Literature: Voyages Of The Flying Dragon
What wisdom forbids, necessity dictates.Voyages Of A Flying Dragon
is a fantasy book series, written by the Australian author Ben Chandler. It is centered on the twins Lenis and Missy (Misecordia) Clemens, who were sold into slavery at their homeland at young age and advanced through the ranks until becoming the Engineer and Communications Officer aboard the setting’s airships. The first novel, Quillblade
, begins when their captain of their ship turns traitor to his master and steals the ship alongside the crew. He’s on a quest to find the dragon egg, as the young dragon is the only thing with enough power to stand against the rapidly encroaching Wasteland and the Demons it spawns. Eventually, they obtain it but at a price, and at a time when the Demons found a clear leader and began forming into an army to wipe out humanity.
The second novel, Beast Child
, marks a relative lull in the events, as organising an army is no small thing
even for demons, giving the Hiryu enough respite to spread warning to other nations and search for the stones of ebb and flow, supposedly capable of amplifying the young dragon's power. They're opposed in this by a former Shinzon mercenary whose motivation remains a mystery. Lenis and Missy are also forced to reflect on the relevations in the last novel and face up to harsh truths about the nature of power and its effect on a person.
This book series provides examples of the following tropes:
- Affably Evil: Ishullanu, the Demon King is always polite when in conversation with the twins and views their decision to defend humanity with a mixture of pity and bewilderment.
- Angst? What Angst?: Utterly averted throughout the series. The Clemens’ twins, especially Lenis, are so used to thinking of themselves as slaves, that the thought of being sold if they displease the captain dominates his thinking and it takes him almost till the end of the first book to realise that he is actually free. There’s more in the second book when the twins find out that they were meant to be one being, and could potentially be merged together again..
- Beast Child also gives us Heidi, a girl whose family was killed alongside most of her hometown and who’s then set on apth of revenge. It gets so bad that Missy decides to lock those worst memories away in order to make her function at all, something for which Heidi herself is thankful for.
- Automatic Crossbows: Andrea Florona has one, in addition to her daggers.
- Cool Airship: Hiryu. While not particularly heavily armed besides several flame cannons, it can stay in the air a lot longer than more technological examples and gets points for the ability to go cloaked, courtesy of the Bestia onboard.
- Crazy Awesome: Hiroshi. He never seems quite right in the head, yet he’s always friendly, a source of rather entertaining dialogue and kicks ass in combat with a sharpened chain.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When the protagonists firstly meet the Fox Lady, she appears a lazy, middle-aged ruler with little interest in asskicking or life in general. Once she is finally provoked into fighting the demons that attacked her village, though, she transforms into a lightning-fast warrior ripping demons apart before they can blink, all thanks to the totem she commands.
- Deal with the Devil: Striking a pact with Lilim to gain their power is akin to this. The more they manifest in the physical world, the more powerful they become and the more power they’ll give to their owners. However, they need to directly take from the person’s soul in order to do this, becoming completely physical when their owner is drained and dies. At least the procedure has to be consensual and there’s always a choice of how much you want to give.
- Drop the Hammer: Princess Anastasis fights with a huge, two-handed hammer, whose mallet is described as barrel-like in size. The only reason she can even lift it is because of her deal with the Lilim to provide extra strength.
- Emotionless Girl: Princess Anastasis is this, because she has given all of her emotions to her Lilim in exchange for strength in order to carry out her revenge (the only thing she kept for herself). In the Beast Child, however, it is revealed that there may be something else left of her.
- The Empath: Lenis is one, and is explicitly named within the book as such. His powers are innate and he's not able to shut them off, but he's able to concentrate and transfer feelings from one being to another, though he mainly uses that for Bestia.
- Eyepatch of Power: In Beast Child, Andrea Florona gets one after she loses an eye in the major battle against demons.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: corrupted Apsilla ends up killed by having her throat ripped apart.
- Fantasy Counter Culture: Played straighter than usual. Each culture has a broad counterpart (Shinzo to medieval Japan with honor and whatnot, Pure Land to Industrial Revolution England, etc.), and they actually use the languages of those cultures to dispel any doubt.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Justified: the only nation possessing gunpowder weapons is the Pure Land, and even there their use is tightly regulated to prevent the secret from getting out. For others, the most advanced ranged weapons are Bestia-powered flame cannons (on ships) and automatic crossbows (personal use).
- Floating Continent: The capital of Ost is located on one thanks to the power of all the Air Bestia gathered there, which are used to lift it up above the tainted ground and air beneath.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Played straight with Arthur Knight and several others.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Ishullanu justifies his actions in this way, and he does have a point: without human exploitation of Bestia resources, he wouldn’t have the Demons to attack with in the first place.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Lenis goes through this phase in the second book, when he finds out that he and his sister are considerably more than human and were meant to be one.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kenji gets a dose of this after his attempt to betray the crew of Hiryu to protect himself from cult’s wrath goes horribly wrong (for him).
- Lost Lenore: Namei becomes this for Lenis in the second book after her death. He frequently thinks about her and her death.
- The Mole: Navigator Kenji turns out to be one for the Puritan Ruling Council.
- Naming Conventions: The Bestia on board of Hiryu are all named after Latin names for their respective elements: Terra is earth, Atrum is darkness, Ignis is fire, Lucis is light, Aeris is air and Aqua is water.
- Nobody Poops: Averted in the Beast Child, when Missy is forced to split from the group and pee. This is also when she’s discovered to not be a god.
- Playing with Fire: The speciality of fire Bestia. When trained, they’re capable of not just attacking with fire, but also channeling it industrially.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Bestia technology of this world plays with this. While they draw all their power from Bestia, who can be suffer and die if mistreated, under the care of good handlers they’ll understand the owners needs and accept their service. However, Bestia’s powers are ultimately drawn from the planet itself, and their overuse is what spawns the blighted land and the demons, regardless of how well individual creatures are treated.
- Pure Is Not Good: Pure Land is so-called because it is the only nation untouched by the Wasteland taint, which freed them from the burden of combatting the demons and allowed them to develop at considerably faster pace. What do they do with all this power? Why, they develop and hoard the most advanced weaponry designs (including gunpowder firearms) for themselves and remain the sole users of slave labor, knowing no country is powerful enough to challenge them on it.
- Sealed Good in a Can: In a Beast Child, Manu, the so-called Titan boy is innocent and good, having being put away to serve the being from which Missy and Lenis hail.
- Secret Test of Character: In the second book, navigator Kenji claims his decision to attempt to bargain the baby dragon in exchange for the crew’s freedom was a test of character for Missy to see if she would read his mind and attempt to stop him. It’s never made clear if he was lying or not.
- The Soulless: All demons are technically just animals and more spiritual Lilim who have been corrupted and lost their mind with all their thoughts. The only reason why they attack in mass swarms is because the Demon King wishes to do so.
- Twin Telepathy: Subverted. Lenis and Missy do have a connection between them, but it is not simply due to them being twins. Instead, the connection is a relic of the time when they were supposed to be a single, separate being, but were instead split into two human forms. Lenis is extremely creeped out when he finds it out.
- Vapor Wear: Fox Lady’s clothing is akin to this.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Discussed with the friendly Lilim in the second book. He reveals that Lilim are technically immortal while they’re in their spirit world, but become mortal when they enter the physical world at the end of their pact. Some however, bend the rules and become physical not as themselves but as inanimate objects. No judgment is offered on whether one is worse than other.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The way Quillblade can affect its untrained users. It will initially drain their inhibition and anxiety with a single touch, but after that it’ll encourage the person to use more and more of its power while consuming more and more of them.
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: In the second book, Missy is faced with the full implications of both her mind-reading and altering powers as well as the power awarded by the Quillblade. She is frequently tempted to use it, but has to consciously limit herself to when there’s no other choice.
- World Tree: One of the many philosophies in the book sees the world as being bound by one, but stresses that it is never a physical object but something that connects and encompasses everything. It's later revealed that each specie is seen as a branch on that tree and that the connection is also the reason for the powers of Bestia.
- And overusing the Bestia's powers resulting in the tree weakening, hence the taint leading to demons and the Wasteland.
- Wretched Hive: The lower levels of Asheim, capital of Ost. They’re the place for the city’s poor and desolate (as well as the location of its prisons), because the height directly determines the influence of the Wasteland on you. If the nobility breathes normal and clean air, the lower dwellers inhale some of it with every breath.
- You No Take Candle: The way Long Liu speaks to Lenis, because of his difficulty with their language. Whenever he speaks with Missy, who is an interpreter, this is no longer the case.