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Literature / Blacklight

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a matter of light and death
So here’s the deal.
My name’s Kihri Vyas, and I’m dead.
That’s not really important, it happened ages ago, but it’s good to have the context.

blacklight (intentionally lower-case) is a modern fantasy web-serial about family, ghosts, and making the best of a really, really, really bad situation. It can be read for free here, and updates with ~525 words every T-F.

blacklight provides examples of:

  • Amplifier Artifact: The hammer Zarah finds in the power station seems to operate like this, granting its wielder increased physical abilities and a near-Wolverine-level healing factor. Whether that's specific to the hammer or something all ghostlight constructs can do is still up in the air.
  • Combat Tentacles: Paose uses these, to the extent that he uses them to carry him around rather than walking.
    Kihri, being more correct than she knows: What, you don’t think 'horny land octopus' is a legitimate avenue we should be investigating?
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Right out the gates, there's the body at the steel mill - impaled through the torso with such incredible force that it barely caused any bruising
    • Jona Mehrvitz takes the cake, though - after being tied down and mutilated until he was barely recognisable as human, his chest was caved in with a hammer and he was left to bleed and choke to death.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Zarah finally manages to create her own (gold-coloured) ghostlight for the first time in Chapter Seventeen, but it's highly unstable, and violently explodes as soon as she releases it.
    • Good Thing You Can Heal: Not only does it explode, but it does so from inside her arm, tearing it to shreds every time she uses it.
      [Her hand] had been absolutely ruined, skin and flesh peeled back like a flower unfurling, but it was already starting to stitch itself back together.
  • The Dragon: Paose is the main threat throughout the first book, but he seems to mostly be following along with Yanis's plans and goals.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Zarah struggles with Brechtin (the in-universe English-equivalent trade language), but seems significantly more capable with Pashtari, her native language.
    • Kihri, on the other hand, displays fluency in both languages, which she attributes (possibly facetiously) to her high degree of media consumption.
  • Familiar: Luce seems to fill this role for Orae - it's mentioned that she has higher-than-average intelligence, enough to understand human language to some degree.
  • Healing Factor: After getting the hammer, Zarah not only survives getting thrown through a solid concrete wall, being impaled through the torso, and jumping ten stories from one skyscraper to the roof of another, but heals quickly enough that she's able to stand within a few minutes at most.
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  • Killing Intent: Remy unleashes something similar in Chapter Fourteen, rendering Zarah and Orae unable to move - it's specifically noted not to affect Rinet, however.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The blacklight/ghostlight seem to operate on consistent rules, although what they actually are is still in question.
  • Mystical White Hair: Averted. Zarah and Kihri both have white hair, but it's never treated as anything other than a somewhat-distinctive racial feature.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Kihri, who operates on 'standard' ghost rules, except for the fact that she can somehow absorb other people's memories by touching/passing through ghostlight they've created.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Remy has to consciously remember to breathe, has cold skin, and is utterly impervious to physical harm (at least, so far).
  • Outside-Context Problem: At first, it seems as if blacklight and ghostlight is this for the twins, as it's completely different to Kihri's situation. As they learn more, though, it becomes clear that it's actually the other way around, and Kihri is the odd one out.
  • Sad Clown: It's not exactly difficult to see that Kihri is not as jovial and sarcastic as she acts.
  • Soul Jar: Shades seem to function something like this - someone drawing on blacklight have been shown to regenerate from extremely lethal wounds, many times in a row, up to and including Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain. Destroying the shade seems to affect their capacity to draw on the blacklight to some extent, but as Paose showed, it's not necessarily an instant-win button.
  • Switch to English: Kihri makes Zarah talk with her in Brechtin to try and improve her ability to speak the language, to limited success.
  • The Beastmaster: The stranger from Chapter Seven operates like this, directing their dog with a system of whistles while they hang back and harass/distract.
  • Twin Telepathy: Yes and no. Zarah has to speak out loud to communicate with Kihri, but both of them can hear the other's voice regardless of the distance/obstructions between them. Considering no-one but Zarah can hear Kihri, it makes for a limited version of the trope.