the definitive light-walkers post

That is a horrible title, but I don’t care.

So, in cobbling together my previous post (and in trying to navigate the new UI of WordPress that has interloped since last I blogged [by Grabthar’s Hammer, I HATE new user-interfaces]), I realized that I’ve never really done a comprehensive post about the Light-Walkers universe. Doing so might be more for my own benefit than for anyone else’s, but mayhap some of you will find it perusable if not grippingly fascinating.

The Light-Walkers universe has been in the making since at least 1992. Maybe since 1986. In 1986, the Armed Forces Network started airing a Marine recruitment ad in Germany, where I grew up. (AFN might have aired it all over Europe, but I don’t know know for sure.) The ad showed images of pseudo-medieval warriors on a life-sized chess board, and since 9-year-old me already harbored a love of chess and fantasy, I was hooked. Not by the Marines, but by the imagery and the music, which featured a chorus singing something that sounded Latin to me. But because I didn’t know Latin, my malleable brain came up with my own language for the song, and eventually I wrote down the syllables I heard.

Here’s the ad. You see why it grabbed me?!?

Fast-forward a few years, and I had a weird dream about a mutating phone booth and slitted yellow eyes staring at me from the darkness. When I was 17, I finally sat down to write the story to go with that image…and before I knew it, my pseudo-Latin scribbles from the Marine ad insisted on being included. Those syllables turned into a language I initially called Old Speech, spoken by a people called the Wanderers, which I think was my tribute to Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising. VERY long story short, in the ensuing 2+ decades I’ve ended up with the following:

The Legends of the Light-Walkers (LLW)

 • Rethana’s Surrender (LLW #1)

 • Rethana’s Trial (LLW #2)

These two novels, plus short story “Rethana’s Tower,” tell the story of Rethana Chosardal, a magic-user whose decimated family is in hiding from their land’s religio-fascist ruler. Rethana ends up entangled in a civil war while trying to get her little sister back home.

Rethana’s story started life as one book, but in 2011 my then-publisher Consortium Books asked me to split it into a more manageable duology. In 2021, I plan to re-release an Author’s Preferred Edition that includes these two melded once more into one, plus a short story, all under the title Rethana’s Triad. Or Triad and Gold. Or Triad’s Bane. Or The Shadow of the Triad. Or… *sigh* I have two years to figure this out.

 • The Dying of the Light (LLW #3)

This book tells the tale of Rafe Skelleran, fallen star of the art world, who gets sucked into this crazy world of magic, betrayal, war, romance, desperation, non-humans, monsters, and near-immortals. He doesn’t exactly get a happy ending, and I still feel kinda bad about that.

Future Legends of the Light-Walkers Novels:

 • Sister of the Sable Flame will tell the story of Taeven “Ravenhair,” who has a cameo in Dying of the Light. Sable Flame will let us in on Taeven’s backstory, as well as her monumental role in rebuilding [redacted] after [redacted] is destroyed at the end of DotL. Oh, and we get to see how [redacted] from Rethana’s story gets created in the first place and why it’s so significant that Rethana and her sister destroy/transform it.

And if that’s not clear as mud, I don’t know how to help you.

 • Blood Awakening is my working title (subject to change five minutes from now) for the story of Deren Tehvs, son of Rethana. Deren gets to try figuring out who his real father is, all while fighting (joining?) outlaws, falling in love with very much the wrong girl, running from apparent evil incarnate, and oh there’s DRAGONS.

 • The Witch and the Wayfarer’s Tree is the working title for the story of Rowan of the First, one of the original founders of the Light-Walkers. A “wise woman” figure in DotL, she is mentor and guardian to Rafe Skelleran. But in Witch & Wayfarer, we delve into Rowan’s “futurepast” and find out who she really is. W&WT will be something of a sci-fi-fantasy that ties together most of the series as well as assorted pubbed and as-yet-unpubbed short stories.

 • Embers of the North concerns Chali Tehvs, whose birth parents have cameos in Rethana’s story. Chali isn’t actually a Tehvs at all. She knows exactly where she comes from, and she knows that her lineage should give her all the clout she needs to get accepted into the “fae” (dragon rider) training program north of the capital. Needless to say, there are several somebodies who want to stop her. Also, she kind of gets to help found an empire of sorts, maybe?

So. That’s seven novels in the Legends of the Light-Walkers series. There might be more. Chali Tehvs hasn’t let me know yet if she really wants to be the one to round things out and tie up all the loose ends. I’m in no hurry to figure it out at this point. I don’t plan for LLW to go on indefinitely; 8 or 9 will be the upper limit, I think. But I’m leaving those decisions for Future Courtney.

Watchful Dragons

 • Watchful Dragons: Return of the Pelegrin, set in the Light-Walkers universe but on the other side of the continent from where the LLW series takes place; my work-in-progress as of this writing

I intended for this to be a stand-alone work, but it shows signs of wanting to be a series. Or at least a trilogy or something. Another problem for Future Courtney. Yay!

Other Light-Walker Novels and Short Stories

 • The Flight of Elfled unBlessed follows Elfled Gardail through the religio-fascist awfulscape of Rethana’s era as Elfled flees persecution, get separated from her family, and navigates the world as a young teenage refugee (not yet published)

 • The Priestess Murders, my first ever murder mystery, set two centuries after Rethana’s story (not yet published)

 • The Elven Dead and Other Legends of the Light-Walkers, a collection of fantasy short stories set in the Light-Walkers universe (free on Kindle as of this writing!)

 • The Galbraith Folly — set about 1000 years after the Rethana-Elfled-Pelegrin era, it’s the story of how a well-meaning elf queen really screwed up trying to save the world and accidentally turned all elves into nightwalkers and zombies. Oops.

Other Other Light-Walker Stories

Yeah, so this font is pretty much bottomless, if you hadn’t picked up on that yet.

 • Siffenwinch Skilflink Is Tapped Dry — I got a few chapters into this one years ago, then it petered out. But the Muse has renewed interest in it since certain Skilflinks showed up in Elfled Gardail’s story. I’ll be revisiting.

 • The Court of the Seven will be the story of Aletta Clerly, Elfled’s cousin. Aletta gets magic powers, meddles in the politics of two (three?) different countries, kidnaps a relative, and crowns a long-lost king. Her story spans five decades, and I’m probably going to cover all of them. So wow.

 • The Chronicles of Raphael — dunno if it’ll be a standalone novel, a standalone collection of short stories, or a series of something. But it’ll be all about Rafe Skelleran’s adventures bopping in and out of our world during the period between Dying of the Light and Sister of the Sable Flame.

Then there’s a bunch of vague ideas that just have a single plot point or a couple of characters so far:

 • the one about my universe’s version of “elves,” aka Song Prophets, in which we get to see what happens when two of the elf bloodlines get mixed with human DNA via twin girls who each have a different elf father

 • the one where my three main universes (Light-Walkers, Elevator, and Demons of Saltmarch) REALLY slam into each other for a big gooey mashup mess (Jop and Skee will be back! plus Rafe Skelleran and Jas Burleson)

 • a post-apocalyptic, Angela’s-Ashes-style epic set in the decade or so after Galbraith Folly

And…and I think maybe that’s it?

Ooooh, I know. Y’all REALLY need this (you know — the whole two of you who are still reading). Without further ado or adon’t, here’s the chronological order of all the novels and stories and ideas in the LLW universe. Ready? Set? FEAST YOUR SEEINGBALLS ON THIS:

Light-Walkers Universe Chronology

  1. The Witch and the Wayfarer Tree (not yet written)
  2. The Dying of the Light
  3. The Chronicles of Raphael (not yet written)
  4. triple-universe mashup with Rafe, Jas, Jop, and Skee
  5. “The Eater” (The Elven Dead)
  6. “Gateway Drug” (The Elven Dead)
  7. Sister of the Sable Flame (incomplete)
  8. Return of the Pelegrin (in-progress)
  9. The Flight of Elfled unBlessed (not yet published)
  10. The Court of the Seven (not yet written; takes place concurrently with #s 11.-.18)
  11. “Out of the Darkness” (The Elven Dead)
  12. “Rethana’s Tower” (The Elven Dead)
  13. Rethana’s Surrender
  14. Rethana’s Trial
  15. “Oubliette” (The Elven Dead)
  16. Blood Awakening (incomplete)
  17. Siffenwinch Skilflink Is Tapped Dry (incomplete)
  18. Embers of the North (not yet written)
  19. story about mixing elf and human DNA
  20. The Priestess Murders (not yet published)
  21. The Galbraith Folly (not yet written)
  22. post-apocalyptic epic with elf zombies
  23. “The Elven Dead”

And egad Brain, I think I’m done. Yikes, this was way more than I intended to write here, and I think it’s more for my use and clarity than for y’all’s. If I were a good little blogger, I’d shove some cover art in here somewhere. But it’s late, I’m tired, and I have acid reflux. So I’m not gonna.