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Creator / Mercedes Lackey

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Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born June 24, 1950) is a prolific author of fantasy and Urban Fantasy literature, as well as a lyricist, songwriter, and filk singer. She started out as a fanfic writer.

She sometimes writes with other authors, including her husband, Larry Dixon, who also illustrates her work.

When not creating, Lackey works as a wild bird rehabilitator in Oklahoma, and owns several parrots. Falconry and other avian pursuits, as well as equestrianism, are therefore common themes in her work.

She was also an avid player of City of Heroes, devoting a lot of time and effort to saving the game from cancellation.


A very incomplete list of her works includes:

  • Numerous books, organized into trilogies, sub-series, and stand-alone novels, in a fantasy world of her own devising named Velgarth; most of them focus on the kingdom of Valdemar and its allies. Called the Heralds of Valdemar series on this wiki, for lack of a better term. In roughly in-universe chronological order:
    • The Mage Wars trilogy, which describes events in the prehistory of the setting.
    • The Last Herald Mage trilogy
    • The Collegium Chronicles and The Herald Spy, the most recently published series.
    • Brightly Burning, a standalone novel detailing the story of Lavan Firestorm, a historical character mentioned in the Arrows trilogy.
    • The Vows and Honor series, two novels and a collection of short stories featuring Tarma and Kethry, based on Lackey's earliest published works.
    • Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor, two prequel novels about a defector who becomes Valdemar's Weaponsmaster.
    • To Take a Thief, a prequel novel about a street thief-turned-Herald. Forms a rough trilogy with the Exile books.
    • The Arrows trilogy, the first published novels set in Valdemar proper.
    • By The Sword, a novel linking Vows and Honor with the main Valdemaran series.
    • The Mage Winds trilogy
    • The Mage Storms trilogy
    • The Darian's Tale or Owl trilogy

  • Several albums of music, mostly inspired by Valdemar:
    • Heralds, Harpers and Havoc (1988): Songs inspired by the Arrows trilogy.
    • Magic, Moondust, and Melancholy (1989): Includes two songs related to the Vows and Honor/By the Sword books.
    • Oathbound (1990): Songs from the book of the same name.
    • Oathbreakers (1991) likewise
    • Shadow Stalker (1994): Songs from The Last Herald Mage.
    • By the Sword (1994): Songs from the book of the same name.
    • Lovers, Lore, and Loss (1995): More songs about the Arrows trilogy.
    • Owlflight (2000): Based on the Owl trilogy.
    • Sun and Shadow (2000): Songs about the legendary Sunsinger and Shadowdancer.

  • Four Urban Fantasy series, all of which take place in the same universe:
    • The Diana Tregarde series, three horror/urban fantasy novels featuring romance novelist/magical Guardian Diana Tregarde.
    • The SERRAted Edge books, involving elves, car racing, and lots of child abuse.
    • The Bedlam's Bard books, which follow the development of a very powerful Bard; he also associates with elves a lot.
    • The Elizabethan series The Doubled Edge, which is the backstory of the elven politics in the Serrated Edge and Bedlam's Bard series, and is a retelling of the life of Queen Elizabeth from her birth to her crowning, and her association with the elves.

  • The Elemental Masters series, about hidden mages in post-Victorian England (with one set in California). These are based somewhat loosely on fairy tales.
  • The Fairy Tales series, which are retellings of not-in-the-common-lexicon mythological stories.
    • Firebird
    • The Black Swan (Swan Lake from Odile's point of view)
  • The Dragon Jousters novels: A series involving a world based on Bronze Age Egypt, where persons who can tame and ride the wild dragons of the land are sort of the ultimate weapon. The main character is a dragon tamer named Kiron (AKA Vetch). Novels in this series:
    • Joust (2003)
    • Alta (2004)
    • Sanctuary (2005)
    • Aerie (2006)
  • Bardic Voices, a fantasy series about a group called "The Free Bards," essentially the non-union alternative to their world's Bardic Guild; some of them also have Magic Music. This was based on her writing the novelization of the original Bard's Tale video game; she wanted to expand on the Magic Music idea.
  • Sacred Ground, about a Cherokee and Osage private investigator Jennifer Talldeer, who as an apprentice shaman is known as Kestrel-Hunts-Alone.
  • If I Pay Thee Not in Gold, co-written by Piers Anthony, about a world whose magic powers change hands and natures every few generations, just long enough for most people to forget that society was ever different. Those with the magic of course make the rules, and in the heroine's country it's in the hands of women, hence a matriarchal society where most men are slaves. There are other magical races as well, including a race of "demons" who change gender when they have sex, and die if their partner is unfaithful.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy, a fantasy trilogy done in conjunction with James Mallory about a coming war with demons. Later they released The Enduring Flame Trilogy, set a thousand years later. Currently they are writing the Dragon Prophecy Trilogy, about Elven Queen Vielissiar Faricarnon, mentioned in the previous trilogies as the first to face demons in battle and bond with a dragon. The first book is the only one out so far.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, a romantic series set in a world governed by the Tradition, a magical force that causes certain people's lives to follow folkloric motifs (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.) Much of the humor and conflict arises from the fact that the protagonists are often aware of the Tradition, and the truly skilled can deliberately invoke whichever tale or aspect of a tale will help them out of a tight spot.
  • Wing Commander: Freedom Flight (with Ellen Guon), the first novel based on the Wing Commander franchise. One of her few licensed novels, and the only one which stuck closely to the themes of the original game (the remainder, written primarily by a well-known military fiction author and conservative pundit, veer far more toward traditional Military Science Fiction).
  • The Halfblood Chronicles (with Andre Norton), a fantasy trilogy.
  • The Heirs of Alexandria, a Historical Fantasy series with Eric Flint and Dave Freer.
  • The Ship Who Searched (with Anne McCaffrey)
  • Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit: her take on Arthurian legend, told from the perspective of Arthur's queen.
  • Shadow Grail series with Rosemary Edghill, about Spirit White, a teenager who has lost her family in an accident and is sent to Oakhurst Academy, where all the students have magical powers.
  • Legends of Red Sonja: Contributor to a comic book anthology celebrating Red Sonja's 40th anniversary.
  • The One Dozen Daughters: A fantasy series written with James Mallory about twelve princesses from a tiny kingdom that can't afford twelve royal dowries, so they must all leave the country to seek their own fortunes on their eighteenth birthday. The first book, about the oldest princess Clarice, is out so far.
  • Secret World Chronicle: A series inspired by City of Heroes, about a world where superheroes are common seeking to stop an invasion of supervillains from another world.
  • She has contributed short stories to the 1632 Shared Universe, including one that started fleshing out the character Tom Stone, who becomes much more prominent as the series continues.
  • The Hunter trilogy, of a dystopian future Earth, where otherwordly creatures, most with some basis out of various myths and legends, appear and attack the world (most likely due to some Christians setting off a nuke in attempt to kickstart the Apocalypse). Hunters, or those born with some kind of magic, are normally recruited and trained by the capital, Apex City, to fight the monsters, known as Othersiders, with the aid of their Hounds, supernatural creatures that allied with the humans. The trilogy focuses on a young Hunter named Joyeaux Charmand.

Works by Mercedes Lackey with their own pages:


Other works by Mercedes Lackey contain examples of:

  • Age-Gap Romance: An Author Appeal. They appear in the Heralds of Valdemar, the Bardic Voices, and the Doubled Edge series.
  • Alien Catnip: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, caffeine is an instantly addictive drug for elves.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Averted in Mad Maudlin, where we are told that Eric has found a therapist that knows that magic and elves are real.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The short story "Last Rights" features Animal Liberation activists wanting to free the re-created dinosaurs from an experimental park. One discovers that an apatosaurus that doesn't notice you can squash you good, another that dromaeosaurs are not your new friend, and the sole survivor that triceratopses are bad-tempered, territorial, and surprisingly fast—but, fortunately, can't climb trees.
  • Apocalypse Cult: In the Hunter novels, this is the back story as to why the world is a dystopian future with otherworldly monsters as threats to be fought back against. Back when the world was starting to go bad, most Christians saw it as the start of the Apocalypse. When the Rapture didn't happen (Christians being raised to Heaven while everyone else went to Hell), a group of Christians in the Middle East stole a nuclear weapon and set it off in hopes of kick-starting the Apocalypse. All it did was just made things even worse, as it broke the barrier between us and the otherworldly monsters.
  • Banishing Ritual: And Less Than Kind, the fourth novel in the Doubled Edge series, has a scene toward the end where Elizabeth and her Sidhe guardians must cast out the entity that is controlling Queen Mary.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Bazaar of the Bizarre in Ill Met by Moonlight, among several other of her works set in the same universe.
  • Bond Creatures: In "Skitty", a loose sci-fi adaptation of the Dick Whittington myth, ships' cats are genetically-engineered high-intelligence creatures, some of whom are telepathic with their handlers.
  • Brown Note: In Chrome Circle, Tannim uses the entire discography of They Might Be Giants to do this to a group of psychics sicced on him by the Big Bad; the theory was that the nonsensical nature of the band's lyrics made it impossible to sing along to without devoting a considerable amount of conscious thought to them, meaning his (and their) minds would be too preoccupied with thinking about the lyrics to do much of anything else. (It helped that the psychics trying to pick his brain were culturally stuck in the Middle Ages and had no possible context by which to even begin to grasp what was going on in his head; one of them was led off wailing helplessly about alchemical formulae.) Also, they were addictively catchy, so every psychic who didn't have them stuck in their head yet would hear it from the ones who are already affected, thus infecting them too.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Tannim has not just a vest, but a bodysuit made out of dragon scales (it helps when your magical mentor is a dragon). These resist cutting, will stop bullets, and also have some protection against magic, but he can still be crushed through them.
  • Car Fu: In one of the SERRAted Edge novels, Tannim takes out an Unseelie Fae with a classic Mustang. A car with a nice all-steel body makes a powerful weapon against a creature who can't even touch steel without getting nasty burns.
  • Changeling Tale: In the SERRAted Edge 'verse, the fey specifically only do this when the children have Abusive Parents. The reason given is that as nigh-immortals, Elves have a very low birth rate and thus value children very highly.
  • Claustrophobia: In Summoned to Tourney, one of the characters is claustrophobic due to a childhood trauma; the bad guys find this out and put her in a decompression chamber to break her. She's rescued, but spends the remainder of the book struggling with PTSD.
  • Close-Call Haircut: In Born to Run, due to participating in a magical battle while exhausted (his aim goes to pieces when he's tired), Tannim accidentally gives an elf a 'Reverse Mohawk' because his magic bolt riccohets off and cuts a clean line along his scalp. The elf keeps this style for the rest of the book, despite their glamour magic.
  • Cold Iron: In the world of The SERRAted Edge, it's a rare Fae who can so much as touch iron without getting nasty burns. In addition, iron warps Elven magic; the good-guy Elves have learned to predict what running past an iron bar will do to a spell's trajectory, and take advantage of this during at least one fight scene. A group of Elves who get involved in stock car racing get around the cold iron by making their cars out of fiberglass and aluminum — which has the added benefit of making them lighter and therefore faster.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Chrome Circle, racer-mage Tannim is captured by unseelie fey, and in order to keep their mind readers from learning anything, he concentrates on the music and lyrics of They Might Be Giants. He drives several mind readers insane, and theorizes he may have started a rash of accordion thefts by convincing them of the magical nature of the instrument. Part of the reason they go insane is because they think Tannim is thinking about alchemical terms (and they can't figure out what the terms mean because he really isn't).
  • Costume Porn: The Doubled Edge series, about the young (Queen) Elizabeth, goes into enough detail on Tudor and Elven attire that reproducing the outfits for a costuming competition would be child's play.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted in Sacred Ground. A housewife has been cursed by malevolent spirits, who cause lightning to hit her child. She has her other child call 911 and starts both CPR and chest-pumps with counts for each, and keeps doing this until the paramedics arrive. He's dead.
  • Creative Sterility: In the Bedlam's Bard/SERRAted Edge universe, Elves can't create (at least in the artistic/cultural sense), only adapt. They don't have anything like human imagination. Elven Bards create music and play it very well, but it's not new music, just minor variations on what's come before. When a human bard created a work for a christening and played it, the elves were astonished. Also, while the elves have extraordinarily long lives, they tend to fall into patterns, and eventually fade away for lack of anything new. A human living with some actually roused a number back into vitality by suggesting that they go and hunt wild monsters in abandoned domains — something which had never occurred to them. Many an elven villain's lair is described as a bad knock-off of a Hollywood horror film. One of the funnier moments in this respect was when an evil elf got all huffy because someone saw his throne room and commented, "I think you owe Frank Frazetta licensing rights." The elf's response implied he'd already been sued by Frazetta at least once.
  • Crowbar Combatant: In the SERRAted Edge novels, mage-warrior Tannim fights with a crowbar, since twenty pounds of Cold Iron, enchanted for maximum effect, will ruin the day of a lot of magical beings.
  • Deadly Disc: Engineer Sam Kelly in Born to Run uses blunted sawblades to great effect, throwing them like a discus. It works in part because he's battling elves highly vulnerable to Cold Iron.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: At the end of A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, the Big Bad Perenor runs elflord Terenil through with his sword... and Terenil pulls himself along the blade to get close enough to stab Perenor.
  • Dodge by Braking: In Sacred Ground, protagonist Jennifer is being chased by hired hitmen, in a woefully underpowered car. Thwarted in her attempts to outmaneuver them and about to be forced off the road, she abruptly remembers her brakes. The bad guys overshoot and are promptly rammed by a bus going in the opposite direction.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: A secondary character in one of the SERRAted Edge novels got a swastika tattoo before the novel started, while his father was in his "race war" phase. He has a Heel–Face Turn during the novel, and in a later novel we learn that one of the first things he did after escaping from Dad was to get the tattoo removed.
  • Energy Donation: At one point in the Doubled Edge series, Rhoslyn has returned Underhill (translation: to the elven realms) because she's drained herself working in the mortal world. Her mother transfers energy from herself into Rhoslyn to restore her.
  • Exploited Immunity: In the SERRAted Edge series, it's common to use a bag of iron filings as an area-effect anti-sidhe weapon that won't hurt human hostages.
  • Extra Parent Conception: The song "Mis Conceptions" features a character who was apparently the result of a party with several mythological beasts as guests.
    My mother never talks about that orgy
    And I can't really blame her much, although
    I would love to read the guest list for that party
    And if there's another like it let me know
  • Face on a Milk Carton: In one of the SERRAted Edge novels, a little boy sees his own picture on the side of a milk carton. His father, who has kidnapped him so that a cult can use him as a conduit for a demon, insists that it's not really him. This is one of the kid's early clues that Daddy doesn't really have his best interests at heart.
  • The Fair Folk: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, the Seleighe and Unseleighe Sidhe are very real, both dwelling "Underhill", a sort of parallel dimension that is imbued with magic and touches on our world at "Nodes". They were driven there by the increasing preponderance of iron (which is hazardous to them) in the world, but some have adjusted and made a comeback. These books strongly feature the Seleighe/Unseleighe ("good"/"evil") divide among the Fairie. The Unseleighe make a living off evil, feeding off the psychic energy of pain and suffering. They also hold grudges millennia past their expiration dates and believe in returning all ills sevenfold. The Seleighe have a huge soft spot for children (explained by their own very small birth rate), and many books feature their efforts to protect abused kids, often by kidnapping them from desperate situations to raise as their own Underhill. For all their good qualities, though, even the Seleighe are often portrayed as supercilious, arrogant, and given to pettiness.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: Born to Run has one mechanic doing this as a practical joke to get back at a pair of elf twin brothers, who he had thought were just one person.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: In Born to Run, Tania ran away from home because her parents strictly forbade her from having any form of entertainment — no media or activities that weren't purely educational, no foods that weren't chosen based on nutritional fads. When they discovered and burned her tiny stash of fantasy novels, lecturing her about her "betrayal" and how reading such things would ruin her mind and prevent her from being accepted into college, it was the last straw. (The end of the book suggests that they realized their mistake after she ran away, and presents Tania's upcoming reunion with them in a hopeful light.)
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: In Chrome Circle, Tannim's mentor, a dragon currently wearing human form, arrived (magically) in response to a call for aid and "raised one long eyebrow at Tannim in a gesture that Tannim knew perfectly well had been copied after long study of Leonard Nimoy."
  • Girl of My Dreams: In Chrome Circle, Tannim and Shar have repeated dreams of one another long before they ever meet... mostly because a dragon decided to make up for a mistake in his past by playing matchmaker via manipulating their dreams. The funny part is, he wasn't trying to matchmake for them — and he was very embarrassed when he found out how erotic their dreams had gotten.
  • G-Rated Drug: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, elves react to caffeine the way humans to cocaine. (Give an elf a can of cola and he'll be very happy. Give him a double shot of espresso, and it could kill him if he's not used to it.)
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Bedlam's Bard series has half-human, half-elven characters, but also states that the species are not cross-fertile unless deliberate actions are taken to make them so. One plotline in one of the books is Beth and Kory searching for a means to accomplish this without resorting to the means used by Perenor to father Ria (which involved forcibly draining other humans of magic — with frequently lethal consequences).
  • Heinz Hybrid: The song "Misconceptions" by Mercedes Lackey parodies it — "My mother never talks about that orgy..."
  • Heir Club for Men: The background of the One Dozen Daughters series is a tiny kingdom where the royal couple of a nation that practices strict primogeniture ends up producing thirteen children before they finally get an heir.
  • Heroic Bastard: Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, in This Scepter'd Isle.
  • Historical Fantasy: The Doubled Edge series.
  • Holy Burns Evil: In one book of the SERRAted Edge series, a character blesses seltzer water and sprays it right at a Banshee whose throat is completely burned/melted away, keeping it from screaming.
  • Idiot Plot: The main plot of Music to my Sorrow revolves around parents trying to reclaim their teenage children and fighting it out in court. Both kids are seventeen. They are friends with elves, and with humans who have gone Underhill and come out many years later in Above-time. The kids are hiding from their parents and desperately afraid of being taken back. It makes absolutely no sense that in both cases the heroes decided to open court cases and alert the parents to the kid's whereabouts instead of just popping them Underhill for a brief visit so that they're legally eighteen. Or, if they didn't want to do that, leaving them in the won't-tell-your-parents runaway program that they'd set up and paid for in the previous book! They only had to wait a few months.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, the immortal sidhe can reproduce, but it happens extremely infrequently. As a result, children are treasured by both the Unseighlie and Seighlie Sidhe, although only the Seighlie expand this love to human children and try to save them from unpleasant fates.
  • Immune to Drugs: In one of the Serrated Edge novels, an organization trying to kidnap a psychic finds one and puts something in his drink which should incapacitate him and would kill him if the antidote wasn't given within about ten hours. However, he is an elf, immune to anything but Cold Iron and caffeine, and he saw them do it, so he drinks and goes on his way, not thinking much of it. The head operative, thinking that either her subordinates had betrayed her or the drug was a dud, feeds it to them. Since it works on them exactly as advertised, she puts it down to treachery.
  • Impoverished Patrician: In the One Dozen Daughters series, the ruler of a small kingdom has thirteen children before his wife finally produces the male heir he needs. Because he can't afford twelve royal dowries, all the daughters are expected to leave the country and seek their own fortune on their eighteenth birthday. (He does provide them with a first-rate education in whatever craft they desire first.)
  • Improbable Weapon User: In one of the Serrated Edge stories, an ordinary human takes down a Banshee with a bottle of (blessed) soda water (containing iron filings). When asked how he managed to get cold iron into water, he replied "Never piss off an engineer."
  • Indian Burial Ground: In Sacred Ground, the book's villain invokes the trope by seeding a construction site with (stolen) Native American artifacts and arranging a few "accidents", causing the more superstitious workers (quite a few of whom are Native American themselves) to get spooked enough to refuse to continue working at the site. The book also plays with the trope in some other ways: messing around with Native American artifacts can bring on quite a bit of supernatural unpleasantness, and the ultimate source of the trouble that moves the book's plot is a burial site — albeit disturbed by erosion rather than the hand of man, which let out something very nasty the site was designed to contain.
  • Invented Invalid: In the Doubled Edge novels, Rhoslyn excuses her regular absences from attending on Mary Tudor by saying her brother has a chronic illness. (The brother is real; the illness isn't.)
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Played with in Born To Run, one of the SERRAted Edge novels. During the final fight scene, an evil elf orders her elementals to deactivate the ammo in his pistol. She then ignores that hero, because his only weapon is the gun, and, well, see the trope name. Too bad she'd never learned about speedloaders. And if that hadn't worked, the hero would have simply clubbed her with his weapon.
  • Karmic Rape: In one of the SERRAted Edge novels, the villain of the book has been sexually molesting his daughter since she was 2 or 3. At the end of the book, he's dumped in an extradimensional prison cell with an entity that will put him through everything he did to the girl.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: In "The Last of the Season", a little girl's teddy bear comes to life to protect her from a serial rapist/murderer, which it does with extreme prejudice.
  • The Kindnapper: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, the Seleighe elves have their reputation for stealing children because they hate to see a child endangered and have no problem with taking a child away from Abusive Parents.
  • Kitsune: Foxtrot X-Ray and Lady Ako in Chrome Circle. FX has three tails and is pretty weak (though he eventually earns a two-tail upgrade for extreme valor). Ako has nine tails. She's also "the bearer of some of the most noble blood Under- or Above- Hill." Her half-kitsune/half-dragon daughter also has nine tails in her kitsune form.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: In the Doubled Edge novels, most of young Elizabeth's ladies in waiting are spying on her for other factions.
  • Lethal Chef: One of the SERRAted Edge books features a Sidhe warrior attempting to cook breakfast. Mind, the Sidhe ordinarily magic their food out of thin air... The sequence includes such gems as breaking the number of eggs required by the recipe and then "carefully picking out most of the shells" and figuring that hey, tomato paste, Tabasco... Both red sauces, a 1-1 substitution should be perfectly cromulent. This disaster actually becomes a major plot point instead of just a random funny. He gives up after recognizing his failure and conjures the breakfast — but doesn't do it sneakily enough, blowing his human cover identity.
  • Literal Genie: In Born to Run, an elven sorceress commands elemental spirits to neutralize the gunpowder in the bullets of a gun so that they won't fire, and then ignores the guy with the gun. Too bad, because the spirits only altered the bullets in the gun, and the guy's got a speed-loader. It's said that elementals will pull stuff like that if they don't like you.
  • Literary Allusion Title: All of the titles of the Bedlam's Bard series are taken from the lyrics of "Tom O'Bedlam", such as Music to My Sorrow and Knight of Ghosts and Shadows.
  • Loud of War: In Chrome Circle, Tannim drives his telepathic jailers insane by mentally singing They Might Be Giants songs.
  • Mage in Manhattan: Mercedes Lackey's modern fantasies usually involve some version of this, with the monster usually being one of the Unseleighe Sidhe (Dark Court Elves). Most representative of this trope is Mad Maudlin, in which Aerune, self-styled Lord of Death and Pain, tries to open a Nexus to Underhill in Central Park and a Sidhe driven mad by the presence of cold iron turns into a literal Bloody Mary, murdering people left and right.
  • Magical Native American: In the stand alone novel Sacred Ground, the main character has magical powers explicitly because she's a Native American shaman-in-training.
  • Magic Music: The main character in the Bedlam's Bard series is a Bard, which in that universe means he is possessed of fairly powerful Magic Music.
  • Magpies as Portents: "Counting Crows". "One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth".
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: In the One Dozen Daughters series, a king and queen have twelve daughters before finally producing a male heir.
  • The Men in Black: In the S.E.R.R.Ated Edge universe, agents of the covert government elf hunting organization are the Men In Green. The green is because of their special suits, which make them invisible to the Sidhe they're after.
  • Mugging the Monster: "The Last of the Season". What could be more helpless than a cute six-year-old girl holding a teddy bear?
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: Elves in Mercedes Lackey's urban fantasy setting ride shape-shifting steeds that get to be both horses and motorcycles.
  • No Sense of Humor: In the SERRAted Edge novels, Unseleighe psychics have absolutely No Sense of Humor, along with little comprehension of allegory and the imaginations of bricks. In Chrome Circle, they were driven insane trying to comprehend the lyrics of They Might Be Giants.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: The SERRAted Edge novels have a male Banshee as an enemy of the elves, with a painful false etymology (mixing Gaelic with Old English) that banshees are the bane of the Sidhe.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In the SERRAted Edge series:
    • There is a huge Western-style dragon with a vast, disorganized library, a love of Japanese, and the ability to shapeshift into a human. He wears Armani suits and loves popping popcorn. He also has a half-brother who is half human. His human apprentice and adopted son (even though he has a perfectly normal relationship with his parents proper) Tannim (meaning "son of Dragons") is the main protagonist of the book in which he first appears.
    • There's also another very antagonistic dragon who has a half kitsune daughter who becomes Tannim's SO.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The SERRAted Edge series features classic versions of High Elves (tall, pointed ears, magical, immortal) who incidentally drive race cars. They must have needed a little extra badass.
  • Paying in Coins: In Tiger Burning Bright, a horse trader responds to the outrageously large hike in the business license fee by the city's new ruler by paying it in large sacks of the smallest denomination of coin he could find — sacks which had carefully weakened seams, causing them to rip open while the debt collectors were taking them away.
  • Platonic Prostitution: In the first book of the SERRAted Edge series, the protagonist hires a runaway teen prostitute specifically to get her off the streets. In the end, after saving her and some of her friends/coworkers from an Unseelie plot, he is able to get her off the streets and back to her parents.
  • Polyamory: This is the resolution to the love triangle between Eric, Beth, and Korendil in A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows. The relationship continues happily throughout the next book, but Eric breaks up with them amicably between books two and three.
  • Post-Modern Magik:
    • In Sacred Ground, the very first page mentions that the "sweatlodge" Jennifer uses for her ritual purposes is a modern electrically-heated sauna, and Jennifer's grandfather makes the point very clearly that the specifics of the ritual materials are irrelevant next to the essence of the magic.
    • The SERRAted Edge series is about a company of racecar-driving elves who own a car company and their attempts to create a marketable product. Their foes are evil elves who make their money by making porn of some seriously illegal stuff and enjoying the pain of the people involved. It's mentioned that they have some serious copy protection; any attempt to duplicate the tapes just wipes the original and copies nothing. Which people keep trying even though they're warned not to.
  • The Power of Rock: In Music to My Sorrow, the protagonists stop a riot and defeat the villain by staging an emergency magical rock concert. It helps that the main character is an elven-trained Bard who can rip holes in local spacetime with his music and their lead singer is gifted with the ability to influence the emotions of anyone who hears her sing.
  • Prison Rape: In one of the SERRAted Edge novels, a stepfather had spent years abusing his stepdaughter, giving her multiple personality syndrome as a defense mechanism. Once the elves caught him, he was placed in an extra-dimensional space, with something large which began using the same lines he'd used, just before the scene cut away.
  • Psychic Static: In Chrome Circle, Tannim the mage fends off Elven mindreaders this way (to their distinct distress) using They Might Be Giants songs, including "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head", "Birdhouse in Your Soul", and "We Want a Rock". One of the telepaths is reduced to incoherent gibbering before they drag it away.
  • Safety in Indifference: Her short story "Medic", based on her Filk Song of the same name, focuses on a combat medic who constantly transfers to new posts to avoid getting familiar enough with anyone to be hurt when they die.
  • Sapient Steed: The SERRAted Edge novels feature Elven Steeds, who can also turn into cars. Or motorcycles, or whatever they feel like, really. They don't talk but are quite intelligent nonetheless. There are a few occasions where it's hinted that they can communicate, mostly by flashing their headlights, but can't actually talk. In Born to Run one of the Elven Steeds communicates telepathically with its rider to plan how to distract one of the villains.
  • Series Continuity Error: Lackey could use a continuity editor. Lampshaded early in her career — some time after writing a Filk Song about Tarma and Kethry she decided to turn it into a short story but didn't remember exactly who did what, and chalked the discrepancies up to an in-universe musician making things up, who the pair despise. The longer it's been since she wrote about a character or setting the more things are off — Need, last written in Storm Breaking in 1996, reappeared in a short story in 2019 with a completely different personality and set of powers - but events, things characters have said, and character motivations can also shift from one book in a series to the next.
  • The Shut-In: Victoria Victrix from The Secret World Chronicle became one of these through a combination of being betrayed by a lover and set on fire by a crazy relative. Her writing career allowed her to make a living without needing to leave her apartment for anything other than the horrifically stressful ordeal of grocery shopping, which she has to steel herself for days to perform, and does as early in the morning as possible so that she doesn't have to encounter many people. She starts opening up more after becoming a superheroine, but her duties to her team are still arranged so she can perform them without leaving home, and her idea of hanging out with her teammates is to send an elemental to the bar where the others are hanging out to pick up drinks while she chats with them over the radio. In the final book, it's decided that her apartment isn't secure and she's too valuable to be put at risk, so her colleagues pack up everything in her apartment and move her into the basement of their headquarters.
  • Sidenote Full Story: The main character of the short story "Wide Wings" was originally a minor character in The Black Swan, one of the potential brides that the Prince rejects in favor of Odette. According to Lackey, Honoria stood up and announced that she wanted her story told, and she didn't really care what Lackey wanted.
  • Situational Sociability: In the Secret World Chronicle, Victoria Nagy has to constantly fight down panic attacks when she's outside her apartment or facing people. However, when running Overwatch, which she can do alone from inside her apartment, she becomes as confident and sassy as anyone.
  • Sleeping Dummy: In one of the Doubled Edge novels, Rhoslyn needs to go Underhill while seeming to stay in the mortal world. She arranges a couple pillows under her blanket ... and then casts an illusion of her sleeping mortal disguise on the pillows.
  • Split Personality: In When the Bough Breaks, a young girl develops multiple personalities when her father starts raping her. One personality takes over whenever she realizes a rape is about to occur, to protect the other personalities from knowing what's been going on. The girl's situation and her little system were essentially lifted whole cloth, lock, stock, and Irish alter, from When Rabbit Howls by the Troops for Truddi Chase (so you might want to read that as well). But hey, it's better than most of what you see in the media.
  • Sports Story: The SERRAted Edge series is about elves who race cars.
  • Super Wheelchair: In one of the Bedlam's Bard novels, a secondary character is left paraplegic by events in the book. In the epilogue, we learn that she was given a shape-shifting elvensteed to help her get around. It pretends to be a normal wheelchair when mundanes are around, and can pretty much do whatever she needs at any other time; no need for a handicap-accessible remodel of her home with it on the job.
  • Technical Virgin: In the Doubled Edge series, Princess Elizabeth thinks at one point that should she be forced into an alliance marriage, "human to human she would be a virgin still". (She's sexually active through half the series, but with the elven lord Denoriel.)
  • They Would Cut You Up: In Mercedes Lackey's urban fantasies, this trope is out in full force. The secret government facility or evil corporations are more than happy to track down people with psychic or magic talents and do nasty things to them in the name of controlling them and/or using their powers.
  • Too Important to Walk: In the Doubled Edge novels, the dark Sidhe Aurelia occasionally travels by sedan chair, in part because steering the slaves via magical torture produces more magical power than she's expending.
  • Troubled Abuser: In When the Bough Breaks, the rich and successful father horrifically sexually abuses his preteen daughter. When he's brought to the elven version of justice, it's shown that his father physically and psychologically abused him as a child.
  • Truce Zone: The Bazaar of the Bizarre in the SERRAted Edge novels forbids fighting within, even if you meet your mortal enemy there.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: One of the SERRAted Edge novels mentions that an elven protagonist carries a magically-created driver's license (copied with alterations from a human friend's license). The novel in question predates the REAL ID Act, so the forged license not being in any official databases is a moot point. Besides, all three protagonists are deliberately living "off the record" to hide from enemies.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In Invasion, Belladonna Blues comments that it's easy for people like her (a metahuman with blue skin) to blend in in Vegas — in this town, you can wait for the bus alongside a Russian acrobat, a seven foot tall transvestite in Cleopatra drag, a guy with an albino snake wrapped around his shoulders and five Elvii, and all anyone wants to talk about is last night's football game.
  • Walking Techbane: A ghost character in the SERRAted Edge series is told to stay away from Tannim's tapes because ghosts in that 'verse have a devastating effect on electromagnetic items. He eventually prevents a Big Bad's getaway by walking through a plane's navigation board, rendering it completely useless.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In the SERRAted Edge series, elves who get involved with humans are traumatized by the deaths of the people around them, especially lovers and spouses, but they live with it.
  • The Wild Hunt: In the world of the SERRAted Edge, Bedlam's Bard, and The Doubled Edge series, both the Unseleighe and Seleighe Sidhe have a Fairy Raed. The Seleighe version hunts evil men whom mortal laws cannot touch, and the Unselieghe version hunts anyone foolish enough to be out during a Wild Hunt, but especially the innocent. Later another Wild Hunt shows up: this one composed of gods of death from forgotten religions. It hunts mortal and sidhe alike, wielding spears tipping with meteoritic iron.
  • You Need to Get Laid: In Sacred Ground, the protagonist's grandfather reminds her of the importance of the "Osage blanket ritual" to relieve stress. A few chapters later, she decides to take the advice.