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Exoria, despite its strange name, is a Fan Fiction based on The Legend of Zelda written by Sudentor with a single catch: The entire story is set in modern times, many centuries after any Zelda game. Zelda is the crown princess of Hyrule, a seemingly constitutional monarchy sharing a continent with two other modern superpowers, the Gerudo - led by Generalissimo Ganondorf - and Valent - which became completely isolationist seventeen years ago after a coup. The three nations are in a stalemate while maintaining a tentative peace. Link is a gunsword-wielding intelligence agent working for Hylian Joint Intelligence, who is reassigned to Zelda as an interim bodyguard after her original bodyguard was killed in a secret mission tasked to him by Joint Intelligence. Valent eventually launches a sudden offensive on both Hyrule and Gerudo without warning, and, in the face of overwhelming military strength, Zelda has little choice but to seek help from Ganondorf in hopes of repelling the invasion. Things take a turn for the worse when it's discovered that Valent is utilizing three overpowered superweapons that is effectively decimating Hylian and Gerudo defensive lines. With most conventional military options off the table, Link is sent to infiltrate enemy lines to sabotage and destroy these weapons.One of the better modern adaptations of Zelda out there, Exoria maintains close links with traditional Zelda elements despite being set in a completely different age; Link remains mostly silent and has spoken a grand total of once throughout the story, he travels with a sentient assistant on the same vein of Navi or Midna, references are made to the games themselves, and the story finds parallels with the game formula themselves, such as the dungeon crawls and the bosses. Despite this, the story never quite loses its dark and gritty modern feel, and has maintained a high standard of writing.As of Chapter 23 (updated October 7, 2011), Exoria has passed the 250,000 word mark, including the prologue and an omake. The author states the story is only about a quarter to a third complete.As an aside, the author seems to realize that this FanFic has its own page on TV Tropes, and makes comments about it in the author's notes from time to time.
Tropes contained in Exoria:
Accidental Marriage with Naked First Impression - Subtly played with. It's not the first time the Hylian Link meets the Gerudo Jessica, nor is she actually naked, but she does accidentally run into him while in the middle of frantic dressing and having nothing on her upper body but a Sarashi. Jessica's remarkably shy attitude after that causes Link to suddenly be worried about the "possible complications between Gerudo cultural perceptions on modesty, romance, and responsibility".
Aerith and Bob: Fairly prominent, in keeping with Zelda tradition, albeit leaning more towards "Bob," what with Exoria being more or less modern.
Amazon Brigade: The Gerudo of course. Being a nation of women its to be expected.
Ax-Crazy: Anansi's piloting crew is made up of Valentine war criminals. Couple that with how pissed they most likely are after Link tries to blow up Anansi with them still inside and you're in for an explosive combination.
Badass - And how. There is loads and loads of this; in fact, even common infantrymen (especially the Gerudo) may count, but special mention must go to the gunblade-wielding Valentine Duchess and, of course, Link.
Bad Boss - Major Juno of Valentine, a slave-driver if there ever was one.
Benevolent Boss - Leonore is this to Link as Director of Joint Intelligence. Her boss, Zelda, doesn't seem to like her very much, though.
Black and Gray Morality - While Valent has launched a massive military invasion on two nations for no immediately evident reason, it's alluded through the Exoria Files that Hyrule isn't exactly a paragon of justice and virtue either.
The Cavalry - Link expected Gerudo forces to be waiting to extract him from the operations area after the Anansi battle. He didn't expect Jessica with a dozen infantry fighting vehicles armed with rockets prepared to blow the smithereens out of pursuing Valentine forces.
The Chains of Commanding - Leonore has to remind Zelda of this when Zelda refuses to stay in her safe room during the Valentine invasion, willing to risk being captured by attempting to re-establish contact with her military as the nation's commander-in-chief.
Chekhov's Gun - A throwaway joke about Impa's difficulties in pronouncing OLRER - the Office of Long-Range Electronic Reconnaissance - becomes vitally important in allowing Zelda to identify its director, Major General Morgan, when the verification of authentication codes are cast in doubt.
Child Soldiers - Implied with Link; considering he's only nineteen, yet shows a great deal of competence as a Joint Intelligent agent, it only seems likely that he must've started his training very early...
Confirmed; Link was apparently taken in as part of a benevolent government welfare program to raise orphaned children to serve the state, but Joint Intelligence hijacked it early on to look for potential candidates.
Competence Zone - Averted. While Link and Zelda - nineteen and eighteen respectively - seem to have an extremely wide range of skills for their professions despite their age, much older characters, such as Impa, Leonore, and Morgan, clearly are very good at what they do. Zelda, having inherited the kingdom at sixteen, is also portrayed realistically, showing signs of The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask (which is also lampshaded in the story).
Ganondorf and Emi, both portrayed as in their fifties, are definitely very skilled and very good at what they do.
Cool Bike - Epona. MRX-402A ULATRV "Epona", a prototype fourth-generation reconnaissance hyperbike for the Hylian army.
Doomed Hometown - Hyrule City, as well as entire Hylian and Gerudo regions, falls fairly fast to the Valentine offensive.
Everything's Better with Princesses - Justified and reconstructed. Although Zelda is the crown princess of Hyrule, she is also its effective sovereign, as her father has been in a coma for about two years now, and her mother has passed away. The Zelda of Exoria is also seemingly popular enough with the people, but is clearly irritated and impatient with the management of politics when no one outside her inner circle can see her.
Expy - Link gains a sentient AI assistant named Durandara. Her name is a shout out to Durandal, while her character and mannerisms are more akin to Cortana. Both are named after Cool Swords from French Mythology.
Eyepatch of Power - MICO Director Emi survived a car bomb that claimed her left eye, as well as permanently damaging her throat, leaving her with a harsh voice and an eyepatch. She runs MICO rather competently, if not ruthlessly, and her backstory indicates at a lot of field experience.
Fictional Document - The Exoria Files at the end of every chapter serves to elaborate and detail the world of Exoria.
Fridge Logic - Durandara lampshades this many hours after the Anansi battle, expressing surprise that it roared at them. Bonus points for her suddenly recalling this just as Link opens a fridge for food, then apologetically invoking the trope by name.
From Bad TO Worse - Chapter Three in its entirety. Link and Zelda attempt to escape Hyrule City while attracting an increasing standard of firepower...
The end of Chapter Eleven. Link was discovered in his infiltration just as he was about to sabotage Anansi, but manages to blow everything up anyway... Only to see Anansi rising from the flames, its piloting crew incredibly pissed off.
More like from a little problematic to complete hell in Chapter Twenty-Six. After narrowly avoiding a total clusterfuck between Link, Jessica, and their zoran supporters versus Steven and his zoran allies, Juno sparks tribal conflict anyway by choosing to launch a surprise attack on the zoran hideout seconds after the situation calms down. Bullets start flying everywhere when the Valentine forces Juno gathered bomb open the ceiling to the sewer system. This serves as an excuse for pro-Hylian and pro-Valentine zorans to start shooting each other as well, so the conflict that Veteran was trying to avoid occurs anyway.
Fun with Acronyms - Impa complains to Major General Morgan that she can't pronounce OLRER, which stands for Office of Long-Range Electronic Reconnaissance. Morgan responds with a bit of a Take That to the middle-aged Impa by joking that the office would be renamed Office of Long-Distance Electronic Reconnaissance, acronym OLDER.
Heroic Mime, The Quiet One, The Silent Bob, The Voiceless - Link rarely ever talks. He's shown to be able to speak in the prologue, but has yet to speak once after that. Surprisingly, he's shown to be very good at conveying his points via combination of body language and facial expressions, leading to rather interesting one-sided conversations. This is, obviously, adapting off the fact that Link never speaks in the Zelda games.
He also presumably spoke Valentine in front of Emi to show his linguistic capabilities, but it was an off-screen moment, as the chapter starts after he finishes, and Emi comments on his fluency.
I Did What I Had to Do - Juno gives this to Steven after she orders Archer Two-Four, an aircraft sporting firepower equivalent to a modern-day AC-130 gunship, to unload all available ordinance on the escaping zoran vehicles in a last-ditch bid to wipe Link out. This was against protests that they had zoran allies in the area as well, and that a full-on assault from the gunship would surely wipe out every zoran in the area. He wasn't asking for an excuse but informs her that he'll include the remark in his report to their superiors.
Improbable Weapon User - Link wields a gunsword, which is effectively a longsword that can fold back up to a silenced handgun...or vice-versa. Valentine special forces do the same.
Taken to the logical extreme with a Southern Gerudo mercenary wielding a boomerang-kukri, which returns after being thrown.
Infant Immortality - Subverted. Chapters Nine and Ten feature a little girl trapped in a war zone. Link attempts to get her to safety, but she gets hit by a stray bullet and dies. The author mentions the trope by name in the author's notes, and says that Anyone Can Die in the story, with the exception of Plot Armor.
Lady Land - Gerudo, for obvious reasons. Unlike canon, however, there are a small number of Gerudo men aside from Ganondorf in society. Modern science has caught up, and has not only identified chromosome anomalies as the reason behind the gender ratio, but has also begun to use gene manipulation to correct this. The women in power are shown to be no more benevolent or tyrannical as leaders in other countries.
Lady of War - Alexandria, a former Valentine special forces officer turned intelligence major, is still deadly with her gunsword despite now largely working a desk job, and can take on small Hylian squads by herself. May be a bit of a Blood Knight, feeling "exhilarated" from her kills, although her strong sense of soldierly conduct seems to temper that.
The Law of Conservation of Detail - The author's justification towards the complaint that practically every "NPC" has a name; giving every character detail makes it more difficult for readers to figure out who's a Chekhov's Gunman, and who will be important to the plot later.
Lightning Bruiser: Anansi promptly kicks the laws of physics in the nads and tell them to go to Hell. It is a 20-something meters tall spider tank that can achieve speeds of 300 kilometers per hour and can jump. After discovering about the latter, Link thinks it's just not fair.
Loners Are Freaks - Subverted. Juno tries to subtly paint Alexandria this way to Steven, as Alexandria actively turns down offers to work together because she works "faster on my own". However, Alexandria is shown to have friends with favors to call in despite her lone wolf work ethic, while Juno's idea of "working together" seems to revolve around being a Manipulative Bitch.
Macross Missile Massacre - Justified; the spider mecha firing two dozen missiles was large enough to carry them, and they travel in arcs because they're top-attack anti-tank missiles meant to hit the upper portion of tanks, where they're less well-armored.
Meaningful Name - The title Exoria; the author explains that it's from the Latin word "exorior", which roughly translates to "to rise, to come forth, to advance". The author has hinted that this is a sign that the Fan Fic is connected to Zelda canon somehow.
Men Are the Expendable Gender - Averted; with the Gerudo military and the country in general being mostly female, female casualties come in scores. The Valentine military seems pretty gender-balanced, so there are plenty of female deaths on their side as well. There's also Lily, who is female and the only civilian to die on-screen so far.
MICO - Gerudo's military intelligence arm, the Military Intelligence Coordination Office, or "MICO" for short. The formal uniform of this mostly-women organization consists of white robes on the upper body and red robes on the lower body. Does This Remind You of Anything?
Mugging the Monster - Twice in the same chapter; trying to mug either Alexandria or the boomerang girl is not recommended.
Never a Self-Made Woman - Jessica has achieved the rank of major in MICO at a young age due to her family being nobility and the governing family of one of Gerudo's provinces. Many in MICO and the Gerudo military who know about this give her a hard time about it, seeing her as taking a cheap shortcut. It comes without the Unfortunate Implications, however, since everyone else is female.
It's more likely that they think her success is due to her family, and the ire toward her is due to the shortcut issue than her gender. It brings about less Fridge Logic than if one assumes it's a gender issue.
In a gender-inversion, Steven is a major in Valentine military intelligence who got his rank because his father is a three-star general in the army; he's aware of this enough to attempt to learn from his more competent and experienced colleagues, Alexandria and Juno, who are female.
Noodle Incident - Real life example: Judging by the reviews left for the fic, the author pulled an April Fool's Day joke by putting up a faux Chapter Ten completely based on humor, then pulled it off within a few days. He has noted that it's "too bad" for those who missed it, so some of us may only guess, but the reviews seem to hint at cuccos and Gender Bender.
The April Fool's Chapter was reposted as "Omake Two" afterwards.
Old Retainer with Parental Substitute - Impa, Zelda's chief of staff, has helped raised Zelda since she was born, and still provides motherly advice along with political ones for her princess.
Emi may be this to Ganondorf.
Oh, Crap - An epic one at the end of Chapter Eleven. "Run"? More like GET OUT OF THERE, DUDE! YA GONNA DIE!
Mass "Oh, Crap!" - Occurs during the zoran gathering and Link and Jessica run into Valentine Major Steven. They have their own moment when all three pull their guns out, and this triggers tension between two factions of zorans (some who support the Hylians and some who really don't want to mess with Valent). They raise their guns in response to thinking that the other side is about to blow them away.Then another one is triggered when Major Juno decides to assault their meeting place in hopes of finding Link, which causes everyone to start shooting.
Omake - With the aptly named "Omake One", a Lower Deck Episode featuring Gerudo paratroopers participating in a military counterattack, in contrast to Link's infiltration missions in the style of Metal Gear Solid.
Only Known by Their Nickname - Veteran and Driver, Link and Jessica's zoran allies. Justified in that no zorans have given their name in the story, so Link has decided to nickname their allies to make it easier to remember them. Also serves as an easier shorthand for the author, who up to the point Link decides their nicknames had to keep referring to Link's memory.
Outrun the Fireball - After severely damaging Anansi, Link has to flee to not be caught up in the ensuing energy reaction.
Parental Abandonment - Zelda's father, King Robin II, is left in a coma after surviving a car accident two years before the story, and is on life support. Her mother died in a different car crash; it's no wonder why Zelda has a slight phobia towards vehicles.
Perpetual Frowner - Director Emi. Justified, though; who would be always smiling if they'd had to endure the difficulties of old age coupled with severe body damage from an bomb attack and a stressing high-ranking governmental job?
Ramp Jump - Link does this twice on Epona. Once on a drawn drawbridge, and, before that, on a tree. While being chased and shot at.
Red Shirt Army - Averted - Link has only defeated Valentine soldiers in small engagements where he had the element of surprise, and his escape from Hyrule City was made possible by the fact that he wasn't looking to fight Valentine forces as much as he was simply trying to lay low and get away. The Valentine soldiers also don't make classical cliche Mook mistakes such as crashing into each other head-on on motorbikes, and make active attempts to trick Link into a misstep.
Averted after Link destroys Anansi, and Valent gets increasingly Genre Savvy. Not only have they created a special investigative unit specifically tasked with tracking him down, they've implemented increased security protocols to special forces. When Link is put into action a second time to destroy Jormungand, his attempts at infiltration become increasing disastrous as Valentine forces catch on to almost every move he makes.
Both of which the author and the characters themselves constantly lampshade.
Shout-Out - Although Link doesn't actually say it, the author noted that, in response to Zelda's coy remark that he's horrible for putting a princess on a motorcycle ride through hell, Link's exaggerated bow sarcastically (although good-naturedly) and successfully conveyed, "Well, excuse me, Princess."
King Robin II, Zelda's comatose father, may be an allusion to Robin Williams, who named his daughter Zelda after the eponymous character.
Robin II's affair and consequent political fiasco also closely mirrors that of Bill Clinton and the scandal with Monica Lewinsky
Various streets in downtown Hyrule City are named after plot elements of the Zelda games, including Ocarina Street, Tetra Avenue, and Oracle Boulevard. The National Mall also seems like it was pulled right out of Washington, D.C., albeit with much more trees.
Emi is mentioned to have participated in the "Mura Siege" in her career, which led to an official investigation resulting in Emi's acquittal of all charges. It may be this troper, but the resemblance to the Waco Siege seems uncanny...
The part where Link rides a motorcycle off a Gerudo military transport plane in Chapter Nine pulls lines directly from Metal Gear Solid 3.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill - Fort Garuda, as described in chapter five. It's implied that it can stand up to anything short of a nuclear strike, and is bristling with heavy artillery.
In Chapter Twenty-Seven, after the failure of ground forces and a gunship trying to narrow down and surgically destroy Link's getaway vehicle, Juno orders the gunship to unleash its whole arsenal on the entire zoran convoy. The gunship, the Valent equivalent of a modern-day AC-130 gunship, fires a 20mm chain gun, a 40 mm cannon, and 105 mm howitzers on the ground vehicles, which are no larger than armored personnel carriers and light-armored vehicles. Not only is the whole convoy devastated, the surrounding forest is lit up like a fireworks display gone horribly wrong. Link ultimately manages to subvert this by not being in the convoy at all, his and Jessica's bacon being saved by zoran volunteers baiting the Valentine army.
Unflinching Walk - Veteran when fighting erupts between everyone else under Astric after Juno and part of the Valentine army show up. Link notes that, with as many bullets flying around from every conceivable angle, Veteran knows that if one's gonna find him, one's gonna find him no matter what.
When All You Have Is a Hammer - The Exoria Files state that, decades ago, Gerudo got the short straw in the distribution of metal resources in the Death Mountains, but you wouldn't reach that conclusion from the description of its capital city, Garuda.
The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask - Princess Zelda shows signs of this, which is to be expected from someone who became the leader of the country when she was sixteen. She occasionally lapses into more personal territory with her chief of staff Impa, however, and has become more open with Link.
Would Hit a Girl - Gerudo's military and civilian population are almost entirely made up of women, and the Valentine gender-balanced military doesn't segregate or discriminate by gender. No one in the story shows any reservation in shooting them when the bullets start flying.