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Literature: Night of the Indigo

Night of the Indigo is a novel by Jamaican author Michael Holgate, published in 2008 as part of the Island Fiction series of stories.

Marassa is a 15-year-old Jamaican youth with strange mental powers. Unfortunately, his twin brother Wico is dying from a mysterious illness that no doctor seems able to cure, and Marassa feels helpless to do anything to save him. Adding to this misfortune, the brothers live with an abusive father and a mother too cowed by said father to offer a defense when he abuses Marassa, who makes an effort not to retaliate with his powers for his mother's and brother's sakes.

Then one dark and stormy night, a mysterious figure named Kundo shows up at their house and whisks Marassa away, telling him that the only way to save Wico and to preserve Marassa's own life from otherworldly assassins is for Marassa to accept his destiny as the "Marshal," a mystic warrior who will save the people of the visitor's home world, Orunda.

Initially skeptical to the point of rebellion, Marassa reluctantly goes to Orunda to learn how to harness his powers, for only by doing so will he be able to save Wico's life. And he has to gain that mastery before Orunda's Night of the Indigo Moon...

Tropes present in Night of the Indigo:

  • Abusive Parents: Marassa's father, Dud.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Sort of. Orundan natives don't actually speak or understand English, but back-and-forth communication between them and Marassa is done in such a way that they can understand each other in what Marassa perceives as English. Kundo explains it as an ability the chosen Marshal possesses.
    Kundo: One way we know you to be the Marshal is that you understand without knowing. I do not speak or understand this English, and I don't understand when you talk it, but I open my mind to your meanings beyond words. This I learnt to do through years of training.
  • Alternate Universe: Orunda is this to the regular Earth, a parallel universe.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Loba, and the Andrugen race by extension.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Indicated at the end of the novel.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Dud is constantly doing this when he beats Marassa. For his part, Marassa endures the abuse for his mother's sake, though Chapter 1 indicates that if he really wanted to, he could kill Dud with a thought. Though it's later hinted that there may in fact be more to Dud than first meets the eye.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live
  • The Chosen One: Marassa is the destined Marshal, or the "Warrior of Light," according to Orunda's prophecies. But because of an error in judgment, the Orundans initially thought Wico was the intended Marshal and, accordingly, trained him in secret prior to his illness.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marassa. As an example, when he meets Madam Chandy for the first time:
    Madam Chandy: I am Madam Chandy.
    Marassa: Congratulations. I'm sure that means a lot to you.
  • Death Glare: Dud can intimidate Marassa with this.
  • The Dragon: Dud for Lord Esubal.
  • Drunk with Power: Lord Esubal. Kundo warns Marassa against becoming this as the Marshal.
  • Enemy Without: The Shadow Man is this to Marassa.
  • Evil Overlord: Lord Esubal.
  • Full Boar Action: Boar-like beasts with gigantic tusks are used as mounts by the Maloul tribe in Orunda, and are capable of carrying two full-grown men.
  • Gentle Giant: Kundo is this, at least when he's not smacking Marassa around to get him to cooperate.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Marassa, at the outset. Learning to control himself is part of his Character Development.
  • Human Alien: While most of the races of Orunda have Bizarre Alien Biology, many of its residents can just as easily pass for human; Kundo is just one example as is everyone in Marassa's immediate family.
  • Ill Boy: Wico. Finding a way to save him from the illness that's slowly killing him is what drives Marassa.
  • Knife Nut: Kundo is armed with numerous blades—a sword on his back, a three-bladed cutlass with a machete coming out the bottom of the handle, and knives in his boots.
  • Left Hanging: Marassa fully realizes his destiny as the Marshal and manages to rescue both Wico and their mother, but the journey to Kundo's land is still incomplete, the battle with Lord Esubal's forces is far from over despite the victory they've just achieved, and then there's the matter of the other forces Esubal has been fighting on the other side of the planet. Still, the story overall ends on an upbeat note.
  • Living Shadow: The Shadow Man, who has pursued Marassa in his nightmares and later chases him during the race of faith in the ancient land of the Bukluu, where the Temple of Dreams is located.
  • Mind Over Manners: Kundo scolds Marassa about this when Marassa tries to read his mind without permission and ends up with a mental backlash that hits him with physical force.
    Kundo: Your mother didn't tell you it is bad manners to read people's minds without permission?
  • Mind Rape: Weaponized in Orunda. The earliest example is in Chapter 9, where Marassa puts images of pork-related delicacies into the minds of the Maloul people's boar-beast mounts to aggravate them and throw their riders off-balance.
  • The Obi-Wan: Kundo, to Marassa.
  • Oh Crap: Dud wears this expression when Marassa foils his attempt to kill Wico via slashed throat by unleashing his full power and using his Marshal abilities to possess Wico's body and make the knife seemingly pass through empty space without cutting any arteries.
  • Psychic Powers: Marassa has limited degrees of Telepathy, clairvoyance, and empathy, and he also shares a Psychic Link with his brother Wico. Learning to master his powers takes up the bulk of the story's plot.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Loba is the prince of the Andrugen.
  • The Strategist: This type of warrior is respected in Orunda.
    Kundo: On the battlefields of time the truth remains: a thinking warrior is better than a fighting one.
  • The Stoic: Kundo puts up this kind of front, but as Marassa soon discovers, there is more to the giant than just his appearance.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Sheesh, Marassa, you could be a little more grateful when people save your life, you know...
  • Warrior Monk: The Maloul people are an entire race of this, in Lord Esubal's service.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lord Esubal started out fighting armies of men worse than himself, but eventually took to subjugating the entire world.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Marassa wonders why his mother would let Dud back into their lives after he abandoned them.
    Marassa: Him (Dud) drop off the face of the Earth for five whole years, then come crawling back like a bad dream. And she take him back! That is the thing. She take him back. Why, Wico?
  • Wicked Stepmother: Turns out Dud is a Wicked Stepfather.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Zigzagged with the ancient Bukluu land which is the objective of the race of faith. On past occasions, participants have gone there and stayed for varying periods of time, and upon their return discovered that their guides—who have to wait at the other side of the crossing-bridge for their return—have decayed into bones, at worst. In Marassa's case, when he finishes his challenge, from Loba's perspective he hasn't even had time to eat yet since Marassa started out, while for Marassa it's been hours. Loba describes it as the shortest trip in the race of faith that anyone has ever done.
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