Fanfic: Cold Comfort Castle
"It had seemed like a good idea at the time."
Thus begins Cold Comfort Castle
, a Warcraft fanfiction written by the FF.Net author Lord Goregore
Semi-hapless mage Zackel Wintersoul, while the rest of the world of Azeroth is in full-swing in its battles with the Scourge in Northrend, has decided to take a brief journey up to the Alterac Mountains, seeking any discarded magical relics that might have been left behind or lost when the magical city Dalaran was transported there. A bit of bad luck quickly makes him a target of the new rulers of the ruins there, the Crushridge Ogre clan. Another series of unfortunate events and a wholly unexpected and at-first unexplained arrival of a Draenei warrior leave Zackel and said Draenei, Rielle, trapped in the crumbling castle/fortress that had once been the broken Alterac nation's bastion, held hostage by a terrible blizzard. Unable to leave until the storm dies and unable to actually stop the storm themselves, Zackel and Rielle are forced to work and live together until said storm ceases. Of course, there is far more going on than that, both within the newly-met Alliance members' pasts and motivations, and the mysteries that lurk within the castle and out in the howling gales of the blizzard itself...
While labeled as a Humor/Romance story, and possessing a fair deal of both, Cold Comfort Castle
manages to hit every spectrum of the fictional index, shifting from dramatic angst to ridiculous comedy to hard-hitting action with a smoothly guided hand, the events of the story building on themselves to the very end. With Cold Comfort Castle
having been completed, the author is working on a sidestory/spinoff of sorts, Feat of Clay
, with the seeds of other, future stories having been suggested in the work of CCC
Cold Comfort Castle provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Rielle
- Badass Bookworm: Zackel: while he prefers to muse and play games rather then fistfight, he's a skilled mage (especially with ice) and (though Rielle may help with this fact) can take a beating too.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Zackel, as demonstrated in the side story Love Bites. He'll play peacemaker and even come off as a spineless wimp... and then he'll reach his limit, freeze your eyes solid, and brain you with a staff ice-bludgeon while you're thrashing around blind. Rielle has clearly rubbed off on him.
- Chekhov's Skill: Zackel practicing kicking his staff into his hand and firing behind his back without looking due to boredom.
- Determinator: Both main characters demonstrate this trait. Rielle may be the stronger example: Having barely recovered from the poisoned crossbow bolt that nearly killed her, without her armor and at considerably reduced strength, she matches the Crushridge ogre Mug'thol blow for blow until the end, and even after it seems like she should be a broken wreck, the Draenei gets back up and wins the fight in brutal fashion, climbing on top of the ogre and ripping his neck open with her TEETH.
- Downer Ending: The revealed-later-as-fake ending of Chapter 33. Chapter 34 was uploaded later in the day with the real ending, which is a traditional Happy Ending.
- Which the characters yell at the author about in the closing author's notes, before launching into a pastiche of the credit sequence of the Werewolf episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to annoy him in retaliation.
- Good People Have Good Sex: At least in Zackel's case, based on his accounts of his ex-girlfriend Jasciona. And of course, for Zackel and Rielle themselves.
- An Ice Person: Zackel: while as a mage he can utilize any of the 'schools' of magic demonstrated in game, his proficiency and preference is in frost/ice magic. He has very good reasons for it as well.
- Interspecies Romance: Rielle, by her accounts, has slept with several human men before the story, Zackel had a brief relationship with a female dwarf, and it's strongly suggested in flashbacks that Zackel's brother Daldion was in a relationship with a female gnome. And of course, the whole story is Zackel and Rielle falling for each other and ending up in a relationship at the end.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Sparse Blazebolt, whose insists his name is pronouced 'Spa-REZE' instead of like the synonym for 'lacking'.
- Kill It with Ice: Zackel's way of doing battle. The story even quotes the same Robert Frost poem listed on the trope page.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Star of Xil'yeh, with elements of The Corrupter thrown in for good measure: it spends the whole story influencing Zackel, Rielle, and the ogres in an attempt to make Zackel its new servant/pawn.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Subverted. Zackel, despite getting repeatedly beat up and abused by Rielle, is won over by her better qualities and is not intimidated by her strength. Though that might partially be due to the fact he could freeze the blood in her veins if he wanted to.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rielle and Zackel. Ironically, Rielle, the Red Oni, has blueish-purple skin.
- The Reveal: Many. How Rielle got to Alterac, and various elements of Zackel and Rielle's pasts that explain why they act and react throughout the story. The Star of Xil'yeh's manipulations. The last-moment reveal of Whatever SENT the Star of Xil'yeh to Azeroth setting its sights on the planet.
- Shout-Out: A LOT. The main tribute is Doctor Who, with nearly all the magical spells and chants said in story named after Who planets and species (not to mention a scene near the end that mirrors a scene from the Who Christmas special The Christmas Invasion). Zackel also has occasional weird dreams, which the author uses to toss in bizarre pastiches and tributes to things like Kamen Rider and The Super Hero Squad Show, not to mention the near-entirety of the aforementioned Chapter 16.
- Rielle's berserk rage in Chapter 27 contains a shout out to the infamous Doom comic.
- In the aforementioned Chapter 16, the author manages to fold two Shout-Outs together, those being Red vs. Blue and fellow Warcraft fanfic Diplomacy.
- And who could forget the nod to Calvin and Hobbes in Chapter 5? When Rielle fell on Zackel, who then complained "Nice landing. I think I'm paralyzed." with Rielle responding with "All but your mouth, it seems."
- Sick Chapter: Chapter 23, where Rielle tries to overcome a deadly rogue poison that she inadvertently exposed herself to with Zackel's help.. Somewhat subverted (in terms of the usual romantic nursing) as ninety percent of it is presented as horrible, unpleasant, and generally BAD.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up from Zackel's flashback. He accidentally summons a man'ari swordmistress and what does he do? Mistake her for a succubus and ORDER HER TO ATTACK, SINCE HE THINKS SHE WAS WHAT HE MEANT TO CALL. She was not amused.
- Between Adaric, the aforementioned warlock, and the never-seen warlock Vialin Snarljaw, whose own botched summoning both got him killed and called empowered demons to menace Zackel and his-then girlfriend Jasciona, the author seems to have something of a dim view of the class.
- The unnamed female warlock shown in the same flashback Adaric appeared in seemed competent enough.
- And then we have Kaaldan Shadowcurse and Thyma Cryptstone, the bully warlocks from the spin-off Feat of Clay. It's official: the author really dislikes warlocks.
- Actually, it's pointed out by Zackel that evil warlocks-the ones mentioned-tend to be really dumb. Good ones tend to avoid stupid risks that lead to their counterparts' faces being melted. It's also why important evil warlocks tend to be The Chessmaster: they are already cautious and careful as a matter of survival.
- Tsundere: Rielle, Type A, full stop. Though it is suggested that this isn't so much her real personality as it is the dominant side of her issues being focused by being trapped in the castle.