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Darth Wiki: Was
Novel-in-progress from troper Yzabel, started in November 2009 for NaNoWriMo and providing its author with enough fun to be given a chance at knowing an actual ending. At the moment, you can read it on Wattpad:


Was weaves two major plotlines: one set in 2009 London, and the other in 1989 Paris. Light is also shed on several other events in 1654, 1943 and a few other significant dates (significant for the characters, that is). All the while, it follows the steps of several characters whose lives slowly become tangled after they witnessed strange occurrings closely linked to the world of the dead.


The rogues:

  • Louisa "Lou" Keynes: A student at the LSE, she's also a Techno-wizard (one who uses electronic devices, mainly computers, to cast her spells). Her powers awoke after a car accident left her in a coma for ten months; since that time, she's trying to understand who she really is, and why she often dreams of weird and very vivid scenes where she's not really herself. Her relationship with her family is quite conflictual, especially with her mother. She meets Lyle Karlowitz when the train they're both riding crashes in the tunnel, and later realizes that she tends to think about him just a little too much.

  • Lyle Karlowitz: A strange and aloof young man who drives a black cab for a living. There is much more to him than meets the eye, though—for starters, the fact that he doesn't age, is incredibly strong and resistant, and, as he says himself, is 'probably not really human'. He also doesn't know what happened to him in the past, except that whatever it was, it left him with a deep scar on his chest and stole most of his memories from him. He protects Lou from the creature in the tunnel; he too finds himself oddly attracted to her.

The Anima Mundi:

  • Ewan "Echoes" Doyle: Techno-wizard and Keeper for the Anima Mundi, he's still relatively new at the job, but has quite useful abilities, notably mathematical skills, bending space, spying at a distance and creating wards. In his mundane life, he works as a network engineer for the A.T.C. company, and although he often dresses like your average salaryman, he's got some noticeable quirks. His uncanny taste for weird food combinations tends to disgust his partner. His nickname comes from his ability to split his mind to perform his magic.

  • Ring: (Real name undisclosed as of yet.) This secretive sorceress who uses blood to fuel her spells is Echoes's partner in the Anima Mundi—she often wonders why the England Archon stuck her with him, since their ways of performing magic aren't really compatible. She appears as a young girl, having sacrificed her adult body in exchange for more power. While she poses as a calm person who's always in control, she's terribly frightened of the Keeper known under the codename of 'Zerstoerer', whom she worked with in Paris in 1989. Her nickname comes from her former Blood Circle, whose last representant she is.

  • Marek "Zerstoerer" Van Cartier: An Anima Mundi Keeper with a rare ability to destroy and negate, Marek is Aristeles' trump card, and one that is virtually unable to be killed. Although his behaviour is pleasant and no less than genial, he always ends up putting other people at unease—perhaps because he smiles all the time to start with. Beware his mild manners, for he's able to very quickly cross the line, which happens quite often. His nickname was bestowed upon him by his cavalrymen at the Kahlenberg battle in 1683, and has stuck since then.

  • Aristeles "King Archon" Salonikos: Leader of the Anima Mundi and one of its first Keepers, this unobtrusive-looking Alchemist may very well hold the secret to immortality. While he appears as more interested in good wines, elegant clothing and playing chess with Marek, he's not as respectable as he seems. He's considering getting rid of Marek, but doesn't know how; besides, he still needs his power (and something else, too * coughs* ). The latter is quite aware of it and sometimes taunts him about that.

  • Other Anima Mundi Keepers: Characters who haven't been really developed as of yet, but might be in the future. These have appeared in Paris in 1989, during the hunt for Louis Valdemar. They are: Hannah 'Korista' Szolnoky (a Hungarian sorceress who uses songs as focus), Caliban (an arrogant mage of the True Names tradition, like Valdemar used to be), Paul Bachimont (nicknamed "The Dowser", because he uses a pendulum), Miroir (a water spirit in a human body), and Moira McDowell (Liaison for this group of Keepers). Mention was also made of Demetria ap Gwenllian, who enchants items such as the spirit-trapping mirror.

The foes:

  • Amanda Devereux: This Necromancer was offered a powerful ability by Mother, allowing her soul to hop from body to body. To foil the Anima Mundi, she committed suicide in a spectacular way, knowing that she'd still go on living in another body. She was finally made prisoner in London by Marek, thanks to a spirit-catching mirror, and questioned by him, Echoes and Ring.

  • Mother ("the woman in white"): Her face always hidden under the hood of her long white cloak, this spiritual being exists in the world between worlds, hovering at the border between the Shadowlands and the Land of the Living. Where her heart should be, there's only a deep hole, but contrary to a mere Heart-catcher, she seems to have retained her ability to think and look human, and is presently the mastermind behind a certain amount of things. She's also interested in Louis Valdemar's fate, in spite of his being dead, and in Lyle Karlowitz, whose lack of Heart is not her doing this time.

  • Dana ("the woman in black"): She is a human Necromancer whose Heart was devoured during a failed ritual, but was given a 'second chance' by 'Mother', were she to become her servant. She spots Lyle on the Tottenham Court Road platform and taunts him, revealing to him that he has no Heart either, on a spiritual level. She causes the train to crash, in order to kill its passengers and breach the Thorn Wall. Later on, she's been seen scolded by her mistress for her rash actions, although her crashing the coaches had been ordered to her by said mistress. She is constantly afraid of the idea that Mother might want to replace her with Lyle.

  • The Slicer: Mother's second-in-command, and "elder brother" to Dana. He, too, lacks his Heart. His powers include necromancy, passing through the Thorn Wall if there's enough death energy on its living side, mind-raping people, and being constantly linked to 'The Mind', a.k.a. the Hive Mind holding the common conscience of all awakened Heart-Catchers.

  • Louis Valdemar: An old mage who used to hunt Necromancers on the other side of the Iron Curtain, he fought fire with fire and finally became just as despicable as those he wanted to destroy. In 1989, gone completely mad, he cast a powerful spell called the Dead Song, almost razing the city in the process. He was finally killed by Marek.

  • Layla: The woman who faithfully served Valdemar in 1989. Nobody knows what has become of her since Valdemar's death. It's been implied by Caliban that she wasn't human anyway.


  • Abnormal Ammo: Both Echoes and Moira use guns that fire Caster shells. They're pretty much spells in a can, but only to be used as emergency, when there's no time to prepare for more efficient magic. These bullets are made in 9 mm parabellum, so as to make things a little easier.
    • Of course, it implies that the one wielding the gun can shoot somewhat accurately...
    • Marek can survive these as well, but his body clearly does not regenerate as quickly then.
  • Adorkable: Echoes.
  • Anachronic Order: The story starts in 2009, but the parts happening in 1989 and other years don't follow a chronological order.
  • Artificial Human: Lyle Karlowitz—who might be considered a case of The Undead as well, given his true origins.
  • Ascended Fanon: The author likes to listen to her (small) fan base, and actually includes some suggestions in her works.
    • Such as, Marek being definitely bi and shagging Aristeles when both are a little too drunk on Sauternes wine.
    • And Lou and Lyle get to make out... sort of.
    • Let's not forget Echoes's food combinations (Marmite forever!). Especially since the author has decided that she would try all those combinations too at some point. (Re-Squick!)

  • Attending Your own Funeral: Something Marek probably did. Because he's funny like that.
  • Bag of Holding: Marek's attache-case, which he uses to retrieve the items the Anima Mundi is supposed to send him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Echoes might look a harmless geek who eats weird stuff and sits in weird ways, but he's actually had the guts to put a gun against Marek's head, who was forcefully making Ring shut up by choking her with one hand.
    • Click Hello ensues.
    • As Clarence Riddle, he basically told one of the most influent British True Names upholders to go stuff it where the sun never shines. This after years of psychological abuse.
  • Bi the way: Echoes.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Riddles.
  • Black magic: Basically the whole Necromancing cast, starting with Amanda and Dana, as well as Slicer later on.
    • Mother may be put in this category, although her powers are that of a ghost, not of a mage.
  • Blessed with Suck: Marek, who got lumped with a corrupted magic nobody would have wished onto his worst enemy, only useful to destroy and delete elements from Reality, and so taxing that it kills its users fairly quickly the more they use it.
    • He somehow escapes this fate because he's been made immortal. However, he still technically dies half the time, ranging from his heart stopping to various internal organs failing at the same time; although his body regenerates afterwards, it's pretty taxing as well in itself. And you wonder why he's crazy...
  • Blood Magic: The very basis of Ring's spells.
    • Although she's not, she is said to be "almost a Necromancer herself" by her own teammates.
  • Boom, Headshot: Layla's little gift to Marek, to make sure he would stay dead.
  • Break the Cutie: Marek is clearly intent on breaking Lyle. Possibly to get a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in turn?
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Layla: "Yes, my Master."
    • Marek: "I got better."
    • Lyle: "I'm sorry" (followed closely by Lou: "Stop apologizing all the time!")
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Echoes when he's stressed out.
  • Code Name: Pretty much everybody in the Anima Mundi. Even Aristeles is referred to as "King Archon" (except by Marek, but then, these two are on First Name Basis anyway).
    • Justified in that it's a means of protecting oneself against True Name magic—even though Echoes himself admits it's totally cheesy.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Marek, because nothing pleases him more than initiating crazy and painful fights on his own terms.
  • Creepy Child: Ring, due to her appearance.
    • And Amanda Devereux, because she stole a child's body to put her soul in. The original soul never saw the body back, by the way. Thanks to whom? * glares at Marek*
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Marek. Three times, even. Or is it five? Or ten? Oh well, he pretty much skips rope with the line, then plays cat's cradle with it, then has it run over the earth a few times and ties it in a nice ribbon.
    • It doesn't help that he stabs himself in the throat with Ring's ceremony knife just to prove a point.
    • Or that he allows Layla to kill him once, because that way he's sure she'll give her all to fight him afterwards.
    • Wait, did he just Nullify a manipulated human into Oblivion in the middle of St Pancras International? "Accidentally" erasing part of his real target's body in the process? And the target was a Necromancer posing as a child? And what are those corpses, er, collateral damage caught in the area of effect? Oops.
  • Dark Action Girl: Layla.
    • Although she acted on Valdemar's orders, she was given the choice to join the Anima Mundi... and refused.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ring wears black, but fights on the side of the good guys, while Mother's clad in white, and is clearly one bad mofo of an antagonist.
  • Dead to Begin With: Amanda, who's lost her original body.
    • While still biologcally alive, Dana and Slicer are technically dead from a spiritual point of view.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone at some point.
    • Okay, except Lyle, who's too straightforward to be a snarker. But he's been getting lessons from Lou and Echoes.
  • Deal with the Devil: Aristeles and Marek.
    • Although you've got to wonder who was the devil in that case, because Aristeles himself doesn't know what to do with Marek anymore.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Marek, at times, because he clearly has his sights on Echoes... and Layla... and Lyle... and who knows if his attitude towards Ring isn't also short of being a little more than that.
  • Destructive Saviour: When the Archons of the Anima Mundi send Zerstoerer on a case, they always know that nothing will be solved without a good deal of destruction first.
  • Dissonant Serenity: A trademark of Marek Van Cartier's. And he smiles all the time, or almost. Freaky bastard.
    • When he finally stops smiling, it means that serious shit is about to hit the fan.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Lou doesn't like being called Louisa—too old-fashioned to her liking. That's why she tells everybody to just call her "Lou".
    • Actually, Echoes also pretty much despises his real name—a case of Type 3 Embarrassing First Name, with the result that he decided to go by his middle name instead.
  • Doom Magnet: "One thing was always certain with Zerstoerer: everywhere he went, people ended up dying and things being destroyed." And he just doesn't care.
    • In fact, Echoes openly calls him a Doom Magnet.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Immortality. Marek and Aristeles are slowly losing their souls, as evidenced by Ring telling Marek that his spiritual pattern is in tatters. It's not certain yet what will happen in the end, nor if this will put an end to their immortal bodies or if it will 'wait' for them to find something or someone that can kill them, but what's 100% guaranteed is that there won't be any Shadowlands for these two. No ghostly existence, no afterlife, no reincarnation. Nothing.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Aristeles Salonikos, who's done quite his lot of awful deeds in his time, but sometimes gets second thoughts when he sees the lengths to which Marek is ready to go.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Marek or the Heartless... Who's the worst, really?
  • Expecting Someone Taller: This trope fits both Ring (she looks like a 10-years-old child) and Louisa (she's only 19 and moreover, most people who know her from #realitybusters expect a guy).
    • Applies to Echoes as well, since a lot of people online think he's a girl / several people.
    • Lyle being a serious case of a bookworm—something people never believe until they've actually seen all the books he owns. Usually, they think he's the type to slouch in front of the TV set.
  • Extreme Doormat: Lyle Karlowitz. So convinced is he that he does everything the wrong way that he spends his time apologizing for every little thing—and doesn't realize how good-natured he is, compared to many other people.
  • Facial Markings: The Anima Mundi mages are usually branded with specific spiritual facial tattoos, that can only be seen by fellow agents.
    • While most Agents keep them concealed, some of them seem too enjoy showing them instead. Ring's markings in the mundane world mirror her spiritual ones. Coonversely, Echoes would be caught dead rather than show his, since he kind of dislikes his job.
  • Faux Yay: The way Marek likes teasing Echoes is kind of reminiscent of that trope.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Lyle, Lou and Echoes, after they fought Mother and Dana and had to run away in Lyle's cab.
    • Lyle wants to trust Echoes. Lou wants to trust Lyle. Echoes wants to believe that Lou is innocent and that Lyle is not a Heart-catcher.
    • And then Echoes's friends try to persuade him that Lyle having no Heart = Bad!Guy.
      • Which he refuses to believe once again. * coughs* he'stoocluelesstobeevil * coughs*
  • Foreign Queasine: Not so much 'foreign', since the action is set in London anyway, but... Echoes eats weird stuff quite regularly. Actually, he even enjoys it.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Marek Van Cartier.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: 'Mother', who came out of nowhere, much to Ring's dismay.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Marek tends to wield his magic while fighting, using notably either his sword or his hands to initiate contact.
    • Actually, his Nullifying ability works better (or only, depending on the area of effect) when there's physical contact. Kind of akin to the Touch of Death.
  • Genetic memory: Lou (to a certain extent) and Marek.
  • Genre Savvy: Lou regarding Lyle: "If they were in a TV series, he would be the sidekick who dies before the end in some silly act of self-sacrifice."
    • Echoes also thinks in terms of tropes sometimes ("Fire forged friends, anyone?").
  • Golem: Ludwik Czislowski helps Gershom Steiner create one in 1943.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Marek and, to a lesser extent, the Anima Mundi. Because their goal is to hunt down renegade mages and try to prevent magic from causing too much damage, doesn't mean that they're always right in doing so, nor that they don't have their lot of black sheep.
    • 'Black sheep' would rather translate by 'band of dysfunctional misfits'.
  • Gorn: When Marek uses his magic, collateral damage of the gory kind sometimes occur.
    • Alright, replace sometimes by often.
  • Hacker Cave: Echoes's apartment. You haven't seen all the rooms yet.
  • Healing Factor: How immortality works for Marek and Aristeles.
  • Hermetic Magic: Pentagrams, six-branches stars and summoning chants, oh my.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Marek Van Cartier—daring, dangerous, doesn't care about the value of life, crosses the line so often that the author has stopped counting a long time ago.
    • Oh yes, he is a very fun and enjoyable character to write about.
  • Horror Hunger: The Heart-catchers feed on human souls. The Heartless do as well. And when they want to organize a party, they crash a train.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Echoes mentally reflecting on how he's just quoted The Terminator.
    • And there's the Twinkie, too.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: What may happen to Marek at some point.
  • I Know Your True Name: Lou and Lyle.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Echoes. "Dammit, I'm a tactical operator, not a fighter!"
  • Immortality: We've got at least Aristeles and Marek here. And Ring, while technically not immortal, has slowed down her aging by giving up on her adult body. Incidentally, it makes them all Older Than They Look.
    • Add Lyle to this latter trope as well.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Marek, and he doesn't need anyone to consider him fair game for target practice, since he already does it himself.
    • Which puts his WTF knife-in-my-throat Squick moment into a slightly different perspective; twisted sense of humour much?
  • Important Haircut: Lou keeps her hair very long because her mother prefers it this way. She starts thinking about cutting them in the beginning of the story. And then she actually does it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Hannah is pretty much disgusted at the way Marek literally deletes a whole derailing train from reality so that it doesn't crash into the station and make even more victims. Marek's answer? "Why, I didn't erase anything that wasn't already dead anyway."
  • Iron Woobie: Lyle, who completely loses at life and relationships in general, but is so totally badass otherwise. Every time the author writes about him, she wants to give him a big hug.
    • His fans want to give him a big hug as well.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Subverted in that there's actually no physical body to question, only a soul. Nevertheless, the soul has been ripped from its still living body, locked in a magical device shaped like a mirror, subjected to blood sorcery, and threatened by Marek to be erased from this world just like the body has been. Because we don't have much time on our hands, see.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Lyle wondering whether his life would be easier if he was some character in a book.
  • Letter Motif: Done on purpose, starting with Mark/Markus/Marek, and then a few others that are easy to spot as well.
  • Magitek: Tri-Edge @Venger quantum laptops for the win!
  • Meaningful Name: Zerstoerer. Echoes. Dowser. Pretty much half the members of the Anima Mundi.
  • Mind Rape: Slicer enjoys doing that to quite an extent.
  • Mouthy Kid: Bravado is Lou's way of not collapsing. And you haven't seen her facing Marek yet.
  • Never Found the Body: Layla.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Yeah, Lyle is that hard to hurt.
  • Nonindicative Name: Echoes. A lot of people online don't know who nor what he is IRL, often even believing that the name stands for a collective. After all, his nickname is pretty much gender-neutral and a plural at that, not mentioning that he uses it in capital letters on the Web.
    • Since he likes screwing with people's minds to better cover his tracks, he also often poses as a G.I.R.L. online.
  • No One Could Survive That: Marek pretty much does survive. All the time.
    • Lyle too.
  • No Yay: Echoes and Marek, an evident couple to ship, and the one nobody wants to see happen.
    • The author thinks Echoes x Ring would be even worse. See below why.
  • Odd Couple: Echoes and Ring. He's tall and blonde, is a technology genius but a complete spiritual moron, works as an engineer but eats (and sometimes behaves) like a teenager on a growing spree. She's tiny, black-haired, looks like a 12-years-old girl, dances with ghosts but can't even record a number in her cell phone, and is old enough to be Echoes's grandma.
  • Omniscient Database: QED's, kind of.
  • Playful Hacker: Echoes, before joining the Anima Mundi.
    • As a Keeper as well, since he hacks the Anima Mundi server to retrieve Moira's reports about the 1989 case.
  • Power at a Price: The Nullifying ability.
    • Because it is cast from lifespan.
    • And that is why Aristeles made Marek immortal.
      • Only, Marek still "dies" regularly from using his magic, which causes him to spiral down a little more each time down the path of insanity. Coming back to life hurts.
  • Power Nullifier: An ability Marek derived from his original destructive power—he started with erasing things, then people, then energies themselves. And magic is fueled by specific energies, after all.
  • Power Trio: Ring, Echoes and Zerstoerer.
    • With Echoes as the Ego, Ring as the Superego, and Marek as the Id.
  • Put on a Bus: Amanda, because the author doesn't need her at the moment. She's still in her mirror anyway. Unless Marek has been being Marek and...?
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Echoes with his laptop and his Blackberry.
  • Rare Guns: For a reason unknown as of yet, Lyle particularly treasures an original Czech Army CZ 75 model, much rarer (and of better quality) than the export version.
  • Red String of Fate (sort of): Some characters definitely share a certain kind of special 'soul' bond.
  • Reincarnation: Louisa Keynes.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • Echoes quotes The Terminator: "Come with me if you want to live!"
    • "88 miles per hour!!"
    • Some characters' names were inspired by RL people.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Marek, Marek, Marek.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Marek likes to pull that one fairly often, by negating his presence from reality (and, subsequently, from people's perceptions).
  • Subtext: When Marek talks to or about Echoes, sometimes, you might wonder what he really means.
  • Submissive Badass: A few characters, actually.
  • Super Strength: Lyle. Just look at what happens in the crashed train.
  • Techno Wizard: Lou and Echoes.
    • Among the non-protagonists: QED and Maia.
  • The Chessmaster: Aristeles Salonikos, both literally and figuratively.
    • He went as far as to plan his and Zerstoerer's involvement in the 1683 siege of Vienna in order to persuade magi of their era that nothing would be accomplished without his Anima Mundi project.
    • The Astronomer's reactions? He planned them. Actually, he planned how the Astronomer might react to his bluffing his way through careful questioning. Still, he planned right.
    • He also actually plays chess with Marek on a regular basis (even though 'regular' can mean 'every ten years or so' for them).
  • The Heartless: Mother first and foremost, closely followed by Dana and Slicer. Lyle gets a case of this, too, although the reason behind it is different.
  • The Insomniac: Echoes, as a Type B, complete with permanent dark rings under his eyes. His (often unconscious) obsession with 'getting the job done' tends to make him disregard the clock—including when sleep is concerned. Same goes with healthy food.
    • The only moments he's actually seen getting sleep is because he's been either drugged or knocked out.
  • The Taxi: Lyle drives a nifty English black cab.
  • The Von Trope Family: Marek breathes this trope in its Van version. Meant to blur the trail as to his real identity (Polish first name, Dutch surname, German nickname, lives in Austria, born in England?).
  • The Worf Barrage: Lyle gets into an underground train accident, and remains unscathed.
    • Then he takes Mother's attack head first, and remains unscathed as well.
    • If he was to be nuked, there would be much smoke and flames and radiations, and he would still walk out of it unscathed (although stark naked).
    • You can do pretty much the same things to Marek, only the resulting process will be different and involve many more gory details.
  • There Are No Coincidences: No shit, Sherlock. What are the odds for two trains crashing and killing people in the exact same way (even though it's at a 20 years interval and in two different cities)?
  • Token Evil Teammate: Alright, Marek is not technically a villain, in that he's not on the Heartless' side... but he's clearly not a nice guy either, in spite of his pleasant behaviour.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: There's no point in torturing Marek; that sucker would actually enjoy it and even get off on it. Of course, being immortal with an ability to regenerate helps...
  • Unusual User Interface: One of Lou's most basic (and first) talents as a mage is to be able to connect to the Web from literally everywhere—without wireless access, Ethernet plug or network card. Her own magic is her interface.
  • Urban Fantasy: Magic and ghosts in (almost) present-day London and Paris.
  • Urban Legends: Heart-catchers that are actually able to think and curb their instincts.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Marek Van Cartier's in town. Everybody run.
    • Two words: Saint Pancras.
    • What were the odds for the "accident" in Goodge Street happening on the very evening Marek sets foot in London?
    • And then, there's the Gherkin.
      • What Gherkin?
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Did you honestly think that Marek Van Cartier was the poster-child for sanity?
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Lyle partially fits this trope.
    • Marek somewhat avoids it because he's just nucking futs, but you've got to wonder what drove him crazy to start with.
  • Why Won't You Die: Marek Van Cartier. The author herself doesn't really know how to get rid of him.
  • You Are Not Alone: Echoes and Slicer.
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