General/common/ubiquitous character tropes:
- Aristocrats Are Evil : So thoroughly averted your head will spin. One of the more idealistic aspects of the 'verse is its aristo-meritocracy, emphasis on the merit.
- Bizarre Alien Biology : Or rather, Bizarre Post-Transhuman Biology. Spare heart, Healing Factor, cybernetic implants with a zillion applications, a conscious mind that transmits itself intact upon physical death to a giant planet-core computer...
- Gender Is No Object : In most cultures and all of the Services except the Navy, this is true. There are a few major cultures, however, that are dominated by one of the three sexes.
- I Have Many Names : All of the so-called Great Names (i.e. courtly luminaries, historical figures), and many other characters who accumulate more names down through many centuries of life.
- Immortal Immaturity : Related to The Fog of Ages. Anyone younger than about a century is culturally considered an infant, but someone who's been around for ten thousand years doesn't even necessarily have much in the way of common sense.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap : Take one Healing Factor. Add one creator who appreciates Heroic Bloodshed (and may have a slight medical fetish). Stir in a dash of Earn Your Happy Ending. Bake until golden brown, frost with the Kensington Gore recipe of your choice.
- Older Than They Look : Depending on how far along someone is in their lifespan, they'll only ever look between twenty and sixty-five even if they've been kicking around for millennia. Some unfortunate individuals are stuck looking like hapless teenagers.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender : Humanoids in this 'verse have at least three sexes and a multiplicity of cultures, so gender can and will be all over the map. Almost Everyone Is Bi, as well.
- World of Badass : Most cultures emphasize martial arts instead of sports for physical fitness. A third of the population has some level of phenomenal cosmic power. Carrying non-lethal and non-ranged weaponry is legal on most planets and some habitats. Intractable legal disputes are solved with legal duelling.
- Badass Bureaucrat : The Civil Service and the civil aristocracy both place a great emphasis on martial skill, often with weaponry that is technically obsolete but preferred for aesthetic reasons and because of a universal taboo on projectile firearms except for military use.
Tropes relevant to Weathermakers
- Brought Down to Normal : After the Red Revolution, A.Warren and L.Inga "collaborate" to impose a Power Nullifier called the Great Seal on themselves and every other weathermaker.
- Cast from Hit Points : If they aren't careful, weathermakers can work themselves into a laundry list of health problems. As a matter of course, their physiology demands a diet higher in nutrients, calories, and specifically salt (in some instances, restoring the original meaning of the word salary, as weathermakers like to be paid in pickles for small tasks).
- Good Feels Good / Evil Feels Good : Using a lot of power all at once, so long as the user takes care of themselves, can give the user rampant high spirits and improved physical condition.
- Comes Great Insanity : Using more than just a lot of power, especially regeneratively (requires less clean-up afterwards), can overload the user's mind and leave them temporarily catatonic, babbling like an idiot, or simply non-functional.
- Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate : Upper-ranked weathermakers are often the topics of these sorts of conversations. Sometimes they inadvertently provide solutions to the problems.
- The Chosen Many : A lot of weathermakers, born after the laying of the Seal, ignorant of their dormant powers and having neglected their history lessons, go through variations of this discovery.
- Comes Great Responsibility : Some ignore it. Some let themselves be crushed by it. Some think the rest of them can't handle it.
- Gambit Roulette : Played on them by the Founders in the form of a loose, somewhat inconsistent bundle of "prophecies" which are eventually determined to be an elaborate and not very well put-together plot kept running by various warded booby traps. Most believe the perpetrators of this incredibly vast and snarled plot were in fact nuts, since half of the wardtraps seem to have no practical effect or purpose at all.
- Odd Job Gods : Joked about a lot in the very pedestrian bureaucracy of the Temple. Played straight, however, since scholarly specialization is encouraged by the Temple educational establishment.
- Power Tattoo : Not exclusive to the weathermakers, but "prophets'-marks" are blue-black marks related in some way to weatherwork: like birthmarks, except clearly artificial. Some of them are cataloged, but most have unknown provenance or purpose.
- Power Creep, Power Seep / Lensman Arms Race : After the Founders come back and start shit, incidentally provoking J.A.Ondein to go full-on Eldritch Abomination on them too, the Weathermakers start having a race to the top of their power classification. Previously, it was believed that power classification was inborn and more or less fixed.
- Superweapon Surprise : The weathermakers are a walking talking superweapon and more powerful and more numerous than the Founders expect them to be.
- Touched by Vorlons : The Great Weathermakers. Nobody knows why (or how, since all four so far are foundlings) they exist, why the mandalas identify them so spectacularly, why there are so few of them and only one per planet, or why their hair turns blue when they appear.
Tropes relevant to the Founders
- Aerith and Bob : Coupled with a hefty dose of The Unpronounceable (not out of inherent alien-ness, mind you, but mainly out of self-naming vanity), Founders have anywhere from Only One Name all the way up to paragraphs worth of names and titles.
- Always a Bigger Fish : When they arrive back in Wellspring space, they feel fairly confident/arrogant that even if the weathermakers were feeling hostile, there wasn't much harm they could do. They are mostly correct in their assumptions, but one weathermaker in particular turns out to be something of a one-man nightmare. Not to mention the other precursors that show up to watch the fireworks.
- Bizarre Alien Biology / Starfish Aliens / Human Aliens : The Founders are "humanoid" in some ways and very much not in other ways — and which ways are which is often hard to tell.
- Immortal Immaturity : Founders have had longer to adapt to indefinite lifespan and are therefore much more entrenched in the vices, failings, and blind spots that accompany it.
- The Older Immortal : Founders live on a timescale that is, relatively speaking, only slightly more extended than wanderlings — a fact which goes noted but largely misunderstood until other, older precursors turn in an appearance.
- Neglectful Precursors / Benevolent Precursors : Neglectful because they leave, and (mostly) benevolent once they come back.
- Too Clever by Half : A side-effect of their Bizarre Alien Psychology makes them almost incandescently intelligent but generally lacking the kind of emotional maturity and stamina to really take full advantage of their own intelligence. In their better moments, they themselves ruefully point out their civilization's tragic capacity for wisdom-without-wisdom.
- We ARE Struggling Together : For all that the Generationships claim to have a unified government, the Founders spend a lot of time dealing with splinter groups and petty grievances blossoming into near-civil wars.
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The Imperial Temple
The Great Weathermakers' primary gimmick is that they have the ability to become living forces of nature, i.e. The Unfettered, Large Ham, and sometimes Magnificent Bastard at the same time. They also play the Heel–Face Revolving Door game for most of their plot-time. They eventually acknowledge and take responsibility for the fact that they and the lesser Weathermakers amount to Physical Gods.Rather oddly, all of the Great Weathermakers are Knowledge Brokers of one sort or another.Second Lieutenant Tseng "Osiris" Sayuen, Pilot 5th Rank : Ace Pilot
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass : Her unofficial title in the Temple is "God of Obtuse Conversations" and she is exceptionally easy (and entertaining) to confuse.
- Jack-of-All-Stats : She's a slow learner, so takes twice or three times as much time and effort to gain... average skill levels in everything she does. Her only natural talent is acting, i.e. faking it.
- Off the Wagon : Has recurring addiction issues and, like many Guildhallers, is prone to abusing some of her medications.
- Typecasting / Playing Against Type : One of her many "spare" careers is acting, mostly in popcorn action flicks. Ironically, she usually plays villains, and nasty ones at that.
- He Really Can Act : When she acts in the Imperial Court's annual winterval play, the courtiers who watch it are all quite shocked that the Emperor's somewhat dim girlfriend is actually able to pull off a decent performance. She's also played Grancaryen Jocaine (see: House of Phoenixwell section below) in a serious, well-reviewed film.
- Serial Prostheses : At the age of twenty three, she loses her left eye and has the surrounding bones in her face smashed up during a war game gone wrong. Then, during the war, she loses both of her arms below the elbow and gets prosthetics, one of which is hot-swappable with some interesting tools.
- Et Tu, Brute? : "You tagged the knife you gave me. It was a gift, Andrina. But that's okay. I tagged the ones I gave you." Cue distraught flying knife fight.
- The Fettered : Due to Temple and Imperial law and by virtue of her permanent association with the Temple, she can never go into politics and even talking to aristocrats attracts criticism. She's also effectively barred from having any other sort of career because of her fame to the point that she's literally an icon of the Temple.
- Hero Antagonist : Strict code of compassionate honor? Check. Self-sacrificing valor in combat and politics? Check. Idealistic dreams for the future? Check.
- Implausible Fencing Powers : Made possible by weatherwork. She has an aversion to killing sapient beings, though, and rarely uses them unless necessary.
- Iron Lady : A perfect example, except that it's a little easier to get under her skin that you might expect, and when you do... Hilarity Ensues. Or/and violence.
- Not Quite the Right Thing / The Extremist Was Right : "I know exactly what it's like to have to destroy the things I love to protect them."
- Persona Non Grata : Normally, judicial exile is limited to three centuries. Her exile from Madira (for involvement in the attempted assassinations of L.Inga and other Madiran nobility) has been renewed every three hundred years for nearly two and a half millennia.
- Tsundere / Kuudere : If there were a "Tsunkuu" without the "dere", Warren would fit perfectly, as her personality alternates between "cool and distant" and "irritable".
- Big Fancy House : His Lindenhall estate, a mishmash of fairy tale architecture staffed with extremely loyal servants.
- "Should you set fire to any part of Lindenhall, you will find yourself the target of a legal vendetta carried out by Harmandy Cross and myself. Fair warning." That's not really how legal vendettas work, but Jay doesn't know that.
- Cowardly Lion : The well of his cowardice is quite deep, but when he touches bottom... seriously, watch out.
- Happily Adopted : By two rather effusive Madiran aristocrats who, centuries later, still like to crash his parties.
- Let's Get Dangerous! : Frivolous rich coward who can't survive on his own without a bevy of servants and hangers-on? No big deal.
- One Degree of Separation : Inga is a social nexus of Imperial aristocracy, but even so he has some rather unexpected friendships and alliances.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I. AM. SPACE-TIME!" among others. Usually followed by a Pillar of Light.
- The Smart Guy : A.Warren is actually absolutely terrified of his sheer genius, despite him being pathetically afraid of her. His speed at interpreting and writing wards is sometimes erroneously described as intuition, but it isn't.
- Upper-Class Twit : His default state when he isn't curbstomping history.
- Big Bad : Refuses to give up this role to anyone; eventually menaces the Founders themselves.
- Despair Event Horizon : Imprisoned by despots, he attempts escape and has his back broken for his trouble. None of his expected allies lift a finger to help him, as they are too busy doing Not Quite the Right Thing. This leads to...
- From Nobody to Nightmare : After confronting A.Warren and L.Inga for their abandonment of him, he has a Freak Out! and promptly sends assassins after Inga and tries to stab Warren to death himself. Failing that, he hijacks a Sacred Society and uses it to ensure neither Warren nor Inga will ever sleep peacefully again. After the breaking of the seal, he achieves such obscene power that nobody can sleep peacefully with the awareness of his continued existence.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning : Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when someone finally, confirmably kills this guy... until they are reminded that people have been releasing themselves from the Machine Core for a couple years by then, and there's no reason to believe Ondein can't do the same thing. Repeatedly.
- Shrouded in Myth : Up until the Weatherwar, and even well into it, most people think Ondein is dead. He operates his organization through a number of different secure channels.
- Catch-Phrase / *Click* Hello : "Never forget that Lindenhall has two masters."
- "If it's a knife fight you're after, I'm your girl."
- Mr. Vice Guy / Millionaire Playboy : Called "the Lecherous Monk" by her detractors.
- Sealed Army in a Can : The Power Tattoo on her breastbone is a triggering ward put there by a very old friend of Harmandy's who disappeared under very mysterious circumstances. Harmandy does not know what it does until it does rather spectacularly.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic : She's a first-ranked weathermaker, but disguises it heavily by being almost entirely uninterested in applied weatherwork and spends most of her effort on the high theoretical side.
- Abusive Parents : Garetta and Harmandy are abused throughout their adolescence and young adulthood by their controlling mother. Garetta runs away and secures legal emancipation and a new identity. Harmandy ends up locked in a room for ten years, blamed for Garetta's disappearance and apparent death, and only let out when needed to earn money, which leads to...
- Brother–Sister Incest : Harmandy becomes obsessed with her brother, and when she finds him alive, she pursues him. Forced to live together, they have a sexual relationship which Garetta later interprets as rape, with him as the victim. Harmandy is clearly not responsible for her actions, given the depths of her mental illness, but Garetta hates her to the point of murderous rage nevertheless, which leads to...
- Et Tu, Brute? : Garetta, thinking to "fix" his broken childhood and "fix" his broken sister, betrays their mother to the revolution's secret police. He does it in such a ham-handed fashion that the nice part of the family gets arrested and tortured to death. Congratulations, Garetta: now the homicidal hatred is mutual.
- Hair-Trigger Temper : Quite shockingly and violently. Arguably, this is the only thing that makes him "more villainous" than his sister, since her violent temper only comes out in self-defense.
- My Master, Right or Wrong : Averted in some key ways. During the Revolution, he refuses to allow Andrina to set fire to Temples with libraries in them, and even abandons her once when she manages to burn one despite his best efforts.
The Imperial Court
Empress Landry XVI St.-Clare, Warlord
- The Chessmaster : With a generous side of Dreaming of Things to Come in a non-prophetic sense.
- An Arm and a Leg : While serving as a Naval Warlord during the League War, she suffered deep gamma burns to her left arm and was forced to have it amputated. The subsequent gene therapy she underwent to heal the radiation sickness and prevent cancer mutated the hair follicles on the left side of her head, so the hair there turned bright white. Damaged nerves in her shoulder also mean she has to wait quite some time before getting a robotic prosthetic arm.
- Parental Substitute : Both Thayyem and Iuki consider her a parent figure, even though Thayyem is 480 years old and Iuki already has a mother. They also feel considerable guilt over appointing Landry Warlord and sending her off to war. They spend much of the League War dreading the arrival of a Courier dressed in black carrying regrets from the Naval Office.
- Still the Leader : History redeems much of her reign, but the fact is that towards the end of it, she was delegating an enormous portion of her daily tasks to Thayyem Hetonkang, who was herself delegating to Iuki Yohana, and both (at the time) were attributed with rather more moral authority than her.
- Walking Techbane : She has difficulties keeping her personal electronics alive and has on at least two occasions had to have shards of screen extracted from the bottoms of her feet.
- Xanatos Gambit: When people start figuring out just how much of the Yohana dynasty she planned for, they begin to call her "the Empress on the Horizon". True to the trope, even the various failures of Yohanas five through eight don't put major dents in her hopes for a new era.
- Beware the Nice Ones : They're a dynasty of highly-effective monarchs. Most of them are strong weathermakers. Some of them inspire incredible acts of loyalty and devotion. Five or six of them are really good swordsmen. Don't mess with the Crybaby Emperor's family.
- Mama Bear : "Have you ever noticed how all of the Yohanas are instantly wearing swords the moment anyone threatens a single one of them or their people? It's uncanny."
- The Chains of Commanding : The usual sort, coupled with the fact that high aristocrats are literally never, ever alone.
- Ermine Cape Effect : The St.-Clare dynasty ended with the monarch regularly wearing ordinary court suits on a daily basis. To distinguish his new dynasty from the last, Iuki Yohana I deliberately sets out to invoke the more traditional pageantry and trend-setting elegance of the Court. He also adopts the Royal "We".
- Heroes Want Redheads : Someone eventually notices the family preference for redheads, particularly redheaded androgynes. Iuki is a notorious appreciator of redheads, sleeping with Elahendra Nekulandr, Jui Reinhardt, and Jay Sana-kubo... and those are just the famous ones.
- I Am What I Am : Starting with Iuki I's admission that the mantle of "conqueror" sits surprisingly well on his shoulders and he's okay with that, proceeding to Thayyem II's admission that she doesn't mind being first among bureaucrats or "cleaning up after her brother", going on to Teffarue VIII's admission that she was an incompetent Empress, and ending with Sejayon IX's admission that he's perfectly okay with being a God-Emperor even if it means people are afraid of him.
- Up to Eleven: Yohana monarchs turn political HSQ into a fine art. Lampshaded when S.Yohana appoints Grancaryen Jocaine to be his First Minister.
- Armor-Piercing Question : "Will you serve?" For older immortals, this question carries very deep, world-shaking connotations. And because Iuki asks it naively but with the same intensity that someone who knew what it meant would ask it, it leads quite a few people to believing that Iuki is more than just an Emperor.
- Fragile Flower : Earns him his less flattering nickname, "the Crybaby Emperor", but it also earns him woobie-fication by his supporters and some of the Imperial populace. He becomes ever-more fragile as being a war ruler takes its toll... until he finally breaks.
- Hospital Hottie : He starts out training to become a nurse, and then a doctor, before his career gets hijacked by Landry St. Clare.
- 100% Adoration Rating : As War Emperor, a woobie, an all-around gentle and smart guy, he gets close to this. Part of the problem of his dynasty is their inability to live up to his real and imagined capabilities.
- Long Haired Prettyboy : And blond, too. Most Dragonwellers shoot for this trope, but Iuki only wears his hair down for ceremonies that require it. Otherwise, he wears it in the woven braids favored by medical personnel. As is traditional on Dragonwell, he also typically gets it cut at major turning points in his life — when T.Sayuen comes back at the end of the war, he cuts it all off.
- Rags to Royalty : His mother is a humble city peasant who decided to see just how much of a leap in status could be made from one generation to the next. She never expected an Empress to come in and make her son a Prince, let alone a Crown Prince, let alone a dynasty founder, let alone a nigh-messianic savior-of-mankind War Emperor.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife : Gender Flipped. He is remarkably attractive and intelligent. T.Sayuen is scrawny, uncommonly stupid, and maimed.
- Hero-Worshipper : The longer Chaireedi serves Iuki, the more devoted he becomes. Some people who don't know Iuki or Chaireedi very well start thinking Chaireedi is a bit stalkerish.
- Living Emotional Crutch : In the latter days of Iuki I's post-war reign, Chaireedi is his crutch as he faces deeper and darker bouts of depression.
- Living Forever Is Awesome : Given that everyone experiences this, Chaireedi just feels it moreso. It's like joie de eternal vivre Up to Eleven with him.
- Sunny Sunflower Disposition
- Arranged Marriage : She happens to enter her name into the Court matchmaker's roster at the same time as Emperor Iuki Yohana does...
- Culture Clash : She is very deeply rooted in her native, matriarchal Phoenixwell customs, so getting married to a male Dragonweller of vastly superior rank (who already has a permanent partner and was far, far too young to normally consider getting married) is uncomfortable at first.
- Fish out of Water : She gets stuck assigned to the Dragonwell Court after the outbreak of the League War makes court transfers impossible for mid-level courtiers.
- Pet the Dog : After months of reluctance and standoffish coldness towards I.Yohana, on the day of the expensive state wedding Amintef is sick with the flu and the whole thing has to be postponed. Iuki comforts her and she finally admits she's happy to be marrying him. He then cries his eyes out with relief, as he had thought she hated him and was only marrying him out of necessity.
- Cool Big Sis : Acts like this to Iuki when they are both Princes, and later gets adopted by Iuki's mother for dynastic purposes.
- Didn't See That Coming : Many assume that since she's not related by blood to the Yohana family that she's not a high-ranked weathermaker like many of them are. That would be a wrong assumption. A.Warren, for all her strategic vision, gets a lightning bolt to the chest when she dismisses Thayyem for a Badass Normal.
- Nightmare Fetishist : She enjoys telling scary stories to anyone who will listen, and sometimes sets her victims up in advance for maximum scare value.
- Phrase Catcher : "Stop Helping Me!" Being Genre Savvy, she's very good at giving you exactly the help you need, in the most annoying and humiliating manner possible. While eating an ice cream.
- Shock and Awe : Because her weathermaker training ends up being a bit patchy, for a long time she relies heavily on the basic technique of manipulating relative electical charges between objects — so her signature skill is zapping stuff and people with lightning.
- Sleepyhead : The Court affectionately calls her "the Napping Prince", a name which sticks even after her highly successful post-war reign. Despite the rumors, she is not actually narcoleptic.
- Third Eye : She has a prophets'-mark third eye on her forehead. Before the unSealing, it remains static, open just a crack, and most people assume it's just a tattoo, unless they see it up close and notice what color it is. After the unSealing, it becomes quite animated, blinking nearly as often as Thayyem's normal eyes.
- Unexpected Successor : Although almost everyone was anticipating Iuki Yohana I's abdication, the Council Quorum decided to use the emergency succession line when Iuki went through an emotional breakdown rather suddenly.
- Determinator : She gets shot in the knee by a would-be assassin, and surgeons cannot save her leg. When asked to deliver a speech upon her return to the throne, she gives one: "I serve."
- Downer Beginning: The assassination attempt occurs less than two years into her reign. The first thing she says when she wakes up in the hospital is, "I haven't done anything to deserve this yet."
- Embarrassing First Name : She always, always gets asked if she was named for the city, which, obviously, she was. Until after her reign, when children ask her if the city was named after her.
- The Idealist : About on par with Yuki as he was before the war.
- I Did What I Had to Do : Most of her highly unpopular, world-devastating decisions were made out of partial necessity, like relocating the Imperial capitol when the city it's in is threatened by massive earthquakes.
- Sucksessor : She ends up taking the most flack for this, although all of the Yohanas after Thayyem weren't fantastic rulers.
- Zen Survivor : She haunts the fringes of Sejayon IX's court being this.
- Shrinking Violet : After having a stroke as a toddler, he suffers from minor brain damage which makes it difficult for him to speak to and relate to people.
- Embarrassing Nickname : The Phoenixwellers he grew up among didn't like how his traditional Dragonweller name was pronounced, so they started calling him Sebastian. Once he comes of age, he forbids anyone but his family to use that name.
- God-Emperor : Most of this dynasty qualify, but he's the first of them to wear both his political power and his other power openly at the same time.
- Guns in Church : "When's the last time you saw an Emperor handling naked steel in open Court?" He has the somewhat startling (but not unprecedented, given most of the St.-Clares) custom of giving and receiving fine weaponry as royal gifts.
- Heroic Vow Catcher : "Do you know how many people are sworn to him? I mean personally, hand-in-hand sworn to him, not just Service or House oaths. Do you know how many of those people are Great Names?" The answer is literally staggering to most people who hear it.
- Must Have Caffeine : Some of his Court suggest that his epithet be "the Prince of Coffee", but it doesn't stick because his other epithet is cooler: The Emperor of Shadows.
- The Southpaw : But he pretends to be right-handed when he fences before witnesses.
- Doubly helpful when he gets the index and middle fingers of his right hand severed in a sword-fight to which he only brought weatherwork. People who don't know he's left handed think he's out of the game for the duration.
- When She Smiles : He usually wears a mild expression of melancholy, and with his ancestry, it's a given that he's considered very attractive. If he smiles, it also tends to mean something really awesome is about to happen all at once.
- Heroic B.S.O.D. : During which he called an emotionally frail sitting Emperor (who happens to be right outside the door) an emotionless automaton ("pretty little Emperor doll"). Leads promptly to a minor Succession Crisis, as said Emperor had a BSOD of his own a long time in the making.
- Overly Long Name : His full name is Ering Suvalesse Koptche-Shadya Ektolt.
- The Fog of Ages : Has forgotten most of is past, despite it being... "interesting".
- Mean Boss : The Servants' Corps laments her leadership style, but her real victims are technically her superiors, who she keeps strictly in line on points of Protocol and the linens budget.
- Nightmare Fetishist : Her creative input into the annual Courtly theatre games usually results in wholesale character slaughter, large batch orders of fake blood, and bizarre puppetry. Needless to say, she gets along famously with Thayyem Hetonkang Yohana.
- Old Retainer : For the Dragonwell Court. Notably gets left behind when the Imperial Court relocates to Phoenixwell.
- Training from Hell : Heaven help you if you get roped into performing in a theatre game and don't have any recent acting, singing, or dancing experience.
The Imperial Court - Post-War Crisis
Prince Omisemilha Winh : Break the Cutie, Hormone-Addled Teenager
- The Chew Toy : Chirilinjit gets his friends to host a welcoming party for Winh at which they accidentally serve food to which he is allergic. Winh spends the night puking his guts out. This is the start of his difficulties, and probably the least of them, since six months after he arrives, things on Dragonwell begin to go very badly for everyone.
- Lonely Rich Kid : With both parents overburdened by civil service duties, Winh was raised mostly by his hilarious cousins the minor Princes, an assortment of aristocrats who were out of favor and thus out of work, his school teachers, and servants.
- Naïve Newcomer : To the Imperial Court.
- Their First Time / Boldly Coming : Since he's underage when he comes to Dragonwell to serve as a courtier-representative of the newly-minted House of Winh, he has to petition the Imperial Household Agency's matchmaker to set him up with a first partner. Although Hllai sex customs differ considerably from Dragonwell's, Omisemilha decides to do it Dragonwell-style. The Agency matchmaker decides to pair him up with the guy they originally assigned to tour him around the Palace and look after him until he'd settled in... Chirilinjit Fujiwara.
- This Is Gonna Suck : He grew up on Hllaitel in the aftermath of a traumatic inter-House conflict, the desertification of a once-temperate world, and major economic collapse, so when the Imperial Court starts packing up to leave Dragonwell, major cities go under general strikes, and mysterious earthquakes trouble the capitol, he's pretty sure what's about to happen isn't going to be fun.
- Proud owner of A Degree in Useless, although he's also got a ninth-rank civil service certificate... the level that the average high school senior can pass.
- Schmuck Bait : The lower civil service certificates are the only ones that come as impressive-looking documents worthy of framing and putting on a wall... but it would be a little embarassing to display one, because the reason they're display-worthy is that they come with no inherent authority, whereas upper certs are small, unassuming cards that have embedded access chips in them.
- Let's Get Dangerous! : He takes levels in several different respects during the crisis.
- Professional Slacker : The only reason he's even in this cast herd is because he works as a servant in the Prefect's Court... everyone else is an actual, functioning member of the bureaucracy.
- Sexy Mentor : He's originally assigned to be Winh's tour guide and advisor for his first quarter at Court, but the Household Agency gets lazy about actually finding a match for Winh and asks Fujiwara to do it. Fujiwara has no objections, and eventually, neither does Winh.
- Weak-Willed : He will follow anyone who remotely looks like they know what they're doing.
- A Courier : A low-ranked one until he gets his break in the Diplomatic Service.
- Erudite Stoner : When drunk, he gets philosophical. Richard de'Madira claims that Fujiwara can defeat him in logical argumentation (sometimes) with the correct application of mild psychedelics.
- Kid Sidekick : Becomes this to Ambassador Richard de'Madira, who teaches him the finer points of diplomatic dissipation, drunken badassery, and Gambit Pileup.
- Sibling Incest : Mainstream Dragonwell culture does not frown upon consensual same-sex sibling incest (as Dragonwellers have come to be quite literal about why incest is taboo — to prevent genetic inbreeding), and Yshult and Chirilinjit are off-and-on with each other.
- Take a Level in Badass : With a hero of two violent revolutions as his mentor, he couldn't not take a level. Yshult being Yshult, his evolved form is a Badass Bureaucrat with Scary Shiny Glasses.
- Desk Jockey : Being one in the age of the crisis is no guarantee of niceties like not getting shot at or caught up in uncontrolled riots.
The Guildhall/Saolo Last Destiny
The Guildhall is a Mildly Military aerospace outfit formed from an offshoot of the more conventional Guild. Headquartered in the House of Saolo, Guildhall uses Unusual User Interface to test advanced aerospace hardware for use throughout the rest of the Empire. Said interface causes Disability Superpowers in the form of a seizure disorder similar to epilepsy. On the up side, pilots have Universal Drivers Licenses and Improbable Piloting Skills, and are widely admired as Chick Magnet badasses. On the other downside, they're an unruly, trigger-happy pack of inveterate adrenaline junkies who can be relied upon to nearly get themselves killed any chance they get.Lord-Founder Jui "Inkstone" Reinhardt, Warlord, Pilot 1st Rank : Military Maverick, Ace Pilot, Benevolent Boss
- Authority Equals Asskicking : In a universe where this tends to be played straight, Reinhardt is the kind of guy who ends up getting dragged through the dirt by people who expect him to be a badass because he's a "Great Name". In a space-fighter duel, however, played beautifully straight.
- Hard Head : He, like all Guildhall pilots, heals from traumatic brain injuries in mere hours because of the implants in his brain that manage his epilepsy.
- My Children Are Dead : Before the Red Revolution, he had a number of kids with various lovers. Most of his lovers were in the Service and most of his children entered it. After his wife Telsalem, an Air Warden, and his son Nesha were tortured and murdered by the Red Regime, Reinhardt gave up having a family for good and never looked back.
- Rummage Sale Reject : A walking example of this trope; sometimes combines it with Custom Uniform.
- Subordinate Excuse : Takes an age to pay off, but he eventually falls in love with I.Yohana, who reciprocates.
- The Older Immortal : He's actually older than even he thinks, having erased his birthdate from records and then forgotten it. He's lived through all of Imperial history and a substantial bit of pre-Imperial history.
- Ace Pilot : Moreso than most of the rest of these characters (she's what's known as a Valkyrie), although her call sign originates from an incident that resulted in a navigational satellite burning up in unplanned atmospheric reentry. Oops.
- Cool Loser : As a Valkyrie, it's impossible for her not to be cool, and yet...
- Disability Superpower : In addition to the usual epilepsy suffered by Guildhallers, Amanita is blind. This actually gives her an advantage at flying full-interface.
- Iron Buttmonkey : After joining the service at the unlucky age of 11 (after missing the exams at the more conventional ages of 9 and 10), she comes down with a pandemic infection and loses her sight before she ever reaches puberty. Despite her obvious skill as a pilot, she lands in two or three extremely embarassing situations per decade.
- Headphones Equal Isolation : Well, no. She has a habit of listening to music in headphones or her auditory implants, getting bored of whatever she's working on, and serenading people or making them dance with her. Then wandering off, leaving amusement and/or bafflement in her wake.
- Hypocritical Humor : She is absolutely notorious for it. Literally nobody can figure out whether she's being ironic or not.
- Improvised Weapon : When the going gets tough, she hauls out a shovel. She owns one because she frequently does community service for her religious sect. That doesn't explain why she keeps it in the cockpit of her Cool Plane, though.
- Religious Bruiser : When T.Sayuen is promoted to be Soros' Vice Captain, Soros is somewhat baffled as to how to order around a Physical God who is also the highest religious authority around. Eventually gets used to the idea and consecrates Sayuen's guildsman.
- Awesome, but Impractical : Whenever he gets involved in planning training missions, they end up being things like bicycle-mounted paintball deathmatches. Not that Dooriji or Soros wouldn't have come up with ideas like his, they just don't think of such things first.
- fond of Mucking in the Mud and Horrible Camping Trips
- Not a Morning Person : Not! One thing most people appreciate about his camping trips is that no matter how badly wrong they go (and they don't go wrong that often), Tolleek will always let everyone sleep as late as they like.
- Cultured Warrior : Most Guildsmen play instruments (not necessarily well) but Yuhnau is actually pretty good at it, and plays several.
- Embarrassing First Name : He goes by his callsign or Yuhnau. Only people who want to annoy him call him "Cocoroa".
- But I Can't Be Pregnant! : Being a hermaphrodite, he's on the giving and receiving end of this trope because he just doesn't learn from his mistakes.
- The Quiet One : In terms of volume; if he's not taking Refuge in Audacity, he's speaking quietly enough that you can barely hear him over the engine noise. When he is taking refuge... "I had no idea he could even raise his voice, let alone shout like that!"
- Refuge in Audacity : "YOU CAN'T KILL ME, I'M FUCKING IMMORTAL!"
- Weak, but Skilled : Of Lunaweller stock, he's short, slight, and has a distinct disadvantage in ability to build muscle, but he still manages to scrape together a few in-service martial arts titles.
- Blind Jump : She is the only weathermaker known to have pulled off a regenerative chain of instantaneous long transits to travel between planets in hours rather than days. She repeatedly asserts that she will never attempt it again, that nobody else should try it, and that she was astronomically lucky to have survived doing it even once, where even one primary calculation error would have resulted in her becoming a ten light-year-long splatter of subatomic particles and possibly annihilating anything in the way.
- Cargo Ship : Like many Guildsmen, she has unusually deep relationships with the vehicles she owns, but she's especially attached to the bright blue Kospina three-wheeler she was able to buy new after an extended stay in the hospital meant her pay accumulated without her being able to waste it all on nothing in particular.
- Perpetual Poverty : Despite getting the same salary as any other vice-captain in the service.
- Plucky Comic Relief : If she's not giving orders, she's cracking jokes.
- Took a Level in Badass : Before the weatherwar, she was notionally a fourth-ranked weathermaker. During the weatherwar, she joins everyone else in the race to the top of the power classes and becomes a first-ranker.
- Cloudcuckoo Lander : From a young age, he's often off by himself lost in thought and striking odd poses or dancing to himself.
- Embarrassing Nickname : All of his callsigns are disappointing to him. The stickiest nickname is the most embarrassing: "Wait, why are you giving me a callsign based on my wingman?" "Because her callsign is too cool to replace." "You're goddamn joking."
- Major Injury Underreaction : "Wow, the lower rail of my control frame is impaled in my arm. That would probably explain the blood all over my HUD."
- Skewed Priorities : In another, unrelated incident, "Help me get this vest off, I don't want to bleed all over it. It's brand new!"
- Noodle Incident : After being shot down over an uninhabited continental forest, a version of the story of Muh's seven month survival there becomes the stuff of (hilarious) fleet legend, and the source of a new callsign ("Treehouse", which gets replaced after a few years). Muh being Muh, he wasn't adversely affected by spending seven months without another soul for ten thousand miles in all directions.
- Running Gag : Is Osiris his wingman, or is Muh' Osiris' wingman? Ends when Osiris gets promoted to Vice (and becomes Soros' wingman) and the entire squadron gets rearranged.
- Sharp Dressed Man : Even crossdressed. Muh decides from day one that in a service where Custom Uniform is normal, wearing the uniform precisely according to regulations is acceptably unusual.
- Anonymous Benefactor : After the incident that resulted in T.Sayuen losing her eye, Reym is responsible for ordering secret protection for her and her squadmates. Later, outside of Reym's control, the Metchalc decide to keep an eye on Sayuen for other reasons — eventually saving her life.
- Signature Move : He has a talent for moving quickly, accurately, and elegantly in microgravity.
- Tragic Dream : He wanted to go out for Guildhall, but settled for grunt-work espionage after failing the exam and running out of money. Now, his choice to join a Sacred Society of ambiguous legality prevents him from trying out for Guildhall again — so now he settles for fanboying the 'Hall from the other side.
The Navy - League War
Admiral Yun Ianrik : Punch-Clock Hero, Black Sheep
- A Father to His Men : He plays with this. Notorious for "adopting" and reforming trouble-making midshipmen and reading them bedtime stories as punishment for bad behavior when they land themselves in the brig or infirmary. Captive audience, indeed.
- Arranged Marriage : Joined the Navy to escape his.
- Honor Before Reason : He's stationed in the House of Saolo during the Sihalese Crisis and ships out with the Saolo Taskforce. When his old ship the Titan is found to be among the ships being used by the Alliance to conduct brutal civil war on Sihaya, Ianrik is given permission to capture it or destroy it at any cost.
- Token Minority : Male Admiral in a service dominated by a matriarchal culture.
- Red Baron : "The Ice Queen" for his reputation for practically sub-zero cool-headedness in battle. Unlike his son, he's not a Defrosting Ice Queen.
- You Must Be Cold : He's sometimes on the receiving end of this trope because he is (and everyone who knows him knows he is) always cold aboard ship and is sometimes seen carrying around or wearing a blanket or a big fluffy non-regulation sweater under his waistcoat. This is the more humorous explanation for his nickname.
- Badass Normal : No ability for weatherwork whatsoever, but he still manages to hold his own in a fleet battle against Founders.
- Call to Agriculture : After the war he retires to a monastery famous for its vertically-integrated beer brewery.
- Oblivious to Love : Does this to Ianrik, and, more tragically, one of his original followers Inn'a D. Hnetal, who confesses in his last dying breath.
- Master Swordsman : His one greatest vice is showing this off in the dojo, much to the dismay of the senior lieutenants who have to spar with him.
- Red Baron : They call him "The Bloody Dragon Tachibana" for his reputation as a swordsman and a brilliant fighting-frigate captain.
- Yaoi Guys : "Do you know where the Captain is?" "I think he's breaking some fraternization regulations with the Admiral." "I'm going to forget you said that."
- eventual owner of An Alleged Boat which she goes about restoring in a somewhat desultory fashion during her long, war-profit supported retirement.
- Annoying Laugh : Loud, wheezy, raspy, and rarely the same sound twice. And she laughs a lot.
- Culture Clash : With pretty much all four of her direct subordinates, and sometimes the Captain as well. In particular, cultural attitudes towards minor physical violence differ, and neither Sayuen nor Soonrik appreciate how ready she is to hit them. (Dragonwellers only accept that kind of thing between very intimate friends, and Babylonians consider it an affront to personal honor.)
- Cultured Warrior : Her original occupation is potter, and her hobbies include hand embroidery. During less exciting stretches of the war, most of the crew get elaborate embroidery on their uniforms courtesy of her boredom. Not, however, an Officer and a Gentleman: she is assertively working class.
- Limited Advancement Opportunities : Senior First is the ultimate glass ceiling for officers who choose to attach themselves to a fighting-frigate captain. Mem only gets here because Tachibana's old group of followers got killed off.
- My Girl Is a Slut : Descends from a long and distinguished line of upper-middle-class courtesans.
- Royally Screwed Up : He and his father, Yun Ianrik, are runaways from a tightly-knit clan into which Ianrik was married off by his family out of annoyance at his youthful irresponsibility.
- The Fog of Ages : Averted, her eidetic memory interferes with her life on a regular basis.
- The Load : Forced to play this when injured and stranded inside a derelict colony.
- You Can't Go Home Again : She gets stranded on a Dragonwell arcology during the post-war crisis and cannot return to her home planet Trauwerot in the House of Sihaya. Fortunately, Trauwerot escapes some of the worst of the fighting and Bosri's hometown is left intact.
- Ascended Fanboy : Basically a spaceship nerd.
- Dead Person Conversation : She dies in the first seconds of the battle, but nobody finds out until hours later. Katow, dead and passing into the relays, speaks with Inn'a Hnetal, who is bleeding to death and certain to go soon. Hnetal mentions the fact that Katow has died before he confesses his love to the captain and expires.
- Ramming Always Works: A victim in the hands of an especially stupid enemy berserker who decided against all intelligence and common sense to the contrary that he could actually damage a frigate's engines by ramming them.
- Apathetic Teacher : He (counterproductively) presents this facade towards the school faculty who don't like him, and realizes he's not that interested in teaching as a career, but he genuinely cares about the students and works well with the rest of the teachers.
- Badass Teacher : When he begins teaching, it quickly comes out that his main career is in the Navy, so people assume he's a badass. He is, but only incidentally to being a Naval officer.
- Living Toys : Upon coming back from the dead, he has a choice of what kind of artificial body to live in... and for a while, he lives in a specially-designed doll about six inches tall and adorable. Leads to some angst over the Uncanny Valley when he moves into a full-sized android body and finds it just human enough to creep him out while living in it.
- One Degree of Separation : He taught at Iuki Yohana's upper school before the League War began.
- Rescued from the Underworld : When Iuki Yohana makes a pilgrimage to Junction Machine Core to attempt to verify the death of Tseng Sayuen, the first of the dreaming-dead he meets is Hnetal. Hnetal decides to release himself from the Machine Core using Yohana's powers, never imagining that he might be the first of a flood of consciousnesses to reenter the world...
- Subordinate Excuse : Falls hard for Alexander Tachibana. Conceals it well, but not so well that Tachibana should have failed to notice for as long as he did.
- Young Future Famous People : A complicated example.
- Another teacher at his school realizes that one of the people in the archive video she used to teach about the Red Revolution was Hnetal, recorded giving up the names (invented, of course) of fellow rebels after having been tortured.
- After Hnetal ends up having been a major influence in the early life of an Emperor, he becomes a very minor celebrity and retires from teaching, having not liked it that much anyway.
- After that, he tries as hard as he can to not become famous as one of the first people to come back from the dead by releasing himself from the Machine Core, mainly because of the yet-unresolved societal implications.
The Navy - Gosc Waystation
The Imperial Gosc Waystation is a medium-sized station in orbit around the House of Sihaya planet Gosc, in the starsystem of the same name. Strategically important because of its placement between one major territory of the Consortium and another on a major relay trunkline, the Waystation sees surprisingly little action until after the end of the League War. Then, during the invasion of the Consortium by its rivaling neighbor Houses, the Waystation sees more action than any of its people ever wanted to see, starting with an opportunistic pirate attack, the brief retreat of the House-in-exile to its environs, and concluding with a fleet action resulting the destruction of a relay node in its vicinity.Admiral Iruu Hesh-Tmella : Non-Action Guy, Impoverished PatricianAdmiral Sendaywi "Sindwa" Tllay Ponsuora : The Captain, Blood Brothers (with Umarna)
- Badass Bookworm : Every space she occupies is jammed with paper books, some of which she borrowed from you and probably won't give back.
- Bile Fascination : When Umarna's luck goes bad (as it often does), Ponsuora gets involved whether he wants her to or not, simply to soak up some of the damage. Umarna-related train wrecks tend to be painful rather than silly.
- Cultured Warrior : Aside from being extravagantly well-read, she sings with the Waystation's choir.
- Geeky Turn-On : A mutual example of this is how she ends up sleeping with Ambassador R.de'Madira's new attache.
- Gondor Calls for Aid : Pirates opportunistically attack the station during the height of the Sihalese civil crisis. Wounded and covered in her own blood, Ponsuora makes a desperate broadcast for help and throws in a rather vivid oath of allegiance to the Sihaya Consortium. Those who still cling to control of the shredded Sihalese relay system make the message go... everywhere. And Ponsuora becomes, briefly, an icon of the crisis.
- Mood-Swinger : Averted in the sense that she has a real-world cyclic mood disorder, high emotional lability, and extreme neophilia.
- Praetorian Guard : After swearing allegiance to the House of Sihaya in a broadcast message that lit up most of the relay system, Archduke R.Nekulandr rewards her loyalty with, among other things, the right to Pawitduori personal guards. She tells them quite frankly that to guard her life is to guard the life of Umarna, no matter what. And the station comes first. Although they do protect Umarna the same as her, she can never convince them of the latter point; their ancient laws say otherwise, and if push came to shove, they wouldn't let either her or Umarna to go down with the ship. If pressed for an answer, a Pawitjad will lie.
- Rule of Fun : This is how she runs her life. And her career, after she realizes she isn't going anywhere rank-wise and probably never will.
- Bile Fascination : Built a working relationship with Sendaywi Ponsuora based initially on this. Frequently plays along with her just to see where she's going with it. Ponsuora-related train wrecks tend to be silly rather than painful, unfortunately for Umarna's dignity.
- Dissonant Serenity : He's at his best when he's less than four hours away from a hot bath... or when covered in blood and ash and unspeakable problems.
- Got Volunteered : Both he and Ponsuora are given command of corvettes (which have been temporarily converted into gunboats) for lack of suitable commanders, despite both of them being stationsiders.
- Let's Get Dangerous! : The following exchange precedes a legendary demonstration of Imperial Naval firepower.Sendaywi: "What did that filthy pirate call us, Tignan?"Tignan: "Refresh my memory, Sindwa."Sendaywi: "He called us desk jockeys. You're sitting on about as much firepower as I am right now — a shitload — do you feel like a desk jockey?"
- Not My Lucky Day : Has a habit of lampshading it, much to the irritation of his co-workers and staff.
- Sharp Dressed Man : All of his uniforms are better-kept than most officers' best sets, and when he's in civvies he works even harder at it. He is quite vain.
- Ensign Newbie : When S.T.Ponsuora and T.T.Umarna were assigned to the Gosc Waystation, the previous Admiral departed with her followers, leaving unfilled gaps in the senior staff. D.Thandii attempted to fill in as Senior Second, but couldn't keep up. Sungun arrives clueless as to the fact that both of his new superiors and his new subordinate are... volatile.
- Flat "What." : It's almost his Catch-Phrase.
- Noodle Incident : Sungun keeps in touch with people he's served with in other commands and they think that his life on the Gosc station is one long string of these.
- Police Procedural : When Sungun has to act as head of station security when Lt. Thandii is in the infirmary recovering from being drugged, everyone treats the investigation like this as they examine the truly bizarre circumstances surrounding how Thandii (and the other people in the cafeteria) got drugged in the first place.
- Sir Swearsalot : Sharply in contrast to Lt. Thandii, who is happy all the time, and Lt. Umarna, who is a bit snooty.
- You Are in Command Now : When Admiral Ponsuora and Lt. Umarna don't make it off the Waystation, Sungun finds himself in charge of the part of the evacuation fleet that obeyed orders to stay together, and must now figure out how to round up the part that didn't obey orders. He almost loses it at Thandii when she jokingly calls him "Admiral".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer : She looks and behaves like a teenager, but has trained herself to shift instantly into hardass-professional mode to get things done. Still, it's a little disconcerting for a tactical officer to be so bubbly.
- Da Chief : Head of station security as well as chief of weapons. This means she has to take cafe of the station's customs and shipping departments as well.
- Sniff Sniff Nom : Once, when fellow officers complain that the mess hall's rice dish tastes worse than usual, Thandii performs this test. Upon tasting the food, she immediately slaps the spork out of Lt. Umarna's hand, gets the mess hall locked down, and has a medical emergency declared, because she can taste that the rice has a massive dose of something in it. The something turns out to be an illegal hallucinogen a cafeteria worker was trafficking through the station's supply shipments.
- Street Smart : Has a considerable degree of this. Also, for an officer with a fairly clean record, she knows a lot about crime, vice, and fraud from the wrong end of things.
- Desk Jockey : As chief of medicine aboard the station, his duties are more bureaucratic in nature, so he's lost his clinical touch. This is very unhelpful when he ends up being the last doctor on the station after nearly three hundred people get left behind by an only mostly successful evacuation, and many of those people, including the two in charge, are hurt.
The House of Sihaya
The Nekulandr Dynasty : Dead Little Sister (On a galactic scale. Dead little planet perhaps? Dead little billions of innocent citizens?)Archduke Elahendra Nekulandr I : Voice of the Resistance, Sophisticated as Hell
- Big Labyrinthine Building: Before he was an aristocrat, he designed arcologies and space colonies.
- Cool Garage : He collects antique guildsmen and refurbishes them himself. More like a Cool Hangar then.
- Driven to Suicide : After the League War and before he abdicates, he spends two years daydreaming nearly constantly of his own death in increasingly creative ways.
- I Banged Your Mom : Long, long after he retires from the Sihalese aristocratic service, he goes to Phoenixwell and becomes attached to Emperor Sejayon Yohana, grandson of Iuki Yohana... with whom Elahendra slept several times. Although this kind of thing isn't especially uncommon in an immortal Free-Love Future, it still leads to some snickering, because Courts run on salacious gossip.
- Manchild : His default setting, which means he probably constitutes a The Wonka.
- Mean Boss : Perfectionist and stern, he doesn't put up with crap from the aristocracy or the civil service. For a while, his adoptive princes (and his adoptive parent Elahendra) are the only people in his Court who genuinely like him — and since people like them, they're willing to put up with him.
- Not So Stoic / Tear Jerker : "You— you've killed my children." This is arguably the turning point for public opinion to go unreservedly in support of Sihaya.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits : During the invasion, he has to cobble together a squadron of starships to evacuate his Court and household from its homeworld. It eventually turns into the largest fleet of ships ever assembled in Imperial history.
- Dumb Struck : Becomes more or less mute after three of her adoptive siblings are killed in the Sihalese civil war. Coupled with a heavy dose of Survivor Guilt.
- Not Herself : Her two-month tenure as Warlord of the Sihalese Navy is marked by the above-mentioned muteness as well as generally creepy, mercurial emotionality, when ordinarily she's a fairly level-headed, talkative person.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized : Drives out the people who invaded her House with extreme prejudice.
- Artificial Human : Of the "AI living inside a robot body" variety. Despite not needing to sleep more than a couple hours a day, her favorite thing to do on days off (of which she partakes the same number as her organic colleagues) is sleep until midday then go out for breakfast.
- Cloudcuckoo Lander : When she first took up residence in her robot body, the sensations were far, far too intense for a being that had until then been experiencing only vague impressions and interpretations of the physical world — so her doctors dialed everything down to the lowest settings and she walked around in a clumsy daze while they slowly introduced her sensory inputs.
- Do Androids Dream? : "I was born dreaming, actually."
- Big Damn Heroes : Interestingly, one of her convictions is that if she and her guards ever have to do this, it's because they failed at their primary mission: to remain on the Archduke's heels protecting them at every moment of the day.
- Old Retainer : For all of the Archdukes of the House of Sihaya. Noted for doing some of their Dirty Business for them as well as playing Back-to-Back Badasses with more than a couple, when the shit really starts hitting the fan.
- Servile Snarker : Especially towards the more serious and sober Archdukes.
The Restoration and the Revolution
Warlord Antony Seherithan : Jerk Ass
- Changing of the Guard : Seherithan got his start in politics when Prince Jocaine (see House of Phoenixwell section below) decided to push her male secretaries, ordinarily doomed to end their careers at a glass ceiling, into becoming serious politicians. People often forget that when he became Archduke, he was still ruling under the Jocaine name and dynasty and only ruled under his own name after his Imperial coup.
- Not Quite the Right Thing : Towards the end of his fraught reign, he deposes half a dozen Houses on flimsy grounds, abusing the rules he himself wrote for Imperial power, and in the process ruined countless lives and inflicted grave instability on a dozen worlds.
- Not So Different : Part of what tipped him over into mental illness was the realization that many of his pragmatic compromises were, practically speaking, just tacit versions of the oppressive rules that had been explicit under the tyrants he deposed.
- There Are No Therapists : There were therapists, but Antony drove them away by being an utter dick to each and every one, even before his mental illness became very serious.
- Walking the Earth : He went to ground and later became the leader of a grey-market smuggling fleet.
- Best Served Cold : His revenge against Seherithan will probably remain unrequited; Seherithan has fallen so far that he may never again have anything worth taking.
- Humiliation Conga : Gets put through this by A.Seherithan, who disgraces him personally, then disgraces his entire House, then brings down almost every other friend Talliser has ever had.
- Despair Event Horizon : When Seherithan crosses the Moral Event Horizon by asking Yukady to serve on firing squads continuously for day after day of executions, Yukady eventually loses it and attempts to murder Seherithan — given that he'd fired his round already, it was assumed that he planned on beating Seherithan to death with the butt of the gun.
- Reformed, but Rejected : Some of what got his House disgraced and disbanded was his fault, but even after fixing everything and making good with the people he wronged, the Empire would not redeem him or his House until the affairs in question were historical footnotes.
- The Cameo : He puts in token appearances in plot lines that have nothing to do with him.
- Foreign-Language Tirade : Freak him out enough and you might be on the receiving end of one. He forgets his Courier-tongue entirely when sufficiently hysterical, and only a Bright Slap (or three) can bring him back to normal.
- Gambit Pileup : He is the original architect of the Imperial Diplomatic Service, and much of its tendency to resemble this trope is his doing.
- Impoverished Patrician : Despite being one of the original sons of the first Madiran dynasty, the current House bureaucracy repeatedly tries to take his name from him if he fails to keep up the steady stream of patronage works required of House clients. Normal clients have a family name to fall back on if their service lapses; Richard's family name is Madira. Pointing this out sometimes helps.
- The Storyteller : Can sometimes be found holding court with a rapt audience of anyone and everyone. Part of his talent for diplomacy is building narratives.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen : Within the reign of one Duke of Taigne, Sinclair goes from serving as highly-respected and well-paid advisor to getting beaten, given inadequate medical care that will stick with him the rest of his life, and kicked out of the Duke's Court to a life of scraping by on disability. Meanwhile Richard, in a similar position, gets arrested, exiled, roundly abused by immigration authorities, sneaks back onto the planet, and sinks deeply into the life of the underground. Admittedly they both mostly deserved it.
- Made of Iron : He looks like a frail old man and has a bad limp, but he can survive just about anything.
- The Masochism Tango : Before he and R.de'Madira were fated to be partners in love and chess, Richard deceived Sinclair into believing he was going to send aid to fix Taigne's dysfunctional dynasty for two and a half years. When Sinclair found out he'd been strung along, he became angry, jaded, and unstable but continued to share Richard's bed (to Richard's extreme dismay). By the time Antony shows up to Bright Slap everyone he can lay hands on, they've worked out their personal issues Because Destiny Says So. Mostly.We've always been each others' favorite victims.
- More Dakka : His strategy to compensate for his mediocre aim. "Is that backpack full of ammo?" "And spare guns."
- Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain : He straddles the fence between "corrupt politician who happens to get good things done for self-serving reasons and good PR" and "good-hearted politician who does terrible things out of necessity to remain in power and protect everyone from the much worse guys standing in the wings".
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner : As he faces down a firing squad, "I probably deserve this." Promptly rescued by his younger brother who demands the truth from him, or else he'll fire the killing shot himself.
- Hidden Depths : Now she's a grungy, unambitious wanderer living off of her own trust fund and working for the sake of getting dirty, but during the Seherithan Restoration she commanded epic galactic fleets.
- Non-Idle Rich : She hates donating money to causes, even though she has buckets of it, but loves doing volunteer work, especially if it involves physical labor like ditchdigging and piling up sandbags.
- The Pig Pen : Claims to be allergic to soap.
- Walking the Earth : And showing up on friends' and relatives' doorsteps to occupy their couches at inconvenient moments. Happens mostly when she returns from lengthy stints of volunteer service.
- The Atoner : During the period of colonial expansion after the Revolution, he joins the Imperial Surveyors Service and lobbies hard that many of the most beautiful planets under his survey be designated natural preserves.
- Catch-Phrase : An inversion of the conventional surveyor's turn: "We are inadequate to this world's needs."
- Speech Impediment : Has a stutter from childhood which is made incurable by torture and seeing things that can never be unseen during the Revolution.
- Manly Tears : When agitated, his stutter gets bad enough that sometimes he just quits talking and cries... but who can blame him? This also tends to blunt the effects of his Jerk Ass tirades.
- Noodle Incident : Ask him about the various times in his post-Revolution career when he's had to wear his daughter's dresses... Gets to be Fetish Retardant once he pulls the knife as long as his forearm out of his skirt.
- Truly Single Parent : Eftulia is effectively a female clone of him, gestated in a jar. At the time, he was too misanthropic to even want to combine genes with anyone else, even an anonymous donor, let alone reproduce the old fashioned way.
- Action Duo : Eftulia is the brains of the operation, having only her marksmanship and razor wit, while Vincent is the brawn with the tactical skill, swordsmanship, physical strength, and hand-to-hand combat training.
- Earn Your Happy Ending : After Eftulia is born, Vincent recovers from the horrors of war while raising her. Once she is of age, they become permanent companions.
- It Runs in the Family : Like her father, Eftulia is a good singer, a (somewhat more charming) jerk, and has a less than healthy appreciation for hallucinogens.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold : Best seen when she is in the presence of her father, to whom she is devoted. She has no stutter, but if she's in the presence of Vincent, she'll sing and use sign language to converse, in order to help him feel less awkward about his disability.
- Lady Drunk : Complete with swagger, extremely obnoxious speaking style, and lack of social graces.
- Primal Scene : Since their shtick is doing lots of drugs and fighting crime together, and Eftulia is responsible for interrogations, sneaking around, and manipulation, it's usually up to her to do the seducing... but sometimes they run into a target who prefers men, and Vincent is less than adept in this arena. They feel awkward about not caring about how weird it is for a parent and child to be involved in each others' sex lives.
- Heroic Sacrifice : Murdering an Empress, even a genocidal maniac, doomed her to a life in exile. She proudly accepted her fate.
- Warrior Therapist : When A.Warren and G.Cross seem on the verge of submitting helplessly to death at the hands of a horde of assassins and bounty hunters, Maystrell motivates them to stand up and fight... by mowing down a number of the aforementioned assassins and successfully convincing Warren and Cross, who witnessed the bloody slaughter up close, "wasn't it just a little bit beautiful?"
The House of Phoenixwell
Archduke Miersec Fyerand : The Judge
- Determinator : Yank her livelihood from beneath her feet? She seeks and attains ultimate political power. Throw scandals at her and her loyal staff? She gets not only cleverer but more ruthless. Attempt to assassinate her and succeed at killing a third of her cabinet? Yeah, that wasn't a good idea either.
- Ignored Expert : "The only thing holding back our society from utter collapse is sumptuary laws. The citizenry is complacent to the point of somnambulism, the civil service is utterly corrupt, and the aristocracy is drinking itself to death while playing cards with the buttons from ancestors' coats. Scrap it all and start again, or I guarantee this century will not be pretty."
- Morality Adjustment : By the time she makes Grancaryen Jocaine a Prince, she has fully signed on with the egalitarian faction and is prepared to make Jocaine's male apprentices into fully-fledged aristocrats in their own right.
- Defrosting Ice Queen : After her years long disappearance, she matures out of her youthful uptightness and repression.
- Impoverished Patrician : Her austerity of dress began as a necessity in her youth, before her elder sister earned back a fortune for the family.
- Never Found the Body : She is believed dead in a bombing meant to assassinate the Colonial Lord she served under. Years later, she reappears with burn scars from the nape of her neck to her waist.
- Not So Invincible After All : Upon returning from her multi-year sabbatical, she sees a doctor for the first time since the explosion in the capitol and is diagnosed with malnutrition, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, and the cumulative effects of untreated injuries. She eventually undergoes surgery to have an artificial heart implanted — which has the inadvertent side-effect of enabling her to go back to her wine habit after quitting, as the cybernetic heart is perfectly immune to the effects of alcohol. She also later gets gene therapy to repair the hereditary components of alcohol addiction.
- She's Back : First when she comes "back from the dead", and then again much later, when she comes out of semi-retirement to serve as Emperor Sejayon Yohana's First Minister. The announcement makes everyone sit up and pay attention.
- Tabloid Melodrama : A few years after her apparent death, a number of her deeply personal diaries find their way into the hands of Phoenixwell's incredibly trashy press. The diaries cover a lot of Jocaine's complex emotional inner life; sadly, the public is only interested in Jocaine's years-long passionate and unconfessed love for H.Kostreidi, tenderly expressed in the diaries, but brutally sensationalized by the media.
- Walking the Earth : After her apparent death, she goes to ground in the dingiest parts of the city and lives as quietly as she can, moving from district to district and working odd jobs.
- Wine Is Classy: She is rarely seen without a glass of red wine in her hand until required by a doctor to quit drinking entirely.
- Addiction Displacement : After realizing her alcohol abuse is getting dangerous, she switches to caffeine, smoking, illegal duelling, and reckless driving. She later gives up the driving.
- Berserk Button : Her reaction to Jocaine's diaries getting leaked is less productive than Kostreidi's meticulous PR counter-campaign — Bheenchma refuses to read or listen to anything having to do with the diaries, and becomes violent towards anyone who gossips about them. This stems from the fact that Bheenchma had her own unrequited love for Jocaine, but also from the vivid memory of Jocaine's uncharacteristically and touchingly shy reaction to being asked what she was writing in those diaries.
- Blood on the Debate Floor : This is a recurring trope in PW politics, and one one occasion Bheenchma gets stabbed in the forearm with a mechanical pencil. This is the origin of the legendary video recording of then-Prince Jocaine being frog-marched across the legislature's atrium with an impressive amount blood on her shirt. It wasn't just Bheenchma's; Jocaine was very angry to see her Bheenchma hurt, reacted badly, and was collared with the rest of the rioters when the bailiffs charged in to restore order.
- Non-Idle Rich : While she does sink a lot of time and money into adventure travel, stickball matches, and other athletic pursuits, she also serves as a fairly useful mid-level courtier.
- One Drink Will Kill the Baby: After her mother demands an heiress, Trylagint finds that the only way she can tolerate the idea of getting pregnant is to get spectacularly drunk before attempting it. The alcohol may have been a factor in her inability to conceive — then again, she only tried once before telling her mother to piss up a rope.* Second Love : Jocaine's. Since Kostreidi is very definitely straight, it was nearly inevitable that Bheenchma and Jocaine fall in together.
- Think Nothing of It : When she meets Jocaine at university, she does her best to subtly support and feed the very poor young aristocrat who is unashamedly grateful for the charity.
- Transparent Closet : In a culture where same-sex relationships are seen as decadent and frivolous, Trylagint struggles to keep up the facade of a respectable Phoenixwell head-of-household.
- Combat Sadomasochist : She turns into one after renouncing her pacifism. It eventually lands her in prison, once Grancaryen motivates the government to stop treating its nobility with kid gloves.
- Extreme Doormat : Of the sort that coats the soles of your new favorite boots with tar and gets you in major trouble with the housekeeper. That is to say, Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight : Jocaine returns from the dead in high style by barging in on Kostreidi having dinner with her high-class social circle at the most exclusive restaurant in the capitol, challenging Kostreidi to a duel, then handily defeating her, despite Kostreidi being undefeated in a very long string of duels and considered nigh unbeatable. It's also after Jocaine's unrequited love for Kostreidi had been made embarassingly public.
- Love Redeems : After her arrest, conviction, and sentence to fifty years in prison, Lords Jocaine and Bheenchma visit her before she goes under lock and key. They renew their mutual pact of friendship and promise that Kostreidi, once released, will again be a member in good standing of their circle.
- Reluctant Warrior : The first few times she gets forced into fighting a duel, she dislikes it intensely and drinks to ease her anxiety. Unfortunately, alcoholism and anger issues run in the family.
- Stepford Smiler : After the apparent death of her close friend Grancaryen, Hanneluduch's gentleness and kindness dry up very quickly in the face of a brutal political situation. Complete with infuriating, passive aggressive, guilt tripping housewifely concern.
- Tabloid Melodrama : When Jocaine's very private diaries get made public in a very ugly attempt to discredit Kostreidi, even though by this time Kostreidi is almost completely unhinged, she manages to fend off accusations of homosexuality without ever once disrespecting the memory of her dead friend or expressing anything but the most neutral opinion about homosexuality in general.
- What Have I Done : Before her trials for a number of violent crimes, she goes through substance abuse counseling. Newly sober, she attends her first hearing and, for the first time, hears the full list of assaults, injuries, and terror she has inflicted in the last few years.
- Fish out of Water : A man from an egalitarian culture (Sihaya Consortium, specifically Kwen der Haaon), stranded on a matriarchal world — and worse, stuck under the patronage of the very traditionalist House Court.
- Foreign People Are Sexy : One of the (many) reasons he keeps leaving Kostreidi is because he (not entirely incorrectly) suspects her of desiring him just to fulfill her fetish for Sihalese things.
- Satellite Love Interest : One of the other reasons he keeps leaving Kostreidi is that all of her friends, family, colleagues, and rivals treat him like one. (In their defense, he sometimes acts pretty shallow.)
- Small Name, Big Ego : He's a decent, B-list composer and conductor back home, but his lengthy exile in the cultural void that is pre-Restoration Phoenixwell inflates his sense of self-worth far out of proportion to his talents.
The House of Shinera
Warlord Taiweihanya "Taiya" Shinera XXI : Retired Badass (complete with passion for gardening), Cold Sniper
- Call to Agriculture : She turns in regular hours maintaining the vast underground hydroponic gardens dug into the mountain behind her House's Palace.
- Combat by Champion : Duels between Houses (enforced in lieu of private civil wars in the Empire) are fought thus, but Taiya learns how to fly a plane expressly so that she can personally fight in the increasing number of duels Akri gets the House of Shinera involved in.
- Hollywood Atheist / Going Native : While commanding several legions in the pacification of the desertified planet Hllaitel, she converts from her native rain-worshiping religion to the local desertborn religion.
- Red String of Fate : She and Akri de'Sihaya were brought together by the same prophecy as Sinclair Taigne and Richard Madira.
- Combat by Champion : Blood-thirsty idiot that she is, she likes to fight Taiya's duels for her even though Taiya is perfectly capable.
- Gambit Pileup : She nearly gets poisoned once as a side-effect of a stupendously idiotic plot to hinder the House of Sihaya, of which she is 459th in line to the throne of by virtue of a dusty, forgotten old treaty.
- Idiot Ball : Has a habit of being right at the center of major interstellar diplomatic incidents. Why does Taiya bring her to Court anyways? The answer may be a perverse appreciation for conflict on Taiya's part.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In three words, she and Taiya's character concept is "Cynical Lesbian Warlords".
The Madiran Musicians
Calexi : in-'verse Production Posse, Rock Opera, True CompanionsTeto Huinling : Glamorous Wartime Singer, writes Crowning Music of Awesome
Molly Tollers : Hot-Blooded
Louise Tusser : The Stoic, Geek
Dinah Breakery : Cool Big Sis
Alosias Neen, Pilot 6th Rank : A local Guildhall pilot, friend of T.Sayuen
- Cloudcuckoolander : He's a stereotypical high-strung musical prodigy who has a long and storied history of burning himself out by overdoing everything. He can play five instruments at a master level, including a pipe organ. Sio Yanran just barely edges him out in comparison of vocal range and capacity for unnecessary histrionics.
- Delinquent : Before securing a scholarship to the prestigious Bana Hall Academy, she was a lackey in a gang. As a charity case, Yanran got pushed into the school's marginal underclass and made a name for herself as its leader.
- Glamorous Wartime Singer : She sometimes toys with this, but usually just ignores it.
- Impaled Palm : She does this to herself with a showpiece dagger while particularly wound up during a show, then smears the blood all over the place, including on her band-mates. They think it's a special effect and play along with it (it's that kind of show), until Yanran passes out cold on-stage mid-verse three songs later.
- Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters : Despite leading several legitimate careers, Yanran almost always holds some position of authority or influence in her home district's head family. In fact, a large chunk of Calexi's start up money derives from gang sponsorship.
- Beware the Nice Ones : "Jay's awake... and he's pissed off."
- Inga to Andrina: "Did you think I trained Jay just to have another pretty face in my entourage?"
- The Fashionista : The the point where he can go out in public incognito simply by dressing down... and does so frequently.
- Jumped at the Call : The greatest thing to ever happen to him was becoming able to do the same things in real life that he did as an actor in front of a greenscreen. When he keeps up his acting career, he sometimes does not only his own stunts, but his own special effects.
- Really Gets Around : The tabloid gossip is surprisingly accurate about his proclivities.
- All Drummers Are Animals : Everyone who knows him outside of Calexi harbors an odd inability to believe that Jouya is the drummer, because normally he's a classy, refined person. The reason he learned drums in the first place was to step out of the confines of his own persona.
- Call to Agriculture : In between design school and the launch of his career, he went to Dragonwell and spent a few decades working on a farm and developing his appreciation for food.
- The Dandy : The man is said to be made of pure class, and he looks the part by designing some of his wardrobe and tailoring the rest himself, although he also claims to be able to make literally any piece of clothing look good on himself or anyone else.
- Supreme Chef / Food Porn : He's a fanatical foodie who believes religiously in the importance of farm-fresh ingredients and Hot Blood, and is thus a perennial favorite on things like celebrity cooking shows.
- Unlimited Wardrobe : His main profession is clothing designer. In material terms, he's probably the most useful member of the band: he designs and builds their stage clothing and supplies them with considerable funding. He leverages his skills to get a cozy position during the League War as a supply sergeant making money on the side tailoring uniforms to perfection.
- Off the Wagon : His drug and alcohol binges make him the least useful member of the band, despite being the most popular and (except for Teto) the most naturally talented.
- Broke Episode : His life is this trope, despite being the leader of a commercially successful band who doesn't appear to spend money on any of the traditional rock star pursuits.
- Hot-Blooded : He is an absolute inversion of this trope, to the point where one wonders how the hell he happens to be the founding leader of aforementioned commercially successful band with such utter lack of drive and activity.
- Liz Lemon Job : Yanran is violent, Ybaki is a drug addict, Huinling is a histrionic artiste, and the fate of the
universeband hinges on Kengo being able to keep them (the talent) in line long enough to survive tours without anyone getting arrested.
Molly Tollers : Hot-Blooded
Louise Tusser : The Stoic, Geek
Dinah Breakery : Cool Big Sis
Alosias Neen, Pilot 6th Rank : A local Guildhall pilot, friend of T.Sayuen
- Badass Driver : Like many Guildsmen, Neen has a (stupendously expensive) side hobby that involves vehicles. In his case, he races ground vehicles of every possible description.
- Book Dumb : As many people note, the subtype of Guildhall pilots known as "rocket-jocks" are selected from their entrance exam results for being dumb, sturdy, and a little bit crazy. Neen is a quintessential rocket-jock in this respect.
- Ethical Slut : Part and parcel of his played-to-the-hilt Convoyer lifestyle.
- Geeky Turn-On : Cars, driving, and flying.
Considerable Numbers of Supporting Characters
Iuki Yohana's High School True Companions : A Five-Man Band of Troubled, but Cute teenagers in a Coming-of-Age Story
Kayo Sudatscher : The Hero, I Meant to Do That
Some Sihalese Folks
Dr. Haenlyn Velser : Omnidisciplinary Scientist, There Is No Kill Like Overkill, Little Hero, Big War
Dr. Baltasar Holliger : Genius Ditz, Little Hero, Big War
General Satsumiel Hatsukatchi : Disappeared with five fully-equipped legions without a trace of ever having existed into a Babylon wasteland after crashing the planetary satellite network, during the Red Revolution. An old friend of Harmandy Cross. A Four-Star Badass.
Kayo Sudatscher : The Hero, I Meant to Do That
- High School Rejects : He comes really close to sinking this far, but his crappy part-time job (eventually, after a really long time) leads to him starting his own business... which fails a couple times, but mostly due to stuff way out of his control, like massive earthquakes and uncontrolled city-wide riots.
- The Klutz : He always takes the first punch in any fight, but can often be relied upon to throw the last.
- Manly Tears : Unabashedly sentimental. He also likes the fact that the quickest way to get under Operou's skin is to start crying.
- By-the-Book Cop : Aside from his gang ties, he takes this to heart right up until the evacuation crisis puts him up against a Powder Keg Crowd and natural and civic disasters stacking on top of each other.
- I Am What I Am : In later life, he becomes a cop with illicit ties to the district family of the Old Public Grant.
- My God, What Have I Done? : During a particularly stressful month, he acts worse than usual towards everyone, including his friends. The tipping point is when he hits a teacher — Inn'a Hnetal, whom everyone including him likes — and realizes he's gone way out of line. Netta, being a Badass Teacher in his own right, is hardly impressed by the blow — but is very pleased with the result it has on Operou's behavior and performance in school.
- The Insomniac : Is what makes him insufferably short-tempered and completely unable to keep his grades up.
- Context Sensitive Berserk Button : She is prone to starting fights when even Operou doesn't think it's necessary, and Operou takes a liberal attitude towards "necessary". Operou tries to figure out her buttons, but doesn't really have the attention span necessary for the job — nor is he willing to endure the consequences of his experimentation, since Kurilaw is bigger and stronger than him.
- Dumbass Has a Point : Despite this, her grades are still disastrous.
- Hero Secret Service : First for DuKai, then for Yohana, then when she and Operou join the watch Kürilaw does this for him even though he usually doesn't need it.
- Brilliant, but Lazy : This is why he's in the same class as the rest of these guys. When he shows up for his exams, he gets nearly perfect scores, but he can often only be persuaded to do so out of perversity.
- Dull Surprise : Notorious for it. The school nurse sends him to several different psychologists, but none of them find anything pathological about his extreme laid-back-ness.
Some Sihalese Folks
Dr. Haenlyn Velser : Omnidisciplinary Scientist, There Is No Kill Like Overkill, Little Hero, Big War
Dr. Baltasar Holliger : Genius Ditz, Little Hero, Big War
General Satsumiel Hatsukatchi : Disappeared with five fully-equipped legions without a trace of ever having existed into a Babylon wasteland after crashing the planetary satellite network, during the Red Revolution. An old friend of Harmandy Cross. A Four-Star Badass.
- Fish out of Temporal Water : Her and her five fully equipped Revolution-era legions, who volunteered for this gig but would have had literally no idea what they were getting into.
- Time Dilation : Only an instant's worth of perceptible time passes for Hatsukatchi and her people while they are sealed.
- Battle Cry : Weirdly (especially to him), some of his former-employees-become-subjects attach his name to the traditional Imperial battle cry, which becomes "Nendrachitra Moro, renndy aya launa, rakh rakh rakh du hai!" When he finally gets a chance to ask why, nobody can quite remember.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water : Emperor Yohana reassures the poor bastard that he doesn't have to convert his entire industrial juggernaut into a Lesser House all at once, but Yaeri manages the civil service exams, among other things, with aplomb.
- Offered the Crown : When Iuki Yohana I decides to nationalize the vast interstellar Moro Combine, the president of the Combine Nendrachitra Yaeri finds himself somewhat unwittingly being appointed Lord Nendrachitra Yaeri Moro of the newly-minted House of Moro.
- The Older Immortal : Was apparently a mentor to Jui Reinhardt back in the day. Way back in the day.
- Running Gag : "You named yourself, didn't you." "No, actually some friends of mine... just kept tacking on new syllables. Then one of them, the goddamned idiot, hacked into the registration computers and officially renamed me. He was nearly locked up for a century for the security breach." "That's some joke." "The ship's registrar didn't find it that funny, actually."
- The Unpronounceable : With practice, most people pick up on how to pronounce it. It's helpful to partition it out before each 'r'.
The House of Solifaan and the House of Ihrukheer
A Show Within a Show, in the form of a popular and beloved historical epic set during the Seherithan Restoration. Retold countless times in countless cultures, it has acquired much cruft and influence from other stories and lost some of its original context — for one thing, the House of Talliser plays a major role in the first arc but didn't take the form seen in the story until centuries later. Both the Houses of Solifaan and Ihrukheer are fictional, as are all of the characters.The form it is presented in is based loosely on the Ramayana, and derives some influence from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. As such, these tropes generally apply:
Crown-Prince Oprigeh Ihrukheer : Celibate Hero
- Rated M for Manly
- Schizo Tech
- Space Opera : Within a Space Opera, so expect it to go Up to Eleven.
- Recursive Canon
- World of Ham and World of Badass
- Canon Discontinuity: An entire chapter of the original has universally been declared apocryphal; it happens to be the one in which half of the Faani characters go off the rails into highly improbable and out-of-character villainy.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture : The House of Solifaan is a mashup of Imperial desertborn and cloak-cultures, while Ihrukheer is a distractingly cosmopolitan mashup of kilt-cultures.
- Deconstruction/Reconstruction: Readaptations and derivatives of this story act like a perfect barometer of how idealistic or cynical any given culture is at the time.
- Public-Domain Character: The whole work is thus, hence the large number of variants, derivatives, and interpretations.
Crown-Prince Oprigeh Ihrukheer : Celibate Hero
- Brilliant, but Lazy : In a way. He's intelligent and skilled, but can just as easily see himself as a humble potter or an ascetic monk instead of Lord of his House, which is why he isn't too troubled when his boss, the Lord of the House, orders him into exile for unknown offenses.
- Expy : Of Rama, from the Indian epic poem Ramayana. Loosely.
- Take a Level in Badass : A level in Hot Blood, emulating the example of his adopted brother Nuhairev and sometimes substituting for him if necessary.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? : Terrified of space travel. When he is informed that the terms of his exile require him to leave the planet, he becomes far less sanguine about his sentence.
- Expy : Of Lakshmana. Loosely.
- Hero Secret Service / Declaration of Protection: Two of the many reasons he goes into exile with Oprigeh.
- Hot-Blooded / Large Ham : He grows into these tropes after going into exile with Oprigeh, having been long since tamed by the pedestrian life of a civil aristocrat.
- Not Quite the Right Thing : Partially responsible for the House going to war with Solifaan, via several misunderstandings.
- Real Men Wear Pink : "Are you telling me your fathers never taught any of you motherfuckers how to cook?! What the hell kind of men are you? What the hell kind of men were your fathers?! Sit down, shut up, and fucking pay attention! I'm gonna teach you some classic bachelor recipes."
- Expy : Of Sita. Or rather, Sita's role. Even more loosely than the other Princes.
- I Have Your Wife : Played straight for about two seconds before being waved away entirely. She is legitimately arrested for attempting to kill a Prince of Solifaan during a peace conference (Not What It Looks Like), then extradited to Solifaan by Imperial authorities and kept in a normal prison under normal conditions, then tried fairly.
- Professor Guinea Pig : One of the major recurring themes of the story is the rediscovery of tech lost to the isolated Kheer society. Fath'oy feels compelled to try every new thing out, often on herself.
- Hidden Depths : Actually a skilled combat nurse and veteran of the last war.
- Hidden Depths : Has none. Neither do Real Men Wear Pink, in his case. Doesn't have a heart of gold either. Kind of dumb.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses : She gets picked on for knitting and sewing in her spare time, even though it's something she does to keep herself from getting bored outside of the wrestling ring, and it's incredibly useful for the whole group, who have little in the way of clothing and much in the way of Clothing Damage.
- Cowardly Lion : His first instinct is to run, hide, then Dynamic Entry the hell out of his target.
- Hidden Depths : He's actually quite good in combat.
- The Smart Guy : As smart as Fath'oy, but in different areas.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain : In some retellings, Tigire is written as The Woobie.
- Necessarily Evil : He assumes a very autocratic stance in order to keep a lid on the rowdy, nationalistic warmongering faction in his government.
- Beware the Honest Ones : Can be scary in a politician. But it results in a three-year prison sentence over a misunderstanding when she is believed to have attempted to assassinate Lord Tigire.
- Cool Car : Being wealthy and connected means she gets to indulge her hobby for extremely fast cars.
- Et Tu, Brute? : Not What It Looks Like. Gets knifed for her trouble.
- Defeat Means Friendship : With Fath'oy. They watch each others backs in prison.
- Exactly What I Aimed At : She is an incredibly clever politician and fighter and frequently pulls off political trick shots that leave her opponents erroneously believing themselves victorious years later.
- Freak Out! : She self-medicates for Sanity Slippage by taking her ridiculously fast cars out for very reckless drives. One of these drives ends abruptly and badly.