Twelve demons. One woman. Join the hunt.The Graystone Saga is a Web Serial Novel by Laura Klotz (known around these parts as Lady Norbert). Tobiah, the narrator, is unexpectedly swept up into the quest of Lady Gray, a figure of legend and fear. Lady Gray and her companion, the surly warrior Sabastian, are on the hunt for twelve demons, known as shades, who have escaped into the world. Only she, bearer of the Graystone, can defeat the shades and return them to their place of imprisonment. Gradually, Tobiah begins to piece together the truth about the lady, whose history is as tragic as her fate.
Tropes appearing in this work include:
Amazon Brigade: The Daughters of the Dawn, the female half of the honor guard at the Cathedral of Light.
The Archer: The Sons of the Dusk, the male half of the honor guard at the Cathedral of Light, is made up entirely of these. Tobiah is also learning to be one, since Sabastian has concluded he would be useless with a sword.
Beneath the Earth: The Narrows, a passage through the interior of the mountains that separate three countries. Doubles as potential Nightmare Fuel for claustrophobic readers.
Berserk Button: Sabastian's is revealed in the first chapter - never touch Lady Gray. Hers takes a while longer to come to light, but it appears to be a reference to an as-yet-unrevealed event in her past.
Bilingual Bonus: Many of the names used in the story are foreign words. For example, the horses, Nisu and Kastan, get their names from the Estonian words for 'wheat' and 'chestnut', respectively, which refer to their colors.
Black Cloak: Lady Gray's is so all-concealing that when Tobiah first sees her, he can't tell if she's male or female.
Church Militant: There's an element of this to Lady Gray and her quest, though the narrative has yet to make it entirely clear. It is understood, however, that each of the five cathedrals has its own in-house cadre of soldiers, and that the reason they're needed has something to do with her existence.
Color Motif: The emphasis on the color gray, according to Word of God, is a representation of the fact that there is nothing black and white about the entire story. There are almost no characters who are completely good or completely evil. It's also, a bit more overtly, a reference to Lady Gray's enduring grief, regret, and penance. Other colors are used to create further recurring motifs, mostly with regards to the individuals who live and work in the various Cathedrals.
Deadpan Snarker: Lady Gray, Sabastian, and Father Matthias all have moments like this.
Due to the Dead: Implied to be what Lady Gray does after a would-be thief dies trying to steal Silverblood from her.
Fantasy Pantheon: The world was created by the Seamother and the Skyfather; their five children divided the land between themselves. Lady Gray is regarded as a servant of these five, and wears their holy symbols on her belt buckle.
Framing Device: The story is actually being told by Tobiah long after the events have taken place. This mostly appears in the opening, but occasionally becomes obvious when he makes little after-the-fact observations in the narrative.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Lady Gray's mission is to hunt down the twelve demons who escaped more than a century ago.
Healing Hands: Father Brian, and the other clerics trained in the use of medicinal herbs.
The Highwayman: Our heroes encounter a small band of them while traveling through the Narrows. The confrontation does not go well.
Mission From Gods: Father Brian notes to Tobiah that Lady Gray answers to the gods alone while she's on her quest.
Nice to the Waiter: When Tobiah first meets Lady Gray and Sabastian, a fight breaks out in the inn because someone realizes who she is. The first hint we have that Lady Gray is a decent person is that she gives money to the innkeeper to pay for anything that was damaged, and apologizes for the outburst even though it isn't really her fault.
Parental Favoritism: The mythology of this world indicates that the sun goddess Eliana is her father's favorite child, and the moon god Drusl is his mother's favorite.
Purpose Driven Immortality: What the titular Graystone confers upon its bearer. Once the quest is complete and the amulet is removed, age will catch up with the bearer very quickly.
Replacement Goldfish: Father Matthias implies that Lady Gray is using Tobiah as one of these for "them," but it has yet to be revealed who "them" are.
Retcon: A mild example. The continent on which the story takes place is called Hiraeth, but it wasn't named until the story was already several chapters in; edits were then made to include the name in a few of the previously published chapters.
Smug Snake: Father Matthias is a non-villainous example.