Literature / The Return Of Paul Twister
The third book in the Web Serial series The Tales Of Paul Twister.
It picks up where The Fate of Paul Twister
leaves off, with Paul having to deal with Syrixia forcibly removing his language translation,
so he's been living with April for several months, learning to speak Silva
, the local language. And trying to deal with Sarah, who is less successful at hiding her attraction to Paul than Paul would like.
But then people from modern-day Earth make contact, touching off a scenario that even the great dragon Ryell was worried about...
The first chapter can be found here.
The story was finished at the end of 2015.
The Fate of Paul Twister provides examples of the following tropes:
- And I Must Scream: Both as a rogue and as a benefactor and scientist, Paul's entire career is built on communication. Now that he's lost his magical +3 Translator Microbes of Hand-waving, he's stuck cooped up in a tower in the middle of nowhere with the only other person in the world who 1) speaks English and 2) doesn't have malicious intentions toward him... and she refuses to speak English with him, believing that teaching by immersion is the only way to do it effectively. After several months of this, Paul says he's about ready to go out in public and talk with people... or completely snap and throw himself off the roof of the tower.
- Bittersweet Ending: Paul makes back to Earth but has to go back, giving up on his dream of truly returning home in the process. Aylwyn is badly hurt. The invaders from Earth, who turned out to have been simply Ken'tu Kel's cats-paws in a Xanatos Gambit to kill off Ryell, all end up slaughtered. Ken'tu Kel is free from prison and has influence over the resurrected Ryell. April and Patrick left, going back to Earth when Paul couldn't. And yet at the end, Paul remains optimistic about the future. He's more dedicated than ever to improving the state of science and technology in the Human Kingdoms, and his relationship with Alywyn seems to be doing well. And Ryell may be back, but she's greatly diminished, due to approximately half of her "backup copy" being killed off.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- Celestials have black bones.
- Ryell's tractumil are more than simply her servants; they're a distributed backup copy of her, whose ultimate purpose is to sacrifice their individual selves to merge into a new Ryell to restore her to life.
- Harsher in Hindsight: After finishing the story, go back and re-read Syrixia's prophecy to Ken'tu Kel in The Lay of Paul Twister...
- I Choose to Stay: Played with. Paul thinks his strongest desire is to return home, even at the cost of leaving everyone behind, but when he finally gets there, he's drawn back in by a message threatening harm to Aylwyn if he doesn't return to prevent it. He realizes that this is more important, and he goes back, only to be unable to stop that exact sequence of events from happening, though Aylwyn isn't actually hurt as badly as he had assumed. He understood the deeper meaning of going back, though: that if he did, he knew that the dragon would continue to find ways to keep him from going home for good.
- Killed Off for Real: Ryell. Cue immediate cries of Like You Would Really Do It from readers in the comments, to which the author replied that it was real and not Actually a Doombot, they did find the body, and the body was going to be disposed of and not reanimated or revived.
- Exact Words: Ryell really was dead, and her body was disposed of, but that didn't stop her backup copy, in the form of the tractumil, from growing a new body and restoring her mind.
- Mithril: When Paul hears about the extraordinary properties of the dwarven super-metal èla, it's not surprising that this is the word he chooses to translate it. If John is right, though, the truth is even more interesting: apparently the dwarves, despite having the same pre-industrial technology level as everyone else, have figured out a way to mix magic with their metallurgical and smithing skills in order to overcome the considerable difficulties inherent in smelting and forging titanium!
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Ken'tu Kel accuses Ryell of employing this trope, and tells Paul it would be in his best interest to sabotage this plot by killing all the tractumil. Paul doesn't listen, as he doesn't want to be a murderer.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: When dealing with Corwin, Paul deliberately tries to come across as a puffed-up self-proclaimed "guardian of the realm" who's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
- Once More, with Clarity!: In chapter 20, Paul finds out what the recurring nightmare/draconic taunt about Aylwyn's wing being injured really refers to: the black shaft is actually her wing bone! Also, he was led to believe that she would be injured in a fight with Sarah, but Sarah was actually trying to help; the bad guy was Ken'tu Kel.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The Face of the group from Earth is named Paul Corwin.
- Outside-Genre Foe: The invaders from Earth, with their assault rifles, rocket launchers, and night vision goggles that can see through invisibility spells.
- Pardon My Klingon: April demurs when Paul asks her to translate the word sivplek, explaining that "It’s not something they’d let you say on TV, if they had that here."
- Post-Modern Magik: When Ken'tu Kel has important secrets to keep, he secures them with a magical implementation of public-key encryption, which he studied during his time on Earth, correctly reasoning that not even the Twist can break it.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of the story, it's revealed that April and Patrick caught a bus over to Invisible, the as of yet unreleased Spin-Off story.
- Retired Badass: Turns out that back in the day, April used to be a military commander, eventually reaching the rank of General in the army of Anduin. Sarah says her mother "fought in all five Incursion Wars," which are implied to have been a series of invasions from Another Dimension.
- Shout-Out: It's a Paul Twister story, so of course there's going to be plenty of gratuitous pop culture references!
- Soul Jar: Turns out the tractumil are more than just a dragon's servants; they function as a distributed backup, containing the dragon's knowledge and power. If their dragon dies, the tractumil go into a transitional state, at the end of which, they can combine in some way to recreate the dragon.
- The Worf Effect: Ryell attacks the camp of the newcomers from Earth. A few rocket launchers later, their dangerousness has been firmly established.
- Token Evil Teammate: After the death of Ryell, Syrixia joins Paul & co, with a "enemy of my enemy" rationale. Paul objects, citing Maxim 29, but she sticks around anyway.
- Xanatos Gambit: The entire plot is one by Ken'tu Kel. He wants Ryell to be Killed Off for Real, but failing that, he's more than happy to end up with her under his thumb as she rebuilds her power.