs away from home and an unwanted Arranged Marriage to become a warrior. She signs up with the mercenary company of Duke Phelan, undergoes training and fights in her first wars. She comes out relatively well for it but starts to wonder whether she's always going to be fighting for the right reasons and where her allegiances ought to lie.
  • Divided Allegiance - Paks leaves the mercenaries to enter training as a paladin candidate in the order of Saint Gird. In the process she meets and travels with the other races of the kingdom and also has an encounter with the kingdom's Religion of Evil that does not end well for her, threatening her future and livelihood.
  • Oath of Gold - Broken from the events at the end of Divided Allegiance, Paks must come to her senses, regain her courage and rediscover her calling to Paladin-hood even without the formal organization of Gird's order. Also, there's the question of a lost king she goes on a quest to find. And the aforesaid Religion of Evil - Achrya the Webmistress and Liart, the god of torment - are still hard at work.

All three books are available in a compiled omnibus edition. Moon would later write a pair of prequel books about Gird himself, Surrender None and Liar's Oath, collectively titled The Legacy Of Gird.

A second series of five books, set after The Deed of Paksenarrion and entitled Paladin's Legacy was released in 2010-2014:

  • Oath of Fealty - A continuation with Paks as a background character, showing the effects of Oath of Gold. The lost king of Lyonya has been found, but now he must learn to rule a people and a culture he has never known. The void he left behind him in his old life must now be filled by his loyal deputy, who never expected to command. And the traitorous duke of Tsaia has been slain and his entire family placed under Order of Attainder... except for one expatriate mercenary captain who is now suddenly finding themself the new duke, having to bring peace and order to a domain deeply tainted by Liart. Add in that someone is attempting to shatter the Guild League alliance of the South and, well, the reward for a job well done is another, even harder job.
  • Kings of the North - Kieri, new King of Lyonya, and Dorrin, new Duke of the traitorous house Verrakai struggle to set their lands in order as a mounting threat to the south rises. Kieri's human advisors and subjects pressure him to marry, while his elven family are strangely distant. The continuing rumblings of an unsettled peace and frightened princess from hostile lands only add to the problems facing the former mercenaries.
  • Echoes of Betrayal - Arvid, a thief that at one point worked with Paks, starts on his own hero's journey with the Fellowship of Gird. Arcolin, Kieri's successor in the mercenary company, deals with gnomes and brings his fighters into conflict with a pirate king. All of the northern countries are dealing with magery reappearing—and those who will kill anyone who shows it, even children. Meanwhile, Kieri tries to heal the relationship between humans and elves... after a terrible strike by the iynisin dark elves.
  • Limits of Power - Civil war over magery in the population strikes Fintha, at the same time the iynisin launch invasions of their own against the elves. Kieri must find a way to release the ancient magelords from their enchanted sleep, because it's the only chance Dragon has to imprison the iynisin in the stone once again.
  • Crown of Renewal: in which all these plotlines are wrapped up.

The inspiration to write Paks allegedly came from Moon watching people play paladins in Dungeons & Dragons and deciding "such a person wouldn't act like that" - perhaps the players in question were playing their characters as Lawful Stupid, something the book averts tremendously.

Provides Examples Of:

  • The Ace: Paks. Even in the first book, she's the best at fighting of all the recruits. Justified and downplayed, however - Paks isn't the best to an outstanding degree, and she admits her proficiency is because she spends all of her spare time practicing.
  • Action Girl: Paks as the protagonist is the main one, but there are plenty of others: The Rosemage, Rahel, and Seli in the Girds Legacy series, Duke Dorrin, Queen Arian, Paladin Camwyna, Marshal-General Arianya in the Paladin's Legacy series. The northern realms give equal rights to women so there are a lot of female fighters.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The second arc of Divided Allegiance is essentially a play-through of the classic Dungeons and Dragons module "The Village of Hommlett" with the names changed. Many of the major characters are fleshed out considerably and given more background particularly Marshall Cedfer and Yeoman-marshall Ambros (Canon Terjon and Calmert in the module) and the thief Arvid Seminson (Fernok of Ferd in the module).
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Mal the forester. He's a happy, hearty imbiber of large amounts of beer, but he's never actually drunk.
    • Gird himself had drinking problems. The reason his code features several sections about the dangers of drunkenness was to discourage other people from repeating his mistakes.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The dark elves (called "iynisin" by good elves and "kuaknom" by most others) who are basically drow by another name. They worship a twisted and evil goddess, ally themselves with a spider-like lesser goddess (Achrya), use orcs as soldiers, and use both psychological warfare and very dark magic to break Paks's spirit.
  • Arranged Marriage: Paks flees one. Unlike other examples it's noted she didn't actually hate her groom-to-be, she just didn't want to marry him. She also sent part of her earnings as a mercenary home to pay her family back for her dowry.
  • A Taste of the Lash: After committing serious crimes against the Company, two recruits are flogged and then branded for their crimes before being banished from the Duke's lands. The one charged with minor crimes gets five strokes that hurt but do little real damage; the one who led the conspiracy and then tried to escape by force is given forty strokes "well-marked", the last five with extra force. When it's over, his whole back is covered in blood and he's fainted from the pain of it. However, the guardsman wielding the lash is careful not to inflict lethal or even crippling damage.
  • Attempted Rape: Almost happens at the hands of resident Jerkass Korryn during the early days of Paks' time with the Duke's company. Later, after losing her courage due to the disaster in Divided Allegiance, she is nearly raped again working in a stable and accidentally sets fire to it escaping. And she is actually raped, repeatedly, when she surrenders herself to the priests of Liart near the end of Oath of Gold in order to buy Kieri time to reach Lyonya.
  • Ban on Magic: The usage of magic by anyone who isn't associated with a Church is outlawed, mainly because the only place that one can learn magic (and the rules about what practices of magic are socially appropriate) outside the church is from practitioners of black magic. A key part of the sequel pentology is that people start naturally developing magical talent without any training, which invites the question of what the groups that regulated magic are supposed to do about it, as many of them are hesitant to execute children for unlawful usage of magic, especially if they haven't actually hurt anyone (while others think that any non-church magic is heresy that must be burned out root and branch).
  • Battle Couple: Barra and Natzlin.
  • Blessed with Suck: Promotions and magic gifts not always being all they're cracked up to be is a major theme of the sequel series.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Achrya and Liart each have this as a crucial part of their natures. Achrya has a severe Complexity Addiction and her role as The Corrupter means she can never just shoot him. Liart is Stupid Evil to the point that his priests would willingly give up the captured king who is the point of the whole plot, in exchange for a few days of torturing a paladin.
    • Siniava in the first book mostly averted this. He's horrifically brutal and very intelligent, and it takes every mercenary company in the North banded together for a special campaign—and a Deal with the Devil to set up a pirate as a baron in exchange for his help as a guide, which leads to Paks quitting at the beginning of the second book—to beat him.
  • Call That a Formation?: Averted. Almost everyone major group does formation fighting, with some exceptions.
  • Can't Argue with Elves/Screw You, Elves!:
    • Human characters will express their opinion of haughty elves along the lines of the latter, but generally in private because of the former. Paks, however spends at least half the third book arguing with elves, and does so without needing to enter Screw You, Elves! territory. She even analyzes why she can:
      "Humans need not, Paks saw, worship their immortality, their cool wisdom, their knowledge of the taig, their ability to repattern mortal perceptions. In brief mortal lives humans met challenges no elf could meet, learned strategies no elf could master, chose evil or good more direct and dangerous than elf could perceive. Humans were shaped for conflict, as elves for harmony; each needed the other's balance of wisdom, but must cleave to its own nature. It was easy for an immortal to counsel patience, withdrawal until a danger passed... She took courage, therefore, and felt less the Lady's weight of age and experience. That experience was elven, and not all to her purpose. Kieri Phelan himself was but half-elven; his right to kingship came with his mortal blood. And as she found herself regarding the Lady with less awe, but no less respect, the Lady met her eyes with dawning amazement."
    • Though Kings of the North dives into "played straight" territory with the Screw You, Elves!: The Lady of Ladysforest refuses to help Kieri co-rule Lyonya as is her duty, tries to prevent one of the King's Squires (Arian) from marrying Kieri by insulting Arian in front of Arian's father and an assembled court of elves, THEN gets herself trapped underground due to her rude behavior to the gnomes and tries to blame it on Arian. Kieri, Dorrin Verrakai, Arian and a dragon all call the Lady out on this, Dorrin especially: "High rank never excuses wrong behavior".
    • The Lady of the Ladysforest, the High Queen of the elven race, later confirms the accuracy of these observations.
      The Lady: We singers of the world, who shrink from disharmony, may choose silence instead of noise, and not always rightly.
  • Captain Ersatz: Much of the setting was inspired by Dungeons & Dragons (in fact, the story was inspired by Moon seeing how a D&D group played paladins, and deciding that she could do a better job). The dark elves' goddess Achrya the Webspinner in particular is essentially Lolth with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Celibate Hero: Paladins in the setting never marry and rarely take lovers, and then only between quests.
  • Church Militant: Most religious orders of the world have a branch of these.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mal again.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Averted with the High Lord, a nigh-universally acknowledged god whose celebrations tend to be folk festivals. It's the minor gods and their churches that collectively function as Crystal Dragon Jesus, such as St. Gird.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: For Duke Phelan, see Nay-Theist. In book three we learn that his wife and children were murdered while he was away from his castle, and he blames the Girdsmen for not foreseeing or preventing the disaster, and St. Gird for not saving his wife, when his wife was very strong in her faith. This doesn't drive him to anti-heroism, mind — it just means that he isn't on speaking terms with any faith, least of all Girdsmen.
  • Demoted to Extra: The "Paladin's Legacy" series is about the aftermath of Paks' deeds in the third book, and focuses mainly on Kieri and Dorrin. Paks herself is relegated to recurring minor character. "Liar's Oath" relegates Gird to one (Who dies halfway through); the book is about Luap.
  • Detect Evil: Basic paladin power, which usually manifests as having a good or bad "feeling" about someone. But part of a paladin's training is accepting that "Detect Evil" usually works only on the very wicked. Most people are a mix of good and evil, and their intentions are less clear-cut.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Invoked in Oath of Gold. The cult of Liart actually manages to capture Duke Phelan with the intention of killing him to set off a Succession Crisis in Lyonya, to whose recently deceased king Paks has recently discovered Phelan is the legitimate heir. They are willing to give all that up in exchange for getting to torture a paladin of the High Lord and Gird, i.e. Paks herself, for a few days. She brokers this deal to buy Phelan the time he needs to reach the capital safely, not expecting to survive.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Luap is a term that refers to someone with rank but no real authority. The man known as Luap to the followers of Gird was referred to as "Gird's Luap" or just "the Luap" so frequently even in his own time that few people remembered that his real name was Selamis. By Paks' time his real name was completely forgotten.
  • A Father to His Men: Duke Phelan. Certainly some of the other mercenary dukes as well, but Phelan takes a fatherly interest in Paks' development above and beyond the call of duty, even after she leaves his company. This is at least partly because Paks is roughly the same age as his daughter would have been.
    • This is essentially a requirement for promotion above corporal in Duke Phelan's company. All of Sergeant Stammel's recruits look up to him like the father they wish they had but those recruited by his replacement Dzerdya feel the same way about her. After the capture of Sibili there is a scene where the Duke discusses the campaign with his captains and they all agree that the new captain hired for the campaign can't cut it because he lacks this bond.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: On the side of Good, the High Lord and his saints, a bevy of regional gods and goddesses including Gird (patron of peasants and rural communities), Falk, and the Windsteed (a horse god worshiped by plainsdwellers). On the side of evil, Liart (pretty much a Gender Flip of Loviatar from Forgotten Realms), and Achrya (worshiped by the evil kuaknom elves, making her the equivalent of Lolth).
  • Fear Is Normal: This is an important plot point in Oath of Gold. As a mercenary and then as a paladin-in-training, Paks loved to fight and felt no fear in battle. After being cursed by the kuaknom, she loses this, and instead becomes scared of everyone and everything, completely unable to fight any kind of attacker. It takes a long time, and some careful counseling by Master Oakhallow, but eventually Paks comes to understand that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to go on despite the fear. Feeling and understanding the fear that normal peasants feel is an essential step on her journey to becoming a paladin.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Paks' huge black warhorse...Socks.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: An issue in the Paladin's Legacy series, which jumps around between a dozen viewpoints trying to show concurrent developments in the world. With so many different people moving on different naturalistic plotlines, it becomes impossible to draw it all together into a meaningful greater whole. There is no shared climax, everyone is simply too far apart.
  • Framing Device: The prologue of Sheepfarmer's Daughter takes place long after the series, and it's strongly implied that Paks has died a heroic death: her parents are delivered two swords she used and a scroll chronicling her life, indicated to be the rest of the book series.
  • Gender Is No Object: In the Eight Kingdoms, women and men fight together with no distinctions made between them. The cultures of Aarenis in the south are less egalitarian.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: The southern kingdoms, where the mercenaries operate, have gold, silver and copper coins in two sizes each. The gold coins are "nas" (father) and "nata" (son), the silver coins "nis" (mother) and "niti" (daughter) and coppers are simply called "page" and "serf". No exchange rate is given, but we are given some idea of purchasing power. Beer in a respectable, fairly upmarket tavern ("more expensive than most, cheaper than some", as sergeant Stammel puts it) is three pages a mug or a niti a pitcher. Five pages in the same tavern gets you a mug of soup and a hunk of bread, and the lunch of the day is a niti. Four niti can also get you a nicely carved comb or a small piece of inexpensive jewelry.
  • Good is Not Nice: Master Oakhollow. Averted with the Paladins, whose niceness is a key part of what makes them effective.
  • Healing Hands: One of the paladin's powers.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Averted. Elizabeth Moon went through UMSC Officer Candidate School and did four years in the Corps, and has a degree in history. She knows what she's doing when it comes to battles.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Golden Company. Most of the major mercenary characters are in either Phelan's company or the Halveric's. While the Clarts don't have any major named character they have a massive role in Paksenarrion's portion of the campaign in Aarenis so they get rather a lot of screentime. Vladi's company has a clear specialty (Pike infantry) and religious affiliation (Tir). Pretty much the only thing we get to learn about the Golden company is that they're led by a woman.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: The people of Paks' homeland use Germanic patronymics as surnames: her father is Dorthan Kanasson, she's Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter ("Dorthan's Daughter"). Other northern lands are similar.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: A non literal example. To be turned out tinisi turin is the worst punishment short of death for a mercenary soldier turned out of the force under disgrace: publicly stripped, a full-body shave, beaten, branded then expelled.
    • Specifically, tinisi turin is being shaved completely; it means to be shorn like a sheep, and is a common humiliating punishment. The flogging, branding, and expulsion are separate and (obviously) more serious.
  • It's Personal: The war with Honeycat in Sheepfarmer's Daughter, unlike previous conflicts, isn't mercenary business, it's revenge for him murdering unarmed Phelan and Halveric troops.
  • Jerkass: Macenion.
  • Killed Offscreen: Frequently, especially in the first novel. After being set up as a potential Big Bad the Wolf Prince is unceremoniously killed off in a separate campaign while Paks is on guard duty. Many of Paks' comrades meet similar fates. Special mention goes to Bosk, Dzerdya, and Donag who die in the siege of Dwarfwatch without their deaths even being specifically acknowledged by the narration.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Most paladins are this, complete with armor and magic=born warhorse.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: Gird is considered to be either a saint or a god in The Deed Of Paksenarrion; then the author went back and wrote the Legacy of Gird books to show what really happened.
  • Light Is Good: Paladins have the ability to generate light at will, which while ostensibly is a way to counter the Black Magic of priests of the evil gods (particularly in battle; a paladin of Gird is reportedly killed by a bowshot while doing this during a siege), is also useful for lighting up dark rooms. Paks also uses it for dramatic effect once in Oath of Fealty.
  • Logical Weakness: The destriers of the Tsaian Royal Guard are built for speed over short distances to deliver powerful charges, but have little endurance and need to be rested frequently. When they first appear, Paks rather disappointedly notes that they could be marched into the ground by a company of mercenaries on foot, and is distraught at how much they slow the party down. The Tsaians prove themselves and then some when they are called on to fight, and are deeply apologetic about how much they are slowing things down, but rightly point out that they are utterly useless with lame or tired horses.
  • Magic Knight: Paladins can pray to heal others or at least relieve their pain, and are able to produce a holy light that repels dark magic.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Paks doesn't sleep around while working as a mercenary and rejects advances by male soldiers, so she's sometimes assumed to be a lesbian (there is an openly lesbian couple in her cohort). She is in fact asexual.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Duke Kieri Phelan is the heir to the throne of Lyonya, who went missing as a child when his family was attacked during an outing.
  • Nay-Theist: Duke Kieri Phelan has no love for Girdsmen and their marshals, thanks to a Cynicism Catalyst. However, he is never shown to be a bad person because of this — in fact, his personal honor is a byword. It's not the gods' existence that he denies, he just distances himself from the church of Gird. But, as it turns out, in a world where evil gods exist and take a vested interest in human affairs, it definitely helps to have servants of Good on your side. He has a change of heart eventually due to Paks, and allows the Church of Gird to build a grange on his lands.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Averted. Paks is described as being tall and muscular (at one point, she jokes that her thick neck is harder to cut through), yet has guys flirting with her and asking to bed her. Kieri Phelan makes a point of wanting a woman with a sword for his mate/queen and was previously married to one of his own soldiers; Aliam Halveric is likewise married to Estil, a woman not only taller than he is, but able to outfence him easily.
  • No Sense of Humor: Gnomes are absolute Lawful Neutral with No Sense of Humor, believing that only they know and follow the true laws laid down at creation by the High Lord.
  • Nothing Personal: At one point in Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Paks' company is garrisoning a captured fort when a competitor to Phelan's company, hired by a campaign opponent, rolls up with siege engines. It's explained that this happens relatively regularly given how many competing city-states in the South fight wars every summer. Her CO surrenders without a fight and they're treated amicably by their captors: they're not allowed to leave the castle vicinity or take up arms (putting them out of the fight for the season), but are allowed to do things like forage for food in the surrounding woods. That's what Paks is doing when Honeycat shows up and kills everyone; she has to Bring News Back.
  • One-Steve Limit: Subverted. Plenty of throwaway characters share a name with major characters. (There are, however, no main characters with the same name.) It is touched on when Paks is asked to take care of a new recruit who has the same name as a friend of hers who died in battle.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Though they play mostly bit parts or background characters.
  • Our Elves Are Different: You've effectively got high elves, definitely dark elves in the form of the kuaknom, plus half-elves and elf-blooded humans.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They're absolutely Lawful Neutral, believing that only they know and follow the true laws laid down at creation by the High Lord.
  • Overly Long Name: Yes, "Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter" is a mouthful, as remarked by the recruiter who signs her on with Duke Phelan's mercenaries: he's surprised she can even spell it and asks her if there's a shorter form, and she picks Paks over the girlier Pakse favored by her father. Her given name is (mildly corrupted) Elvish, her surname is a patronymic.
    • The supply officer at the Citadel of Gird insists on using the full name, though. He considers the length to be a feature, since it can't be mistaken for anything else, no matter how horrendous the clerk's handwriting is.
  • The Paladin: Several, including Paks. Paladins of Gird are selected by the Order from among the best of their knight-trainees, trained to be extremely good warriors, then granted magical powers by Gird. However, every now and then the gods decide to choose and empower one on their own. Paks is such a one; she has all the skills and powers of a paladin, but received them directly from the gods rather than through her training as a Girdsman.
  • Private Military Contractors: Duke Phelan's company and and many other nobles; a major source of income for their fiefs.
  • Religion of Evil: Liart the god of torment; the Webmistress Achrya.
  • The Resenter: Barra. She starts out as just another recruit alongside Paks, and for a while they're good friends. But for whatever reason, she loses the sense of fun that Paks first saw in her, and becomes insanely jealous of Paks's success.
  • Runaway Bride: Paks runs away from home and joins the Duke's mercenary company to avoid an arranged marriage. She doesn't actively hate her groom-to-be, but she doesn't have any romantic interest in him. For a while she sends part of her pay home to reimburse her father for her dowry.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Paks quits Phelan's mercenary company at the start of Divided Allegiance after deciding she doesn't want to be a part of conquering a duchy for a former pirate (to pay him back for helping the northern mercenaries take out Honeycat in the previous book). It should be noted that said pirate terrorizes the towns in his new duchy, killing and torturing people who he claims "opposes his rule".
  • Sdrawkcab Name:
    • Apparently, in elvish, reversing the spelling of a name inverts its meaning — hence the elves (sinyi, singers) are opposed by their evil kin the iynis (unsingers), and the gods Adyan the Namer and Sertig the Maker have their counterparts Nayda the Unnamer and Gitres the Unmaker.
    • Luap is "Paul" backwards (as in Saint Paul), though Word of God states this was accidental and Elizabeth Moon would've changed the name if she'd noticed at the time.
  • Sergeant Rock: Sergeant Stammel, Phelan's training sergeant. Though Stammel is a lot nicer than most versions of this trope. Corporal Bosc or Swordmaster Sejek fit the trope better.
  • Skeptic No Longer:
    • Paks transitions into this: in Sheepfarmer's Daughter she starts off not knowing about Gird and doubts the over-zealous Effa's professions about him (particularly after Effa dies). Then it becomes evident that the gods have an interest in protecting her and as she learns more about Gird she starts coming around.
    • Effa is an obnoxious evangelist. Paks has more issue with the problem of evil: why don't the benevolent gods protect good people? At least in a setting with evil gods as well there's some justification, but the Marshal-General largely shrugs and says nobody knows why the gods seem to act through clerics instead of directly. She does have more solid theological material, too.
    • Paks goes on a skeptic journey. First she's dubious about the idea of worshipping saints. Then she warms up to Gird and joins the Fellowship. Then she leaves, and swears fealty to multiple gods, eventually telling the Marshal-General that she's no longer under the command of the Fellowship, though she remains Girdish.
  • Starter Villain: Siniava, "Honeycat", a brutal warlord who arises in the South during the summer campaigning season and forces several top companies to team up to bring him down. One of the deals they make to achieve this leads to Paks quitting early in Divided Allegiance: she didn't sign up to conquer a duchy for a pirate.
  • Thieves' Guild: Plays an important role in Oath of Gold
  • Torture for Fun and Information: A hobby of the priests of Liart, at at the root of at least one Crowning Moment for Paks. She's stripped, shaved tinisi turin, branded on the forehead with Liart's sigil, forced to watch other innocents being tortured, and raped repeatedly, among other things. She doesn't break, and at the end the brand on her forehead is changed by act of god to the silver ring of the High Lord.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Paks is tortured by priests of Liart for several days in the third book, to no effect on her spirit whatsoever.
  • Truce Zone: Valdaire, the truce city where the mercenaries stay the winter and train.
  • Uncoffee:
    • Sib, a warming and revitalizing beverage. It's bags of bitter herbs steeped in hot water, often mixed with honey — a lot like tea — except that tea also exists in this universe, and sib is different (for starters, sib is cheap enough that mercenaries get it in their rations, but tea is a rare and expensive luxury).
    • There is another beverage named "asar", which may be a candidate for this trope, but we are never given any insight into the properties of asar beyond it being hot and having restorative properties attributed to it.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Paladins in the setting are celibate while on quest, and while they're permitted to take lovers between quests they rarely do. Being ace, this isn't much of a hurdle for Paks.
  • White Magic / Black Magic: Powers granted by good and evil gods/saints to their paladins, marshals, priests, clerics, etc. There are wizards with a different, neutral form of Functional Magic that is never fully expanded on in the main trilogy though elements of Rule Magic are hinted at. Magery is a hereditary power associated with the old mostly-evil aristocracy and the god of torture, and is banned in all civilized lands.