History Literature / TheActsOfCaine

28th Apr '18 9:59:47 AM StarSword
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* ArtisticLicenseMedicine: An InUniverse example in ''Heroes Die''. Hari complains to the guys at The Studio after playing their BloodierAndGorier version of one of his adventures that the wounds Caine took should have had him immobilized from pain and shortly dead of blood loss.
14th Feb '18 4:15:18 AM Cryoclaste
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* {{Deconstruction}}: Of a wealth of {{Fantasy}} tropes, being a LowFantasy take on archetypal ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' settings like the ForgottenRealms.

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* {{Deconstruction}}: Of a wealth of {{Fantasy}} tropes, being a LowFantasy take on archetypal ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' settings like the ForgottenRealms.TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms.
8th Jan '18 3:42:33 AM Malachi108
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* ActionDad: Caine, from second book onward.



* AnyoneCanDie

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* AnyoneCanDieAnyoneCanDie: Many central characters have died. Several have died and come back. One character got killed, came back as a semi-god, got ''killed again'', and then became a true God.



* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "What do you want?"

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* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "What do you want?"want?" About two-thirds into ''Blade of Tyshalle'' Tommie asks this of Deliann, which takes a little under a page and a half. "What do you want?" happens to be both the identifying code phrase and the central tenet of the persecuted philosophy Tommie holds. Tommie has to ask the question, with mildly different phrasing, over five times. No, Deliann, not what you feel guilty about, not what you think went wrong in the past, not what you like or wish or would settle for. What you ''want''.



* BackgroundMagicField: The "Flow" is generated by all living beings and can be used by magical adepts for their own purposes.



* BadassBoast: More than a few.

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* BadassBoast: More than a few.few:
** ''Heroes Die:''
-->'''Caine:''' "He who lives by the sword can die by my knife."
** ''Blade of Tyshalle:''
-->'''Caine:''' "RuleNumberOne: You fuck with me, you die. No questions, no exceptions, no second chances."
-->'''Caine:''' "THEY TOLD YOU I WOULD DIE DOWN THERE! I TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK!"
** ''Caine Black Knife:''
-->'''Caine:''' *to a band of Black Knife [[OurOrcsAreDifferent ogrillo]] hunters, after killing one of their number in single combat* "Did anybody not UNDERSTAND what just happened here? Does anybody need it EXPLAINED? This place is MINE. You can go anywhere you want, but you can't come HERE. For you here is DEATH. Here is PAIN. He died EASY. You will die HARD. You will die SCREAMING. Your bitches will HOWL. Your pups will STARVE. I will FEED YOU YOUR FUTURE."
--> Later, "I told you I'd feed you your future. Did you think I'd make you eat it raw?"



* BlackAndGrayMorality: Qualifies for this trope only due to what the protagonist [[SociopathicHero must]] [[TheUnfettered become]] to stop the antagonists, and how badly the "pure" heroes like Deliann and Pallas Ril manage to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero fuck things up]].



* ConsummateLiar: Caine is immune to the truthsense of Khryl's holy knights for reasons he doesn't quite understand. Though it might have something to do with the fact that he would rather kill a man than lie to him. Maybe that kind of "honor" just confuses the poor god trying to read him.



* CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: In the prologue of ''Blade of Tyshalle'', protagonists Kris Hansen and Hari Michaelson plot to get Hari out of Magic School and into Battle School. Their plan hinges on getting Hari to demonstrate his fighting prowess by "saving" Kris from a rival, crippling him in the process. Afterward, the head teacher tells them their plan has succeeded, but laments that another person's dream was crushed so that they could have theirs, adding plaintively "Couldn't you have asked?"



* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Orbek. The irony lies in that Caine originally targeted Orbek first when breaking up Orbek's old gang because he thought the young ogrillo was the gang's ''weakest point''.



* DeadGuyOnDisplay: In ''Blade of Tyshalle'' the body of Caine's late rival and master swordsman Berne is kept as a tourist attraction on Earth in the Studio Curiouseum. Ultimately his body is kidnapped and reanimated so it can kill Pallas Ril.



* DefiledForever: An interesting example. There's a religious sect of priestesses who are completely chaste virgins, to the point of dressing like men to stave off advances. If they ever give into temptation, they lose their power. If they are raped, however, they basically turn into a magic nuke. Unfortunately, they rarely survive the massive influx of power, not to mention the resulting destruction.
* Dented Iron: Caine, who considers himself the sum of his scars.



* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Caine tends to come up against Physical Gods ''a lot''.
* Disabled Snarker: Caine after ''Heroes Die''. "It's like having a pair of dead dogs strapped to my ass. Except that I can't eat them."



* {{Dystopia}}

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* {{Dystopia}}{{Dystopia}}: Earth in a nutshell.



* FantasyGunControl: Initially starts this way, but gets violated by the end of ''Blade of Tyshalle''. By ''Caine Black Knife'' Overworld not only has shotguns and automatic weapons they captured as trophies, but figured out how to produce more.
* Finger Tenting: Subverted in ''Heroes Die'', where Kollberg laces his fingers together not as a sign of deception, but to try and keep calm while talking to [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen the Board of Governors]].
* FirstPersonSmartass: Justified. The protagonist is having his experiences as a particularly violent sort of adventurer in a fantasy world recorded for the entertainment of the masses on a dystopian future Earth.



* ForTheEvulz: Inverted. The bad guys always act out of self-interest, ideology, or pure hedonistic lust. The protagonist is the one who, for fun, escalates conflicts almost compulsively. So far, this includes "escalating" a verbal argument into a lethal fight, a skirmish with an ogrillo tribe into ethnic cleansing, and a minor political conflict into a civil war. And the bad guys are still worse.

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* ForTheEvulz: Inverted. The bad guys always act out of self-interest, ideology, or pure hedonistic lust. The protagonist is the one who, for fun, escalates conflicts almost compulsively. So far, this This includes "escalating" a verbal argument into a lethal fight, a skirmish with an ogrillo tribe into ethnic cleansing, and a minor political conflict into a civil war. And the bad guys are still worse.



* GodsNeedPrayerBadly

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* GodsNeedPrayerBadlyGodsNeedPrayerBadly: Gods only have power from their worshippers.



* HeroicComedicSociopath: Caine skirts the line of this. Well, maybe dances on it. Okay, he does a full soft-shoe number up and down with Broadway routines and a full stage orchestra in the background.



* HonestyIsTheBestPolicy: Comes at the end of the XanatosGambit Caine spent all of ''Caine Black Knife'' finagling into place. Caine has just royally screwed the Board's plans up. Their two choices are: reward him for sabotage and murder of one of their number by giving him a total pardon and more authority and free rein than they gave to the guys sent out to catch him, or permanently lose access to Overworld and possibly risk Overworld's most powerful empire marching over a portal with dragons and warmages to blast Earth into submission. Caine is happy to unveil all the details because he's not afraid to die and they have no alternatives.



* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Humans are bastards. Well, to be exact, the metaphorical psychomorphic deity-incarnation of humanity is a bastard. But the [[AntiHero human hero]] who achieves [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu its humiliating defeat]] is also a [[SociopathicHero bastard]], so in this series humanity doesn't look good at the individual or species level.



* InterplayOfSexAndViolence: Happens a lot, perhaps best personified by Count Berne.



* MasterOfOneMagic: Lamorak in regards to his Dominate skill.

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* MasterOfOneMagic: In ''Heroes Die'', Lamorak in regards to is a crappy mage overall, but his Dominate skill.is really good.



* MeaningfulName: Well, of course. The [[NameOfCain eponymous]] protagonist has set in motion events that would lead to the death of his wife, best friend(s), father, the suffering of everyone who's cared for him, etc. etc. If the dude ''had'' a brother he probably would have offed him too. Also like the biblical Caine, there are gods looking out for him after his punishment (although gods who want to punish him [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu tend to get owned hard]]).



* NayTheist: The Monastics in general and [[InsufferableGenius T'Passe]] in particular. The Monasteries were, in fact, developed for the express purpose of protecting humanity's interests from the predations of deities.



* OurOrcsAreDifferent: Ogrilloi

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* OurOrcsAreDifferent: OgrilloiThe ogrilloi are slightly closer to Warcraft Orcs, with the exception of the Black Knife tribe, who are the ogrilloi that other ogrilloi tell horror stories about and act like Tolkien Orcs on a real bad day. Ogrilloi also differ from the typical depictions of orcs in their physiology (namely their quadripedal lope, ridged back, and fighting claws).



* PowerLevels: Caine registers as a grade six weapon due to his Monastic training. This is only slightly higher than [[{{Mook}} an armsman]], so the Khryllians aren't particularly worried about it. After all, their Knights have divine-given SuperSpeed and SuperStrength, they can deal with entire ''armies''. [[CombatPragmatist Caine enjoys proving to them that their system is bunk]].



* PrivatelyOwnedSociety: Earth

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* PrivatelyOwnedSociety: EarthAll the world's government collapsed years earlier after a viral outbreak, and society was rebuilt by private corporations, with the current rulers of the world being the Leisure Council, a group of the richest few hundred people on Earth. As a result, the society has a very rigid caste system.



* SorcerousOverlord: Ma'elKoth.
* StaringThroughTheSword: The cover of ''Caine Black Knife''.



* StopWorshippingMe: Caine really hates the Cainists.

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* StopWorshippingMe: Caine really hates eventually inspires the Cainists.creation of a ChaoticNeutral philosophy, who tell him that its not about him, just his ideals. Eventually, he performs so many badass acts that the philosophy evolves into a full-blown religion worshipping him (which, [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly considering the way divinity works in this universe]], might actually elevate him to godhood at some point). Caine tells the founder to shut it down, and she calmly tells him to his face that she doesn't care what he thinks.



* SwordPointing: From the ''Blade Of Tyshalle'':
-->'''Ma'elKoth''': ...You've learned a new trick. Come, then: Let us meet as men, standing face-to-face, for the surrender of the sword. [[LargeHam I applaud your sense of ceremony: Grant and Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, rather than Brutus at the feet of Ant-]]
-->'''Caine''': (''points [[AbsurdlySharpBlade Kosall]] at him'') You talk too fucking much. You and me, we both know what's going on here, and it has nothing to do with surrender.



* ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld: From ''Blade of Tyshalle'':
--> "You know what they say. There are two kinds of people in the world: [[LampshadeHanging people who say things like 'There are two kinds of people in the world', and people who know those first people are full of shit.]]"



* TheUnfettered
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: TropeNamer.

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* TheUnfettered
TheUnfettered: The series demonstrate how the Unfettered make setting right and wrong in your story very difficult. Caine, the protagonist, is a prime example of an Unfettered character (but not his alter ego Hari, interestingly enough). He manages to be both a genocidal murderer and the world's saviour, an amoral cutthroat and a loving father. Stover successfully pulls it off because the morality in his novels is more about how much control you are willing to exercise over events to bring around the right outcome and less about whether death is right or wrong. Other Unfettered characters include [[ActionGirl Talaan]], [[InsufferableGenius T'Passe]], and Tommy to a degree. Ma'elKoth is Unfettered [[spoiler:until the Blind God owns him]]. Berne comes close but loves infamy and [[TheHedonist pleasure (read: rape)]] too much. Raithe manages to be Unfettered for about all of two chapters in ''Blade of Tyshalle''.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: TropeNamer. In the ''Blade of Tyshalle'', Har, is a paraplegic --and at the moment, he is trapped in a burning building thanks to an assassination attempt. His 200-lb. companion has been knocked unconscious and must be dragged along, the air is full of dust and smoke ([[CaptainObvious making it hard to breathe]]), his wheelchair is unavailable, and he has to bypass several stories of staircase anyways before he can find an exit. "''This'', thought Hari, ''is gonna suck''."



* TooCoolToLive: Talaan, the main ActionGirl from ''Heroes Die'', who may have been a better fighter than ''Caine''.
* TortureTechnician: Arkadeil. His matter-of-fact, scholarly manner of ToThePain arguably makes him far creepier than many who take sadistic joy in it.



* {{Twincest}}: A probably nonconsensual example: Berne is revealed to keep twin sex slaves, [[DepravedBisexual one male and one female]]. This being Berne, if you think he wouldn't [[RapeByProxy order them to have sex with each other]], you plainly haven't read the books.



* WalkingDisasterArea: Caine.

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* WalkingDisasterArea: Caine.Caine is this for multiple reasons. For one, because he was an actor by training and for the longest time either sought out or created violent situations to provide material for his adventures. Also, because [[TheUnfettered the way he forces himself on reality]] actually causes the fabric of magic and chance to send hell his way (according to his more metaphysically-minded companions). But mostly, it's because [[BloodKnight the crazy bastard]] can almost never resist the urge to escalate a fight.
->''"I love the guy like a brother, but every time he comes to town we end up in another fucking war."''
-->-- '''Duke Toa M'Jest''' a.k.a. '''Majesty''' ''


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* WillNotTellALie: Caine has a bit of a warped sense of honor, which has given him the well-deserved reputation that he would rather kill a man than lie to him. The last act of the first book hinges entirely on lies and deceit, which makes him very uncomfortable.
* YouBastard: In ''Heroes Die'' Caine uses this on his audience, who collectively share his body for the duration of his adventures. Due to the character narrating to his own audience, it also ends up directed at the reader by extension.
* YouJustToldMe: In the third book Caine meets a spy for an old friend of his, and instructs the spy to take a message to her. The spy plays dumb for a while, until Caine offers to explain what gave to spy away (so that he can correct the mistake). The spy admits it would be useful to know how Caine was so sure. Caine just says "I wasn't sure."
-->'''Caine:''' Fuckin' amateur.
8th Jan '18 2:54:25 AM Malachi108
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* InvoluntarySuicideMechanism: Actors are conditioned not to say that they're Actors, speak Earth languages, etc. This protocol is eventually reversed when Aktir hunters get wise to the simple test of demanding a suspect say "I am an Aktir." in English.

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* InvoluntarySuicideMechanism: Actors are conditioned not to say that they're Actors, speak Earth languages, etc. This protocol is eventually reversed when Aktir hunters get wise to the simple test of demanding a suspect say "I am an Aktir." in English."
8th Jan '18 2:51:24 AM Malachi108
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* UnwinnableTrainingSimulation: The Lakefront simulation in chapter 0 of ''Blade of Tyshalle''.

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* UnwinnableTrainingSimulation: The Lakefront simulation in chapter 0 of ''Blade of Tyshalle''. The College of Battle Magic has an advanced class that opens with the Lakefront simulation. In it, the student Actor is put into a VR simulation of Overworld, in the docks of the city of Ankhana, where (s)he hears the sound of a woman being assaulted down a nearby alley by a single man. Those actors who confront the man will quickly find out that there are two others waiting on the low rooftops to jump some fool like you rushing to her aid. Even defeating all three won't do; the best student in the College, Kris Hansen, got that far only to be knifed by the woman, who is in on the charade. When Hari Michaelson, a Labour-caste near-dropout with terrible magick skills, enters the challenge, he becomes the first person in the history of the College to beat the simulation. Not bothering with spells, [[CombatPragmatist he gets the jump on the first man]], [=KOs=] the other two before they can recover from jumping into the alley, and [[SatisfiedStreetRat knows better than to trust the woman]], who gets her throat cut when she tries to knife him. He only fails because the test expected him to use magick, and the instructor hacked the simulation to bring the other players back to life and beat him senseless, something that was never before needed for the Lakefront sim. Regardless, as the instructor points out, the point of the test is to show whether the Actor-to-be can give the viewers an interesting death scene.
8th Jan '18 2:48:55 AM Malachi108
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* TimeTravelTenseTrouble: ''Caine's Law'' has this in spades.
8th Jan '18 2:47:46 AM Malachi108
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* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: They are called Stonebenders ("Dwarves" is a racial slur used by humans) and can all of the impressive stone- and metalwork associated with the Dwarves with their bare hands.

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* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: They are called Stonebenders ("Dwarves" is a racial slur used by humans) and can do all of the impressive stone- and metalwork associated with the Dwarves with their bare hands.
8th Jan '18 2:47:16 AM Malachi108
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Added DiffLines:

* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: They are called Stonebenders ("Dwarves" is a racial slur used by humans) and can all of the impressive stone- and metalwork associated with the Dwarves with their bare hands.
18th Oct '17 11:46:56 AM Malachi108
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''Caine Black Knife'' follows Caine in both the present (roughly a year after the end of ''Blade of Tyshalle'') and twenty-five years ago as he interacts with the [[ProudWarriorRace Black Knife clan of Ogrillos]]. The present arc of the story includes a broader exploration of Orbek Black Knife, a side character introduced in ''Blade of Tyshalle''. The philosophizing is turned back down to about 8, but questions concerning the legitimacy of guerrilla warfare and online {{FPS}}s are still asked. Also has some rather overt references to either the Iraq War or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, complete with a suicide bombing.

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''Caine Black Knife'' follows Caine in both the present (roughly a year (three years after the end of ''Blade of Tyshalle'') and twenty-five years ago as he interacts with the [[ProudWarriorRace Black Knife clan of Ogrillos]]. The present arc of the story includes a broader exploration of Orbek Black Knife, a side character introduced in ''Blade of Tyshalle''. The philosophizing is turned back down to about 8, but questions concerning the legitimacy of guerrilla warfare and online {{FPS}}s are still asked. Also has some rather overt references to either the Iraq War or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, complete with a suicide bombing.
16th Aug '17 9:04:20 PM nombretomado
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* GenreMashup: DarkFantasy meets {{Dystopia}}.



* XMeetsY: DarkFantasy meets {{Dystopia}}.
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