Fan Fic: Elemental Chess Trilogy
Because this is a Continuation fanfic, this description contains unmarked spoilers for the FMA canon.The Elemental Chess Trilogy
is a series of Fullmetal Alchemist
fan fictions by Lady Norbert
. Set in the continuity of the Brotherhood
anime, the stories are written in present-tense style and have a revolving point of view. The fic series is an attempt at Original Flavor
, mixing the genres of mystery, action, romance, comedy, drama, and suspense.
The first story, Flowers of Antimony
, begins about three years after the Promised Day
. Al is returning to Amestris for Ed and Winry's wedding, and Ling Yao decides to follow and essentially crash the party. Due to his new status as Emperor of Xing, Fuhrer Grumman schedules a welcoming parade and all sorts of nonsense for the inadvertently political event. Chandler's Law
is then invoked when Central is attacked by unknown invaders. Flowers
was the only installment of the series intended to be read as a stand-alone story.Brilliancy
, the unexpected sequel, begins approximately eighteen months after the events of Flowers
. The setting is changed from Central to Ishval, where Roy and Riza - now married themselves - are still working to revitalize the area. They are surprised by the arrival of their old unit, who claim to have been summoned by a coded letter that they thought was sent by Roy. The letter, which was not from Roy at all, warns of danger lurking in the desert. Soon, with Roy ill and Riza missing, the old team calls for reinforcements to find the one(s) responsible.
The third story, The Game of Three Generals
, is an immediate sequel to Brilliancy.
Newly aware of their enemy's identity, the cast struggles to thwart his ambitions. When a terrible crime is committed, the allies' loyalties are tested, forcing them to make a decision: do they hunt for the proof to exonerate their accused friend
, or follow their orders, which would scatter them to distant parts of the country
, was released as part of the 2011-2012 FMA Big Bang fiction event. Unlike the main trilogy, this story has arguably no plot; rather, it fleshes out the relationships between Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye, and Maes Hughes before, during, and immediately after the war in Ishval.
Two years after Triumvirate
was completed, the author started releasing a series of additional one-shot side stories, all strung together in a single document tongue-in-cheekly dubbed Notes From the Grandmaster
. These chiefly take place during or after the events of the four main stories, and most if not all are first published in the FMA Fic Contest community on LiveJournal
This fan fiction trilogy contains examples of the following:
- 100% Adoration Rating: Piper notes, in Three Generals, that Riza holds this status with the people in Central City because they pity her situation.
- Affably Evil: Acheron has shades of this.
- Affectionate Nickname/In-Series Nickname: After her marriage, the men of Team Mustang feel strange calling Riza 'Hawkeye,' but they can't call her 'Mustang' for rather obvious reasons, and they've never been comfortable using her first name. So they give her a nickname of their own: Ladyhawk (or occasionally, just "Lady" for short).
- All Take and No Give: A large chunk of Roy's self-loathing in Triumvirate comes from his belief that he turned his relationship with Riza into this, taking everything she ever offered and giving her nothing in return.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The attack on Central Command in Flowers of Antimony.
- Aloof Ally: General Armstrong becomes this to the group in Three Generals.
- Altar the Speed: Inverted for Roy and Riza, whose wedding is repeatedly delayed by extenuating circumstances.
- Altum Videtur: Seen in a few of the chapter titles in Flowers of Antimony. Justified, as they are actual alchemical terms.
- Amoral Attorney: The prosecutor in Three Generals, who is on Acheron's payroll. So is the judge.
- Babies Ever After: Ed and Winry, as in canon. Falman and his wife have two kids, as implied in canon by the ending of the Brotherhood anime. In Brilliancy it's noted that Ling Yao is expecting his first child, who is born during the course of the third story, and Roy and Riza are expecting theirs as of the second chapter of Three Generals.
- Badass Boast: Roy gives one in Brilliancy.
"I'm only going to say this once, so listen closely. I am Brigadier General Roy Mustang. I am the Flame Alchemist. I have walked through hell at least three times. I have personally delivered death to two of the seven Homunculi. I have now been stripped of what I hold most precious in this life, and it's entirely possible that because of you, by the time we find her, she may be dead. You have started playing a very dangerous game, Sikorsky, because quite literally, at this moment, I have nothing left to lose."
- Badass Crew: Team Mustang and company - by Three Generals this has expanded to more than a dozen people, to whom Grumman collectively refers as 'the allies.'
- Badass Grandpa: Grumman.
- Badass in Distress: Riza, during most of Brilliancy. She gives her captors plenty of trouble, and even kills the one who was supposed to kill her, but that doesn't change the fact that she's been kidnapped and stuck in the desert.
- Band of Brothers: In Flowers of Antimony, Havoc mentally invokes the trope by name, thinking about Team Mustang as "a band of brothers (and one sister, of course)" for whom he'd still do anything.
- Bearer of Bad News: Repeatedly in Three Generals. Armstrong weeps as he tells Roy and Riza that Grumman's office has blown up with him in it. Later, Havoc, Rebecca, and Ed have to be the ones to tell Riza that Roy's been arrested for blowing it up. And Ed has to be the one to tell everybody that he's been convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, especially with Riza; not only does she still have the scar on her throat from the Promised Day, but after she's recovered from her kidnapping in Brilliancy, she's bruised, bloodied, filthy, and has a twisted knee.
- Berserk Button: If you've seen the entry for Fullmetal Alchemist on the Berserk Button page, you already have some idea. In addition to those:
- Ling Yao does not take kindly to anybody threatening his people, his friends, or his little sister.
- Major Armstrong has a huge problem with men who would "endanger a kind and gracious woman to further [their] own political agenda!"
- And by all you hold dear, don't ever try to hurt anybody in the Mustang extended family, because the others will make you pay. They've been to hell and back together too many times to let anybody get away with that now, and they will take the beating Up to Eleven if the one you're trying to hurt happens to be Riza.
- Beta Couple: All of them, at times, because the Alpha Couple of a given moment depends on whose point of view is presenting the current chapter. However, it's probably fairest to say that Ed/Winry and Roy/Riza are generally the Alpha Couples, with Ling/Lan Fan, Al/May, and Havoc/Rebecca as the Beta Couples.
- Big Bad: Dong Bao in the first story, Acheron in the other two. And yep, they become allies.
- Big Brother Worship: 'Worship' might be a bit of a stretch, but in Flowers of Antimony it's explained that Ling adopted his half-sister May Chang as heiress presumptive when he became Emperor, and in the few years since the Promised Day, they have grown very close and love each other dearly.
- Big Damn Heroes: Take a guess! Actually, a lot of the cast gets at least one moment like this.
- Bonus Material: Notes From the Grandmaster is composed entirely of this.
- Bouquet Toss: More like Bouquet Shot Put, since Winry's got plans for where that sucker ends up.
- Breaking the Fellowship: After Roy's arrest in Three Generals, the allies are split up and sent away to either Briggs or Ishval, because they're needed to bolster the military forces there. (At least, that's the excuse that's given by the people pulling the strings.) Only Ed and Winry are able to remain in Central with the homebound Riza.
- Brick Joke: In Three Generals, Grumman can't decide what his future great-grandchild should call him. Roy jokingly suggests "Grummy," which is dismissed and the idea is never mentioned again. Cut to the last chapter, and this is exactly what all the children of the allies call him.
- Call Back: Several to the canon, with varying degrees of subtlety.
- Before setting out for the Promised Day in the canon, Roy gives his subordinates an order not to die. This order gets mentioned in each part of the trilogy.
- In Flowers of Antimony, Ed, Roy and Riza sneak into besieged Central City using a hot air balloon. This is a callback to the 2003 anime version, although the trilogy takes place in the manga/Brotherhood continuity.
- When Riza is missing in Brilliancy, a fevered Roy remarks that he's not surprised that he's sick, because he's been out in the rain ever since she was kidnapped. (For the Flame Alchemist, that's his way of saying he feels helpless.)
- Canine Companion: Riza's dog Black Hayate is this to both her and, after their marriage, Roy. He becomes something of a living Memento MacGuffin in Brilliancy; Roy won't allow the dog out of his sight the entire time Riza is missing because, as Havoc points out, he's the closest thing they have to a child at the time.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Played for laughs toward the end of Three Generals. After Scar kills Acheron, he and Dong Bao return to the allies with the corpse. When General Armstrong expresses her surprise that he allowed Dong Bao to live, Scar's rationale is simply, "I needed him to carry the body."
- Captain Obvious: Invoked by Ed in Flowers of Antimony, when he addresses Roy as "General Obvious."
- The Cavalry: Ed, Roy and Riza, assisted by Jerso and Zampano, come to the aid of their friends in Flowers of Antimony. Those same friends return the favor at Roy's execution in Three Generals.
- Chekhov's Gun: Winry has a throwaway line about possibly carrying her wrench as 'something old' in Flowers of Antimony, which later becomes mildly important. Roy's fever in Flowers of Antimony becomes a plot point in Brilliancy. The glass factory established early in Brilliancy takes on significance in Three Generals.
- Chess Motif: In addition to the title and all chapter titles for Brilliancy being actual chess terms, the chess motif of Team Mustang carries over from the canon. It factors into getting the allies to Ishval for the plot of the second story, and there are multiple instances in all three stories of the men referring to the chess pieces to which Roy has likened them. In particular, Riza being their 'queen' comes up frequently; in Three Generals, when she's assigned a security detail consisting of the men of their old unit, Breda dubs them "all the queen's men."
- Three Generals may also qualify, as it has a shogi theme going on with its title and chapter names. Shogi is Japanese chess. If nothing else, the chess motif shows up in the message that Ed sends to the allies after Roy's conviction, which consists of just one word: Checkmate.
- Clear My Name: Roy in Three Generals, when he's Wrongly Accused of murdering Fuhrer Grumman.
- Cliff Hanger: More chapters end on cliffhangers than don't.
- Closed Circle: Central City, when it gets attacked during Flowers of Antimony.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Fuhrer Grumman has great fun pretending to be one of these in Flowers of Antimony. He throws his weight around regarding the plans for Ed's wedding, but in the best possible ways. As Havoc puts it, "It's like watching an overgrown five-year-old plan the world's biggest birthday party."
- Continuation: Of the manga/Brotherhood.
- Probably more of Brotherhood than the manga since Havoc's legs were better.
- One of the pictures at the end of Chapter 108 shows him re-learning to walk. He probably got a similar deal to Mustang.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The traitor in Brilliancy is placed under Major Armstrong's guard, and subjected to Armstrong's trademark manner of stripping and posturing. In the words of one reviewer, "This method of torture has been handed down through the Armstrong line for generations!"
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Havoc has shades of this, not unlike in the canon. He's goofy and nostalgic and teases everyone, but when things go south he steps up to the plate.
- Cunning Linguist: Fuery, to a small extent. Justified because in the canon, he was sent to the southern war front and was exposed to the Aerugonian language. He's not fluent, but he has a working knowledge that allows him to translate some key information.
- Dances and Balls: Just one, in Three Generals, planned chiefly as a means of luring the enemy into attacking. It doesn't work.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Kimblee, in Triumvirate, quickly figures out a few things the others would rather he not know.
- Dead Guy Junior: Averted in Three Generals, when Roy explains to Grumman why he and Riza have decided not to name their baby after Maes Hughes or anybody else.
- Played straight in the same story by Ling and Lan Fan, however, who named their first son Fu, after Lan Fan's grandfather.
- Death by Despair: Roy Mustang really, really loves his wife. So much so that when she goes missing and he gets sick, Dr. Marcoh warns their friends that this might happen to him if she doesn't come back alive.
- In Three Generals, Riza has to promise that she will not succumb to this when Roy is sentenced to death, mostly for the sake of their unborn child.
- Do with Him as You Will/You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Acheron takes this attitude toward at least a few of his mooks, even going so far as to offer the life of a specific one to Roy as a "consolation prize."
- The Dragon: General Piper in Three Generals.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Arguably, Roy's fever in Brilliancy.
- Driven to Suicide: Riza's pregnancy was first written into the story to prevent this from happening to her when the time of Roy's execution passes.
- Element Number Five: Quintessence, the fifth element of Real Life alchemy, makes a brief appearance in the title and content of the last chapter of Flowers.
- Ensemble Cast: While it's fair to say that Roy, Riza, and Ed are the most central characters, everybody gets a significant amount of importance, to the point where it could almost be described as having a Plot Tailored to the Party.
- Equivalent Exchange: Naturally, given the fandom. The trope is invoked by name in Flowers of Antimony, when Sig points out to Ed that everywhere he goes, he leaves part of himself with the people he befriends and takes part of them with him when he leaves.
- Exact Words: In Three Generals, Roy persuades Acheron to promise that he won't do anything to hurt Riza or their yet-unborn child. Acheron consents, and specifically says that no harm will come to them by his orders. When Piper later threatens to have her killed, he points out that Roy never asked him to promise.
- A Father to His Men: Paul Douglas's observations in Brilliancy show that Mustang is still this, as he was in the canon, even though he's leading a completely different group now. It's also shown that Riza is A Mother To Her Men, despite not being the actual commanding officer.
- Fictional Document: After Riza's pregnancy is announced in Three Generals, Falman sends Roy a book called Look What You Did to Me: What Every Expectant Father Needs to Know.
- Also in the same story, Roy and Breda comb the five newspapers of Amestris in search of articles that might clue them in to their enemy's movements.
- Flashback: Brilliancy has several of these; the revolving point of view allows different characters to remember different incidents. Not a case of Viewers Are Goldfish, however, because while all of the flashbacks are connected to events from the canon, they usually showcase non-canonical details.
- Flat "What.": Ed's reaction to finding out that Ling basically invited himself (and by extension, the Fuhrer, and a large collection of Xing and Amestrian troops) to his and Winry's wedding.
- Four-Star Badass: Olivier Mira Armstrong, of course, and also Roy Mustang, since the canon indicates he got promoted sometime after the Promised Day. In the third story, he ranks up again to Major General while she becomes a Lieutenant General. Riza Hawkeye, meanwhile, got promoted to Colonel Badass.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The original members of Team Mustang. Havoc is sanguine, Breda is choleric, Falman is phlegmatic (type II), and Fuery is supine.
- A Friend in Need: Surprising absolutely no one who's met them, Team Mustang immediately desert the military to rescue Roy from death by firing squad in Three Generals.
- Friend to All Children: Grumman, in the finale, is shown to be this.
- The Fuhrer's Granddaughter: Riza being both this and the General's wife makes her an ideal target for the Big Bad because, as The Mole puts it, Grumman and Mustang share a common weakness.
- Gilded Cage: The Fuhrer's mansion for Riza, in Three Generals. She only gets to leave it for doctor's appointments. They call it "protective custody," but...
- Gondor Calls for Aid: In Brilliancy, when Riza gets kidnapped and Roy's extremely sick, Havoc has Fuery put out a distress call to known allies.
- Grand Finale: The trilogy wraps up three years after the climax of the last story, with Fuhrer Grumman telling a fairy tale-stylized version of the trilogy's events to all the kids who have been born to the allies.
- Happily Married: The three couples who get married in Flowers of Antimony; it's also implied that Falman and his mostly-unseen wife are this.
- Henpecked Husband: Ed becomes this, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Roy also shows shades of this; but in both cases it's played for laughs, and their marriages are really very affectionate.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ling offers to make one in Flowers of Antimony in response to the villain's demands, but the other characters don't let him.
- Hero Secret Service: Team Mustang, who - even though they're no longer his direct subordinates - take it upon themselves to do this repeatedly. Grumman actually makes it an order when he assigns them to be the First Granddaughter's personal security detail.
- Hero-Worshipper: Paul Douglas, who grew up hearing about Roy Mustang and "his merry band of brigands" and specifically requested to serve under him in Ishval. This is easier to understand once it's revealed that Paul is a relative of Maes Hughes, Roy's deceased best friend.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Acheron.
- Hijacked by Ganon: In Three Generals, General Piper turns out to be merely The Dragon to Acheron, who has teamed up with Dong Bao.
- Hope Bringer: Part of the reason the men send for Roy Mustang when Central City is attacked during Flowers is because they figure that having the Flame Alchemist in their midst will boost the morale of the Amestrian defenses. (It does.)
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming/Terminology Title: The whole series is made of these tropes.
- In Flowers of Antimony, the story title and all chapter titles are actual alchemical terms.
- The story and chapter titles of Brilliancy are all chess terms.
- The story and chapter titles of Three Generals are all terms from different variants of shogi, or Japanese chess. This was chosen for the third theme because shogi incorporates elements of both chess and alchemy.
- The trilogy's overarching name, "Elemental Chess," is taken from a chess set that was designed using alchemic principles, to reflect the dual themes of chess and alchemy throughout the three stories.
- In Triumvirate, the story and chapter titles are all military terms.
- If I Do Not Return: Roy in Brilliancy, when entering the building in the desert.
Roy: Give me five minutes. And don't follow me.
- I Have Your Wife: Sort of inverted in Brilliancy - it's more the question of "Who has my wife?"
- Ill Boy: Roy's wedding in the first story is delayed because he comes down with a devastating fever; he relapses in the second story, partly because of his wife's abduction.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Havoc, at Roy and Riza's wedding, has probably the silliest line of the entire series.
Havoc: As Colonel Hawkeye's loyal brothers in arms, it is our sworn duty to uphold our beloved sister's honor and see to it that this wild mustang is well and truly saddled.
- Infant Immortality: In basically half of the chapters author notes for Three Generals, the author takes the time to specify that nothing happens to Roy and Riza's baby. She points out that this is in response to the multiple reviews and private messages she received begging for this reassurance.
- Insistent Terminology: Acheron refuses to use military titles when addressing his adversaries, preferring to call Roy by his full name. When speaking to or about Riza, however, he refers to her as "Lady Mustang."
- Iron Lady: Riza's narration in Three Generals refers to General Armstrong, at one point, as "the iron lady of Briggs."
- I Should Write a Book About This: At the end of Flowers, Ed decides that he's in a unique position to write books which explain alchemy to people who might otherwise not understand it at all.
- In Three Generals, Roy reacts to the success of Ed's book by saying that maybe he should write one. Breda comments that nobody would believe his life story even if he had the time to write it.
- It's Personal: Dong Bao resents his younger half-brother inheriting the throne of Xing in his place. Acheron's entire operation has been to avenge his small country, which was invaded and swallowed whole by Amestris when he was a child, some forty years before the start of the FMA series.
- I Was Just Passing Through: In Three Generals, Olivier Mira Armstrong maintains that she doesn't really care what happens to Roy; she just can't stand a miscarriage of justice.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Douglas to Roy and Riza in Brilliancy via Maes.
- The Lady's Favour: It's revealed in Brilliancy that Roy and Riza have been wearing one of each other's dog tags since after the war; they claim it's for practical reasons (they're each other's next of kin), but Roy also admits later that it was the only kind of commitment they could make to each other under the anti-fraternization laws. The actual exchange is seen in Triumvirate.
- Last Kiss: In Three Generals, when the condemned Roy says goodbye to his wife before his execution, he tries to put everything he didn't say into one final, intense kiss. Fortunately, it turns out to be a Now or Never Kiss instead.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Played with in Flowers of Antimony. The military personnel do their best to leave the newly-engaged Roy and Riza alone together on the train... but the guys from Team Mustang have left a listening device in the compartment with them.
- Let's Get Dangerous: In Three Generals, how the allies stop Roy's execution.
- Like a Badass out of Hell: Doesn't actually happen, of course, but referenced in Brilliancy when Ed visits the bedridden and feverish Roy, who jokingly wonders if he's died and gone to hell. Ed tells him that he wouldn't go to hell if he died because they'd be afraid he'd take over.
- Like Brother and Sister: Breda, Fuery, Falman, and Havoc have this kind of relationship with Riza; it's indicated that this is particularly true of Havoc.
- Living Emotional Crutch: It's shown that the Mustangs are a benign form of this for each other. Whenever one of them thinks the other one is dead, the results aren't pretty. (Then again, that's pretty firmly established in the canon.)
- The Maiden Name Debate: Team Mustang has some trouble figuring out what to call Riza after she marries Roy. They eventually settle on Ladyhawk.
- The Man Behind the Man: What Acheron is hoping to become in Three Generals.
- Meaningful Name: Big Bad Acheron shares his name with the Acheron river in Greece. In ancient mythology, Acheron was one of the five rivers of Hades, and was known as the 'river of pain.'
- In Three Generals, Roy and Riza have twins named Brendan and Riana. Brendan is Gaelic for "prince" and Riana is old English for "little queen." This is a tie-in to the Chess Motif and Roy and Riza's status as 'the king and queen.'
- Memento MacGuffin: Riza's silver earrings; as he explains to Winry in Brilliancy, they were a gift from Roy when they were teenagers.
- Miscarriage of Justice: The circumstances leading up to Roy's execution in Three Generals.
- The Mole: Sikorsky in the second story
- Mood Whiplash: Used frequently, mostly for comic relief. Possibly the most blatant example happens in Brilliancy; after a serious lengthy conversation between the story's two original characters, the scene is disrupted by the arrival of Major Armstrong.
- Morality Pet: Riza is this for Roy in the canon, but in Brilliancy, his speech to the traitor makes her seem more like a Morality Chain. Ed is only able to keep Roy from killing the guy by pointing out that she wouldn't want him to do it.
- Morning Sickness: A recurring problem in Three Generals. In an odd twist, it probably saves Roy's life at one point.
- Must Have Nicotine: Havoc is shown being twitchy and itching for a cigarette during stressful moments when he's not allowed to light up.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Roy does this just once, when confronting The Mole in Brilliancy.
- Neck Lift: Mustang performs one on Sikorsky when he finds out they're responsible for Riza's kidnapping and possible murder.
- Nephewism: Almost. Paul Douglas was the son of Maes Hughes's cousin, but still referred to him as "Uncle Maes."
- Never Found the Body: In Three Generals. Justified because if Grumman really had been in his office when it exploded, his body would have been incinerated beyond recovery.
- The Nicknamer: Ed, for Roy; he almost never uses the man's actual name, instead referring to him as things like "General Bastard," "General Chess Fiend," and "General Flamethrower."
- Not So Different: Acheron tries to invoke this on Scar. Scar's response is "No, we're not" and proceeds to blow up the guy's head.
- Offered the Crown: In Three Generals, Grumman has a chat with General Armstrong about the future. She tells him to appoint "the fool your granddaughter married" as his successor, because she doesn't want it.
- One-Word Title: Brilliancy; Triumvirate
- Only One Name: Acheron
- Open Secret: Roy and Riza's feelings for each other prior to their marriage. Lampshaded in Dr. Marcoh's flashback in Brilliancy, in which he observes that "Like almost everyone else in a ten-mile radius, he knows, and like everyone else who knows, he will humor them in silence."
- Original Character: Paul Douglas, Simon Sikorsky, Andrew Piper, and the two main villains
- Out of the Inferno: In Brilliancy, Roy enters the building where he's been told he'll find Riza's dead body. Several minutes later, it explodes, and the rest of the company think he's committed suicide. As they're preparing to leave, Roy and Riza both show up in this fashion.
- Papa Wolf: Three Generals makes Grumman something of a Grandpa Wolf.
- Permission to Speak Freely: Invoked by Douglas toward the end of Brilliancy.
- Played with in Three Generals, when Fuery shyly asks Riza for "permission to hug."
- Pimped-Out Dress / Fairytale Wedding Dress: While it never gets described, Winry's wedding dress is implied to be this if Ed's reaction is anything to go by. Lan Fan's wedding dress plays it straight.
- Playing Drunk: Fuhrer Grumman, at Ed's bachelor party.
- Point of View: The Rotating Protagonist type; the perspective revolves, with chapters showing the action through the eyes of different characters. This creates something of A Day in the Limelight for minor characters such as Kain Fuery, Scar, and Rebecca Catalina.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: Sort of. In Three Generals, after the allies stop Roy's execution and reunite Riza with her husband and grandfather, the reader learns that while this was going on, Scar was off killing Acheron. Since it was happening at the same time as the climax, it's technically not a Post-Climax Confrontation - but the chapter in which it takes place comes after the chapter containing the climax.
- The Power of Friendship/The Power of Love: The driving motivation of all of the good guys, in one way or another.
- Precision F-Strike: Riza gets off a beauty when confronting The Dragon in Three Generals, though not with that specific word. It's noteworthy because up until that point, the worst thing anyone had said in the entire series was 'damn,' and it also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the character.
- Pregnant Badass: Riza, in Three Generals. Part of the reason Riza's pregnancy was written into the story was so the author could add this trope to the fic's trope list.
- Protectorate: Riza, to the members of her security detail.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Done in the understated way in Brilliancy.
Roy: Find. My. Wife.
- Rank Up: All the allies, except for Riza, get promoted at the ball in Three Generals; this is partly an overdue reward for their efforts on the Promised Day and partly a reward for helping the Mustangs in Brilliancy. It also gets explained why Riza jumped from being a Lieutenant to a Colonel - a four-rank promotion - at one shot. (She had been refusing promotions for years in order to stay in Roy's unit.)
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Fuhrer Grumman; also Olivier Mira Armstrong, in the third story.
- Red Herring: Some of the newspaper articles that Roy and Breda study in Three Generals.
- Relationship Upgrade: Ed and Winry (as in canon); Roy and Riza; Al and May; Ling and Lan Fan; Havoc and Catalina, eventually.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In Three Generals, Grumman is believed to have been murdered. Hell, the narration even has the trope name word for word.
- Reunion Kiss: In Three Generals, between the General and his Colonel - after they salute each other. Also counts as a Smooch of Victory.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted in Brilliancy, where the reason for Riza's abduction is to try to induce Roy to go on one of these against the Ishvalans. When it doesn't work, the villains intend to kill her to get the desired reaction. It still doesn't work.
- Running Gag: For a while in Brilliancy, Roy's lack of enthusiasm for winter potatoes. It gets one last small Call Back in Three Generals. Ed's multiple nicknames for Roy may also qualify.
- Sacrificial Lion: Subverted. Grumman is Not Quite Dead.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Arguably, Ed, who never misses a chance to harass or harangue Roy, but nevertheless proves himself to be very loyal.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Scar. Good news for the allies, bad news for the enemy.
- Secret Keeper: Hughes was this for Roy and Riza, as revealed both in flashbacks and in Triumvirate. Specifically, he covered for them during the Ishvalan war to give them a couple chances to be alone together, and he was the only one who knew about the exchange of dog tags (see The Lady's Favour). Many other characters had their suspicions about the pair over the years, but Hughes was the only one who ever absolutely knew for certain.
- Sequel Hook: The end of Brilliancy.
- Settle For Best Friend: Rebecca accuses Havoc of having done this in Three Generals.
- Shipper on Deck: The entire ensemble for the various pairings. Much like in the canon, really.
- In Three Generals, two characters are located in hotel room 611. This is a reference to June 11th, known in the FMA fandom as "Royai Day."
- Ship Tease: Three Generals very subtly hints at a deeper relationship between Olivier Armstrong and Major Miles.
- Shot at Dawn: Roy is sentenced to death by firing squad for the supposed murder of Fuhrer Grumman. It's even mentioned that these things normally happen at dawn. However, the execution in the story takes place at 3:00.
- Shout-Out: According to the author, Ed and Winry's son is named Lucas after Luke Triton.
- In the last chapter of Triumvirate, Roy makes a remark about Maes and Gracia serving "fancy tuna" at their upcoming wedding reception. This is a shout-out to Ouran High School Host Club, in one episode of which Mori (who shares a voice actor with Roy in the English dubs) says that exact phrase.
- Side Bet: Several. Mustang's men are notorious for it, and Falman has a history of winning. Creates a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in Three Generals, when they take all the money they each bet on the gender of Roy and Riza's child and use it to buy baby gifts.
- Something Only They Would Say: The members of Team Mustang come to Ishval in Brilliancy because they receive a letter written in Roy's old chess code, which no one outside of their group would know. As it turns out, that's not quite true...
- Squad Nickname: The former members of Roy's unit refer to themselves as Team Mustang. Later, when they're reunited to form Riza's personal security detail, they call themselves "all the queen's men."
- Stuff Blowing Up: The building explosion in Brilliancy; Grumman's office in Three Generals.
- Subordinate Excuse: At Ed's bachelor party in Flowers of Antimony, a very un-drunk Fuhrer Grumman announces his intention to repeal the anti-fraternization law, making it possible for Roy and Riza to finally be together. He doesn't identify this as his reason, but seeing as he's a Shipper on Deck for them in the canon, it's not hard to figure out.
- Suddenly Suitable Suitor: See above
- Switching P.O.V.: No character controls the narrative for more than one chapter at a time.
- Take a Third Option: Invoked in the FAQ at the end of the series, regarding the author's decision to make Roy and Riza the parents of twins.
- Team Mom: Havoc's nostalgia in an early chapter of Brilliancy suggests that Riza, at least occasionally, filled this role in the past to the members of Team Mustang. Lampshaded prior to this in Flowers, when Ed sleepily thinks that she would "make a pretty good mom."
- That's an Order: In Brilliancy, when the group is getting ready to go rescue the kidnapped Rebecca, Roy tries to order Riza to stay behind. She flatly refuses, although circumstances require her to do so after all. Later, after Riza is recovered alive, Roy says this as a follow-up to "Never leave me again."
- Theme Naming: In the canon, most military characters are named for real-world military aircraft; this carries over to the original military characters in the trilogy. Douglas is named for an aircraft company, Sikorsky is named for the first helicopter, and Piper is named for the primary training plane of the Civilian Pilot Training Program.
- They Do: All three couples who get married in Flowers of Antimony. However, considering their Maybe Ever After fate in the canon and the hoops they have to go through to get to that point, the trope probably applies most to Roy and Riza.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Nearly everyone's unique talents get put to use at some point. For example, Flowers of Antimony makes use of Fuery's skill with communications equipment and Sheska's ability to recall esoteric information she's read, while part of Brilliancy relies heavily on Scar's alkahestry and his access to his brother's encoded research. The ritual he uses in Brilliancy becomes a Chekhov's Skill in Three Generals. Even Winry's ability to make delicious apple pie comes in handy.
- Title Drop: Of the three story titles, only one actually makes its way into any of the stories. At the end of the second installment, Grumman muses that if they play the game correctly, it could be "a true brilliancy." The final chapter title of Flowers of Antimony, "Quintessence," also gets dropped.
- To Be Lawful or Good/Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: They are dedicated soldiers, but the members of Team Mustang (much like in the original canon) elect to desert and return to Central to try to save Roy from being executed in Three Generals.
- Tranquil Fury: This is the response garnered when the Amoral Attorney in Three Generals dares to suggest that Roy cares more about his ambition than he does about Riza.
- True Companions: The allies identify themselves as essentially this. Riza invokes it outright in Three Generals, referring to them collectively as "my family."
- Two-Part Trilogy: As noted elsewhere, Flowers of Antimony was intended as a stand-alone story and was written as such. The two sequels, while avoiding most of the negative aspects of this trope, are more tightly connected to each other than to the first story, although there is connection there.
- Unbroken Vigil: When Roy falls ill in Brilliancy, one of the allies (usually Winry) is appointed to hold one at all times.
- Undying Loyalty: As in the canon.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Riza gives birth to twins specifically because the author couldn't decide which gender the kid should be.
- Unwitting Pawn: In Three Generals, General Hakuro is actually innocent. He has no idea what he's helping the bad guys achieve.
- Verbal Tic: Acheron has a weird accent. When the allies meet him for the first time, Falman notes that he pronounces Roy's name as Arroy Moostangy.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Ed and Winry as in the canon, and also Roy and Riza; Roy confirms toward the end of Flowers of Antimony that he's been in love with Riza since he was sixteen. It's uncertain how long Ling and Lan Fan have known each other, but the trope may also apply to them.
- Villain Team-Up: In Flowers of Antimony, the Big Bad recruits allies from all three of the countries that Amestris has spent the last several decades battling. Later, he's shown to be in league with the other Big Bad, too, which more directly fits the trope.
- Villainous Breakdown: General Piper in chapters 17 and 18 of Three Generals.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Ed and Roy, whose sniping provides some of the best comic relief of the series; the truth is that they really do like each other, they just don't like to admit it to other people. Their wives, at least, are not fooled. In Three Generals, Ed finally acknowledges that Roy's kind of like his older brother.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Of a sort. Roy and Riza become engaged when Winry throws her wedding bouquet, which has a wrench hidden inside it, at Roy's head. Riza pushes him out of the way and catches it (without realizing what it actually is until she does), and Hilarity Ensues. A later chapter assures the reader that there would have been a normal one in the near future anyway.
- Web Serial Novel
- Wedding Day: Five of 'emnote , with a sixth taking place during the Time Skip between the last two chapters of the last story. Weddings for Everyone!
- Wedding Smashers: Somewhat subverted. The invasion in the first story doesn't really have anything to do with disrupting Ed and Winry's wedding; it's just that the ceremony is the reason that the real targets are available to attack.
- Wham Episode: Arguably, several. All three stories have happy and peaceful openings only to be slammed with chaos after a few chapters. Special mention must go to Roy's apparent suicide in Brilliancy, which at least gets cleared up in the same chapter, and Grumman's alleged murder in Three Generals - which not only is not immediately resolved, but has multiple follow-up Wham Episodes.
- Wham Line: In Three Generals, via telegram, a single word to let the allies know the outcome of the trial. Checkmate
- When She Smiles: Riza, although considered pretty under normal circumstances, is shown this way in Dr. Marcoh's flashback in Brilliancy.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Flowers of Antimony has this, with Ed thinking about what's happened to the rest of the cast since his wedding. Somewhat justified, since Flowers was supposed to be a stand-alone story and the epilogue was intended to wrap it up.
- Three Generals ends with this, but also has something of a Where Are They Now Prologue, with Ed bringing Winry (and the reader) up to speed on what's happened since the end of Brilliancy.
- World of Badass: Much like the canon, nearly everyone gets to do a little ass-kicking here.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: The age of Elysia Hughes in both the first and third stories had to be corrected after the stories were posted.
- The X of Y: The Game of Three Generals
- You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: In Three Generals, Riza deliberately calls Breda by his first name (Heymans) in one scene to drive home to him just how really worried she is about the situation.
- Your Head Asplode: How Scar defeats Acheron.