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Night Watch (novel)

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Night Watch (novel)Edit

The Night Watch (Russian: Ночной дозор, Nochnoy Dozor) is a fantasy novel by a popular Russian writer Sergei Lukyanenko published in 1998 (1st ed ISBN 5-237-01511-5).

The story revolves around a confrontation between two opposing supernatural groups (known as "Others"): the Night Watch, an organisation that seeks to improve the world—but is not totally perfect and selfless either—and the Day Watch, which champions a Nietzschean "every man for himself" philosophy and attitude, and fights any Night Watch attempt to limit personal freedom.

The novel is first in a tetralogy that continues with Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor, Дневной дозор), Twilight Watch (Sumerechny Dozor, Сумеречный дозор) and Final Watch (Posledniy Dozor, Последний дозор)

BackgroundEdit

In the story's worldline there exists a magical realm beneath the surface of all things—referred to as the Twilight (or Gloom in other translations). The action in the novel centers around a group of people referred to as the Others—human beings who tapped into the Twilight and gained supernormal abilities. The Others were the humans (shamans, soothsayers, and wisemen) from long ago who figured out how to step into the Twilight. However, the Others are different from humans, they are born as Others. Humans are not able (at least in the first part of the tetralogy) to become Others. The Twilight does not offer its gifts freely; it feeds off the strength of those Others who enter it. If sufficiently weakened, they are consumed, never to return to the ordinary world. It also forces those entering it for the first time to choose between the Light and the Dark side in a process called Initiation. The choice is usually final.

The division of Light and Dark had always existed between the Others. Those of the Light believed it was their duty to help the weak and the helpless. Those of the Dark shunned all obligations. They did what they wanted, regardless of morals and consequences. For many millennia, the two sides fought a vicious battle. Both were willing to use any means necessary to achieve victory. Eventually they realized that if they continued their battle, neither side would survive. The leaders of both sides forged the Grand Treaty—a set of laws to govern the way the Others used their powers. The Light Others created the Night Watch, the Dark Others the Day Watch, to ensure that neither side would violate the Treaty. The Inquisition, a group composed of both Dark and Light Others, was created to ensure that neither side became too powerful.

If they spend them too quickly, the Others can use the feelings and emotions of the humans surrounding them to recharge their powers. The Dark Others use negative emotions such as pain or anger, the Light Others use positive emotions such as joy. Feeding on pain causes pain to increase, feeding on joy causes joy to wane. Because negative emotions are much easier to achieve in humans, this arrangement creates a situation where the powers of the Dark Others are easier to recharge and are much more readily available than those of the Light Others.

Since the signing of the Treaty, the Night Watch and the Day Watch have kept their eyes on each other, diligently policing every violation. The old leaders continue to plot, using humanity and the Others as their pawns. Only time will tell which side will prevail.

Plot SummaryEdit

The book comprises three stories, each one seemingly independant at the first glaze, but they are in fact connected.

DestinyEdit

A reluctant mage recently reassigned to field work, Anton Gorodetsky, tracks vampires by drinking blood and channeling them. One day, as he follows a young boy, Egor, called by a couple of vampires, and takes a ride in the metro with him, he notices a young woman, Svetlana, who has a huge vortex of damnation above her. Anton then finds both vampires who have been calling Egor with their power, and as they didn't have a special license, kills one of them, while the other (a female) gets away. Back to the Night Watch headquarters, Geser informs him he could be in danger as Zabulon could want him bad for killing Dark Others and gives him a stuffed owl which comes to life, an owl called Olga, for his protection. Anton rejects the offer, then finds Olga in his apartment, and reluctantly agrees. The next day he illegally uses his powers for good (changes a person's morality, a spell called "remoralization") and clashes with a Dark Other from the Day Watch, Alisa Donnikova. They agree that Alisa can use her power to do a minor evil act as an exchange for silence on this affair. He discovers that Olga can speak and is a mage trapped in an owl's body as a punishment.

He goes to Egor's apartment to protect him from the vampire, and nearly loses him, as Egor inadvertently slips in the Twilight for the first time. Surprisingly, he remains unaffiliated both to Light or to Dark. Meanwhile, Geser sends an Incubus, Ignat, to the cursed woman, Svetlana Nazarova, to help her relax and say who could have cursed her, but to no avail. Finally, Anton is reassigned to visit Svetlana, and in the meantime, the vampiress calls Egor and he joins her on the roof.

Anton manages to find out that Svetlana is a powerful Other who inadvertently cursed herself with her guilt (for what she did to her mother). Anton then gets back to Egor's roof to find the vampiress and Egor, as well as many other Light and Dark operatives, including Anton's neighbour, Kostya Saushkin. Zabulon joins them and attacks Anton. But when he does, one of the Light Mages, Ilya, reveals to be Geser, who just swapped bodies. While Zabulon's plans seem compromised, and Egor considering his choice for Light, in a last shot, Alisa uses her agreement with Anton to make him tell Egor everything. Anton reveals to Egor that he was a pawn used by Geser and Zabulon in their intrigues. Angered, Egor leaves the roof, feeling it was better for him to not to stay with any of the forces.

Among his own kindEdit

A Dark Other, Galina Rogova, is killed by Maksim, a mysterious murderer using an enchanted wooden dagger, referring to himself as "The Judge". The next day, Geser announces that the Day Watch suspects one of the Night Watch operatives. Everyone of them seems to have an alibi, except Anton. Geser think Anton has been set up by the Day Watch, and uses his powers to swap Anton and Olga's bodies (Olga being human from now on) . In Olga's body, Anton then goes to Svetlana's to hide, and uneasily reveals that he is in fact Anton, making Svetlana furious as the just said "Olga" she loved Anton. They go to a retaurant later in the evening where they spot an inoffensive Dark Other with his family. As the Dark Other goes to the toilet, Maksim who was there as well follows him and kills him. Unfortunately, it's Anton who discovers the body. Geser then reveals himelf and asks Svetlana to give him anything that could help to recognize the killer, and Svetlana telepathically sends him the image of Maksim's wife's aura. Zabulon then comes over and recognizes Anton in Olga's body. Anton flees while Zabulon tries to hit him with an effective destructive power, and manages to hitch a car. What he doesn't know is that the couple in the car are Maksim and his wife. Walking home, Anton calls Olga and asks to switch bodies back.

Waiting in the subway for Olga, Anton stumbles upon Egor and has an unpleasant conversation with him. Olga arrives and Anton and Olga switch their bodies back. While talking to Olga, Anton realizes that Day Watch is only chasing Anton in order to make Svetlana mad and use her powers illegally, which would allow them to dispose of her, or at least incapacitate her. Anton then takes a ride in the metro and when he goes off at a station, he finds himself in front of the Ostankino Tower. A gloomy figure, a departed mage, indicates Anton should go to the Tower and so Anton does. He meets a Dark mage, who makes him understand Day Watch has established his temporary headquarters in the Tower. He kills the mage and uses his appearance to mask himself. He arrives to the headquarters only to discover Tiger Cub as an inspector from the Light and a bunch of incompetent Dark mages directing his search. Leaving the Tower, Anton goes by Egor's house and thinks Zabulon is taking revenge on him by setting him up.

Meanwhile, Maksim feels a presence of a Dark being and goes on a hunt. He finally finds the Dark being and is astonished when he discovers the Dark being is a little boy, Egor. Anton spots them and talks with Maksim, explaining the Treaty between Light and Dark, but Maksim doesn't comply. Geser then comes over, suggests Maksim would become a member of the Inquisition, and when Anton gladly brags about how he outwitted Zabulon again, Geser reveals that Zabulon has nothing to do with it and that all that was planned by the Night Watch to raise Svetlana's magical level.

All for my own kindEdit

An old man arrives from Uzbekistan and is intercepted by Alisa who attacks him thinking he posesses a coveted artifact, which he doesn't. However, another visitor from the Uzbekistan, his son, slips away unnoticed.

All of the Night Watch operatives go to Tiger Cub's place to party, but Anton doesn't manage to have fun, as he is concerned with Svetlana's growing powers influencing their relationship and the reason Geser sent them off. He finally takes off and when he comes back to his appartment, he discovers Zabulon calmly reading a newspaper and waiting for him. Zabulon gives Anton a protecting amulet and reveals that Alisher, the young man from Uzbekistan, brought with him an artifact called the Chalk of Fate and that it could be used by the Light to establish a new world order by rewriting a destiny of someone who could later change the world. A discussion with Olga, then with Geser reveals to him that Svetlana in fact has to use the Chalk to rewrite a destiny.

Walking outside, Anton drains the Light power from all of the bypassers, taking their joy away. Anton joins Geser, Svetlana, Zabulon, Egor, and Maksim on a rooftop where Svetlana prepares to rewrite a destiny, while the storm is gathering around them. Svetlana then opens a Fate Book, a representation of someone's fate, and this someone is Egor. Geser supposes Anton could use all the energy he has drained to stop the storm, but Anton surprisingly uses it on a simple remoralization spell on himself. Astonished, Svetlana stops rewriting Egor's destiny and asks Anton for advice, but Anton says she decides what to write herself. The Book disappears, and Geser notices she didn't write anything, she only erased things. Egor turns from a Dark Other to unaffiliated again. Zabulon notices that their planned operation failed because of Svetlana's undecisiveness and, triumphant, leaves. Anton then notices the Chalk Svetlana used is not whole. The further discussion between the Light operatives reveals that Svetlana rewriting Egor's destiny was just a distraction, and in the mean time, Olga rewrote her own destiny to have her punishment completely lifted and all of her powers restored. Gesar reveals the true nature of this plan was to save his love of Olga. Without her full powers, their love was doomed.

RacesEdit

Within the Night Watch universe there are several different races with different characteristics and levels of power.

  • Magicans Magicans of low levels are very common among both the Light side and Dark Others. Magicans may specialise the power of Foresight, Healing, Cursing and Hexing, Battle Magic, or any number of other abilities. Powerful magicans are known to live abnormally long lives. Gesar, Anton, Alisa, and Svetlana are all different level magicans.
  • Shapeshifters Shapeshifters change into animal form used for magical battle. Shapeshifters seem to choose one animal type for their transformations, such as a cat, lizard, bear, etc. Shapeshifters also are found among both Light and Dark Others. Tiger Cub and Bear are shapeshifters.
  • Vampires Vampires are considered Low Others, and especially disrespected among their fellow Dark Others. Vampires can be born or turned, but all are undead and soulless. All vampires are born with a hunger for blood; some choose to drink only animal blood but hunting licenses for humans can be obtained. Kostya is a vampire.

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