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Being the Chosen One isn't all it's cracked up to be...
"The prophecy, this talk of a Sun Queen and a Blood Queen... it is folly. Humans aren’t all goodness or all badness, and reducing Rielle to this choice— presenting her with two impossible and inhuman extremes— is a terrible cruelty, and it will be our undoing."
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The Empirium Trilogy is a series of young adult fantasy novels written by Claire Legrand.

In a world where people can control only one element, Rielle Dardenne can control all seven. There are just two people who are said to possess such power: a Queen of light and renewal and a Queen of death and destruction. A prophecy foretells of their arrival but it doesn't specify which Queen will appear first. For all her father knows, Rielle could be either.

In an effort to keep her safe from such scrutiny, he forces Rielle to keep her powers hidden, only letting the most trusted individuals know. This works for eighteen years until Rielle sneaks herself into the annual horse race. During the race, a group of assassins ambushes Prince Audric, her close friend and crush. Without hesitation, she reveals her multielemental status, managing to save him but killing over a dozen innocent racers in the process.

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Questioning her intentions and control, the King of Celdaria gives Rielle an ultimatum: she must face seven trials that will test her powers and morality. If she passes all of the trials, she will be deemed the Sun Queen, savior of the land. If she fails, she will be executed- if she can even survive the trials first.

Over 1,000 years in the future lives a young women named Eliana Ferracora. She keeps a powerful secret: she is nigh invulnerable. Cuts and bruises heal in the blink of an eye and even falling off a roof leaves not a scratch. This mysterious power is an asset given that she is a bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, a ruthless dictatorship that's taken over almost every kingdom.

When women and girls start to mysteriously vanish, Eliana suspects that the rebel group known as Red Crown is behind it all. After her own mother disappears, she crosses paths with the Wolf, a masked killer and right hand man to Red Crown's mysterious leader, the Prophet. The Wolf makes a deal with Eliana: if she joins him, he will help her find her mother. Knowing that this might be her only chance, Eliana accepts. Her missions with the Wolf slowly reveal a darker truth about the Empire and its leader, ones that will make Eliana question what she is fighting for as well as her own identity.

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In a story that spans centuries, Rielle and Eliana's fight against the perils that threaten them begin to intersect. It is these connections that will ultimately determine the fate of their lives and their world.

The series consists of:

  • Furyborn (2018)
  • Kingsbane (2019)
  • Queen of the Blazing Throne (2020, ebook novella)
  • Lightbringer (2020)

"May the Queen's light guide these examples":

  • Abusive Parents: Rielle's father was once a good parent before his wife's unintentional death at the hands of Rielle. After this event, he began to treat Rielle incredibly coldly either by not showing her any affection or ignoring her entirely. Throughout her childhood, she was constantly reminded by him that she's a "murderer" and dangerous, as well as bringing her to the lower parts of the castle and forcibly drugging her whenever a storm came through. Rielle believes that he would keep her locked in a room for the rest of her life if he could get away with it, something that her mentor doesn't deny.
  • Accidental Time Travel: Simon uses his marque magic to create a portal to Borsvall, hoping to hide the newborn princess among the Borsvall people per Queen Rielle's last request. However, Rielle's final act of magic changed his spell from jumping space to jumping time, which thrust both him and the princess 1,000 years into the future.
  • Aerith and Bob: Characters with fantastical names such as Ludivine, Obritsa, Harkan and Corien, live in the same world as characters who're named Simon and Remy.
  • An Aesop: Forcing someone to fit into some preconceived notion of what makes the right kind of offspring, friend, lover, savior, etc. will never end well.
    • Ever since the prophecy stating the rise of the Sun and Blood Queens, people have built up the Sun Queen as this flawless being who embodies all things good and pure. Rielle wants to live up to that ideal, but she inherently can't because she's human; she's got flaws and feelings that can be inconvenient to herself and those around her. The more she struggles to fit into the unattainable ideal of the Sun Queen, the worse her mental state becomes which in turn makes her powers unpredictable if not dangerous.
    • Eliana doesn't even bother trying to be the long awaited Sun Queen because she sees herself as an unfeeling monster. She chafes at the idea that she's somehow supposed to save the world from what seems to be an unstoppable threat just because she's the daughter of a legendary couple and has some extraordinary powers.
  • Ailment-Induced Cruelty: The bedridden King of Borsvall treats his son, Ilmaire, horribly, calling him weak and unworthy of the throne. However, considering he was possessed by an angel at the time, its ambiguous how much of his verbal abuse was coming from him and how much of it was from the angel.
  • All Your Powers Combined: While the average elemental is limited to one element, the Queens of Prophecy have power over all seven. The Sun Queen is hailed as a heroic figure whereas the Blood Queen is seen as her villainous counterpart.
  • Alternate Timeline:
    • In Kingsbane, Eliana's brief trip to the Second Age altered the pasts of various characters and events of future-Ventera and not for the better: their evacuation mission is now the next day instead of a few days from then, and one of Eliana's allies now works for the Empire.
    • In Lightbringer, after successfully convincing Rielle to destroy Corien, Remy and future-Eliana disappear. The epilogue shows a new timeline in which Audric and his daughter are living happily in a slowly recuperating Celdaria.
  • Alternative Calendar: The timeline is split between three eras: the First Age, the Second Age, and the Third Age. The First Age was the era of strife between humanity and the angels, the Second Age was the era of peace for humanity until the very end, and the Third Age was the era of the Undying Empire's eventual rise to power.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When Rielle defeats Corien, Remy and future-Eliana disappear since their timeline no longer came to pass. The epilogue only focuses on how Rielle's decision affected Second Age Celdaria, leaving it unclear what became of Navi, Harkan, and all the other Third Age characters.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Eliana forges a casting in the hopes that it'll help her tap into the empirium more easily and thus give her more control over her powers. It doesn't work that well at first, but as she slowly accepts her abilities and practices regularly with it, she begins unable to think of ever taking it off.
  • Anachronic Order: Each book begins with a prologue that shows what happened to Simon after being separated from the newborn princess. The first book in particular starts with Queen Rielle's last moments before jumping back two years. The rest of Rielle's story shows what she was like before she became the Blood Queen and how that happened. There is a 1,020 year time difference between Rielle and Eliana's plotlines, with most chapters alternating between those two eras.
  • Anaphora: A couple of Eliana's chapters in Lightbringer repeat the phrase "When Eliana awoke..." to accentuate the repetitive nature of her mind-speak induced dreams-turned-nightmares at the hands of Corien.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: The Obex are a longstanding organization that protects, maintains, and studies the Gate. They aren't loyal to any particular kingdom or country, just the Saint's legacy.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Starting with Kingsbane, Corien, Simon, Navi, Ludivine, Jessamyn, Harkan, Audric and Taliesin get chapters from their perspective, though not all of them appear in the same book.
  • And Show It to You: One of the stories about Queen Rielle that survived the centuries is how she ripped out her own husband's heart.
  • Another Dimension: Multiple worlds exist beyond the Deep. One in particula, Hosterah, was where the cruciata came from. Eliana glimpses a couple other worlds during her trips into the Deep with the Prophet.
  • Anti-Hero: While she's never bought into the Empire's ideology, Eliana is more willing to aid the Empire than take it down. Much of that has to do with her desire to keep her family safe from the Empire's nonexistent mercy. After teaming up with the Wolf, seeing Crown's Hollow, and finding out she's the Sun Queen, she starts to move away from being an anti-hero to a more classic hero.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: Angels hate humans due to them claiming land that, they feel, was rightfully theirs. Corien stoked those particular flames until most of his brethren banded together in order to kill them off, starting the Angelic Wars. During Rielle's time, the angels's anger shifted to hating humans because the Saints tricked them into an endless void that stripped them of their physicality.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the series, several named and important characters are dead and the fate of many, many others is left ambiguous.
  • Apocalypse How: The Undying Emperor hopes to bring about a Class 3a apocalypse, specifically wiping out all of humanity and restoring the angels to their former glory by stitching their consciousnesses into a human body. It's later suggested that not even other worlds are safe from his wrath.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Blood Queen Rielle was able to break the Gate, bringing the angels back and effectively restarting the Angelic Wars. She was also responsible for ending the age of elementals as her last powerful act of magic stifled any connection to the empirium elementals once had. This allowed Corien and his followers to grow strong, ushering in the Undying Empire and human oppression.
  • Arranged Marriage: Royal House Courverie and noble House Sauvillier have planned the marriage of Audric to Ludivine since each of their childhoods. Audric and Ludivine have known each other since birth and are close friends (and cousins), but neither of them are particularly eager to get married; Audric is in love with Rielle and Ludivine doesn't want to come between them. The engagement eventually breaks down and Audric ends up marrying Rielle.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Unable to keep herself together anymore, Rielle dies in a brilliant flash of light, becoming one with the empirium.
  • Barrier Maiden: The prophecy states that the Sun Queen will save the world, presumably from the Blood Queen's wrath.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Eliana and Simon's relationship starts out antagonistic for multiple reasons and more or less stays that way even as they both fall for each other.
  • Big Bad: Corien harbors a deep hatred for humanity, especially the Saints due to their deception cutting off his kin's physicality. He uses Rielle's own fears and desires to seduce her to his side, that way he can have the most powerful being aid him in his quest for vengeance. He puts himself at the top of a new rule, the Undying Empire, and- after Rielle's death- makes it so that humanity will live in constant fear and paranoia if they don't join in his regime, or obedient adoration if they do. Despite living centuries apart, both Rielle and Eliana are forced to fight against him in their own ways.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series ends with Eliana talking to Rielle, empathizing with her struggles. This helps Rielle make the decision to kill Corien. She ends up killing Ludivine in the process, and Remy and future-Eliana disappear since their timeline no longer came to pass. Rielle gives birth to a daughter, dying in a flash of light a few months afterward. Before she dies, she manages to leave behind a loving letter to her child. Celdaria is still picking up the pieces five years later, but Audric and the wraiths sympathetic with humanity become allies. Having learned from Rielle's hardships, Audric teaches his daughter, Eliana, not to fear her powers and to love other things outside of it.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The Undying Empire is a totalitarian regime led by a genocidal angel who allows his soldiers to rape and murder humans whenever they want. Red Crown is a rebel organization that partakes in some distasteful practices such as using child soldiers and killing innocents, but it is all for the sake of bringing down the Empire for good. It's easy to see which of the two has the moral high ground.
  • Blessed with Suck: Rielle can control all seven elements without the need of a casting, a feat no other elemental can achieve. However, it's these exact powers that mark her as one of the prophesied Queens, one of whom is apparently destined to destroy the world. Since no one can tell which Queen she is, herself included, she's forced to undergo grueling trials and intense scrutiny of her every move and thought.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: In Kingsbane, Rielle's golden wedding dress becomes drenched in blood during her escape from Âme de la Terre.
  • Blow You Away: Windsingers are people who can manipulate air.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Instead of helping Eliana and the rest of Red Crown escape, Simon is actually bringing her to an Empire ship. Most of Red Crown is slaughtered in the ambush and Eliana and Remy are taken as prisoners. This turns out to have been planned by the Prophet, seeing it as the only way to safely transport Eliana to where they're stationed without drawing Corien's undue attention.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Third Age version of crawlers are creatures who were originally woman but were so experimented upon that they became ferocious monsters. All of them still retain some human-like features.
    • During Kingsbane, Rielle comes across a severely wounded villager. She tries to heal his burns, the flesh she's attempting to regrow ends up enveloping her hands. By the time Audric snaps her out of her trance, the villager is nothing more than a large puddle of blood and gore.
  • Bookends: The series begins with a prologue titled "An End and a Beginning" which tells of Queen Rielle's death, the end of the elemental age, and the beginning of the newborn princess' life as a child raised in the wrong time period. The series ends with Queen Rielle's death and an epilogue titled "A Beginning and an End" which shows how the major and supporting characters are fairing five years after the battle with Corien, and the start of the new Eliana's life as a princess born and raised in Celdaria.
  • Bounty Hunter: Eliana and Remy's mother, Rozen, used to be a bounty hunter for the Undying Empire until an injury forced her to retire. Eliana continued her mother's work in order to support what's left of her family and keep them safe. Harkan became a bounty hunter because he didn't want Eliana to work on her own.
  • Broken Bird: Eliana was raised by loving parents, but had to watch as the Undying Empire overtook her hometown and forced her father to spend more time at war than at home. She was taught how to be a bounty hunter by her mother, and continues her work after Rozen was permanently injured. Eliana hates what she does, but can't see any other alternative to both earning money and keeping her family safe under the Empire's merciless tyranny. Furthermore, her unique healing power scares her and separates her from those she loves most. In order to keep from being overwhelmed by all of this, she thinks of herself as an unfeeling monster who wears a mask of gentleness. It takes becoming friends with the kind but firm Navi and falling in love with Simon before she opens up and starts to allow herself to feel grief and be vulnerable.
    "Rozen’s mouth thinned. 'Eliana, don’t play coy with me. I can see right through that smile of yours. I taught you that smile.'"
  • Brought Down to Normal: Queen Rielle's last blast of magic suppressed everyone's connection to the empirium, rendering each elemental powerless. In Eliana's time, the era of elementals is less fact than myth. In the new timeline, Rielle does this intentionally, only leaving the godsbeats, allied wraiths, and her own daughter's powers intact.
  • Casting a Shadow: Shadowcasters are people who can manipulate shadows.
  • Character Title: Each chapter is named after the featured character. The main books are titled after the nicknames of the last of House Courverie: Eliana the Furyborn Child, Rielle the Kingsbane, and Audric the Lightbringer.
  • The Chessmaster: The Prophet has been manipulating events behind the scenes for years. They were the ones who orchestrated Simon becoming Corien's right hand man, Eliana being captured by Corien who they knew would use mind-speak to break her, and that her metophorical rebirth would allow Simon to create a portal into the past for Eliana to travel through.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Although she's only twelve, Obritsa was declared the Queen of Kirvaya by the Magisterial Council. Justified, since the vote was rigged in her favor; she'd been raised by the human revolution specifically so she could become the next queen.
  • The Chosen One: The Sun Queen is stated to be a human girl who has access to all seven elements. She will be the one to save the world from the Blood Queen, another human girl with the same or similiar powers who is destined to destroy the world. When Rielle reveals that she can control not just fire, but earth and air, people wonder which of the two queens she might be. Eliana was born with a healing power, later understood to be the power of the Sun Queen that had been lying dormant within her since birth.
  • Cliffhanger: Kingsbane ends with the escort mission failing, Red Crown members being killed right and left, and Simon revealing himself to be The Mole for the Empire. Eliana and Remy are at his mercy and all three are on their way to the Emperor.
  • Complete Immortality: It's impossible for an angel to die of old age, disease, wounds, poison, etc. The only way to successfully kill an angel is by severing their connection to the empirium, something that only one of the Queens of Prophecy can accomplish.
  • Conlang: There are several languages mentioned throughout the series: Celdaria, Old Celdaria, Borsvallic, Lissar (one of the angelic languages), Common, and so on.
  • Constructed World: The world of Avitas is a fiction world split into a few continents with seven kingdoms spread throughout.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Corien offers himself as a devout worshiper of Rielle, positioning himself as the one being who won't look at her in horror, unlike her fellow humans. Rielle ultimately finds the temptation of using her incredible powers as she wishes too appealing to deny. This, in addition to being called a monster by Audric, is what pushes Rielle into joining Corien.
  • Costume Porn: The outfits Rielle wears for the Sun Queen trials, as well as her wedding dress, are each given a paragraph to describe them whereas all other forms of clothing are given a couple of sentences if that.
  • Crapsack World: Being a human in the Third Age is a constant source of stress and danger. If you're not worrying about Empire agents potentially ruining your life, then you're worrying about your female friends or family members randomly disappearing without a trace.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Corien can't stand Rielle's affection for Audric, finding the prince a simpleminded, foolish dullard. He would most certainly kill Audric if not for the fact that doing so would turn Rielle's wrath against him. Instead, he limits himself to manipulating Rielle into believing Audric would hate her if he ever found out the destructive potential her powers hold and Rielle's desires to test them.
  • Cult: Fidelia is a group of angel worshipers who aid the Undying Empire in their various experiments. They're ultimately the ones behind the abduction of countless women and girls.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Eliana has control over all seven elements and later develops a healing ability. She's also the only one who can do this, and since the Blood Queen has already appeared, she's thought of as the Sun Queen. Everyone expects her to accept this role and save the world when she herself is terrified of her powers.
  • Dark Action Girl: Queen Rielle was the most powerful elemental in existence; not only could she use her powers without the need of a casting, she could manipulate all seven elements as well as heal any wounds and even resurrect the dead. However, she could also kill anyone with a single flick of the wrist, and even murdered her own husband by ripping his heart out.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: In Furyborn, Rielle wakes up in the middle of a session while dreaming about Corien. She has another date while fantasizing about Audric and Ludivine in Kingsbane.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Queen of the Blazing Throne focuses on Obritsa, a somewhat minor character from the main series. The novella fleshes out Obritsa's backstory and motives, showing some events from Kingsbane through her perspective.
  • Dead All Along: The real Ludivine died a couple years before the start of the series. The person calling themself Ludivine is actually an angel that took over Ludivine's body and name.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The angel that took over Ludivine's body has been impersonating Rielle and Audric's friend for three years. Not only did the angel do so well enough to fool them, but also Ludivine's immediate relatives.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Both of Rielle's parents were kind and loving up until her mother's death. This event turned Rielle's still-living father against her. From then on, he became emotionally distant and verbally abusive by repeatedly telling her she's a dangerous monster.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Both Eliana and Rielle end up holding their remaining parent during that parent's final moments.
  • Differently Powered Individual: Humans who have power over one of the seven elements are called "elementals".
  • Disappeared Dad: Eliana and Remy's father, Ioseph, went to war one day and never returned. They assumed that he died in battle. In actuality, his body was possessed by an angel.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Earthshakers are people who can manipulate the earth.
  • Distant Finale: Lightbringer's epilogue jumps forward five years after Corien's defeat and Rielle's death. Celdaria is still picking up the pieces from its battle with the angels. An alliance between wraiths and humans has been established. Audric adores his daughter, Eliana, and is taking pains to teach her that her powers are neither inherently evil nor inherently good..
  • Dramatic Irony: Furyborn makes it clear from the get go that Rielle will become the Blood Queen. This makes her struggles during the Sun Queen trials all the more tragic: she's desperate to believe that she's a savoir but the audience knows that she will eventually reject her own humanity and join Corien.
  • Dying as Yourself: Despite being turned into a crawler, Rozen, Eliana's mother, manages to regain enough of her humanity in her final moments to beg Eliana to kill her.
  • Elective Mute: Remy stops speaking after escaping Orline and seemingly leaving Harkan to his death. It takes Navi several tries of gentle coaxing before he speaks again.
  • Elemental Powers: There are seven elements available to elementals: sun, air, fire, water, shadow, metal and earth. Excluding the Sun and Blood Queen, each elemental can only control and possibly master one element.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Some of the epigraphs at the start of each chapter are taken from an In-Universe historical or academic book. These excerpts are used as a way to expand upon the world of Avitas without disrupting the overall pacing.
  • End of an Age: The end of the Angelic Wars ushered in the Second Age and the fall of elementals is what ushers in the Third Age. Even before Rielle's last spell nullified all elemental magic, it's stated that magic in general was on the decline.
  • Epigraph: Each chapter begins with a quote of some kind. The quotes usually tie into the content of the chapter in some way, some more obvious than others.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: In Kingsbane, Eliana and Harkan have a discussion about Blood Queen Rielle, her legacy, and what it means to Eliana. Eliana offhandedly mentions how she killed her and Remy's mother. The conversation comes to a grinding halt when she hears Remy let out a soft cry of despair. He had just arrived with a large stack of books and overhead what Eliana said.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Metalmasters are people who can manipulate metal.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rielle wanted to become the long awaited Sun Queen, hero to country and crown. However, her overwhelming amount of power attracted Corien, who saw her as a way to return his brethren to their former glory. He dredges up her deepest fears (such as her ability to easily cause destruction, what everyone will think of her once they find out, if they'll turn against her, etc.) in order to further distance Rielle from her loved ones. When these fears seem to be proven true, she ditches Audric, Ludivine, and everyone else to find Corien.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Rozen was a genuinely good parent who only wanted to keep her children safe from the Undying Empire. After being kidnapped by Fidelia, the cult's scientists experimented on her, turning her into a crawler, a not-quite-human beast. She manages to retain a bit of her humanity at the last minute when she asks Eliana to kill her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Angels hate humans because of their short lifespan and less robust bodies. Humans fear and hate angels because they hunted them down. Both species despise marques because of their half-breed nature and powers over space and time. In Kirvaya, there's also a contingent of elementals who force the nonpowered population into slavery.
  • Fantasy Contraception: Maidsright herbs are a type of medicinal plant that acts as a form of birth control. Ludivine takes Rielle to a physician to obtain some after Rielle and Audric get caught in the middle of having sex. Before the start of the series, Eliana took some medicine that made it so she would never become pregnant.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The seven Saints were elementals, each exceptionally gifted with a particular element. They created the Gate and were the ones that put an end to the Angelic Wars. Temples dedicated to each Saint were built and prayers related to each saint's particular magic are commonplace. There are also many references to God, but it's unclear if this God is the same as or similar to the Christian God/Jesus Christ.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Upon entering the Deep, the angels were stripped of their bodies. All of their senses became muted and many of them became far less powerful than they were before. Possessing a body doesn't help: no matter how much they eat, drink, or have sex, they can never get complete fulfillment or satisfaction from these activities.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The series features two female leads who have to deal with the unrealistic expectations forced upon them by their friends, family, and peers. Most of the characters- both named and not- are woman or girls, many of whom can dish out punishment as good as or better than their male counterparts. There's also no such thing as homophobia: there's a lot of queer characters, some of whom are married.
  • Fictional Document: There are multiple chapters that start off with excerpts from in-universe texts, letters, and other such documents. They're used to give the audience glimpses of the goings on of background characters, flesh out the world of Avitas, or both.
  • Foil: Corien is a foil for the Prophet. They both used to be angels who were forced into the Deep by the Saints. Both use their angelic powers in order to achieve their goals and they both become leaders of powerful organizations. That's where the similarities end: unlike Corien- who hates humans and can't forgive them for what the Saints did- the Prophet has nothing but love and understanding for humans. As such, the Prophet's naturally on the opposing side, and tries to help out where they can, both with Rielle in the Second Age and Eliana in the Third.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There's no attempts made to hide which of the prophesied Queens Rielle and Eliana are. The main questions then become "What events lead to Rielle becoming the Blood Queen?" and "Will Eliana be able to defeat the Undying Emperor?". Additionally, since Eliana refers to Audric as Rielle's husband and Eliana herself is their daughter, the sexual tension between Audric and Rielle will culminate in their marriage and Rielle becoming pregnant.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are several hints behind the Prophet's true identity hidden throughout the series before the reveal. One of the earliest is the voice that urges Simon to make a portal. It's described as sounding feminine and familiar to him. Since Simon has already met Ludivine before, it's little wonder that he can recognize it.
    • When Zahra first feels Simon's presence, she remarks that his mind is so scarred that she can't read it. This is because his mind was broken years ago by the Prophet in order to make it more difficult for Corien to read.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Towards the end of Kingsbane, Rielle marries Audric despite only openly being a couple with him for a few months and a bit more than that privately. This is partly because he genuinely loves Rielle and wants to spend the rest of their lives together and because he wants to show his people that the crown of Celdaria still has faith in their Sun Queen.
  • From Bad to Worse: In Kingsbane, Rielle starts out the book with many dissenters who accuse her of being the Blood Queen and finishes the book mindlessly killing guards on her way to join Corien. In Eliana's case, the mission to travel back in time to stop Rielle wasn't as easy as Simon had thought, and the consequences of her brief appearance in Old Celdaria changed several people and past events for the worse. Then Simon reveals that he's been working for the Undying Empire this whole time and is bringing her and Remy to Elysium, Corien's homestead.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Though it's more title than literal, the Blood Queen is an Apocalypse Maiden who is fated to destroy the world.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: The colors for Rielle's Sun Guard are gold and white, and those that support her tend to use those colors. Though Rielle isn't a goddess, she is the most powerful elemental around; there doesn't seem to be any limit to her power, seeing as she was able to bring back the Queen of Celdaria from death.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Red Crown is a rebel group dedicated to talking down the tyrannical and merciless Undying Empire. Due to who they're up against, the members of Red Crown take part in some morally questionable if not downright villainous acts themselves: using child soldiers so they have more numbers, killing innocents in order to maintain secrecy, etc.
  • Good Parents: Rielle's parents were loving and kind before her mother's death, which led to her father becoming abusive. Eliana's parents also cared for her deeply and did what they could to keep her and Remy safe.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Towards the beginning of Kingsbane, Rielle is tasked with finding all seven of the Saint's castings in order to restore the fracturing Gate. It's possible that the castings remember how the Gate was made, which would make repairing it more successful. Rielle manages to get three castings before her situation gets infinitely worse, bringing a screeching halt to this quest.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Angelic Wars were a series of battles between humans and angels during the First Age. Since these battles happened centuries ago, we hear a lot about them, but never see them happen.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Marques were hunted down by both angels and humans, not just because of their half-breed status, but also because each marque possesses the unique power of crossing time and space.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Marques are beings that are half-human and half-angel. They're born with wings, but because of the prosecution against them, their wings are usually cut off.
  • Half-Identical Twins: The male Ilmaire and the female Ingrid are a pair of twins, born to the King of Borsvall. They both sport the Borsvallic blond eyes and hair and are similarly pale skinned.
  • Hand Wave: In Lightbringer, the Prophet essentially shrugs off Eliana's concerns about how tampering with the past will affect the present with a "someone smarter than me said it'll be fine, don't worry about it."
    Eliana: But if I kill [Rielle] before I am born, how would any of this work? How could I go back to kill her if I never existed?
    The Prophet: I have been assured by someone much more intimately familiar with the art of time travel than I am that if the threads are pulled in the correct sequence, if the magic is calibrated precisely, this paradox can be avoided. If you are forced to kill her, if she leaves you no other choice, you will kill her— and thereby yourself, past and present.
  • Harmful to Minors: Life isn't easy for children regardless of time period: if you're an elemental child living in the Second Age, you could be kidnapped and forced to become a soldier for a despotic angel. If you live in the Third Age, you could be forced to become a killer for your own survival and that of your family's (assuming they're still alive).
  • Healing Factor:
    • In Furyborn, Eliana can jump 100 feet off of one dock onto another and only feel a bit of pain. This invulnerability is what earned her the nickname the "Dread of Orline". However, this trait goes away once she's unlocked her powers. Remy suggests her super fast healing ability was because her powers were healing her because they had no other outlet.
    • In Lightbringer, Rielle acquires bad burns while opening the Gate. By that point, she's so in tune with the empirirum that she's able to heal those burns with a mere thought.
  • Healing Hands: After gaining better control of her powers, Eliana obtains the ability to heal wounds and past scars. In order to unlock Simon's latent marque magic, Eliana heals some of his physical scars.
  • Here There Were Dragons: Godsbeasts were powerful, ancient creatures who were more in-tuned to the empirium than most elementals. By Eliana's time, it's believed that they became extent or were never even real in the first place.
  • Hero of Another Story: After Rielle and company split ways with Ilmaire and his companions midway through Kingsbane, Ilmaire doesn't make a further reappearance but he isn't fully out of the picture. Excerpts from the letters he sends to Audric- and from his journal- are placed at the beginning of several chapters in both Kingsbane and Lightbringer. These excerpts show his own personal journey as he tries to fit into the crown his recently deceased father left, deal with Merovec, and eventually strike out on his own in the search to aid Audric and end the angelic threat.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Audric is the most powerful sunspinner to be seen in decades, if not centuries, and his main casting, Illumenor, is a sword. Saint Katell was also an incredibly talented sunspinner and the head of the Saints. Her casting was also a sword.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In Furyborn, Eliana is exhausted, hungry and stressed during the fight with the Empire fleet. After being forced to end her own mother's life, she becomes so upset that she starts a raging storm without even realizing that that's what she's doing. The storm takes down most of the fleet and it confirms to Simon that she's the Sun Queen that he's been searching for.
  • His Name Is...: During one of his mind-speak conversations with Rielle, Corien is about to reveal the name of the angel that took over Ludivine's body. Rielle cuts him off before he can, saying that that information isn't his to tell.
  • Horseback Heroism: During the annual horse race, Rielle sees a horseless Audric about to be attacked by assassins from Borsvall, an enemy country. Without a second thought, she rides to where he is and uses her powers to stop them before they can kill him.
  • How We Got Here: The prologue of Furyborn shows Blood Queen Rielle giving birth to Eliana and facing down Corien, an encounter that leads to Simon and the newborn princess being thrust into the future and the empirium being smothered. The narrative then jumps back two years ago to a time before Rielle's powers were even widely known. The rest of her story shows how she turned into the Blood Queen. Subverted in that the exact events depicted in this prologue don't come to pass thanks to future-Eliana's interference.
  • Humans Are Flawed: One theme woven throughout the trilogy is that no human is perfect. Trying to force someone into being completely flawless is inhumane and will bring about more misery, and not just for the person being scrutinized. Eliana pretty much states this theme outright during the climax of Lightbringer:
    Queen Rielle: I don't know how to be what I am, split in two like this. [...] I am but one queen. One queen with the desires of two. I cannot bear it.
    Eliana: You can, and you will. We all have light and darkness inside us. That is what it means to be human.
    Queen Rielle: And if I am more than human?
    Eliana: Then you must carry more of the light, and more of the darkness too, and so must I.
  • I Am a Monster: Eliana sees herself as a heartless monster due to her work as a bounty hunter for the very Empire that took over her home kingdom (among others). This view of herself gets worse after unleashing her powers in catastrophic ways and finding out that her birth mother was the Blood Queen. After some soul searching, she comes to terms with her powers and her heritage, helping her self-image improve.
  • I Have Many Names:
    • Corien was Kalmaroth before being banished to the Deep along with his kin. After escaping, he renamed himself to Corien and began building an empire with him placed at the top. By the Third Age, he's known only as the Undying Emperor to all humans and most, if not all, of his underlings.
    • When they first contact Eliana, the Prophet states that they have many names before giving her their more well known moniker.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: The completely immortal angels all look like they're in their early twenties regardless of how long they've actually been around.
  • Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction: The Obex are an organization that are solely focused on protecting and studying the Gate. They aren't associated with any particular country or ruler, loyal only to the Saint's legacy.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • In Furyborn, Ludivine suggests partaking in some celebratory drinks after Rielle successfully completes the first trial.
    • During Kingsbane, Rielle damages the Gate even more and the Obex give Rielle the task of finding the Saint's castings on her own. Ingrid offers up a round of drinks to which Ludivine holds up a hand.
  • Info Dump: Chapter 37 of Lightbringer is dedicated to a conversation between Eliana and the Prophet. For the most part, it's just the Prophet explaining their plan to Eliana and, by extension, the audience: why they had Simon pretend to be loyal to Corien and his Empire, why they let Eliana be tortured for months on end by Corien, what they want Eliana to do now and how Simon figures into it, etc.
  • In Mysterious Ways: In the beginning of Furyborn, Taliesin says the empirium "works in mysterious ways" as a way to dismiss Rielle's concerns that the prophesied Queen's are going to appear soon.
  • Instant Fan Club: Soon after Ludivine's dramatic entrance during Rielle's anointing, a group calling themselves the House of the Second Sun formed. They're obsessed with Rielle and how she brought Ludivine back from the dead.note  Group activities include reenactments of Ludivine's death and resurrection.
  • Interquel: The events of Queen of the Blazing Throne run concurrent with what happens in Kingsbane. Some scenes from the later book are even shown through Obritsa's perspective.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: During Furyborn, Rielle and Audric are about to go all the way when Ludivine's father walks in on them.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Saint Katell was in love with Aryava, leader of the angels. Historians consider their relationship be to be a contributing factor into the ending of the Angelic Wars.
    • Rielle develops a love-hate relationship with the angel Corien. She both fears him but finds his offers of worship too appealing to deny.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: One of the main themes of the series is just how much being the subject of a prophecy messes with your life. Having incredible powers doesn't mean much if you can't use them freely, and everyone has different ideas about how they should and shouldn't be applied.
    • Despite how much grief her father gives her for being powerful, Rielle takes pride in being able to split the sea, control a shadow dragon, and summon fireballs all without the need of a casting. However, everyone expects her to use these abilities to protect crown and country. She would love to revel in her abilities as much as she wants, but she can't without potentially turning the public against her. It's why Corien's words of devotion and his promise that he will never fear her are so appealing.
    • Before finding out about her heritage, Eliana had an incredibly useful healing ability, but deep down it always worried her. After learning that she's the daughter of the infamous Blood Queen, she comes to hate and fear her powers. Unfortunately, the world needs her now more than ever and a big part of that is accepting who she really is, up to and including her powers. As such, she's thrust into a role that makes her deeply uncomfortable and is forced to quickly learn how to use her powers.
  • Kill All Humans: Angels see all humans as an invasive species that's trying to take over their homeland. They attempted to wipe humanity out as a result of this ideology.
  • Kissing Cousins: Double subverted with Audric and Ludivine. They were a pair of engaged cousins at the beginning of the series, the engagement having been arranged by their parents as part of a political move. However, Audric is in love with Rielle and while Ludivine does love him, her feelings aren't romantic in nature. That said, Ludivine states in Kingsbane that she'd have no issue partaking in a threesome with Audric and Rielle, something that Audric agrees with.
  • Last of His Kind: Eliana is the last member of House Courverie, and both she and Simon are the last of the Old World Celdarians.
  • Liar Revealed: During the reception for Rielle's wedding, Corien shows everyone a vision that exposes the truth behind their previous king's death as well as the king's commander: afraid that Corien would kill them, Rielle unleashed a ton of power that did end up burning Corien, but also killed the both of them. When Audric found her shortly thereafter, she lied to him, too scared of losing him and his love to tell him the truth. The effect this reveal has on Audric momentarily turns him against Rielle, leading the two to argue which culminates in Rielle running away from Baingarde to seek out Corien.
  • Little Miss Badass: Despite being only twelve, Obritsa is already a Queen and a figurehead for the human rebellion in Kirvaya. She's quite adept at hiding her true feelings regarding elementals and is a powerful marque, able to travel at least thirty miles apace without breaking too much of a sweat.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Corien the Undying Emperor has spent a lot of time thinking about Rielle and his love for her. It gets to the point where he can't focus on anything else besides reuniting with his lost love, up to and including his main goal of resurrecting his kind and destroying humanity.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Rielle's father and both Ludivine's and Audric's parents don't approve of Rielle and Audric becoming a couple. In Ludivine and Audric's case, it's because their parents want to strengthen their political ties. In Rielle's case, it's because her father doesn't want her to overshadow Audric's talent or have her unpredictable powers accidentally kill him.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: There are only seven elements that a human can potentially control. Once discovered, an elemental can control that element and only that element. In order to manipulate their element, the elemental must create at least one casting in order to help channel their power. The only elementals that buck these rules are the Queens of Prophecy.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Each type of elemental magic has its own distinct scent; firebrand magic smells like smoke, windsinger magic smells like alpine, etc.
  • The Magic Comes Back: Rielle states during her last conversation to Evyline that her stifling of the empirium won't last forever. She knows that, at some point in the future, something will happen which will lead to its reawakening.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Unable to withstand the constant pain of keeping her body together, Queen Rielle's last act of magic wound up suppressing everyone's contact with the empirium, turning elementals back to powerless humans.
  • Making a Splash: Waterworkers are people who can manipulate water.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Pretty much as soon as he introduces himself to Rielle, Corien uses Rielle's fears in a way that slowly distances her from her friends and family. He plays up the hypocrisy of her loved ones, that they will restrict her freedom while claiming they love her, and once they find out just how destructive her powers are, they will turn on her in an instant.
  • Matricide: Part of Rielle's backstory includes her unwittingly killing her mother. After Eliana's own mother becomes a literal monster, she kills Rozen to put her out of her misery.
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • Corien renamed himself after he escaped the Gate. He hates his original name, Kalmaroth, seeing it as an indelible reminder of his former failure during the Angelic Wars.
    • The angel that possessed Ludivine insists on being referred to by Ludivine's name, in part to separate herself from her angelic kin and in part because she truly believes herself to have become Ludivine.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The setting of the Second Age includes kingdoms ruled by some form of monarchy, swords and their various accoutrements for weapons, and most, if not everybody, seem to be heavily religious.
  • Mercy Kill: When one of the crawlers attacking her turns out to be her mother, Eliana kills her, knowing that it's far too late to save her.
  • Mind Control: An angel can easily take control over anyone weaker than them, even after becoming a wraith. The only beings that they can't control are the cruciata, due to said creatures possessing wildly different minds.
  • Mind Rape: Angels can easily take over a human's mind and damage it beyond repair. Simon experienced this at the hands of both the Prophet and Corien, each for different reasons.
  • Mirror Character: A lot about Rielle and Eliana- both their stories and their personalities- mirror one another. Aside from the obvious fact that they're both subjects of a prophecy and share incredible powers, they're also both young woman who have to deal with other people's expectations of how they should use those powers, how they should behave, what their roles should be, etc.
  • Misery Builds Character: One of the reasons the Prophet gives Eliana as to why they let Corien mentally torture her for months on end was so Eliana could be "reborn" into a being capable of taking down her mother.
    The Prophet: I needed you to break, and then I needed you to rebuild yourself into something stronger than you were before. Into a version of yourself capable of facing your mother at the height of her power. What you were before was not enough. [...] If I had come to you, none of this would have happened. You would still be small and human, frightened of the power in your blood.
  • Missing Mom: Rielle's mother died when Rielle was five.
  • Mission Creep: At the start of Furyborn, Eliana's main mission is rescuing her mother. By the end, it's to come into her own as the Sun Queen and work towards taking out the Undying Empire.
  • Ms. Exposition: Most of Zahra's dialogue in Furyborn and Kingsbane is to explain to Eliana about the ways of the Old World. This is helpful, not just for Elian, who thought the stories of the Old World were just stories, but also for the reader since much of the information Zahra imparts helps flesh out the world.
  • Mysterious Backer: The leader of Red Crown is known only as the Prophet. Everything else about them is a mystery, a mystery they fully intend to keep.
    "Many of you will want to find me. You will want to see my face for yourself. But you will never find me. I am nowhere and everywhere. I fight for you in the shadows, and in the shadows I will remain, and if you ever did stumble upon me, I would tear your heart from your chest and your tongue from your throat, and the secrets of my face and name would die with you. Do not seek me. Hear me. Follow me. Trust me."
  • Named Weapons: Several characters gave their weapons names. Audric's casting is named Illumenor and Eliana has a dagger and knife named Arabeth and Whistler, among others.
  • The Namesake: The series is named after the empirium, the Sentient Cosmic Force that the world of Avitas is made out of.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Corien (whose previous name was Kalmaroth) is a genocidal maniac who has no compunctions about using anyone and anything in any way he sees fit so long as doing so benefits him in some way.
  • Never Found the Body: In Furyborn, Harkan volunteers to make a last stand against the Empire's soldiers as a means of distraction, a move that is suicidal at best. As Eliana rides away, she hears Harkan cry out, but doesn't look back to see if he was shot. Both she and Remy believe him to be dead. Towards the beginning of Kingsbane, Harkan turns up at the Astavari castle, battered and dirty, but very much alive.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Kingsbane...
    • Eliana goes back in time in an attempt to convince Rielle to reject Corien's offer of allyship. Not only does Eliana fail, her presence in Old Celdaria changed things for the worse in future-Ventera.
    • After being shown what actually happened to his father, Audric confronts Rielle about her lies. Their argument ends with Audric saying that she probably is the Blood Queen that everyone thinks she is. This turns out to be the tipping point for Rielle, who flees Baingarde to find Corien.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted twice in Kingsbane. The first chapter opens with Rielle lamenting the fact that Sun Queen status doesn't lessen her menstrual cramps. Later on in that same novel, Eliana experiences the cramps that come with it for the first time (her healing ability made it so she never experienced period cramps until now).
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: When Ludivine reveals herself to be an angel, it's noted that her perpetual existence as a teenager is an awful thing, and one that will get harder and harder to explain as the years go by.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In Queen of the Blazing Throne, after capturing Obritsa and torturing Artem, Corien states that he and Obritsa are both motivated by the love they each have for their people.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Corien does genuinely want to restore his brethren to flesh and blood. However, the reason he's doing this isn't entirely selfless: he views humanity as an inferior species and yet is also jealous of their power over the elementals, something that the ancient angels cannot even claim. As such, he'll happily kill all humans to make room for the angels. It's also suggested, if not outright stated, that he's angry with God and will move heaven and earth to go against Him in any way he can.
  • Older Than They Look: All the angels are centuries old, or even older, and none of them look a day over thirty.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Corien is an exceptionally strong angel who holds a deep hatred for the Saints, mainly due to a deception that led to him and his fellow angels being ripped of their physicality. This hatred extends to all of humankind, and he has taken it upon himself to kill every last one of them.
  • One Person, One Power: Each elemental is restricted to one element: windsingers can only control air, sunspinners can only control light, earthshakers can only control earth, etc. The Queens of Prophecy are the only exceptions to this rule.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are winged humanoid beings with telepathic powers and are completely immortal. They existed long before humans and are impossible to kill through ordinary means.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Wraiths are angels that were stripped of a physical body. They still retain the powers they had as an angel, though they're far weaker than they were before.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: When she was younger, Eliana loved hearing stories about the time before the Fall, a time when the empirium was still available and magic still in use. By the start of the series, she views those same stories and all talk about the Sun Queen's eventual arrival as mere wishful thinking by people desperate for an escape from their dark reality.
  • Patricide: In an effort to harm Corien, Rielle lets loose her powers and winds up killing her father in the process.
  • Playing with Fire: Firebrands are people who can manipulate fire.
  • Plot Parallel: Much of Rielle and Eliana's plots parallel each other, from the broader strokes, such as becoming one of the two prophesied Queens, to some minor details, such as each of them having a wraith ally.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: When she was sixteen, the real Ludivine died of a fever. An angel took over her body and has been in control of it since then. It's this angel that aids Rielle throughout the trials and traveling to various countries in search of the Saints's castings.
  • Pregnant Badass: By the time Queen Rielle joins the angels, she's pregnant with Eliana. She doesn't let her pregnancy get in the way of aiding Corien with his resurrection plan.
  • The Prophecy: The last angel to enter the Deep, Aryava, uttered a prophecy stating the rise of a pair of Queens, each one more powerful than what had been seen before. By Rielle's time, this prophecy has been subject to much dissection and interpretation among academics, with most laypeople not giving it much thought. By Eliana's time, it's mostly dismissed as mere wishful thinking.
    "The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens- one of blood, and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two Queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will carry your fate in their hands. Two Queens will rise."
  • Power Crutch: Elementals have to craft a casting through which they can channel their abilities. Even the Saints, as strong as they were, needed one. The fact that Rielle doesn't need one is another mark of how powerful she is. Theoretically, Eliana doesn't need one either, but since her connection to the empirium is far weaker, she makes a casting anyway in order to help with tapping into and controlling her powers.
  • The Power of the Sun: Sunspinners are people who can manipulate sunlight.
  • Promotion to Parent: Since Eliana and Remy's father has been missing for years, Eliana becomes Remy's sole caretaker after their mother becomes a crawler.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Rielle's storyline is about how she started out as the long awaited Sun Queen, beloved by many, to the long feared and widely hated Blood Queen, traitor to her kind.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: During Eliana's airing of her grievances against Astavar to Navi, she mentions that the Empire's soldiers raped Ventera's civilians, killed the royal family, then burned down agricultural lands and libraries.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Angels can live for hundreds of thousands of years and not look a day over thirty. This holds true for any human body they possess as a wraith.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Bastien and his wife, Queen Genoveve, are the ultimate authority in Celdaria and neither of them abuse their power. Even after learning about Rielle's incredible powers- and that her deceit regarding those powers put their son in danger- King Bastien asks Rielle various questions related to her powers and why she kept them secret. When he decrees that she will be undergoing trials to test her abilities, its made clear that he doesn't really want to make that call, but he can't ignore what she's done.
  • Refusal of the Call: While she wants to take down the Empire, Eliana isn't exactly keen about being one of the prophesied Queens. She initially refuses to learn how to use her unleashed powers and she hates being revered. She does eventually come to terms with her situation but still dislikes being referred to as the Sun Queen.
  • Religion of Evil: Fidelia is a cult that worships angels and is trying to bring them back. Because of this, they willingly aid the Undying Emperor in his various experiments and conquests.
  • Repression Never Ends Well: Ever since she was five, Rielle was forced to hide her powers and (to some extent) her person from the world. As the years passed, she began to believe her father's continual reminders that she's a monster/killer/dangerous/etc. and thus eventually stopped fighting him for her freedom. This has the unintended side effect of making her powers more volatile, culminating in one particular burst of raw power that winds up killing, not just Rielle's father, but the King of Celdaria as well.
  • La Résistance: Red Crown is a rebel group whose main goal is fighting back and eventually taking down the Undying Empire. It originally started as push back against Merovec for taking the Celdarian throne while King Audric was still alive.
  • Ret-Gone: Once they convince Rielle to kill Corien, Remy and future-Eliana disappear, since the circumstances that brought them to the past no longer happened.
  • The Reveal:
    • In Furyborn, Ludivine appears to die only to arrive at Rielle's crowning completely intact. She later explains that the real Ludivine died of a fever three years ago and she's actually an angel that has been watching over Rielle since birth. Said angel managed to escape the Deep due to cracks in the slowly weakening Gate.
    • In Kingsbane, Simon reveals himself to be a double agent for the Empire and Eliana's adoptive father was taken over by an angel.
    • In Lightbringer, it's revealed that the Prophet is actually Ludivine. She's been orchestrating everything behind the scenes, including Simon's betrayal.
  • Romantic False Lead: Harkan is set up from the beginning as a close friend and lover to Eliana. Once Simon enters the picture though, it becomes clear through various ship tease moments that Eliana will pair up with Simon at some point. Harkan seems to die, and though Eliana does mourn his death, she likes to spar verbally and physically with Simon as a means of distraction, letting the both of them become closer. When Harkan reappears, he abducts Eliana shortly thereafter in order to force her to travel with him to Astavar. This betrayal turns Eliana against Harkan almost completely, effectively ending their relationship. They remain civil to one another and Eliana still feels some residual love for him, but whatever romance they once shared becomes a thing of the past.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Audric is the Prince of Celdaria and does what he can to ensure the happiness and safety of his subjects. He reaches out to the Borsvallic prince, Ilmaire, in order to reforge the lost friendship between their two countries and he stops a massive storm created by the empirium by himself to help save an ally country's capital.
  • Rule of Seven: There are seven elements, each one being associated with a specific Saint, prayer, temple, and so on.
  • Sadistic Choice: After getting fed up with Eliana's continued rebellion, Corien makes her choose between saving her brother or saving her still-alive father from a fatal fall. He makes it clear that she can't use her powers to save them both for he'll kill them if she tries. He doesn't let her dwell on this choice either, ordering the both of them to be let loose soon after explaining all of this. Eliana chooses to save Remy.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Since Eliana is the one person who can access the empirium, Simon does everything in his power to keep her alive- if not safe- and assist her as best as he can.
  • Screaming Birth: Furyborn opens with Rielle screaming while giving birth to Eliana.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Gate is made of a giant, powerful barrier that keeps the angels from reentering Avitas. On a smaller scale are blightblades, arrows made with cruciata blood that can absorb and conceal wraiths. Wraiths are trapped inside until the blightblade is broken.
  • Secret Test of Character: While traveling through the Vespers, Navi and her crew are ambushed with Navi getting drugged so she passes out. When she wakes up, a masked figure aligned with the Undying Empire asks her if she will join them or die. Navi responds with the Sun Queen's prayer and the wish that the Sun Queen would destroy the Empire. The masked figure is pleased by this, revealing themself to be Ysabet, the leader of the Vesper branch of Red Crown and the same woman that Navi and her crew were traveling to meet.
  • Self-Made Orphan: When she was five, Rielle killed her mother by accident. Over a dozen years later, she ends up killing her father during the fire trial.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The empirium is a magical force that everything in Avitas is made out of. The ability to tap into it is what gives humans their powers. The Queens of Prophecy can hear and even request help from the empirium, especially as their connection to it grows stronger.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The main gist of the Prophet's plan is to use Simon's time traveling magic to go back into the past and have Eliana convince Rielle to kill Corien. This would nip the Undying Empire in the bud, as well as all the other horrific plans Corien would enact during the Third Age.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ludivine has been secretly rooting for Rielle and Audric to get together, as it's quite obvious the two are head over heels for one another.
  • Society of Immortals: Angels are a race of immortals who existed long before humans did.
  • Space Master: Marques have the ability to teleport by creating a portal to a specific location and stepping through it.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Simon is one of the most important characters in the series since his time traveling magic is a key component in the Prophet's plan of taking down Corien. He also has the most normal name out of all them.
  • Species Loyalty: Both humans and angels look down on those that sympathize with the other, to the point that marques are their only mutual enemy.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: The setting of the Second Age includes seven kingdoms, all of whom are head by one or two Kings, Queens, or some combination thereof. Technology is limited to swords, arrows, shields and what not for regular humans and those plus one element for anyone who can tap into the empirium.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: While the Prophet is masking their and Eliana's doings, Eliana takes the time to open up a hole in the sky above Elysium. Dubbed Ostia by Elysium's citizens, the hole casts a purplish hue over the city and is a direct entrance into the Deep.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The plan to take down Corien and thus the Undying Empire includes going back in time and convincing Queen Rielle to kill him. The first time Eliana and Simon try this, Rielle believes Eliana is an illusion conjured by Corien. The second time, Eliana has a better understanding of the pain and heartbreak that Rielle is going through, having experienced some of it herself. The empathetic conversation that Eliana has with her convinces Rielle to kill Corien.
  • Telepathy: Mind-speak is an ability unique to angels and wraiths. It allows them to read and communicate through the minds of other angels and wraiths, and even humans.
  • That Man Is Dead: Corien loathes being called by his previous name, Kalmaroth. He views that version of himself as an embarrassing failure and would love to forget that he was forced into the Deep like the rest of his brethren.
  • Their First Time: Three days before the fire trial, Audric sneaks into Rielle's rooms to discuss his personal fears as to what becoming Sun Queen would mean to them both. The conversation culminates with Rielle and Audric making love on her bed.
  • Time Master: Marques have the unique power of creating portals that can transport someone into the past or future. This, as well as their mastery over distance, is one of the reasons they were hunted down by both angels and humans.
  • Time Skip: Lightbringer includes a five year gap between the final chapter and the epilogue.
  • Time Travel: The main solution given to ending the Undying Empire for good is to kill its leader, Corien, before he could create it. In order to do this, Simon has Eliana go back to the Second Age and try to talk Rielle into finishing off Corien.
  • Translation Convention: There are several languages mentioned throughout the series with many characters stated to be speaking a specific one; one character may be speaking Celdarian at first before switching to Common, for instance. Everything the characters say, regardless of which language they're speaking, is completely legible to the reader.
  • Trauma Conga Line: At age five, Rielle killed her mother inadvertently. This turned her once loving father against her to the point of being emotionally and verbally abusive. He and her mentor, Taliesin, essentially ignore her wants and desires under the guise of keeping her safe, both her from the public and the public from her. They force her to keep her powers suppressed and hidden from everyone, even her best friends, one of whom is a prince. This blows up in all of their faces, in more ways than one, when she saves the prince from assassins but winds up killing innocents in the process. The King has her then undergo a series of grueling trials in order to determine if she's the menace her father keeps telling her that she is. Between two trials, a noble tries to assassinate her and she only survives thanks to her unique powers. The last trial she ends up doing has her essentially relive the night her mother died. At first, it seems to go well until Corien takes over various soldier's minds, turning the vicinity into a veritable bloodbath, during which she watches her other best friend get thrown off a cliff. Then it turns out that this friend actually died years ago and the person she's been talking to since the beginning of this whole affair is actually an angel, a being that humans have feared and hated for centuries. And all of that is only the beginning.
  • Trial by Ordeal: In order to determine whether Rielle is the Blood or Sun Queen, the King of Celdaria has Rielle undergo seven trials, one for each element. If she can control her powers and prove her virtuousness, then she will be declared the Sun Queen. If she can't, either the trials will kill her off or she'll be executed. The first trial she undergoes sees her abruptly thrown onto a mountain where she has to use earthshaker powers in order to survive an avalanche.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Rielle, Ludivine and Audric are a trio of friends that have known each other since childhood. Rielle is the headstrong, determined heroine, Ludivine her more gentle and snarky best friend, and Audric their quiet bookworm. Rielle developed feelings for Audric- which he reciprocates- but since Audric's already engaged to Ludivine, they don't act on their feelings (at least, not at first).
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The trilogy follows the lives of Rielle and Eliana as they come to grips with their powers and the expectations that come with them. Rielle's story is about her rise as the Sun Queen and the events that caused her to turn into the Blood Queen. Eliana's story is about her learning the truth behind her powers and heritage, all while trying to figure out how to bring the Undying Empire to its knees. Their stories eventually intersect towards the end of the trilogy when Eliana travels back in time to talk Rielle into killing Corien.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: While the series was always intended to be three parts, Furyborn has a more definitive ending despite the fact that there's obviously still a lot more story to tell. It's plot mainly concerns itself with Rielle participating in the Sun Queen trials and Eliana discovering her powers and heritage, giving both of them more conclusive arcs. Kingsbane, however, ends on a cliffhanger which Lightbringer directly picks up.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Ever since learning that his crush might be one of the Queens of Prophecy, Audric repeatedly assures Rielle that he'll loves her and defends her against naysayers, even when her reputation as the Blood Queen slowly grows stronger. The only moment when he has doubts is right after learning she killed her father (albeit accidentally) and lied about it, and he quickly regrets calling her a monster when she flees Baingarde. When he sees her again, she's visibly pregnant and briefly wonders if the child is Corien's, but Audric swiftly brushes the thought aside, vowing to love the child regardless.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: At the beginning of Furyborn, there is a noticeable attraction shared between Rielle and Audric. Problem is both of them have very good reason not to act on their feelings; Rielle's father has forbidden her from getting together with Audric, thinking her volatile powers might one day kill the prince. Since she doesn't want to risk becoming pregnant with just anyone, Rielle's restricted herself to fantasizing about and flirting with Audric; Audric is already engaged to Ludivine, an arrangement based in politics and thus, difficult if not impossible to break. Towards the end of Furyborn, this unresolved tension between the two does become resolved.
  • The Unreveal: The name of the angel that took over Ludivine's body is never stated. The angel refuses to state her name and insists on being called Ludivine, and when Corien tries to tell Rielle what it is, she cuts him off before he can.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In Kingsbane, after Eliana is abducted by Harkan, Remy insists on helping Simon find her. Simon mentions a plan, but he doesn't say what the plan is. Whatever it was succeeds for not only does Simon find Eliana, he manages to get her to use her powers in a constructive way for the first time. Later in that same novel, Eliana and a few members of Red Crown discuss potential ways in which they can defeat the Undying Empire. The one plan that gets any detail is Simon's suggestion of going back in time to convince Rielle to kill the Undying Emperor back when he was just known as Corien. When they attempt to enact this plan, though, it fails right out of the gate because Rielle believes Eliana to be an illusion by Corien, leading her to attack Eliana.
  • Unstable Powered Woman: As Rielle becomes more and more connected to the empirium, her mental state deteriorates. It gets to the point where Corien the genocidal angel worries after her health, often having to remind her that she's not immortal and has to take better care of herself.
  • Unwanted Rescue: After the Queen of Celdaria tumbles off a balcony and dies, Rielle manages to resurrect her. Upon being revived, Queen Genoveve weeps, wishing she had been left for dead so she could see her recently deceased husband again.
  • Villainous Legacy: The impact Rielle's death had on Avitas can be felt even 1,000 years later. Eliana and many others blame her for the rise of the Undying Empire and leaving humanity without any means of stopping it.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Deep is an empty pocket of darkness made out of raw empirium. It exists between the world of Avitas and all other worlds. Only the truly powerful can enter it and keep their physicality, something even the angels couldn't achieve.
  • Was Once a Man: Fidelia's crawlers were once women who were mutated through experiments so as to create monstrous soldiers for the Empire.
  • Weapon of Choice:
    • Each element is closely associated with a particular weapon or armory: windsingers have arrows, sunspinners have swords, earthshakers use staffs, etc. Most elementals tend to create their castings in the shape of those weapons, though alternative castings aren't unheard of.
    • Eliana favors knives and daggers as her primary hunting tool.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the Prophet's mind, the deaths of thousands of people pale in comparison to bringing an end to Corien and, by extension, the Undying Empire.
  • Wham Line: During the ambush at the Jubilee in Kingsbane, Eliana sees Simon standing on the beach when she notices something... off:
    "He had retrieved his gun and was shouting something at the angels still on the shore. Not in Venteran, nor in the common tongue, but in one of the angelic languages. [...] Lissar. He was speaking Lissar. And the angels on the shore were listening to him."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Eliana goes to an angelic commander to negotiate a deal with the information she gathered about a nearby Red Crown hangout for her family's safety. The next morning, Red Crown ambushes the facility that Eliana went to, killing every prisoner they can find. Simon informs Eliana that the ambush they originally planned would've been to rescue those very same prisoners, but Red Crown can't let anyone who's seen Eliana live. Simon forces her to listen as each prisoner is killed in the background while he explains this.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last page or so of Lightbringer's last chapter includes brief snippets as to what other characters are doing while Rielle Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence: the Gate is sealed, Ilmaire's stopped running away from his responsibilities and now rules Borsvall alongside his husband, Leevi, Obritsa spares the lives of the magisters who aided Corien in the abduction of elemental children, Kamayin ponders how her people will move on now that the war is over, and Audric cradles his newborn daughter as he watches the bright light given off from Rielle's ascension.
  • Wild Child: Simon turns into a feral child after spending a year alone on the desolate mountain he was transported to. He quickly learns how to kill and skin animals in order to feed himself. By the time Corien finds him, Simon is so starved for any kind of interaction that he doesn't mind much that the man giving it is a genocidal angel.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: At twelve-years-old, Obritsa is able to perfectly act the role of the "stoic orphan suddenly picked to be queen" while secretly being an agent for the human revolution. Justified since she's been raised practically since birth to play that part without giving anything away.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rielle accidentally killed her mother, has had to endure verbal abuse thanks to her father because of it, and was forced to hide who she is from everybody. When her powers are revealed, everybody imposes their own views as to how she should act and behave. The public slowly turns against her, believing her to be the dreaded Blood Queen when her attempts to use her powers constructively prove fatal (at least at first). Corien showing everyone that she was behind the King of Celdaria's death and Audric's father ends up being the final nail in the coffin. Audric, in the heat of moment, accuses her of being the very monster they've feared, leading Rielle to join Corien. By the Third Age, most if not all of humanity loathe Rielle for siding with the angels and closing off the empirium to human use, for doing so allowed the Undying Empire to rise up and take over the world.
  • Worst Wedding Ever: Soon after his coronation, Audric and Rielle host a huge wedding. Everything seems to be going perfectly, and Rielle can't imagine being any happier. Then Corien takes over Ludivine's mind and reveals to the whole assembly that their former king died by Rielle's hand. The wedding quickly devolves into chaos, coming to a head when Audric takes Rielle aside to question her about all the lies she's told or been forced to keep.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Corien kidnaps elemental children and forces their powers to emerge prematurely. He then has these children forge castings, both for themselves and for the beasts he's experimented on in order to better utilize their elemental abilities during battle.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The main reason Corien is stealing elemental children to use them as soldiers is to weaponize this ideology: he knows that many people would balk at killing a child which gives some of his army an advantage on the battlefield.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Remy's age and the subsequent age gap between him and Eliana changes a couple times throughout the series. The first flashback into Eliana's past we get in Furyborn says she made her first kill when she was twelve and Remy was five, which means they're seven years apart in age. However, another flashback in the same novel explains she was ten when her father disappeared and the text states Remy was an infant- a baby, in other words- when that happened, which would make the age gap about ten years instead.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Eliana doesn't want to be the long awaited Sun Queen and all that that entails. However, she does want to end the Undying Empire for good and if embracing her powers is the only way to do it, then she will.
  • You Monster!: Remy calls Eliana a monster upon finding out that she killed their mother.

Alternative Title(s): Empirium, Furyborn, Kingsbane

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