—Traditional fox ballad, circa 1700, author unknown
Tasakeru is an ongoing Web Serial Novel series written by BHS. Planned as a series of 24 short books, the aim is to prove that a really good story for teens and young adults can be written with a Petting Zoo People cast. Think "Redwall, but grown-up". The site updates about once a month, except for December.The story takes place in an Alternate Universe, on an Earth where humans have never existed. With humans absent, various mammal species have evolved into intelligent, civilized creatures called "sentients". On a small island in the middle of the ocean, eight sentient species have evolved, and have clashed with one another for thousands of years. The story takes place during a period of uneasy truce, in which the island's only city enforces order by permanently banishing any "dangerous elements" to the uncharted forest on the island's eastern side. Those that are banished call themselves Outcasts, and the story is about a multi-species group of these exiles, fighting for survival. In time, though society has rejected them, the Outcasts will become critical to the survival of their species, their homes, and everything that they know. And as if that weren't enough responsibility, things get even more complicated when they find out that one of their number has been chosen to enact the role of a God...Now has a character sheet, still in progress.The series also has a Tumblr account, "Ask the Outcasts".BHS also writes an Intercontinuity Crossover fanfic called Stars Above, co-authored by Forzare, and another Cross Over called Respect.
All Myths Are True: Well, in-universe myths. Each sentient species sees their version of the God of Time when Zero first becomes his Avatar.
Animal Stereotypes: In effect with Faun (sexually confident and tricksy), Hanami (timid and girlish), Drake (Lone Wolf) and Ashpaw (down-to-earth). It is also stated that a vacuum-headed rabbit follows an archeologist around, solely for nookie. Averted with Zero.
All Webbed Up: quite frequently, just this side of being overused.
BFS: Lily and Nadeshiko's broadswords. Lampshaded, as it's stated that anyone else would be using them as cudgels (meaning they're at least as big as a Zweilhander or Claymore), but both mother and daughter are Just That Good.
Black Cloak: The Death God's servants are just Sentient-sized masses of smoke wearing these.
Can't Argue With Skunk People: Why the rest of Shinboku hasn't told the Silver Order paladins where they can stick those greatswords is a mystery, and where do they get off policing the other race's quarters, not to mention their "crossbreed and die" policy.
Fantasy Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: The island is called "small" by the author, but it houses a dormant volcano, a mountain range, several mining operations (including gold, silver, obsidian, iron, and stone-quarrying), massive amounts of farmland, a good-sized desert (complete with Egyptian-type ruins), a city (with at least several thousand inhabitants), several villages, either a tar-sand feild or a pitch bog, and a large forest. The island is roughly the size of England.
Fertile Feet: The Fox myth about their goddess of life. Makes sense, really.
Hypocrite: The silver order is dedicated to protecting life. But not if that life happens to belong to a half-breed or Big Creepy Crawlies. They could care less what happens to them. And they have no qualms about murdering Zero if he keeps sneaking into the city either. Lily, at the beginning of book 6, asked the Magistrate's help in arresting the outcasts.
Insistent Terminology: The characters are referred to in-universe and out as "sentients", as distinct from "animals", which are species that aren't evolved or intelligent (all non-mammals, goats, rats, and "pigboars").
Intelligent Squirrels: Along with foxes, badgers, wolves, skunks, ferrets, rabbits, and raccoons. These are the eight formally-recognized sentient species, but there are traces of others that have since died out, and one that is discriminated against due to mixed heritage. Somewhat combines this trope with Petting Zoo People, see below.
Interface Spoiler: The author has posted all the titles of the planned books on the website. From this we find that a war and an outlander expeditionary force is on the horizon. Oh, and Tonight Someone Dies.
Interfaith Smoothie: Sanshinto (or "Tritheism") is primarily based on Shinto, mixed with Greek and Roman mythology and a little bit of Japanese Buddhism. The individual species' beliefs draw liberally from just about everything else, from Hinduism to Native American mythology to the Cthulhu Mythos.
It's Not Porn, It's Art: In-story only. Foxes will mate publicly (and spontaneously) as a "celebration of physical beauty".
Lady Land: Skunk society. Most males aren't even allowed outside without wearing concealing robes. So, basically, a Gender Flipped Iraq /Iran.
Love Makes You Evil: In the mythology; the Scarred One (foxes) and Aconite (skunks) are corrupted by unrequited love.
Lower Deck Episode: Book 6, Chapters 1 and 3 are more about the Magistrate Council and Nadeshiko, respectively, than the Outcasts.
Magic is Evil: Squirrels have this viewpoint, they believe that the Life-Goddess is the only one who should mess with nature. They even believe that magicians will get stricken down by her displeasure. Obviously not, as Hanami and Naole have yet to be struck by lightning.
Magitek: Spellstones. Runes (or sigils?) are engraved on specially prepared flat stones and coloured in with the appropriate pigments by a skilled mage who then sells them. Also: Message Scrolls, which are something like text-messages or E-mail.
Malevolent Architecture: The Black Rose Tower. Not only was it raised by ancient magic within the space of a few minutes, but it heals itself whenever anyone tries to damage it. That, and it was briefly occupied by a would-be world conqueror.
And later by a crazy, undead, superpowered rapist.
Mix-and-Match Critter: Wolfoxes, subject to much Fantastic Racism due to social taboos against crossbreeding. Also Legion, who has the ears of a fox and rabbit mixed, a huge, bushy tail from both squirrel and skunk blood, a powerful physique from badgers, huge teeth from wolves, a ferret's eyes, and a raccoon's markings.
Meaningful Name: Admittedly, completely guilty of this. "Hanami" is the Japanese flower-viewing festival. "Zeromaru" can translate to "zero zero". A faun is a playful trickster. "Renubis" comes from "renew" and "Anubis", the Egyptian Judge of the Dead, and he's a jackal to boot. In fact, each of the sentient species have their own naming conventions.
My Hero Zero: Zero Takaichi. Actually short for "Zeromaru". The name has some deeper significance that it seems at first.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Each species has its own customs and beliefs; the main characters are Outcasts in the first place because they either rebelled against or have been rejected by their societies.
Pardon My Klingon: Easily translated; Mange = shit and Shed = fuck (rather humorous Translation Convention, as mange is a skin disease and shedding is moulting, both rather inconvenient and embarassing for furries).
Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted, The Outcasts immediately seize on Hanami's potential for farming. Hanami also used her Green Thumb powers to make it rich by undercutting the usual Market Price for fresh veggies.
Retcon: The Week of Blood originally started out in the city, but was moved to the farmlands after the author realized how Fridge Logic a border dispute inside a partitioned city was.
Large parts of the dialouge in book 1 have been revised, and the previously numbered days of the week have been named.
Rule of Three: Three Gods, three books to a volume, three seasons on the calendar, etc.
Super Soldier: Legion was supposed to be this, but he was decanted mute, hunchbacked, and covered in open sores. So Stalker named him Lesion, kicked him a few times, and sicced him on Zero's sister. He didn't count on Legion being kind-hearted.
Survivors Guilt: Experienced in spades by Zero at thirteen years old. In the first month of his service as a samurai, Zero's squad of rookies was ambushed by a fanatical Death God cult. Seventeen died and more were injured, but Zero survived without a scratch. His inability to deal with the guilt led to his fleeing to Tasakeru and being declared a ronin.
The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Note that it was quite unsuccessful mind you, but nobody seems to begrudge the Wolfoxes their rebellion 100 years ago. Their punishment for commiting several war-crimes?*
forbidden magic and targeting civilians, specifically
They have to wear Black Cloaks (Something male skunks have had to do for centuries) and live in permanent exile (like they didn't before). Basically a slap on the wrist and a "No! Bad! Go sit in the corner!"
The Nicknamer: Faun gives everyone nicknames. Hanami is "Flowers", Zero is "Takky", Ashpaw is "Stripehead"... the theory is that she hates her own full name so much that she gives everyone nicknames in order to cope.
Through A Facefull Of Fur: Completely averted, characters never blush, they swivel their ears flat when embarrassed or angered.
The Undead: the Outcasts encounter, in this order; a Lich (Renubis), a Revenant (Stalker), a ghost (N'Ktane) and a whole mess of Psychopomps. The first undead they ever encountered was actually Drake. He's a vampire of some sort.
Urban Segregation: Shinboku is divided into sections for each species, walled off from one another. In addition, it's indicated that in at least one of them, the poorest citizens live on the outer edge while the wealthy live closer to the center.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Renubis. He's been awake for every second of the last 3,000 years. He may be invincible, ageless, and immortal, but he's completely unable to eat, drink, sleep, breathe, or even feel; his sense of touch was taken away by the immortality potion.