Wayfarer Redemption

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wayfarer Redemption is the name of two trilogies that were released as a single six-book series in the U.S. by fantasy author Sara Douglass, and subdivided into two trilogies: the Axis trilogy, and the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy. This sequence is followed by the Darkglass Mountain trilogy.


The series is set in a fictitious land containing the lands of Tencendor, also known as Achar, Coroleas, Escator and Isembaard.

Origin myths[edit]

The background of the series is quite extensive, and the events featured in the novels stem from a series of events that began thousands of years before the beginning of the first book.

The Timekeeper Demons[edit]

  • Mot ruled dawn, a time of hunger,
  • Barzula ruled mid-morning, a time of tempest,
  • Sheol ruled mid-afternoon, a time of despair,
  • Raspu ruled dusk, a time of pestilence,
  • Rox ruled night, a time of terror,
  • Qeteb was their leader. He ruled Mid-day, a time of destruction, and was considered to be the greatest demon.

In the historical events, the people under attack by the demons, the so-called "Enemy of the Timekeepers" (who from clues given in the novels are in fact the inhabitants of Earth), used 'reflective' spells to allow the people of Earth to send Qeteb's destruction back at him and dismember him into his lifeparts: warmth, breath, soul, and movement. They then sent four spaceships across the universe with Qeteb's lifeparts in order to lure the other demons away. Instead, the demons killed every person on the planet and followed after Qeteb.

The spacecraft traveled through the universe for many thousands of years and absorbed some of the magic of the stars. The spaceships eventually landed in a new world, creating the Star Gate in the process. The night when the spaceships crashed onto the new planet is remembered as fire night, when fire rained down from the heavens.

The four spacecraft created craters when they landed, and each filled with water. Over time, they came to be called the Four Sacred Lakes. Each lake held some of the magic of the stars.

The sole survivor of the "Enemy" was a man named Devereaux, who later took the name "Noah", which was originally given to him mockingly by the rest of the crew.

The Enchantress and the Children of Urbeth[edit]

The first recorded humanoid in Tencendor to wield the magic of the stars was referred to as "The Enchantress", the mother of the Icarii, who was known by the ring on her finger titled 'the Circle of Stars'. It is later discovered that the Enchantress is none other than Urbeth, the great bear of the Northern Wastes who birthed five children and consequently most of the peoples of Tencendor:

  • the eldest son of Urbeth who was fathered by Noah, who went on to father the Acharites and rejected the magic of the stars.
  • the middle son of Urbeth of an unknown father, who himself fathered the Charonites and discovered the secrets of the underworld
  • the youngest son of Urbeth who was fathered by a sparrow, who in turn fathered the Icarii race and discovered the music of the stars
  • twin daughters by an unknown father, who live as bears in the Northern Wastes and later engage the Timekeeper Demons in battle. They also take the form of two white donkeys that belonged to Vermund and Ogden, two of the sentinels.

The races of Tencendor and neighboring countries[edit]

The Icarii[edit]

Sometimes referred to as the People of the Wing, the Icarii are descendants of the third son of Urbeth who was fathered by a sparrow, thus they possess aspects of both bird and human; brilliant wings, bright eyes and indescribable grace. The average lifespan of an Icarii is five hundred years, of which almost the entirety is spent in their physical prime. Conversely, they also find it much harder to reproduce than other races and thus they view all children as precious gifts.

During the course of the Wayfarer Redemption, the Icarii resided in the mountain range known as the Minaret Peaks, allowing them to soar on thermals at whim. It also served as a sanctuary when the Acharites initiated a war against them. Afterward during the course of Serpent Bride, the Icarii reside in scattered groups around Coroleas, Escator and neighbouring countries.

The ruling family of the Icarii are known as the Sunsoars, one of whom leads the race in a position referred to as the Talon. While they are the most powerful family of the Icarii race, they are also cursed by their ancestor, the sparrow; they may love no one who is not also of Sunsoar blood. Which means marriages between cousins, grandparents and grandchildren and the like are common within the family. However, any sexual relationships between close blood relations, such as parent and child, or brother and sister, are considered 'unclean.'

Many of the Icarii are also Enchanters, who wield a magic called the Star Dance which is manipulated through song and dance. Each Icarii Enchanter also incorporates the word 'Star' within their name. The Star Dance is the music the stars make in the heavens and is constantly present in an Enchanter's life, saturating every moment so that life is near meaningless without it. A counterpoint to the Star Dance also exists, known as the Dance of Death, which is the music made when stars miss their step and crash into each other, or swell up into red giants and implode. While the Star Dance cannot be used for directly violent purposes, the Dance of Death does very little but impart violence. Fortunately only a handful of Icarii have shown any ability to wield the latter.

The Icarii also have a relationship somewhere between worship and respect for nine beings who are known as the Star Gods; people who have united with the Star Dance itself and become immensely powerful and immortal. The Star Gods are honoured on the Island of Mist and Memory, which has been maintained by the people of Nor since the Icarii were driven from most of Tencendor by the Acharites. It has since been reclaimed by the Icarii.

The Star Dance and the Dance of Death are channeled through the Star Gate, a portal into the greater universe which was created when the Enemy of the Timekeepers crashed through the barrier between the universe and the world.

When the Timekeeper Demons eventually follow "the Enemy" to Tencendor they shatter the Star Gate upon arrival; destroying the magic of the Icarii and their gods. As a result, only those few Icarii with Acharite heritage who have died and been resurrected are capable of wielding enchantment of any sort.

The Lealfast[edit]

The Lealfast are a race of beings who reside far to the north of Tencendor and Escator in the Frozen Wastes with their lord Lister; who is the human manifestation of Light. They closely resemble the Icarii save for a paler, more ethereal appearance and the suggestion of frost about their persons.

It is theorised by both Axis and StarDrifter that the Lealfast are descendants of those Icarii who chose to flee from persecution by the Acharites in the fear that seclusion in their mountain cities would not be safe enough. They entered into the most northern parts of the Frozen Wastes and in order to continue as a people, Axis believes they were required to interbreed with the Skraelings. This theory is seemingly supported by BroadWing who reports ghostly Icarii flying within a storm accompanied by whispers normally associated with the Skraelings. They have also demonstrated the ability to use the Star Dance in some unknown fashion to create frost, fashion communication devices and travel long distances in an instant, despite the Timekeeper's destruction of the Star Gate.

It is shown in the second book in the Darkglass Mountain Trilogy that one of the original Icarii who fled North to escape the Acharites was raped by a skraeling. This rape resulted in the birth of 286 children because skraelings only need to mate once per life to reproduce. These babies and their descendents became the Lealfast.

The Charonites[edit]

The Charonites are descendants of Urbeth's middle son of an unknown father. As a people they have been all but forgotten by the peoples of Tencendor and its neighbours. The Charon were a deep and reflective people who searched for the secrets hidden beneath the earth; living in and exploring the underground waterways that were connected to the Four Sacred Lakes. By using these waterways to create certain patterns, much like the Icarii create patterns with song and dance, the Charonites are able to wield the magic of the stars.

The race of the Charonites have tremendously long lifespans, but bear very few children. Eventually, their race was reduced to six people; the five Sentinels who died in the formation of the weapon required to defeat first Gorgrael and then Qeteb, and Orr the Ferryman who was killed by Drago Sunsoar in the days before the Timekeeper Demons arrived on Tencendor. Now the sole legacy of the Charonites is Orr's Icarii apprentice SpikeFeather TrueSong.

The Acharites[edit]

The Acharites are descended from Urbeth's eldest son who was fathered by Noah, the Enemy of the Timekeepers. As a people, the Acharites are stolid, sensible, loyal and courageous. They are a family oriented people who prefer predictability to change and adventure. They do well at cultivation and at trade, but rarely aspire to the scholarly arts. Few of them travel beyond the borders of the known, whether in a literal or metaphorical sense. Many men make good soldiers, although generally they prefer to be commanded than to command themselves.

For much of their history the Acharites have put their faith in Artor the Plough God, whose religion espouses a hatred of the mystical and the exotic which led the Acharites to become hostile toward the other races of Tencendor – driving the Icarii and Avar into seclusion and forcing the ancestors of the Lealfast to flee toward the Frozen Wastes. This ended when Artor's influence was destroyed and the land came under the rule of the Sunsoar family; promoting integration between the races.

While the Acharites possess perhaps the most ability to wield enchantments, they have rejected their ability to wield the power of enchantment so thoroughly that neither they nor any of their descendants could access it. The only methods through which an Acharite could tap into their true potential for magic was by death and rebirth. To date, only six Acharites have undergone this procedure and become enchanters.

The Avar[edit]

The Avar are an ancient race who predate the other peoples of Tencendor by tens of thousands of years. As a people, the Avar resided exclusively within the forests of the Avarinheim and Minstrelsea. The Avar are sometimes referred to as the People of the Horn.

The Avar each live in clans that are led by Banes, the religious leaders of their race. Several years after the events of Starman, the Avar people came to be led as whole by the Mage-King Isfrael. The Avar's religion and culture is totally devoted to nature and the forest; they worship the Mother, who was the land incarnate, and by implication nature itself.

The Avar have the potential to wield a magic derived from the forest and the trees. In order to wield this power, children and adults must undergo a test to become a magic-wielding religious leader, called a Bane. In the test, the candidate is required to be in a dreamlike state where the prospective bane is chased by some kind of terror. This process usually sees the prospective Bane killed, but those who turn to the trees for help become banes and survive. Upon their deaths male Banes may ascend and become a divine being known as a Horned One, residing within the Sacred Grove with the Mother. Female Banes become trees when they die. This is told to Faraday in Enchanter.


The continent of Coroleas is populated solely by a single human race who physically are very similar to the Acharites. Societally however, they are very very different. Corolean society is divided strictly into four groups; the elite nobility, the intelligentsia, the workers and the slaves. Life revolves around catering to the often perverse and sadistic pleasure of the elite class, where one may die or be tortured and raped at the whim of a noble. In addition, no one but a noble may own a ship or wear silks and fur or even play certain games. A member of one caste also cannot move up to a higher caste; no one may marry into the nobility and thus the balance of political power remains the same.

A large part of a noble's pride and status comes from the power and strength of the deity they possess, thus many parade their deities at gatherings. These deities are created by torturing a human to death as slowly and painfully as possible and then imprisoning their soul within a bronze figurine. The powers the deities possess or enhance are invariably related to the soul of the person from whom it was taken; a seducer's soul will empower virility and the art of seduction in the owner, an artist's soul will imbue creativity and so on. The most powerful of all the deities is the Weeper, who can enact feats of great magic for almost any desire of its owner.


Skraelings are a race of beings who live in the extremities of the Frozen Wastes; they possess rudimentary intelligence and appear like black wraiths with silvery eyes and sharp teeth. They also feed off the fear and blood of others. Under the influence of Gorgrael's enchantments they became far more substantial and dangerous, swarming upon the peoples of Tencendor en masse. The Skraelings are transformed once again when their true master Kanubai breaks free from Dark Glass Mountain; they become stronger, more vicious and take on a more jackal-like aspect.

The Axis trilogy[edit]

The Axis Trilogy is the first three books of the Wayfarer Redemption series. It encompasses the Prophecy of the Destroyer.

The Prophecy of the Destroyer[edit]

"A day will come when born will be

Two babes whose blood will tie them.

That born to Wing and Horn will hate

The one they call the StarMan.

Destroyer! rises in the north

And drives his Ghostmen south;

Defenceless lie both flesh and field

Before Gorgrael's ice.

To meet this threat you must release

The StarMan from his lies,

Revive Tencendor, fast and sure

Forget the ancient war,

For if Plough, Wing and Horn can't find

The bridge to understanding,

Then will Gorgrael earn his name

And bring Destruction hither.

StarMan, listen, heed me well,

Your power will destroy you

If you should wield it in the fray

'Ere these prophecies are met:

The Sentinels will walk abroad

'Til power corrupt their hearts;

A child will turn her head and cry

Revealing ancient arts;

A wife will hold in joy at night

The slayer of her husband;

Age-old souls, long in cribs,

Will sing o'er mortal land;

The remade dead, fat with child

Will birth abomination;

A darker power will prove to be

The father of salvation.

Then waters will release bright eyes

To form the Rainbow Scepter.

StarMan, listen, for I know

That you can wield the scepter

To bring Gorgrael to his knees

And break the ice asunder.

But even with the power in hand

Your pathway is not sure:

A Traitor from within your camp

Will seek and plot to harm you;

Let not your Lover's pain distract

For this will mean your death;

Destroyer's might lies in his hate

Yet you must never follow;

Forgiveness is the thing assured

To save Tencendor's soul."

The Wayfarer Redemption/BattleAxe[edit]

AuthorSara Douglass
SeriesThe Axis Trilogy
GenreFantasy novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages655 (2003 edition)
Followed byEnchanter 

The first characters introduced are 2 unnamed women in mortal peril, one who is pregnant and one who has just given birth. The pregnant one is trying desperately to reach shelter during a snowstorm. She is an outcast of her people, the Avar, because she has decided to carry her child, conceived during a festival and considered an abomination, to term. A group of demonic creatures, skraelings, watch as her unborn child brutally eats his way out of her womb, killing her. The monsters are delighted and decide to adopt the hateful child.

The second woman had given birth to an illegitimate child 2 days before, who she believes is dead. The child was illegitimate, and she is of high-born, perhaps noble, birth. After giving birth, she is taken and dumped in the freezing cold mountains to die. She climbs the mountain until she is found by something, or someone unknown.

In the book, Axis, the Battle-Axe of the Seneschal, learns the truth of who he is and his destiny as the Starman. Lady Faraday accompanies him as he begins the journey but is drawn away to serve the Prophecy as TreeFriend; she travels with the Sentinels to Gorkenfort to marry Bornehold (half brother of Axis, also born of Rivkah).


AuthorSara Douglass
SeriesThe Axis Trilogy
GenreFantasy novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages653 (2003 edition)
Preceded byBattleAxe/Wayfarer Redemption 
Followed byStarMan 

Enchanter chiefly concerns the battle between Axis and his half-brother, Borneheld. Axis knows he must unite the three races of Tencendor in order to face Gorgrael, yet Borneheld is just as determined to see that he does not get the chance. StarDrifter, together with his mother MorningStar, turns Axis into one of the most powerful Enchanters the Icarii have ever seen - yet in doing so, they discover a fearful secret in his past. Gorgrael plays a much larger role in Enchanter, as does the threatening figure of the Dark Man; together they create a creature that will wreak havoc from the skies. Much of Gorgrael's background will be revealed - just how did those silly wraiths manage to raise him, anyway? Azhure, already something of a puzzle, sinks even deeper into mysteriousness, but eventually some of the elements from her lost past will begin to fall into place. Faraday learns more of her mission to help the trees but also, as does Axis, learns how dreadfully the Prophecy can both lie and manipulate.

Talking of both the Prophecy and lies and manipulations, in Enchanter the Prophet himself makes his sinister presence felt, and some of his relationship with the Sentinels will be revealed.

Axis becomes more and more obsessed by the traitor in the third verse of the Prophecy ... with all but tragic consequences.

The Icarii lifestyle and culture (and especially use of the Star Dance to weave enchantments) is explained is some detail; Talon Spike itself is explored ... and with the Icarii we spend a wild and tumultuous Beltide night.

And yes, to all those who have asked, the donkeys continue to plod through the plot. Whatever cataclysm envelops other characters, those donkeys are going to continue to come through with sweet-tempered serenity."


AuthorSara Douglass
SeriesThe Axis Trilogy
GenreFantasy novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Preceded byEnchanter 
Followed bySinner 

Taken directly from Sara Douglass's website:

"StarMan brings to a close the story of Axis' battle with Gorgrael. While the third verse of the prophecy appears straightforward, it is not quite as clear as it seems. Both Gorgrael and Axis misinterpret it - with some unforeseen and tragic results. Neither is the identity of the traitor of the third verse as clear as might seem. Axis is betrayed from deep within his camp, and it comes from a source that none could possibly have imagined

"As with the rest of the trilogy, there are action scenes aplenty and I take the opportunity to introduce some new characters: Artor the Plough God steps into the world; Urbeth, the great icebear of the north; and the strange Chitter Chatters that Ho'Demi finds lost down a mine. I also explore the world of the Ravensbundmen in much greater detail. Someone (or, rather, some few) finally gets to step through the Star Gate (but in which direction?).

"Following Gorgrael's successful manipulations, the Gryphon swarm. By book's end the Destroyer has almost 70,000 of them, enough to darken the skies of Tencendor, and far too many for Axis to cope with. Azhure and StarDrifter explore the fabled Island of Mist and Memory; there Azhure's troubled past is finally explained, the manner of her conception revealed, and Azhure and StarDrifter finally work out their relationship. Artor, thoroughly annoyed by the progression of events in Achar/Tencendor, decides to take a personal interest in what's going on ... but he finds opposition from a most unexpected source.

"And briefly ... Rivkah has a surprise (and an unwelcome one for Axis), Belial meets the Star Gods, Faraday plants out her forests, Gilbert achieves his life's ambition, Goodwife Renkin makes a welcome return, Jayme has a problematical encounter with a plough, we find out what happened to the Ravensbund people left behind when Ho'Demi fled south, Timozel realises his visions, Azhure revisits Smyrton, and, to top it all off, there's a final, apocalyptic battle at Gorkenfort. With an outcome you couldn't possibly foresee.

"The identity (or is that identities?) of the Dark Man is (are?) finally revealed (or have you guessed it - them - yet?).

"While STARMAN concludes the AXIS TRILOGY, there are enough loose ends for the story to continue ... let me say that while I originally wrote four books, HarperCollins bought only three, saying they could only sell a trilogy, but now the fourth book - Sinner - has become the springboard for the new series, THE WAYFARER REDEMPTION."[1]

The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy[edit]

Note: The Wayfarer Redemption is also another name for Battleaxe, the first book in the Axis series.



"Caelum SunSoar was charged with a mighty task: reigning over the land of Tencendor. His father, Axis, the near-immortal Starman (sic) who, through prophecy, brought peace to the land, chose to ascend to the heavens with his beautiful consort Azhure and hand the mantle of power over to his most beloved son.

But Caelum is untried, and it is a tenuous peace at best, with the three races of the land--the Icarii bird people, the Avar tree people, and the humans, who for generations controlled (and oppressed) the other two races--existing in an uneasy alliance.

This fragile peace is shattered when an ancient evil beyond the Star Gate breaks through and destroys the Gate. All is undone, and the Time Keeper demons cross over, bringing destruction and madness to the land. With the destruction of the Gate, all the known magic in the world is now gone, and the SunSoar line and all the other Enchanters in the world have lost their power. Caelum and his people flee to the ancient fortress of Star Finger to try to find a way to stop the land from being utterly destroyed.

And they are not alone in their quest. Faraday (sic), the Starman's (sic) first love and protector of the forest, embarks on her own journey to help save the land that she loves. What she discovers will shock her and may tip the balance for all that is good.

For the one who was thought lost might be the missing key to defeating the evil that is ravaging the world. And the savior who was foretold might be found in the most unlikely places...." (from bookcover).



There are a number of references to Psalms 91 in the material about the Timekeepers. The aspects and times of three of the Timekeepers (Raspu, Rox, and Qeteb) come from three of the four things mentioned in verses 5-6: "The terror of night...the arrow that flies by day...pestilence that walks in darkness...the destruction that lays waste at noon." Furthermore, the word used for "destruction" in that sentence, in the original Hebrew, is qeteb (קטב), and Qeteb is described as "the Demon of Destruction that wastes at Midday"[1]. In addition, verse 1 uses shade as a metaphor for protection, and it is revealed in the books that shade protects one from the effects of the Timekeepers.

There is also a reference to Psalms 30:5, which says ‘Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.' The prophecy reads "a wife will hold in joy at night, the slayer of her husband", and Faraday's husband Borneheld is killed in the evening by Axis, in a battle which lasts to dawn, through which Faraday weeps the entire way (she weeps in the night but is joyful in the morning).