"These Kaos Cards bring out the worst in all of us, don't they?"
—Tomoyo Daidouji, Chapter 6.0: A Duality of Despair
Chaos Card Captor Sakura  is a Cardcaptor Sakura fanfiction written by Drake The Duelist. In Tomoeda, between Seasons 2 and 3, a mysterious set of "Kaos Cards" from Clow Reed's past reappear and begin terrorizing Tomoeda. Leading them are two Guardians: Lycan and Damien, who have differing opinions regarding how best to reach their goals. Sakura and Syaoran both wind up involved in the effort to capture all eight Kaos Cards, but Sakura is aided by a mysterious substance called the Elixir of Fire, a potion capable of empowering the user with superhuman resilience to everything, as well as a few... personality quirks. After a few captures, infighting begins to break out between the Guardians of Kaos, as well as between the Card Captors themselves.As of April 17, 2011, Drake The Duelist declared Chaos Card Captor Sakura to officially be a Dead Fic, partially for reasons of the pressing demands of Real Life, and partially to avoid any Unfortunate Implications that the fic’s supposed ending would result in. To make things even crazier, he mentions that he might someday pick it back up again.
An Ice Person: Sakura’s own natural kaos after Lycan steals the Elixir of Fire manifests like this. Lampshaded at the end of Chapter 7, it was originally played as I'm Cold... So Cold.... More explicitly stated by the icy rain that falls during the Final Judgment.
Limited Wardrobe: Played with. Sakura only wears one 'civilian' outfit, her other two outfits being school uniforms (both fall and, when the fall uniform was taken by Mirror, spring). There are two costumes in the story, a leopard-themed battle costume and a cowgirl costume, though Mirror winds up wearing the latter.)
Transformation Sequence: Sakura absorbing the Elixir of Fire’s magic through her heart, and later expelling it out her eyes and mouth. An unusual instance in that it is described in prose.
Unwilling Suspension: In chapter 8.5, Sakura is bound up by a pair of chains, so that Gin can beat her up with impunity. Also to keep Sakura bound up to, at least in theory, make it harder for Orchid to stop Gin from completing the Life Card.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Played with early on, as Sakura must balance her responsibilities of being a Card Captor with her mundane responsibilities and ethics. Partially subverted as the story takes place during Sakura's summer break.
Weapon of Choice: Nightmare, used first and foremost in pretty much every encounter Orchid is involved in. Also the weapon that finally does Lycan in.
Big Damn Heroes: Syaoran is on various sides of this throughout the fic. Early on, he is the one coming to Sakura’s aid (and in a larger sense that was the entire premise of Chapter 3), while later on Sakura / Orchid will come to his aid.
Uncanny Family Resemblance: To Gin Clow, barring Gin’s silver hair and presumably atrophied British accent. Used as a plot device so that Gin telling Sakura that he loves her and Syaoran watching Mirage, Sakura’s look-alike, telling Gin, Syaoran’s look-alike, that she loves him could both be played up for angst.
10-Minute Retirement: In Chapter 7. In the previous chapter, Lycan found a chink in Tomoyo’s plot armor by insinuating that Tomoyo tries to be The Matchmaker because she secretly blames herself for her dad leaving her mom. Thinking about it for a minute, Tomoyo deems that she can’t continue to follow Sakura and Syaoran in their magical adventures.
Ms. Exposition: Tomoyo is generally the one who asks questions about whatever magical powers Sakura / Orchid and Syaoran are using.
Muggles: Tomoyo has a hidden inferiority complex about this.
Big Eater: Justified, in spite of being a Guardian. Clow got Kero addicted to food early in his creation, presumably as a joke (similar to how Eriol deliberately screwed up Spinel). Turns out that it was to protect him. Keroberos was specifically designed with the ability to metabolize food into magic power. Not only does this enable him to aesthetically emulate the power of the sun, which shines under its own power, but it allows Kero to survive without having to draw his magic from a foreign source, such as his future master.
Calling the Old Man Out: Kero does this a lot with Clow Reed, even despite Clow being long gone. Yue thinks more idealistically of Clow on account of Clow faking Yue’s memories of being created, but Kero knows better.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Though he will still defend her, Yue still doesn’t think that highly of Sakura as his master. Justified in light that this fic is not only set right after Yue getting stomped in the Final Judgment, but right as he is coming to the harsh reality that Clow was not, in fact, the wise and sagely magician Yue thought him to be. invoked
Kick the Dog: Even some readers found Yue attacking Orchid in a fit of anger over Clow Reed’s honor to be a bit extreme!
Not So Different: Yue and Damien. It is implied that Damien is dying because of Yue siphoning off his magical sustenance. In actuality, it was actually Damien’s own hatred of Clow Reed that was consuming him the whole time. The assumption is that Clow created Yue because Damien rejected him as his potential master, and not the other way around. Cue Season 3, when Yue encounters similar difficulties for similar reasons…
As the Good Book Says: While stalking Orchid, Lycan quotes one of pop culture’s more memorable bible verses: “Be sober. Be vigilant. For your adversary the Devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (This being the predominantly Shinto Japan, the reference is a bit lost on Orchid, though this does nothing to diminish the return fire.)
Attack Its Weak Point: While attacking the rest of Lycan’s body is often utterly useless, his mask is solid, and thus can be hit. After a few fights, everybody picks up on this.
Beware the Nice Ones: Gin Clow has a split personality: one sadistic and spiteful, and another affectionate and doting. Guess which one is his kaos self...
Breath Weapon: How Lycan uses the Fade Card. He gets his own breath weapon later on in the form of an atomizing stream of raw power!
Eye Scream: Being largely intangible, Lycan subverted this with ease when Yue shoots him in the eye with a magic arrow. He later plays it straight when Syaoran shoots him in the eye with the Inferno Crossbow after Lycan became corporeal. Lycan’s reaction: “Do you haveany ideahow much that stings?!”
According to Word of God, light actually ‘’does’’ harm him in large enough quantities. The reason that the Light Card didn’t even faze him is because the Light Card was never intended to be used as a weapon.
Almost Dead Guy: For the entire story, he believed that Clow Reed created Yue as his replacement and that Yue was siphoning off his magical sustenance and killing him. Lycan finally kills him by taking advantage of this degradation… and then skewering him. See Clipped Wing Angel below.
Badass Grandpa: He’s as old as Keroberos (and then some; Gin didn’t create Damien… he found him!), yet he can still be just as powerful as he was in his prime. His powers occasionally stall out at incredibly inconvenient intervals, though.
Clipped Wing Angel: He’s already in this form at the start of the fic, hence his fading, depleted powers, corrupted human form, and incessant lamenting (mostly at Yue) about how he used to be a lot stronger than he is now. But there’s a worse form to come, characterized by a complete reptilian transformation.
Determinator: He has his moments of unbridled implacability. When he becomes an even nastier Clipped Wing Angel, he throws Lycan around like a ragdoll and beats him half to death!
Flaming Sharp Things: Damien can summon various kinds of flaming bladed weapons, most commonly knives and javelins. One time he summoned a massive halberd, but Yue cut him off at the pass before he could use it.
Really 700 Years Old: Nobody knows exactly how old Damien is, given that Gin basically adopted him and touted him as his Guardian. He's at least a fair bit older than Yue.
The Kaos Cards:
Absolute Xenophobe: Other Kaos Cards seem to come off this way (which figures, given that Damien presided over half of them), but Mirage is far more obvious and explicit about it, not caring for people, guardians, Clow Cards (except Mirror), or anybody else who isn't a Kaos Card (or Gin Clow).
This is essentially how the Industry functions while in its visible form. What’s especially shocking is when combining the tendril traits of its visible form with the fact that it can conduct electricity.
The Dominion Card can also function as a binding mass of threads, though its primary function is what it does to the victim’s heart. Don’t worry, the possibility of Lycan’s mind being in the gutter is the last thing the victim has to worry about.
Ghost in the Machine: Industry’s primary power, which can affect and manipulate any forged, inanimate materials like suits of armor, electrical wires or even resin handguns. A bit useless in a forest, though.
Involuntary Shapeshifting: Though independently sentient, Mirage explicitly states that she cannot control her own transformations without the consent of her master, usually keeping her stuck in one form for a long stretch of time.
Because Destiny Says So: When Syaoran finally confronts Gin, he learns that fate and free will are actually the same thing. How can such a thing be achieved? Because individuals are destined to be enslaved to their own whims. Keep in mind, Cardcaptor Sakura was essentially a kid’s show...
Berserk Button: Insult Clow Reed with Yue in earshot. Not even Sakura gets away with that!
Big Damn Heroes: This is usually how the less-involved characters from each chapter get into the main body of the plot.
Chekhov's Gun: In Chapter 8.0, you aren’t led to believe that the pillars in the subway station do anything... until Orchid destroys the last of them and brings the entire station down on Lycan’s head!
Deal with the Devil: To use the Kaos Cards, you need to harness a “key that hides the powers of the Inferno”. (And by the Inferno, you can pretty safely bet that this means Hell.) And the Card Captor in question has to make a “contract” with this key.
Gin Clow makes a deal with Dncyltr to get his own kaos power. Later on, Orchid tries to make a similar contract, after absorbing Gin’s kaos, to get even more power! Fortunately for the Cardcaptor Sakura universe, Dncyltr ignores her pleas.
Despair Event Horizon: It’s practically axiomatic for this to appear at some point or another. And it does: Lycan steals the Elixir of Fire, reclaims all seven Kaos Cards, feigns killing Syaoran, kills Damien, steals the Oblivion Card, and when Sakura / Orchid and the gang finally catch a break, Lycan unveiled hisGambit Roulette in their faces before ascending to his One-Winged Angel form! Orchid thinks of killing herself at the very thought of it all.
Drama Bomb Finale: Chapter 8.0 was about the climactic battle, while Chapter 8.5 and the epilogue mostly deal with the repercussions of everything that happened previously.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The end of Chapter 1, and parts of Chapter 2 that turned out to be a Nightmare-induced dream are the only times Sakura's crush on Yukito are even mentioned. By the time Yukito shows up again for a bit part in Chapter 6, this crush seems to be completely swept under the rug.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Kaos (barring Orchid’s, but ‘’particularly’’ Damien’s) is constantly shown with fire and other flaming imagery and colors. Orchid shows an affinity for ice-based kaos power later on. And Syaoran sticks with his canonic affinity for his lightning ofuda.
First Name Basis: In an attempt to fire back at Lycan (who recently “killed” Syaoran), Orchid accidentally calls Syaoran by his first name, albeit as part of a quote. She catches herself afterwards, but the Relationship Upgrade still stands.
Lycan has a rather interesting take on this. No character ever refers to Lycan with an honorific (except for Orchid calling him “Lycie-chan”). Similarly, Lycan only once refers to Sakura with a “-san” honorific, but drops this later on, more often referring to her as “Kinomoto Sakura”. According to Word of God, Lycan does this as a derisive reference to the fact that he’s a predator, and pretty much everybody else is his prey, something like a slaughterer calling a cow by its zoologically-correct binomial nomenclature. No one else refers to Lycan with honorifics because they’re just not quite sure what to make of him / it.
Gambit Roulette: Lycan's, concluding in Chapter 8.0. Yeah, so he’s the supposed head honcho bad guy, and he really means for Sakura, his chosen Card Captor, to wind up with the Kaos Cards in the end. Normally a surprise, but given the source material, it’s not much of a surprise. The roulette comes in when Lycan deliberately forfeits his own Final Judgment, allowing Sakura to take the Kaos Cards, and for Lycan to scoop up Oblivion, the true eighth Kaos Card. But even this is a ploy, as Lycan expects Orchid to kill him with the Kaos Cards and rip open the dimensional barrier to Gin’s ‘holding cell’, so that she can use her power to turn Gin into the Life Card’s true form!
Lycan’s plan plays Gambit Roulette a bit more realistically, considering that his plan not only ultimately failed in the course of the fanfic, but it failed in every instance he tried it before off screen.
Gratuitous English: Used as a literary language barrier against the language in which the fanfiction is written. Damien is supposed to speak mostly English and a little Japanese. Everybody else (except maybe Kero and Lycan) is supposed to speak mostly Japanese. The result: when Damien breaks out into Gratuitous English ("Little Wolf"), the rest of the cast hears this within their own accent ("Riteru Wurufu").
Used as a plot device when Damien doesn't realize that "the Cherry Blossom" (heard as "Chari Burosomu") is actually "Sakura", and then freaks out at seeing her in person.
Heroic BSOD: If you talk to Lycan for long enough, you will get one. Even if you're Tomoyo.
Gets flanderized later on. Whereas at first it’s an artifact so dangerous that one would have to cross the Godzilla Threshold to even consider using it, the Elixir of Fire is, in more recent chapters, as Bottled Heroic Resolve which is broken out repeatedly, deliberately, and seemingly without thought.
Meaningful Echo: “Zettai Daijobu”, which Syaoran stews over throughout the entire fic.
Lycan: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you shall not live long enough to do.” Sadly, this echo was rather obvious because this incredibly narmtastic line, echoed in Chapter 7, was first written back in Chapter 2, long before Lycan’s character was fully established, or even before the writing got all that good.
Orchid: If you've ever seen an Orchid before , they're actually quite pale. This contrasts sharply with the Cherry Blossom (i.e. "Sakura") flower. Orchid actually chooses this name.
Gin: The Japanese word for "silver", which is the only thing that can kill werewolves, according to their most common depictions. (Of course, Our Werewolves Are Different.) Silver is also a very contrasting color to black, which in Japanese is "Kuro", which sounds very similar to the Japanese pronunciation of "Clow".
Lycan: Keeping in mind that Our Werewolves Are Different, Lycan claims that this was the name people devised to label him. He then took it and ran with it. Sort of the in-series version of a Fan Nickname. (Not to be confused with that nickname...)
Meanwhile, Back at the...: One of the few consistent formatting decisions in the entire fic, a scene change will always be signified with the same pattern: *-*-*. Word of God on this is that the keystrokes are (shift) 8 (un-shift) dash (shift) 8 (un-shift) dash (shift) 8 (un-shift). These keystrokes prevent auto-formatting on a line of straight dashes or asterisks that can potentially mess up the format when posting. The stated purpose for these abrupt scene changes are to make the fic read more like an anime and less like a book, harkening to the fic’s anime basis.
Monster of the Week: The Kaos Cards tend to this for a while. The first four chapters are reminiscent of the majority of the Cardcaptor Sakura series in that they involve the basic Find-Identify-Counter-Defeat pattern.
Most Writers Are Male: Evident in the amount of comparative attention (particularly in the internal thought processes department) that Syaoran gets, compared to Sakura.
Motive Rant: As a prose fic with Alternate Character Interpretations galore, most character development is done with this. Basically, if a character spends more than three straight sentences talking without interruption, you can bet you’re reading one of these.
Ominous Latin Chanting: There is a bunch of crazy-speak in Chapter 8.5, especially one line repeated over and over again (right as the entire universe caves in!) that would be otherwise indecipherable to the characters who hear it. Hint: read it backwards. Translated, the repeated message is “All work and no play makesDrakea dull boy.”
OT 3: invoked Tomoyo apparently loves both Sakura and Syaoran. A Take That to those that interpret a 10-year-old's relationships as more than just friends on no further grounds than Ho Yay.
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Only instead of abusing capitalization, the author abuses italics. All! The! TIME!!!!! If you’re seeing capital letters, it’s because people are SHOUTING! PARTICULARLY! LOUD!!!
Sadly Mythtaken: The Li family has a legend that tells an apocryphal story about Clow Reed defeating the forces of Kaos, including Lycan. (This story likely had an Unreliable Narrator, having been presumably written by the Li clan.) Aside from the basics (there really are Kaos Cards), just about nothing else in this story is accurate. (For instance, the Kaos Cards are not nocturnal. Chimera was only specifically handwaved to take on the characteristics of diurnal animals.) Cue Syaoran’s Heroic BSOD when he realizes all too late that Sakura had been fighting forces far beyond her abilities, at least thus far, by herself.
Another hint at the sequel crossing into Cardcaptor Torika: Gin Clow privately tells Sakura / Orchid that she isn’t the one he saw in his vision, and that she would be “laid low by a dear friend”, and that Syaoran will “shun her memory”. Oh look, Deria Avery just got her learner’s permit...
"Broken", the title for Chapter 5, is from the Seether / Amy Lee song of the same name.
Ironically, the early scenes of Chapter 5 are indicative of Matchbox 20's "Unwell".
Lycan: “What did you mortals hope to accomplish by coming here?” A shout-out to The Maledict from Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. The Maledict says a very similar line right before you begin the final showdown.
Keroberos’ comment, after Lycan surrenders the Kaos Cards and reverts to his real form, more amphibious than mammalian, diminutively suggesting that Lycan resembled a certain car insurance agency’s spokes-gecko.
Of all things, to Dawn of War. See how many you can find...
When Yue and Damien go at it, expect to hear a lot of “heretic”, “heathen”, and the all-purposed “scum” thrown around. While pretty scathing and out of place in your average Cardcaptor Sakura fanfiction, these are all ubiquitous catch-all terms for everything from cartoonish super-villainy to mild misdemeanors in the 40k universe.
Shown Their Work: All the way back in Chapter 1, the numeric combination that held the Kaos Cards in the museum was “520”, referencing May 20th, Nadeshiko’s birthday.
Spin-Off: Shards of Kaos. Depending on the ‘shard’, they can be prequels, sequels, expositional additions, focusing on tertiary characters, or other means of exposition that would otherwise deviate too far from the main plot. Word of God describes these as being analogous to Stories From the Sakura Book for Cardcaptor Torika.
The use of a Transformation Sequence is also averted on occasion when a character's Meaningful Name cropping up, signifying a transformation, sometimes because the actual transformation was either extremely subtle or off-screen. For example, suddenly referring to Sakura as "Orchid" signifies her change from one disposition to another, and calling Kero by "Keroberos" refers to him in "Big Kero" form (the latter of which isn't widely recognized as canon).
Xtreme Kool Letterz: Though the title is Chaos Card Captor Sakura, the titular magic is never stated to be "chaos", but "kaos". This is, in part, to differentiate between the magic (kaos), the entity (Kaos Encarnate; a.k.a. Dncyltr), and the state of disorder (chaos)]], in part to make the obvious reference a little less obvious, and in part as a Japanese Funetik Aksent. note In Japanese, the word "chaos" is pronounced more like "kouse"; like "mouse" but with a K.
"Sakura" means "Cherry Blossom", and "Syaoran" (also "Xiaolang") means "Little Wolf". If you didn't know this before, then the Gratuitous English will largely be lost on you.
In fact, you might want to go through the entire series at least once before reading, in the author’s hopes of increasing instances of Fridge Brilliance.
Tropes present in the Shards of Kaos:
Anachronic Order: The first shard was entitled I am Kinomoto Sakura. The second posted shard was entitled I am Daidouji Tomoyo (using a short-lived episodic format of 'I am [Name]'), and it even dovetails off the previously posted shard, but was released as shard three. (Word of God referenced a 'second' shard involving Keroberos and Damien back in the past.) Card Captor Nadeshiko breaks this mold.
Written by the Winners: The implication behind the inconsistencies between the official Cardcaptor Sakura canon and the fanon of Chaos Card Captor Sakura (and beyond) is that the characters only remember a rosy version of the past, rather than the actual gritty truth of what really happened.