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Heralds of Valdemar

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Heralds of Valdemar
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Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_1'); })The Heralds of Valdemar is a Fantasy novel series written by Mercedes Lackey. The series is linked by its setting rather than focusing on a core group of characters; it covers roughly 3,000 years of history, all told. It is written mostly in the form of trilogies that do focus on a particular character, although there are a handful of independent novels as well.The majority of the series revolves around the Kingdom of Valdemar and its protectors, the eponymous Heralds of Valdemar. Heralds are Heroes of one stripe or another Chosen to defend Valdemar from the current Big Bad. Sometimes they have to go on The Quest for the MacGuffin that will save Valdemar, other times they have to root out The Mole or discover whatever Applied Phlebotinum solution they need to save the day. Almost always, it's a Coming-of-Age Story as well.Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_2'); })An important aspect of the Heralds of Valdemar is their Companions. Companions are, in essence, Cool Horses with human-level intelligence and telepathy. They deliver the Call to Adventure to new Heralds by instinctively seeking out and recruiting youngsters with latent Gifts and good hearts, and always find the one person for whom they were meant Because Destiny Says So. This usually happens at just the right time to get the newly Chosen trained just before the kingdom needs them.Mercedes Lackey is also an award-winning filk singer, songwriter and lyricist, which means Valdemar also has a rich folk music tradition of its own. Most of the books list complete lyrics for the songs referenced within, and several books have companion albums containing this music as well as other songs inspired by the events and characters within, all published by Firebird Arts and Music.Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_3'); })Now has a character page, which is under construction! To contribute, please click here!
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Runaway Fiancé
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Runaway Fiancé: Talia, initially.
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Retired Badass
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Retired Badass: Tarma in By the Sword.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_11cac491
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Tragedy
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Tragedy: Brightly Burning is the tale of Lavan Firestorm's destruction by his uncontrolled anger and madness.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_12184cca
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SelfInsert
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Self-Insert: In story, no less; the first time we meet Talia, she's daydreaming about having been a Herald accompanying Vanyel at his last stand. On a meta-level, Herald-Chronicler Myste is the author's avatar.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1240ff57
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Thinking Up Portals
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1240ff57
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Thinking Up Portals: Gate magic. How well it is understood varies between groups of mages. Most believe that they have to be created within some kind of frame (like a doorway) and can only be powered by the creator's own personal energies. But the Eastern Empire mages have much more advanced knowledge and create freestanding Gates, as well as draw upon the power of groups of mages to power them. In ancient time permanent Gates existed.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_12628662
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The Call Knows Where You Live
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_12628662
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The Owl Trilogy (Darian's Tale): In the aftermath of the Mage Storms, young Darian Firkin, reluctant apprentice wizard, finds his life altered when his village is attacked by barbarians and he is forced to flee, finding sanctuary and tutelage with the Hawkbrothers. As he grows into his responsibilities, he finds himself an ambassador to the northern tribes. Owlflight (1997) Owlsight (1998) Owlknight (1999)
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1282bf4f
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No Celebrities Were Harmed
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No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dudley Remp, one of the villains in Eye Spy, is a VERY unsubtle and unflattering portrait of Donald Trump. He's described as having "a perfectly square face, a shock of blond hair, small eyes, a pouty mouth, and oddly small hands," he inherits a shady real estate business from his father, and at one point, under Truth Spell, more or less recites a slightly softened version of Trump's infamous "grab them by the pussy" speech.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_12dd1d4c
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Rape as Drama
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Rape as Drama: Talia, Vanyel.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_13f7da6
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Instant Expert
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_13f7da6
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Instant Expert: One of Need's powers is to make its bearer a master swordfighter if they are not already experienced in martial combat, turning a Squishy Wizard like Kethry into a Magic Knight. In the hands of a completely unskilled bearer, the effect goes even further.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1439161f
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Heroic BSoD
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1439161f
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Heroic BSoD: Just about every major hero in the stories has at least one. Vanyel, after the Gate backfire gives him Adept-level magic and nearly kills him (grief and self-pity). Vanyel again, after being raped by bandits and subsequently Paying Evil Unto Evil (self-loathing). Talia, when her Gift goes wild and nearly kills herself and Kris (self-loathing). Talia again, after being imprisoned in Ancar's dungeons, subjected to rape and torture, and attempting suicide (despair). Amberdrake, after Skandranon apparently fails to return from a mission (grief). Karal, after Ulrich's death (grief), and Altra the Firecat (grief and guilt that he couldn't save both Karal and Ulrich).
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Heroic RRoD
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Heroic RRoD: Pushing one's magic (or Psychic Powers) too far can result in backlash; see also Cast From Hit Points.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_15aa2b3c
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The Confidant
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_15aa2b3c
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The Confidant: The position of Monarch's Own Herald, less formally known as the "King's Own" or the "Queen's Own", exists so that the Monarch always has one trustworthy, loyal, and completely honest friend, alleviating the loneliness that is part of the job.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_16b28263
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Sorry, I'm Gay
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_16b28263
comment
Gets almost ridiculous in Winds of Change. Darkwind likes Elspeth, Elspeth seems interested in return. Then Firesong shows up and Elspeth seems slightly more interested in him than in Darkwind. Firesong notices and has a talk with both of them "Sorry, I'm Gay and happen to like Darkwind. But I know Darkwind likes Elspeth, so I won't try anything". But Elspeth is in the middle of learning about Tayledras customs, so her thoughts after the talk are "Could Darkwind be bi and interested in Firesong?" (he's not). Luckily that gets cleared up immediately after.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_16fbce44
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Liquid Assets
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Liquid Assets: Healing magic (and its Dark Side counterpart, Blood Magic) explicitly work this way.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_171b1206
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Men Can't Keep House
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Men Can't Keep House: Keisha refers to this in Owlsight, when she thinks back to when the village women cleaned up Justyn's old cottage. She concedes that he kept the treatment areas clean, but the living areas .... Later, when she first sees Darian's home in the new Vale, she can't believe at first that a single male lives there because it's so clean. (Darian does not score any aversion points, since the hertasi clean the place for him.)
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1779f10e
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"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Vanyel is troubled by this for a significant portion of his life... not so much to get his father to approve of his accomplishments as to approve of him. Subverted in Winds of Fate with Darkwind and his father. In his youth, Darkwind was close to his parents. But when the Heartstone was sabotaged, and Darkwind's mother died, his father turned against him. It turns out that Darkwind's father is Mind Controlled by the Big Bad and is deliberately trying to drive his son away to protect him, in the only way he can. When the spell is broken, Darkwind is amazed at the change in his personality and wonders how he could have failed to notice.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_177a6464
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Genre Shift
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_177a6464
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Genre Shift: Over time the franchise shifts from epic fantasy to slice-of-life. Most of the Mage Storms trilogy is about political debates and Tremane's reconstruction of Shonar, and the Spy series rarely involve any crisis worse than sexual harassment.
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All There in the Manual
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Under The Vale, a short essay from Larry Dixon in the same named short story collection, reveals that the Tayledras, with their Heartstones, could all together perform god sized feats of magic. Not that they knew this and it becomes moot after the Mage Storms.
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Lord Country
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_17d6d7dc
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King Valdemar himself was also a mage, and the prayer to all the gods that led to the creation of the Heralds was in part a very powerful spell.
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Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_17e530e1
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Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: Glottal-stop apostrophes in the Kaled'a'in languages (Kaled'a'in, Shin'a'in, and Tayledras).
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Unreliable Narrator
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1869b4b1
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Unreliable Narrator: In the song The Leslac Version, a minstrel trying to sing one of Leslac's hagiographic songs about Tarma and Kethry keeps getting interrupted by Tarma herself, who insists on explaining how it really happened. Her version is a lot less heroic and a lot more amusing. In fact, Word of God is that Leslac's entire reason for existing is to be an unreliable narrator - she wrote some of the Tarma and Kethry songs before she wrote the stories behind them, so she created Leslac to justify any inaccuracies: Either he failed to do the research when composing the song or he deliberately rewrote the tale to be more dramatic (Which is what happened in The Leslac Version, which he personally witnessed).
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_18ce8f1d
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Full-Frontal Assault
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_18ce8f1d
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Full-Frontal Assault: In The White Gryphon, Hadanelith, a Serial Killer and mind-rapist, conducts a series of assassinations against prominent members of Haighlei society... by climbing into their windows nude. This has several purposes: it shocks the victims, who are mainly high-class females, into being unable to resist; it avoids leaving evidence in the form of scraps of clothing or shoe-prints; it helps frame the White Gryphon delegation since no Haighlei would ever consider such an act; and it amuses him.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_18d15922
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Title Drop
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_18d15922
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Up until Vanyel's time, this roughly applied in Valdemar and the surrounding petty kingdoms that would later join with Valdemar. Magic was widely used, particularly by the Herald-Mages, while technology and society remained essentially medieval. Vanyel, however, was the last Herald-Mage, and after that, Valdemar would have to rely on Gifts alone.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_19d06ef7
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A Father to His Men
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_19d06ef7
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The Empire encourages fair treatment of its soldiers, not viewing them as expendable and always making sure they're paid properly and on time.
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Anti-Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1a823346
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Urtho's personal portal into the High King's palace in The Black Gryphon. In a similar vein, the Antimagic box he has Skandranon "bomb" Ma'ar's forces with. The latter also serves to establish the explosive potency of magic nullification.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1b901025
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The Fagin
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1b901025
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The Fagin: A Loveable Rogue type. Skif falls in with a group of young thieves led by an adult man (Bazie), who is unfortunately crippled; he gives them food, shelter and lessons (both educational and in how to be a good thief) in exchange for helping him out with his daily life and stealing for him. In Closer to Home, a man named Gripper is running his own gang of boys that steal for him. Unlike Bazie, however, he's abusive and mean to them, so when Mags rescues them and recruits them to be messenger boys (and keep an ear out for any useful information), they're quite happy to do so. By Closer to the Chest, it's established that there are other cruel men running gangs boys to act as thieves with the subsequent result of Mags stepping in and recruiting the boys for his messenger group.
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Tagalong Chronicler
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c0eb4fb
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Tagalong Chronicler: Tarma and Kethry have a bard called Leslac following them around, who keeps, ahem, "embellishing" the details of their adventures, much to their irritation.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c169242
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The Order
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c169242
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The Order: The Heralds—Chosen for their abilities and Incorruptible Pure Pureness to defend the kingdom however they can. This Order is especially closely tied to its Kingdom, since the Monarch is required to be a Herald—being Chosen ensures that he'll put his people's good above his own. They're called Heralds out of tradition; after the original King Valdemar and his Heir, the third person Chosen was Valdemar's royal herald.
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Only the Chosen May Ride
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c34e06b
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Only the Chosen May Ride: The Companions are magical horselike beings which bond to a particular human rider. The Companion always chooses the human, never vice versa. Being Chosen by a Companion makes someone one of the titular Heralds, who serve as a combination of Mounties, circuit judges, military scouts and Search and Rescue service, among other things. Heralds are considered to be intrinsically incorruptible, because the Companions don't Choose people who would take bribes or the like. It is also required that the ruler of the country be a Herald, and no one who has not been Chosen by a Companion is eligible to be ruler or heir. In Exile's Valor, Prince Karathanelan assumes the Companions are just distinctively-colored horses and heads off to Companions' Field to break one of them to saddle. The only reason he survives to the novel's final fight scene is because Caryo goes easy on him. Under special circumstances, non-Chosen may ride Companions, or may even interact with them. Karal of Karse was in a sense Chosen by Altra the Firecat, the Karsite version of Companions. The Companion Florian didn't Choose Karal, but befriended and helped him, because he needed a better perspective of Valdemar than a Firecat could provide. Near the end of Magic's Price, Yfandes directly mindspeaks Stefen to help care for a traumatised Vanyel, and carries them double. blink and you'll miss it, but it's mentioned that Keren and her brother Teren can mindspeak each other's Companions as well as their own; this is outright stated to be because they're twins. Whether this holds true for Selenay and Daren's twins is yet to be seen. in the short stories about Herald Wil, he's eventually pulled off assignment to Haven to go back on circuit; however, this causes him major issues because he's a single father, still not over his wife's loss, and intensely bonded to toddler Ivy as a result. He asks permission to take her on circuit with him; this is allowed once an unpartnered Companion volunteers to go along to carry Ivy when in transit and play nanny while Wil's busy Heralding.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c3a639e
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Freak Lab Accident
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c3a639e
comment
Freak Lab Accident: Vanyel has strong mage-potential but it takes a freak accident involving the backlash from a collapsing Gate to unlock his powers, transforming him into the third most powerful mage in history and granting him almost every other Gift in the book as well.
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Poor Communication Kills
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1c445e86
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Poor Communication Kills: Dirk, Kris, and Talia's Love Triangle would have been a lot easier to resolve if they had just talked to each other about it. Unfortunately, Talia gets thrown headfirst into Haven politics, Kris goes on a spree of debauchery, and Dirk falls victim to Drowning My Sorrows over an unrelated incident. The whole thing doesn't sort itself out until after Kris dies and Talia nearly dies. The beginning of Vanyel and Stefen's relationship got delayed in big part because Medren had failed to ever tell Vanyel that he and Stefen shared the same sexual orientation, while Stefen knew it. And if not him, plenty of other people, including Stefen himself, could have told Vanyel before Medren had to resort to get Withen (yes, Vanyel's homophobic father from the two previous books) to pull There Is Only One Bed on them during their stay at Forst Reach.
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Bishōnen
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Bishōnen: Vanyel and Firesong in particular. Especially Firesong, who is described as though he stepped right out of a medieval fantasy anime. Very few readers were surprised to find out that Firesong is Vanyel's descendant.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1cc9f5e5
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Playing with Fire
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Playing with Fire: Firestarters, one of the rarer Psychic Powers, do this.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1d18887f
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Pay Evil unto Evil
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1d18887f
comment
Pay Evil unto Evil: In Oathbound, Tarma and Kethry arrange the rape of a bandit infiltrator by sending him back to his companions, stripped naked and magically disguised as a woman. Kethry's master sorcery in Oathbreakers involves harnessing the combined anger of all of the Sunhawks over their captain's brutal murder. It is used in a way that barely straddles the line between good and evil; it's even stated that Kethry's greatest challenge is not to let the sheer power of all that rage overwhelm her, lest she fall to The Dark Side. Talia's literal Mind Rape of a (physical) rapist also qualifies; it was an act of calculated rage on her part, but she felt absolutely no remorse afterward, comparing it to shooting bandits and noting that if the man ever truly repents, he'll be freed. When Vanyel stood against Lord Nedran of Hardorn and his demon-summoning wizard, who had been sacrificing his own people for power, he released the demons upon Nedran. "Now I shall give you, Nedran, all the power that you seek."
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1d311757
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Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1d311757
comment
Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Inverted somewhat with Stefen, who does not resemble Tylendel all that much but is his reincarnation, making his lifebond with Vanyel not so much a replacement lifebond as a re-lifebond.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1dab5333
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Total Eclipse of the Plot
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comment
Total Eclipse of the Plot: In The White Gryphon.
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Advanced Ancient Humans
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Advanced Ancient Humans: Both magic and science were much more advanced back in Urtho and Ma'ar's era. They had literally rerouted the ley lines to help power things like permanent Gates. Urtho appeared to understand biology and genetic engineering to a great degree. Also, amongst the all the Lost Technology in the vault under his ruined tower there were a number of weapons of mass destruction that were explicitly stated to be non-magical. At least one was implied to be an atomic bomb!
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1dfbbf31
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Heterosexual Life-Partners
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1dfbbf31
comment
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tarma and Kethry, one of the classic examples in fiction. Tarma of course is celibate by divine oath, and Kethry is more than het enough for both of them, as she demonstrates by getting Happily Married at the end of Oathbreakers and having Babies Ever After. It doesn't stop them from being subjected to Ho Yay in-universe, though.
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Breaking the Fourth Wall
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comment
Breaking the Fourth Wall: an unusual and hilarious version. For the DAW 30th anniversary anthology, Lackey wrote a short story where all the main characters of the Valdemar books to that point manifest in her bedroom and call her out on the Trauma Conga Line she's inflicted on them. Lackey apologizes specifically to Talia, saying she hadn't yet learned at that point in her writing career when to throttle back on the urge to show off what she'd researched specifically, Talia getting her feet crushed during her torture in Arrow's Fall. She even gets called out by ''Myste''! Lackey offers her Alberich as a love interest to buy her off.
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Automaton Horses
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Automaton Horses: Mainly averted (see Shown Their Work), but justified with the Companions, who use node magic to augment their endurance and can therefore run much faster and for much longer than any ordinary horse. They do still need to rest and eat eventually, although they are also much more capable of taking care of their own needs than ordinary horses.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1edfa2c7
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Royals Who Actually Do Something
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Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Monarch must be a Herald. Heralds are all Special-Forces-qualified. However, the Heir is noted as the only Herald under orders to stay away from any danger they can reasonably avoid; when faced with a conflict between this injunction and her duty as a Herald-Mage to take the lead against the forces of evil, Elspeth is only able to resolve the conflict by abdicating her spot in the royal line of succession. (She is only able to do this because there are othe heirs available)
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1f80d7be
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Wild Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_1f80d7be
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When Wild Magic transports Darian's parents to the far north, his father's foot is left behind.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_204340fc
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Vomiting Cop
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_204340fc
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Vomiting Cop: Chapter 9 of Changes turns into an episode of CSI: Haven when four enemy spies are found dead. Two summertime days of decomposition make several hardened Guardsmen "violently ill," but the Special Squad of CSIs are unfazed.
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With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_208c4494
comment
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The traumatic awakening of Lavan Firestorm's powers leaves him mentally fragile and only his bond with his Companion keeps him sane and his power in check. When she dies, all bets are off. This almost certainly would have happened to Vanyel, were it not for his mentor's relationship with the Tayledras. Talia has an early bout with this, due to her abilities as The Empath and the fact that the Collegium critically failed when training her, leaving her completely unable to control her gift. Kris, under circumstances that amount to direct divine intervention, manages to get her Gift trained before she loses it completely, but nearly gets killed while doing so.
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Suit-Up of Destiny
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Suit-Up of Destiny: Graduation from a Herald-Trainee to a full Herald is marked by a simple wardrobe change from the grey Trainee uniform to Heraldic Whites.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_21f3aa44
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Good Is Not Nice
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Good Is Not Nice: Weaponmaster Alberich, who believes that he cannot afford to be kind or merciful to his students lest their training fail at a critical moment. Alberich's successor, Kerowyn adopts the same rule, having come from a mercenary background and also having seen firsthand what happens to trainees whose weapons instructors are too easy on them. Talia is a very reasonable person and good at sorting out people's problems, but her psychic ethics are largely restricted to people on her side. Enemies beware!
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_22c41566
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Trilogy Creep
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_22c41566
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Trilogy Creep: The Collegium Chronicles trilogy was expanded to four books... and then five. And now there's a sequel series with the same characters, making Mags the headliner of more books than anyone else in the series.
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Chekhov's Gun
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_22cf536c
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Chekhov's Gun: The Oathbreaking ceremony is mentioned in passing early in the first part of Oathbreakers, and unsurprisingly is a key part of the novel's resolution. Any piece of lore that Jadrek mentions also inevitably pays off at some point over the course of the story, most notably the legend of the Sword that Sings. Urtho's personal portal into the High King's palace in The Black Gryphon. In a similar vein, the Antimagic box he has Skandranon "bomb" Ma'ar's forces with. The latter also serves to establish the explosive potency of magic nullification. Karal's power is to be a "Channel", a very rare ability that can't even be trained. It's established right away in Storm Warning, which is good because he ends up using this ability at the climax of each and every novel in that series. Talia is taught the Heralds' arrow-code in Arrow's Flight, and the fact that the exposition is depicted in full is a pretty clear forewarning that she will have need of the code's direst signals. Sure enough, she has need of the signal for "catastrophe, situation helpless, do not attempt rescue" in the next book.
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May–December Romance
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May–December Romance: An Author Appeal. Several appear early in the series: Stefen is 17 and Vanyel is 35 when they meet. Talia (19-20) marries mid-30s Dirk. This is Retcon; when Talia first meets Dirk and Kris (who interned together) she is thirteen, and they are both new Heralds, roughly eighteen or nineteen. Keren is ten to fifteen years older than Sherrill. Ancar (late 20s) and Hulda (probably 60s, possibly older) are a less positively portrayed couple. In the Herald-Spy series we have Lady Dia (early to mid-twenties) who is the second wife of Baron Jorthun; implied to be in his fifties at least, with grown children who greatly resent Dia, and was Herald Nicholas' mentor in spying.
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Non-Mammal Mammaries
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_23d6eccb
comment
Non-Mammal Mammaries: Specifically averted for the gryphons. At one point in Mage Storms, a general assumes that a group of gryphons must be all-male because none of them are, shall we say, "equipped" for nursing babies. Elspeth tells him gryphon chicks are fed the same way hawk or eagle chicks are fed.
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Changing of the Guard
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comment
Changing of the Guard: As noted above, the focus character changes between trilogies. (Did you expect the same characters for all 3000 years?) Certain villains (most especially Ma'ar) put in appearances throughout the series, and a number of protagonists have persisted as well, largely by Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence.
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Unwanted Assistance
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Unwanted Assistance: Tarma's attitude toward the bard who follows her around.
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Captain Ersatz
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Captain Ersatz: Herald Jakyr's family's religion is a direct copy of the Quiverfull movement, and he actually namedrops the idea of "a quiverful of children."
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The Women Are Safe with Us
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The Women Are Safe with Us: The Eastern Empire has very strict laws about rape that gets imposed whenever they conquer a new land. Basically, any woman that gets raped is granted the status of a divorced spouse, which means that half the perpetrator's possessions and wages go to victim, five years if there is no child and sixteen if there is one. If the child is a daughter, the guy has to provide a dowry, and if it's a son, he has to pay for the outfitting when the son is conscripted into the military. If the perpetrator doesn't have means to pay, then he gets sent to a government labor camp with his wages paying for it. If a guy is stupid enough to rape again, then he undergoes physical and magical punishment that leave him outwardly intact but unable to repeat the act.
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Fictional Geneva Conventions
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Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Mercenaries' Code binds all Guild mercenary companies, and any nation that ever wants to be able to hire Guild mercenaries - that's everyone except Karse, the Empire, and Iftel. (Valdemar doesn't generally use mercenaries, but they treat them fairly when they do, or when they fight against them.) It boils down to "abide by the contract," "don't send mercenaries into a suicide mission," and "mercenaries don't loot without permission or commit atrocities against the population."
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Alliterative Title
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Alliterative Title: Closer to the Chest Take a Thief Heralds, Harpers and Havoc Magic, Moondust, and Melancholy Lovers, Lore, and Loss Shadow Stalker Sun and Shadow The Collegium Chronicles Brightly Burning
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Blood Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_270c1778
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Blood Magic: One of the most potent forms of magic, this is based on the principles of Cast From Hit Points with a side of Sympathetic Magic: blood is both a literal and symbolic sacrifice and a rich source of power. It's also a lot easier to handle than node magic, to the point where even people without mage gifts can use primitive forms of it. Of course, it's also addictive and evil, because unless it's a voluntary sacrifice, you're taking it from other people without their consent. For this reason, it also carries strong overtones of cannibalism — once you've practiced blood magic, it forever stains your soul.
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What's Up, King Dude?
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_272b4fce
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What's Up, King Dude?: Valdemar's monarchs tend toward an open door policy. The Palace grounds are open to the public, and Mags (at that point, just a regular Herald) is allowed to barge into the middle of an emergency royal council and bluntly tell the King to settle down.
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Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2764d432
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Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: the only-mentioned Lady Naril in the Arrows trilogy. Midway through book 1, Talia is being badly affected by pretty much everyone in the immediate vicinity burning up with rage, and Jadus tells her why: a young Herald named Dirk has been horribly played by a young Court beauty. Naril made Dirk fall wildly in love with her, all for the purpose of getting her claws into his best friend Kris, who had previously rejected her. A flashback by Kris in Arrow's Flight spells it out as "Come to her bed until she tired of (Kris) or she would make Dirk's life hell". But when Dirk finds her out, she unleashes a vicious verbal attack that flays his ego to shreds - Kris tells Talia later that he truly thinks it was only Dirk's Companion that stopped him throwing himself in the river that same night. But the worst that can be done is to banish her from Court in disgrace. This also becomes a subtle Chekhov's Gun: the tragic and near-disastrous cycle of miscommunication between Talia, Dirk and Kris mid-way through Arrow's Fall is due, among other things, to Dirk being utterly incapable of believing any woman would want him when Kris is around.
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Oddly Common Rarity
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Oddly Common Rarity: Lifebonds, supposedly very rare, are all over the earlier novels. Word of God says that Lackey realized this and backed off on them. Companions bespeaking Heralds who are not their Chosen is said to be exceedingly rare. However, by the time of the Mage Winds trilogy, it seems they are entirely content to engage in Mindspeech with anyone who is not a Herald. On a similar note, Talia is the only Herald focus character in the series who can't communicate with her Companion with Mindspeech.
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Birthday Hater
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Birthday Hater: Since Holderkin birthday celebrations consist of the birthday child receiving a lecture from the adults of the household about the greater responsibilities that come with age, Talia doesn't celebrate or even spend much time thinking about her birthday once she becomes a Herald.
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Excalibur in the Rust
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Excalibur in the Rust: In Oathbreakers, the long-lost Singing Sword of Rethwellan that is used to identify the country's rightful king is discovered to be none other than a rusty, dirty old sword that Kethry picked up along the wayside.
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Incorruptible Pure Pureness
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_289008dc
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Averted in Valdemar, where one must be Chosen as a Herald, with all the Incorruptible Pure Pureness that implies, in order to be eligible for the throne. It is in fact key to the origin of the Heraldic Circle: King Valdemar, concerned that one of his descendents would eventually fall into this trope, prayed to every God he could think of for a way to ensure that his successors would always be worthy people, and was answered by the appearance of three Companions who promptly Chose him, his son, and his herald.
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Defrosting Ice Queen
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Winterhart, which she chose deliberately in an attempt to conceal her tragic backstory.
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Parental Abandonment
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_297ab1b9
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Parental Abandonment: Pops up from time to time, though less often than one might think. The most notable case is probably Darian of the Owl trilogy, for whom this is a major trauma.
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Bury Your Gays
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2a8a7ea6
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Bury Your Gays: One of the more notable inversions of this trope occurs in The Last Herald-Mage. The tragic suicide of Tylendel, Vanyel's first love, sets him on the path to become the titular last Herald-Mage, and the gods even return Tylendel to him as Bard Stefen, and then reunite them after death in apology for his suffering.
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Sketchy Successor
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2b3e7d3e
comment
Sketchy Successor: Averted in Valdemar, where one must be Chosen as a Herald, with all the Incorruptible Pure Pureness that implies, in order to be eligible for the throne. It is in fact key to the origin of the Heraldic Circle: King Valdemar, concerned that one of his descendents would eventually fall into this trope, prayed to every God he could think of for a way to ensure that his successors would always be worthy people, and was answered by the appearance of three Companions who promptly Chose him, his son, and his herald. Played straight, meanwhile, with the King of Hardorn, who was a pretty good king and ally of Valdemar until his son Ancar killed him and took over, enslaving his people and starting wars with Valdemar and Karse.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2b7d29e1
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Artifact Title
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comment
Artifact Title: "Herald" is an in-universe example. They were named because the first three Chosen were the King of Valdemar, his son and heir, and his court herald; King Valdemar reasoned that a kingdom could only have one King and one Heir, but could have many Heralds. Very rarely does a Herald actually act as herald, and when they do it is duly Lampshaded.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2b9ae056
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World-Wrecking Wave
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2b9ae056
comment
World-Wrecking Wave: The Cataclysm, which takes the form of waves of magical energy emanating from the twin foci of Ma'ar and Urtho's citadels. Where the interaction of the waves produces a "crest", massive destruction is wrought even by comparison with the original purely physical blast. In Mage Storms, the Valdemaran artificers plan much of the Allies' defense against the storms on the basis of a geometric analysis of the wave patterns.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_2b9ae056
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2bf993ad
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Secret Relationship
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2bf993ad
comment
Secret Relationship: Vanyel and Tylendel in Magic's Pawn, due to the fact that Vanyel's father finding out about them would be bad news for them. They go up to pretending to hate each other in public, which causes lots of mistaking of Vanyel's intentions by other people during the events that lead to Tylendel's death.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_2bf993ad
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2c0f4598
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Asexuality
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2c0f4598
comment
Asexuality: Tarma, and the other Shin'a'in Swordsworn, due to religious vows. The Shin'a'in Goddess is both merciful and practical, however—rather than force her adherents to torture themselves, she simply puts in a mental block preventing them from feeling any sexual desire at all. But hey, they are all volunteers, and it's made clear that the Goddess won't accept anyone as a Swordsworn unless they've been given full disclosure first. In Tarma's case, it's necessary at first to keep her from being emotionally crippled due to her Rape as Backstory. Solaris may be naturally Asexual in comparison. It's never made clear if Vkandis did the same thing as the Shin'a'in Goddess to her. Strongly implied with Lavan Firestorm, and his Companion Kalira due to their being lifebonded. Lackey was obviously wanting to avoid the possible Squick implications. In Eye Spy, Abi eventually figures out that she is asexual aromantic.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_2c0f4598
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2cc736e4
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Bondage Is Bad
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2cc736e4
comment
Bondage Is Bad: Zigzagged. There are multiple villains who use bondage and sexual torture to gain magic, obtain control over others, or just get their sadistic kicks. Notables include Hadenalith in The White Gryphon, Mornelithe Falconsbane in the Mage Winds, and King Ancar in Arrow's Fall and Winds of Fury. However, The White Gryphon implies that Amberdrake was trained in BDSM when he snarks that he's forgotten more about knots and ties than Hadenalith would ever dream. In Winds of Change, Starblade's therapy includes BDSM sessions to undo the mental and physical corruption that Falconsbane wrought on his body. While there are no on-screen depictions of good characters practicing BDSM, Lackey doesn't wholly condemn BDSM, instead indicating that lack of consent and violation of autonomy are what make the villains truly villainous.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2cd6b637
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Fantastic Nuke
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2cd6b637
comment
Fantastic Nuke: The most powerful mages explicitly embody this concept, the most obvious example of which is the Cataclysm at the conclusion of the Mage Wars.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2d364c81
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Tomboy and Girly Girl
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2d364c81
comment
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tarma and Kethry. Subverted a bit, because tomboy Tarma is the one who most adores babies and children.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2f226fee
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You Didn't Ask
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2f226fee
comment
You Didn't Ask: Elspeth is infuriated when she finds out that her Companion, Gwena, never bothered to tell her that she is also a mage. Or Grove-born.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_2f226fee
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_2f226fee
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3079b64
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Author Catchphrase
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3079b64
comment
Author Catchphrase: Lackey re-uses several proverbs across different trilogies and cultures, attributing them to various in-universe sources. The most common one is probably "it is easier to apologize than to ask permission." She also uses the phrase "hit in the back of the head with a board" frequently. It seems that is the only way to describe shock in her world. Every character in the Valdemar universe licks their lips before speaking, no matter what they're feeling. In the most recent books, Lackey has been overusing the term al fresco, an Italian phrase meaning "in the open air", with no explanation of how the Valdemarians know Italian.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_3079b64
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_30849c3e
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Ruling Couple
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_30849c3e
comment
Ruling Couple: Selenay and Daren of Valdemar. In fact, any Valdemaran royal spouse will become a co-consort provided that they are also chosen as a Herald. There are several examples of this in the back story. Daren, however, takes the title of Prince-Consort rather than King, which as a Herald he would be entitled to. One of the short stories justifies this as his not wanting the job, and also wanting to set himself apart from Selenay's regicidally ambitious previous husband (aka Daren's un-lamented late elder brother).
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Color Me Black
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_310356c9
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Color Me Black: In Oathbound, Tarma and Kethry foil a bandit party that's been preying on caravans, killing the men outright and slaying the women after the bandits rape them. They kill the bandits, but save their leader. Said bandit leader gets transformed by illusion magic into a buxom blond woman, stripped naked, and sent back to his/her fellows. This comes back to bite the duo later, when the leader, having survived the experience, joins forces with the demon Thalkarsh.
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Power Levels
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_324e2fcf
comment
Power Levels: Mages are rated by their maximum capacity for handling magical energy, which is apparently genetic and (mostly) unalterable. Journeymen can only use power from within themselves and ambient power from their immediate environment, Masters can tap Ley Lines, and Adepts can tap nodes. While they are in training, mages may be identified by ranks below their maximum potential (example: a "Journeyman" with "Adept potential"). Of course, pure power isn't the only indicator of success; skill also counts. It's noted in one story that a clever Journeyman, by avoiding direct confrontation, could stymie even an Adept. Many of the powerful spells that Adepts can pull off would not be possible, or would have terrible environmental side effects, if the mages didn't have teams of Journeymen and apprentices working to maintain the magical balance.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_334e48a1
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After the End
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_334e48a1
comment
It's hinted that in the time of the Mage Wars trilogy, magic had allowed society to advance far beyond what we see in Valdemar, a few thousand years After the End. For instance, Amberdrake attended an "advanced" medical college that denied the reality of Healing Hands and other Gifts, and several non-magical Lost Technology weapons can be found in Urtho's tower (including something implied to be an atomic bomb). After the Cataclysm, societies rebuilt themselves to the medieval status we see. Over the course of several hundred years, Valdemar is founded by migrants from The Empire, grows, absorbs smaller kingdoms, and enters into a long-standing a Space Cold War with Karse.
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Street Urchin
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_33981caf
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Street Urchin: Skif, Stefen, and a number of other characters.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_33981caf
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Might Makes Right
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_33c99c49
comment
Might Makes Right: The philosophy of the Bear Clan barbarians, as exemplified by "Song of the Bear Clan." Soft virtues like compassion are useless and meaningless; there is only strength or death.
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Dripping Disturbance
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Dripping Disturbance: In Exile's Valor, Selenay is already having trouble sleeping due to grief over her father's death, and the drip in the royal suite's bathing room isn't helping matters.
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Grim Up North
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_347e35d6
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Grim Up North: For Valdemar, the Northern Wastes; Valdemar itself is this for Rethwellan and Karse.
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Lap Pillow
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Lap Pillow: Tylendel does this with Vanyel the morning after they first get together. Vanyel’s reaction shows his gradual acceptance/realisation of their relationship.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_351205d2
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Friends with Benefits
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_351205d2
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Talia and Kris, who are involved during her internship but don't have serious romantic feelings for each other, are also shown to add a psychic dimension to their lovemaking.
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Burn the Witch!
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_352def2a
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Burn the Witch!: Until Solaris' reforms, this was the fate of any magically or psychically gifted Karsite not chosen for the priesthood. Specifically this is why Alberich is now a Valdemaran Herald rather than a Karsite Captain; his Companion had to rescue him from a burning barn after he too obviously used precognition to save a village from a bandit raid.
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Sex Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_35cae9cc
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Sex Magic: Falconsbane uses a mix of sex magic, nonconsensual BDSM, and Mind Rape to brainwash Starblade. Undoing the damage requires a female Healer with Intimate Healing.
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Person of Mass Destruction
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_36c94bed
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Person of Mass Destruction: Most Adept-class mages are this, but some get special mention. Among those with Psychic Powers rather than magic, Firestarters are similarly capable. Vanyel Ashkevron gives his life in a Heroic Sacrifice that obliterates a powerful mage and the entire army he was leading into Valdemar. Even prior to this, he is viewed with fear among his own people as he is said to be able to level the city of Haven should he ever so choose. Lavan Firestorm, a Firestarter, reduces an entire army (and himself) to ash and sterilizes the pass they came through in his own Heroic Sacrifice. The grand prize goes to Great Mages Urtho and Ma'ar of prehistory, who between their own vast powers and their Magitek WMDs managed to completely change the face of 99% of the known world in a magical Cataclysm so powerful that it echoed through time to recur 3000 years later.
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Squishy Wizard
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_38047858
comment
Squishy Wizard: Most mages, including Kethry except that Need makes up the difference in her case. It's mentioned that the reason for the squishiness of wizards is the time investment needed: "Fighter, mage, social life: pick two". Herald-Mages attain Magic Knight status instead by sacrificing the third one, and by getting the best and fastest possible training in both disciplines.
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Engineered Public Confession
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_38bf28e3
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A variant is employed by Talia and Elspeth in Arrow's Fall to catch the traitor in Selenay's court, by attempting to lure him into an Engineered Public Confession. It works better than expected, leading to a full Villainous Breakdown.
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Defector from Decadence
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_38f1a7ed
comment
Defector from Decadence: Admittedly Herald Alberich did not defect so much as get shanghaied but the end result remained thus. He protests it, too, once he recovers from his mad dash for freedom journey. He even considers - for a few moments anyways - having his bond between himself and his Companion severed. He doesn't go through with it, mostly because of the mention that it would leave both of them badly damaged but it seems a close thing, even so. Duke Tremaine defects from the Eastern Empire. Baron Valdemar in the prehistory of the kingdom, implied to be from the Eastern Empire as well.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3947a03f
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Celestial Paragons and Archangels
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3947a03f
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Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The Grove-Born Companions are essentially archangels in horse form. The Firecats of Karse and the Avatars of Kal'enel also qualify.
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Mutant Draft Board
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_39488ea5
comment
Mutant Draft Board: A borderline example. The Companions don't ask permission of their Chosen before they Choose them, and have, on a couple of occasions, forcibly seized the Herald-to-be and dragged him off against his will. However, the Omniscient Morality License is in play: the Companions never choose anyone who would not accept the Call to Adventure if they knew all the facts, and no Herald has refused to serve once he or she is made aware of the situation. An in-story subversion occurs in Stefen's backstory in Magic's Price: as he relates to Vanyel, Bard Lynnell kidnapped him right off the street declaring that "you belong to Valdemar now." In fact Lynnell had recognized Stefen's extremely potent Bardic Gift and - being as undiplomatic as a sack of hammers - stopped only to confirm that he was in fact living on the street with no blood kin before grabbing him to pack off to the Bardic Collegium for training. Owlsight features an implied aversion when Keisha sees a Companion coming and panics at the thought that she'll be Chosen and expected to leave her village without its only Healer and herbalist - only for the Companion to turn towards her sister instead. Whether she was really on the verge of being Chosen or just jumping to conclusions is left deliberately unclear. However, elsewhere in the series it's stated more or less outright that some people who would otherwise make very good Heralds are specifically not Chosen because there is some other role that it is more vital for them to play; Arrows of the Queen specifically notes that those with the Healing Gifts are almost never Chosen because they are needed far more as Healers than as Heralds. Ultimately, as in so many other things, Because Destiny Says So is in full effect regarding who does or doesn't get Chosen.
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Rare Money
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3a41f8f9
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Rare Money: In Oathbreakers, the Hawkspiece is a coin worth little, and rarely seen out of the town of Hawksnest. Handy when you need an identification token hundreds of miles away.
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You Shall Not Pass
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3b0479f2
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You Shall Not Pass!: Vanyel pulls a great big one at the end of Magic's Price. He pulls a smaller one at Stony Tor in the song Demonsbane. Darian's master pulls one at the start of OwlFlight, leaving Darian with massive unresolved guilt over his dislike and contempt for the old man. Lavan tried one at the end of Brightly Burning, but it ended up as a Taking You with Me instead.
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Foregone Conclusion
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3bc88a7f
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Foregone Conclusion: Vanyel and Lavan Firestorm again, not to mention Urtho and the Cataclysm.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3be94971
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Glory Seeker
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3be94971
comment
Glory Seeker: Tarma, quite unhappily. A wiser Shin'a'in cautions her that if she wants to attract quality persons to repopulate her clan, she'll have to rebuild its reputation personally. Elspeth gets a brief version of this — when she returns to Valdemar after her long visit to the Tayledras lands, she has to make a grand entrance through the streets of Haven because 1) rumors are circulating that she's been murdered by her stepfather and 2) there's no way to hide her new allies (especially the gryphons).
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3bebfcc0
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Living Lie Detector
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3bebfcc0
comment
Living Lie Detector: All Heralds learn a "truth spell" which has this effect. Many can also perform an upgraded version which forces the subject to tell the truth. Gryphons, Empaths, and powerful Mindspeakers such as dyheli can detect falsehood without resorting to magic. Occasional individuals, such as Herald-Chronicler Myste, seem to have the ability as an independent Gift, as well.
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Conflict Ball
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3c598f56
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Conflict Ball: Elspeth ends up with it early in the Mage Winds trilogy. Sent out to find mages to recruit to Valdemar's cause, with Skif along as a bodyguard, she ends up fighting with him over his greater caution than hers, to the point of treating him as entirely in the wrong even after acknowledging that he has some valid points. She also decides, based on some rather spurious logic (mostly her opinion that things have been too easy so far) that she's being manipulated into following a path that someone else has chosen for her. She turns out to be right; the Companions threw their support en masse behind the plan to find mages, and bullied the Heralds who didn't agree with the idea into going along with it. Upon hearing this, Elspeth promptly ignores the very sound reasons for the plan (which she agreed with wholeheartedly when she thought it was her plan) and deliberately goes off in a completely unexpected direction in order to do things her way. Despite the fact that the plan laid out for her was exactly what she wanted and the fact that the fate of Valdemar was at stake. She abandons her best chance of success because she doesn't like the fact that it wasn't her doing.
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Keystone Army
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_3df9c288
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Keystone Army: Several, mainly out of Hardorn. The "keystone" in most cases is the mage whose spells are keeping the massive conscript force controlled — take him out and the army collapses.
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Don't Ask, Just Run
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comment
Don't Ask, Just Run: In Brightly Burning, foreseers see Lavan’s final firestorm just in time and all the Heralds start frantically calling the retreat to get their army out of the way before all hell breaks loose.
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Multistage Teleport
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Multistage Teleport: In the Mage Storms trilogy, Altra's "Jumping" is range-limited. When Altra jumps from Shonar (in Hardorn) back to Haven (in Valdemar) with Karal, it takes multiple jumps to cover the distance, which makes Karal's resulting Teleportation Sickness worse than normal. The exact reason for the limit isn't spelled out, but is implied to be due to Altra stepping physically into the plane of mage-energy to jump—as the Mage Storms get worse, his range decreases.
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Weird Weather
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Weird Weather: The Mage Storm Trilogy documents the after effects of the Cataclysm. The most noticeable one is two magical storms wreaking havoc on the country side. Where they interact people spot circles of destruction, magical corruption that warps and changes people and animals, and other strange magical phenomena.
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Imaginary Love Triangle
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comment
Imaginary Love Triangle: Gets almost ridiculous in Winds of Change. Darkwind likes Elspeth, Elspeth seems interested in return. Then Firesong shows up and Elspeth seems slightly more interested in him than in Darkwind. Firesong notices and has a talk with both of them "Sorry, I'm Gay and happen to like Darkwind. But I know Darkwind likes Elspeth, so I won't try anything". But Elspeth is in the middle of learning about Tayledras customs, so her thoughts after the talk are "Could Darkwind be bi and interested in Firesong?" (he's not). Luckily that gets cleared up immediately after. Dirk, Kris and Talia: Talia had an affair with Kris during her internship, but it had ended by the time she realized she actually liked Dirk. Dirk picked up on remnants of their relationship, deduced they were still together, and abandoned any pursuit of Talia because he was certain she'd never want him. The result is a tangle of misery that doesn't resolve until things have become truly terrible.
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Groupie Brigade
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Groupie Brigade: Herald Alberich takes advantage of one of these in Exile's Valor. When he realizes that the actor Norris is trailing him, he goes into a large inn and "happens" to mention the fact that Norris is outside to a roomful of young ladies ... then dives for cover as they charge outside and mob Norris.
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Costume Porn
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Costume Porn: Usually at least once a novel.
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ParentalSubstitute
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Skif's backstory is also given multiple, contradictory versions. In Take a Thief (where he's the main character), he was an orphan (his father unknown, his mother dying soon after he was born) who worked for his cruel, authoritarian cousin in a tavern owned by his greedy, neglectful uncle; Skif got out from under their thumb by learning thievery from Bazie, a kindly adult who lost his legs with fighting as a mercenary, so he now leads a band of child thieves. Eventually (in separate incidents both unrelated to thievery) both Bazie and Skif's cousin are killed, but his uncle gets off scott free. According to Winds of Fate, however, Skif learned thieving from his uncle, who was eventually caught and hanged for his crimes. Elsewhere in the Mage Winds trilogy, Skif claims to have learned to pick pockets from his mother, who was later killed by a rival thief.
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Because Destiny Says So
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Owlsight features an implied aversion when Keisha sees a Companion coming and panics at the thought that she'll be Chosen and expected to leave her village without its only Healer and herbalist - only for the Companion to turn towards her sister instead. Whether she was really on the verge of being Chosen or just jumping to conclusions is left deliberately unclear. However, elsewhere in the series it's stated more or less outright that some people who would otherwise make very good Heralds are specifically not Chosen because there is some other role that it is more vital for them to play; Arrows of the Queen specifically notes that those with the Healing Gifts are almost never Chosen because they are needed far more as Healers than as Heralds. Ultimately, as in so many other things, Because Destiny Says So is in full effect regarding who does or doesn't get Chosen.
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Teleportation Sickness
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Teleportation Sickness: Heralds, Companions, and others with a strong 'Fetching' gift can move living things and even themselves. It apparently feels jolting, like a sudden strong leap, and is somewhat unpleasant for the target.
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Rearing Horse
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Rearing Horse: The official crest of Valdemar.
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Bittersweet Ending
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Bittersweet Ending The Last Herald-Mage trilogy ends with Vanyel dead and True Magic no longer known in Valdemar, but he leaves the country so well guarded against magic that it doesn't suffer a serious major incursion for centuries. Also, Vanyel gets a personal happy ending, serving as a spirit guardian of the northern border with his lover by his side. Brightly Burning ends with the Karsite army burned to ash and Valdemar saved, but Lavan Firestorm and Kalira dead. It wasn't even a heroic death — with his Companion gone, Lan had lost the last thing keeping his already-collapsing sanity together. Cue the inferno.
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Sufficiently Analyzed Magic
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Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Valdemaran mages and mind-mages tend to this, especially when a bunch of artificers get into the act in Mage Storms. The mages of the Eastern Empire are also noted to take a scientific, logical approach to their magic.
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Occult Blue Eyes
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Occult Blue Eyes: Just about any powerful magic user is going to wind up with blue eyes regardless of what they were born with as a side effect from the amount of magic they use. The only real exceptions are mages who were born with grey eyes, like Vanyel. All Companions have blue eyes, caused by channeling node-energy, which bleaches hair and eyes to white and blue, respectively. Their eyes are frequently mentioned, with newly Chosen Heralds usually spending a while staring into them when they first meet. This also applies to all Tayledras, as they tend to live their entire lives in the magic-heavy Pelagirs. It takes longer for the non-magic users, but merely living in areas with that much magic will bleach out their hair and eyes eventually.
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Overprotective Dad
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comment
Overprotective Dad: As part of the Changing of the Guard and shift in Character Focus throughout the various series, it's sometimes very amusing to witness how protective the previous protagonists get toward their offspring. The Silver Gryphon is almost entirely about this.
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Talking Weapon
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Talking Weapon: Need, after she regains full awareness in Winds of Fate.
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The Oath-Breaker
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The Oath-Breaker: The "Oathbreaker's Curse" is specifically invoked in Oathbreakers by Tarma and Kethry in order to get revenge on the king of Rethwellan for the brutal murder of his sister. In By the Sword, the Skybolts also identify Ancar of Hardorn as an oathbreaker, and only the absence of any mages (the initial ritual requires the participation of a mage, a priest, and a commoner who had suffered irreversible personal harm as a result of the target breaking an oath) prevents them from invoking the same curse on him.
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Never Accepted in His Hometown
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Never Accepted in His Hometown: Vanyel gets acceptance from his family eventually, but it takes a very long time. Talia and Kerowyn, meanwhile, get this trope in full—especially Talia, who is completely disowned by the Holding she came from (A pity nobody ever found humor in-universe about the fact that the Sensholdings disinherited their daughter for becoming the Queen's personal adviser).
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Why Couldn't You Be Different?
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Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Vanyel gets a lot of this from his family.
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Magical Native American
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Princess Elspeth herself is resigned to a political marriage as part of her duties as Heir—until she reckons up the neighboring kingdoms and realizes that all are either in stable alliances or are Valdemar's enemies, and none really have good candidates for her anyway. Her eventual love-match with Darkwind does help establish a new alliance with the Hawkbrothers, but only informally, as she abdicates as Heir to focus on combat magic, and the Hawkbrothers don't have a hereditary authority anyway.
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Intergenerational Friendship
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Intergenerational Friendship: Talia's close bond with her equestrian instructor Keren in the Arrows trilogy. Perhaps even moreso, her equally close friendship with the elderly and mostly retired Herald Jadus in Arrows of the Queen.
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No Biological Sex
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No Biological Sex: Kyree can be born male, female, or neuter. Famous kyree, including Warrl, tend to be neuter, since without any duty to have cubs, they're more free to leave the pack and go adventuring.
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Most Writers Are Writers
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Most Writers Are Writers: Her aforementioned Author Avatar is a chronicler or, in other words, a writer.
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Combat Pragmatist
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Combat Pragmatist: The main philosophy of both Alberich and Kerowyn — forget grace, dignity, or any illusions about a "fair fight"; just attack for maximum damage with whatever you've got on hand. It's probably not a coincidence that they were both successful professional warriors note  Alberich was the youngest ever Captain in the Karsite Army, despite having no connections or wealth to fuel his rise, and Kerowyn was the Captain of a successful mercenary company before they were Chosen
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Big Good
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Big Good: Urtho, in The Black Gryphon. An interesting example because he didn't want to be a leader, but was forced into it because he was the only one who would stand up to Ma'ar. In Mage Storms, we learn that the historical view of Urtho varies among the Shin'a'in, the gryphons, and others. Solaris, in Mage Storms. As the first genuine High Priest of Vkandis in centuries, she has some pretty awesome powers but is only shown to exercise them once.
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Mind over Manners
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Mind over Manners: The Incorruptible Pure Pureness of all Heralds means that they basically never abuse their mind-magic. Kerowyn uses hers as little as possible mostly out of the fear that the people around her would not be able to trust her if they knew she could read their minds. Most individuals with mind-gifts are either Heralds (and thus nigh-immune to corruption), or otherwise trained in a profession that comes with a code of ethical conduct. Twisted Empaths and telepaths are rare and horrifying. Companions are supposed to obey this rule, though the Omniscient Morality License means that Rolan is willing to mess with his Herald's memories to protect Companion secrets. Also, Dastin from one of the short stories is individually a bit loose about the rules, and has to be rather forcefully reminded to keep his brain to himself.
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Break the Cutie
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Break the Cutie: Talia, quite comprehensively, in both Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall, albeit for separate reasons. Vanyel throughout the Last Herald-Mage series. Each book puts him through a separate Trauma Conga Line.
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Personality Powers
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Karse is Fire. Its tutelary deity is a sun god, and its spirit guardians are great cats with thick red fur. Most Karsites with magic are pyromancers, typically passionate about their religion and duty to the state.
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Call to Adventure
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Call to Adventure: Delivered without fail by Companions; their Chosen may jump at the Call or try to refuse the Call, depending on their situation at the time. All accept eventually, though on one notable occasion the Call repudiated one of the Called.
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Gods Need Prayer Badly
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Several beings are worshipped that are clearly not a part of this pantheon. The Hundred Little Gods are the spirits of deceased emperors, although they grant no powers and may be fictitious; and Thalhkarsh is a demon who gains actual power from worship and aspires to godhood, though since he's stopped before his plans are complete it's never confirmed if he would have truly attained divinity or not. Demons and elemental spirits clearly come from somewhere, and it's unclear whether these are under the jurisdiction of the aforementioned gods or not. In addition, when the Star-Eyed puts in an appearance in Oathbreakers she comments with interest on the concept of Companions in a way that suggests she has no personal involvement in their creation or direction: she greets them as "children of my other self," but her wording leaves it unclear if she means that she and the force behind the Companions are actually separate facets of the same entity, or if she's simply recognizing their motives and values as aligned with her own.
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TruthSerum
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All Heralds learn a "truth spell" which has this effect. Many can also perform an upgraded version which forces the subject to tell the truth.
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Heroic Fatigue
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Heroic Fatigue: It is not uncommon for Heralds to experience this, however Vanyel suffers worse than most. Throughout the second two books he is in almost constant state of overwork, starting with returning after an entire year of filling in for five other Herald-Mages simultaneously on the battlelines.
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Downer Ending
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4e3d253b
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Downer Ending: The Foregone Conclusion of The Black Gryphon, with Urtho dead, Ma'ar Not Quite Dead, and the survivors of the Cataclysm forced to rebuild in exile, with their homeland all but annihilated.
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Early Installment Weirdness
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Early Installment Weirdness: The Arrows trilogy includes a detailed description of Heraldic arrow code, a coded system of communication which is heavily used by Heralds and serves a plot-critical purpose on several occasions. This code is never mentioned again in subsequent books. This is discussed in more detail on the Headscratchers page. Talia is one of the few Heralds we see that doesn't have Mindspeech and can't mindspeak their Companions. Probably because it's too difficult to write Companions in when they can't speak. The increasing frequency of Mindspeech explains the lack of arrow code as it's easier and faster to mindcall then send a coded arrow. A type of mushroom is weaponized in Arrow's Fall to mess with Talia's Empathy. This is never mentioned or used again. (However, it only grows in Valdemar and Hardorn. Presumably the Heralds went on a search and destroy mission in Valdemar, and given the wreckage that's left of Hardorn by the Mage Storms Trilogy, it may very well have been rendered extinct. Or more practically, Heralds are taught how to recognise and avoid it!)
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f4372e9
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f6d87f7
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Huge Guy, Tiny Girl
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f6d87f7
comment
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Dirk and Talia.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f6d87f7
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f6d87f7
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f773434
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Wise Beyond Their Years
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f773434
comment
Wise Beyond Their Years: Talia is precocious enough as a thirteen year old girl to have an insightful conversation with Queen Selenay before even knowing who she is. This as much as her empathy makes her ideally suited to be the Queen's Own. In Exile's Valor, Alberich speculates that the Herald's training is a rushed maturation process. By the time most Heralds are graduated at 18 years, they are as mature as people in their 30s.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_4f773434
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_50d71a78
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Dual Wielding
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_50d71a78
comment
Dual Wielding: Mastered by Alberich.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_50d71a78
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_50f5dabe
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Reincarnation
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_50f5dabe
comment
Reincarnation: Stefen in Magic's Price is more or less confirmed to be the reincarnation of Tylendel, and later books confirm that many Companions are reincarnated Heralds; in particular, Kerowyn's Companion Sayvil is implied to be the reincarnation of Vanyel's aunt Savil Ashkevron. (Word of God confirms this.) The Firecats of Karse are reincarnated ancient Sons of the Suns.
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Cast From Hit Points
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_51567188
comment
Cast From Hit Points: Mages who are low on Mana can do this. The ultimate version is known as a Final Strike and is invariably suicidal for the mage attempting it. It's also possible for mind-mages to overstress their Psychic Powers into unconsciousness or even coma.
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Age-Gap Romance
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_52196c03
comment
Age-Gap Romance: Vanyel (35) and Stefan (17), Talia (18) and Dirk (mid-30s).
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_52196c03
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_52196c03
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Drowning My Sorrows
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_52488c54
comment
This might, in fact, be a literal version of the trope. It's stated that MindHealers, as opposed to just Healers are very, very, rare. In the early part of Arrows Fall Talia is helping a fellow Herald with the trauma of her intern dying (the same incident that's triggering Dirk's Drowning My Sorrows) and she's talking to Healer Rene, who's also a MindHealer. They're explicitly stated to be the only two currently active. Apparently, the field of psychiatry hasn't been invented yet.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_52488c54
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_52488c54
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_524f94d3
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Rape as Backstory
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_524f94d3
comment
Rape as Backstory: Pretty often. See particularly Tarma, Kethry, and Nyara.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_524f94d3
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_524f94d3
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StrangeSyntaxSpeaker
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5345de5
comment
Strange-Syntax Speaker: Herald Alberich speaks Valdemaran with Karsite word order. He was born and raised in Karse and only ended up in Valdemar after being kidnapped/rescued by a Companion, who eventually psychically fed Valdemaran vocabulary into his head... and only vocabulary.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_551d5d7b
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Fashion-Based Relationship Cue
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_551d5d7b
comment
Fashion-Based Relationship Cue: Hawkbrothers indicate they're in a serious relationship by wearing a feather from their partner's bondbird as a hair ornament.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5530e11b
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Founder of the Kingdom
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5530e11b
comment
Founder of the Kingdom: Baron Valdemar, fleeing the corruption of the Eastern Empire with his followers, founded both his namesake kingdom and the Heralds. According to what is told in The Mage Storms the crown was half forced on him because his people didn't want a mere Baron as their ruler while everyone else around them was declaring themselves kings, no matter how small a place they had. Urtho's were split up after the Cataclysm and groups and companies went on to found k'Leshya, the Shin'a'in, the Tayledras, Iftel and possibly Karse.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_5530e11b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5539b84f
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Corrupt Church
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5539b84f
comment
Corrupt Church: Played straight with the official sun-god worship of Karse... until the deity in question got sick of it and made his displeasure known.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5539b84f
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_5539b84f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_553aaabe
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Safety in Indifference
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_553aaabe
comment
Safety in Indifference: At the start of Magic's Pawn Vanyel finally decides to cut himself off from all emotion as a way of dealing with his emotionally abusive father exiling him to a strange city. This is reflected by his ice dream, and eventually leads to him opening up to Tylendel.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_553aaabe
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_556a3059
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The Empath
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_556a3059
comment
Talia has an early bout with this, due to her abilities as The Empath and the fact that the Collegium critically failed when training her, leaving her completely unable to control her gift. Kris, under circumstances that amount to direct divine intervention, manages to get her Gift trained before she loses it completely, but nearly gets killed while doing so.
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The Empire
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_556a4e20
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The Empire: The Eastern Empire. An easy to miss reference in one book names it the Aurinalean Empire, but it's never mentioned again.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_556a4e20
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_55ab1be5
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Royal Brat
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_55ab1be5
comment
Royal Brat: Selenay and Karethanelan's daughter Princess Elspeth has a rocky childhood for a while, since her resemblance to her late, treasonous father caused Selenay to mostly leave her upbringing in the hands of Hulda, who deliberately isolated and groomed her to be a royal terror. "The Royal Brat," or simply "the Brat," is Elspeth's nickname around the Court and Heraldic Circle until Talia manages to counsel and civilize her, and the reputation continues to hang over her into adulthood.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_55ab1be5
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_55afe8af
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Ley Line
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_55afe8af
comment
Ley Line: The basis of the magic system is Life Energy, which bleeds off of living things into the Background Magic Field and collects into "streams" and "rivers" of energy called ley lines that eventually flow to another plane. Where two or more ley lines meet, they form a node, an extremely powerful magical energy source.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_55afe8af
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_56d5b88f
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Divided We Fall
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_56d5b88f
comment
Divided We Fall: The Tayledras and Shin'a'in do this, as they have diametrically opposite ideologies regarding the use of magic. It takes a direct order of their Goddess to get them to start working together. Also, in Mage Storms, Valdemar's nascent alliance is on extremely shaky political grounds and frequently suffers from this problem.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_56d5b88f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_57b74bd4
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Achievements in Ignorance
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_57b74bd4
comment
Achievements in Ignorance: Valdemaran mages pull off a lot of this in and following the Mage Winds trilogy, simply because they're too new at magic to know what ought to be impossible. This also leads somewhat paradoxically to the use of Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, when the artificers start getting involved. It turns out that one of the things they don't know about magic is that there are some things they can't proceed to learn about magic! Mages of more intuitive traditions, Firesong especially, are not amused.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_57b74bd4
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_58204b95
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Magic Knight
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_58204b95
comment
Magic Knight: Vanyel, Elspeth, and Darkwind are the most notable examples. Most Heralds and many Tayledras tend at least a little toward this. That said, true Magic Knights are rare, since keeping either martial or magical skills up to date is a full-time job, and doing both of them together pretty much precludes a social life.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_58204b95
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Genius Loci
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_586624e5
comment
Genius Loci: The Forest of Sorrows. Leave it Vanyel to turn himself into this in death.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_586624e5
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_58e83efd
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Disease by Any Other Name
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_58e83efd
comment
Disease by Any Other Name: "Summer Fever" sounds just like polio, right down to being (what a modern doctor would call) a viral disease.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_58e83efd
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5963b221
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Eviler Than Thou
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5963b221
comment
Eviler Than Thou: Ancar and Hulda, meet Mornelithe Falconsbane. Among several other examples, he takes their We Have Reserves strategy to truly epic heights.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5963b221
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_5963b221
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5989e3b6
type
Enemy Mine
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5989e3b6
comment
Enemy Mine: Valdemar and Karse, which have been enemies time out of mind, unite against the threat of Ancar. Subverted in that once they unite, they are no longer enemies.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5989e3b6
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_5989e3b6
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5b47f992
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Monochromatic Eyes
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5b47f992
comment
Monochromatic Eyes: The Shin'a'in Star-Eyed Goddess, as implied by her name, appears as a woman with starfield eyes. Souls chosen to serve her, called Avatars, have the same eyes.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5b47f992
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_5b47f992
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5c8ad7af
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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5c8ad7af
comment
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: One of the driving tenets behind nearly every Herald's character. Herald-Mage Vanyel and Queen's Own Herald Talia have this to a particularly high degree.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5ca80293
type
Pragmatic Villainy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5ca80293
comment
Pragmatic Villainy: The Eastern Empire's hat explaining how Grand Duke Tremaine could come from them. (also contrasting every other antagonist in the series). To list: The Empire allows free practice of any religion so long as you don't try to prevent the free practice of any other religion. It also fosters and encourages multiculturalism and actively exposes its citizens to other peoples. This is due to the Empire being so large and non-homogenous, it would be impossible to maintain if the Empire wasn't tolerant or pluralistic. Furthermore, being accepting of other cultures makes it easier for a country to accept being conquered. The Empire treats women better than most countries - there are laws protecting them from rape and they are allowed to own property and have careers if not encouraged to in practice. The Empire encourages fair treatment of its soldiers, not viewing them as expendable and always making sure they're paid properly and on time. Blood magic is highly frowned upon in the upper echelons of the Empire though not outright banned. The corrupting effects of blood magic often overrides a mage's good sense which in the Deadly Decadent Court could mean the difference between life and death. In general, the Emperor comes across as controlling and pragmatic but not wantonly cruel and cultivates a Machiavellian mindset.
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Wife Husbandry
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5dd191ec
comment
Wife Husbandry: Reversed; Hulda raised Ancar to be a tyrant king, and being his lover was merely a part of that. Also subverted in that Hulda regards him as merely a tool and is more than willing to cast him aside once he outlives his usefulness.
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Omniscient Morality License
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5dfa0fde
comment
Omniscient Morality License: The Companions exhibit this tendency from time to time, especially in the earlier novels, although Elspeth calls them out on it in Mage Winds. It later becomes subverted as we learn more about what Companions are. Companions generally operate on the unspoken rule that they will only advise their Heralds, and then usually only when asked. Many tangled interpersonal squabbles could easily be resolved if the Companions would just get their hooves into it and sort their Heralds out, but when called on it, the Companions themselves state that their humans are expected to solve their own problems whenever possible. Justified in the sense that they are effectively avatars of the gods and obey a general divine Alien Non-Interference Clause about not messing around with human affairs unless absolutely necessary. The few times the Companions do directly intervene with their divine authority, they usually wipe the memories of their Heralds afterwards. Again, this is specifically to prevent the Heralds from coming to worship the Companions or rely on them to solve all their problems. The Gods themselves are revealed to have been playing this game for millennia; nearly every single one of the myriad disasters and near-disasters that have occurred since the first Cataclysm was engineered for the specific purpose of putting in place all the pieces necessary to avert the second Cataclysm.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5e90d898
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Prequel in the Lost Age
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5e90d898
comment
Prequel in the Lost Age: The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, set in Vanyel's time before magic vanished from Valdemar. The Mage Wars trilogy, set during the last days of the Mage Wars and the resulting fallout.
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The First Cut Is the Deepest
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_5f97d951
comment
The First Cut Is the Deepest: Vanyel after losing Tylendel. His deeply romantic (and deeply in denial) mother likes to tell young women "he lost his first love tragically" — fortunately by the time Stef comes along she seems to have accepted things.
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I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_60547993
comment
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Dirk tries this in Arrow's Fall. Talia, the Love Interest in question, is not amused when she finally realizes what's going on.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_60547993
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Parental Incest
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_606244c2
comment
Parental Incest: Many characters have this as part of their backstory. The rapist stepfather that Talia deals with at the end of Arrow's Flight functions as a trial of her newfound maturity with respect to her Gift. Among the many crimes of Mornelithe Falconsbane is using his daughter as a sex slave — indeed, manipulating her via magic into being a sex slave.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_60c96f24
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Portmantitle
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_60c96f24
comment
The Owl Trilogy (Darian's Tale): Owl-X Portmantitles: Owlflight (1997) Owlsight (1998) Owlknight (1999)
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_61c683d2
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We Have Reserves
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_61c683d2
comment
We Have Reserves: Accurately sums up the attitude of both Ancar and Falconsbane towards military tactics (Though Falconsbane is willing to acknowledge that when you don't have reserves, you need to take care of the troops available to you), and also nearly wipes out the Skybolts. Also Deconstructed with Hardorn—it's suggested that, if Ancar hadn't been killed when he was, he'd have wiped out his own people.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63389b0b
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Kids Are Cruel
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63389b0b
comment
Kids Are Cruel: Talia, Vanyel, and Lavan Firestorm suffer considerably at the hands of attackers who themselves are minors. Vanyel is merely ostracized; Lavan is bullied until his Gift involuntarily retaliates; and Talia is almost drowned.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_63389b0b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63557923
type
Death World
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63557923
comment
Death World: The Pelagirs are not a nice place to wander without native protection. Leftover magebuilt living weapons and other critters from a magical war two thousand years back, check. Flora/Fauna/People mutated by either the wave of magical power unleashed by the Cataclysm that ended said war or the abnormally high level of background mana even since, check. People both crazy/misanthropic enough to live there and badass enough to survive, check. The most consistently benevolent people there (the Hawkbrothers, pledged to their goddess to decontaminate the place) will give intruders exactly one chance to properly justify their presence or flee before using lethal force.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63557923
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_63557923
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63cbd757
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Binding Ancient Treaty
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63cbd757
comment
Binding Ancient Treaty: Established between Valdemar and Rethwellen at the end of Oathbreakers, then somehow forgotten by Valdemar by the time of By the Sword, when Valdemar needs Rethwellen's help fighting Hardorn. Kero, whose grandmother Kethry was vital in the events that forged the agreement, provides a gentle reminder of its existence.
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Rage Against the Mentor
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_63cf9a3
comment
Rage Against the Mentor: Ancar, to Hulda, once it becomes apparent that she will not teach him any magic beyond Master level. Mornelithe Falconsbane capitalizes on this to foster rebellion in the young King. Of course, what she doesn't tell him (and Falconsbane has no intention of revealing, for the same reason of stringing him along) is that his Gift just isn't strong enough to go beyond Master.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6439de78
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Heroic Sacrifice
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6439de78
comment
Lavan Firestorm, a Firestarter, reduces an entire army (and himself) to ash and sterilizes the pass they came through in his own Heroic Sacrifice.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6492f4ca
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Spirit Advisor
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6492f4ca
comment
Spirit Advisor: The Shin'a'in "Swordsworn"—including Tarma—become these after death, and help to train and advise living Swordsworn. The ghosts of Vanyel, Stefen, and Yfandes also act as Spirit Advisors briefly in The Mage Winds and The Mage Storms before finally moving on to "Bermuda". Technically, the Companions themselves count, although they are embodied rather than incorporeal. So do the Firecats.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_649b0880
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Background Magic Field
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Background Magic Field: Composed of Life Energy, which flows like water into Ley Lines and nodes, and is used to power all Functional Magic.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6500e9cc
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Fighting from the Inside
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6500e9cc
comment
Fighting from the Inside: An'desha in Winds of Fury, from within the body that Mornelithe Falconsbane stole from him.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_658c0cdc
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Common Hollywood Sex Traits
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_658c0cdc
comment
Common Hollywood Sex Traits: Over and over, the stories seem to have no clue how female sexuality actually works. Having sex for the first time is always painful and bloody, no matter how skilled the partner or how turned on the woman is. Talia, Amily, and Violetta all fall prey to this, with the text of first-time intercourse all describing the "stab of pain", despite their partners taking time and care. Violetta's case is particularly aggravating, as it combines the pain with a huge dose of "Hymens Don't Work Like That". Dia rants that if Violetta had sex with Brand, everyone would somehow "know" she'd been "deflowered". In actuality, they wouldn't. Hymens can not only be easily torn by everyday exertion — not to mention masturbation — but often form as a ring of tissue that doesn't block anything. Not even a doctor can tell if a woman is a virgin.
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Signature Instrument
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_65e0a4ba
comment
Signature Instrument: The primary comfort of disabled Herald Jadus is his harp, which he calls "My Lady". Talia first meets Jadus because she hears the music coming from his room, and the harp lessons he gives her teach her as much about his personality as the instrument. After Jadus dies, he wills "My Lady" to Talia, who eventually overcomes her grief enough that she can use it again. She discovers much later that Dirk has a harp almost completely identical to "My Lady", which symbolizes that he's her perfect soulmate. Since so many characters in Arrows play harps, it could be considered the Signature Instrument of the trilogy itself.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6627695f
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Author Appeal
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6627695f
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Author Appeal: Mercedes Lackey has a number of interests that work their way into her novels. Falconry. She's actually worked in raptor rehabilitation, which is largely the reason why we get things ike the Hawkbrothers and their bondbirds, the gryphons, and the avian humanoid tervardi. Equestrianism. Companions are the most obvious result, but Shin'a'in warsteeds are a slightly less wish-fulfillment version of it too. Music. Many characters are musical in some fashion, most notably the bards, who use Magic Music. Many others are not, however — Dreadful Musicians are fair game for humor, as in other Lackey works. May–December Romance is another one that recurs throughout her work. (Lackey herself is 16 years older than her husband, which may or may not have something to do with it.)
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Author Avatar
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_66755d29
comment
Author Avatar: the character Myste is an obvious (and admitted) author self-insert; to make it clear how obvious, "Misty" is the author's nickname. And to make it even more obvious, Myste's position in the court is Herald-Chronicler, aka 'court historian', aka 'she writes down everything that's happening'. (She is also plump, Blind Without 'Em, and totally useless at any sort of fighting whatsoever, which dials down the potential Sue quotient considerably. Guess who else is plump and Blind Without 'Em?)
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_66d13ab9
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Talking in Your Dreams
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_66d13ab9
comment
Talking in Your Dreams: Kero and Eldan in By The Sword. For ten years. It's not clear whether Eldan is doing it intentionally or if it's the result of their unconscious minds reaching out to one another telepathically while they're asleep, but by the time they meet again in person he's at least figured out what's going on. Kero, on the other hand, assumes they're just dreams, and she's rather annoyed when she finds out otherwise.
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Giant Flyer
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_67677940
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Giant Flyer: Gryphons.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_67dfa28
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Planning with Props
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_67dfa28
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Planning with Props: In Winds of Fate. It backfires rather badly, thanks to the characters' failure to clean up their props before their plan goes into action.
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Honest Advisor
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_68a91d1c
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Honest Advisor: The position of Monarch's Own Herald exists so that the ruler always has at least one completely honest, absolutely trustworthy friend.
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Canon Welding
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Canon Welding: The Tarma and Kethry stories pre-date the original Arrows trilogy — Oathbreakers established that they had all taken place in Rethwellan and other kingdoms south of Valdemar, thus linking the two series.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6a47a1e2
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Knight of Cerebus
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6a47a1e2
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Knight of Cerebus: Ancar in the first trilogy, arguably. While the first two books of the trilogy deal with some weighty subjects, the focus is on Talia and her experiences as she comes of age and grows into her power and her role as Queen's Own. When Ancar takes center stage in Arrow's Fall he shifts the threat level from local to national - kicked off by murdering one major recurring character and subjecting Talia to the most horrific tortures he can come up with - and he remains the major looming threat of the series until the end of the Winds trilogy.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6b5e21e7
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Fostering for Profit
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6b5e21e7
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Fostering for Profit: Dialogue from Foundation hints that Cole Pieters may have been doing this with Mags and the other orphan children he had working in his mine. Since families with working children get a yearly stipend from the Crown if they have a child Chosen (until he or she becomes a full Herald), Cole Pieters could have continued it if he had been smart about things. However, he tried to obstruct Dallen from Chosing Mags, which resulted in him being found out.
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Mentor Occupational Hazard
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6b6556ee
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Mentor Occupational Hazard: Ulrich, Karal's mentor and Karsite ambassador to Valdemar, gets this deadly straight; he's killed by a magical assassination attempt halfway through Storm Warning, forcing Karal to take his place.
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Fantasy Gun Control
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6bcfbc7e
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Fantasy Gun Control: Velgarth never developed firearms, though the tech level in other respects ranges from the Renaissance to the Steam Age.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6bda9a30
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Meaningful Name
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6bda9a30
comment
Meaningful Name: Winterhart, which she chose deliberately in an attempt to conceal her tragic backstory. Hawkbrothers take a use-name upon reaching adulthood, almost always reflecting some aspect of their personality. When something dramatically changes their personality, they may take a Meaningful Rename. The High Priest directly appointed by the sun god is named "Solaris", Latin for "of the sun."
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Name's the Same
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6bedf674
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Name's the Same: Sometimes coincidence, sometimes part of the royal line (there were three Queen Elspeths, for example). Two characters in different historical periods with similar names often indicates that they are the same person reincarnated, e.g. Herald-Mage Savil and Companion Sayvil.
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Magic A Is Magic A
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6c3d1777
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A minor one; the magic system utilized by Kethry in Vows and Honor undergoes a major and mostly unremarked upon revision in later works. A somewhat bare justification given in-story is that some mage schools apparently don't know about Ley Lines and therefore don't teach their students about them. Another justification is that Kethry was dumbing down her explanation for her audience, as she didn't have time to hold an entire Magical Theory 101 session.
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Fisher King
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6c51e9e1
comment
Fisher King: Inverted and invoked in Mage Storms. After years of misrule by Ancar, who ruined the land with magic, the people of Hardorn insist their new king go through a ceremony to magically bind him to the land so that he will personally feel the effects of any abuses inflicted upon it. Later in the series, all of the allied lands get a monarch Earth-bound to help set the last wave of defenses against the Final Storm.
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Private Military Contractors
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6c553873
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Private Military Contractors: Various mercenary companies, such as the Sunhawks (Vows and Honor) and the Skybolts (By the Sword). Some are bonded and affiliated with a trade union (the Mercenaries Guild) which keeps order.
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Driven to Suicide
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Driven to Suicide: Tylendel. Vanyel and Talia both make good tries at it, too. Bard Stefen is interrupted before he gets his chance.
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Parrot Pet Position
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6e7268ad
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Parrot Pet Position: Used by some but not all Tayledras bondbirds. The determining factor appears to be the size of the bird; Darkwind often carries Vree this way, but Starblade doesn't even try carrying the much larger Hyllar on his shoulder (he can barely carry Hyllar on his arm).
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6ecfdc1a
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Four-Element Ensemble
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6ecfdc1a
comment
Four-Element Ensemble: As of Mage Storms, the major countries in the setting correspond to one of these elements (although a Water country has not shown up yet). Valdemar is Air. Its sigil is a winged horse, its ideology emphasizes freedom above all else, and its people specialize in 'mind-magic', which is invisible to the naked eye. Valdemaran spirit guardians are white horses that can run as fast as the wind. Karse is Fire. Its tutelary deity is a sun god, and its spirit guardians are great cats with thick red fur. Most Karsites with magic are pyromancers, typically passionate about their religion and duty to the state. Hardorn (and the Eastern Empire its laws are based off of) is Earth. It unifies many races and religions under a ideology that emphasizes humility and practicality. With the magical Gates that Hardonen mages specialize in, they can link almost anyone on earth together. Additionally, their king has strong earth-sense.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6ef09297
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Masquerade
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_6ef09297
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Masquerade: The Companions spend over a thousand years as partners to the Heralds without ever revealing their true natures: reincarnated Heralds, or even actual divine avatars in the case of Grove-Born Companions. This is deemed necessary as knowing it could cause the Heralds to worship or even become dependent on them, not to mention the trauma of knowing that a loved one came back in a forever-inaccessible form... or worse, didn't come back.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_704d7e91
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No Ontological Inertia
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_704d7e91
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No Ontological Inertia: Magic spells tend not to last past the mage's death, unless they are powered by a Tayledras Heartstone. Some enchanted objects are also quite durable.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_70ade2c4
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Culture Clash
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_70ade2c4
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Culture Clash: Subtly woven throughout the series, particularly in Closer to Home, between Valdemaran subcultures. The Crown and its employees (Palace staff and Heralds, along with most Collegium-trained Healers and Bards, and most of the Guard) believe in equality of the sexes and tolerance for all, but the Valdemaran nobility as a whole (and the guilds to a lesser extent) are patriarchal and classist. Furthermore, Valdemar has plenty of foreign cultures that have moved in or been absorbed, all with their own values; the Lake Evendim people are monotheistic and friendly to the point of cuddly, while the Holderkin are suspicious of outsiders and adhere to the forced version of Arranged Marriage until Selenay learns just what's going on down there.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_71dc4b06
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If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_71dc4b06
comment
If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Valdemaran Healers bounce back and forth between averting this trope and playing it straight: The standard herbal medicine for overstraining one's psychic abilities tastes absolutely horrid. Most Healers will provide a "chaser" with no medical properties but which will clear the taste out of a patient's mouth; one character who needs the potion because he just invoked What an Idiot! gets the potion but not the palate-cleanser. At one point in the Collegium Chronicles, Mags has a huge fight with Healer-Trainee Bear, then a few chapters later needs medical treatment. Bear tells him that while Mags had some good points, he's getting medicines made with the worst-tasting alternatives Bear could find as payback. In an aversion, when Karal collapses from stress and overwork, he's assured that potions for stomach ulcers are deliberately made to be tasty (it's the only way to get people who need them to take them).
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Trauma Conga Line
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_71e8a5c5
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Trauma Conga Line: The price Vanyel apparently pays for his earthshattering powers is to be hated by his family, targeted by every enemy of Valdemar, and lose nearly everyone he cares about. Subtly justified with the revelation in Magic's Price that there really is someone who has it in for him and has been deliberately trying to destroy him.
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You Can't Fight Fate
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The trope is subverted in a number of ways: strong-willed characters like Elspeth, Vanyel, and Kerowyn swear up and down that they are going to fight the winds of fate, but they all end up more or less where they're supposed to be anyway.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_725583e8
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Good Feels Good
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_725583e8
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Good Feels Good: Heralds in general and especially Skif, who does a Heel–Face Turn because of it- not that he was all that bad to start with.
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Mugging the Monster
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7276d0de
comment
Mugging the Monster: Lavan Chitward was bullied at school by the older students. During one such session, his powers manifested and his tormentors paid the price.
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Idiot Ball
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7286e96d
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Idiot Ball: Near the end of the Mage Winds trilogy, Elspeth, princess of Valdemar, goes undercover in enemy territory. Among the weapons she brings? A knife emblazoned with the Valdemaran crest. A throwing knife. Which she uses for its intended purpose, on an envoy of the Eastern Empire — just as he's Gating back home. As one of her companions notes, "very subtle, Elspeth."
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Altar Diplomacy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7294b403
comment
Altar Diplomacy: Queen Selenay's first marriage is to Prince Karathanelan of Rethwellen, cementing Valdemar's longstanding alliance with its southern neighbor. Unfortunately, Thanel turns out to be The Evil Prince who shortly attempts to usurp the throne for himself and is killed by Selenay's bodyguards. Their daughter Elspeth grows up with her father's crimes hanging over her head. Just a few years later, however, Selenay falls in Love at First Sight with Prince Darenthallis—of Rethwellen, Thanel's brother, so that works out. Princess Elspeth herself is resigned to a political marriage as part of her duties as Heir—until she reckons up the neighboring kingdoms and realizes that all are either in stable alliances or are Valdemar's enemies, and none really have good candidates for her anyway. Her eventual love-match with Darkwind does help establish a new alliance with the Hawkbrothers, but only informally, as she abdicates as Heir to focus on combat magic, and the Hawkbrothers don't have a hereditary authority anyway. Near the end of Closer to Home, two Feuding Families are ordered by the Crown to resolve their differences with a marriage of their heirs, only son to oldest daughter. When the son seduces the youngest daughter and dies in an attempt to murder everyone else, the survivors put aside their fighting and pledge to attempt to find other, better matches for marriage.
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When She Smiles
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_72c8b35c
comment
When She Smiles: Talia is often regarded this way, since she's serious so much of the time. During her wedding preparations, Jeri laments, "Two hours I spend on her, and in the blink of an eye he makes everything I've done look insignificant!"
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_72c8b35c
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7315fd38
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Covers Always Lie
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7315fd38
comment
Covers Always Lie: Played straight with some books and averted with others. The most notable aversions, in that once you've read the book, you can recognize the exact scene on the cover, are The Silver Gryphon, Magic's Promise, Brightly Burning, Exile's Valor, Arrow's Fall, and Storm Rising. Closer to Home is one where the cover image does not lie, but the dust-jacket description of the book does: Most of it talks about Mags' backstory as was revealed in the previous five books, but then it goes on to say that he's going to need all that experience to handle a conspiracy that doesn't actually exist, as the book actually centers around Mags' efforts to keep two Feuding Families that independently decided to spend the Season in the capital on the same year away from each other's throats. The cover for the first batch of the first print run of The Hills Have Spies uses the synopsis for one of the very first drafts of the book, rather than the proper synopsis. The error was caught and corrected very early in the print run, making the copies with the incorrect synopsis collectors’ items.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7315fd38
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_73dce7d
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What an Idiot!
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_73dce7d
comment
The standard herbal medicine for overstraining one's psychic abilities tastes absolutely horrid. Most Healers will provide a "chaser" with no medical properties but which will clear the taste out of a patient's mouth; one character who needs the potion because he just invoked What an Idiot! gets the potion but not the palate-cleanser.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_73dce7d
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_73dce7d
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_754df088
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Put on a Bus
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_754df088
comment
Put on a Bus: Bear and Lena disappear between the end of Bastion and the beginning of Closer To Home, with only a page to explain where they went.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_754df088
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_754df088
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_75538142
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Friend to All Children
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_75538142
comment
Friend to All Children: Tarma. Kids know it too, running to her for protection even though she's usually the scariest-looking one in the room.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_75538142
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_757bbdb8
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Massive Numbered Siblings
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_757bbdb8
comment
Massive Numbered Siblings: In one of the short stories, the main character is the youngest of twelve children in the royal family (his mother kept having twins and triplets). All of them were Chosen, which is why he rides on an Internship Circuit out in the field rather than being kept to the palace and capital city. In the Collegium Chronicles, Herald Jakyr's parents belonged to a religion that believed in having as many children as possible for the Glory of God. He tells Mags that his parents had so many children that half the time they called them by the wrong names, and that according to the brother he still talks to, they never even noticed when he was Chosen and left. Jakyr ends the conversation by saying that "Just because you can have a quiverful of youngsters, it doesn't mean you should. Or any." Dirk has six siblings: three older sisters, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. Talia has numerous half-siblings from her father's many wives (eleven in total, with nine still alive at the start of her trilogy). However, she does not have any full siblings, as her mother died giving birth to her. Tuck, Lavan Firestorm's best friend, has nine siblings: five sisters and four brothers.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_757bbdb8
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_757bbdb8
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_762b9223
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Played for Laughs
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_762b9223
comment
Played for Laughs with Skif in his early years, especially in the Arrows trilogy. During his traineeship, one of his secret hobbies is breaking into the houses of certain highly placed nobles; he doesn't take anything, instead he leaves notes with sarcastic remarks on their lack of security (after you read Take A Thief, you get the impression these nobles were often selected by Alberich in his job as Spymaster). Elspeth also mentions in Arrow's Fall that Skif makes a habit of leaving funny notes - and sweets - in the 'secret' compartments of her desk.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_762b9223
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77063cd7
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Hooker with a Heart of Gold
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77063cd7
comment
Empaths know exactly what their partner is feeling and what they need to do to please them. As most Healers have at least a touch of Empathy, the profession has built up a reputation for being wondrous lovers. And Don works as a Hooker with a Heart of Gold before being recruited as a Mindhealer.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_77063cd7
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77480c5e
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God Is Good
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77480c5e
comment
Several Gods and Goddesses are worshipped; it's implied at some points that they may all be different faces of a single God and Goddess, which may in turn both be faces of The One, but the details don't always quite line up to support this. At least two gods — the Star-Eyed Goddess of the Shin'a'in, Tayledras, and Kaled'a'in clans, and Karse many centuries earlier, and Vkandis Sunlord of Karse and Iftel — are proven to exist and take active hands in the lives of their followers. Both are benevolent, but they're neither truly omnipotent or omniscient, and they can sometimes be jerks; their philosophy is that humans have a right and responsibility to solve their own problems whenever they can, but they aren't above abandoning that rule whenever they have an objective that needs to be accomplished. The big examples are the Laser-Guided Amnesia they use to protect their secrets, and Vkandis very unsubtly reorganizing his church hierarchy when he needed Karse on the Good Guys' team.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77480c5e
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_77480c5e
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7789df57
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Healing Shiv
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7789df57
comment
Healing Shiv: Need, though close contact or even physical proximity is just as effective.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7789df57
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7789df57
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77b009ea
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Phrase Catcher
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77b009ea
comment
Phrase Catcher: Vanyel at the beginning of Magic's Promise, when everyone he meets tells him that he looks like hell. Justified in that he does. Elspeth in Winds Of Fury gets, "We thought you were dead!" After a while her traveling companions are calling it "the standard greeting." Kerowyn in By The Sword cannot go out in public without people singing the song "Kerowyn's Ride" at her.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77b009ea
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_77b009ea
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77e8d49d
type
Clingy MacGuffin
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_77e8d49d
comment
Clingy MacGuffin: Need. Even Kerowyn, who refuses to allow Need to have the kind of hold over her that it did over her grandmother, isn't entirely sure she could get rid of it if she really needed to, and — considering the pain she went through the one time she almost lost it — generally isn't willing to find out. A short story in Oathblood has Tarma and Kethry getting a cursed coin that requires serious action to get rid of.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_77e8d49d
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7842867
type
Vengeance Feels Empty
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7842867
comment
Vengeance Feels Empty: At the end of Take A Thief, the person responsible for Bazie's (Skif's thief-mentor) death is killed by Skif. When Alberich asks, Skif says he's not happy, because "there weren't no justice" — the man got a quick death, and can't be hauled into court to answer for everything else he was behind.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7842867
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7842867
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_78540917
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Like Brother and Sister
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_78540917
comment
Like Brother and Sister: Skif and Talia swear blood brotherhood after their failed teenage romance. Interestingly, they mean it, and any UST becomes moot after Talia acknowledges her lifebond to Dirk. Also occurs between Talia and Kris, although they were lovers during her internship.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_78540917
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_78be795b
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Changeling Fantasy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_78be795b
comment
Changeling Fantasy: Of a sort. Heraldic Trainees plucked away by their Companions from massively abusive childhoods usually find their "real" home and family in the Heraldic Circle. Arrows of the Queen gets close to lampshading it since before Talia gets Chosen, she has a fantasy of such a thing happening to her.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_78be795b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7913eb6f
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Healing Hands
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7913eb6f
comment
Healing Hands: The Healers generally have this as an ability, though it costs energy that comes from the Healer's personal magical reserves, so it's better to use medicine and care whenever possible.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7913eb6f
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7913eb6f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a0374eb
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Impoverished Patrician
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a0374eb
comment
Kethry has a vicious version of this in her backstory: when she was twelve years old, her brother decided to fix his Impoverished Patrician status by marrying her off against her will to a rich and ambitious merchant with a thing for little girls. Kethry's old nurse managed to help her escape, but unfortunately not before the wedding night.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a0374eb
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a3dd888
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Real Men Wear Pink
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a3dd888
comment
Real Men Wear Pink: Bazie's gang of thieves don't see sewing and laundry as women's work. Since a large part of their business involves stealing textiles, mending and cleaning them allows them to get higher prices and disguise hot goods.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a3dd888
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7a3dd888
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7b7182fe
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Closet Key
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7b7182fe
comment
Closet Key: Tylendel, for Vanyel. Firesong seems to be this for An'desha, but it is ultimately subverted as If It's You, It's Okay.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7b7182fe
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bb844ec
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Villain Decay
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bb844ec
comment
Villain Decay: Justified and actually invoked in-universe in the form of Ma'ar, as his method for cheating death down the centuries gradually damages his psyche more and more, until the heroes are finally able to bring him down in Winds of Fury. Mind you, even in his emotionally-crippled, erratic, semi-functional latest incarnation, he's still terrifyingly competent and thorough, and it's revealed later that the gods have been very carefully planning this—allowing him to reincarnate time and time again—until he can be killed in just such a way as to preserve the knowledge he carried over from the Mage Wars.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bb844ec
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bd8307f
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The Infiltration
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bd8307f
comment
The Infiltration: Tarma's role in Oathbreakers is to get inside the court in Rethwellan to uncover the truth of what happened to the King's sister. She does, and it is not pretty.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bd8307f
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7bd8307f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c36c716
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Angst Coma
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c36c716
comment
Angst Coma: Vanyel in Magic's Price. Talia gets her coma in Arrow's Fall the old-fashioned way (torture followed by a lethal dose of poison), but stays in it due to angst, requiring Dirk and Rolan to join forces and coax her out via their psychic bonds with her.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c36c716
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c7ee100
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Cannot Tell a Lie
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c7ee100
comment
Cannot Tell a Lie: Inflicted on Duke Tremaine by High Priest Solaris in payment for his murder of her friend. Also occurs when the Truth Spell is invoked. This is also true of mindspeech in the series, most of the time.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c7ee100
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c8a4602
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Horsing Around
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c8a4602
comment
Horsing Around: There are several instances, including the famous gray stud of Forst Reach and a beautiful but brainless horse in Oathbreakers.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c8a4602
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c8a4602
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c9dcc1
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THeUnfavorite
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7c9dcc1
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Talia was The Unfavorite of her father and his several wives, to point that she gets disowned after running away and is Chosen to be a Herald.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7d7c8e54
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Being Watched
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7d7c8e54
comment
Being Watched: Weaponized when Vanyel arranges for any non-Herald mages entering into Valdemar to be monitored by minor air spirits called vrondi, causing the mages to feel that they are being watched all the time. Unsurprisingly, this makes people extremely anxious to leave — even driving those who can't (or won't) leave insane — and Valdemar is not bothered by magic for several hundred years.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7d7c8e54
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7eb0999a
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Chessmaster Sidekick
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7eb0999a
comment
Chessmaster Sidekick: Court-Baron Melles' valet, who is a gifted assassin in semi-retirement.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7eb0999a
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7eb0999a
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec1d823
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Animal Eyes
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec1d823
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Animal Eyes: Nyara and An'desha have these, as the last physical remnants of their transformations at the hands of Mornelithe Falconsbane.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec1d823
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec94d53
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Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec94d53
comment
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In-Universe. Vanyel discovers to his dismay, near the beginning of Magic's Promise, that people fear the possible consequences that may result from the combination of his extraordinary degree of power and the equally extraordinary amount of stress he is almost perpetually under. A Herald himself goes to serve Vanyel rather than sending a page and risking a Freak Out that blows up the Palace (or even the entire city of Haven).
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ec94d53
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ef728b1
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Tsundere
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ef728b1
comment
Tsundere: Elspeth.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ef728b1
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7ef728b1
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7f8fd503
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Lonely at the Top
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7f8fd503
comment
Lonely at the Top: A common theme used for anyone in a position of authority, such as the various monarchs in the series. Selenay in particular had this problem, which is part of which allowed her to be so easily seduced by Prince Karathanelan. Rank-and-file Heralds largely avoid it, having their peers for company, but particularly powerful ones (whether politically, like the monarchs, or personally, like Herald-Mages in general and Vanyel in particular) do suffer from it.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7f8fd503
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7f8fd503
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7fbb2a3
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Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_7fbb2a3
comment
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: History tends to gloss over the fact that Skandranon directly caused the Cataclysm and unleashed the World-Wrecking Wave of magic by being Hot-Blooded. Urtho assumed that Skandranon would use the anti-magic weapon to strike at Ma'ar at some point in the future, as part of a plan laid out by surviving leaders. Instead, he rushed off to unleash on Ma'ar's fortress at the same time Urtho's own magic was unraveling. This double-disaster caused devastation throughout the world — which could have been averted if Skandranon had waited a bit.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_7fbb2a3
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_80621707
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Arranged Marriage
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_80621707
comment
Valdemar's Heralds in Closer to Home oppose the system where women are seen as tools of political alliance rather than as people in their own right, and yet the King commands an Arranged Marriage between two Feuding Families to settle the feud. Even centuries later, it's accepted that Valdemar's Monarch and Heir may need to make a marriage of alliance, whatever Valdemar's national values on the subject say.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_80621707
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_80621707
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_823c6e3e
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Large Ham
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_823c6e3e
comment
Large Ham: Firesong, deliberately. He views showmanship as an inherent part of his art and when the opportunity comes to play at being a carnival charlatan, he hams it up with gusto. Hilariously, Hyllarr the bondbird hawkeagle, who with only a little prompting from Darkwind proves more than willing to shamelessly ham up his injuries to get Starblade's sympathy.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_823c6e3e
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_82d1f93f
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MagiTek
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_82d1f93f
comment
The grand prize goes to Great Mages Urtho and Ma'ar of prehistory, who between their own vast powers and their Magitek WMDs managed to completely change the face of 99% of the known world in a magical Cataclysm so powerful that it echoed through time to recur 3000 years later.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_82d1f93f
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Magitek
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_82d2715f
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Contrasted with Valdemar is the Eastern Empire, which relies so heavily on Magitek that their society is thrown into chaos when the Mage Storms hit and magic becomes unreliable.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_82d2715f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_831b0a18
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Intentional Heartbreaker
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_831b0a18
comment
Intentional Heartbreaker: Lady Naril in Arrows of the Queen pretended to love Dirk so she could get closer to his handsome best friend Kris. When Kris rejected her, she tore into Dirk for believing a beautiful woman like her would want a homely man like him. Dirk's self-esteem was so shattered that he didn't believe any woman would want him, complicating his relationship with Talia.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8347d55e
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Has Two Mommies
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8347d55e
comment
Has Two Mommies: Kethry and Jadrek have Babies Ever After, and Heterosexual Life-Partner Tarma helps. They essentially become a three-parent family, and Kethry's children become the nucleus of Tarma's reformed Shin'a'in Clan.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_83641c73
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Logical Weakness
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_83641c73
comment
Logical Weakness: Valdemar's Anti-Magic defense isn't absolute and there are major loopholes namely centered around Vanyel's original order to the vrondi, who are very literal. The defense only activates if a mage uses magic inside Valdemar, thus any mage who simply doesn't use magic doesn't trigger the vrondi. This is how Hulda managed to operate for years in Valdemar. The vrondi are only meant to watch and don't offer any other protection which means that a mage can still cast spells outside the borders and use them to attack Valdemar. The Sun-priests used to summon demons to attack Valdemar and the same with Hardornian mages. That is how Leareth bypassed the webs protection A powerful, determined or crazy enough mage could simply ignore the vrondi long enough to accomplish an objective.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_83641c73
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8387bb18
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Good Girls Avoid Abortion
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8387bb18
comment
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted near the end of Arrow's Flight in which Talia allows a midwife to abort a young woman's pregnancy if she wishes it (which was due to her stepfather raping her and she'd found that it was non-viable anyway since the girl was underage).
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_8387bb18
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_83adb272
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Crystal Dragon Jesus
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_83adb272
comment
Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Karsite church and its god Vkandis have a distinctly Medieval Christian flavor to them. This comes complete with monotheistic worship, a hierarchical church complete with a pontiff and an emphasis on scripture.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_83adb272
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8485d41a
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Interspecies Romance
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8485d41a
comment
Interspecies Romance: Skif and Nyara are only sort of an example, since Nyara was originally human before her father altered her. Later her Cat Girl features are reverted until she's almost completely human in appearance. Lavan Firestorm and his Companion do have a lifebond as well as a Companion bond; this is necessary to anchor his sanity. There's something of a deconstruction or justified aversion of this issue in the Mage Storms trilogy, where the true nature of most Companions (reincarnated Heralds) is revealed. The Companions go to great lengths to conceal this secret to avoid exactly the situation where a Herald is forced to confront a former loved one in a ... slightly different body.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_8485d41a
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Sapient Steed
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_84f15fc4
comment
Sapient Steed: The Companions and some of the intelligent ridable creatures like dyheli.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_84f15fc4
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_859bbabc
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The Cassandra
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_859bbabc
comment
The Cassandra: Talia is The Empath and has a one hundred percent flawless record at reading people. If anyone had taken her suspicions about Lord Orthallen seriously in Arrow's Fall, it would have averted a lot of tragedy. To his credit, Orthallen sows rumors about her reliability and tries to alienate her from her friends precisely to keep her off-balance and disbelieved. This trope is also why Alberiech doesn't speak up in regards to why he doesn't like Orthallen. The fact he's originally from Karse wouldn't help his case.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_863fa679
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What Happened to the Mouse?
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_863fa679
comment
What Happened to the Mouse?: The second book in the Last Herald Mage trilogy features a Tayledras Heartstone in (what was then) a small nation on Valdemar's frontier, which is holding together a fault line. Fast forward several centuries to the Mage Storms trilogy, and all the mages are scrambling to make sure nothing goes wrong with the Heartstone in Haven due to the storms, but the other one is never addressed; it could conceivably have mended the fault line and gone inactive by then, but it's never mentioned one way or the other.
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Alien Non-Interference Clause
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_867f9f5c
comment
Companions generally operate on the unspoken rule that they will only advise their Heralds, and then usually only when asked. Many tangled interpersonal squabbles could easily be resolved if the Companions would just get their hooves into it and sort their Heralds out, but when called on it, the Companions themselves state that their humans are expected to solve their own problems whenever possible. Justified in the sense that they are effectively avatars of the gods and obey a general divine Alien Non-Interference Clause about not messing around with human affairs unless absolutely necessary.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8712e4c9
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Story-Breaker Power
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8712e4c9
comment
Story-Breaker Power: Foresight is this (as telling the future would reduce a lot of tension) which is why it's the only one that's consistently nerfed. Most Foreseers have weak powers that only see ahead a few minutes, show multiple possibilities or give brief flashes. The ones that do have more powerful gifts tend to be unable to control them (like Alberich). Furthermore, it's implied that mages could block the Sight.
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Psychic Powers
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_874176be
comment
Psychic Powers: Mind-Magic or Heraldic "Gifts", which range from the relatively benign, like FarSight or ForeSight, to the potentially devastating, like Firestarting. Gifts often vary in strength, and many Heralds have more than one. Inside Valdemar, practically anyone demonstrating these Gifts seems to end up Chosen; outside, Gifts pop up randomly from time to time, but less commonly, and only one other nation is mentioned making use of them on Valdemar's level.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_874176be
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That Man Is Dead
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_87ede6fc
comment
That Man Is Dead: Tayledras use-names reflect the owner. When something significant happens to Tayledras that changes their personality, they change their use-name, indicating that they see themselves as a new/different person. This is how Songwind became Darkwind. Another significant example is the story about Tallo. After accidentally killing his lover, Tallo is rescued by Savil and taken to a Tayledras clan. To assuage his guilt, Tallo 'dies' and is adopted by the Tayledras as Moondance.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_87ede6fc
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Masquerade Ball
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_88c6e936
comment
Masquerade Ball: In Exile's Valor, Selenay holds one when the official year of mourning is over for her father, partly as a way to see if Prince Thanel is serious about her.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_88c6e936
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The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_88da529f
comment
The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Many Queens (and Kings, for that matter) of Valdemar would be this, save for the Monarch's Own Herald whose job it is to act as an absolutely trustworthy confidant. Before Talia showed up, Selenay was on the verge of truly falling victim to the isolation of her position, and made some disastrous choices that nearly cost her life and caused her daughter to be a Royal Brat. Upon coming of age, Elspeth renounces the throne in order to avoid a similar fate.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_890d778
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Wizards Live Longer
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_890d778
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Wizards Live Longer
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_890d778
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_89d694cc
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Place of Power
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_89d694cc
comment
Place of Power: Nodes, the intersection of Ley Lines and the most powerful sources of magic in the world. Only Adept-class mages can safely handle them. The Tayledras take it even further, having been taught by their Goddess to build Heartstones, which augment and focus the power of nodes to accomplish tasks no other mage can hope to duplicate, and particularly to maintain spells even after the mage's death. Focusing the power in this way also allows less powerful Master-class mages to access it. They teach Vanyel how to do it, which leads to him building a Heartstone beneath Haven. It maintains several of his masterworks for hundreds of years after his death.
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Conlang
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8a1bb4eb
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Conlang: Shin'a'in/Tayledras/Kaled'a'in. Other languages are handled entirely by Translation Convention.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_8a1bb4eb
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8a4988bb
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Mind Rape
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8a4988bb
comment
Talia's literal Mind Rape of a (physical) rapist also qualifies; it was an act of calculated rage on her part, but she felt absolutely no remorse afterward, comparing it to shooting bandits and noting that if the man ever truly repents, he'll be freed.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8a4988bb
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8ae880f7
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Deconstruction
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8ae880f7
comment
There's something of a deconstruction or justified aversion of this issue in the Mage Storms trilogy, where the true nature of most Companions (reincarnated Heralds) is revealed. The Companions go to great lengths to conceal this secret to avoid exactly the situation where a Herald is forced to confront a former loved one in a ... slightly different body.
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Magic Is a Monster Magnet
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8b92d7d5
comment
Magic Is a Monster Magnet: This is a danger particularly in the Pelagirs, where magic use can attract magic-twisted monsters. It also makes the mage obvious to any enemy mage.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8c170cb1
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Ethical Slut
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8c170cb1
comment
Ethical Slut: Many Heralds lean toward this. As few are willing impose themselves on a spouse that would end up taking third place behind Duty and a Companion, friendly encounters with their colleagues are often seen as preferable. Also, it's mentioned that, since Heralds can pretty much expect to die in the line of duty, many prefer to become hedonistic and "anything but chaste" in their off-duty hours rather than try to form a strong bond with a single person when either of them may never come home again.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8dc8a02d
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Derailing Love Interests
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8dc8a02d
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Derailing Love Interests: Skif in the Mage Winds trilogy. Largely justified and even when he's being an idiot he still acts as an ally.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8dd4a996
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Identical Grandson
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8dd4a996
comment
Identical Grandson: "The Ashkevron family look tends to breed true, and when it doesn't the poor thing usually runs off to Haven."
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Spare to the Throne
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8e3f54c
comment
Spare to the Throne: The implications of noble families having lots of extra sons with nothing to do are explored in Closer to Home. Male spares are given far more leeway in that matters of drinking, carousing, and whoring than firstborn sons, since the best they can typically hope for is to marry into a family with only daughters and become heir of someone else's estate, and there aren't many noble families without male heirs of their own. They also have to compete with older nobles looking for young wives to produce their own heirs, and wealthy merchants looking to marry up, so many young spares don't put much effort into the game.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8f37b
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Medieval Stasis
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8f37b
comment
Medieval Stasis: Averted, over the course of a series spanning three thousand years. It's hinted that in the time of the Mage Wars trilogy, magic had allowed society to advance far beyond what we see in Valdemar, a few thousand years After the End. For instance, Amberdrake attended an "advanced" medical college that denied the reality of Healing Hands and other Gifts, and several non-magical Lost Technology weapons can be found in Urtho's tower (including something implied to be an atomic bomb). After the Cataclysm, societies rebuilt themselves to the medieval status we see. Over the course of several hundred years, Valdemar is founded by migrants from The Empire, grows, absorbs smaller kingdoms, and enters into a long-standing a Space Cold War with Karse. Up until Vanyel's time, this roughly applied in Valdemar and the surrounding petty kingdoms that would later join with Valdemar. Magic was widely used, particularly by the Herald-Mages, while technology and society remained essentially medieval. Vanyel, however, was the last Herald-Mage, and after that, Valdemar would have to rely on Gifts alone. After Vanyel's death, Valdemar's society undergoes enormous upheaval as magic fades into myth and Valdemar has to adapt to governing a much larger kingdom without the aid of magic, and limited technological development begins. The Collegium Chronicles and The Herald Spy show the establishment of formal university education at the Collegium, the development of technology to supplement more-limited Gifts note For instance, Bear becomes a recognized Healer without a Healing Gift simply by becoming the Collegium's foremost expert on herbs and chirurgy, and most importantly the birth of the Artificer's discipline. Society also begins shifting away from the medieval; among other things, we see increased acceptance of homosexuality and development in women's rights. Much of the plot of Closer to Home is driven by the tension between the medieval values of the nobility (who see women as property to be traded off) and those of the Crown and Heralds (who are liberal Havenites who see women as equal to men). By the reign of Queen Selenay, Valdemar is technologically into the Renaissance (with the exception of gunpowder), and significantly beyond that in societal advancement. Indoor plumbing can be found in decent houses, a system of public works has provided Haven with free fountains, and every child is taught to read, write, and figure (the latter two started to be implemented back in Vanyel's day, though it took a few generations for the public works projects to spread across the entire city because of the method the crown came up with to trick the noveau rich into paying for it). The raw beginnings of Steam Age technology even emerge during Mage Storms, as the Artificers of the Collegium begin a crash development program to save Haven through both magic and technology. Elsewhere, it's more or less the Middle Ages, with the exception of the Eastern Empire, which has developed along a different technological path. Militarily, knights and lance charges were obsolete even in Vanyel's time. (One party in Closer to Home is themed like an "ancient tourney," with centuries-old armor and banners dragged out of an attic in Haven.) Instead, the Valdemaran Guard develops into an early-modern national army, supplemented by nobles' household units in wartime. The Empire and Karse also have national armies, but elsewhere, the dominant army is a combination of feudal retainers and mercenaries, with an international Mercenaries' Guild providing the most elite and reliable soldiers and combat mages.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8fac4a3a
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Superpower Lottery
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_8fac4a3a
comment
Superpower Lottery: An incident involving the creation of a Gate left Vanyel Ashkevron with not only Adept-level mage ability but just about all Psychic Powers the Heralds knew of to one degree or another. Of course the same incident led directly to his lover's suicide so...
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_8fac4a3a
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_90c018ac
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Justified Trope
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_90c018ac
comment
In By the Sword, Kerowyn says that the Mercenaries' Guild has placed several representatives in Iftel over the years, but none stuck because there was no call for their services and they found living there too boring. In the Mage Storms trilogy, Iftel is revealed to be populated by Kaled'a'in and a good many nonhumans such as gryphons, something that one would think at least one of those Guild reps might have found interesting enough to give them a reason to stick around. A justification for this one might be inferred from the fact that Iftel was not merely unsociable, but an outright Hidden Elf Village on a national scale. The really hardcore deity-level magic preserving it that way quite possibly gave them Fake Memories to discourage them and others from investigating why they'd been physically kept out.
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Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_91f9b1ad
comment
Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: The Hawkbrothers' use-names.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_920b2aae
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Racial Remnant
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_920b2aae
comment
Racial Remnant: The Tedrel Mercenaries are the survivors of nation of people. They became mercenaries and tried to get enough money to create a new homeland.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_920b2aae
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Revenge
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_92f674e5
comment
Savil Ashkevron, in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy. She's an elderly Herald-Mage who acts as Vanyel's instructor and mentor. It's her death that finally pushes him over the edge and turns him into a revenge seeker.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_93b39134
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Training the Gift of Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_93b39134
comment
Training the Gift of Magic: This is how special abilities work in this world, barring creatures who are inherently magical. Blood Magic can circumvent some of the restrictions, though it stains the soul.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_93b39134
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_94680696
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Shaped Like Itself
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_94680696
comment
Shaped Like Itself: Early in The Black Gryphon, the narration describes the way Amberdrake feels after healing Skandranon: "In short, as if he had served his full roster of clients, then Healed a gravely injured gryphon."
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Circuit Judge
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_950a2b13
comment
Circuit Judge: One of the primary everyday functions of the Heralds.
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Deadly Prank
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Deadly Prank: Some unaffiliated students pull one on Talia — as attempted murder. "Give our love to Talamir" indeed.
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Faux Affably Evil
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Faux Affably Evil: Lord Orthallen straddles this as well, most vividly seen (or not, rather) when he was acting as Selenay's confidant.
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Boarding School of Horrors
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Boarding School of Horrors: Lavan attends a day school of this in Brightly Burning.
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There Are No Therapists
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_96fbeaf
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There Are No Therapists: Should be averted by the MindHealers, who are portrayed as the competent type of The Shrink with psychic powers backing them up. In practice, the Collegium rather consistently fails to provide adequate therapy for young Heralds. Many new-Chosen are teenagers with Dark And Troubled Pasts, complete with lingering mental trauma, who are now expected to deal with an accelerated educational curriculum and their emergent Psychic Powers as well as the usual turmoil of adolescence; while MindHealers are notably rare, there doesn't seem to be any other policies in place at the Collegium or within the Heraldic Circle to make sure that trainees receive counseling to help them through such a volatile stage of their lives. This has led to several spectacular meltdowns on the part of Heralds, most notably Tylendel, Lavan Firestorm, Talia, and Magsnote at least one Amazon review of Intrigues puts a trigger warning on the book. Lifebonds sort out most of the really bad cases, but when they fail (or aren't suited for the problem at hand), the results can lead to tragedy. Averted by the the Monarch's Own Herald, who is a state mandated aversion to this, as a personal confidant/therapist/trusted advisor to the Monarch. It is stated in the Arrow's trilogy that powerful Monarch's Own Heralds end up ministering to the entire Circle as well as the Monarch. Queen's Own Talia is seen doing this several times in the Arrows and later trilogies. This might, in fact, be a literal version of the trope. It's stated that MindHealers, as opposed to just Healers are very, very, rare. In the early part of Arrows Fall Talia is helping a fellow Herald with the trauma of her intern dying (the same incident that's triggering Dirk's Drowning My Sorrows) and she's talking to Healer Rene, who's also a MindHealer. They're explicitly stated to be the only two currently active. Apparently, the field of psychiatry hasn't been invented yet.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_970c790a
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Big Bad
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Big Bad: Ma'ar, in the background or foreground of just about all of the novels through Mage Winds. After he's finally disposed of, the series lacks a clear major villain, substituting The Empire and The End of the World as We Know It. And the Cataclysm was in part caused by Ma'ar, bringing him back around to be the indirect villain for Mage Storms.
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Multilayer Façade
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Multilayer Façade: Falconsbane can easily sense and see through illusions, and Companions stand out and won't take dye. Kero suggests a trick her mercenary mages once used: layer one illusion over another, so that anyone who senses magic and looks past the first illusion will think they're being hidden for more mundane reasons. The Companions are disguised as worn-out nags, with an illusion of fancy show horses over that. Nyara is disguised as herself, over an illusion that makes her Cat Girl features look like cheap makeup.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_98ba5dfe
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Unproblematic Prostitution
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_98ba5dfe
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Unproblematic Prostitution: In Closer to Home, the brothel that Mags directs his friends to is a clear example of this, where young men pay classy women for fine wine, intelligent conversation and sexual skill, with the full approval of their fathers (as Mags says, "a man likes to know his son's a man"). In fact, going to Flora's is part of what establishes Brand's reputation as a gentleman, as he pays well and doesn't cause trouble.
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Long-Running Book Series
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_98ce21fe
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Long-Running Book Series: Arrows of the Queen was published in 1987, and the Tarma & Kethry stories predate that. Books are still being published to this day.
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Take Up My Sword
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Need is (or was) a mage-smith in her original mortal life. Faced with the destruction of all she held dear, and being too old to fight effectively, she sacrificed her body to bind her soul to a sword so that her favorite student could take it up and wield it to seek justice.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_9b06e314
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Greater-Scope Villain
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_9b06e314
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Greater-Scope Villain: The Eastern Empire is responsible for Hardon's war with Valdemar having manipulated Ancar. However, they're never actually fought or even seen (except for a small outpost). The problem becomes moot after the Mage Storms wreck havoc on magic and thus the Magitek society
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_9c00c209
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Hurricane of Aphorisms
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Hurricane of Aphorisms: There are a lot of old Shin'a'in proverbs, and everyone loves to quote them.
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Stay in the Kitchen
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Stay in the Kitchen: The followers and Priests of Sethor have this mindset, believing that women should only exist for sex, keeping house, and child-rearing. They highly disapprove of any woman working outside the home, especially in jobs they as more suitable for males, unless it's for the benefit of their men and with their permission. Their attempts to impose their views on others through violence gets the order outlawed in Valdemar. The Holderkin also have a similar mindset, but unlike the Sethorites, keep their views to themselves, and do not use their religion to justify violating civil law.
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Foreshadowing
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Foreshadowing: In Mage’s Pawn, when Tylendal and Savil are talking about how to get through to Vanyel after his dreams of being a Bard are dashed, Savil asks if him attempting suicide is likely to be a problem. Tylendel replies that Vanyel is unlikely to go that far, however, if it was himself... In Arrows of the Queen, when first describing Companions, Talia remarks that they transcend horses in the way that "panthers transcend cats, or "angels transcend men". Yeah, about that...
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Traumatic Superpower Awakening
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comment
Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Talia in Arrows of the Queen develops her Empathy normally but it's not fully awakened until she's dropped into a freezing river in an assassination attempt and has to call Rolan for help. Later in the novel, the death of a Herald's lifebonded partner unlocks her latent Mindspeech. Vanyel in The Last Herald-Mage has his gifts triggered when his lover/soulmate commits suicide and he takes the full backlash from the closing of the Gate that his latent power helped open. In Brightly Burning, Lavan's Firestarter gift was starting to come through as a normal Puberty Superpower, but being tortured by the older students snapped it on full-power.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_9dab0a6e
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Continuity Nod
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Continuity Nod: Main characters in one trilogy will frequently appear as minor characters in others.
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Fantastic Honorifics
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Fantastic Honorifics: "Siara" is the default honorific, when its not clear what the right one would be.
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Black Magic
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Black Magic: Blood Magic and demon summoning. However, Blood Magic is not considered evil when it's only the caster's own blood (or Life Energy) involved, and/or the sacrifice is voluntary.
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UnPerson
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Un-person: A dire sentence passed by the Eastern Empire onto individuals who have really angered the Emperor. This removes all references to the person from official records, and in the Empire is tantamount to eliminating his or her afterlife. The Holders and the northern Karsites have a "Shunning" which is more of the I Have No Son! variety.
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Elopement
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_9ed90b36
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In the first book of the Collegium Chronicles, Healer Trainee Bear goes home for the winter holidays only to be told that marriage has been arranged for him with a neighbor girl. He wants nothing to do with this, and three books later gets out of it by eloping with the actual girl he loves, Bardic Trainee Lena.
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DistressedDamsel
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Distressed Damsel: Happens on occasion - Dierna in By the Sword and Lady Myria in The Oathbound play it particularly straight - but in most cases the damsel in question does more than just sit around waiting for rescue. In one notable incident from the Oathblood anthology, the kidnapped girls manage to leave a scent trail for their rescuers to track them by, and then poison their kidnappers to slow them down for the rescue team to catch up, without being suspected until it was much too late.
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Fantasy World Map
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Fantasy World Map: The name of the world is Velgarth and it's enormous, containing countries that are mentioned only by name in publications and more beyond that. Vadlemar and it's neighbors encompass a tiny part of the West.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a14c8cfe
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Secret Legacy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a14c8cfe
comment
Secret Legacy: The ruling line of Valdemar is directly descended from Vanyel, the last Herald-Mage, by way of the King's mistress at the time. This was done very intentionally and then covered up just as deliberately, as: (a) the King had a disease preventing him from siring children, (b) Vanyel was widely known to be gay, and (c) Valdemar was in significant political turmoil and needed to maintain the continuity of the Royal bloodline — and keep an alliance-marriage a viable option. This turns out to be an in-story Chekhov's Gun as, six hundred years later, Princess Elspeth inherits Vanyel's mage gifts and becomes the first new Herald-Mage since his death. It's implied that Herald Kris was a descendant of the same line.
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Skeleton Government
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comment
Skeleton Government: In Closer to Home, the King and the Prince have to spend a lot of time and effort personally babysitting a couple of very minor noble houses involved in gang brawls. [{Justified}} in that the heads of both houses are so stubborn and arrogant about the damn feud, the King and the Prince are the only ones with the authourity to quash them - Lord Raeylen and Chendlar would simply ignore everyone else.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a19135a6
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MindControl
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Subverted in Winds of Fate with Darkwind and his father. In his youth, Darkwind was close to his parents. But when the Heartstone was sabotaged, and Darkwind's mother died, his father turned against him. It turns out that Darkwind's father is Mind Controlled by the Big Bad and is deliberately trying to drive his son away to protect him, in the only way he can. When the spell is broken, Darkwind is amazed at the change in his personality and wonders how he could have failed to notice.
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Doomed by Canon
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a1e5faab
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Doomed by Canon: Vanyel Ashkevron and Lavan Firestorm, both of whom have the conclusions of their stories told in Arrows of the Queen, the very first novel of the series.
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Life Energy
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Life Energy: This forms the basis of all magic. See Ley Line above as well as Liquid Assets.
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The Evil Prince
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Queen Selenay's relationship with her eldest daughter was complicated well into the latter's adulthood by the former's fear that she subconsciously regarded her as this. The fact that Elspeth looked a fair bit like her father did not help.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a23bf917
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Fusion Fic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a23bf917
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The short story Moving Targets is pretty much a Fusion Fic with Scooby-Doo, complete with the sentence "I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling Heralds!"
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a2dd3c5
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My Death Is Just the Beginning
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My Death Is Just the Beginning: Ma'ar, who goes so far as to declare the fact with his dying breath.
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Highly Conspicuous Uniform
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comment
Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Valdemaran Heralds (white), Bards (red), and Healers (green) all wear these in their normal duties. In each case it's because it's their job to be highly visible, even when being visible is sometimes a liability, like on the battlefield. Two Heralds of note refuse to wear Whites, and both are Weaponmasters who come from a different country: Alberich and Kerowyn. Kerowyn calls it her "just shoot me" uniform and only a royal decree can get her into one. For his part, Alberich also prefers "grays" but will occasionally don Whites in order to disguise himself, as his reputation for disliking them is so well established. In the Mage Winds series, the Hawkbrothers (specifically, their hertasi helpers) take such a dislike to Elspeth's Whites that they literally steal them until they can come up with something better. She insists on them remaining white, but they at least manage to make her the most stylish Herald in the history of Valdemar.
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Canon Discontinuity
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a32334b4
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Canon Discontinuity: In Arrows of the Queen, it is mentioned that a repudiation occurs about once every couple of centuries. By Arrow's Fall, it had changed to only one ever.
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Circus of Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a353109c
comment
Circus of Magic: In Winds of Fury, the protagonists, who have a variety of magic, Psychic Powers, and Bond Creatures in the shape of large white horses, sneak into an enemy nation using a Needle in a Stack of Needles approach—they use their illusions and showy magic to disguise themselves as carnival performers, hucksters, and charlatans, and travel towards the capital as part of an actual carnival troupe. Performing in carnivals seems to be a common occupation for low-power mages, making it an excellent disguise.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a371a459
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Fighting for a Homeland
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a371a459
comment
Fighting for a Homeland: A common theme across the series is that, while some mercenaries are scum, most hired fighters just want to get enough money together to buy some land, marry, and settle down. Tarma is a subversion — she already has the land for her Clan, but unless she personally establishes its fame and fortune, she won't attract quality people to repopulate it. A less sympathetic example is the Tedrels, who are so desperate for a country that there are no depths to which they will not sink to get one.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a3c0d670
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Evil Chancellor
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a3c0d670
comment
Evil Chancellor: Hulda infiltrates the courts of both Valdemar and Hardorn by posing as a nursemaid and seeking to corrupt their rulers' respective heirs. Lord Orthallen straddles this and The Evil Prince. Despite being a senior member of the privy council and a close personal friend of three generations of the Valdemar Royal Family, he either instigated or was heavily involved in at least four plots against the crown over the course of 20 years while avoiding suspicion almost completely until the day of his death.
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Bolt of Divine Retribution
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Bolt of Divine Retribution: Vkandis does this to reestablish his true priesthood in a truly unmistakable way - see Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter.
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Authority in Name Only
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a5398aba
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Authority in Name Only: Karse is technically a kingdom, but everyone both in and outside the country knows that the king has no real power outside his palace and actual control of the country lies with the priesthood. The Mage Storms trilogy hammers this in by having Karse's ambassador to Valdemar be appointed by the Son of the Son rather than the court, and when Solaris makes a state visit to Haven, she is treated as a visiting head of state rather than merely the head of a church visiting a country where most people practice totally unrelated religions.
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Parental Neglect
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Parental Neglect: This occurs in Herald Jakyr's backstory. (His parents were part of the Valdemaran version of the Quiverfull movement, and had so many children that they often forget their kid's names and apparently didn't even notice when Jakyr got Chosen and left the family inn.) zig-zagged in general: this is implied to be a side effect of some Heraldic offspring. It's no coincidence that all the successful Herald parents we see are permanently assigned to the capital (Selenay/Daren, Talia/Dirk, Nikolaus) or spend lots of time there (Pol). Natoli in the Mage Storms series is the daughter of a Herald, but isn't one herself; given the speech she gives to her fellow Artificers, it's fairly clear that the lack of parental participation in her upbringing left her utterly certain she didn't want to follow his career choice. in the later stage of the short stories about Herald Wil and Bard Lyla, the conflict between being a single father and Herald causes major issues for him, and is the focus of more than one story. He has to get creative in order to resolve said conflict.
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Cool Horse
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Cool Horse: Shin'a'in warsteeds. Companions readily acknowledge being cool, but tend to get bent out of shape over the horse thing.
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Dirty Mind-Reading
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Dirty Mind-Reading: Heralds and others with strong "Communication" gifts often wind up an unwitting third party to someone else's fun. Herald Talia gets a double whammy — through her Empathy and her unblockable bond with Rolan, she can 'overhear' Companion encounters as well as human ones.
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Cool Sword
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Cool Sword: Need, in spite of her unique drawbacks.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a63bb3bd
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Ascended Demon
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Ascended Demon: Attempted in The Oathbound, when Thalhkarsh is Brought Down to Normal and captured by priests who hope to redeem her. There is no indication of whether or not the project succeeded, as she isn't mentioned again in any other book.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a7ddc88e
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The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a7ddc88e
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The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Heralds can often fix anyone's troubles but their own. Comes up particularly in Arrow's Fall, where — irony of ironies — the Herald with Empathy as her Gift and "most trusted adviser" as her job title cannot resolve any of her interpersonal problems.
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"Hell, Yes!" Moment: In OwlKnight, Darian and his companions are up against a snow-drake when heading northwest to find his parents. Things seem impossible, until Healer Keisha fires an arrow hitting it at the right spot. To Darian's amazement, Keisha runs right up to face the snow-drake, followed by younger sister Herald Shandi who shouts the Trope expression.
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Love at First Sight
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Love at First Sight: Supposedly this is true of all lifebonds. By the Sword provides probably the most dramatic example without a lifebond.note According to the Word of God.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_a929d574
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Doctor's Orders
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Doctor's Orders: Healers call the shots.
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Hidden Elf Village
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Hidden Elf Village: The Hawkbrothers' Vales are these, until the events in the Mage Winds bring them out. Iftel was a Hidden Elf Nation State. For hundreds of years it showed up on maps, but few ever went in or out. It was well known that trying to invade or sneak over the border would lead to instant death, but sometimes people were permitted in and came back out reporting that it was otherwise a very boring place which there was no real reason to visit, ever... In reality it contained a people (true Kaled'a'in) and even an entire sentient species (the Gryphons) that virtually everyone in the setting would have been floored to learn still existed in the world. Why visitors reported otherwise isn't quite explained, but it's implied to be because the same magic that guarded the borders also imposed a Weirdness Censor. Valdemar itself is a downplayed example after Vanyel's era up until the Mage Winds trilogy. While they trade with their neighbors and maintain good relations with everyone except Karse, they generally don't have much to do with the world outside their borders unless things have gone totally pear-shaped, in part because Vanyel's web and the gods are working to keep Valdemar secluded (being in a corner of the map, with nigh-impassible barriers on two borders, helps). Outsiders see Valdemar as a strange but harmless hermit kingdom, and a saying in Rethwellan is that "when the wind blows folk from Valdemar, prepare for heavy weather."
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TykeBomb
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Tyke Bomb: Ancar of Hardorn is one of the single most successful examples (at least until Rage Against the Mentor started kicking in after several years on the throne). The irony is that he was Hulda's second choice — Elspeth would have become this had Talia not interfered, and a much more powerful one to boot due to being a potential Adept.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ab44208d
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Stock Medieval Meal
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Stock Medieval Meal: Higher-class inns have more variety, but the "menu" at poorer inns/taverns like the Hollybush from Take A Thief is stew made from better inns' scraps, coarse bread, and stale beer. The Collegium Chronicles novels have a lot of "traveler's pies", at one inn visited in Bastion different versions of these pies are the only things on the menu.
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Dramatic Irony
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ab5eea65
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Dramatic Irony: A lot of the books are prequels to the main series which is set in Selenay's reign which means that the reader already knows the outcome. Mercedes Lackey milks this for all it's worth. Lord Orthallen is revealed to be an Evil Chancellor in Arrow's Fall. Alberich's and Skif's series has them trying and failing to find out the person being the various evil plots, something that the reader already knows is due to him. Vanyel has a dream of his death that he thinks he overcomes by the end of the first book. This is the death that is mentioned in the first page of the series
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Chronic Hero Syndrome
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Chronic Hero Syndrome: Deconstructed with Need, which forces Chronic Hero Syndrome upon its bearers with no regard for any sense of proportion or self-preservation, before she wakes up in the Mage Winds trilogy. Played straight by Heralds, for whom it's more or less contractually obligated. It shows up among the Healers, too, especially during plague situations.
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Straw Misogynist
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Straw Misogynist: The entire priesthood of Sethor could qualify as this.
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Weirdness Censor
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Iftel was a Hidden Elf Nation State. For hundreds of years it showed up on maps, but few ever went in or out. It was well known that trying to invade or sneak over the border would lead to instant death, but sometimes people were permitted in and came back out reporting that it was otherwise a very boring place which there was no real reason to visit, ever... In reality it contained a people (true Kaled'a'in) and even an entire sentient species (the Gryphons) that virtually everyone in the setting would have been floored to learn still existed in the world. Why visitors reported otherwise isn't quite explained, but it's implied to be because the same magic that guarded the borders also imposed a Weirdness Censor.
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Bond Creatures
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Bond Creatures: The Companions, most prominently; also the bondbirds of the Tayledras. The Firecats of Karse may answer to this trope too. They're more independent-minded than their cousins the Companions, but still ultimately attached to one person.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ac4ac8e5
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Idiosyncratic Episode Naming
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ac4ac8e5
comment
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the series use it: The Mage Wars: The X Gryphon: The Black Gryphon (1994) The White Gryphon (1995) The Silver Gryphon (1996) The Last Herald-Mage: Magic's X: Magic's Pawn (1989) Magic's Promise (1990) Magic's Price (1990) The Collegium Chronicles: All One Word Titles. The last two are a type of building. Foundation (2008) Intrigues (2010) Changes (2011) Redoubt (2012) Bastion (October 2013) The Herald Spy, a sequel to the Collegium Chronicles with an adult Herald Mags. Closer to Home (October 2014) Closer to the Heart (October 2015) Closer to the Chest (October 2016) Vows and Honor: Oath-X: The Oathbound (1988) Oathbreakers (1989) Oathblood (1998) Exile's Duology: Exile's X: Exile's Honor (2002) Exile's Valor (2003) The Arrows Trilogy: Arrow's / Arrow's X: Arrows of the Queen (1987) Arrow's Flight (1987) Arrow's Fall (1988) Mage Winds: Winds of X: Winds of Fate (1991) Winds of Change (1992) Winds of Fury (1993) Mage Storms: Storm X: Storm Warning (1994) Storm Rising (1995) Storm Breaking (1996) The Owl Trilogy (Darian's Tale): Owl-X Portmantitles: Owlflight (1997) Owlsight (1998) Owlknight (1999)
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Renowned Selective Mentor
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Renowned Selective Mentor: Darian certainly has this reaction when he finds out Firesong k'Treva has moved to k'Valdemar Vale specifically to train him.
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Older and Wiser
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Older and Wiser: Tarma and Kethry in By the Sword; Talia in The Mage Winds, Kerowyn in and after The Mage Storms. Among others.
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Baby-Doll Baby
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Baby-Doll Baby: In Arrow's Flight, Talia encounters a Weather Witch whose child drowned when she wasn't attentive enough. She has gone mad from grief and guilt and is convinced that a rag doll wrapped in a blanket is her son.
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Wizarding School
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Wizarding School: There are several schools of magic, with White Winds being the most mentioned one, that has several branches since all graduating mages that reach Master or Adept level are supposed to found schools of their own. Tarma and Kethry end up starting a combination fighting/mage school towards the end of Oathbreakers. In the Owls trilogy, it's mentioned that a Mage Collegium was set up so that non-Herald Mages can get training and learn to use their magic ethically.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_af696bef
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Fish out of Water
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Fish out of Water: Newly-Chosen Heralds almost always have to go through an adjustment phase when they arrive at the Palace for training.
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Dreaming of Things to Come
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Dreaming of Things to Come: Some Foreseers have prophetic dreams. Vanyel has a recurring one which he deals with throughout his trilogy, predicting his ultimate confrontation with Leareth. He originally thought he'd resolved the prophecy in Magic's Pawn, but the dreams come back in Magic's Price.
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Hired Guns
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Militarily, knights and lance charges were obsolete even in Vanyel's time. (One party in Closer to Home is themed like an "ancient tourney," with centuries-old armor and banners dragged out of an attic in Haven.) Instead, the Valdemaran Guard develops into an early-modern national army, supplemented by nobles' household units in wartime. The Empire and Karse also have national armies, but elsewhere, the dominant army is a combination of feudal retainers and mercenaries, with an international Mercenaries' Guild providing the most elite and reliable soldiers and combat mages.
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Promotion, Not Punishment
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Promotion, Not Punishment: Kerowyn in By the Sword has a long-term variant. When faced with an incompetent mercenary Captain who is planning a suicidal charge she breaks with her Contract – effectively exiling herself from her Company – and flees before her Captain has a change to retaliate. She clears it with the Guild and is excused, but is then only able to get a job as a tavern bouncer. Several weeks later she is jailed for attacking a drunken city guard in self-defence, but people speak up in her defence and she is released, although with no hope of continuing her job. When she comes out, she is faced with the remains of the Company who have finally caught up with her... only to be told that her leaving had prompted them to vote out their Captain and they want her as their replacement.
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Catchphrase
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In Mage Storms, there's one line where an unnamed character uses a Catch Phrase from Ninja High School: "The world can be saved by steam!"
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Filk Song
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Filk Song: There are eight albums of songs written by Lackey. In the early series, the last book in each series had the song lyrics printed in the back as well as information on where to order cassette tapes of the songs.
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Fate Worse than Death
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Fate Worse than Death: Inflicted by Kethry on Idra's brother in Oathbreakers, as punishment for the betrayal of his kingdom and the brutal rape and murder of his sister.
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Loophole Abuse
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Loophole Abuse: Valdemaran law requires that the monarch be a Herald—but it doesn't say anything about regents. So if you want to run the country, you could marry the monarch, have a baby, arrange an "accident" for your beloved, and rule in the child's stead for at least eighteen years, more if you play your cards right. Which is exactly what Prince Thanel, Selenay's awful first husband, nearly manages—it doesn't work because Thanel is working on the plans of someone far smarter than him and falls apart when not being explicitly instructed, and Alberich spots the assassination attempt in time.
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Coming-of-Age Story
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b1e8a3b3
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Coming-of-Age Story: Many of the series' heroes are teenagers at their first appearance, and the stories follow their growth into adulthood as much as their progress on The Quest.
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RetCon
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Retcon: A minor one; the magic system utilized by Kethry in Vows and Honor undergoes a major and mostly unremarked upon revision in later works. A somewhat bare justification given in-story is that some mage schools apparently don't know about Ley Lines and therefore don't teach their students about them. Another justification is that Kethry was dumbing down her explanation for her audience, as she didn't have time to hold an entire Magical Theory 101 session. Another minor one is concerning the death of Selenay's first husband and father-in-law. The first time (by order of publication) it's mentioned, it's implied that they happened at about the same time. In By The Sword, it's stated that learning about Thanel's treachery and death caused his father to die of shock. In Exile's Valor, the death of Thanel's father takes place nearly a year before Thanel's death. Yet another minor one, this one regarding Talamir's Companion. The Arrows Trilogy has an off-hand remark from the third-person omniscient narrative about Rolan being able to offer considerable expertise to Talia due to having been linked to Talamir since he was a student at the Collegium, but in Exile's Honor, Talamir had a different Companion, Taver, until the Tedrel Wars, well after he completed his schooling at the Collegium. In By the Sword, Kerowyn says that the Mercenaries' Guild has placed several representatives in Iftel over the years, but none stuck because there was no call for their services and they found living there too boring. In the Mage Storms trilogy, Iftel is revealed to be populated by Kaled'a'in and a good many nonhumans such as gryphons, something that one would think at least one of those Guild reps might have found interesting enough to give them a reason to stick around. A justification for this one might be inferred from the fact that Iftel was not merely unsociable, but an outright Hidden Elf Village on a national scale. The really hardcore deity-level magic preserving it that way quite possibly gave them Fake Memories to discourage them and others from investigating why they'd been physically kept out. In the Mage Winds trilogy, Skif tells another character that his mother had taught him how to pick pockets until she got killed by a rival thief. In Take a Thief, which centers on him, we find out that his mother had died of illness and he was left to the care of her brother, who used Skif as unpaid labor in his inn. He runs away and joins a group of boys learning the 'trade' of theft from a nice guy named Bazie, who lost his legs in the Tedrel Wars.
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Intellectual Animal
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Intellectual Animal: Companions, most notably; also gryphons, Firecats, kyree, and hertasi, all of which were either divinely or magically created. Some of the smarter bondbirds also qualify—for example, Hyllar the hawkeagle, who demonstrates a capable grasp of abstract concepts such as "acting" and "sarcasm."
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2463ea1
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b26cc887
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Just Between You and Me
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b26cc887
comment
Just Between You and Me: Hadanelith in The White Gryphon does this after having Amberdrake and Skandranon captive. Skan lampshades this in the beginning by asking, "Good gods, does every half-baked villain have to boast about what he’s going to do before he does it? Can’t you just kill us so we don’t have to endure your boring speech?” Hadanelith retorts that he wants them to know everything so that they can suffer in not being able to thwart his plan. Skan and Amberdrake then proceed to feign boredom instead of interest to keep Hadanelith talking.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b26cc887
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f26025
type
Genki Girl
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f26025
comment
Genki Girl: Natoli, almost to the point of being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for Karal.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f26025
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f26025
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f4114e
type
Heir Club for Men
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f4114e
comment
Heir Club for Men: Notably averted by the Valdemaran royal family; with Companions Choosing as many girls as boys, the Heralds know better than to think a Queen would be less effective a ruler than a King. Queen Selenay rules both before and during her marriages (and her husbands remain Princes, even though Daren legally could have been crowned King if he wanted), and her daughter Elspeth remains Heir even after her younger half-brother is born. Valdemar's nobility, however, is not so enlightened, preferring male heirs strongly. A side plot in the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy is that King Randale is sterile — an obstacle to any possible alliance marriage. To hide this fact, his consort Shavri conceives a child with Herald Vanyel, with Randale's full knowledge and consent.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b2f4114e
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b486877f
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Squick
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b486877f
comment
Strongly implied with Lavan Firestorm, and his Companion Kalira due to their being lifebonded. Lackey was obviously wanting to avoid the possible Squick implications.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b486877f
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b486877f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b5f7c29b
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Star-Crossed Lovers
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b5f7c29b
comment
Starcrossed Lovers: Sunsinger and Shadowdancer, in the backstory.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b5f7c29b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b66699a2
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Mundane Luxury
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b66699a2
comment
Mundane Luxury: Used repeatedly with heraldic trainees, who are provided comfortable-but-not-decadent lifestyles; for nobility, it's a significant step down, but for others this trope is in full effect. Talia was raised in a culture with extremely strict traditions, and gender roles in particular; she's initially overwhelmed by such concepts as "not being forced to marry someone she doesn't want to" and "being allowed to read during her free time". And "having free time", for that matter. Skif, a former thief, is amazed that trainees recieve a modest stipend. The idea that anyone would just give them money is utterly foreign to him. Mags, a child slave at a gem mine before he was Chosen, is probably the best example. He considers it the height of luxury to have food that is both wholesome and plentiful, not to mention clothes that are more than rags.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b66699a2
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b7e0c5ff
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Love Triangle
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b7e0c5ff
comment
Dirk, Kris, and Talia's Love Triangle would have been a lot easier to resolve if they had just talked to each other about it. Unfortunately, Talia gets thrown headfirst into Haven politics, Kris goes on a spree of debauchery, and Dirk falls victim to Drowning My Sorrows over an unrelated incident. The whole thing doesn't sort itself out until after Kris dies and Talia nearly dies.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b7e1dcc8
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Empathic Weapon
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b7e1dcc8
comment
Empathic Weapon: Need until she wakes up in Winds of Fate.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b7e1dcc8
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82c2930
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World Sundering
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82c2930
comment
World Sundering: The Cataclysm
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82c2930
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82c2930
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82ca416
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Rage Against the Heavens
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82ca416
comment
Rage Against the Heavens: Elspeth is really not happy at being yanked around by the gods and flatly rejects their Omniscient Morality License. It takes until the Mage Storms trilogy for the gods' avatars to finally level with everyone, because otherwise Elspeth is likely to slip her leash again and put the whole plan in jeopardy.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_b82ca416
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b8e38fc5
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Metaphorically True
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b8e38fc5
comment
When Vanyel stood against Lord Nedran of Hardorn and his demon-summoning wizard, who had been sacrificing his own people for power, he released the demons upon Nedran. "Now I shall give you, Nedran, all the power that you seek."
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b8e38fc5
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b8f395f
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Royally Screwed Up
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b8f395f
comment
Royally Screwed Up: Almost completely averted in Valdemar thanks to the requirement that the Monarch must be a Herald. In full force, however, in Hardorn, and occasionally in Rethwellan.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b9fd7929
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Morality Chain
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_b9fd7929
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The traumatic awakening of Lavan Firestorm's powers leaves him mentally fragile and only his bond with his Companion keeps him sane and his power in check. When she dies, all bets are off.
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Amplified Animal Aptitude
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_baa2bf80
comment
Amplified Animal Aptitude: Shin'a'in warsteeds and most bondbirds are not quite Intellectual Animals, but are notably smarter than normal horses and birds thanks to extensive magically-augmented breeding programs. Some of the warsteeds' behavior, particularly as it regards their ability to learn and follow commands, is described as being more like that of a dog than a horse (see above).
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_baa2bf80
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb03c099
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Cool Gate
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb03c099
comment
Cool Gate: Gates, especially the rare permanent Gates.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb03c099
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb660963
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Color-Coded Characters
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb660963
comment
Color-Coded Characters: Valdemaran Heralds (white), Bards (red), and Healers (green) wear distinct, Highly Conspicuous Uniforms because being highly visible is part of their jobs. It's also observed that the colors in question are difficult to counterfeit: red and green dye are expensive and white cloth is hard to keep white. Each group's trainees also wear distinctively-colored (but less conspicuous) uniforms: Heraldic trainees in grey instead of white, Bardic trainees in rust-red instead of scarlet, and Healers in pale green instead of forest green. In addition, the Collegium's Armsmaster wears Hearld's "Whites" done in grey darker than the trainee uniforms. This started as a personal habit of Alberich, but his successor Kerowyn did the same thing, cementing it into a tradition that seems likely to last.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb660963
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb7ae292
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Child by Rape
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb7ae292
comment
Child by Rape: An'desha's mother.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb7ae292
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bb7ae292
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bbb44d94
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Cast from Calories
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bbb44d94
comment
Cast from Calories: There's a similar effect in the Mage Winds trilogy. At least once when Darkwind is training Elspeth, he has to remind her to eat because use of mage energy 1) uses up the mage's personal energy reserves (a.k.a. previous meal) and 2) suppresses appetite.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bbb44d94
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdf0640e
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You're Not My Father
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdf0640e
comment
Bear gets to do this twice during the Collegium Chronicles. The first time is by proxy; he rakes his father's spy over the coals knowing a full report will be on its way to Dad before the day's out. The second time, direct to his father, it's this trope combined with You're Not My Father.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdf0640e
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdf0640e
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdffd1cf
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Alliterative List
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdffd1cf
comment
Alliterative List: Some of the music's titles: Heralds, Harpers and Havoc Magic, Moondust, and Melancholy Lovers, Lore, and Loss
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bdffd1cf
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_be8416ea
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Shrouded in Myth
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_be8416ea
comment
Shrouded in Myth: Vanyel, to later generations of Valdemarans. Of course, he was indeed every bit as powerful a mage as the legends tell, if not more. Several of the songs associated with the Herald-Mage trilogy are about adventures of Vanyel's that are unmentioned or only briefly alluded to in the books; the degree of bardic exaggeration involved is left to the reader to decide.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_be8416ea
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_be94b160
type
SmiteMeOhMightySmiter
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_be94b160
comment
Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Inverted. The priests of Karse spent several centuries drifting away from the true tenets of their god Vkandis, falling further and further into vile corruption and demon-summoning, while still invoking Vkandis' name to cement their theocratic rule. One fine midwinter's day, during the annual high holy ceremonies of their religion, Vkandis chose to actually answer an invocation. The following events earned him the Fan Nickname 'Vkandis The Unsubtle'.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf09d8e8
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Eye Colour Change
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf09d8e8
comment
Eye Colour Change: Mages who work with node magic see their eyes gradually lighten to blue because of the magic's bleaching effect. They also gain Mystical White Hair.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf09d8e8
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf09d8e8
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf1255fa
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Really Gets Around
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf1255fa
comment
Really Gets Around: Some Heralds and even Heraldic trainees. (It's explicit that they're not expected to be chaste while off-duty.) Bard Stefen (before meeting Vanyel).
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf1255fa
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf42f9f9
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Lady-in-Waiting
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bf42f9f9
comment
Lady-in-Waiting: Amily, with the help of her friend Dia (who runs things) and the monetary sponsorship of Princess Lydia, sets up the Queen's Handmaidens. The Handmaidens consist of young ladies of good station but are poor, who are trained to act as general purpose ladies-in-waiting to the noble women at court and also function as spies on the nobles for the Crown.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bfb0f48a
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Uncoffee
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_bfb0f48a
comment
Uncoffee: Bitteralm appears to be this verse's coffee equivalent (though most people just stick to strong tea).
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_bfb0f48a
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c05de85d
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Mindlink Mates
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c05de85d
comment
Talia in Arrows of the Queen develops her Empathy normally but it's not fully awakened until she's dropped into a freezing river in an assassination attempt and has to call Rolan for help. Later in the novel, the death of a Herald's lifebonded partner unlocks her latent Mindspeech.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c132c0c5
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I Have No Son!
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c132c0c5
comment
The Holders and the northern Karsites have a "Shunning" which is more of the I Have No Son! variety.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c132c0c5
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c222dde4
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TakingAThirdOption
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c222dde4
comment
in the later stage of the short stories about Herald Wil and Bard Lyla, the conflict between being a single father and Herald causes major issues for him, and is the focus of more than one story. He has to get creative in order to resolve said conflict.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2288824
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A Nazi by Any Other Name
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2288824
comment
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Ma'ar's army are basically medieval fantasy Nazis.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2288824
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2288824
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c267c2b4
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Cataclysm Backstory
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c267c2b4
comment
Cataclysm Backstory: The aptly named Cataclysm; see After the End and World-Wrecking Wave.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2afffe
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Take Me Instead
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2afffe
comment
Take Me Instead: Standard Heraldic MO. Any Herald would die for the Monarch, for another Herald, or for Duty.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2b9c505
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Strangled by the Red String
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c2b9c505
comment
Strangled by the Red String: Justified and used In-Universe with lifebonds. People most certainly do fall in love Because Destiny Says So, either because one or both individuals involved need someone to cling to to keep from going insane (the most common motivation) or because it's necessary to the gods' plans that the individuals involved marry.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c3c77510
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There Is Only One Bed
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c3c77510
comment
The beginning of Vanyel and Stefen's relationship got delayed in big part because Medren had failed to ever tell Vanyel that he and Stefen shared the same sexual orientation, while Stefen knew it. And if not him, plenty of other people, including Stefen himself, could have told Vanyel before Medren had to resort to get Withen (yes, Vanyel's homophobic father from the two previous books) to pull There Is Only One Bed on them during their stay at Forst Reach.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c41668cd
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Needle in a Stack of Needles
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c41668cd
comment
Needle in a Stack of Needles: Elspeth and company get into Hardorn by pretending to be over-the-top carnival hucksters within a larger caravan of same.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c41668cd
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c420a553
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We Can Rule Together
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c420a553
comment
We Can Rule Together: A truly astonishing number of villains try this ploy on Vanyel. It never works, but it doesn't stop them from trying. To be fair, he'd be a great guy to have on your side rather than fighting you.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c420a553
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4286511
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For Doom the Bell Tolls
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4286511
comment
For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Death Bell, which the Companions ring when a Herald dies.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4286511
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4286511
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4db3679
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The Dark Side
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4db3679
comment
Kethry's master sorcery in Oathbreakers involves harnessing the combined anger of all of the Sunhawks over their captain's brutal murder. It is used in a way that barely straddles the line between good and evil; it's even stated that Kethry's greatest challenge is not to let the sheer power of all that rage overwhelm her, lest she fall to The Dark Side.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4db3679
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4eff1b7
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Sorcerous Overlord
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4eff1b7
comment
The backstory of the books, explored in the Mage Wars trilogy, features the conflict between reluctant leader Urtho, the Mage of Silence, and would-be world conqueror Ma'ar—along with its world-shattering aftermath.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4eff1b7
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_c4eff1b7
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c5011a76
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Weapon Wields You
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c5011a76
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Weapon Wields You: Need's ability to turn a physically unskilled bearer into a master swordfighter is mostly a case of Instant Expert. In the hands of someone untrained in either magic or combat, however, the sword can and will hijack its bearer's body completely, as Kerowyn discovers in the early chapters of By the Sword. In later books, when Need is "awake," she can still do this, though she usually asks permission first.
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Nice Guy
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Nice Guy: Karal, contractually due to being a priest, but this is his genuine personality and puts him in excellent standing with the good guys, as opposed to his political rivals and enemies who constantly underestimate him.
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Cringe Comedy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c5ef2d50
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Cringe Comedy: Early in Storm Warning, Firesong jokingly flirts with Darkwind right in front of other guests and An'desha, who's his lover at the time. An'desha, already tired, feeling excluded from the conversation and not realising the whole thing is a private joke between two good friends, gets really mad at them, culminating in almost killing Darkwind with his magic without anyone noticing. In the meantime, the fake flirting between Firesong and Darkwind is so hillarous that the reader can easily be torn between laughing and wanting them to stop before An'desha gets pushed over the edge.
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Strong Family Resemblance
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c5fe6c81
comment
Strong Family Resemblance: The Ashkevron family.
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Grand Theft Me
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Grand Theft Me: Big Bad Ma'ar has been possessing his descendants for thousands of years.
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Shout-Out
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_c75df49a
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Shout-Out: Bard Aiken. In Mage Storms, there's one line where an unnamed character uses a Catch Phrase from Ninja High School: "The world can be saved by steam!" One country, never visited, but shown on the maps and briefly mentioned once or twice, is named Seejay (alternately spelled Ceejay). Also, there's the Terilee river, named for one of the administrators at Firebird Arts & Music, which carries a lot of stuff related to Valdemar. The name "Orser", used twice (for a human non-Herald and a Companion) in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy, may be a reference to the great Canadian figure skater Brian Orser. (Figure skating...figures in a couple of scenes in other novels.) At one point Karal inverts a classic line from Blake's 7: In the Collegium Chronicles, the Weaponmaster is a man named Marion. The short story Moving Targets is pretty much a Fusion Fic with Scooby-Doo, complete with the sentence "I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling Heralds!"
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Rage Breaking Point
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Rage Breaking Point: In a form of Teach Him Anger, Karal has to bring An’desha past this point to prove to him that he can release his emotions without losing control of his powers.
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The Alliance
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The Alliance: Between Valdemar and several neighboring kingdoms.
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Magic Music
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Magic Music: The Bardic Gift.
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Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage
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Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: In Closer to Home, Prince Sedric tries to force two Feuding Families to reconcile via Altar Diplomacy, by ordering Brand of House Raeylen to marry the oldest daughter of House Chendlar—which backfires badly when Violetta, youngest daughter of Chendlar, falls hard for him. Brand manipulates the situation and nearly manages to kill off both families and inherit their lands.
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She Is the King
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She Is the King: Solaris is High Priest, not Priestess, of Karse. Her title is "Son of the Sun." In Exile's Honor, set a generation earlier, the little boy (Vkandis in disguise) mentions to Herald Alberich his daughter who will be his Son. In the second part of By the Sword, some ten-plus years prior to Solaris, Kerowyn notes that the High Priest leading Karse in its war against Rethwellan is purportedly a woman pretending to be a man, complete with faux mustache, styling herself "the true-born Son of the Sun."
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Taking You with Me
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Lavan tried one at the end of Brightly Burning, but it ended up as a Taking You with Me instead.
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The Chains of Commanding
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The Chains of Commanding: Urtho suffers from this more noticeably than any other major ruler. The war with Ma'ar forces him to some rather extreme (and for him, amoral) acts that he profoundly regrets. Kerowyn also wrestles with the obligations of leadership in the third act of By the Sword after becoming leader of the Skybolts mercenary company, and one of the songs Lackey wrote to accompany the Vows and Honor books describes "The Price of Command" from the perspective of a leader in a similar position.
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Teleporters and Transporters
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Teleporters and Transporters: "Gates", spells that allow people to travel long distance instantly, are the primary form. The "Fetching" mind-magic gift is a much shorter-ranged and smaller-payload version.
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Non-Action Guy
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Non-Action Guy: Karal, in so many ways. It doesn't stop him from being The Hero of Mage Storms, though. Amberdrake too, in Mage Wars; his lack of martial skills becomes a plot point a few times.
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This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman
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This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Karal is a 'Channel' — a type of mage who can safely transmit huge amounts of magical energy. His talent is absolutely critical at the climax of each book in the Mage Storms trilogy but otherwise he's the equivalent of a non-mage.
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Screw Destiny
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Screw Destiny: Elspeth, to the point where she gets Very Annoyed when people start mentioning Destinies. Need, naturally, approves—while Gwena finds it irritating to the extreme. But then, Gwena was the one trying to shanghai her into a Glorious Destiny, wherein Elspeth would be the first of the Herald-Mages to return to Valdemar after the last one died, several centuries ago. Interestingly, she does return to Valdemar as a Herald-Mage, albeit by a completely different path then the Companions had intended. The trope is subverted in a number of ways: strong-willed characters like Elspeth, Vanyel, and Kerowyn swear up and down that they are going to fight the winds of fate, but they all end up more or less where they're supposed to be anyway.
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Roaring Rampage of Revenge
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Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Tarma goes on one of these when bandits kill her Clan. Tylendel does it after his twin brother is assassinated, leading to his repudiation, and Vanyel has a brief but thorough one in Magic's Price. Lavan Firestorm performs an almost-literal version against a Karsite invasion in Brightly Burning — sadly, it is because his Companion had died and he is Taking You with Me.
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Suspicious Spending
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Suspicious Spending: In one of the short stories, Tarma figures out who The Mole is by realizing that one of the guards is wearing jewelry and riding a horse that he shouldn't be able to afford (though this is only considered to be grounds for suspicion, not proof in and of itself).
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Anti-Villain
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Anti-Villain: Grand Duke Tremaine, as decent a man as could survive in the Imperial court.
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Broken Bird
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Broken Bird: Winterhart of The Black Gryphon was a nascent Empath as a teen, but nobody noticed it. When the court of the High King was murdered by agents of Ma'ar with the aid of a fear-inducing artifact, she was particularly vulnerable and fled in terror, with psychic wounds that persist until Amberdrake breaks through her shell and helps her deal with them. Amberdrake himself also qualifies to a certain extent as he was a recognized Empath and Healer from a very young age until sent to a renowned, cutting-edge medical school that refused to recognize magical/occult abilities. Being around the sick, dying, and injured with inadequate emotional shields or training very nearly killed Amberdrake. Then he fled the school before it was overrun by Ma'ar's forces and returned home... only to find his childhood home razed to the ground and his entire family gone.
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Sex by Proxy
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Sex by Proxy: Blessed With Suck, Talia experiences this with Companion Rolan and nearby Herald-Trainees. She chooses a tower room as her Heraldic residence to ensure her own privacy.
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One-Word Title
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The Collegium Chronicles: All One Word Titles. The last two are a type of building. Foundation (2008) Intrigues (2010) Changes (2011) Redoubt (2012) Bastion (October 2013)
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Sword and Sorcerer
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Sword and Sorcerer: Tarma and Kethry are this precisely, although it's played with a bit in that Need, their geased sword, makes Kethry a master fighter and Tarma immune to magic, depending on who's holding it at the time.
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Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing
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Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The god Vkandis decides to show his displeasure with his priesthood by (among other things) incinerating the high priest with a Bolt of Divine Retribution; a witness says that nothing was left but the man's smoking vestments and boots.
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Death by Childbirth
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Dirk has six siblings: three older sisters, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. Talia has numerous half-siblings from her father's many wives (eleven in total, with nine still alive at the start of her trilogy). However, she does not have any full siblings, as her mother died giving birth to her.
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Cool Old Lady
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Cool Old Lady: Savil Ashkevron, in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy. She's an elderly Herald-Mage who acts as Vanyel's instructor and mentor. It's her death that finally pushes him over the edge and turns him into a revenge seeker. Need is (or was) a mage-smith in her original mortal life. Faced with the destruction of all she held dear, and being too old to fight effectively, she sacrificed her body to bind her soul to a sword so that her favorite student could take it up and wield it to seek justice.
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After-Action Patch-Up
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After-Action Patch-Up: Kero and Eldan have one in By The Sword after their first meeting, since said meeting involved her rescuing him from a Karsite priestess who was about to torture him. It leads to Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex in fairly short order.
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What the Hell, Hero?
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What the Hell, Hero?: Firesong gets lambasted in the Mage Storms trilogy for his fits of jealous rage over An'desha's friendship with Karal. It turns out he was being driven crazy by the storms themselves, so all ends up forgiven.
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Hurting Hero
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Vanyel at the beginning of Magic's Promise, when everyone he meets tells him that he looks like hell. Justified in that he does.
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Feuding Families
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Feuding Families: The plot of Closer to Home. The noble houses Chendlar and Raeylen have been fighting for a couple of generations, but the King has managed to keep tensions low by simply manipulating Court so the two families are never there at the same time. In this book, they both show up before he can stop them, and Mags and Amily spend most of the winter trying to keep them from going at each other's throats—until the son of Lord Raeylen tries to kill them both, except for one of the Chendlar daughters, so he can marry her and inherit both Houses. They reconcile after that debacle.
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Dreadful Musician
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Dreadful Musician: Used for comedy in the supplementary filk song "It Was A Dark And Stormy Night". Both Tarma/Kethry and Kerowyn are also pursued throughout their careers by bards trying to sing (frequently awful) songs about their "heroic exploits". In Tarma's case, it's particularly hilarious because the bard in question, Leslac, believes himself the one to Defrost the Ice Queen, proving that he did no research about the Swordsworn.
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DeadlyDecadentCourt
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Blood magic is highly frowned upon in the upper echelons of the Empire though not outright banned. The corrupting effects of blood magic often overrides a mage's good sense which in the Deadly Decadent Court could mean the difference between life and death.
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Hypocrite
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Hypocrite: The Karsite Priesthood hates magic, burns magic-users and hates Valdemar ostensibly because they're a witch-nation full of demons. Many Karsite Priests are mages who summon demons. For extra irony, Valdemar has not had any mages since around the time Karse declared magic anathema. Valdemar's Heralds in Closer to Home oppose the system where women are seen as tools of political alliance rather than as people in their own right, and yet the King commands an Arranged Marriage between two Feuding Families to settle the feud. Even centuries later, it's accepted that Valdemar's Monarch and Heir may need to make a marriage of alliance, whatever Valdemar's national values on the subject say.
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Comes Great Responsibility
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Comes Great Responsibility: All Heralds are devoted to Duty above all else, even if their innate psychic Gifts are not that strong. For those whose Gifts are strong, they'll work themselves to death trying to take care of all the things that only they can do. This comes up particularly in the story of Vanyel, who wasn't thrilled at the idea of becoming a Herald after the Herald-related Trauma Conga Line he'd just been through. He finally signs on when he realizes that good people are being menaced by forces that only he has the power to fight.
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Dream-Crushing Handicap
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Dream-Crushing Handicap: One of the stories in Sun and Glory details a half-witted boy who's under the delusion that he's a Herald. He is not Chosen, because he doesn't have the mental capacity to serve as a Herald, but the Companions like him and generally treat him as a Herald in every other way. The narration says that he "wears his Whites on the inside."
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Lower-Deck Episode
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Lower-Deck Episode: The Mage Storms is the first trilogy to feature characters who are not Heralds (and largely not specially Gifted), to show how small acts at just the right moment can be enough to save the world. The Owl Trilogy/Darian's Tale. Compared to the more kingdom- and world-shaking events of previous books, especially the previous trilogy The Mage Storms, Darian's books basically describe the world from the view of yet another cog in the machine and within a small local area as well. The more world-shaking events are merely looked at vaguely, hinting at future books and problems for Valdemar.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d6042336
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d62dd556
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The Chessmaster
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d62dd556
comment
The Chessmaster: The gods, collectively, are the setting's ultimate chessmasters, manipulating the entire history of Velgarth from the Cataclysm onward to ensure that humanity can prevent a repeat performance when the Mage Storms hit.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d62dd556
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d62dd556
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d67f0a23
type
Modest Royalty
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d67f0a23
comment
Modest Royalty: Nearly every good ruler. High Priest Solaris would be one if her role didn't require episcopal pomp; the Emperors of the Eastern Empire wouldn't be one except for their philosophy that austerity is more intimidating than opulence.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d67f0a23
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d67f0a23
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d71d51fd
type
The End of the World as We Know It
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d71d51fd
comment
Particularly in the Mage Storms trilogy when it seems as if The End of the World as We Know It is going to happen no matter what anyone does to stop it, and the eventual victory comes at a heavy cost for the heroes.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d71d51fd
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d71d51fd
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d7639dba
type
Achilles' Heel
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d7639dba
comment
Achilles' Heel: The bond between Companions and Heralds has a fatal weakness - killing a Companion will often incapacitate a Herald. The Karsites, especially, have targeted Companions for this reason.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d7639dba
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d7639dba
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d786481
type
Top Wife
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d786481
comment
Top Wife: Among the Holderkin, men take several wives, but the first one rules over the other wives. Talia, the protagonist of the first trilogy, is a Holderkin girl whose mother is dead. Right before she get Chosen, her father's other wives are shown telling her she'll need to get married soon and to choose if she'd rather be a first wife or a secondary wife, listing the pros and cons of each option.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d786481
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d786481
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d848560f
type
Unusual Euphemism
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d848560f
comment
Unusual Euphemism: "Shaych", short for "shay'a'chern", a Tayledras word meaning "homosexual", which has become a loanword in Valdemaran from the time of Vanyel (introduced by Vanyel, in reference to himself, in fact). In the area of Rethwellan and the other kingdoms to the south of Valdemar, the Shin'a'in word "she'chorne" is used. "Fey" is also used pretty generally, presumably because of its rhyming similarity to "gay" and implication of otherness.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d848560f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d91d0365
type
The Magic Goes Away
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d91d0365
comment
The Magic Goes Away: Three times in the series. At the end of The Black Gryphon, the Cataclysm shatters magic over the entire continent and it takes years before things settle down enough that it's safe to use again. Following The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, Vanyel's efforts to protect Valdemar from foreign mages and to ensure that "normal" Heraldic Gifts weren't seen as inferior to magic have the unintended side-effect of causing the country as a whole to forget that magic even exists. This gets revoked at the beginning of Winds of Fury, setting the stage for the return of the Herald-Mages. At the end of Mage Storms, the Final Storm causes most nodes and ley lines to be drained and scattered across the land, depriving mages of most of their power. Again, it's stated that things will get back to normal eventually.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d91d0365
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d9b4cc7f
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Abdicate the Throne
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d9b4cc7f
comment
Abdicate the Throne: Elspeth, from the position of Heir, to take on the mantle of the first Herald-Mage since Vanyel's time.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_d9b4cc7f
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_d9b4cc7f
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da2f3716
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Intimate Healing
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da2f3716
comment
Intimate Healing: Sexual therapy is just one of a Kaled'a'in kestra'chern's arts, though they don't use it in every case, and calling it prostitution is not only ignorant but an enormous insult.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da2f3716
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_da2f3716
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da512040
type
Fantasy Contraception
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da512040
comment
Fantasy Contraception: Female Heralds (and presumably, other women who venture afield) employ an herbal concoction that reduces or eliminates "moon days" and also has contraceptive properties.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_da512040
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_da512040
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_daba19f1
type
Portal Cut
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_daba19f1
comment
Portal Cut: Skandranon narrowly escapes this fate while retreating from Ma'ar's tower through a human-sized Gate. As it is, the narrow passage takes off a few feathers. He later barely escapes being trapped forever in the Nether Planes when the Gate he uses to escape Urtho's tower collapses. When Wild Magic transports Darian's parents to the far north, his father's foot is left behind.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_daba19f1
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_daba19f1
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae3999d
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Action Bomb
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae3999d
comment
Action Bomb: A mage using the Final Strike technique effectively becomes one of these.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae3999d
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae3999d
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae5c997
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Action Girl
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae5c997
comment
Action Girl: Most female Heralds. Jeri, Elspeth, Tarma, and Kerowyn are excellent examples. Myste is the only confirmed non-example.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae5c997
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dae5c997
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db30c9d0
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Deconstructed
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db30c9d0
comment
Also Deconstructed with Hardorn—it's suggested that, if Ancar hadn't been killed when he was, he'd have wiped out his own people.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_db30c9d0
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db39ccfd
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Battle Couple
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db39ccfd
comment
Battle Couple: It's easier to list who is not.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db39ccfd
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_db39ccfd
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db9940c4
type
Famed in Story
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_db9940c4
comment
Famed in Story: The story of Kerowyn's first heroic exploits follows her throughout the rest of By the Sword, rather to her chagrin. She follows in the footsteps of her mentors, Tarma and Kethry, whose mercenary careers are plagued by tales of their "heroic unselfish deeds". As they put it, it's tough to get paying jobs when people expect you to help them out of the goodness of your heart. Their kyree companion Warrl evidently became this as well; another kyree is introduced later whose favorite phrase is "my famous cousin Warrl!" Vanyel also gets quite a bit of this in Magic's Promise and especially in Magic's Price.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_db9940c4
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dc2c2968
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Superpowerful Genetics
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dc2c2968
comment
Superpowerful Genetics: Both mage powers and mind magic are inherited and inheritable, generally, although they can also hang around latent or spontaneously arise.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dc2c2968
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dc2c2968
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcaa8b35
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Locked Room Mystery
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcaa8b35
comment
Locked Room Mystery: The short story "Keys" requires Kethry to solve one of these. To add tension, Tarma is stuck outside fighting single combats with every warrior in the keep until she dies or Kethry figures it out, whichever comes first.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcaa8b35
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcaa8b35
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcbe8a6e
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Chekhov's Gunman
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcbe8a6e
comment
Chekhov's Gunman: Several characters Talia meets in Arrow's Flight, particularly the trader Evan, play a part in advancing the plot in later books.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcbe8a6e
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dcbe8a6e
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dce448d
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Reduced to Ratburgers
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dce448d
comment
Reduced to Ratburgers: In Silver Gryphon, after the crash, Tad and Silverblade are forced to put their survival training to use, supplementing the field rations of dried meat and hard biscuits with things like rodents, snakes, and insects.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dce448d
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dce448d
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd3272bb
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What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd3272bb
comment
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Played every which way but straight. Most characters with minimal or very specialized talents soon find ways to demonstrate that Heart Is an Awesome Power.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd3272bb
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd3272bb
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd53c52b
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Crushing Handshake
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd53c52b
comment
Crushing Handshake: Alluded to in Take a Thief—when Skif and Deek agree to work together, Skif is impressed that Deek doesn't try this.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd53c52b
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd53c52b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd608502
type
HellHound
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd608502
comment
Hell Hound: Wyrsa, pretty much. They're described as an unholy fusion of sighthound and venomous snake approximately the size of a horse; they're incredibly fast-moving, vicious, and absolutely tenacious in pursuing their prey. Anyone who manages to hurt or kill a wyrsa will have the entire pack after them until they either die or manage to kill off the entire pack. To make matters worse, wyrsa affected by the mage storms caused by the Cataclysm developed the ability to eat magic.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dd608502
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ddfb4e53
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A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ddfb4e53
comment
A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Hoo boy. There's a reason most Mindspeaking Heralds won't poke around in another's thoughts without cause, and why many with untrained Gifts who haven't yet been Chosen have a miserable time.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ddfb4e53
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_ddfb4e53
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_de5e9f69
type
Bluffing the Murderer
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_de5e9f69
comment
Bluffing the Murderer: A variant is employed by Talia and Elspeth in Arrow's Fall to catch the traitor in Selenay's court, by attempting to lure him into an Engineered Public Confession. It works better than expected, leading to a full Villainous Breakdown. Another one is used by Karal in Storm Warning to catch the mole responsible for Ulrich's death, by presenting himself as an easy target for assassination.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_de5e9f69
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_df33a778
type
For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_df33a778
comment
For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Specifically invoked in Winds of Fury when a bunch of mages and a Cat Girl have to sneak into Hardorn. "Where do you hide a red fish?" "In a pond full of red fish."
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_df33a778
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_df33a778
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_df582b0b
type
Continuity Snarl
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_df582b0b
comment
Continuity Snarl: Happens occasionally despite having the same author for the entire series; the perils of working in the same setting for several decades. In particular, the early part of Queen Selenay's reign is extremely confused. According to Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor (which actually depict all these events, written in 2002 and 2003, respectively), there's almost exactly a year between the end of the Tedrel Wars and Selenay's marriage, she becomes pregnant not long after that, the King of Rethwellen (the Prince's father) dies after the marriage but before Elspeth is born, and the Prince dies soon after Elspeth's birth. However, according to Arrows of the Queen (written in 1987, the first book written in the series), the Tedrel Wars were about 15 years ago, but Elspeth is only seven years old. Meanwhile, Take a Thief (written in 2001, and set between Exile's Valor and Arrows of the Queen) says the Tedrel Wars were 20 or 30 years ago. And finally, in By the Sword (which was written in 1991, and takes place at the same time as Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor, but in a different place), the king of Rethwellen dies about a year after his son's marriage to Selenay — because he has a heart attack upon hearing of his son's death. Skif's backstory is also given multiple, contradictory versions. In Take a Thief (where he's the main character), he was an orphan (his father unknown, his mother dying soon after he was born) who worked for his cruel, authoritarian cousin in a tavern owned by his greedy, neglectful uncle; Skif got out from under their thumb by learning thievery from Bazie, a kindly adult who lost his legs with fighting as a mercenary, so he now leads a band of child thieves. Eventually (in separate incidents both unrelated to thievery) both Bazie and Skif's cousin are killed, but his uncle gets off scott free. According to Winds of Fate, however, Skif learned thieving from his uncle, who was eventually caught and hanged for his crimes. Elsewhere in the Mage Winds trilogy, Skif claims to have learned to pick pockets from his mother, who was later killed by a rival thief.
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_df582b0b
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dfe120e5
type
Functional Magic
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dfe120e5
comment
Functional Magic: Has elements of almost all types.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dfe120e5
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dfe120e5
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dffd6a64
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Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dffd6a64
comment
Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Kerowyn and Eldan in By the Sword.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_dffd6a64
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_dffd6a64
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e061cb06
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Rightful King Returns
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e061cb06
comment
Rightful King Returns: The final section of Oathbreakers involves working to put prince-in-exile Stefansen on the throne of Rethwellan.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e061cb06
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_e061cb06
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e1cd3d
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The Bard
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e1cd3d
comment
In Mage’s Pawn, when Tylendal and Savil are talking about how to get through to Vanyel after his dreams of being a Bard are dashed, Savil asks if him attempting suicide is likely to be a problem. Tylendel replies that Vanyel is unlikely to go that far, however, if it was himself...
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_e1cd3d
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e1ecdac3
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Our Gods Are Different
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e1ecdac3
comment
Our Gods Are Different: The precise nature of the gods is one of the few mysteries about the setting's magic system that remain unexplained. Several Gods and Goddesses are worshipped; it's implied at some points that they may all be different faces of a single God and Goddess, which may in turn both be faces of The One, but the details don't always quite line up to support this. At least two gods — the Star-Eyed Goddess of the Shin'a'in, Tayledras, and Kaled'a'in clans, and Karse many centuries earlier, and Vkandis Sunlord of Karse and Iftel — are proven to exist and take active hands in the lives of their followers. Both are benevolent, but they're neither truly omnipotent or omniscient, and they can sometimes be jerks; their philosophy is that humans have a right and responsibility to solve their own problems whenever they can, but they aren't above abandoning that rule whenever they have an objective that needs to be accomplished. The big examples are the Laser-Guided Amnesia they use to protect their secrets, and Vkandis very unsubtly reorganizing his church hierarchy when he needed Karse on the Good Guys' team. Several beings are worshipped that are clearly not a part of this pantheon. The Hundred Little Gods are the spirits of deceased emperors, although they grant no powers and may be fictitious; and Thalhkarsh is a demon who gains actual power from worship and aspires to godhood, though since he's stopped before his plans are complete it's never confirmed if he would have truly attained divinity or not. Demons and elemental spirits clearly come from somewhere, and it's unclear whether these are under the jurisdiction of the aforementioned gods or not. In addition, when the Star-Eyed puts in an appearance in Oathbreakers she comments with interest on the concept of Companions in a way that suggests she has no personal involvement in their creation or direction: she greets them as "children of my other self," but her wording leaves it unclear if she means that she and the force behind the Companions are actually separate facets of the same entity, or if she's simply recognizing their motives and values as aligned with her own. There are also the tribal totems of the Northern Barbarians, who take animal shapes and are not omnipotent like the Star-Eyed or Sunlord; they rely on the prayers of their respective tribes, and will die if their tribe dies. Under The Vale, a short essay from Larry Dixon in the same named short story collection, reveals that the Tayledras, with their Heartstones, could all together perform god sized feats of magic. Not that they knew this and it becomes moot after the Mage Storms.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e313bcdc
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Ignore the Fanservice
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e313bcdc
comment
Ignore the Fanservice: Vanyel, to a tavern wench. He doesn't understand why at first, because he doesn't yet realize that he's gay.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e313bcdc
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_e313bcdc
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e3da6e6c
type
Deus Angst Machina
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e3da6e6c
comment
Deus Angst Machina: Winterhart's backstory in The Black Gryphon, thoroughly justified by the Crapsack World setting at the time. Amberdrake, too, although he deals with it differently. Vanyel's upbringing is equally angst-ridden but is mainly told in the story.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e3da6e6c
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_e3da6e6c
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e407c172
type
Silk Hiding Steel
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e407c172
comment
Silk Hiding Steel: Talia. The queen's Herald/personal advisor, she is patient, kind, and can fight with both a knife and a bow. Her style of close-range fighting is inspired by Skif's life on the street, and is implied to be entirely sneaky and dirty.
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e407c172
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Heralds of Valdemar / int_e407c172
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e52a0409
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Calling the Old Man Out
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e52a0409
comment
Calling the Old Man Out: Vanyel to his father in Magic's Pawn, regarding his atrocious mistreatment of Vanyel in an attempt to prevent him from "turning gay". Vanyel's deeply protective older sister gets in a few hits too. Skandranon to Urtho in The Black Gryphon, regarding the latter's functional enslavement of the Gryphon race. He relents when he learns Urtho's true motives. Bear gets to do this twice during the Collegium Chronicles. The first time is by proxy; he rakes his father's spy over the coals knowing a full report will be on its way to Dad before the day's out. The second time, direct to his father, it's this trope combined with You're Not My Father.
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Expy
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e5421161
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Expy: Closer to Home has clear expy of Romeo and Juliet. It's mostly a Deconstruction, showing, among other things a) what shitty parents the Montagues and Capulets were and b) just how silly and possibly dangerous the lovers' attitudes towards romance were (and in Juliet's case, what a bad idea it was to keep the Nurse around, because she was a major enabler of this). It's really driven home when this version of Romeo turns out to be a psychopath, who's perfectly happy to seduce (and ruin) Violetta, marry her under false pretences, and murder both their families (and a whole bunch of innocent servants) horribly in order to inherit all the wealth of both Houses.
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Geas
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e542b0f5
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Geas: The magic sword Need (before she awakens), compels her bearers to go to the aid of women in trouble. Many of Tarma and Kethry's adventures are due to this effect, but Kerowyn uses her Mindspeech to get Need to back off a bit so she can make her own choices in life.
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Meaningful Rename
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comment
Meaningful Rename: Contributing to the tendency of the Tayledras to have Meaningful Names is the fact that they sometimes change their names following life-changing events. For example, Darkwind was called Songwind in the backstory of Winds of Fate, but he changed it when the Heartstone was sabotaged. The Mage Winds trilogy manages to play this for a bit of humor when Starblade quips that he considered changing his name to Starshadow to reflect that he feels like a shadow of his former self... but there's already a Shadowstar and it would be too confusing.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e6fa475c
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Offered the Crown
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comment
Offered the Crown: Grand Duke Tremaine, for Hardorn (with conditions); a couple of Valdemaran monarchs wound up King or Queen after accidents befell their predecessors, King Randale, for one. Strongly implied to have happened to King Valdemar, the original monarch and namesake of the kingdom.
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All Animals Are Dogs
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e70c45f0
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All Animals Are Dogs: Deliberately invoked by the Shin'a'in in regards to their warsteeds. They've been bred over thousands of years (with magic incorporated into the beginning of the process) to change their social structure from herds (like normal horses) to packs (like dogs or wolves).
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Conjunction Interruption
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Conjunction Interruption: When a character begins to say something, and he opens with "But," that is almost invariably a cue for someone to interrupt him. One exception occurs when the character starts with "But," and pauses himself, unable to think of anything further to say.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e7b0229a
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Laser-Guided Amnesia
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e7b0229a
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The few times the Companions do directly intervene with their divine authority, they usually wipe the memories of their Heralds afterwards. Again, this is specifically to prevent the Heralds from coming to worship the Companions or rely on them to solve all their problems.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e8cfde67
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Ambiguous Disorder
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_e8cfde67
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Ambiguous Disorder: In Closer to the Heart, the character Tuck has some kind of mental disorder, implied to possibly be some form of autism. He is a genius at making/creating things, but he has some difficulty with interacting with others, as he cannot express his thoughts in words very well. Amily in fact discovers that his thoughts are similar to how an animal might think and is able to verbalize his thoughts and feelings for him.
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The Talk
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The Talk: In Bastion, Herald Jakyr asks Mags about his relationship with Amily, intending to give him some form of The Talk. When Mags explains that he knows the basics, but has no idea about how to make it pleasurable for Amily, Jakyr instead proceeds to tell him how to do exactly that.
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Shrinking Violet
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Shrinking Violet: Talia at first, due to crippling shyness. As she becomes a full Herald, she grows out of it.
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Fascist, but Inefficient
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Fascist, but Inefficient: Ancar turned Hardorn into a giant machine to create and supply an army to conquer his neighbors. Because none of the five wars of conquest he launched actually succeeded in taking any territory, by the time he died, he had stripped so much manpower and resources from his country to fuel an unproductive war machine that the people who managed to survive his reign were barely capable of supporting themselves... if they were lucky.
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Cue the Flying Pigs
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ebe4eb97
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Cue the Flying Pigs: Early in By The Sword, Kerowyn reflects that finding a man who could accept her and her chosen lifestyle for what they are would be as likely as her horse talking to her. When she ends up in Valdemar in the last third of the book, it's not hard to see where this is going.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ec6b0734
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Mystical White Hair
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ec6b0734
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Mystical White Hair: Adept-level mages who work with nodes gain white hair at a relatively young age. All Tayledras see their hair whiten as well, simply because they live their lives around powerful magic. The Companions are all pure white, blue-eyed steeds, and eventually reveal that this is because they use nodes as well, to fuel their incredible speed and endurance.
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Puberty Superpower
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In Brightly Burning, Lavan's Firestarter gift was starting to come through as a normal Puberty Superpower, but being tortured by the older students snapped it on full-power.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_ed01fb75
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Hot Drink Cure
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Hot Drink Cure: In the first book of the Collegium Chronicles, a severe blizzard hits Haven. Some people barely make it to the shelter in time and are treated for hypothermia, with some of the treatments being heated alcoholic drinks.
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Hunting
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Hunting "Accident": Prince Thanel's attempt to assassinate his wife Selenay, and also the official explanation for Thanel's death when the attempt failed.
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Our Gryphons Are Different
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_edb7569a
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Our Gryphons Are Different: Gryphons are highly intelligent beings who were created by the Great Mage Urtho thousands of years before the founding of Valdemar, as explored in the Mage Wars trilogy. They are universally noble and brave but also vain and hedonistic. Unlike some of the intelligent races, which lacking human mouths communicate solely through Mindspeech, gryphons can speak aloud but are prone to Sssssnaketalk and Trrrilling Rrrs. They are not capable of carrying a rider, but if you magic up a basket to be weightless you might find a gryphon to tow it for you.
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Oh My Gods!
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_edf8db61
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Oh My Gods!: The setting has all manner of different gods and goddesses that various characters swear by; "Lady Bright" is popular among Valdemaran characters, while Kerowyn mostly swears by Agnira and sometimes one or both of her sister goddesses as well - occasionally very colorfully, when the situation calls for extra emphasis. The Eastern Empire honors the "Hundred Little Gods" — all the former Emperors and their consorts. As Tremane remarks, there aren't exactly a hundred, but it makes a nice round number to swear by.
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Emperor Scientist
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Emperor Scientist: Urtho and Ma'ar serve as good and evil varieties, doubling as Sorcerous Overlord.
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Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like
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Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Alberich is sentenced to be burned to death for saving a village from bandits. Why? Because he learned that the village would need to be saved through ForeSight, which marked him as a witch in the eyes of the Karsite priesthood. Alberich himself does this afterwards because he's been "rescued" by his sworn enemy, which earns him the undying(ish) hatred of his countrymen. note Particularly when he reasons out, and Kantor admits, that Kantor triggered his ForeSight to occur especially strongly in public to bring matters to a head - Alberich also comes to agree with Kantor's statement that he couldn't have hidden his Gift much longer anyway He gets over it later.
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Mundane Utility
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Mundane Utility: Averted in Valdemar, where the prevailing philosophy is that any use of magic or psychic powers which costs energy should be saved for real emergencies. Contrasted with Valdemar is the Eastern Empire, which relies so heavily on Magitek that their society is thrown into chaos when the Mage Storms hit and magic becomes unreliable. Mags and his Companion Dallen share Mindspeech so strong that Dallen can control Mags' hands remotely. They use this to weave Midwinter presents.
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Early-Bird Cameo
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Early-Bird Cameo: Vanyel, Stefen, and Lavan Firestorm are all mentioned, and Herald Eldan makes an appearance (by description only) in the very first trilogy published.
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TheUNFavourite
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The Un-Favourite: Queen Selenay's relationship with her eldest daughter was complicated well into the latter's adulthood by the former's fear that she subconsciously regarded her as this. The fact that Elspeth looked a fair bit like her father did not help. Vanyel Ashkevron's early life is a perfect example. His father instructs his armsmaster to beat Vanyel so badly that he breaks his arm, rather than accept that his son is not going to live up to his standards of "manliness". Talia was The Unfavorite of her father and his several wives, to point that she gets disowned after running away and is Chosen to be a Herald.
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Earn Your Happy Ending
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Earn Your Happy Ending: Particularly in the Mage Storms trilogy when it seems as if The End of the World as We Know It is going to happen no matter what anyone does to stop it, and the eventual victory comes at a heavy cost for the heroes. Bard Stefen gets a personal version — he can join Vanyel in the Forest of Sorrows, but only if he works the rest of his life trying to dispel the stigma against "ordinary" Heralds.
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Together in Death
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Together in Death: Vanyel and Stefen/Tylendel.
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 Heralds of Valdemar / int_f6b1c9f3
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"You!" Exclamation: Mags receives one from the mad foreign assassin at the end of Foundation. His search to discover why the unknown assassin recognises him links in to discovering the identity of his parents, with both questions at least partially answered in the fourth book and completely resolved in the fifth.
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Break-In Threat
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Break-In Threat: In one book, a minor noble sends an assassin after the Empire's heir (who is also an assassin). The heir kills the man and leaves his body in the nursery of the noble's son. Played for Laughs with Skif in his early years, especially in the Arrows trilogy. During his traineeship, one of his secret hobbies is breaking into the houses of certain highly placed nobles; he doesn't take anything, instead he leaves notes with sarcastic remarks on their lack of security (after you read Take A Thief, you get the impression these nobles were often selected by Alberich in his job as Spymaster). Elspeth also mentions in Arrow's Fall that Skif makes a habit of leaving funny notes - and sweets - in the 'secret' compartments of her desk.
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Beauty Is Bad
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Beauty Is Bad: Not a general rule in the series, but Talia is notably mistrustful of handsome men thanks to childhood abuse at the hands of her older brother Justus, whose looks are described as "angelic." She's more comfortable with "attractively homely" Dirk than with his gorgeous friend Kris, and admits to Kris that she'd rather he were cross-eyed or had a few warts or something.
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Sudden Principled Stand
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Sudden Principled Stand: Kerowyn has one in the second act of By the Sword, after she realizes not only just how far the Skybolts have fallen but that their employers are planning on getting them massacred rather than have to pay them. Standing up in front of the entire company, she bluntly calls their employers out for their plans and their Captain out for her terrible leadership, rips off her Skybolt badge, and quits the company with the declaration that she doesn't see anyone present she'd be willing to call a Skybolt.
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Love Makes You Crazy
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Love Makes You Crazy: Inverted with Lavan Firestorm, whose lovebond to his Companion kept him sane. When she died, he burned a mountain pass down to bare rock, along with the invading army that was in the pass at the time. (And himself, of course.)
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Symbol Motif Clothing
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Symbol Motif Clothing: The Tayledras will often have a motif repeated in their clothing, usually something to do with birds or feathers. Given their relationship with birds of prey, this is entirely fitting.
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I Call It
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I Call It "Vera": Generally averted — most fighters in the Valdemar 'verse are too much of a Combat Pragmatist to become sentimentally attached to any one weapon. Played straight with "Need," an Empathic Weapon, and various musical instruments. Lamshaded by Alberich in the Exile duology: he bans such weapons from the training salle.
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Samaritan Syndrome
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Samaritan Syndrome: This is part of the Heralds' job description, but none feel it more keenly than Vanyel.
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Beware the Nice Ones
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_fccd06b6
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Talia, while mostly using her Empathy to help other Heralds who have had traumatic experiences, has done this as well on at least four occasions. The first was when she simply overwhelmed the mind of a madwoman to knock her out. The second occasion involved taking the worst nightmares of a boy who tried to seduce Elspeth and forcing him to experience it, then threatening to make him repeat the experience every time he closed his eyes if he said a word to anyone about what had happened. The third was when she lashed out at a dungeon guard who was hoping to rape her. The most extreme use of her powers ever, Mind Rape in the most literal sense, happened when she forced a man who had raped his stepdaughters to relive what they had felt in a constant neverending loop, from which he could only be freed if he acknowledged that what he'd done was wrong.
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Trrrilling Rrrs
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Trrrilling Rrrs: Gryphons tend to speak this way, although some, like Skandranon, can manage perfect diction. They also have a touch of Snake Talk.
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The Magnificent
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The Magnificent: Vanyel picks up quite a few epithets through between-books exploits; among other things, he becomes known as Vanyel Shadowstalker and Vanyel Demonsbane. In Brightly Burning, Lavan Chitward becomes informally known in the Herald's Collegium as "Lavan Firestarter." (He is unaware that the name was actually bestowed on him by the King.) Down south on the Karsite border, he became "Herald Lavan Firestorm." Urtho (Mage of Silence) and Ma'ar (Mage of Dark Flames) as befitting the two great Archmages of their age.
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Brick Joke
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_fe0330fb
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Brick Joke: In Magic's Promise, due to his father still thinking that All Gays Are Pedophiles, Vanyel ends up making a pledge that all children in Forst Reach are safe from his advances so he can spend time with a newly befriended nephew without him getting any ideas. In frustration of having to make the pledge in the first place, he ends up including "every damn thing down to the sheep". At the very end of the book, he's drinking with one of the few members of his household without any wrong ideas about homosexuality and he indirectly gets asked about his sex life. Celibate for three years at that point, Vanyel replies in irritation that it's been so long that both his (male, but much older) drinking buddy and the sheep are starting to look like options to him. In Magic's Price Vanyel gets very drunk the night before a major spellcasting, and is very hung over the next day. Yfandes completely enjoys this, and Vanyel swears he will find a way to get a companion drunk in revenge. In the Mage Winds series, when the power of a Vale Heartstone is moved to Valdemar's Heartstone, the Companions all have a magical hangover from the aftereffects. Lampshaded by Gwena to Elspeth that she would no longer mock her when she was 'wine sick'.
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Lady of War
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Lady of War: Queen Selenay; also something of a Winter Royal Lady, since she (like all Heralds) wears white on duty.
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Nobility Marries Money
 Heralds of Valdemar / int_fe91380c
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Nobility Marries Money: Kethry has a vicious version of this in her backstory: when she was twelve years old, her brother decided to fix his Impoverished Patrician status by marrying her off against her will to a rich and ambitious merchant with a thing for little girls. Kethry's old nurse managed to help her escape, but unfortunately not before the wedding night. A common way for wealthy merchants to move up into the Valdemaran nobility is by marriage, as explored most thoroughly in Closer to Home.
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Shown Their Work
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Shown Their Work: Mercedes Lackey is an expert equestrian and falconer. Anything she writes about these subjects is as accurate as it gets, minus the magical trappings.
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Heralds of Valdemar

The following is a list of statements referring to the current page from other pages.

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