Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Two must walk together the paths of darkness to reach the light.
An epic Space Opera by Margaret Weis, not as well known as her other works. The first book was published in 1990, the fourth one in 1993. The series consists of four volumes:
The Lost King
Because the series' covers feature Laser Blades prominently, young readers would be forgiven for confusing this with Star Wars. They wouldn't be far wrong. The series starts about 20 years after a college professor and unlikely revolutionary, Peter Robes, led an uprising against the monarchy; the "Blood Royal," a ruling caste which had been genetically engineered for wisdom, intense charisma and occasional superpowers, were wiped out almost to a man. The lone survivors are a small band of loyalists; the king's nephew, newborn Dion Starfire, whom they managed to escape with; and Warlord Derek Sagan, who helped organize the coup and fought his Star-Crossed Lover Maigrey Morianna to do it. At the beginning of the book, the last of those loyalists, Maigrey's bookish brother Platus, is killed, leaving the now-grown-up Dion to flee with the help of Mendaharin "Tusk" Tusca, halfblood Heroic Bastard son of another of said loyalists. Hunted by now-President Robes and "Citizen-General" Sagan and the People's Republic of Tyranny the new government has become, aided by the rumpled, fatherly General Dixter and enigmatic Not Quite Dead Maigrey, Dion must find a way to come into his birthright and reclaim the throne.And, of course, there's more to the story than what meets the eye...The series had a Spin-Off, Mag Force 7, chronicling the adventures of a band of mercenary misfits modeled consciously after The Magnificent Seven.
Break the Badass: Derek Sagan, one of the most powerful Warlords in the galaxy and probably as Badass as a character can get, is scared up to the Heroic BSOD when Abdiel threatens him with the Serpent's Tooth, an exotic weapon causing Fate Worse Than Death to whoever as much as gets scratched by it.
Casting Gag: In Ghost Legion, the artist Stephen Youll is said to have made the portraits of Sagan and Maigrey that are now exhibited in the memorial chapel at the Academy. Stephen Youll is a famous artist who has provided book covers for a number of prominent fantasy and science-fiction novels, amongst them the first edition of The Star of the Guardians. That's his work in the page picture. (We're not sure who that is talking to Maigrey.)
Not just him. All of Tusk's co-conspirators in the fourth book are named after real friends of Weis's, including her eventual second husband and co-writer.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Sagan, having activated the space-rotation bomb that would blast the whole planet, thus reaching two goals: destroying the terrible Weapon of Mass Destruction and wiping out his king's enemies together with himself, which action may also be considered a favor to the young king.
Earn Your Happy Ending: After their deaths, Sagan and Maigrey have to go through Hell together to earn their happiness in Heaven.
Foreshadowing: Twice, first with Sagan's father and his prophecy about the two that must walk the paths of darkness to reach the light, second with Sagan himself when he continues to see the dream in which he kills Maigrey.
Laser Blade: the "bloodsword," which has a number of twists on the formula.
It can switch to a shielding function. You control this mentally.
It creates a mental connection with its user by injecting Nanomachines into the wielder's bloodstream, which not only connect the sword to the user's mind, not only heighten the user's latent telepathy, but steal the body's ATP to fuel the sword with.
If you are not Blood Royal, these nanomachines cause an extremely virulent form of cancer. Death comes in days. If you're lucky.
Last of His Kind: Maigrey believes she, Dion and Sagan are the last Blood Royal in the universe. Turns out it is not quite so.
Mind Rape: Abdiel. He has heightened his Blood Royal telepathy to horrific extents.
No Name Given: The Little One. No sex, race or age either. It takes until the spin-off for anyone to even realize what his (its?) species is.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Raoul. He's a "Loti," someone who uses recreational drugs to maintain a constant mellow high. He is also an incredibly talented and creative poisoner. One Batman Cold Open in the Mag Force 7 series has him assassinating a President Evil simply by kissing her hand at a party.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: A lot of these, actually, Dion and Astarte being the first in row. Technically, all Blood Royal count, though only some of them are "royal" in the sense of being monarchs. (And of the characters listed in the series synopsis, Dixter is the only one who isn't Blood Royal.)
Sexy Priest: Sagan is a warrior priest in the Order of Adamant.
Brother Fideles is described as being very good-looking.
Shout-Out: This series can probably boast the vastest amount of literary and music quotes like, ever. Each chapter in every of the four books has an epigraph that is a quote of some sort and relates to the events of the chapter. Characters themselves tend to quote famous literary works and even classical opera.
The murder of the royal family by the revolutionary forces resembles very much the execution of the Romanov royal family by Bolsheviks.
When Maigrey doesn't feel like revealing her real name, she uses the alias "Major Penthesilea". In Greek mythology, Penthesilea was the queen of Amazons and fought for Trojans in the The Trojan War. She was killed by Achilles and was said to be the only woman he ever loved (he realized it was her he killed only after removing her helmet). A Prophetic Name, too, because, given the amount of Rule of Symbolism and Power of Fate in this book, you may guess whathappens.
You Are Worth Hell: In the epilogue of Ghost Legion, Maigrey and Sagan are offered a choice: to repent and be redeemed in Heaven, or to be punished in Hell. Sagan would not repent, and Maigrey, too, renounces salvation to be with him. Subverted in that they still have a small hope of reaching Heaven after they walk through all the paths of Hell.