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Literature / The War Gods

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The War God Series by David Weber, aka the Bahzell series or Orfressa Cycle. Heroic Fantasy focusing on Bahzell, son of the Prince of Hurgrum, member of the Horse Stealer hradani.

Set in a world some 1,200 years after the fall of the Empire of Ottovar, the largest empire ever known by the Races of Man. The Empire fell due to a conspiracy of dark wizards who allied themselves with cults of dark gods and caused a multi-generational war that ended in a stalemate. All but one of the white wizards died or went insane by casting the Strafing across the former empire in order to give a chance for refugee fleets to get more people out of the few ports they still controlled. Now the refugees who escaped to Norfressa have rebuilt and expanded across much of the continent.

The dark wizards used many tools, but their shock troops were mind-controlled hradani. The other Races of Man never forgot it, even if it wasn't the fault of the hradani. Some hradani escaped as well to form their scattered clans, but the hradani did not forgive the other races for how they were left hanging out to dry, and especially how their pleas to the gods were ignored. A thousand years after the fall, the Gods have come back to the hradani, but many hradani—especially Bahzell, the chosen of Tomanak, the God of War and Justice—don't want anything to do with them. Too bad the dark gods don't care what they think...

Currently at five books and a novella in the overall cycle, with the Bazhell novels standing at four books and a novella. David Weber has confirmed a seven book series is forthcoming which he considers to be his greatest work, which involves a Time Skip to a new generation, with the first book The Sword of the South already released. A fifth book and novella for the current generation will eventually come out.

The Bazhell series consists of:

The seven-book series begins with:

The Mission of Honor library CD contains the first three books and the "Sword Brother" novella. Per Baen's library CD terms of use, the contents of this disc may be freely shared without restriction.

These novels provide examples of:

  • After the End: The Wizard Wars a thousand years ago destroyed the empire of Ottovar, a Magitek empire that was much higher technology than the refugees have even a thousand years later would indicate. Advanced enough there were Time Travel experiments...
  • Amazon Brigade: The Sothoii war maids. Not all war maids are soldiers, despite the name, but their towns are required to provide military levees when called upon, so they are all given some degree of combat training upon joining.
  • An Aesop: Several throughout the series, mostly about how Bigotry is Wrong.
  • Answer to Prayers: the gods don't often act directly in the world of mortals for fear of destroying it. Instead, they intentionally limit themselves to acting only in specific ways and only in response to direct requests by their followers. Main character Bahzell Bahnakson is a champion of the war-god Tomanak, and his .... unusual approach to calling on his god for aid is the source of quite a bit of humor.
  • Anti-Magic: Hradani in the Rage are nearly immune to magic. Only Wencit has been seen able to consistently use magic to restrain them. Most likely due to the Hradani being linked directly to the magic field, the Rage being an enhancement of that, and Wencit being a wild wizard, meaning he can control the magic field quite handily.
  • Apocalypse How: Of the Continental variety, per Wencit when he describes the strafing of Kontovar.
  • The Archmage: Wencit of Rūm is fourteen hundred years old, is the most powerful mage alive, knows most of what's possible with magic and a few things that supposedly aren't, and was on a first-name basis with ancient mages who are barely more than secondhand legends to the other main characters.
  • Automaton Horses: Averted in many ways, as attention is given to terrain horses can cross as well as practical weight and size limits. Different types of horses, with different quality of breeding, have different abilities. Coursers are explicitly magical in their endurance, but weather and other limits still apply to them.
  • Badass Bookworm: Brandark Brandarkson. Deadly with a sword and capable of keeping up with Bahzell, but when they returned to Bahzell's home city, most of the luggage was taken up by books he had bought. Completely self-educated (back home in Navahk, book-learning was considered to be only for wimps), but usually the best-educated person in the room.
  • Berserk Button: Telling a hradani you're a wizard needs to be done very carefully unless you want to be dead within seconds.
  • Bond Creatures: A select few coursers form bonds with individual humans (and, once, with a hradani). Bonded humans are called "wind riders" and hold a special position in Sothoii society.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows: Early in Oath Of Swords, Rianthus "suggests" Bahzell should replace his crossbow with a standard bow. Then Bahzell shows what he can do with that crossbow (and just how fast someone much stronger than human can recock one). He keeps the crossbow.
    • He does start using a high-draw composite bow (one that probably can't even be strung, let alone shot, by anyone less muscular than a Horse-Stealer hradani) after partnering up with Walsharno, as it's an easier weapon to shoot from horseback.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The King of the Sothoii has the power to force marriages in cases of nobles who don't have a male heir. It's seen as a last resort, admittedly hard on only-daughters, but worth it in order to insure that the Kingdom isn't destabilized by having important lands and titles fall into dispute.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Half-elves have that cultural posturing, but averted by actual elves, who are mostly depressed.
  • The Chessmaster: Wencit has setting things up for the final battle between Light and Dark since the fall of Kontovar... fourteen centuries ago.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Early on, Bahzell tries very hard to pretend he doesn't have this problem. No one else believes him for a second. The Lay of Bahzell Bloody-Hand probably has something to do with that.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Trisu, surprising everyone in the room.
    At this moment, what I care about are swords and hands to wield them. I'll worry about whether or not they are "proper" hands later.
  • Cool Horse: Sothoii warhorses and their much bigger, more intelligent cousins, the coursers.
  • Crown of Power: In the backstory, the Crown of the Empire of Ottovar is an ancient magical artifact that gives its wearer (the Emperor) the power to read minds and detect the use of dark magic. However, the wearer must have a highly disciplined mind, or they won't be able to control this mind-reading power. For this reason the Emperors got out of the habit of wearing the Crown — which gave the Council of dark wizards the chance it needed to organize and launch the great war that destroyed the Empire.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The Rage has been slowly turning itself into this over the course of centuries—invoking it deliberately no longer causes the user to lose control of his actions.
  • Daughter Of A Whore: Kaeritha's mother was forced into prostitution when her husband died; Kaeritha deeply regrets not being more understanding about this at the time.
  • Defiled Forever: Averted for the hradani, who put all the blame on the rapist. Early in the first novel, Bahzell rescues a rape victim. By the second novel she's happily engaged, and her fiance counts "killing the rapist" among the debts of honor he owes Bahzell.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Brandark. After being (gently) let down by the Goddess of Music, he is told that another of the Gods of Light has a plan for him, but which one has yet to be revealed, leaving Brandark at loose ends.
    • Revealed in The Sword of The South as Korthrala.
  • Divine–Infernal Family: Most of the deities on both sides of the good-evil divide are the children or grandchildren of the creator deity Orr. The only exceptions are Kontifrio (Orr's wife — directly created by him, but not that way), Trickster God Hirahim Lightfoot (no one knows where he came from), and Shigu (a demoness raised to divine status by Satan-analogue Phrobus when he decided he needed to breed his own pantheon to challenge Dad).
  • Dual Wielding: A key component of the war maid fighting style. Also Kaeritha's chosen sword style. Leeana learned from both sources, to devastating effect.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Vaijon sacrifices himself to take down a Devil single-handed in hand-to-hand combat. To put that into perspective, it took the unique fusion of powers between Bahzell and his courser co-champion Walsharno to take down the first one (with an enhanced bow-shot) and the third one requires Bahzell, Walsharno AND Vaijon's spirit to kill.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What would happen if the gods contended for a world directly. Since both sides want to capture as many worlds as possible intact, there is an informal agreement to only fight via champions channeling amounts of power that would not destroy the world they're fighting over.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Pro-Dwarves. Elves are nice enough, but are suffering PTSD from the Fall 1,000 years ago. Half-elves are racist jerks ruling over humans in their lands via the right of their blood. Dwarves instead joined the Empire of the Axe, have representation and are considered the economic heart of the Empire, and have had some successful interbreeding with the humans.
  • Explosive Breeder: The main reason why ghouls aren't extinct despite multiple attempts at genocide by the Hradani and the Sothoii. The regions bordering the Ghoul Moors offer plenty of hiding places for any survivors of the semi-regular purges, after which they can quickly replenish their numbers.
  • Expy: The Gods and their story bear a striking similarity to the story of the Fall from Heaven.
    Orr - God
    Tomanāk - Michael
    Phrobus - Lucifer
  • Fantasy Gun Control: The series doesn't have guns, until a short novella has Wencit use magic to summon help from beyond. Bringing a pair of US Marine troops in a LAV gives people who see it ideas...
  • Fire-Forged Friends: After their blood-soaked battle against three devils and a seemingly unstoppable horde of ghouls, the Sothoii cavalry who fought beside the hradani infantry take exception to any racist comments about their former enemies.
    • Any of the loyal Sothoii who fought beside the formerly despised Leeana and the other war-maids in defense of the king. Including the king. To the point where Trisu, who made no secret of his opinion of them before, beats one of his peers unconscious after the man suggested that Trisu, not Leeana, deserved the credit for saving the king's life.
  • Four-Star Badass: The long-deceased Emperor Toren Swordarm spent forty years in close to non-stop warfare. He only lost four times.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Bahzell and Leeana have several conversations over the course of a few days, then spend the next seven years apart from each other only communicating through the occasional letter, though they both remember the other one with interest. One day after meeting up again, they're effectively married.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Only male hradani have the Rage. For the most part, this was considered a blessing for the women rather than an imposition, as while it meant the women had a major handicap in becoming warriors compared to the men, it also meant that they were considerably saner, which was why a lot of jobs that required people to keep a cool head, such as judges and diplomats, were given to the women. It was only with the coming of the White Rage that being unable to use it became a possible hindrance to female hradani.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Averted, they are quite active, but the Gods of Light spend much of their time running interference on the Dark Gods akin to ECM, while the evil gods don't cooperate with each other. Also, the gods mostly don't have fine enough control over their power to exercise it directly—it would be like swatting a fly with a nuke. That's one reason why they pick champions to be their conduits.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: At a larger scale than usual for this trope. A nation worshiping or not worshiping a given god will not change things very much, but a world being claimed by a given god for their side will increase their power immensely, which they can then use to try to conquer other worlds. Demons and Devils are Champions of Sharna and Krashnark, respectively, from worlds that those gods have already conquered.
  • God Was My Copilot: Averted in many cases, but the Goddess of Music shows up as a beggar woman asking for a share of hospitality at one point...
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Rage was created by dark wizards to make the hradani people more devastating in combat, and reduce the effectiveness of magic on a Raging hradani. Oh, and now the hradani utterly hate dark wizards and are immune to most magic...
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Wencit of Rūm is absent from War Maid's Choice until the very end, even when characters wish he was around. They never find out that due to his direct intervention behind the scenes, two nuclear-level explosions are averted which would have killed thousands, including Leeana, her father, their coursers, the Sothoii king, and destroyed the Sothoii capital; that the main agent of the Dark Gods for the last two books is eliminated; and Leeana is protected from direct magical attack by the Kontovarans due to his threat to utterly destroy their entire continent...again, with feeling this time...if they so much as try.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It is possible for any two of the Races of Man to interbreed, although only elf-human hybrids (half-elves) are common—several of the other matches produce offspring that die young or are infertile, although most of the human population of the Axeman Empire have some dwarf blood. Half-elves consider themselves to be the fifth species (since they came about before halflings); however, while breeding with each other and with full elves preserves both the human and elvish traits, the offspring of a human and half-elf will show a significant reduction in the elvish traits (implied to be related to the spell that made warlocks elves). Finally, it is established that only humans and human hybrids can be wizards or magi.
    • Hradani-human hybrids are said to be thankfully rare and infertile, because as half-human, they can become wizards, and as a half-hradani, can access the magic field without tools. Suggesting that's where wild wizardry comes from... and includes a girl named Gwynna.
  • Hero of Another Story: Wencit of Rūm is the most obvious example. He does help out the heroes a lot in the main books, but one gets the feeling that even when he's off-screen, he's busy having adventures and taking care of business.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bahzell and Brandark, who abandoned his home to follow Bahzell into danger and has steadfastly refused to leave his side since, no matter how many gods or demons show up.
    • Verging on Vitriolic Best Buds on occasion; Brandark almost never stops teasing Bahzell, once to the point where Bahzell's idea of a witty rejoinder is to throw Brandark head-first into an ornamental fish pond. (This takes place directly after one of the most emotional conversations they've ever had; they had to do something to clear away all that soppiness.) Although the song Brandark wrote is apparently an Ear Worm that inflates Bahzell's accomplishments to Memetic Badass, much to Bahzell's eternal irritation.
  • Healing Hands: Champions of Tomanak and some of the other gods have this ability. The champion envisions how a person's body is supposed to look, then calls upon his or her God to grant the power to restore it. Not always perfectly—Brandark is healed from the brink of death, but is still missing two fingers.
  • Hobbits—er, halflings, with two main types; the Marfang Island ones are less numerous, but seen more in the story. They are hard-bitten sailors, while the more well-known kind are seen as cowards and thieves. They are all descended from the slaves and servants of the dark wizards who were mutated by the magic of the last great war.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bahzell's wife Leeana is actually quite tall by human standards. It's just that, at 7'9", he's huge by anybody's standards.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Dark Gods revel in it.
  • Implacable Man: The 'New' or 'White' Rage turns a hradani into this instead of the The Berserker. When Bahzell combines it with his connection to Tomanak, he turns into something more like a force of nature. Turned up to eleven when he briefly connects to the world's natural magic field through the bond with his new Sothoii courser, essentially becoming a Champion of Tomanak version of Wencit.
  • Informed Ability: In this case, it is (mostly) an informed dis-ability; the novels regularly emphasize what bloodthirsty monsters hradani historically became when they lost control to the Rage and how much all male hradani still have to struggle against it, and Tomanak explicitly confirms that "the old Rage" will be around among the hradani for decades yet, even among those who now know that it can be controlled if invoked deliberately. However, the only hradani ever actually shown to abandon control to the "old Rage" this way are worshippers of the Dark Gods, and even they only do it to fight Bahzell, Brandark and the Order of Tomanak. No incident of a hradani succumbing to the Rage at the wrong time and hurting innocents ever occurs when it would cause problems for the heroes.
  • Interspecies Romance: Bahzell and Leeana Hanathafressa get married. Somewhat amusingly, it is she who pursues (and ambushes) him.
  • Invincible Hero: In the first four books, at least, Bahzell never loses a fight. Ever.
    • As a Person of Mass Destruction and walking Deus ex Machina, Wencit of Rūm also qualifies.
    • On a wider basis, this also applies to the Forces of Light in general; although a few minor characters on the heroes' side are slain or grievously injured, the side of Light never loses any battle of serious consequence.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Bahzell and Kaeritha. Extends to all Champions of Tomanak, but Bahzell and Kerry work together more than most.
  • Living Relic: Wencit of Rum, who was there when the Empire of Ottovar fell, and still remembers the empire fondly, if sorrowfully.
  • Mage Species: The elves were this prior to the foundation of the old empire of Ottovar. When Ottovar won the Wizard Wars, he rerouted their power. Before this, they were useful as magical support. Their power was innate and cast at will, something like the magi, but with no training needed.
  • Medieval Stasis: The series strives to avoid this at all costs. The author has said as much as he's tired of fantasy novels being written as luddite sounding. The Empire of Ottovar used Magitek, powered by thousands of wizards, with most people of noble blood being noble because they were wizards (Emperor Ottovar being the greatest wizard of all time). The Magitek was very advanced, but the Empire was limited to only the continent of Kontovar due to the dragons forbidding wizards from colonizing Norfressa after the original Wizard War that founded the Empire. There was gradual advancement, the warlocks and witches became the elves, and much research was done (including Time Travel). After the empire fell, people started trying to rebuild without wizardry, and now the dwarves are at the cusp of the industrial revolution with Bessemer converters and shock absorbers, but still no steam engines or gunpowder. By the time of the fourth book, they're experimenting with railways, cable cars, and the Norfressan version of the Erie Canal.
  • The Mole: Chernion uses the fact that virtually nobody knows of her real gender to infiltrate the heroes under her birth name of Elrytha. After a while she starts considering pulling a Heel–Face Turn for a variety of reasons, including her brother being an incidental casualty of one of the Dark's schemes and her own personal survival if the Light wins.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Bahzell and Leeana know that their getting together is going to cause problems, but plan on simply dealing with it later, whatever anyone else thinks. Then two gods show up (Tomanak and his sister) and hold an impromptu wedding ceremony for them on the road to indicate that the Gods of Light don't care what anyone else thinks either, because they approve.
  • Nay-Theist: Gods manifest and choose champions all the time, with almost two dozen champions of the God of Justice running around. The hradani haven't had a single champion since the end of the last wizard war made the entire race into Nay Theists. It's so ingrained that most of the first book is the main character, Bahzell Bahnakson, running from clerics, wizards, and the Gods Themselves rather than being talked into being a champion.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Once it becomes obvious that the Dark doesn't want the hradani and the Sothoii to come to terms, everyone starts realizing that despite centuries of ingrained prejudice, it might actually be a good idea to achieve said terms.
  • No Name Given: The leader of the Council of Carnadosa is only referred to as 'the cat-eyed wizard'. Nothing else is known about him, but it's been implied that he's descended from the traitorous younger brother of the last Emperor of Kontovar.
  • Noodle Incident: The Lay of Bahzell Bloody-Hand. Mentioned, discussed, and mocked many times, but never explicitly told. Character reactions to it range from amused to infuriated and disgusted. Also has a Running Gag that the third verse doesn't scan.
  • Oblivious Mockery: Baroness Hanatha Bowmaster asks her daughter Leeana if she tried to ford the river, and Leeana says that no one would be stupid enough to try that with the river twenty yards out of its banks. Hanatha admits that she did, though tries to defend herself by saying the river was only fifteen yards out of its banks at the time.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In Oath of Swords, while the narrator is watching Bahzell busy fighting Harnak as champion of Tomanak to Harnak's champion of Sharna, Brandark is caught in a melee against four hradani simultaneously—and kills three of the four before going down.
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: The Sothoii coursers, the descendants of magically altered horses. They are as intelligent as humans as well as being larger, stronger, faster, and having more endurance than any natural horse. Some of them will enter into a psychic bond with a human (who are called "wind riders"). Wind riders are respected by all Sothoii, and are guaranteed to be honorable (as the Sothoii see it anyway), as coursers won't associate with anyone who isn't.
  • Our Elves Are Different:
    • The first elves were known as warlocks, who functioned something like sorcerers from Dungeons & Dragons. Their magic was ingrained and inheritable, but not as powerful as wizards'. The problems of natural magic-users just cropping up and the fact too many of them could get corrupted by the Dark Gods meant they'd be a long-term problem, so Ottovar came up with a spell that converted their use of the natural magical field into life extension. In short, they gave up magic for immortality. As a consequence of this, some of the elves have been around for the entire rise and fall of the Empire of Ottovar and are suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from their losses during the Fall to explain their withdrawal from the world.
    • Hradani might qualify as a form of either dark elves or orcs depending on your view. Tall, pointy ears, beautiful, but very well-built as opposed to slender. Before the Rage, they were considered the most stable of races.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: It's genetic, and they have a psychic/magical gift for working stone, and are integrated in the human kingdoms.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: If hradani aren't dark elves, they qualify as orcs. Ghouls are arguably orcs or goblins; they're twisted and intelligent trolls, they live at most forty years due to their regeneration being so high, and they're egg-laying Explosive Breeders. They are Tolkien Orcs to Hradani Blizzard Orcs.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Wencit of Rum, Last of the Council of Ottovar, still has access to the Strafing. Setting up the Strafing killed or drove mad all the other members of the council, but since the spell was finished Wencit can still call it down on a whim. One of the reasons he's always on the move is because he's the single biggest target on the planet because he's the only thing keeping the Kontovarian dark lords from trying more direct invasions. He's not just a one-man nuke, he's a one-man Strategic Air Command. He's threatened to burn the Carnadosans' capital city of Trofrolantha to bare ground if they ever try attacking Leeana Hanathafressa again... then do the same to the entire continent of Kontovar if they still don't get the hint after that.
    • Also, should a hradani and human interbreed, it's mentioned that it's a good thing the child would be sterile—because the child would have permanent access, through the hradani lineage, to all the natural magic in the area, a trait currently only Wencit has, and be able to pass that on to their own children. This is actually the reason why he threatened to raze Kontovar if the Carnadosans tried to kill Leeana again, as combining the Iron Axe and Bowmaster lines resulted in Gwynna, the first magi in history to have all the mage talents in unprecedented amounts, and may have wild wizardry abilities as well.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The hradani. Upon the thousand-year supposed neglect of the Gods of Light, they tend to have little use for any god, and are extremely proud of this fact. Unfortunately, those with the inclination are more than willing to make bargains with the Dark Gods, because their rewards tend to be immediate and effective.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Rape is the one crime in hradani society which is never, ever excused even by being under the Rage. Bahzell starts his first adventure by beating a rapist to a pulp. It is noteworthy that a Child by Rape is never considered to be socially "tainted" by their conception; the hradani aren't prolific breeders, so any child is treasured.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Wencit is over fourteen centuries old. Thanks to the magical nature of her wedding ceremony to Bahzell granting her access to his hradani racial magic affinity, Leeana looks to be in her thirties at the age of ninety-three.
  • Rebellious Princess: Leeana Bowmaster, later Leeana Hanathafressa, war maid, wind rider, and wife of Bahzell Bahnakson.
  • Red Baron: Thanks to Brandark's song The Lay of Bahzell Bloody-Hand, the title of which comes from Bahzell's early habit of starting quests by punching somebody until his knuckles bled, many agents of the Dark Gods refer to Bahzell as "The Bloody-Hand".
  • Redshirt Army: The Hurgrum branch of the Order of Tomanak takes hideous casualties in virtually every battle they fight in. By the end of book four, only one named member of their original membership is still alive. They do, however, tend to give as well as they get.
  • Refused the Call: Bahzell. Oh, Bahzell. Spends most of the first book running from it. Then gets downright badass when he accepts.
    Bahzell: (to Tomanak, while a sickeningly powerful demon is charging at him) "All right! If it's wanting me you are, then have me you can!"
  • Royal Brat: Vaijon is more disciplined than the general run of these, but he still has a lot of their more unfortunate qualities before Bahzell beats them out of him. Literally.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Toren Swordarm, last emperor of Kontovar, spent all forty years of his reign leading his armies in battle to buy time for his subjects to flee to Norfressa. And he only lost four battles in that time.
  • Sapient Steed: Coursers bond with specific riders and are counted as citizens due to their intelligence. They can talk telepathically with their bonded riders and with magi. Tend to be rather on the snarky side.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Bahzell in Oath of Swords. When he and Brandark set out after the party that abducted Zarantha, he took a few minutes to familiarize himself with the individual hoof prints of the horses they were chasing after.
    • Justified in that Bahzell is, after all, a Horse Stealer hradani; his tribe didn't get that name without good reason.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Half-Elves have most of the stereotype of elvish behavior, to the point that they run a racist state based on elven blood purity. They are also mocked and shunned for this, as most other countries can't stand them. They refer to themselves as the "Purple Lords".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: A subplot about an assassin seeking to murder Trianal and Yurokhas while they're on a mission in the Ghoul Moors comes to an abrupt halt when the assassin is killed by a ghoul before he even gets an opportunity to try.
  • Spanner in the Works: This seems to be Leeana's primary calling in life. So far, she's derailed two major plots of the Dark Gods as a result of actions she took which had absolutely nothing to do with fighting the Dark.
  • Standard Fantasy Races: There are technologically skilled dwarfs who used to rely on Magitek but have recently begun industrializing, mystical and immortal elves who retreated into seclusion after the fall of their empire, widespread humans who can have children with any other race, sneaky halflings nobody else trusts, and a Proud Warrior Race of beast-folk.
  • Succession Crisis: The leader of the Council of Carnadosa during the Fall was the younger brother of Toren Swordarm, making a play for the throne. It's implied that the leader of the present-day council, the unnamed cat-eyed wizard, is his descendant, and that he will have to be defeated by a descendant of Toren.
  • Summon to Hand: Bahzell's sword, after Tomanak makes him a champion. Also Vaijon's, in his final battle.
  • Time Skip: Of just under seventy years between War Maid's Choice and Sword of the South.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Bahzell isn't really this, but hradani in general are so reviled that he often gets treated this way, at least at first.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sir Mathian of The War God's Own (among his other less-than-sterling qualities).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The Horse Stealers have a particular fondness for horse-meat because eating the Sothoii's beloved horses lets the Horse Stealers get back at the Sothoii for attempting to commit genocide on Hradani centuries ago.
  • Tranquil Fury: Hradani that succumb to the Rage are usually foaming at the mouth berserkers that will attack everything that moves until they’re dead, tired out or deprived of potential targets long enough to calm themselves. However, Bahzell and other Hradani eventually manage to temper it, invoking it deliberately and combining its destructive ferocity with a calm, focused mind.
  • True-Breeding Hybrid: Half-elves aren't quite a stable sixth race, but they come close. If two half-elves have children, those kids will be half-elven even if the elven ancestors are several generations back. (A half-elf/elf pairing also produces half-elven children, but half-elf/human means the children are humans.
  • Undead Author: The saga of the Battle of Cherhan's Despair is of dubious accuracy because it was composed by someone who wasn't there. After all, the reason that fort is known as Cherhan's Despair is because Cherhan and his men were killed to the last man while defending it.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The dark wizards developed the Rage and inflicted it on the hradani to make their shock troopers more devastating. The Rage is an unpredictable-enough factor that most important government functions among the hradani are handled by their women, who aren't subject to the Rage. At one point a hradani is inches away from killing Wencit, just hearing that he's a wizard. Wencit then went on to paralyze and break him out of the Rage with magic, something hradani thought to be impossible.
  • We Have Become Complacent: This led to the Fall of Kontovar. Over the centuries, the Emperors stopped using the artifact that allowed them to detect dark wizards (one of the Imperial crowns) except on ceremonial occasions (it also forced the wearer to read the minds of everyone around them, which was considered an unnecessary violation of privacy), while the Council of Ottovar had too much faith in their spells to detect dark magic and didn't bother to test them. This allowed the Council of Carnadosa to subvert the regular detection spells and grow in strength until they were able to steal the crown, at which point they could act openly.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The elves. In the modern setting, all elves pretty much have PTSD due to living through the Fall of Kontovar. Even back during the days of the Empire of Ottovar, Wencit thinks the elves made a poor choice in trading their magic for immortality, because it gave them all of eternity to reflect on what they had lost.
  • Wizards' War: Two occurred in the backstory.
    • Not much is said about the First Wizard War, thousands of years ago, except that it was won by the forces of Good, under the command of the wild wizard Ottovar the Great. In the aftermath, Ottovar established "the Strictures of Ottovar" to make it illegal for any wizard to wield dark magic ever again. There was only one penalty for violating the Strictures: death.
    • The second Wizard War was both conventional and magical, with the dark wizards of the Council of Carnadosa using both magical and mundane weapons to destroy the Empire of Ottovar. They threw huge destructive spells, an army of mind-controlled warriors, and thousands of undead and summoned monsters against the Imperial armies and the good wizards of the White Council. But it was the white wizards who ended the war, using a series of monstrously powerful spells to "strafe" the entire continent.