The Obsidian Trilogy
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The Obsidian Trilogy is a three-novel fantasy series, chronicling the journey of Kellen Tavadon in relation to the third war between the Light and the Endarkened, co-written by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. The series began with The Outstretched Shadow, released in 2002, continued in 2004 with To Light a Candle and reached its conclusion in 2006 with When Darkness Falls.
- The protagonist of the trilogy, Kellen is the first living Knight-Mage in a thousand years. Born in the mage-city of Armethalieh, he was raised in the restrictive atmosphere of the Mageborn elite; his father, Lycaelon, and the Arch-Mage of the City, feels his son is a disgrace. After his Three Books of Wildmagery are discovered, Kellen is Banished from the City of a Thousand Bells. Lycaelon reveals that this is a tacit death sentence since an 'Outlaw Hunt' of tireless stone hounds is sent after all exiles. Once outside the city, Kellen uses his fledgling Wild Magic to summon a unicorn, Shalkan, to his aid. With Shalkan's help and his own budding Knight-Mage skills he barely escapes with his life.
- Idalia is Kellen's older sister, a Wildmage-Healer who was Banished from Armethalieh ten years previously. After Kellen escapes the Outlaw Hunt, Shalkan brings him to Idalia's cabin in the Wildwood, outside the Bounds of the lands claimed by the City. There she heals Kellen of his wounds and begins his training in the Wild Magic.
- An Elven-Knight and Idalia's lover. He accompanies Kellen on his journey to destroy the Black Cairn and is the first to recognize him as a Knight-Mage. Jermayan later becomes the first Elven Mage in thousands of years when he Bonds with the dragon, Ancaladar. In Bonding with Jermayan, Ancaladar loses his immortality, but in return Jermayan has a near-inexhaustible source of mage power and is able to manipulate the world around him a way that users of the High Magick and Wild Magic cannot.
- Cilarnen is a Mageborn Citizen of the City of a Thousand Bells who is Banished from Armathalieh under the charge of treason (instigated by a disguised Anigrel). Eventually, he becomes the Allied Army's only High Mage. Normally when one with the ability to use the High Magick is Banished, their Magegift is "burned out", however, this was not the case with Cilarnen whose Magegift was left intact by Anigrel, who imprinted a suggestion for him to murder Kellen. Even though Cilarnen was unjustly Banished from the City, he still considers Armethalieh his one and only home.
- The daughter of a Wildmage who was deceived by the Prince of the Endarkened. Vestakia looks like a Demon (with red skin and hair, slitted yellow eyes and horns) but has a kindly human soul thanks to her mother's Wild Magic. She is a skilled healer and has the ability to sense the presence of Demons and their Taint. She is also Kellen's love interest.
- A unicorn and Kellen's best friend. He rescues Kellen from the Outlaw Hunt, the Mageprice being that Kellen has to remain chaste and celibate for a year and a day. He is always nearby to make sure Kellen doesn't get into trouble.
- The general of the Elven (and later Allied) army, Redhelwar is initially skeptical of Kellen's Knight-Mage instincts due to his human heritage. However, Kellen's continued successes and good judgement sway Redhelwar, and he comes to regard and place great trust in Kellen.
- The queen of the Endarkened Demons and the main antagonist. Her goal is to bring He Who Is (the Demon's Creator) back into the world of light. In contrast to previous monarchs, she prefers subtlety over brute force and has numerous plots (such as the Black Cairn) aimed at weakening the forces of Light. Like all the Endarkened, Savilla takes great pleasure in torturing mortals and using them as sacrifices in her Dark Magery.
- One of Savilla's agents, Anigrel is a secret Darkmage living in Armethalieh where he acts as Lycaelon's personal secretary. After Kellen is banished, Lycaelon adopts him and makes him a High Mage and he is able to use his position to convince the High Mages that the Wildmages and the "Lesser Races" (unicorns, Elves, centaurs etc.) are the Enemy and responsible for the atrocities committed by the Endarkened.
- Andoreniel - King of the Elves who he resides in the city of Sentarshadeen. He is more open to change than other elves and is a wise leader.
- Lycaelon Tavadon - head of house Tavadon, Arch-Mage of Armethalieh and father of Kellen and Idalia. He is stiff-necked, scheming and manipulative, and he values power over everything.
- Prince Zyperis - the Prince of the Endarkened, Savilla's son and lover, and Vestakia's father. He schemes to overthrow his Queen-mother and gain power for himself.
- Ashaniel - the Queen of the Elves. Sandalon's mother.
- Sandalon - the young Prince of the Elves, Sandalon is very active, playing games with the other Elven children. He has great respect for Kellen.
- Kardus - the only Centaur Wildmage even though he cannot perform magic. He is able to the fulfill the will of the Wildmagic in other ways, such as being friends with Cilarnen.
- Ancaladar - Jermayan's Bonded dragon who has been in hiding since the end to the last Great War, a thousand years ago, in which he watched Bonded dragons fight the Allies when their Bonded Mages were turned to the Dark. He has decided to fight for the Light and give up immortality in atonement for his cowardice.
The Elven Lands
As suggested by the name, this is the land in which Elves reside. The Elven Lands lie to the east of the continent. There are nine major cities in the Elven lands:
The latter three cities are located to the north of the Mystrals mountain range which separates Ondoladeshiron from Ysterialpoerin, with the rest lying to the south.
Sentarshadeen is the political centre of the Elven lands, housing the King of the Elves. Lerkalpoldara is the northernmost city, surrounded by mountains, and accessible only by a single mountain pass. The Elven lands are home to other locations of interest, including the Fortress of the Crowned Horns of the Moon, a safe-haven for the Elven women and children during wartime, and the Jeweled Caverns of Halacira, an Elven jewel mine-turned-fortress between Sentarshadeen and Ondoladeshiron.
Armethalieh, also known as The Golden City and City of a Thousand Bells is the home to the High Mages. It lies to the west of the continent, built on the western sea, surrounded by the Delfier Valley. Armethalieh relies on the "Home Farms" in the surrounding valley to feed its people. The ruler of Armethalieh is Arch-Mage Lycaelon Tavadon. A notable difference between the city and other locations in the Obsidian Trilogy world is that it is solely inhabited by humans, and in fact, people of the "Lesser Races" are persecuted and disallowed entry to the city.
The name, City of a Thousand Bells is derived from Armethalieh's extensive magically linked network of bells. At intervals of 15 minutes and 2 hours, the bells chime on different levels to mark what time it is. Additional bells toll to mark dawn - notably rung several hours after the actual rising of the sun - and noontide, and evening. The bells toll together in perfect harmony.
The Delfier Valley is the lush forested farmland surrounding the Mage city of Armethalieh. Consisting of many scattered villages, less than a day's ride separated from each other.
The high mages in Armethalieh are the government and the law. Ambitious mages rise to the top of the social ladder through corruption and treachery, and the government is self-elected, maintaining a dictatorship over both mages and commoners. All goods and culture are censored, with many being rejected from the city as too new or different. The mages are obsessed with maintaining the pretence that all the work they do is "for the good of the city".
The high mages control and maintain the city wards that keep enemies (and any non-humans) from entering the city, in addition to maintaining fine, clear weather. The mages also wipe people's memories and magical abilities at their convenience. This is often done in females, who are Forbidden to practice the high magic.
The mage college in Armethalieh teaches male youths who show any skill in the art magickal. As they continue their studies, based on their performance, the students rise through the ranks of Student, Apprentice, Journeyman, Undermage, Mage, High Mage, and, if they have sufficient skill, Arch-Mage.
Armethalieh is also home to many commoners who do not possess magical ability. Most of the commoners' district is slums; however there are some wealthier areas and a bustling outdoor market.
The Elves are the oldest race alive in the Obsidian Trilogy world, predating even the Endarkened. They live very long lives of a thousand years, have very explicit formalities and insist on tea ceremonies at every meeting. Elves tend to be obsessed with crafts and small details and have a very discerning eye; Kellen meets a potter who shows him a room full of pottery that would sell for thousands on the human market...and the master potter describes them as failures. Everything is perfectly suited to its surroundings, and anything inharmonious to the eye must be corrected immediately; making the choice of clothes for the day a very important matter.
It also is considered rude to ask a direct question, no matter how mundane: 'How is the weather?' would be considered somewhat brutish. 'One might wonder when it will rain next' would be used instead in civilized conversation. Allowances are made for times of war when soldiers may ask each other direct questions; this is known as War Manners, and is part of the Elves' Knightly training. It's mentioned in the sequel trilogy, The Enduring Flame Trilogy, that "To ask a direct question is to demand it be answered", explaining why the Elves, who favor ease and calm, would consider direct questions offensive.
In the Obsidian Trilogy world, time is measured in different units to the real world, even though many are units that have been used in the past like sennight. Units differ even further in Armethalieh and may have been based on archaic naval terms.
- A Sennight is equal to one (1) week. The word is a concatenation of seven and nights.
- A Fortnight is equal to two (2) weeks. The word is a concatenation of fourteen and nights.
- A Moonturn is roughly the same as one (1) month. It is equivalent to one cycle of the moon, which is roughly 27 days.
Armethaliehan time is the same as the above, but instead of using seconds, minutes and hours, they use a "bell-based" system, attributed to the many bells found in every district of the city.
- A Chime is equal to fifteen minutes.
- A Bell is equal to two hours.