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Book 1 in Wars of Light and Shadow.
Half-brothers Lysaer s'Ilessid and Arithon s'Falenn, born to rival families on the splinter world of Dascen Alur, are exiled to an alien world, and then called upon to fulfill a prophecy that they will defeat a malicious being called the Mistwraith that has blotted out the sun in Athera. Little do they know that multiple factions are already vying for control of this world, and the Fellowship of Seven are all too aware that the half-brothers hold the future of Athera in their hands.
And the Mistwraith has some plans of its own...
This book contains examples of:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Subverted on several levels. The one being crowned doesn't care for the throne, and the merchants of Rathain don't even want a king. And on his coronation day, everything goes to hell. Played straight later on, though, as the Deshir swear fealty to him, while the merchants swear fealty to his half-brother.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Traithe is the most polite and least powerful of the Fellowship, but he is able to disable a Guildsman that was about to spill the beans on impending trouble with his two hands, a few minor spells, and startling swiftness.
- Boring but Practical: Offered his choice of instruments from Maenalle's collection, Arithon chooses a lyranthe that is battered, dusty, and long unused over the exquisitely jewelled ones. When his decision is challenged as a mockery of Maenalle's hospitality, he demonstrates that this instrument possesses flawless sound quality, even before it is revealed that it was crafted and used by the Paravians.
- Bottomless Pit: Though not quite bottomless, Rockfell is really really deep and laced with befuddling wards to prevent anything imprisoned there from escaping.
- Burn the Witch: Referenced during a scene where Elaira rescues Arithon from an angry mob. She must carefully choose what magic she uses, because the townsfolk have been known to burn Koriani witches at the stake.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Arithon uses a sorcery technique his grandfather taught him to "unmake" matter, causing a crossbow to explode in a sniper's face. Using magic in this way runs counter to the natural order, though, and it takes so much out of him that he nearly passes out and cripples his ability to use magic for a while.
- Failure Is the Only Option: The sorcerers foresee that using Lysaer and Arithon's gifts to defeat the Mistwraith will lead to five hundred years of war and conflict, but letting things go in the name of peace will destroy any chance of the Paravian races' return.
- Inferred Holocaust: Mearth was a bustling trade city near the Five Centuries fountain. The Curse of Mearth (see Mind Rape, below) is named for it. Mearth is currently completely uninhabited.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind
- Laser-Guided Karma: A trade caravan that robbed and beat up their minstrel companion, leaving him on the road to fend for himself, gets attacked by a Khadrim a few days later, leaving no survivors.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: The prologue indicates the series is comprised of notes and writings compiled by both the temple of Ath, who favored Lysaer, and the common people, to favored Arithon. Further, it specifically challenges the reader to make up his or her own mind on who was in the right.
- Love At First Sight / Rescue Romance: When Arithon accidentally riles up a mob of townsmen against him in a tavern, Elaira acts quickly to keep him from getting lynched by, uh, knocking him out cold and dragging him back to a nearby stable. As both of them are mage-trained, once he wakes up they each see the goodness in the other's heart, and discover that they are soulmates. Otherwise partially subverted, though, as they both know that they can't act on their feelings for various reasons.
- Mind Rape: The Curse of Mearth, placed on the Five Centuries Fountain by Davien to protect it from meddlers. This geas forces the victim's mind into an infinite loop around its own most painful memories, leading to insanity or amnesia.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: While the actual rage was caused by the Mistwraith, the sight of Arithon's discarded princely regalia (which he had ditched earlier out of concern for a particularly traumatic prophecy from Dakar) starts the very bloody ball rolling on Lysaer's campaign against his half-brother.
- Mutual Kill: Attempted and narrowly averted during the battle of Strakewood. This seems to be the Mistwraith's intentions, as the two half-brothers are nearly evenly matched and would probably take out the entire area and die from the strain in the process of trying to annihilate each other.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A rare example where the powers that be knew it was coming, but felt five centuries of war to be the lesser of two evils.
- No Matter How Much I Beg: Once Arithon realizes that even scrying on his half-brother triggers the curse, he has himself bound hand and foot for the next magical peek during the battle of Strakewood, with instructions to Jieret that if he can't get Arithon out of the trance this time, to cut him with Alithiel to snap him to.
- Poke in the Third Eye: When Morriel directs Lirenda to spy on the Fellowship masquerading as the Power of Love between Arithon and Elaira, Dakar and Arithon send the power they were using to fight the Mistwraith back down the scrying link to hit Lirenda in the brain. Morriel is Not Amused.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Lysaer is willing to slaughter Deshan women and children in order to draw out his half-brother. He is not willing to allow Pesquil's bounty hunters to get their rocks off raping the women before they are killed.
- Rightful King Returns: ... two of them, actually.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: Traithe used up a significant portion of his own magical ability to seal off the South Gate through which the Mistwraith was entering the world.
- Tailor-Made Prison: One of these is devised when it is discovered that the Mistwraith's power actually comes from the countless spirits of the dead within the mist it creates, meaning that destroying the wraith itself may release a worse, more uncontrollable hazard into the world.
- Xanatos Gambit: An unusual example here, in that the Fellowship knows that the Mistwraith's defeat will lead to Bad Things, but they don't know exactly how, and in the end they decide that the defeat of the Mistwraith is worth the consequences.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Not quite forever, but in the Red Desert is the Five Centuries Fountain whose waters grant a lifespan of five hundred years to whomever drinks from it... whether they want it or not. Arithon and Lysaer discover this too late when they find it a handy water source to avoid dying of dehydration.
- Your Mom: Variant: Arithon goads a sailor with "Go force your little sister" when he is captured by the s'Ilessid navy.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Mistwraith's defeat comes about halfway through a very thick first book.