There will be born one to the Royal House one who is dead yet will live, who will die again and live again. And when he returns, he will hold in his hand the destruction of the world... ...Or its salvation.
A trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman consisting of Forging the Darksword, Doom of the Darksword, Triumph of the Darksword, and Legacy of the Darksword. Also has an associated Tabletop RPG, Darksword Adventures, and a (now hard to find) companion book, called The Darksword Companion.In the magical land of Thimhallan, Magic is considered to be the same as Life. Those born with no magic are considered Dead. As an ancient prophecy tells of the destruction of the world by one who is Dead, those born without magic are routinely killed. However, royal-born protaganist Joram manages to escape this fate. Joining with a group of unlikely allies such as the elderly scholar Saryon and the erratic trickster Simkin, he plans to forge the magic-consuming Darksword and retake his royal position, unaware that doing so may bring the prophecy to fruition.
Adult Fear: The Deathwatch and ensuing murder of all children born Dead. Saryon is understandably traumatized when he has to participate in such rituals, where a parent's child is killed ten days after they're born just because they, the child, are different.
Alien Invasion: The Hch'Nyv in the fourth book. In this case, they go for the total extinction of mankind.
Enemy Mine: In the fourth book, the only reason Earth's army hasn't lost the war yet is that they've allied with evil mages who need to save the world so that they can conquer it.
Fainting Seer: The seer who made the Darksword prophecy died in the middle of speaking it.
The Fool: Simkin is strongly associated with this archetype, being symbolized by the "Fool" tarok card while Joram is represented by the "King of Swords".
Foreshadowing: After the readers already know, through Saryon, of Joram's heritage, the following exhange takes place:
"So now the curse becomes the blessing, just like in the House Magi's tale," said Simkin, a smile playing on his lips. He smoothed his mustache with one finger. "Our frog becomes a Prince..."
"Not Prince," said Mosiah, exasperated. "Baron."
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Hch'Nyv from the fourth book fill this role perfectly. They are alien invaders who plan to destroy humanity, but weren't mentioned at all in the first three books.
Ironic Echo: Simkin is mistaken for a pocket of residual magic by technomancers. Later when he is asked who he is he replies that he is a pocket of residual magic, then goes on to explain that if you don't believe in him it doesn't matter what he is.
I See Dead People: Gwendolyn gains the ability to speak to the dead... but loses the ability to speak to the living.
Meaningful Name: The city Merilon, which is eventually revealed to be so named because it contains Merlin's tomb.
Medieval Stasis: The failure of Thimhallan to advance at all due to the prevalence of magic is an important theme. The third novel repeatedly uses the metaphor of mice sealing themselves in an attic with unlimited food and water where cats can't reach them, then dying of suffocation.
Meet Cute: Gwendolyn, via Simkin, meets Joram when she rescues him and his party from the Duuk-tsarith.
No Sex Allowed: Sex is forbidden; all procreation in Thimhallan is carried out through magic.
Noodle Incident / Noodle Implements: The majority of things Simkin says. In a private conversation with the Emperor bystanders overhear the phrases "Contessa", "chafing dish", and "Unfortunately discovered naked".
Nothing Can Stop Us Now: During the final battle, Simkin is present and in shapeshifted disguise as an inanimate object. Being a Large Ham, he waits for the Big Bad to declare victory before revealing himself.
Not So Above It All: Whatever Simkin told the emperor about the contessa and the chafing dish and nudity, his regal facade crumbles into helpless laughter. Simkin is that powerful.
Of Corpse He's Alive: The Empress of Merilon. Due to the political situation, everyone spent a year pretending that she was still alive.
Tarot Troubles: Simkin can predict the future with tarok cards. His reading of Joram has him drawing the Death card twice, reflecting the prophecy: One who is dead yet will live, who will die again and live again...