I cut off his hand, yet he thanks me for not doing worse. That is the power you must one day command. Let them think every breath of theirs is a gift, not from the gods, but from you.The Shadowdance Trilogy
— Thren Felhorn
by David Dalgish chronicles the childhood, training
, and rise to power of Haern
, the Watcher of Veldaren
The trilogy consists of:
- A Dance of Cloaks: Aaron has been groomed since birth to be heir of an underworld empire. Yet when sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.
- A Dance of Blades: When the son of Alyssa Gemcroft, one of the three leaders of the powerful Trifect, is believed murdered, slaughter begins anew in the streets of Veldaren. Mercenaries flood the city with one goal in mind: find and kill Aaron, now known as Haern, the King's Watcher.
- A Dance of Mirrors: Haern travels south to confront a copycat killer, finding a city ruled by the corrupt, the greedy, and the dangerous. Rioters fill the streets, and the threat of war with the mysterious elves hangs over all. To stop it, Haern must confront the deadly Wraith, and the man he might become.
These books contain examples of:
- Action Girl - Zusa. She is one of the hand-full of people who can match Haern when it comes to fighting.
- Archnemesis Dad - Thren is this to Haern.
- Badass Normal - Haern.
- Blackand White Morality - Followers of Ashhur see their war against Karak as this.
- Earn Your Happy Ending - Oh, yes very much so.
- Enfant Terrible - Aaron at the begining of Dance of Cloaks. Subverted as he's basically moulded by his father, but still, he does kill his older brother. At age eight.
- Fragile Speedster - Haern, plain and simple, especially in the first book. By the second book, he's considerably stronger, but when fighting against a worthy opponent, he has to rely on speed, the element of surprise, and his cloakdance technique to defeat them.
- Godof Good - Ashhur.
- Mama Bear - Alyssa. Just try to look at Nathaniel funny and see what happens.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard - Everyone that becomes a father-figure to Haern ends up dead. Robert Haern. Senke. Everyone.
- Order Versus Chaos - The followers of Karak see their war against Ashhur as this, with Karak as Order and Ashhur as Chaos.
- Black and Gray Morality- There are multiple factions in the series and none of them have totally clean hands.