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By Sara Douglass...
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In a world of all kinds of incest, we follow our protagonists on an inspiring, at times horrifying, and at times depressingly morally gray adventure. In this case, adventure means everyone had a crappy as hell day. Our first protagonist is Axis SunSoar, who is a member of a military order called the Axe Wielders, which is a part of a religion called the Way of the Plow. The leaders of such, the Brothers of the Seneschal believe that The Forbidden who live in the north are evil, nasty monsters, The Heartless at their finest. There is even a recorded history showing the tyranny and evil of the Forbidden. After a glorious revolution, the Seneschal overthrew their dark masters and sent them into dark forests and mountains...

All of that little story was a lie.

The Forbidden are really decent people, but one group of them, the Icarii, have wings, and the Avar have horns. They have magic music. And that glorious revolution was a Moral Event Horizon crossing for the Seneschal, who chopped down whole forests of habitats for the Avar and all 'round every human in those "glorious" wars of the axe were bastards. Nowadays, Axis is slowly learning his secret past. After assuming leadership of his new people, he has to fight his evil half-brother Borneheld, and uncover mysteries such as about WolfStar, a heretic Icarii combo platter of the Magnificent Bastard, Complete Monster and Mad Scientist tropes. And, of course, deal with the Big Bad, another evil half-brother. This one is called Gorgrael, and he has an absolutely lovely prophecy to go with him.

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Originally from Australia, where these were two separate book trilogies. In America TOR merged them into a six book saga.

The Axis Trilogy
  • Battle Axe/The Wayfarer Redemption (1995)
  • Enchanter (1996)
  • Starman (1996)

    The Wayfarer Redemption
  • Sinner (1997)
  • Pilgrim (1998)
  • Crusader (1999)

The sequel series to The Wayfarer Redemption is The Darkglass Mountain Trilogy.


These books provide examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Axis and Azhure are this to Drago/DragonStar until the events of Crusader. They also weren't exactly saints towards their daughters RiverStar and Zenith, either, and might be part of the reason the former was such an unpleasant person growing up (knowing your parents will never look at you with the same favour as their firstborn from infancy can't be pleasant to deal with). Not to mention being fine and dandy with Niah taking over Zenith's body. And they clearly favored Caelum the most as first born to the point that he became incorrigibly arrogant and a Smug Snake.
      • Luckily they eventually realized that they screwed up big time as parents in the second trilogy, even if it was too late to do anything about it by then.
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    • Hagen is this to Azhure, primarily physically abusive. The worst of it is listed on the Nightmare Fuel page.
  • Action Girl: Azhure is one of these as master of the Wolven and a huntress. It's one of the many things that Axis is attracted to about her.
  • Action Survivor: SpikeFeather - he's no Enchanter and a mere Mauve Shirt in the grand scheme of things, but he's one of the few named characters to survive through all six books even as the shit piles up.
  • Aerith and Bob: There's Axis, Gilbert, Judith, Jayme, and Jack ... and also Azhure, Rivkah, Faraday, Borneheld, and any of the Icarii names.
    • The more unusually-named people tend to be nobility or of a different race.
  • A God Am I: Axis and Azhure are discovered to be the Star Gods of Song and Moon, respectively.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Played straight and then later (as in, the next series) subverted by the Skraelings.
  • Badass Normal: Belial, given how he's one of the few men who can stand up to Axis without fear and faces the might of Gorgrael's army of Skraelings and Gryphon with only his sword.
  • Batman Gambit: Several throughout the series.
    • The Time Keepers had a really impressive one, given that they were a little Sealed Evil in a Can at the time. They used some dreams to turn brother against brother, making one scared of the other, the other was made to loathe and hunt his brother in a dream, and this succeeded: Drago went on through, and they show him compassion... its fake. They use his magic to jump through the universe until they reach Tecendor. They go on through, screwing over Drago in the process, thus eliminating one of the few things that could have stood in the way of resurrecting the Big Bad.
  • Bears Are Bad News: For Qeteb that is, who gets the most humiliating death of the series: eaten by a bear named Love.
    • Not to mention Urbeth and her daughters. They're some nasty pieces of work if you're on their bad side.
  • Because Destiny Says So: This is in both trilogies but it's unclear how much of it is destiny and how much is manipulation in the first trilogy.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Zenith's method for getting rid of Niah. Holy shit.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The SunSoar family has more then a few issues. Most prominently StarDrifter in the first trilogy, WolfStar throughout both trilogies and all of Azhure and Axis' children in the second trilogy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Timekeeper Demons are defeated and erased from the universe, but Tencendor is destroyed and everyone dies. On the bright side, eternity in a afterlife of everlasting happiness can't be too bad.
  • Blessed with Suck: So you're born into the SunSoar family? Congratulations, due to the father of your race cursing your ancestor in exchange for giving the Icarii the gift of flight, you can't find everlasting happiness in a romantic or sexual relationship with anyone outside of your family. And since the Icarii don't have a great birthrate, you're unlikely to have anyone for a very long time, if at all. You could be with someone outside of your family, but it will never last.
  • Blood Knight: Axis is this in a way. While he's not itching for a fight, he seems to be happiest in a fight or when he's actually doing something, due to being a man of action.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Faraday, Zenith and Azhure.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Caelum and RiverStar. Incest is actually a curse of the SunSoar family in general, but it's normally at least a few relatives removed, with relationships between cousins or grandparent/grandchild pairings being common. FreeFall and EvenSong are a primary example of this.
    • It is stated that parent/child and sibling/sibling relationships are forbidden due to being Unclean, everything else is fair game so long as both members of the relationship consent.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Star Gods and the Icarii Enchanters all lose their powers due to the Timekeeper Demons invading Tencendor through the Star Gate, and then destroying the chamber that held it.
  • Cain and Abel: Drago and Caelum, with Drago initially as Cain when they were babies. As DragonStar, he plotted with Gorgrael to dispose of Caelum so that DragonStar could be StarSon, which Azhure foiled and then disinherited DragonStar of his Icarii heritage and name. In the second trilogy, it's Caelum who is the Cain and is more then eager to have Drago killed. They eventually reconcile.
    • Axis has two Cains to his Abel, both half-brothers at that - Borneheld on his mother's side, and Gorgrael on his father's. His mother later has another son with a different father - Zared, with whom he's on good terms generally speaking, but who sometimes makes Axis himself look like a Cain due to his Jerkassery, something he gets called out for multiple times.
  • [1]: Done for both mothers and fathers more then once.
    • Zenith calls out Azhure for her and Axis's Parental Favoritism, recalling how they pampered Caellum and left not only Drago, but herself and RiverStar feeling neglected. Azhure takes it and admits fault. Axis gets some of the brunt too.
    • Isfrael towards Faraday once she assumes human form again. Part of it is just Isfrael being an ass, part of it is justified in that once she assumed human form, she didn't go see Isfrael at all.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Averted, they're as flawed as humans, the Icarii are arrogant and overely on the Star Dance and once they lose it, they have alot of trouble just doing daily tasks. And the Avar as a whole denounce violence but are still a violent race who test toddlers to find out if they have the potential to be a Bane with a sometimes fatal test and they often perform blood sacrifices.
  • Chosen One: Axis in the first trilogy, then Drago in the second.
    • Deconstructed with Axis because of his many flaw that causes quite a few problems up until the end of Crusader. Plus once he fulfilled the prophecy and united the land, he abandoned it to go do his own thing, which caused a ton of problems. Also the fact he was only chosen because WolfStar manipulated history to make him a chosen one.
    • Interestingly enough, Drago tries to refuse being the Chosen One for most of Pilgrim when he becomes The Atoner, much to the frustration of Faraday and many others, but then it's revealed why. In order for Drago to succeed, Caelum needs to be believed by the Timekeepers to be the StarSon and killed by them. Drago is aware of this and already feels massive guilt for how he treated Caelum in the past. It's not until Caelum and Drago finally talk about everything and come to terms with it all that Drago finally accepts the role.
  • Cool Horse: Belaguez
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As Zared points out to both Axis and Caelum, the pointless civil war and half of the events of Sinner could have been avoided if Caelum had taken the chance to trust in Zared and allow him to recreate a ceremonial throne of Achar to allow the Acharites to have the pride of a ruler like the Icarii, Avar and Ravensbund people do. And it'd still be completely under the domain of the House of the Stars and if it went badly, Caelum or his descendants could have stopped it.
    • The whole plot of the first trilogy could have been avoided if WolfStar hadn't manipulated everyone into going along with his prophecy.
  • The Dark Chick: StarLaughter, in addition to being one nasty piece of work.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Azhure watched her mother die be murdered at the hands of her father at age 5 and was physically abused by him for over twenty years.
  • Deader Than Dead: If your soul is killed in the afterlife, apparently, you're gone for good. This is also the fate of anyone Qeteb gets his hands on (as he consumes their souls and the sum of their knowledge), including almost everyone at the Sacred Grove at the time he destroys it; Crusader requires the heroes to play a near-constant game of cat-and-mouse to ensure everyone is sheltered from the Timekeepers (especially at midday) until they can destroy Qeteb himself for good.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The Gatekeeper.
    • Urbeth Possibly qualifies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The ultimate fate of Faraday and Drago .
  • The Dragon: Possibly Sheol to Qeteb, considering she effectively leads the Timekeepers while Qeteb is sealed, and seems to have a bit more leeway with the head Demon than the rest.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • Azhure definitely earned hers, even if it was only for forty years.
    • DragonStar and Faraday. Especially Faraday after every bit of hell she was put through over the span of six books.
  • End of the World as We Know It: In Crusader, though the end of Tencendor is more accurate.
  • Enfant Terrible: Played straight with Gorgrael in the prologue, but completely subverted with DragonStar.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Rivkah and Leagh in the Axis Trilogy and Wayfarer Redemption respectfully. Their status as a Princess of Achar and Tencendor respectively plays an important part in a protagonist's role in the story.
  • Evil Overlord: Gorgrael as part of his role as Destroyer in the Prophecy.
    • Qeteb once he is reborn.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Qeteb is this when he's forced DragonStar to meet with him and explains everything about their destined conflict to him and then at the end, he drops the facade and just flatout says "I'm going to kill you, everyone you love and enjoy every second of it." to him.
  • For the Evulz: Gorgrael's motivation, though this is mostly due a combination of being raised by Skraelings as well as the Dark Man/ WolfStar's manipulations and training him to be the Destroyer.
    • Qeteb and the Timekeepers. Qeteb really hates everything. His sole purpose for existing is to destroy and destroy until everything in all of creation is gone.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Axis, Caelum, Isfrael, and the Avar race as a whole.
  • God Is Good: The Star Gods; the Mother counts too.
  • God Is Evil: Artor.
  • Functional Magic: Having the ability to make thousands of army uniforms in a single night while you sleep definitely qualifies. Also, the ability to teleport across hundreds of miles ...
  • Have You Seen My God?: When Artor came to power, he threw the Star Gods into the Star Gate and sealed them away. During the events of StarMan, they're freed.
  • Hero Killer: The Timekeeper Demons, especially Qeteb.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Raspu, one of the Timekeeper Demons, turns when he is challenged to act as a butler of a household for a period of time as part of the conflict between the Demons and the defenders of Tencendor. He cracks under the sheer weight of the responsibility, begs for another chance, and basically ends up becoming the doorman of heaven.
  • Honor Before Reason
  • Humiliation Conga: Happens to WolfStar and StarLaughter. After dying they are denied entry to the Afterlife and Booed by all the stars untill they reach the end of the universe.
  • In the Back: Borneheld crosses the Moral Event Horizon by doing this to Freefall in the first book.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Timozel. He despises Axis for sleeping with his mother, which is fair. But what he despises him and later Borneheld most for is not giving him the respect and position of authority that Timozel thinks he deserves. Because of this and some manipulation on the Dark Man/ WolfStar and Gorgrael's part, Timozel chooses to ally with Gorgrael so he can finally have the position of authority that he thinks he deserves.
    • This is Isfrael's modius operandi from the start of Pilgrim until his death in Crusader. It goes horribly.
    • WolfStar is revealed to only want to save the world because he wants to rule over it and get recognition for saving it.
    • Niah in Sinner - because her lover WolfStar had told her that though she would die For The Greater Good, but that he would bring her back to life, she was perfectly content thereafter to try and hijack her own granddaughter's body for this second chance, justifying it to herself (and others) by claiming that Zenith was only born for this purpose and wasn't a real person (that Azhure and Axis agree to let her do this repulses StarDrifter). This changes in Crusader. As Rox leaves the body in order to inhabit the child she is birthing, she awakens and - to save Leah and redeem herself - kills Rox by impaling her womb with a knife, and as she bleeds out she asks Leah to tell Zenith she's sorry for what she put her through (unaware that her granddaughter is dead). When she reaches the afterlife she is greeted by Zenith herself, who accepts her remorse and forgives her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Azhure describes the entire Icarii race as this, stating that while at heart they can be good people, they're also really arrogant and are horrible at friendship.
    • Axis. Despite his capacity for cruelty and less likable actions like trying to have both Faraday and Azhure share him, he is still a compassionate man who gives as many chances as he can to people to join him if they do so loyally and is a Father to His Men who grieves for every man who dies under his commmand.
      • Despite this, Axis tends to show the jerk more then the heart of gold because of his arrogance and ego, plus he is brutally ruthless towards Drago in Pilgrim and was willing to kill him as a baby because of his trying to have Caelum killed to become heir. Character Development helps Axis show less of the jerk part though.
    • One could argue that WolfStar is this, despite the fact that he's a manipulative ass and all of the horrific stuff he's done and all of the death he's responsible for during the series, he does have a heart and seems to genuinely love his daughter Azhure and grandson Caelum and did everything he could to save Tencendor. Averted in the second trilogy, where it turns out he was really just pretending to care to curry favour with them.
    • Caelum also counts. When interacting with Zenith or someone he likes, he's mostly polite and reasonable. But put him in the same room as Drago or Zared at the end of Sinner and he'll turn into a massive prick without hesitation. He even killed the sister he was sleeping with because she claimed to be pregnant and was going to blackmail him.
  • Jerkass: There's many examples throughout the series.
    • Borneheld. Throughout the first two books he's shown to be short tempered and quick to hurl abuse at anyone as well as desperate to outshine Axis and is nothing but a jackass to him to the point that he would happily let him die just to feel better about himself. Then from there, he turns into a massively abusive husband towards Faraday (He did try to be a good husband at first) who openly insults and abuses her without remorse in public and constantly cheats on her and has the King who is his uncle murdered because he might be considering allying with Axis. From there, Borneheld only gets worse until his dual to the death against Axis.
    • Isfrael is definitely a jerkass. He spends most of the second trilogy being a selfish power-obsessed ass who embodies the worst of the Avar and ends up causing heaps of problems throughout the trilogy because of his ego.
  • Karmic Death: Isfrael betrays the protagonists in Crusader to Qeteb and the demons and reveals the existance of the Sacred Groves to them. He's killed by Qeteb once he invades the Sacred Groves.
    • WolfStar killed 212 Icarii Enchanter children (including his niece) as well as his wife and unborn son and was killed by his brother in response. He is then killed again by the Hawkchilds, who were once the Icarii Enchanters he killed.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Axis is (rightly) more than a little annoyed when he learns that he could have defeated the Skraelings by getting them drunk instead of fighting tooth and nail.
  • Light Is Not Nice: All Icarii are capable of this due to their arrogance, so are the Avar.
  • The Magic Goes Away: ...if you use it to burn up hundreds of Gryphon that are about to massacre your army. Although it is regained through the Power of Love.
    • The TimeKeepers bring this about by destroying the Star Gate and the chamber that holds it.
  • Magnetic Hero: Axis. His charisma and natural Icarii grace enable him to win the hearts and loyalty of many throughout the series and is one of his greatest weapons, as he is a fantastic public speaker.
  • The Man Behind the Man: WolfStar to Gorgrael. And then Noah to WolfStar.
  • Manipulative Bastard: WolfStar is a master at this, up until the events of Pilgrim. To a lesser extent StarLaughter, though more in the backstory and towards Drago in Sinner.
    • The TimeKeepers make this an art form, manipulating Drago into helping them get to the Star Gate to enter Tencendor. They also manipulated the Hawkchildren and StarLaughter for millenia, and continue to successfully string them along until Crusader when it becomes obvious that they don't care about helping them get revenge on WolfStar.
  • Meaningful Name: If a chapter's name happens to be a character name, either a major event is going to happen involving that character or they're going to die.
  • Mind Rape: Happens to anyone who happens to be outside when the TimeKeepers have their hours, unless you're a Acharite who died and was ressurected. Also happens to Timozel through Gorgrael's torment over the first trilogy and Zenith through the manipulations of WolfStar and Niah.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Axis' reaction to how he treated Azhure at the end of Enchanter when he thought she was WolfStar and invaded her mind to find out her secrets. He never stops regretting that and makes sure to make things right as best as he can.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Timozel betrayed everyone and joined Gorgrael? Well it's obviously Axis' fault for not respecting him and giving him a leadership position and Faraday's for getting sick of him being an asshole to her.
    • Caelum refuses to take any responsibility for his causing the civil war between his forces and Zared's in Sinner, then causing the deaths of over ninety percent of his squad because Caelum decided to just ride straight in without bothering to send scouts in first. Caelum then holds Zared responsible for their deaths, taking no responsibility for it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: There's a few of these.
    • Axis letting Timozel go at the end of Enchanter. This results in Timozel fulfilling the role of Traitor of the Prophecy, Gorgrael finally getting his Warlord and the Skraelings becoming an even bigger threat, along with the deaths of thousands under an organised army of Skraelings that understand battle tactics. It also leads to Timozel being able to manipulate and capture Faraday and take her to Gorgrael.
    • Caelum causes a civil war between the Acharites loyal to Zared and the Acharites and Icarri loyal to Caelum, all because Zared asked for the throne of Achar to be restored as a ceremonial throne to give the Acharites some pride as they feel that they don't have a true leader like the Icarii, Avar or Ravenbudsman do. Zared may have gone about things the wrong way, but as Axis points out, all Caelum had to do was initiate negotiations and enforce reparations. Instead Caelum caused the deaths of over five thousand Acharites in a conflict that meant nothing in the end.
    • Drago capturing WolfStar but choosing to grant him mercy and that he would face trial for the wrongs he'd dealt to Tencendor and it's people, whilst well intentioned, resulted in the Demons capturing WolfStar and Niah's reborn body.
    • Leagh telling Isfrael about both how Acharite magic works and the gateways of light, which led to him assaulting her in her chambers to use it to get to Spiredore. Which led to..
    • Isfrael, in an attempt to reclaim his position as Mage-King and usurp his mother, goes to the demons and tells Qeteb about how Acharite magic works and the Sacred Groves so Qeteb can help him gain entrance after the Mother sealed the path. This results in the Timekeepers invading the Sacred Groves and killing everyone (Including Isfrael) but Ur, who only escaped thanks to Urbeth's arrival. The TimeKeepers, through Niah's reborn body, also become aware that they have access to Acharite magic, the power of the Enemy. This results in Qeteb using said power to destroy Sigholt, Spiredore and invade Sanctuary. Considering that Isfrael thought he'd actually get away with it, it crosses over with Too Dumb to Live.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Done in Crusader. Qeteb does this to DragonStar (though DragonStar has to use his magic conjure up some food).
  • Offing the Offspring: Axis attempts to do this to Drago in Pilgrim, thanks to Sicarius' intervention, he was stopped. Good thing too.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Icarii and Avar; the Icarii are arrogant and impossibly beautiful mystical enchanters with angel wings and a penchant for incest, and the Avar are xenophobic forest-dwelling fair folk who hate violence but power their magic with blood sacrifice.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Skraelings.
  • The Resenter: Timozel resents Axis from the start of the books, at first it was just because Axis was occasionally lovers with his mother, then because Axis didn't "appreciate his talents" and because of his ego. Then over time it just gets worse and worse.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Isfrael betrays Tencendor to the Demons in Crusader; Qeteb kills him when he invades the Sacred Grove, something he wouldn't have been able to do if Isfrael hadn't told him about it.
  • Romantic False Lead: Strangely enough, Axis and Faraday are this for one another in the original trilogy. Axis marries Azhure who he has fallen in love with over the events of Enchanter and is destined to be with. In the second trilogy, Faraday ends up with Axis' son Drago due to being resurrected and still being physically in her early 20s.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Qeteb became this thousands and thousands of years ago and was only unsealed at the end of Pilgrim.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Sentinels become this. They're freed by Drago and thus help him return to life before staying amongst the stars for eternity.
  • Smug Snake: Caelum, and possibly also WolfStar before he dies.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Axis took one throughout Enchanter, but he got better. Isfrael and Caelum took several of these throughout the second trilogy and this causes so many problems.
    • Barsarbe took one in StarMan all because she had a grudge against Azhure and was willing to condemn Tencendor to death at Gorgrael's hand just to satisfy her hatred.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: EvenSong and FreeFall SunSoar seem to completely drop off the radar partway through Crusader, never being mentioned again despite being essentially the rulers of the Icarii (and Axis' sister and cousin respectively). They would have ended up where everyone else did at the end, but it's a little jarring when the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue doesn't so much as mention them (despite even bringing up characters who'd died before the second trilogy).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: There's many examples throughout the series.
    • Belial towards Axis for planning to make Azhure and Faraday share him instead of just picking one because neither of them deserve that. Axis tries to reverse it against him once Ysgryff shows up with Cazna (Who Belial had been sleeping with) and it turns out she's pregnant when Belial claims he's proposed to Cazna already. Belial ends up telling Axis "Find me two more people to witness the marriage and I'll marry her right now." and does so.
    • Belial towards Axis and StarDrifter at the end of Enchanter when Azhure's used the Dark Music and Axis thinks she's WolfStar and about to kill her. Belial demands proof that she is a traitor or he will rise against Axis. Ysgryff and many others join in and Ysgryff even threatens to kill both of them if Azhure dies.
    • Faraday towards Axis for not telling her about Azhure and Caelum because she found out about them during the ceremony that recreated Tencendor and felt deeply humiliated and insulted by Axis' continual promising to marry her when it was obvious he wanted to marry Azhure. This betrayal haunts Axis during StarMan, so he did infact feel bad about it and tries to apologize for it.
    • Axis towards Caelum for starting a civil war against Zared and his forces because Zared seized Kastalon and then claiming the throne of Achar so poorly, along with the deaths of over four thousand of his army. Caelum chooses to shift blame towards Zared instead of own up to it.
    • Zenith against Axis and Azhure for letting Niah force her out of her own body and for just being all around horrible parents to all of their children who weren't Caelum.
      • StarDrifter joins in against Axis and Azhure as well for this after he tells them that Zenith is with WolfStar, even using a Precision F-Strike because Axis was ok with what happened involving Niah.
    StarDrifter: What right do you have to complain?! '''WHAT FUCKING RIGHT?!"

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