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The first book in Peter V. Brett's quintology, the Demon Cycle. The Warded Man (also known as The Painted Man in the United Kingdom) is the story of mankind's struggle to survive in a world where demons materialize out of the ground each night to attack and kill anyone not protected behind magical wards. Society has crumbled and humans survive in isolated settlements, ranging from a few remaining cities to small hamlets. Few are willing and able to brave the roads to travel between settlements. The first book uses rotating points of view to tell the tales of three children, born in different hamlets, who manage to overcome tragedies and leave the safety of their homes to find their destinies.

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Later books in the series begin to follow other characters as well, providing backstories and POV chapters from characters on multiple sides of each conflict. The series as a whole is now complete and made up of 5 books:

  • The Warded Man (published 2008 in the UK, 2009 elsewhere)
  • The Desert Spear (April 2010)
  • The Daylight War (February 2013)
  • The Skull Throne (March 2015)
  • The Core (October 2017)

Brett has also released The Great Bazaar and Other Stories, a collection of short stories set in the same universe. Paul W.S. Anderson is currently planning to make The Film of the Book.


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This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents - Leesha's mom (physical and emotional abuse), and Harl Tanner (sexual abuse)
  • Action Girl - Wonda and Renna. Also, Ashia, Shanvah and Sikvah who are arguably the most skilled non-magically-enhanced combatants in the entire series.
  • Adaptive Ability - Using combat wards allows the humans to gain power by siphoning off the magic of the demons. This can grant strength, speed, and a Healing Factor, but excess power typically burns off in sunlight. The titular warded man is somehow immune to this loss. He has a noticeable healing factor, is able to run on foot alongside his trotting warhorse all day without any signs of exhaustion or even breathing hard, and starts to get pulled down into the Core with a demon he's pinning. He theorizes that this is at least in part due to him occasionally eating demons.
  • Adults Are Useless - Widespread in the first book.
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    • Arlen's father's inaction leads to the death of Arlen's mother and eventually leads Arlen to go down a dark path of vengeance.
    • Leesha's dad is a cuckold who allows his wife to walk over him and his daughter. Eventually though, he gets better.
    • Rojer's master is a non-functional alcoholic who may have turned to drink in order to cope with the memory of surviving when everyone else in Rojer's hometown died.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis - Anoch Sun, buried beneath the sands, is location of Kaji (The First Deliverer)'s tomb, crown, and spear.
  • Affably Evil - Ahmann Jardir lays on the "affable" extra-thick when he visits Deliverer's Hollow. In general he has excellent manners for a Knight Templar warlord; it's sometimes easy to forget during his POV sections that he's the bad guy.
  • Always Chaotic Evil - The corelings.
    • To be fair, the drone corelings appear to have the same level of intelligence (and personality) as a rabid wild animal - they're smart enough to figure things out (they can find weaknesses in wards, through trial-and-error, but they either can't or don't just look at ward-nets and see where the best spot to attack is) but they'll attack anything that seems weaker than themselves - including nominal "allies", like other demons.
    • The third book makes it plain that the rank-and-file corelings are simply too dumb to make moral choices, acting entirely on instict with some low cunning to bolster it. The mind demons, on the other hand, play this very straight.
  • Anachronic Order - the first book does this a lot with Rojer's sections. It alternates between Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer relatively evenly until they meet up, but because Rojer is more than a decade younger than the other two, checking in on him often means jumping ahead in time. The later books also feature extended flashbacks to provide backstories for other characters like those three received in the first novel.
  • And Man Grew Proud - After the Deliverer helped mankind defeat the corelings, man went to war with himself and the corelings rose up again to destroy civilization.
  • Anti-Villain - Jardir, when left to his own devices rather than trying to fulfill Inevera's prophecies is generally a Type III. He's very determined to save the world from the corelings, and decent enough company if you hold to his warrior's ideas- and Everam help you if he thinks you're in his way.
    • Even though she is much less fixated on honor and more pragmatic in her ruthlessness, Inevera counts too.
  • Anyone Can Die - if you're a parent or mentor to the main characters, your prospects are bleak, especially in book one. After that, Plot Armor kicks in for a while, but then it falls off hard in book four. The last third or so is a bloodbath, taking out Count Thamos and Rojer, among other important characters.
  • Artistic License – Biology / Anatomically Impossible Sex - in the third book, eunuch pleasure slaves exist among the Krasians: men who have had their testicles cut off, but are still capable of normal arousal and other sexual responses.
    • Actually possible for men castrated after puberty (especially if aided by medication, as is indicated in the book)
  • Babies Ever After - just about every main character is a parent by the end of the series. Even the ones who don't survive.
  • Badass Army - Definitely Krasian dal'Sharum (warrior caste), especially Jardir's personal bodyguards.
    • The Cutters of the Hollow are swiftly becoming legendary for their demon-killing prowess.
  • Badass Beard - Common trait of Krasian men. Jardir encourages Arlen to grow one.
  • Badass Grandpa - Damaji Alverak is introduced as a thin, light, ancient man with a massive beard. Then he almost beats Jardir in unarmed single combat. Later he is the only Damaji to kill his challenger in Asome's coup. After spending a night beating demons to death with his bare hand. While having only one arm.
  • Badass Gay - Asome and Asukaji, as well as others.
    • Justified in that Krasia is the only culture to somewhat accept same sex relationships between men, and is a proud warrior culture. Basically, as long as you're a fighter and you at least occasionally knock up your wife/wives, their society will look the other way if you also have male lover(s). Similar to Ancient Sparta, which was one inspiration for Krasian culture.
    • Melan and Asavi get away with it because the dama'ting are powerful and mysterious enough that they can pretty much do whatever they want.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Krasian dama and dama'ting (male and female clerics, respectively) are forbidden to use bladed weapons. Since they're the clergy of a Proud Warrior Race they don't let this stop them, and are extremely skilled at unarmed martial arts.
  • Battle Couple - Arlen and Renna.
  • Berserk Button - Nearly every character has one of these.
    • Arlen is generally a nice person. Just don't call him the Deliverer.
    • Jardir has lots of things that set him off, but never ever disrespect Inevera in his presence.
    • Renna Tanner is one giant berserk button. Pretty much everything sets her off, but especially anyone who disrespects Arlen.
  • Big Bad - The Coreling Queen is ultimately responsible for the demons' actions, and killing her to end the threat is Arlen and Jardir's ultimate goal in the final book. However, she's almost always off-page, so Alagai Ka/The Consort, the most powerful of the mind demons, serves as The Heavy.
  • Blood Brothers - Jardir and Arlen are described as being blood brother by one character.
  • Church Militant - Krasia's entire society is one.
  • The Consigliere - Abban for Jardir.
  • Cool Horse - Twilight Dancer, the Warded Man's warhorse. His horseshoes and the horns on his barding are warded enabling him to fight corelings.
    • The Krasians get their own when they start breaking and taming wild Angerian Mustangs, the same species of horse as Twilight Dancer.
  • Crapsack World - Demons have decimated the human population over the course of 300 years, to the point where human society is at genuine risk of dying out. The two people with the power to fight the demons are a borderline Anti-Hero and an out-an-out villain. The villain is the one the demons are truly afraid of.
  • Crippling Castration - Abban does this to Hasik in The Daylight War, to avenge the rapes of his wives and daughters.
  • Darker and Edgier - ...than The Runelords, which the plot shares a number of similarities with.
  • Dead Guy Junior - Arlen discovers a lot of this when touring Thesa as the Warded Man. Jeph and his second wife Ilain have had more children, two of whom they named Silvy and Cholie after characters who died in the first book. Subverted by Ragen and Elissa, who named their son after Arlen when he was assumed dead by the Messenger's Guild after abandoning his former name and profession.
  • Demon Lords And Arch Devils - The mind demons. And the Queen whom they serve.
  • Depopulation Bomb - The resurgence of demons 300 years before the story starts acted as one for humans, and they've been struggling to maintain numbers ever since. It forms a justification for some Deliberate Values Dissonance, particularly in regards to the misogynistic, polygamous culture of Krasia.
  • Determinator - Arlen.
    • Every Krasian warrior is trained to become one of these.
    • Also the one-handed rock demon from The Warded Man. It followed Arlen to the Free City of Miln where he was apprenticing, emerging each night outside the walls to walk around the fortifications and test the multi-layered, impenetrable wards over and over again. Every night. For nearly one and a half years. And in the end it actually succeeds!
  • Disney Villain Death - Played with. At the end of book three, Jardir goes over a cliff and definitely hits bottom. Then the book ends right there, leaving the outcome of this unknown. The next book reveals he survived.
  • The Dragon - Mimic demons serve this role for the Squishy Wizard mind demons. Jardir also likes to surround himself with a few, despite being very physically capable himself. He lampshades it in his first encounter with a mind demon and its mimic, making a mental comparison between the demons' relationship and his own with his lackey Hasik.
    • In the third book, we meet the coreling Consort, the oldest and most powerful mind demon, who is the mate and enforcer for the as-yet-unseen coreling Queen.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Arlen and Renna. Eating demon flesh has altered their biology, allowing them to store magic within themselves while still not being affected by sunlight.
    • Jardir, after learning to use the Spear and Crown to their full potential, is arguably even more powerful.
    • This may be applied to the Dama as a whole, who are an order of priests trained in lethal martial arts. Then they steal the secrets of demon bone magic from the Dama'ting
  • Engagement Challenge - Leesha gives one to Jardir that he fails miserably after he demands she wed her because she's carrying his child - to name the birthdates of all the children he's already got (all seventy of them) from his earlier wives.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: The eunuchs who serve the dama'ting are antiheroic at best, considering Inevera has command of them. Hasik qualifies once Abban gives him his comeuppance. Enkido is a subversion, at least to the sharum'ting who consider him like a father.
  • Eye Scream - Jayan, courtesy of a Docktown leader who doesn't take well to his And Now You Must Marry Me diplomacy.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage - in addition to regularly practicing polygamy, in Krasia each tribe maintains a harem of jiwah'sharum, meaning warrior wives, who are available to any of that tribe's warriors (even if they have personal wives of their own). These are made up of poor but attractive girls who wouldn't otherwise have good marriage prospects, who are sold into the harem so their families can make some money off them instead of having to pay a dowry. It's considered the warriors' duty to keep the jiwah'sharum constantly pregnant to provide more potential warriors for their tribe.
  • Fantastic Metals - Minor example, but electrum (a real-life alloy of gold and silver) becomes very important in later books due to being the only thing that can perfectly conduct magic.
  • Fantasy Contraception - Pomm leaves, made into pomm tea. Used extensively by Elona in her younger years, by the women in the Angierian brothels, and by Leesha after she is raped. May not be all that fantastical, since the author consulted with an expert on herb lore and based most of the Herb Gatherer's curatives on actual remedies.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture - Krasia is clearly based on Arabic/Islamic culture, including requiring that woman wear heavy concealing clothing, but with a good dose of ancient Sparta thrown in. The Thesan duchies have a more clearly medieval European feel to them.
  • First Girl Wins - As of the end of the second book, it's not Leesha who finally captures Arlen's heart. As part of Arlen dealing with his past, he goes back to the place of his brith and ends up saving Renna. They end up renewing their Childhood Marriage Promise. Oddly enough, Arlen's dad is married to, and has children by, Renna's older sister.
  • Functional Magic - Corelings draw their magic from the earth, which can be used for specific abilities or a wide range of them in the mind demons' case. Wards are special symbols that can be used by humans to leach demon magic from them and turn it against them. Initially we only see wards that are purely defensive, designed to repel demons, but wards that do a variety of other things are (re-)discovered over the course of the series. Eventually the main characters are able to use ward magic for everything from strengthening glass to healing otherwise mortal wounds. Demon bone stores residual magic, and when properly warded it can be used in unusual ways, such as Inevera's future-predicting dice and other implements of magic. The third book shows that mind demons can also use wards when they want to channel their power more precisely or wield it on a grander scale than is normally possible.
  • Genius Bruiser - Arlen and Jardir are probably the two greatest warriors alive, but both men are also highly educated and quite well-read. This also applies to both the dama and dama'ting as a whole. They are, by virtue of their training, both highly educated in a wide range of subjects and capable of killing in the blink of an eye with their bare hands.
  • Geometric Magic - The wards. In the backstory mankind had access to both offensive and defensive wards to battle the corelings. The offensive wards were lost. Until Arlen finds them again.
  • Glass Cannon - Flame demons can breathe fire, which lets them pack quite a wallop, but the actual demon is only about the size of a dog and not physically all that powerful, making them one of the easiest corelings to deal with at close range. This also applies to the minds, who, despite their magical powers and intelligence are rather fragile in close combat.
  • Heroic BSoD - happens to several characters.
    • Renna in the second book kills her own father in self-defense after watching him kill a boy who intended to marry her and take her away from him. She has a BSOD so bad that she's nearly comatose for days.
    • Inevera, in her backstory in book three, has an antiheroic one when she learns that the city walls haven't been breached in 300 years, so the Krasians let demons into the maze on purpose for their nightly battles.
  • He Who Fights Monsters - The Warded Man, big time. To the extent that he frightens most people who meet him and he questions whether or not he's human any longer. In the end he begins to get better... maybe.
    • The Krasians devote their entire society to waging war on the corelings. Consequently everyone but warriors and priests are treated as sub-human. By the end of the series, they too start to get better.
  • Hive Queen: The corelings have one. She hasn't shown up in person yet, but is stated be more powerful than even the strongest mind demon.
  • Human Notepad - The Warded Man himself. The wards tattooed on his body allow him to fight and kill corelings with his bare hands.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - The chapter names are typical, but the headings for each chapter feature different images to denote which character the chapter follows, and when the stories begin to intertwine, they appear together. Some chapters get quite crowded. Character don't get a header image until they are considered "Point of View" characters, so some of these don't appear until later books of the series.
    • Arlen/The Warded Man: a tattooed palm
    • Leesha: a mortar and pestle
    • Rojer: a fiddle
    • Jardir: the Spear of Kaji
    • Renna: her father's knife
    • For a few chapters that follow Renna's story, but for which she's indisposed, her sister Ilain (a crib) and Jeph Bales (a sheaf of wheat) take over. They reappear in book 5, and Jeph's taken a level in badass, so his symbol is replaced with an adze.
    • Inevera: a set of alagai hora (dice)
    • the mind demons appear as themselves
    • Abban: his camel crutch
    • Ashia: crossed spears supporting a baby in a sling
    • Ragen: a banner
    • Briar: a burning house
  • Implacable Man - The rock demon from the first book. After Arlen took its arm, it followed him for years, all the way to Krasia, until he finally killed it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bruna, a cranky old woman who is devoted to her work as a healer and shows compassion for Leesha when she needs it most.
  • Keystone Army - several:
    • The Krasians are the strongest human army in the world, but their Blood Knight tendencies cause clan to hate clan and individual to hate individual, often in pointless Cycle of Revenge situations caused by people holding their personal egos above the laws or the needs of the war. Only Jardir's status as Shar'Dama Ka holds them together. Once Arlen separates him from his people, they turn against each other over the course of a few months.
    • Arlen is trying desperately not to be a keystone for the Hollowers and other armies of the north.
    • The mind demons are this in the most literal sense. When one is killed, any demons they are influencing at the time are so affected by psychic backlash that they drop dead.
  • Lady Macbeth - Inevera, so very much.
    • The third book goes into her backstory, and reveals that she was every bit the scheming, treacherous, murdering bitch she was portrayed as in the second book, almost from the very beginning.
    • At the same time we learn that unlike most of her contemporaries she is motivated not by a lust for power and politics but by a deep desire to save her people and all of humanity from what she sees as (and in Krasia's case probably is) a slow, certain destruction. In the end she is every bit the Anti-villain/Knight-Templar Jardir is.
  • Magic Knight: Anyone who gets charged up enough on coreling magic, particularly Arlen, Jardir and Renna.
  • Magic Music - Rojer's fiddling has the power to soothe corelings and stop them from attacking. The moment he stops playing, they'll try to kill him again. His music also has the ability to enrage them further, to the extent that they'll throw themselves against wards again and again to stop his playing. It's hinted in the third book that this ability triggers the ordinary corelings the same way as the mind demons' telepathy.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Due to the heavy population losses from demons, each of the various cultures in Thesa places high expectations on their women to produce children. The Speaker of Tibbet's Brook earned the sobriquet "Selia the Barren" and doesn't seem to appreciate it. Leesha also angsts about it a bit.
    • In Krasia, Hannu Pash ("Life's Path," a sort of coming of age ceremony) for boys takes place over years of intensive combat training. For girls, it's a single foretelling that's basically a fertility test. Girls who are barren are outcasts, forced to wear tan in shame like children and non-warrior men for the rest of their lives.
    • Miln takes a comparatively progressive approach, allowing women much more status than would typically be expected in a medieval European analogue, like access to a special school and positions on the Duke's council—but only once they've produced children. Mothers are revered, and referred to with a capital M.
  • Marital Rape License: Common in Krasia, where wives must swear to be obedient to their husbands.
  • Massively Numbered Siblings: Jardir's fourteen wives have borne him fifty-two sons and at least eighteen daughters. Only a handful of them (his oldest sons Jayan and Asome, and oldest daughter Amanvah) actually make non-trivial appearances.
  • Master Race - The Krasians see themselves as this, with a horrifying twist: Instead of seeking to simply dominate the rest of the world, when they embark on their war of conquest they deliberately, methodically seek out and rape all the foreign women they can in the hopes of siring more children with Krasian blood.
  • Messianic Archetype - The Deliverer, prophesied to return to save humanity from the demons in both the Northern and Krasian religions. Most of the conflict between the human characters comes from arguing over which, if any, of the main characters might be the Deliverer.
    • Jardir betrayed Arlen in the first novel, because his manipulative wife has been grooming him to be the Deliverer, and takes control of Krasia. He is a descendent of the first Deliverer and embraces the role fully. The mind demons seem to agree, and focus their retaliatory efforts on him.
    • The people of Deliverer's Hollow, on the other hand, believe that Arlen is the Deliverer, because he taught them how to fight and brought the offensive wards. The Northern nobility is less than enthused about allowing Arlen to call himself the Deliverer because it cuts into their power base. For his part, Arlen doesn't care and flat out tells people he's not the Deliverer; no one listens.
    • There are hints in the middle books that they both could be. Especially since the title of Deliverer is later suggested to refer to anyone who organizes the fight against demons, rather than one single figure.
    • In the end, however, Arlen is one who defeats the demon queen and her spawn by ascending to a higher plane of existence and wiping out a majority of the race. Jardir toasts "to the Deliverer" in his memory, so he seems to have conceded.
  • Mighty Whitey: Subverted in particularly mean-spirited fashion in the first book.
  • Mind Rape - It's how the mind demons assault their victims.
  • My Nayme Is - Most Thesan names are recognizable, but unconventionally spelled: Arrick, Rojer, Erny, Wonda, Benn...
  • Never Mess with Granny: Bruna doesn't put up with any shit from anyone, up to and including giant demons.
  • Old Maid: Leesha constantly has to tell people that she's not too old. Of course when you consider that one of her childhood friends (who's not much older) has a daughter who's about to be married... Their culture - due to a scarcity of women - encourages women to start trying for children as soon as they start menstruating, just so that the corelings don't wipe humanity out. Given that Leesha's almost thirty, she *is* old by their standards - at least for someone who hasn't had any kids yet; even she mentions that she's starting to get to the point where "[her] best childbearing years are more behind [her] than ahead".
  • One-Gender Race: Corelings. Ordinary corelings are all neuter. Mind demons are all male. Coreling queens are always female, though its unknown if more than one of those exists at a time.
  • One Steave Limit: Averted - there sure are a lot of female characters whose name is a variation on "Mary," but played with in that no two are spelled the same. There are also several examples of Dead Guy Junior, and of sons named after their fathers.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The corelings rise up out of the Core at night and are destroyed by the sun. Wards repel them and unless a weapon is warded, it has almost no effect on them. The corelings are also elementally aligned and opposing elements weaken them.
  • Outside-Context Problem - Old One-Arm was one for the Krasians: their wards were specialized for dealing with the types of corelings found in a desert - sand, wind, and fire. The arrival of a fairly large rock coreling, which the wards weren't tuned for and could use some of their traps against them, that had followed Arlen to Krasia devastated their ranks until Jardir rallied the survivors and Arlen broke out his personal set of wards, which included wards designed for Old One-Arm.
  • The Paragon - Arlen is a variation on this. "Folk start looking to me to solve all their problems, they'll never learn to solve their own."
  • Parental Substitute - Ragen's wife tries to become this for Arlen. He's less than thrilled about it and it damages their relationship until she finally stops. Arrick, who's at least partly responsible for allowing Rojer's mom to die, tries to be one for Rojer, but his drinking and jealousy of Rojer's talent is part of what leads to his death.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: In The Desert Spear, Rojer is offered a pair of Krasian brides. He waffles over accepting them because of cultural differences, primarily regarding polygamy. Eventually he accepts and they end up as this, even arranging him an additional match with Kendall.
  • Power Tattoo - what happens when people start to tattoo wards on their flesh instead of painting them on wood or carving them in stone.
  • Pride: Jardir's major flaw. Sure, he's about as decent a guy as you get out of the Krasian military training and genuinely wants to save the world from the demons- but he also truly buys into his role as the Deliverer and its attendant Omniscient Morality License.
  • Proud Warrior Race - The Krasian culture is based on combat, primarily against the corelings. A man is either a warrior, which includes the ranged tribes, the warders, and the clerics, or he's nothing. The khaffit (non-warrior) caste are seen as honorless and are abused and raped by the warrior caste for kicks. The third book deconstructs this, as it's made increasingly clear that the Krasians are teetering on the verge of becoming a culture of straight-up Blood Knights rather than the honorable demon-killers they're supposed to be. Ironically, it's Inevera who first comes to this conclusion, full-on Lady Macbeth though she is.
  • Rape as Drama - Leesha , Jardir , Reena Tanner and her sisters.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn - Krasians consider it as traditions and therefore do it after their breaking into Rizon. Abban and Jardir actually disapprove of it to varying degrees due to pragmatism: They want to conquer the north, not just sack it, and the tendency of the men to rape women who have influence among the people they are trying to subjugate and to burn stuff that they needed taken intact are making things harder.
  • Rescue Introduction: How Leesha and Rojer meet the Warded Man
  • Revenge Before Reason: A major part of Krasian culture. Some Northern lords also take winning personal feuds (which they often started for no real reason) to be more important than defeating the corelings.
  • Silk Hiding Steel - Inevera is portrayed as subtle and delicate, but she proves to be a skilled fighter. Jardir notes (being the only one able to defeat her) that she could kill any of the Damaji (leaders of clerics, who have spent decades on combat training) before he even realized that he was attacked. And then there is the fact that she is a deadly skilled magician.
  • Someone to Remember Him By - Rojer in book four and Arlen in the final book both leave pregnant wives behind.
  • Start of Darkness - The first part of the second book is devoted to Jardir's backstory. The third book does the same for Inevera.
  • Straw Misogynist - Nearly all Krasians. By the third book, their society has begun to grow somewhat more progressive after Jardir decides he can't just throw away willing warriors because of their gender. In the fourth and fifth, the sheer badassness of Ashia and her spear sisters convinces them even further.
  • The Spartan Way - Krasian system of military training.
  • Squishy Wizard - The mind demons aren't all that tough physically. Unfortunately, they have vast Psychic Powers, knowledge of magic to put any human to shame, and the ability to call up any kind of Coreling they want.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill - Leesha is raped by three men just because she cannot bring herself to kill them, which she could easily do.
  • Training from Hell - Jardir's (and supposedly all Krasian boys') experience from sharaj (the training area). During his training they are abused, bullied and even raped by both Masters and older trainees, have to fight for food, are encouraged to fight against each other and are allowed to see their families only once a month.
  • Universe Chronology - the chapter headings include the year that each chapter takes place, especially helpful in the first book and the first section of each sequel, which cover wider spans. Time is measured in years since the resurgence of the demons, i.e. 291 AR (After Return).
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee - often appears in it's inverted form, so if the characters lay out elaborate and well-reasoned plans (whether in regard to battle strategy, political intrigue, or even romantic entanglements), you can bet they'll quickly be dashed by a new twist.
  • Unusual Euphemism - Various forms of Core take the place of most of the typical four letter words, what with the Core being where the demons come from and all. Since corelings pretty much only exist to brutally kill people, telling someone to go get Cored is serious business indeed. Arlen also using "ripping" a lot.
    • In Krasia, the dama'ting (female clerics) are instructed in "the art of pillow dancing."
  • Weakened by the Light: Sunlight disrupts magic. For demons, this makes sunlight lethal to them. For humans, it means that any magic they're holding burns off at dawn.
    • Averted for Arlen and Renna. Eating demon flesh has altered their bodies to make them capable of retaining magic even during the day. Also for Jardir to a lesser extent, since the Spear and Crown of the Deliverer can retain magic in much the same way, and he can use that magic as long as he's touching the artifacts.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist - Jardir believes all the murder, enslavement and rape his army does serves a good purpose. Particularly the rape: he intentionally "breeds" any physically mature woman to his soldiers in the hopes of raising up a new generation of children of Krasian blood, which will of course make them superior to ordinary Northerners. Same goes for Inevera, who helped mastermind his rise.
  • Worthy Opponent: Jardir and Arlen. Their relationship is described using the Krasian word zhaven, which depending on context can mean "brother" or "nemesis," or both at the same time.
    • Inevera, grudingly, begins to think of Leesha this way after the climax of The Desert Spear. Later her Dice outright describe Leesha as her zahven.

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