Alan Wake Wiki

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Alan Wake Wiki
Alan Wake Wiki

The Torchbearers were a group of people who protected the town of Bright Falls from the Dark Presence and the Taken prior to 2023. The term "Torchbearers" is also the name of a (possibly) fictional group included in the plot of the manuscript of Initiation by Alan Wake. Like other factions involved with the events around Cauldron Lake, their background may be influenced by the writings of Alan Wake.


Bright Falls[]

According to Ilmo Koskela, certain townspeople of Bright Falls and Watery had always known about the mysterious events around Cauldron Lake. The Torchbearers were one such group, who acted to defend the locals from the threat of the Dark Presence. However (according to a manuscript page written by Alan Wake), by 2023, the group had become too old to actively fight against the Dark Presence and was all but defunct. The Koskela brothers became aware of the Dark Presence sometime after 2010, having stolen Federal Bureau of Control documents on the subject. They formed the Cult of the Tree to succeed the Torchbearers as Bright Falls' secret "neighborhood watch."[1][2]

It is unspecified as to who was actually part of the Torchbearers. Cynthia Weaver and the Anderson Brothers are well-known for having opposed the Dark Presence, and the song Children of the Elder God by Old Gods of Asgard (which details the brothers' fight against the Scratching Hag in 1976) features one of the only other usages of the term "torchbearer" in the series. Frank Breaker is also known to have led a group of townspeople who were "willing to step up" during emergencies and protected Bright Falls from the Dark Presence during the 2010 Bright Falls AWE; this group also included Pat Maine and Deputies Mulligan, Thornton, Janes, and Grant.


In the plot of Initiation, the Torchbearers were a society of mystics who lived in the subway tunnels under New York City and were said to possess secret knowledge.[3] As part of their rituals, they had painted a giant tree on one of the rock walls in the tunnels, for unspecified reasons.[4] They were eventually hunted down and killed by the Cult of the Word, who stole their secrets and used the Torchbearers' hideouts to conduct their own rituals. Many of the members were locked into a subway car which was then doused with gasoline and set alight, burning them alive.[5] These events became part of the urban legends around the Cult of the Word, which were investigated by private detective Alex Casey during his pursuit of the cult.

Due to the nature of the Dark Place, it is not known whether or not this group existed in the way it is depicted. Alan Wake only receives knowledge of the group via echoes, the reality of which are uncertain.


Note: The membership of the Torchbearers has not been specified. This list names possible members.


  • In the Old Gods of Asgard song Children of the Elder God, torchbearers are mentioned in the lyrics:
    • "Warriors, torchbearers, come redeem our dreams. / Shine a light upon this night of otherworldly fiends".
  • Similarly, their song Herald of Darkness contains even more references, presumably referring to Alan himself:
    • Fighting the nightmares, torch and a light switch / A gift or a curse, a reality made of dreams
    • Still he's a torch bearer, and it couldn't be much clearer /A a war needs its warrior true and right
  • The Torchbearers, like many things in Alan Wake, is an homage to David Lynch's Twin Peaks, specifically the Bookhouse Boys.


  1. The Cult Of The Tree Is Born
  2. Saga: How long has the Cult been around for?
    Ilmo: Certain folks around here have always known about Cauldron Lake. Before us, it was the Torchbearers. When I inherited the mission, I wanted to call it a “cult”. It was genius. Just the name did half the work. Made people too scared to go in the woods at night. Business 101. Fear is a great motivator.
    (Optional conversation during Return 6: Scratch)
  3. Alan Wake 2: Echo; "Markings"
  4. Alan Wake 2: Echo; "The Tree"
  5. Alan Wake 2: Echo; "Torchbearers"