Kushiel's Legacy

Kushiel's Legacy
Author Jacqueline Carey
Country United States of America
Language English
Followed by Moirin Trilogy

Kushiel's Legacy is a series of fantasy novels by Jacqueline Carey, comprising the Phèdre Trilogy and the Imriel Trilogy (called the "Treason's Heir" trilogy in the United Kingdom). Since the series features a fictional version of medieval Western Europe, it can be considered historical fantasy or alternate history.


Kushiel's Legacy consists of the following novels (with release dates). This is also the chronological order within the story.

It was mentioned that the names for Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar were initially to be Naamah's Servant and Elua's Child respectively. This was changed for continuity and branding.[1] Similarly, the initial title of Naamah's Kiss had been Naamah's Gift, but was changed prior to publication.

There is a short story in the compendium Songs of Love and Death (2010), entitled "You and You Alone". It chronicles the story of Delaunay, Phedre's foster father and mentor, and his rocky lifelong love.

Alternate history

In the series, the Roman Empire (called the Tiberian Empire) had fallen due to internal conflict instead of the Barbarian Invasions and the Germanic peoples were kept at bay to the east of the Rhine (called Rhenus with its Latin name). Paul the Apostle did not live to form Christianity and followers of Jesus (called Yeshua ben Yosef) live as a sect of Messianic Judaism known as the Yeshuites. An offshoot from Yeshuites, led by a heretic claiming descent from Jesus and his companions named after Jewish angels, had made its foothold in Gaul after a long period of exile and persecution. Their creed based on apotheosis of early founders predominates in the country now known as Terre d'Ange.

Companion material

Cover of Earth Begotten

Earth Begotten is a companion book to Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy fantasy series. It is essentially a prelude to the tales of Terre d'Ange and explores the mythology and origins of Blessed Elua and his seven angelic companions.[2] Whilst the story is very short, fewer than 1500 words, it builds on references to Elua and His Companions throughout the series and elaborates on Elua's conception and ascension to the "true Terre d'Ange that lies beyond".

Earth Begotten was published in April, 2003 by Havilah Press. A strictly limited run of 50 copies was produced to ensure that the bound version remained a collector's item.[3] The book is printed in silver ink on black paper in Centaur type. The pages were printed by hand using a Columbian hand press. The outer boards are veneered in wood that has been treated with silver pigment and lined with scarlet endpapers.[4]


The main setting of Kushiel's Legacy is the country of Terre d'Ange, the "Land of the Angels". D'Angelines, as the citizens are called, are descended from Blessed Elua and his band of fallen angels. Elua was born when the blood of the crucified Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the One God, mixed with the tears of the Magdalene and then was quickened by Mother Earth. Scorned by his grandfather, the One God, Elua wandered the Earth with eight companion angels. The eight were Naamah, Anael, Azza, Shemhazai, Camael, Cassiel, Eisheth, and Kushiel. After years of wandering, Elua and his companions settled in the land that would become Terre d'Ange. Elua espoused the precept "Love as thou wilt" and he and his companions inter-bred with the native populace, creating the D'Angeline people. Elua himself is a cross between Dionysus and a wandering fertility god associated with nature, love, and liberty.

Kushiel's Legacy is set about one thousand years after the time of Elua, and the D'Angeline people worship him and his eight companions as gods. They live by his precept, "Love as thou wilt," and, since Naamah sold her body at times to support Elua during their wanderings, consider prostitution to be a sacred service. This service is regulated by its own guild. Furthermore, to serve in the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, composed of several Houses, each with their own interpretation of Naamah's reasons for prostituting herself, is regarded as the highest pinnacle in Naamah's Service.

Terre d'Ange is divided into seven provinces, each with a companion as its patron deity. Cassiel, who eschewed mortal love and never fully rejected the One God, is the only companion without a province. The Cassiline Brotherhood, however, follows the ways and philosophy of Cassiel and have a prominent role in d'Angeline society. Naamah (patron Goddess of the Night Court) is the patron of Namarre, Anael of L'Agnace, Azza of Azzalle, Shemhazai of Siovale, Camael of Camlach, Eisheth of Eisande, and Kushiel of Kusheth.

The royal House Courcel rules Terre D'Ange from the City of Elua in L'Agnace. At the beginning of the series relations are generally good with Terre d'Ange's neighboring countries of Aragonia, Caerdicca Unitas, and distant Khebbel-im-Akkad. Skaldia, however, has long sought to conquer the D'Angelines. They also have good relations with Alba and Eire though scarce given the impact of the Master of the Straits.

The heroine of the first three installments of the series is anguissette Phèdre nó Delaunay, whose unique talents lead her to save her nation from several terrible fates. The second trilogy of the series follows Imriel nó Montrève de la Courcel, Phèdre's adopted son and Prince of Terre d'Ange in his quest to manhood. The third trilogy within the Kushiel Universe follows Moirin, a half-d'Angeline and half-Alban descendant of House Courcel, approximately 100 years after Kushiel's Legacy.

Major characters in Kushiel's Dart

Phèdre nó Delaunay
the heroine of the first trilogy, an anguissette.
Anafiel Delaunay
Phèdre's mentor and foster father.
Alcuin nó Delaunay
Phèdre's foster brother.
Joscelin Verreuil
Phèdre's Cassiline bodyguard.
a Tsingano, Phèdre's longtime friend.
Melisande Shahrizai
a D'Angeline noblewoman.
Ysandre de la Courcel
queen of Terre d'Ange.
Drustan mab Necthana
Curach ruler of Alba.
Waldemar Selig
leader of Skaldia.

Court of Night-Blooming Flowers

In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy saga, the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, also known as the Night Court, refers to the thirteen Houses of Mont Nuit in the City of Elua, home to the Servants of Naamah, the most elite cadre of religious prostitutes in Terre d'Ange.

Structure and Initiation

Each House has its own canon and motto, relating to the reason its residents believe for Naamah prostituting herself. Each also has its own masquerade like the Midwinter Masque but only Cereus House has the one on the Longest Night.

Each House is run by a Dowayne, the highest-ranking adept, who is in turn supported by his or her Second.

Life in the Night Court is one of rigorous discipline. Most adepts enter their Houses in early childhood, usually born into them but in some rare instances bought. At the age of ten, the Dowayne decides whether they will remain in the House of their rearing, or be sold to another House that would better suit their individual traits. That birthday there is a celebration with watered wine and the ceremonial breaking of a honey-cake, which is shared by the adepts of one's House. It is both a grand and solemn occasion as the child moves out of the nursery and into the fosterlings' quarter, side by side with the apprentices that have already been admitted into the mysteries of Naamah and who often stay up late at night whispering of what they have learned.

The official apprenticeship begins at thirteen, when the children begin learning about the arts of sensuality and seduction, as conforming to the canon of their House. There is again a ceremony at each House's temple to Naamah. A priest/priestess of Naamah performs the ceremony, part of which includes the initiate's releasing a dove previously purchased for the occasion.

An adept's instruction then begins with a Showing, wherein they witness a sexual rite between two adepts, as initiation into the arts. A Showing is a sacred ceremony, open to any adepts of the house who wish to see it, and is always the traditional pair of a man and a woman. After this they learn from other adepts the many great texts including, the Trois Mille Joies, the Ecstatica, the Journey of Naamah, and Emmeline of Eisande's Log of Seven Hundred Kisses.

Children of the house are considered adults at the age of sixteen. The new-made Adepts have a debut where prospective patrons view them and offer a price for their virginity to the Dowayne. Once the first assignation is completed an Adept is free to start paying off their debt to the house and begin earning money towards making their marques, actually paying the marquist (tattoo artist) to limn their elaborate back designs.

The marque is the sign of a Servant of Naamah and is a tattoo covering the back from the hollow at the bottom to the knob at the back of the neck. It is said that Naamah in her passion scratched the backs of patrons who pleased her, and that the resulting scars never faded; thus the tattoo is done in homage and remembrance. In the Night Court, each house has its own design of which all of its members wear recognizable variants. Money for the marque is earned when a patron gives a gift (usually of money) that is not of the fee paid to the house but freely given to the adept "in honor of Naamah". This is usually placed in a statue (this can be made of any material such as wood, marble, etc.) of two cupped hands. Each statue is a personal one chosen by the adept.

When an adept has completed her or his marque, and thus repaid to the House the cost of the apprentice's training, she/he is free to leave the House or, as most do, to remain and tithe a portion of their profits to the House. By tradition, the Dowayne of the House must see and acknowledge an adept's marque before it can be recorded as complete.

Houses of the Night Court


The House canon is modesty; the motto is "With eyes averted." Alyssum House holds that when Naamah offered herself to the King of Persis, she trembled to lay aside her modesty.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Alyssum's adepts dressed in the veils and robes of Yeshuite priests and priestesses.


The House canon is compassion; the motto is "Rest and be soothed" and their marque is based on that of lemon balm. Balm House holds that Naamah came in compassion when she offered herself to the King of Persis. Balm adepts are skilled in massage, which non-adept students also come to Balm House to learn, and other soothing and healing practices.

In Kushiel's Dart, Phèdre nó Delaunay comes to understand the full meaning of the view of Naamah expressed by Balm House following the battle to restore the throne of Drustan mab Necthana; she sleeps with her longtime friend Hyacinthe out of compassion, to comfort him after the death of a girl he loved.

Later, in Kushiel's Scion, Imriel de la Courcel is taken to Balm House on his sixteenth birthday, where he has sex for his first time with the adept Emmeline nó Balm. Emmeline asks Imriel for his trust, knowing the depth of his fears, and introduces him to the pleasures of his body and hers as "sacred". He is especially moved when she caresses his scars from the abuse he suffered in Darsanga, showing him that she is not repulsed and that "this, too, is sacred."


The House canon is cupidity and the aphrodisiac power of money. Bryony's are the only adepts willing to wager themselves in the carnival atmosphere of the House; their motto is "Wealth seeks company." Bryony House says that when Naamah offered herself to the King of Persis, she made a good bargain in the exchange.

Adepts of Bryony House sometimes go on to staff the Royal Treasury once they have made their marques. They are adept gamblers who almost never lose, even to Tsingani, who are famed for their betting skills. The young Csavin bet against a Bryony adept, including his cousin Anasztaizia in the wager, and lost. He deceived Anasztaizia into an assignation with a patron who paid Bryony well for the chance to seduce a Tsingani virgin. Phèdre nó Delaunay thinks that Bryony house should be held accountable for heresy for the crime of rape against Anasztaizia.

In Kushiel's Justice, Imriel de la Courcel and his cousin Mavros Shahrizai go on an excursion to Bryony House. There, they lay a wager with the Dowayne of the House, Janelle nó Bryony, for a pair of tokens to the fete on the Longest Night held at Cereus House.


The House canon is perfection; the motto is "Without fault or flaw." Camellia House says that when Naamah lay with the King of Persis, her unveiled perfection caused him to go blind for two weeks.

It is at Camellia House that Phèdre nó Delaunay witnesses a Showing as the initiation into her dedication as a Servant of Naamah. Anafiel Delaunay chooses Camellia specifically because Phèdre has no connections to it. The Dowayne of Camellia House at the time is Edmonde Noualt.


The House canon is pale fragility, fleeting beauty; the motto is "All loveliness fades."

Cereus House was the first of the thirteen to be founded, by Enediel Vintesoir, 600 years or more before the events of Kushiel's Dart. During his time, Cereus House only served those of the royal family. Its Dowayne represents the Night Court on the City Judiciary. It is the privilege of Cereus House to host the Midwinter Masque, one of the grandest celebrations of the year. For all its delicacy, Cereus House is also noted for producing individuals of considerable strength. Some adepts find steel interiors after the blush of youth fades away.

When Phèdre nó Delaunay first arrives at Cereus House, Miriam Bouscevre, an elderly woman with white hair and grey gimlet eyes, is the Dowayne.

Another notable event taking place at Cereus is the birthday party of Prince Baudoin, wherein Melisande Shahrizai contracts the entire House for the night, paying a full night's fee for every adept so that no guest would be refused their services.

Characters associated with Cereus House


The House canon is dignity and regality; the motto is "Upright and unbending." Dahlia House maintains that when Naamah offered herself to the King of Persis, she bestowed herself like a queen.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Dahlia House dressed its adepts in cloth-of-gold as a challenge to the greatness of Cereus House.


The House canon is genius, song, and performance; the motto is "To create is to live." Eglantine sponsors players, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, tumblers, and clothiers. They hold that Naamah charmed the King of Persis with the sweetness of her song.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Eglantine's adepts attended costumed as a company of Tsingani. A troupe of Eglantine adepts are responsible for mercilessly mocking Joscelin Verreuil when he follows Phèdre to Night's Doorstep. They had put on a special performance in Naamah's Blessing, reenacting Moirin and Snow Tiger's expedition to the mountain.

Characters associated with Eglantine House


The House canon is mystic purity of spirit; the motto is "Truth and vision." Gentian House holds that Naamah was filled with such when she offered herself to the King of Persis. Its adepts seek visions and interpret dreams, and some go on to become priests of Elua. Their marques bear a moon-and-flower design.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Gentian dressed its adepts as seers and preceded their entrance with opium incense.

Characters associated with Gentian House


The House canon is devotion and love; the motto is "Thou, and no other." Heliotrope House holds that when Naamah lay with the King of Persis, she basked in love as in the sun. It is said that if one sleeps with a Heliotrope adept, they will make their patron feel like they were the only one ever to have touched their hearts.


The House canon is pleasure and sensuality; the motto is "For pleasure's sake", and that is the reason they give for Naamah giving her sexual favors to the King of Persis. They are reckoned the most exotic of the Thirteen Houses, with Bhodistani blood in the lineage of the adepts.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, the adepts of Jasmine House attended dressed to emphasize the exotic qualities of faraway lands, causing a bit of a scandal with Valerian House, who had adopted a hareem motif.

Characters associated with Jasmine House


The House canon is sadism and dominance; the motto is "Yield all." Mandrake is one of two houses to use a signale, in this case for the patron's benefit. The other house which uses a signale is Valerian.

Mandrake House maintains an altar to Kushiel, who was the angel responsible for punishing the guilty before he left the service of the One God to follow Blessed Elua. Kushiel is pictured with a rod and flail.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Mandrake's adepts were costumed as the Court of Tartarus.


The House canon is mirth; the motto is "Joy in laughter." House Orchis holds that Naamah lay with the King of Persis "for a lark".

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Orchis House adopted an aquatic theme for their costumes, replete with mermaids and sea beasts.

Characters associated with Orchis House


The House canon is algolagnia and submission; the motto is "I yield." Valerian is one of two houses to use a signale, in this case for the Servant of Naamah's benefit. The other house which uses a signale is Mandrake, with which it has a reciprocal agreement.

Valerian selects early on which of its fosterlings will remain in the House, and which will be sold to other Houses. Children at the age of six are given spiced candies, and an adept explains that the pleasure from the candy is derived from the touch of pain that the spice provokes. The children who understand this are kept, while the others have their marques sold. From then on no fosterling or apprentice of Valerian is allowed to experience pleasure without pain, or pain without pleasure.

Like Mandrake House, Valerian House includes an altar to Kushiel, in this case near to the particular apartments maintained by and for the use of House Shahrizai.

The year Phèdre nó Delaunay served at the Midwinter Masque, Valerian's adepts adopted a hareem motif, though their idea was stepped upon by Jasmine House, whose adepts were similarly dressed in the exotic veils of faraway lands.

Characters associated with Valerian House


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