Story on Website

Posted: September 24th, 2010 under Website Notice, Website Update.
Tags: ,

“Those Who Walk in Darkness,” written at the same time as Oath of Gold, and published in the now out-of-print Baen collections Lunar Activity (1990)and Phases, is now posted on the Paksworld website.

It did not fit in Oath of Gold, but it was a story I had to write, and it is, in a way, a connection to the new books…a sure sign that I was destined to write “paladin fallout” stories later on.

It took awhile to  put it up.  I  had to find the file (luckily converted earlier to an approximation of Word),  clear out the rest of the old WordStar coding from the converted file, fix some typos, realize I hadn’t found them all (webguru did, we both hope)…and then my webguru put it up this afternoon.

The original introductions to stories in Lunar Activity were my favorites–I got to write them, and I wasn’t rushed.  So here’s the original intro for “Those Who Walk in Darkness”….

Fantasy, unlike science fiction, is expected to have weather.  It arises from the depths of the mind, those tectonic impacts when buried axioms clash and thrust new mountain ranges up to poke holes in the mind’s atmosphere, to change climate into stormy chaos, star-crowned.   Don’t be surprised when the mountain ranges, explored, show ancient fossils around every corner.  The mountains are new;  the rock itself is not.

Those who have read The Deed of Paksenarrion will recognize instantly which night a frightened boy wanders the streets of Vérella.  For the rest of you–be careful.  Some of these fossils have undergone extensive metamorphosis.

I hope you enjoy it.


  • Comment by Virginia — September 24, 2010 @ 6:11 pm


    I so enjoyed this story when I first read it in Lunar Activity. Thanks for putting it up on the web site. I appreciate the interplay of fear, justice and redemption. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for Oath of Gold; it always seemed to me to enrich the sense of change which Paks the Paladin created that night.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 24, 2010 @ 6:30 pm


    I’m so glad you like it.

    There were several practical reasons why it didn’t fit, length being one of them, and POV integrity another. By the time I was writing Oath of Gold, I knew that the whole long story would have to be cut in chunks to have a chance at publication. This last book was the longest of the three, originally, and it had about 10,000 words (I think it was) cut out of it between submission and publication. So it would have been cut if the editor had ever seen it, for the same reason that I didn’t include it in the manuscript sent to my agent.

    In addition, the Deed is very largely in Paks’s POV, and I recognized that the intrusion of nearly 9000 words in another POV, at that critical, high-tension point in the story, could be a massive transition jolt for readers. I kept wanting to shove it in, but it just did not fit. And at that point (early through mid-’80s) I did not have experience in handling multiple POVs anyway.

    It does, as you say, enrich the sense of change, but the real reason I wrote it was to find out what happened to that little boy, last seen (by me, in writing) in the horror of that chamber. There were other Paks side-stories–when I just had to know more about another character–but the digital age has dealt unkindly with them. Software and hardware have both changed, while I was busy writing new books, and though I tried, at some point they were left behind. This one, however, is I think the most important.

  • Comment by Adam Baker — September 24, 2010 @ 7:02 pm


    Im glad to see this one being put up, its definitely an excellent addition to the Paks world.

    Im proud to say that I have a copy of Lunar Activity in my collection, and I just read it a few weeks ago. All of the stories in it are excellent.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 24, 2010 @ 7:22 pm


    Thanks, Adam. If I can ever unearth the printouts of some of the really old Paksworld side-stories, I’ll put them up, too.

  • Comment by Mary Elmore — September 25, 2010 @ 7:07 am


    I found a used copy of Lunar Activity recently. I got it so I could read that story in particular. It was very good, and I liked it.

    Thanks for putting it up on your website.

  • Comment by Mike G. — September 25, 2010 @ 7:10 am


    Thanks for putting that up! One typo:
    He shook his head, unable to say; how could he explain? Te _ Marshal sighed.

  • Comment by David R Campbell — September 25, 2010 @ 7:43 am


    Thanks for putting it up Elizabeth. That story is one of the parts of the Paksworld that evokes an emotional response from me. Selis is such a sympathetic character that I end up feeling for him very quickly in the story. I originally read this after I read the Deed, I recognized the setting and the implications right away. I wonder if a new to Paksworld reader would be caught up so easily.
    Anyway, I loved this story when I first read it, and I love it now. Thanks so much Elizabeth for posting it.

  • Comment by ajlr — September 25, 2010 @ 10:50 am


    Thank you, I really enjoyed that.

  • Comment by Elena — September 25, 2010 @ 1:34 pm


    I have that story in the anthology Phases, and to be honest, it was the reason I bought the book. I consider it to be a missing chapter in one of my favorite books.

    Thanks for posting it so I could read it again.

  • Comment by tuppence — September 25, 2010 @ 3:15 pm


    That short story has always moved me. Such a good depiction of the way that fear binds and cripples.

    One suggestion. The website needs a link for short stories (I hope plural. As far as I can tell the only way to find it is from the link in this entry.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 25, 2010 @ 4:10 pm


    The Paksworld website has a link for fiction, which when clicked has a dropdown including Books in Print, Forthcoming, and Short Fiction.

    The direct link to see that page is with the dropdown is:

    The short fiction’s direct link is:

    All the Paksworld stories are listed; this one has a live link (color difference), and I posted the direct link to make it quicker for you to find it. The pages are independent, so you don’t see the path Fiction > Short Fiction > story in the URL.

  • Comment by Fyre — September 25, 2010 @ 5:45 pm


    Wow! What a wonderful story. Fascinating characterization and POV. Here is a snippit of the changes wrought in the thieves guild that were hinted at in Deed and Oath. Thanks for sharing and I absolutely cannot wait until the next book. March seems so far away…

  • Comment by Elentarien — September 25, 2010 @ 11:27 pm


    Guh! Get me hooked, get me involved, then end it. *sniffs*

    Great story, though. I’d like to see more. Like to know what happens with him. Although, I suppose its quite possible/probable that he has a perfectly normal life. . .for a Girdsman.

    Thanks for posting that. I’d never seen it anywhere before. Casts an interesting ‘alternate’ view for what happened there. 🙂

    I’d definitely be interested in reading more of those side-stories if you get more up.

  • Comment by Diana — September 26, 2010 @ 9:37 am


    Thanks for the piece on Selis, great to read his story. “Deed is my favorite book. I’ve read it so many times that I bought another copy in case it wore out! Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with all of us.

  • Comment by andreth — September 26, 2010 @ 1:06 pm


    DId you take the title from the quotation “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”? Handel used it in The Messiah.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 26, 2010 @ 1:13 pm


    Yes, of course.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 26, 2010 @ 1:32 pm


    Diana–glad you like it!

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 26, 2010 @ 1:37 pm


    Elentarien–at the time I wrote the story, the future I saw for the boy was indeed ordinary. The Fellowship keeps him safe, ensures that he gets an education and learns a useful trade, and he’s a good, solid, citizen and member of his grange. He’s not gifted in fighting skills, though he gets the training all the junior yeomen get; he’s going to be a craftsman or tradesman. Somewhere in the original notes, if I ever find them, was a little hint to his future…IIRC, it was “baker.”

    OTOH, in this group of books things are heading in a direction I did not anticipate back then. So might he.

  • Comment by Alaska Fan — September 26, 2010 @ 10:52 pm


    When I read this short story in “Lunar Activities” twenty (!) years ago or so, I thought afterwards that what Paks had told Arvid was already starting to happen. And that led me to wonder what other changes might follow from Paks’ Deed. Re-reading Selis’s story now, in the context of Oath and, very soon now, Kings, brings all that back.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 26, 2010 @ 11:01 pm


    I knew there would be changes, but I hadn’t worked any of them out, yet. And the avalanche of changes is growing in size.

  • Comment by Kristen B. — September 27, 2010 @ 11:47 am


    Thanks! I love small stories of the characters who are near when Great Deeds were taking place, and how their lives change too.

  • Comment by Eir de Scania — September 28, 2010 @ 11:02 am


    And it partly answered a question I’ve had since my first reading – why didn’t the Girdsmen do anything sooner? Either they didn’t realise Liarth was gathering a great big following in Verella, or they were hindered from doing anything about it.

    In too many fantasy novels the reason would be the former, but I trusted you to have a decent political reason. 🙂

  • Comment by RichardB — September 28, 2010 @ 3:24 pm


    Thanks so much for putting that up!

  • Comment by Kip Colegrove — September 28, 2010 @ 7:42 pm


    Resistance, reluctance… Sometimes, when turmoil and oppression have been too long ascendant, giving yourself no time to think, you have to throw yourself forward into the light. That doesn’t fix everying right away, but you are in the light.

    Thank you for the story, Elizabeth.

  • Comment by JoeS — September 30, 2010 @ 10:20 pm


    Thanks for putting this up. This is the story that led me to Paks. I got Lunar Activity after reading your SF collabs then went out to find the Deed. It was already past it’s first printing and I had a heck of a time finding all three books (amazon makes things so much easier nowadays).

    I was hoping you might eventually collect enough short stuff in the Paks-verse to entice a publisher into putting out all of them together. Some stories don’t take a whole book but are still worth telling. Don’t know if the economics of short stories make them worth writing but you’ve already got enough published but out of print that it wouldn’t take many more to have enough to release a collection.

    Alternatively, maybe after the current series, you could scratch a few of your curiosity itches on some of these interesting characters not in the critical path and use short stories to test the e-publishing waters. I’d be interested. Based on your productivity goals and the lengths of your Paks shorts that would be about a week to write plus some more time for edits and proofs. You might know pretty quick if it was going to work. You could certainly sell it to me but I don’t think I could support, you and the animals by myself.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment