Fanfic / Shadowchasers: Torment
is a fanfic from the Shadowchasers Series
written by Occam Razor.
Featuring a different team of Shadowchasers. It is about the story of a green elf-like person with amnesia, and his quest to seek answers to who he really is, meanwhile as a mysterious cult seeks their dark master.
This fic contains the following tropes
- Ambiguous Ending: At the end of the fic, Leorin attacks the Dread Emperor, and it is up for the readers to decide what the outcome of the battle was. It doesn’t matter to Leorin; if he defeats the Dread Emperor, he’ll rid the world of one of its most brutal serial killers, and if he is killed, he will finally be able to pass on to his final reward.
- The author has given a reason why he left the outcome ambiguous: If Leorin had won, the fic would have ended with him being denied what he truly wanted, but if it had won with him dying, the ending would have been showing favoritism towards an undeserving villain. Thus, the outcome was left uncertain. One can rest assured that if Leorin did indeed triumph, he would have found more villains like the Dread Emperor to face until he eventually died heroically fighting one, and would eventually get his final reward.
- Armor Is Useless: Averted to a point. The Dread Emperor's armor is enchanted with several enchantments to negate the weight of such heavy armor, but those enchantments become useless when he accidentally creates a dead zone.
- Ascended Extra: The Doomdreamers, who were only mentioned once in Power Primordial play a huge role in this fic as the main antagonists.
- The Atoner: Ben/ Leorin fills this role in a big way. Many centuries ago, he was a general in an army that fought the minions of Sertrous, but panicked and deserted his men when the demon actually appeared; this cowardly act caused his men and the town he was defending to be slaughtered. Convinced that what he did would cause his soul to be damned even if he spent his whole life repenting, he sought Ravel Darkquill to gain immortality, hoping for more time to repent.
- Back from the Dead: Panik and Geise the Spirit Hunter. Also, Yami Marik, who made a deal with Hape.
- Baleful Polymorph: Lorelei's prefered method of dealing with victims; she turns them into cats. Her first known victim was her own father and it is implied that several former lovers have met the same fate. She does this to Nichole too after besting her in a duel, but Leorin breaks the curse before it becomes permanent. At the end of the fic, after Lorelei is apprehended, this curse is put upon HER as well, as she accepts it as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty.
- Big Good: While Jalal remains as the primary Big Good, a secondary one may be St. Cuthbert, a Shadowkind deity of justice and retribution. Not only does Nichole belong to a charity organization who reveres him, but he secretly sponsors Leorin in his quest for redemption, lending him his Mace and the conditions for true salvation.
- Black Knight: The Dread Emperor (actually a wizard, but looks very much like a knight). If his name and frightening looking plate armor weren't enough to convince you that he was evil, four mind controlled children are chained to his belt by their necks (the reason for this is unknown, but obviously not good). Willing to destroy a whole city block if one person in it angers him, he only bothers to duel Ben because a freak occurrence makes him unable to use his magic.
- Break the Haughty: Ben takes the receiving end of this when he loses his duel with Roxy because of his over-confidence.
- Dark Messiah: Lareth the Beautiful, a prophesied chosen one of Tharizdun who is believed to be needed for any successful attempt to free him from his prison. This assumption is later revealed to be wrong, and the Triad fully intends to betray him when they put their true plan into action; Tharizdun himself, however, shows more gratitude towards him.
- Death Is Not Permanent: Ben is cursed, and can never know actual death. If he dies, he is reborn in another place. There seems to be hope however, because he is no longer forgetting what happened before he dies each time, and his rebirths happen relatively close to where the deaths occur.
- Divine Intervention: Ben's duel disk is actually the Mace of St. Cuthbert, a holy relic associated with the god he once worshipped. St. Cuthbert lends it to him, both to see if he is worthy of redemption and to aid him in breaking his curse if he is.
- The Don: Taka Kyodai, the Shadowkind crimelord of Chicago (who is actually an ally of the Shadowchasers) and Cattivo Fanciullo, a boss in the European underworld who makes a brief appearance sometime in the fic. (His henchman, Drago, plays a bigger role.) A crime boss who is mentioned, but who was defeated in the past and is now in prison, is Madison Vance.
- Enigmatic Minion: Madam Xane, an old crone who works for the Doomdreamers, but who doesn’t seem to care for them at all. Xane is a follower of St. Cuthbert, and only works for the Doomdreamers because she knew than Leorin would eventually oppose them.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As stated, Tharizdun and his worshippers are so despicable that even other evil organizations and beings do not associate with them, even some of the most evil entities in the cosmos (maybe especially so, because they can remember the original war where he tried to destroy all of existence). To give an example, after Lareth defeats Minerva, he shoves her into an enchanted chair that is meant to hold sacrifices for the demon lord Demogorgon. Minerva survives long enough to be freed from it, because Demogorgon refuses to accept an offering made by a Doomdreamer.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Temple of All-Consumption, a Doomdreamer stronghold located off the shore of Lake Michigan. A dark, forboding, sinister-looking tower, it is an essential part of their plan. It usually remains hidden below the water's surface, but they purposely reveal it in an attempt to lure the Chicago Shadowchasers to their doom (which turns out to be a very bad idea as the Triad informs them later).
- Possibly the most disturbing thing about the Temple is, as frightening as it is, it clearly is not the most important stronghold the Doomdreamers have as an organization, and they clearly have an even more important headquarters (or possibly even more than one) elsewhere. It was not the Triad's base of operations, and they fully intended to abandon it once the ritual it was necessary for was complete.
- Evil Counterpart: The Hellgear, evil versions of the Alies of Justice. The Hellgear specialize in fighting Water attribute monsters.
- Evil Twin: Hape, whose true form looks exactly like Leorin, is the embodiment of Leorin's mortality, stripped from Leorin by Ravel, and the reason he cannot die. Hape also cannot die, but unlike Leorin, he does not view it as a curse. However, if either one of them were to die permanently, so would the other. Thus, Hape has arranged for Leorin's death countless times over the centuries, as doing so makes Leorin forget each life and lowers the risk that he will learn the truth. Events in the fic stop Leorin from forgetting, forcing Hape to take a more active role.
- The concept is even lampshaded by Hape himself, saying that he isn't a clone, an evil twin, or his alternate self.
- God of Evil: This fic revolves around a cult of Tharizdun, an insane god that was so evil and so destructive that eons ago, all other gods, good and evil alike, joined forces to defeat him and cast him into a dark prison.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Tharizdun
- I Gave My Word: When Lareth confronts Minerva, he offers to return the Celestial Configuration, a holy artifact that the Doomdreamers took from the Knights of Domiel centuries ago, if she duels him, regardless of who wins. (He really needs the elemental energy from a powerful monster she uses.) He wins the duel, but keeps his end of the baragin; however, he does physically restrain her and leave her to starve in the isolated cave where the duel took place. Minerva is eventually found by other Knights of Domiel before that happens, and she believes that him returning it is a sign that the Doomdreamers are very close to their goal. (If Tharizdun is freed, the Configuration could hardly help them.)
- An Ice Person: Karl runs an Ice Barrier Deck.
- Ironic Name: Lareth the Beautiful. His title was fitting in the past, but a fight horribly scarred his face, and from that point on, he was no longer beautiful at all. Even more ironic once Lareth becomes Tharizdun's avatar.
- The Lost Lenore: A variation of this occurs. In his first life, Leorin had a lover named Rowen who also worshipped St. Cuthbert. When he left to find Ravel in hopes of gaining a longer life to repent, she prayed daily to St. Cuthbert for his return, and when he didn't, she prayed for his soul every day for the rest of her life. St. Cuthbert took notice, and spent centuries trying to find him, eventually succeeding in the present time, and giving him the Mace of St. Cutherbert (disguised as a Duel Disk) as a test of redemption. When Leorin's true deck appears in it, it contains several cards in Rowen's likeness, and his memory of her is the final step towards truly breaking the curse.
- There is another variation in Tiberius' background. The only woman he ever loved (or even cared about) was an Air Force medic named Yolanda; his vow of celebacy as a priest kept him from any real relationship or even admitting his feelings, and it contributed to his descent into madness. (It is never revealed what eventually became of her.) Even as a Doomdreamer, his deck contains a copy of Counselor Lily which he uses to remember her. In his final appearance in Ascension, where he duels Red Feather in mortal combat and loses, he briefly becomes sane before he dies, and has a vision of Yolanda one last time.
- Made of Iron: Lareth the Beautiful has this trait after he becomes the Avatar of Tharizdun. Dugan shoots him with his magical bluderbuss at its highest setting and fails to even make him flinch.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Triad, three incredible powerful and terrible Doomdreamers who direct the actions of the rest of the cult from a secret place.
- No Name Given: The main protagonist of the fic has amnesia, and does not know his name until late into the story. His allies simply call him "Ben". He later discovers that his real name is Leorin.
- Old Shame: There is one regarding St. Cuthbert's House, a charity organization that Nichole belongs to, and it involves a mistake that St. Cuthbert, the Shadow-exclusive deity that they follow, admits to. According to legend, eons ago, Cuthbert was an advisor to the powers of Law, and he argued vehemently in support of the Pact Primodial, the document that would put Lucifer in charge of punishing sinners in the afterlife. His voice was one of the biggest reasons for the document being approved. However, Cuthbert would regret his decision years later, and forever after, when it became apparent that the Prince of Darkness was exploiting loopholes in the document to encourage evil among mortals and increase his personal power, which he still does to this day. Cuthbert shifted from Lawful Neutral to Lawful Good as a result, and his dogma became one of retribution against evil.
- Only the Worthy May Pass: The three Shadowchasers encounter this while trying to reach the apex of the Temple of All Consumption; anyone who tries to do so except a Doomdreamer or someone escorted by one goes through a room where he or she is challenged by a guardian, one who, as the fiendish doorman describes, "represents a major turning point in your life… Something that led to a major decision that changed you forever, which would have altered your life significantly if it had turned out differently. To defeat it, you must remember that time, and make sure things fall in your favor again." The penalty for failing isn't known, the doorman seems to suggest that failure actually changes the results of the event, erasing the character from existence. The three guardians appear as follows (note, these are very big spoilers):
- For Dugan, it's The Flying Dutchman, whom he defeated prior to becoming a Shadowchaser, back when he knew Shadows existed but never got directly involved with them, never considering it his business. The significance is, it was when he decided that evil Shadows posed too much of a danger to humans for him to ignore them, and that if he had a gift, he had to put it to good use.
- For Nichole, It's Sven, who had offered her a spot in the Blue Serpents just as he had her brother. By refusing to take that path back then and oppose him instead, her life turned out far better than his did (or Sven's, for that matter) and as a bonus, passing this test is a symbolic victory for her.
- In Karl's case, it's hard to understand at first, but eventually makes sense. The guardian manifests as a young girl who was his opponent in a tournament years ago, one who defeated him using Larvals, causing his fear of fire. While this fear haunted him for a long time, it had one upside. It inspired him to use a deck with Ice Barrier Monsters out of hope that this opposing force might protect him, which it ultimately did at a crucial time.
- Other Dimension: The Chicago Shadowchasers travel to the Grey Waste (a realm where Hades and many other gods of death live) in order to recapture Ravel, who is now a fugitive.
- Also, the finale involves a Turbo Duel through the topmost layer of the Abyss, the infernal realm where demons originate.
- Pardon My Klingon: Doesn't happen on-camera, but in one scene in "Torment", Jalal has just come back from mediating a negotiation between elves and orcs (which did not go well), incredibly exhausted:
Jalal: Every discussion turned into a round of shouting, threatening, and cursing…
Karl: Well, orcs can be like that...
Jalal: I'll get to the orcs in a minute! (Long sigh) The elven language is so beautiful… Most linguists are shocked when they discover that it actually has expletives in it…
- Power Trio: This fic has three primary antagonists, though all of them are Doomdreamers: Ulysses Tiberius, Lorelei DeLuc, and Lareth the Beautiful. Lareth later betrays the other two at the end and is the villain fought by the hero in the final battle, but it would probably be wrong to call him the Big Bad.
- The three main Shadowchasers of this fic alo qualify.
- Predecessor Villain: Three are important to the story.
- First, the Flying Dutchman. (this one, not that one) who in this reality is actually one of The Fair Folk who was exiled for crimes against his fellows, along with other evil fey, turning to piracy. Dugan's troops confronted him when he tried to raid a costal town in Chile, and Dugan bargained with him, offering himself in a life or death game of chess on the condition that the pirate would leave the town unharmed if Dugan won. Despite the fact that Dugan actually lost, his true plan, keeping the villain occupied until the sun rose, sinking his ship and rendering him powerless, worked, and he was apprehended with easy.
- Then there was Sven, a half-giant leader of the Blue Serpents, a street gang which Nichole's brother was a member of in order to support her and her mother. Only Sven and a few other of its top members knew that the gang was Unwitting Pawns of a powerful crime boss named Madison Vance, who used them as fall guys if he or his top lieutenants were in danger of arrest or conviction; this is exactly what happened to Nichole's brother. Sven feigned sympathy after it happened, offering Nichole membership, but she saw through the façade, joining up with St. Cuthbert's House and later the Shadowchasers. Sven was later apprehended in a raid that Dugan led with help from the police, and the Blue Serpents disbanded.
- Naturally, there's Vance himself, a bluespawn godslayer, a powerful abomination spawned from certain dragons by the divine intervention of Tiamat. He seemed to care little about Tiamat, however, becoming the most powerful figure in Chicago organized crime regarding Shadows. Few details are known about the campaign where his organization was toppled (though it was difficult) but he's currently in prison.
- Put on a Bus: Karl, done intentionally. At the end of fic, he is put on reserve status as a Shadowchaser so that he can attend college (which was his stated goal for some time), and a replacement is found for the Chicago team.
- Religion of Evil: Doomdreamers and the Cult of Tharizdun.
- Rescue Arc: A minor example is Leorin rescuing the Chicago Shadowchasers after they lose to the Doomdreamers.
- Shout-Out: To Planescape: Torment.
- Sinister Minister: Ulysses Tiberius, who was a former Air Force Chaplain who went insane due to the conflicting nature of his position.
- The Smart Guy: Karl; he is a computer expert who designed a portable computer with a very intelligent AI system that he wears like a gauntlet.
- Smart People Play Chess: In one chapter, Jalal and Karl play chess while waiting for the results of a test being done on Ben. (Jalal wins.)
- Split-Personality Merge: Leorin and Hape become one person again towards the end of Torment.
- Stupid Evil: The three main antagonists in Torment display this often. (In their defense, they are, like all worshippers of Tharizdun, insane.) They reveal their previously-hidden stronghold in order to lure the Chicago Shadowchasers to their doom, but while they are busy doing this, they are unaware that it has caused a small ‘’army’’ of Shadowchasers to gather around it. Also, when they reveal their plan to the team, it is clear that it would never possibly work, as Dugan is quick to point out. It is then that they discover that it was never ‘’meant’’ to work, and that the Triad has been using them all along in order to enact their true plan.
- Tailor-Made Prison: The town of Nulb. Built by Lareth the Beautiful as part of a scheme years ago, when he was defeated by St. Cuthbert's House (which caused his face to be scarred) they sent the town with him in it to the Astral Plane. The Doomdreamers rescue him in Torment with Hape's aid after first convincing him that the the Triad did not abandon him, which is what he at first assumes.
- Take That!: Again, the line "get your game on!" is met with disdain.
Shelly: I wouldn't think of it! Come on, get your game on!
Karl: I'd prefer it if you didn't say that…
- Villainous Crush: Ravel, towards Ben in Torment. A prophecy made long ago stated that she has the potential to rule the Grey Waste as a queen, so long as she finds an equal to rule with her as a consort. Ben is one of only two was able to best her at one of her challenges, and she is certain he is the one. Her initial attempts to win him over fail, and when she cannot force him using her magic, she threatens to use a magical device that will kill everyone present (including herself) if he does not sumbit to her. However, she is killed by Hape before she can do so.
- Wicked Witch: Ravel Darkquill, a night hag.
- Wild Card: Ben's Duel Disk is unique in that it always changes his deck everytime he duels. it's later revealed that each deck represents a previous life he had.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Zigzagged in a chapter where Dugan breaks into Taka's penthouse and muscles through the mobster's bodyguards; he later sees that one of them seems to be hurt badly, and asks if he's okay. The guy claims he just has an ulcer, and when Dugan asks if having this sort of job is wise for someone with that problem, the guy brushes it aside and says he just does it part time. Dugan smells a rat, and it turns out, he's right to be suspicious; the guy is actually spying on Taka for the Doomdreamers.
- Wretched Hive: In Chicago, the neighborhood on the South Side that is properly called South Deering has degenerated into this, so much that most residents of Chicago call it the Hive. Some good people still live there, however, as evidenced by the presence of St. Cuthbert's House.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Karl is deathly afraid of fire due to an incident in the past.