Shadowknight is an ongoing novel project by Erkhyan. It is a science-fiction story happening in a contemporary universe where humans on Earth are unaware of the events beyond the limits of the Solar System.
The original book
Shadowknight acts as a sort of sequel to a French science-fiction novel, Troisième Galaxie au Fond du Placard ("Third Galaxy at the Wardrobe's End"), by Alain Venisse.
The original book's story revolves around Romain, a 12-year-old boy from Paris, who attends to a convention in hopes of taking a photograph of his favorite author, Didier Lescot. The latter has been known for his successful series of novels starring Varl, a Space Ranger, but also for constantly wearing a white mask to hide his face. After accidentally discovering that Varl and Lescot are one and the same person, Romain finds himself caught in a chain of events that will lead him to visit the wild planet Xandria and help Varl put an end to a galactic criminal's activities.
The basis for Shadowknight is a Lost City Varl and Romain find on Xandria. Made of xerilon, a rare and very solid material, the City's buildings were still able to maintain themselves through Artificial Intelligences, nearly thirty five millennia after their founders mysteriously vanished without a trace.
Found in the original novel
- Varl: A Felidian Space Ranger. He is one of the most skilled of his kind and often works alone. He is very responsible, intelligent and has an athletic body, which has caused many Felidian females - and some males - to be interested in him.
- Dar'Han: One of the main characters. He is a young an'gaat born on Semerhok from unknown parents. He has attended the Ascender's Military Academy where he befriended Ryin'Lor, one of his instructors.
- He is one of the few an'gaats to possess seemingly supernatural abilities : he can become only visible as a shadow floating in the air for long durations, or even become invisible for a few seconds. At the beginning of the story, he is eager to join the Knight Corps despite Ryin'Lor's reluctance.
- Ryin'Lor: An instructor at the Ascenders' Military Academy, he was tasked with the training of Dar'Han, a student only a few years younger than himself. With time, his link with Dar'Han has grown, and his feelings seem to have evolved from friendship to emotional and physical attraction.
- Unknown to anyone but his aunt, Ryin'Lor works for the Semerhok Rebellion and is a spy infiltrated in the Ascender ranks.
- Eesh'Taar: An an'gaat found drifting in a heavily damaged starship on the fringes of the Andorakh system. He is discovered to have lost his ability to speak and most of his memory. He only remembers his name and the fact that he was attacked by Ascender forces while trying to reach Andorakh, barely escaping with his life. Feeling that the Ascenders' reappearance might be a threat to them, the leaders of the Survivors of Andorakh have asked Varl to investigate the matter while trying to make Eesh'Taar recover his full memory.
- Eesh'Taar is discovered early as having supernatural abilities such as basic telepathy, even if his "innate" ability remains to be found.
Visited in the original novel
- Terra (Earth, Helios 3): Third planet in the Helios System, home to the humans. The Federation of the Sentients has requested it to be left alone, so terrans could evolve and acquire advanced technology by themselves. In the original novel, Varl was sent to Earth to stop a criminal who was planning on selling high-tech weapons of mass destruction to terran terrorist organisations.
- Xandria: A planet located around three hundred light-years from Earth. It orbits a binary star and is covered with an abundant brownish-red vegetation. It holds most of the richest xerilon reserves and is known to have been once the homeworld of an advanced race, the Anagohats.
Mentioned in the original novel without further details
- Eternit: Homeworld of the Felidians and de facto capital of the Federation of the Sentients. It features one single gigantic city and a few much smaller ones, sitting next to vast unspoiled natural areas.
- Arkalon: An airless rocky planet orbiting very close to its star, Arkalon is one of the few sources of xerilon and supports a large underground mining colony.
- Sqaria: Home to the Sqarians, Sqaria is quite similar to Eternit, except for the Capital City being smaller. Its largest moon is a minor source of xerilon.
- Andorakh: A cold planet orbiting the main star of a binary system. It features large volcano chains next to vast tundra plains and large glaciers. At the beginning of Shadowknight, it is revealed that survivors of the catastrophe which lead to Xandria's evacuation ages ago are being relocated there after having spent the 35,000 last years in artificial hibernation aboard a Colony Ship.
- Semerhok: A largely desert planet orbiting a blue supergiant star, its location is kept as a well-garded secret. The Ascenders, a rogue group of Anagohats, have settled there after having waken up from their Colony Ship.
- Felidians: A race of starfarers, described in the original novel as being very similar to tall humans, except for their definitely feline characteristics such as a fur-covered body, most of their facial traits and retractile claws. Their culture is quite advanced, and they hold both physical exercise and arts in high esteem. Felidians are amongst the founders of the Federation of Sentients.
- An'gaats (Anagohats): Described in the original novel as a very technologically advanced race, the An'gaats descend from canid-like mammals living on Xandria. A bit taller than felidians, they have a wolf-like appearance, and are bipedal digitigrades. Most of them have long fox-like tails they use for balance. Since an unknown cataclysm on Xandria some 35,000 years ago, they were considered to be extinct.
- Sqarians: A peaceful yet mysterious race, Sqarians tend to avoid contact with other races. They are revealed to be descendants of An'gaats who managed to escape the Xandria cataclysm and settle on Sqaria within a few decades. They physically differ from the original An'gaats, having used genetic manipulation to adapt themselves to their new world. They appear shorter and bulkier than their ancestors, don't have tails, are plantigrades and display a more feline appearance. They are one of the founder races in the Federation of the Sentients.
- Terran humans: The original human race, living on Terra. Most of them are oblivious of the existence of other sentient races.
- "Outsider" humans: Human people who settled other worlds due to different circumstances (mostly involving interventions from An'gaats first, then Felidians). Some of them have evolved apart for long and are quite different from the original ones. Thanks to genetics, their lifespans have been considerably lenghtened to match those of the Felidians and the Sqarians. The major "Outsider" human settlements are amongst the founders of the Federation of the Sentients.