A series of Heroic Fantasy novels by Lynn Flewelling that follows the adventures of two Loveable Rogues and their friends and allies.A 16-year-old orphan named Alec is imprisoned and tortured for a crime he didn't commit. But just as he's starting to welcome the idea of his inevitable death, he is made to share his cell with the real criminal — a man named Seregil, who breaks them both out of their prison. Seregil, a spy/thief for hire, recognizes the innate thieving skills Alec possesses, and offers to take him on as his apprentice. Alec accepts, and is immediately drawn into deadly intrigues, an impending war, and a secret society of spies and wizards.Six books have been published so far. The second book is a sequel to the first, and the remaining are standalone:
Luck in the Shadows (1996)
Stalking Darkness (1997)
Traitor's Moon (1998)
Shadows Return (2008)
The White Road (2010)
Casket of Souls (2012)
Flewelling has also written a spinoff, the Tamķr Trilogy, set in the same universe during a different time period.This series is not to be confused with the more recent Night Runner, which is about vampires.
This series provides examples of:
Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: In Stalking Darkness. "Why did they build it so big?" "So that the poisonous humours that can collect do so overhead, and the air down here is good." (Paraphrased, natch.)
Action Girl: Beka, Princess Klia and many others. Being one is actually a requirement to be Queen of Skala to the point where one princess is not actually in the line of succession because she lacks military prowess.
Awesome Momentof Crowning: It is not the proper investiture but the scene at the end of Hidden Warrior, where the main character declares her name (I am Tamķr!) definitely counts. (though she refuses being called "Queen" for a while, following the proper ritual. However, she accepts after being called queen by the ghost of one ancestor of hers.)
The Clan: The various Aurėnfaie clans, complete with hats in the form of headscarves.
Colonel Badass: Princess Klia, of course. She loves battle and is *very* good at it.
Cool Big Sis: Adzriel to Seregil. Beka takes this role for Alec too and it#s implied her little sister Illia looks up to her that way.
Combat Pragmatist: Nightrunning as well as being a Watcher cannot afford honourable fights. Seregil manages to instill this fighting philosophy to those he teaches (Alec and Beka).
Creepy Child: Sebrahn. He lives off Alec's blood, can cure any illness or injury and even bring people back from death, and kills men just by singing.
Cultured Badass: Seregil to a tee. Can fight like a demon and is a well know patron of arts, is well versed in gourmet food and speaks a multitude of languages. He trains Alec to be the same. Also the Scalan nobles and royalty that are in the army. They have the education that befits their status and plenty of badass skills.
Deadpan Snarker: It would be easier to list the ones that do not indulge in this. Even high queen type Idrilain can not help herself when two forgers declare their loyalty to her after they had been linked to the Lerans. One person who never snarks is the eternally good natured Nysander.
Defeat Means Friendship: Tym the thief has a healthy dose of respect and a smidge of loyalty toward Seregil after being defeated by him.
Disguised in Drag: Seregil in his Lady Gwethelyn persona is very convincing. Captain Rhal is very taken, Alec also even though he knows that Seregil is a man.
Double Entendre: At one point in the second novel Seregil is asked by Alec why he is heading to a brothel specializing in males for males, after having just spent time in one of a more traditional variety. He replies by saying that "Fowl never tastes as savory when you're hungry for venison." Given that Alec's animal form is a deer...
Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Ylinestra puts Alec (a sixteen year old boy) under a spell and has sex with him while he is under the influence. And yet everyone seems to treat it lightly. Seregil even debates whether he should tease Alec about it. Nysander is annoyed that Ylinestra would use magic on an unwilling subject. Alec is a bit upset, but gets over it in no time.
Fantastic Racism: Many Aurėnfaie consider themselves superior to Tirfaie (humans), in some parts of Aurėnen half-breeds are treated with disdain, though this is not true of all clans. Conversely, the Plenimarans prize the Aurėnfaie as slaves (and sacrifices for necromantic rites) and conduct slaving raids into Aurėnen as well as breeding 'faie slaves much as they would horses. Also the Leran plots are based on the fact that the Skalan royal line has Aurėnfaie blood. The Hāzadriėlfaie though take the cake on racism, although it is revealed that this is because they have more dragon blood than other Aurėnfaie and can be used for some seriously messed up magic, hence they studiously avoid most other peoples, including other Aurėnfaie.
Friend to All Children: Alec all over the place. Micum too has a very soft spot for children, thanks to being a father of five.
Functional Magic: Multiple varieties. Inherent Gift magic is standard with the Aurėnfaie. The human Third Orėska wizards combine this with Rule Magic. Theurgy is employed by the Drysians and the Rhui'auros. NecromanticArts are popular in Plenimar. Alchemy is studied by some wizards, and there are also dedicated specialists to this magical discipline. Magic Music is practiced by centaurs and the human Retha'noi mountain people.
God of Evil: Seriamainus. Worshiped with torture and human sacrifice. His eventual goal is to strip the bones of the world.
God Save Us from the Queen!: Phoria seems to be a mild version of one. She loves war, hates her sister, bullies her weaker siblings, does not listen to perfectly sound advice if it goes against her perceptions. Also seems unable to see the bigger picture and long term consequences.
Green-Eyed Epiphany: Slightly undermined. Seregil already HAS an eye on Alec at that point and is very aware of it. Still, him being jealous when a male prostitute gets touchy-feely to Alec is a new one to him. (but then it again takes a good while for him to admit that he IS in love and not just in lust.)
Happily Married: Micum and Kari, Seregil and Alec (or well, happily talķmenķos-bonded) and probably soon Thero and Klia
Healing Magic Is the Hardest: The Functional Magic levels in this world are fairly high and magic can be readily used to, for example, transform people into animals or even inanimate objects. But healing is rarely a quick fix affair. In particular it is not always affective at curing the effects of diseases or poisons.
Heroic BSOD: Happens to Seregil after Nysander's death.
The High Queen: Gherilain the First, Tamir, Idrilain the Second during the series, Princess Klia also has shades of this.
Honor Before Reason: Of all people Seregil throughout almost all of Traitor's moon - granted he acts this way to prove to the Aurėnfaie that he does have honor, unlike what they think of him and hopes to get his exile lifted - but damn when it includes letting himself being beaten up by a hostile party without even defending himself or returning to face an almost certain death sentence after running away - to do the RIGHT thing and prevent a war - because his honor says so - we really are with Alec and Nyal and all the folks who call Seregil out on it. And they are many.
Our Elves Are Better: The Aurėnfaie are typically beautiful, live for several hundred years, and were the first beings to possess magic. However, Flewelling herself has expressed distaste for stereotypical elves. Thus, while the Aurėnfaie are an entire race of Pretty Boys and Beautiful Girls, they do not possess such features as pointy ears and can pass for human with little effort. They also have a more diverse culture based on clans, many of which favor interests that in no way resemble "classic" elves. This can surprise some people...
Seregil: You seemed to think we were all great mages or nectar-sipping fairy folk.
Overly-Long Name: In the south a highborn person's name includes the given name, the names of parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, and place of birth, much to Alec's perplexity. The standard way of politely referring to someone would be e.g. Seregil i Korit or Klia a Idrilain.
Parental Favoritism: Queen Idrilain clearly favored Klia over Phoria, a fact Phoria is very aware of.
Pretty Boy: Seregil is slender with long wavy hair and fine features, and he can pass as a beautiful woman with just a dress and some makeup.
The Prophecy: A few actually. One is the reason Skala is ruled by a line of warrior queens. Then there's the prophecy of Seriamaius's return that drives the plot of the first two books. And though they've never actually given a prophecy about him, it's clear the oracles at Sarikali have at least some knowledge of Seregil's future.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: The entire Skalan royal family. The Queen is also a general, as is the Princess Royal. In fact, each of her six children (bar one) is in the Army, and two of them die on the field of battle.
Seregil: Hell, I'll kill you for the sheer un of it. Come on, Lord Eater of Shit. Let's get this over with.
Unproblematic Prostitution: Most of the prostitutes/courtesans from the Street of Lights fit this trope. They make rather a lot in terms of cash and gifts from their patrons, who are mostly nobles or rich merchants and are free to selectively pick and choose who they will take as clients. There are, however, regular prostitutes patronized by the lower classes who do not fit this trope.