Fanfic: Shadowchasers Ascension
is a fanfic from the Shadowchasers
series written by Cyber Commander.
This fic contains examples of the following tropes
- A God Am I: Jalie Squarefoot's ultimate plan.
- Always Female: Inverted, in this fic, where we find out that gorgons, commonly depicted as a female-only monster in the media, do indeed have males. They are simply incredibly rare. They do not have the snakes for hair or the ability to turn people to stone that the females do, but have very lethal venom.
- Ascended Extra: Penelope who only had a minor role in Torment, has a slightly larger role in this fic.
- Better The Devil You Know: Two rather literal examples, both explained in this fic:
- The reason the gods locked Tarizdun up instead of killing him, despite the danger he posed, was because he was a pawn of the Great Old Ones, who were worse, and they would have regained the power they invested in him if he had died. To this day, Tharizdun acts as a "cosmic lynchpin" to prevent an even more destructive force.
- The Devil himself qualifies, according to Unity-Of-Rings. As bad as Lucifer is, he is actually the best choice for Overlord of Hell. Despite being the tempter of mortals and a power of Evil, he is still a power of Law, and under his rule, the devils wage the Blood War against the demons of the Abyss. If he was replaced by someone who didn't care to do this, such as Mephistopheles, the demons' population would grow to unearthly numbers, they would slaughter the devils, then destroy the upper planes, then the mortal worlds, and once they ran out of places to destroy, would turn on themselves, and that would be the end of everything.
- Big Bad: Jalie Squarefoot
- Bigger Bad: Tharizdun once again.
- Cat Girl: This fic introduces an Always Female species called Cat-Women, shapeshifting Shadowkind that suffer from a terrible curse. They are very attractive women that can transform into hybrids of cats and humans, but if one ever falls in love with a man long enough to become intimate with him, the throes of passion almost always cause the Cat-Woman to transform involuntarily and kill her lover. Even worse, if a child is concieved and it is a girl, there is a chance that the curse will be passed to her. (Oddly enough, one of this species is a member of the Shadowchasers in Lux-Nero's story "Dark City Chronicles".)
- Co-Dragons: Jalie has three top enforcers, Malanus, Xon, and Novolar (it is hinted that he favors Novolar the most, as she is his oldest surviving servant and was his consort before he became a lich). The three of them clearly hate each other, which is how Jalie likes it (it is stated that, in the politics of Hell, nobles prefer to have their most powerful minions hate each other to lesson the chances that they will cooperate long enough to successfully betray them).
- Crapsack World: Hell, of course. See MacGuffin Title below. A lot about it is revealed in the fic, even though none of the story takes place there; basically, the society is one where betraying your comrades and superiors to get ahead is not only common, but encouraged. Apparently, every devil with at least average intelligence is a successful Starscream (to use the Trope) or has the potential to be one.
- Crazy-Prepared: Dante. He has six decks, one of each attribute.
- Jalie also has bouts of this. To protect his Hellfire Sentinel's emergency off switch, he placed a brimstone golem with the soul of rival devil Belphagon in it. However, Belphagon's deck is rigged: Once it detects what deck his opponent is using, he magically changes his deck into the perfect counter deck.
- Deal with the Devil: Both Ulysses Tiberius and Lorelei DeLuc agree to work for Jalie, certain that they have nothing left to lose. As it turns out they do, and both turn against him when they learn of his true plan, willing to die for their true master (Tharizdun) rather than live serving someone else.
- Another, averted example: When Jalie defeats Ophelia and Jeb and takes them prisoner, he offers Dante an actual Faustian Pact, promising to release his two partners if he signs it. Dante refuses, assuming - rightfully - that Jalie is offering it to him because he is unsure of his ability to win a third duel in a row.
- Divine Intervention: When Odin, Thor, and Loki give Dante a deck with copies of their cards in order for him to defeat Jalie. The lesson to be learned from this battle (which Jalie clearly refuses to learn) is one that is repeated several times over the course of the fic: Jalie is not even close to being in the same league as the beings he is trying to challenge, and he is a fool for trying to do so.
- Enemy Mine: Two instances happen throughout the fic:
- First Lorelei is willing to tell the Shadowchasers everything she knows about Jalie's plans because the plans involved killing Tharizdun and gaining his power for himself. Lorelei only did so because her loyalty was to Tharizdun and Tharizdun alone.
- Towards the end of the fic, Jalie cooperates with Jalal and the Boston Shadowchasers in order to destroys his Hellfire Sentinel after it goes beyond his control. On the other hand, Jalie deliberately hides the fact that Dante will have no way of escaping the Hellfire Sentinel before it explodes in order to get rid of two threats in one go. Unfortunately for him, Dante survives.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- It seems that there are even some things that Doomdreamers find abhorent. While Tiberius is in prison, another prisoner implies that he burned books, and he angrily replied that he never did that, saying that he was "no Nazi".
- It is also heavily implied that even the most powerful of Demon Lords And Arch Devils will not sit still and let the threat of Tharizdun's escape go unchallenged. (Maybe especially them, as they are old enough to remember the original war of annihilation where the forces of Good and Evil had to call a truce to stop him; it wasn't pleasant.)
- Faux Affably Evil: Malanus, one of Jalie's advisors initially acts nice and polite to Ophelia during their duel, but it is only a facade and he later drops the act once Ophelia starts getting the upper hand.
- Gargle Blaster: It is revealed that devils cannot become drunk by drinking regular alcohol, and thus have several incredible potent beverages that they use to become intoxicated. These drinks tend to far more potent to humans. Gughalaki is one example, which is like strong ale to them, and high-ranking devils like Jalie drink Demon's Blood (which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and is savored by devils like fine wine.)
- Good Feels Good: In one chapter, this Trope is invoked where a criminal whom Ophelia has met before actually an infernal homunculus taunts her about her shadar-kai mother, who's in prison for a rather reckless stunt which, sadly, appears shadar-kai do somewhat often. He can't help but asking her if that sort of urge is In the Blood and she ever feels such a temptation. All Ophelia has to do is point to the mark on her cheek that identifies her as a Shadowchaser and tell him, "Of course it does. Why do you think I worked so hard to get this?” (Sadly, the point is lost on him.)
- Goth: Ophelia dresses mostly in dark clothing.
- Hero-Worshipper: Karen Taft idolizes the Shadowchasers and wishes to join them when she gets older. As a result she tends to get herself involved in various dangerous situations in hopes of proving herself much to the Boston Shadowchasers' (especially Ophelia's) dismay. She eventually proves herself later on by defeating Dybbuk in a duel, which results in Center-Of-All giving the Boston Shadowchasers the location of Jalie's fortress. At the end of the fic, Dante even says that Jalal might have no other choice but to let her join when she's eighteen otherwise a group that doesn't like them might try to recruit her instead.
- Horny Devils: Dante actually encounters two of these throughout the course of the fic.
- The first is Castalla an erinyes (which is like a succubus, only a devil, not a demon) who is sent as part of a three-devil strike force by Jalie Squarefoot. Her attempts to charm Dante are largely ineffective, but her dueling skills are much better, mainly because she uses The Wicked Avatar.
- Dante later meets Castalla's mother, a far more powerful temptress named Novolar who is one of Jalie's most trusted servants. Her attempt to seduce him nearly succeeds, but he manages to realize what is happening before it is too late.
- One of Jalie's Outcast Devils, Malarea has the ability to "seduce" the opponent's monster to joining her side of the field. She attacks directly by kissing the opponent square on the lips.
- Humongous Mecha: The Hellfire Sentinel.
- I Should Write a Book About This: Jeb writes a book that's inspired by his team's ordeal with Jalie Squarefoot at the end of Ascension.
- Ironic Echo: Way back in Power Primordial, Shichiro imagines what might happen if someone would ever combine the Djinns of Ritual monsters with Demise, King of Armageddon and shudders at the thought. Fast forward to this fic, and Ophelia (who is one of the protagonists though) does exactly that.
- Light Is Not Good: Sarah Blaze may qualify, as she is an aasimar, a human with an angel or other celestial being somewhere in her ancestry. Dante says that, regretfully, aasimar charlatans and con artists are more common than one may think, because people tend to very willing to trust an aasimar.
- There is also Duke Belphagon's Photon Deck.
- MacGuffin Title: In the perverse and demented society that the villains in this fic are a part of (well, it is Hell, after all) ascension is the only thing that matters, and demotion is considered a Fate Worse than Death. The assassin devil Nin explains it in an early chapter, when Jeb questions why they're so serious about everything:
"Jeb, let me share with you something about how the infrastructure of Hell’s society works…
"Devils may be the dominant species… But unless you’re a pit fiend, or a noble in the court of one of the Lords – or one of the Lords themselves – life there is the pits. We’re a militaristic culture, but soldiers very rarely get furloughs and you won’t find a PX at one of our bases. The thing that drives a devil is the desire for ascension.
"When a damned soul is reborn as a lemure, it’s nearly mindless, but it does know on an instinctual level that it has to find some way to set itself apart from the other lemures in order to climb out of its lowly state. And when it finally does and is able to think for itself, it quickly learns that the road to the top is a long and hard one, and that friendship and loyalty have little place in it.
"A devil that spends all his time telling jokes and not taking things seriously will likely be viewed as a goof-off and a potential failure, and even more likely will never be promoted. Humor has no place in Hell..."
- Made of Iron: Nitemare
- Manipulative Bastard: Jalie sends Dante to destroy the Hellfire Sentinel knowing full well that there won't be any way for Dante to escape once he finishes in which he would die from the impending explosion.
- Meaningful Name: Dante.
- The Hellgears used by Panik. The anti-Water ones are named after powerful devils, while the Hellgear that focus on swarming are named after diabolic infantry.
- Mecha-Mooks: Oddly enough, the good guys use these at one point. When Jalie loses control of the Hellfire Sentinel Jalal unleashes an army of "Warforged", robots created using both technology and magic, in an attempt to slow it down. (Technically, this is a subversion, as the Warforged are designed to be elite and efficient fighting machines, not expendable Mooks; however, seeing as this is the Hellfire Sentinel, they might as well be. In fact, using robots against the thing was a smart move on Jalal's part, since he likely knew sending human soldiers against it would result in them being slaughtered, in effect forming a Red Shirt Army on purpose, something he wouldn't dream of doing.)
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Many of the monsters in Jalie's Outcast Devil Deck, especially the most powerful ones, like Azazel, Geryon, and Moloch. (In fact, Jalie implies that the last one truly is the Moloch, as in the notorious devil that children were once sacrificed to in blasphemous rituals. Jalie does not mind telling Dante that even as outcast, Moloch is more powerful than he is. Not to mention that the card scares even him.)
- Narrator: Dugan from Shadowchasers: Torment, despite him not appearing in this fic.
- Nature Hero: Red Feather. She even uses a Nature-themed Elemental HERO deck.
- Nice Hat: Dante, who wears a fedora to go with his equally-nice suit.
- Noble Demon: Rule-of-Three may be a literal example of this - sort of. He isn't very honorable (he tries to convince Lorelei to help him cheat and has no intention of keeping his word to Ophelia) but he is very polite, even to Red Feather and Penelope while acting as their jailer. He even asks Ophelia to leave before making any threats, rather than demanding it. Rule-of-Three himself claims that other demons regard him as very eccentric.
- Noodle Incident: It's never revealed just what the "reckless stunt" was that Ophelia's mother did that she's in prison for, but Ophelia clearly doesn't want anyone to know.
- Obviously Evil: Jalie reeks of this, as do most other natives of the Lower Planes.
- Other Dimension: A pocket dimension that holds a sacred temple called Tabjari is revealed to hold the Key to Tharizdun's prison. Unity of Rings tries (and fails) to protect it from Jalie.
- Also in this fic, the Boston Shadowchasers travel to the Outlands, the symbolic center of the Outer Planes, to seek advice from the enigmatic Center of All.
- Our Liches Are Different: Jalie Squarefoot. Jalie is, in fact, unusual even for a lich, as he is also a devil.
- Red Pill, Blue Pill: According to Jalal, when he first set foot in America during 1789 to expand the Shadowchasers' operation, he met Unity-of-Rings - who offered him the task of keeping the knowledge of the location of one of the pieces of the key to Tharizdun's prison. If Jalal refused, he would leave without any recollection of the knowledge and if he accepted, he would be promised the glories of heaven. Seeing that inhabitants of the Upper Plane rarely make such requests to mortals and saw it as a sign that he saw promise in his organization, Jalal agreed.
- Rescue Arc: The Boston Shadowchasers rescuing Red Feather and Penelope from being sacrificed.
- Revenge: When Lorelei duels Red Feather, she uses a Dark World Deck, while Red Feather uses Elemental Heroes. Lorelei is quick to pick up on the symbolism, and tells Red Feather that the monsters in her deck are likely very excited for a chance to "get even". (Technically, Lorelie is wrong, as Red Feather uses the "nature" Elemental Heroes used by Judai in the manga, not the ones he used in the anime against the Dark World army.)
- Rule of Three: Rule-Of-Three, naturally. The price for his services changes, but the one thing that remains constant is that he asks for three things.
- Unity of Rings, Center of All, and Rule-of-Three are each the extremes of their allignments (Unity of Rings being Lawful Good, Center of All being True Neutral, and Rule-of-Three being Chaotic Evil).
- The Outcast Devil Deck can only be used safely at the maximum of three times a week. Any more would have serious repercussions; Jalie's Co-Dragons ominously mention the one devil who ignored this safety tip; apparently, his fate was not pleasant.
- Running Gag: Thrice in this fic, Jeb duels devils who use the term "mortal" as a kind of insult much to his dismay.
- Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: In Ascension, the Boston team and Karen watch Ophelia's favorite movie, Beetlejuice in one chapter, with Ophelia commenting that she's seen it 18 times. (This may be a Shout-Out to the actual movie; there is a famous gag in the film where the title character says he's seen The Exorcist 167 times "and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it!")
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Dante
- Shock Jock: Sarah Blaze whose ramblings drive the Boston Shadowchasers nuts. Karen is surprisingly a huge fan of hers until it's revealed that Sarah is in cahoots with a group affiliated with Jalie Squarefoot.
- Shout-Out: There is a reference to The Empire Strikes Back sometime near the climax of the fic. At the end of one chapter, when it is obvious that the Shadowchasers are on the way, Baron Dybbuk leaves to apologize to Jalie. At the beginning of the next chapter, Jalie strangles him to death, and then says, nonchalantly, "Apology accepted, Baron Dybbuk." (An almost identical situation happened in the movie when an Imperial officer reported a failure to Darth Vader.)
- Later on during the Triangle Duel between Jeb, Ophelia and Jalie, Jalal calls Jalie's Temporal Machine Gods "a bunch of creepy Daaleks".
- Sixth Ranger: Dante's seventh deck acts as this, since his opponent Novolar already knows what most if not all of his other decks are.
- Smart People Play Chess: Alyosha Vidmar. He even uses an Archfiend deck.
- Steal the Surroundings: After his duel with Unity-of-Rings, Jalie attempts to steal the Key to Tharizdun's Prison by having a massive airship rip the temple it is in out of the ground and carry it to his base. The plan hits a snag when the airship malfunctions and self-destructs, making the temple crash and shatter in the middle of nowhere.
- Steampunk: The Shadowchasers use an airship procured by a member of Morgana's Kin that comes from a world with similar technology in their trip to the Outlands, because magic cannot be used for travel there.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Zigzagged with Tiberius and Lorelei. They're smart enough to realize that Dybbuk is holding them as prisoners in all but name, and they don't exactly like it, but they consider it a better situation that what they were in before. (As it turns out, eventually, they realize that was definitely not true.)
- Stupid Evil: Jalie. His plans usually hit a roadblock because he refuses to understand just how powerful gods tend to be.
- He also put his worst enemy in charge of guarding something (the Hellfire Sentinel) very important. Jeb and Ophelia actually lampshade this stupid line of thought.
- Tag Along Kid: Karen sometimes gets herself involved in the assignments of the Boston Shadowchasers much to their (especially Ophelia's) dismay.
- Take That: When Lorelei says that she assumed Red Feather (an environmentalist) was a member of PETA, Red Feather is outraged and says PETA members are crazy fanatics.
- Later on, Unity-of-Rings predicts that when the Numbers truly become a threat, the powers that be will choose a champion to oppose them. He then gets a vision of Yuma and Shark's first duel in Yu Gi Oh Zexal. His responce? "The powers that be have a strange sense of humor."
- Another one aimed at Moral Guardians is added when Ophelia asks Karen if her parents approve of the stuff she watches of television. Karen relates how her mother once subscribed to a service offered by her satellite system that was better than a v-chip, because parents would have to call in using a phone service before any program of questionable nature could be viewed. However, when her mother found that this service blocked her soap operas, she threw a fit and cussed out some "poor guy on the phone" before she canceled the service.
- To Serve Man: Devils don't have to eat at all (that is established early) but they can if they desire, and at least some are not averse to eating human flesh; the assassin devil Nin casually incorporates part of a victim's flesh into a sandwich that she makes at a deli while waiting for Jeb (probably doing this to taunt him more than anything else, although he naturally finds it sickening.)
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Necronomicon (yes, THAT Necronomicon). Oddly enough, the Shadowchasers own it.
- Virgin Sacrifice: Jalie’s plan for the captured Red Feather and Penelope. Technically, he wanted to give them as gifts to a lustful demon lord named Graz’zt, clearly a Fate Worse than Death. Since Rule-Of-Three always does things in threes and they were unable to find a third girl to capture, they decide to use Lorelei as the third sacrifice. Rule-Of-Three ruefully notes that Graz'zt will be disappointed because while Lorelei is beautiful, she is no virgin. All three girls are rescued in time.
- What If?: Xon, one of Jalie's Co-Dragons, can percieve these Alternate Realities, and being an abomination allied with the forces of Hell, he specializes in studying ones that have bad outcomes. When he confronts Jeb, he conjoles him by explaining that a scenario where Jalal's father had survived the attempt on his life would actually have caused the world to become a Crapsack World.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Dante's Seventh deck, a Light/Dark Dragon deck.
- You Have Failed Me: Jalie punishes Panik horribly for his failure, turning him in a bestial demon called Nitemare. Oddly enough, this is hardly a punishment, as it makes him far stronger than he ever was as a human. He is last seen falling off of a flying dirigible, but Dante doubts that even that could have killed him.