Fan Fic / Of The Dragon Of The Stars
It all began with nothing.
Then there were four primordial deities—Light, Darkness, Time and Life—and at once Darkness stole the world
that Light and Life had created, banishing them to a corner of the universe. To reclaim it, They fashioned the Spear of Heaven at the cost of Their power
. But humanity has unknowingly sustained the Darkness since, and Darkness has risen and fallen in three cycles, villains raising it, heroes crushing it. Each cycle taught both sides, but while the Darkness learnt, humanity chose to forget
Ten years ago, King Caleix
began to change. New laws were written, and guards began to fill the streets, driving the dragons
into hiding, taking prisoner anyone who dared show defiance. Victoria Island has become a totalitarian dystopia
, and Darkness has spread its tendrils like an invisibly-thriving rot
Enter ten-year-old Farm Boy
Zethis, who has so far lived a sheltered life with his father on the outskirts of Henesys. The tyranny is the least of his problems: the main issue at hand right now is getting permission from his father to go off on his own adventure
, just like all their neighbours' children have. One revelation and a tearful day of goodbyes later, Zethis packs his bags and seems all set to become The Hero
Except he is not the hero
, we come to realise, as we are introduced to an ever-growing roster of characters
from all corners of Victoria (and beyond), each with his or her own bone to pick with the tyrant king. Among them are a pair of teenage slaves working at Ellinia Station—one of them a murderess with anger-triggered Power Incontinence
—a pair of twins
that has haunted the Dungeon for years, a legendary Archmage
in search of an apprentice, and a young Huntress on the run from the castle, in whom the seeds of change are sown when a voice in a dream
urges her to travel the world, gather up a team of battlers
and bring the tyrant's reign to an end.
Set in the world of MapleStory
's first episode, this Epic Fantasy
story is a study of various kinds of love in the face of pursuit, persecution and—eventually—rising civil war, as much as it is the tale of ten people's quest to make a mark in the Maple world.
Tropes demonstrated by Of the Dragon, of the Stars include (spoilers up to Chapter 10 not marked):
- The Ace: Lanore came across as this throughout most of the work, until Chapter 10 when she was shown to have her own insecurities. Akera views her as her rival.
- A Day in the Limelight: Hyrien gets his time in the spotlight in Chapters 10-12. Practically every minor cast herd has its time somewhere in Chapter 12.
- A Shared Suffering: Akera and Turino first begin to trust one another because they find solidarity in each other. Ketara and Horned Tail establish a bond for a similar reason.
- The Atoner: Akera. She starts a guilty murderess, seeking her redemption with increasing thirst as the story progresses.
- All Is Well That Ends Well: Clynine and Lanore; entrust their lives to an apparently top-security secret boat service, which then goes on to jeopardize their lives by almost leading them to death by fire, then by drowning, then by hypothermia. At the end of it, is any lawsuit filed? No. They find themselves an inn, fall asleep, and forget it ever happened.
- An Ice Person: Lanore;, who got herself a double deal.
- And Man Grew Proud: This is what happens to humanity decades after every ascension of the Spirit of the Dark, when all evidence of Its rampage has faded.
- Ancient Artifact: The Spear of Heaven, which does more than just grant superpowers.
- Ancient Tomb: Turino and Telida entered one in Chapter 9.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Light, Time and Life are personified as a woman with phoenix wings, a genderless person in court jester’s wear and a rainbow dragon.
- Arc Words: Almost every chapter starting from 7 has its own Arc Words.
- Chapter 7: "Answer the question."
- "Remember, and you’ll never have to recall."
- Chapter 8: "It all ends with the dance, my dear."
- Doubles as a Dream Melody: I will dream and weave and sing/And then you might know everything”
- Chapter 10: "No justice, no mercy."
- Chapter 11: "Everything is turning. Everything is changing."
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Telida, Telida, Telida.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
“Sweat, bile and bad breath.”
- Ascetic Aesthetic: Deinas tower in Chapter 10, though it’s a bit more organic than usual rooms of the style.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Lanore; was born with blonde hair and blue eyes as if Time knew she would become an Ice/Lightning Archmage. Which, of course, It did. Subverted totally in Akera, who looks like Ice Queen but uses fire.
- Back Story: So important in this fic.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Akera and Turino have this going for half the story.
- Betty and Veronica: Turino and Shirion form one such pair. Akera even Lampshades it.
- Big Bad: King Caleix.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Nightfall HQ.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Bizarrchitecture: Deina's Tower. Everything is upside-down, so you have to climb to the ceiling to get to the door. Some chandeliers lie on the ceiling, while others point upwards as if gravity were still acting on them.
- Black Magic: Necromancers, though it's more of black-and-red magic.
- Blood Knight: The lost warrior Thaemis, a Hero who fought in an arena for a living and for fame.
- Bonus Material: Author notes frequently featured character popularity polls and rankings.
- Boobs of Steel: The most well-endowed female of the cast, Telida, is also the only one who engages in any form of melee combat.
- Broken Bird: Akera, in contrast to Telida who takes a more Stoic Woobie approach. Also, Thaemis.
- Call to Agriculture: The creatures of the Canyon at the end of Chapter 8.
- Cannot Spit It Out: The reason certain story arcs last more than half the story.
- Cast Herd: The cast of this story can be split into numerous distinct herds: Orion's Belt, Nightfall, Ethiel, Leafre, guards, necromancers, Reborn.
- Character-Magnetic Team: The entire first half of the fanfic charts the movements and exploits of one such team.
- Chekhov's Gun: Various, over the span of the entire story. Father’s Stone, the vampire crystals from Tatamo, the canned drink and the needles from Ludibrium, the lollipops from the Ludibrium ball, the Teleport Rock.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Ralinn and Raydan play this role during the Dead Mines quest. Also, both Hyrien and Esharo appeared briefly in Chapter 1, only to reappear and become major players later in the story. Thaemis is a Chekhov's Gunman whose eventual appearance was built up towards over the course of the entire story.
- Chekhov's Lecture: Many key events in the final chapter are textually foreshadowed in earlier chapters.
"It happened once—and by all means it may happen again. Once the Spirit has taken full control, we can hope and plead no longer. Our world will be destroyed, and us with it."
"It all ends with the dance, my dear. It all ends with the dance."
"The Spear accords the wielder power immeasurable, power so vast that almost no one in the world, save a talented few, has strength enough to contain its rage. Finding one with the ability to do so is as likely as flipping a coin and having it land on its edge."
- Chekhov's Skill: Cirid's experience with fireworks.
- Child Prodigy: Akera and Clynine are demonstrated to be this.
- Crazy Enough to Work: This seems to be the way with Akera, a lot of the time. In Chapter 10, she commands everyone to jump off the edge of Orbis—which happens to be half a mile off the ground—on a wild whim. She ends up not just saving everyone’s lives but also fulfilling mission objectives.
- Dances and Balls: Chapter 8.
- Dark Action Girl: Telida fits all criteria to a T—except the one about being on the villain’s side.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Let’s see. Akera murdered her parents and burned down her home when she was seven and was forced to flee the law until she was captured and made a slave. Telida watched her father murder her mother—right after explaining she was a Sex Slave and that the twins were accidents. Then Turino had his own sister injure him out of her disillusionment with males. Ralinn was taken from her family and enslaved at the castle when she was seven. Shirion was captured twice during his childhood and enslaved at the Ellinia Station, performing back-breaking labour in the worst conditions. Yunira’s entire family was killed in an anti-job-handler raid, including her younger sister; she was the sole survivor. Practically the entire cast had a horrible childhood. That’s what you get when living in a Crapsack World ruled by an Evil Overlord.
- Dark Is Evil
- Deadpan Snarker: Turino, the Dark Lord, Akera and Lanore; all get in on the action.
- Debut Queue: The entirety of Part I.
- Deus ex Machina: In a literal example, various deities drop in on occasion to fish characters out of trouble, most notably the Clock Spirit in Chapter 10. This never stops happening, right up to the epilogue.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The plot of Part II.
- Divide by Zero: The item keeping the mirror world in existence just got removed. Now what?
- Diving Save: Akera does this to Lanore; up in Orbis, the problem being that Lanore; isn’t in a lucid state, strictly speaking. She takes the second response, i.e. “Why’d you push me over?”
- Doomed Hometown: Kerning is this for Dark Lord and the Ethiels.
- Dramatic Irony: The guild makes plans to ride with a secret boat service, right after a scene of that same boat being fired down with a cannon. At another point, the guild is shown heading for Leafre, excited about witnessing its beauty—before the next scene reveals that Leafre has been ravaged by woodcutters.
- Dream Melody: The Dragon's song.
"I might dream and weave and sing
and then you might know everything
where cradles rise from shattered bones
to raise you up into the spring"
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Ralinn receives messages from a deity in her dreams, and even sees Clynine and Lanore; once. She doesn’t have any powers; she was simply chosen.
- Dream Team: Three Star-chosen warriors whom Dances with Balrog sees to be on the same level as the legendary Thaemis, a pair of savage twins who brought themselves up in the Dungeon and will not hesitate to murder for survival, the legendary defender of El Nath and her prodigious assistant, and the infamous girl who murdered her parents with fire when she was seven? Only necessary because of their gargantuan task that lies ahead of them.
- Dysfunction Junction: It gives them a reason to fight.
- Ensemble Cast
- Famed In-Story: Thaemis, Lanore; and Akera. So far, Thaemis' only mentions have been through word of mouth or in recounts by characters. Lanore; is almost always referred to by her heroine title, "The Silver Fang of El Nath", wherever she goes. Akera's name also precedes her wherever she goes. In a non-human example, we have the Spear of Heaven, about which numerous books have been written before.
- Fangirl: Yunira is a very stereotypical in-universe portrayal.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Orion’s Belt, as evident starting in Chapter 11.
- Four Races: They appear to be related to the four deities.
- Stout: Dragon and other creatures from Leafre (the Dragon's race)
- Fairy: Fairy (quite self-explanatory, the Orbis variety look like angels, these are associated with the Goddess)
- High Men: Elf (they're pretty much Tolkienian elves, and associated with Time)
- Mundane: Human (associated with Darkness).
- Freudian Excuse: Akera's history seems to be an explanation for every wrong she commits.
- Freudian Trio: There are two: Akera (Id), Clynine (Superego), Lanore; (Ego); and Shirion (Superego), Ketara (Id), Zethis (Ego).
- Gender-Equal Ensemble
- Genki Girl: Yunira runs around entertaining guests, doing favours and being cute.
- Glory Seeker: For the main part of the story, Akera feels that she lives in the shadow of Lanore; and feels a strong need to be adored.
- God's Hands Are Tied: The Goddess and Dragon cannot physically intervene because they spent all their energy freeing the world from the Spirit of the Dark. They now communicate with people through dreams and visions.
- Go Out with a Smile: Akera’s false mother, when she hears Akera’s admission of love. Then Horned Tail, who swear that they continue to live on even after they die. Then Deina and Veriun as they are falling through the sky towards their definite death.
- Good Colours, Evil Colours: There seems to be a red-blue opposition at play. The necromancers use red lightning while Lanore uses blue.
- Good with Numbers: Akera is terrifyingly good with numbers. An odd trait considering the genre of the fanfic.
- Hair Contrast Duo: Akera and Turino form an extreme one, with Akera sporting white hair and Turino, black.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Esharo gains the distinction of having betrayed both protagonists and antagonists, twice each, by the end of the story.
- Hitchhiker Heroes: Sent on a quest by a voice in her dreams to save the world from the Big Bad, Ralinn is told that she will meet her guild members wherever she chooses to go because the Clock Spirit dreams it so. This takes her across Victoria Island, into chance encounters with the other main characters, whom she recruits. And what do we know, but all recruits possess their own unique and useful skills.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Clynine deals the crippling blow to Deina with a big helping of holy light magic.
- Hope Sprouts Eternal: The new trees of Leafre at the end of Chapter 8.
- Hopeless Suitor: Turino, who knows Akera has already set her heart on someone else.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Ketara + Horned Tail = ?
- Hyper Awareness: Xelion notes—while pursuing a foe—that there are three rather than two fresh tracks in the snow. Lanore; notices a vein of silver on the ceiling of the tunnel.
- I Am a Monster: Akera and Ketara both go through bouts of this, the former because she keeps hurting others against her will, and the latter because he can remember nothing of his childhood but a woman whom he believes is his creator.
- I Die Free: Horned Tail always knew that their only freedom would come in death; Deina likewise was committed to serving her duty till the place she guarded was destroyed. Akera only felt she'd earned her redemption when she had given her life to save the world.
- I Have Many Names: Each deity is known by different titles in different places and by different species.
- I Know You Know I Know: The entire Dead Mines plot hinged upon this. Lanore; knew that Xelion would know that she was trying to double bluff, so she set up a bluff which was actually not a bluff which she expected him to think was a bluff—which he did.
- Ice Queen: Akera, ironically. Also Lanore, to a lesser extent.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every chapter is named after the Chinese Zodiac animal in whose year it takes place, except for prologue and epilogue, both of which have titles concerning fire.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Played straight with Turino and Telida.
"Ketara. Don't you dare hurt my sister."
- In Harm's Way: Lanore;'s occupation was to seek out and confront the enemies of El Nath, with the ultimate aim of growing strong enough to defeat King Caleix himself.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "Watch them watch watches. Haha." Spoken by the stoniest deity in the story, no less.
- Innocent Flower Girl: Clynine, who lives in a garden-girt house in a country full of gardens and has close associations with flowers, rather than actually engaging in the florist trade.
- Insufferable Genius: Akera absolutely cannot give it a rest.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Akera. Her isolation is an indirect result of her intelligence, seeing that intelligence directly corresponds to magical skill in the Maple world, and her extreme intelligence combined with her volatile emotions means she has little control over it.
- It's Going Down: Deina’s tower. Or is it going up? Argh...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Turino, who obviously cares a lot, if from behind a thick curtain of moodiness and snark.
- Jungle Princess: Telida practically qualifies. Unruly Rapunzel Hair—check. Raised in a jungle—check. Encounters a "hunky European explorer" who civilizes her—sort of.
- Just Friends: Ketara and Telida, or at least they claim so.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Played straight with Lanore; triumphing over Xelion, except that Xelion did work out the plan, only the time delay before he worked it out was something they were banking on, since his eventual uncovering of the plan was part of the plan.
- Kill It with Fire: Akera rules this trope. Enemy guards? Fire. Wyverns? Fire. Parents? Fire. ...Oops.
- Kiss Diss: Ralinn to Shirion in Chapter 11.
- Knight Errant: Lanore; is a female example. She wanders the lands in search of foes in battle, hoping ultimately to defeat the Evil Overlord.
- La Résistance: Orion’s Belt and Nightfall. These two are united later, along with Reborn (another minor Résistance) to form The Alliance of this series.
- Legend Fades to Myth: The history of the world features instances of this: every time the Spirit of the Dark rose, the people suffered, and for the years that followed, they were wary of the Darkness. But as the nation recovered and returned to normal life, memories of the last ascension faded, and their caution waned.
- Light Is Good: As with the idea of Dark Is Evil, the Goddess is the deity that helps Orion's Belt on their quest, alongside Life, which by definition has humanity's interests at heart. This trope is ultimately subverted in Chapter 10 when we discover Light is only interested in retaining order and not in perpetuating Good.
- Light Is Not Good: Actually, Light is very, very selfish.
- Light Masculine and Dark Masculine: Shirion and Turino. Akera even Lampshades the vast difference between the two.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Deina embodies both sides of the argument. When you are an immortal guard who faces no intruders for millennia on end, you can work out every tactic you might ever need to use. Even if no one comes.
- Living Legend: Lanore;, the Job Masters, then eventually half of Orion's Belt. Lanore is offered superior treatment the instant she steps into an underground inn. The Job Masters are practically worshipped. And as we discover in Chapter 11, Ralinn and the rest of Orion's Belt have had ballads written about them.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There is approximately one new named character every 2,500 words.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Clocktower guardians’ have a Lotus Eater clock, which Akera actually manages to overpower and defeat while inside it.
- Love Triangle: Turino, Akera, Shirion and Ralinn.
- Martyrdom Culture: Pelinor lives by this. Apparently, all he wants is to die a hero.
- Men Don't Cry: Hyrien, when Pelinor dies. He is simply unable to cry, after years numbing himself to the king's acts of cruelty.
- Mind Rape: First done to Telida in the catacomb of the Dead Mines, and to Clynine by Lyssa in the Goddess' Tower.
- Mind Screw: The entire scene involving Telida and the catacombs.
- Mirror World: The team visits one in Chapter 10.
- More Dakka: Chapter 8’s outer climax. There’s never enough dakka!
- Mr. Fanservice: Fan interaction suggests that Turino is this to a greater extent than any of the other guys, though Ketara, Shirion and Hyrien could count as well.
- Ms. Fanservice: Telida.
- Multiple Head Case: Horned Tail. Each head has a different personality, a different intelligence level and a different appetite.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Raydan feeds a bird lollipops while his guild mates stare on disbelievingly at his genius.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Akera nearly does this in Chapter 10.
- No Escape but Down: How many times has the story invoked this trope? First Clynine and Lanore; flee from the flying ship like this, then Akera and Shirion escape from the guards in Ellinia by doing the same thing, and then the temporary party in Chapter 6, and the entire guild in chapter 10.
- Nobody Poops: Toilets are mentioned, though.
- Oblivious to Love: Akera, to Turino’s.
- Outgambitted: Lanore; outgambits Xelion.
- Pair the Spares: Once Orion’s Belt joins up with Nightfall, all the main characters are paired.
- Personality Powers: Both Fire Mages are hot-tempered, Lanore; the Ice Lightning Archmage is cool, Clynine is pure.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Clynine does this to Lanore twice, first in Chapter 10 then in chapter 12.
- Power Incontinence: Akera suffers from anger-triggered Power Incontinence.
- Powers That Be: The deities' council is always lurking in the background, making use of heroes and villains both to further their own agendas.
- Prescience Is Predictable: The Clock Spirit, which knows all of Time at once. As a rule, It never ever speaks of what It knows, and never interferes with the passage of events in the universe. The Goddess can, however, pass through Its dreams and share what She sees in the form of prophecies.
- Raised by Natives: Zethis and Ketara, raised by a farmer from Henesys and the fairies of Ellinia respectively.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The twins sport this look, and Ketara at least seems to think they are both very attractive.
- Required Secondary Powers: Fire Mages are fireproof, which Turino exploits in Chapter 8.
- Self-Made Orphan: Akera, out of anger and a weak control of her powers. She is most definitely insane and she has no excuses.
- Serial Escalation: Meta example, in which chapter lengths continually increase. The final chapter is 75,000 words long.
- Sex Slave: Telida and Turino's mother was this to their father.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: This sums up Ketara and Telida's entire relationship. In fact Telida literally slaps Ketara then kisses him in Chapter 11.
- Sleep Cute: Ralinn finds Zethis and Clynine asleep on a bench outside and this is the opinion she expresses.
- Spirit World: Clynine visits one every time she tries to resurrect someone, but it is devoid of life forms and contains just a symbolic cliff and a symbolic ocean with symbolic coasts.
- Super Weight: Every level is represented. See the main page.
- Talking Through Technique: Lanore and Clynine speak through magic after Clynine goes deaf.
- Have You Seen My God?: The entire idea behind this version of the Maple world's cosmology. All the deities were crippled by their first battle and no long wield influence over the world as they did before.
- The Hero: Shirion, literally. Puns aside, none of the characters is really all-round-good and central enough to definitively be The Hero. There are, however, many Antiheroes.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The deities' council constitutes one, overseeing all of humanity and pushing hidden agendas through their subtle influence.
- The Red Baron: The Silver Fang of El Nath (Lanore) and the White-Haired Murderess (Akera).
- The Stoic: Hyrien, who is unable to cry even at his idol and closest friend's death.
- Title Drop: The title is dropped in a title. Namely, the combined title of the final chapter and prologue, "Year of the Dragon, Fire of the Stars".
- Twice Shy: Zethis and Clynine, with a little prodding from Raydan.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Pelinor brags to everyone about his plan—and goes on to die during the execution of said plan. Akera and Lanore; say nothing about their plan in Chapter 9 and it goes on to be an utter success.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Akera and Turino enjoy so much of this.
- Where It All Began: Orion's Belt travells the world to find the four parts of the Spear, but their final battle will take place in Henesys, where the story began.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Akera. Her great power is the cause of her descent to madness.
- Xanatos Gambit: Chapter 9. Lanore; first has an apparent Xanatos Gambit, which the reader knows Xelion has already outgambitted with his own Xanatos Gambit. Xelion thinks that this gambit guarantees his win no matter what the woman chooses to do. And Lanore; seems to be playing straight into his hands…until he springs the all-encompassing trap, and he ends up realizing that he is the one playing, unknowingly, into her larger Xanatos Gambit.
- You ALL Share My Story: The story begins by introducing six different groups of people, all hating the Big Bad King Caleix—no surprises that they all meet eventually, at different points in the story.