Guardians' Legacy: Cage of the Earth's Core (may possibly be retitled) is a work in ten parts by my younger brother and I (the I being tsuir, though I only took the name because my old username apparently wasn't working) which could easily take the form of a series of online novels, manga-style webcomic, rpg-style game or something else.
The original concept was something along the lines of a female-oriented equivalent of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, well for more than just one Arc, but in retrospect apart from the multiple parts in various time periods and genres following a particular 'legacy' and a fair bit of action, the two don't really have that much in common (in fact it may now be more comparable to Live A Live, which wasn't my brother's original intention but he doesn't mind too much). The sub-titular Cage was also roughly inspired by the 80s series The Trapdoor, though on a more global scale.
Basically, like The Trapdoor, there's something down there. More specifically, at the very centre of the Earth, there lies a powerful magic barrier put in place to stop Eldritch Abominations and all other sorts of nightmarish horrors from escaping out into the real world. Problem is the barrier can't always hold everything, every now and then something manages to break loose, and you don't want to be anywhere near it when it does.
The series chronicles the exploits, hardships and adventures of a group of half-human girls from all across time each known as the 'Guardian', who have all received the magical energy of the very first girl to become the Guardian, and must now use it to fight against the beings that emerge from the Cage.
But naturally things aren't as simple as they sound, the Guardian being a girl often means that throughout history the monsters from the Cage aren't the only challenge she has to face, and even when she means well the Guardian is rarely a Knight In Shining Armour. Not to mention to creatures from within the Earth's Core, while certainly completely unnatural and dangerous, are far from merely mindless horrors.
Though there are presumably many more incarnations of the Guardian out there, the series focuses on ten in particular (note that all titles may be subject to change):
Growing up in an ordinary farming village during the Sumerian peroid is the hardly ordinary at all girl Elisha, known for being a hotheaded and impulsive young troublemaker and a constant nuisance for the villagers in general. Blaming her attitude on the lack of a prominent mother figure in her life, the townspeople convince her father to send her away to be trained as a priestess at a secluded temple. Elisha automatically protests, but (reluctantly) goes along with it admitting that they are worse places she could be sent to.
What she soon finds out though is this is barely an ordinary temple, the priests and priestesses there are in possession of the terrible knowledge of what still lies sealed deep beneath the Earth, dangerous beings that were not allowed to go free even after the death of Tiamat. She is then put to task learning her duties as a priestess, but her intrigued mind always keeps thinking back to the whispers of those imprisoned horrors.
At the same time though the City of Kish is in a state of confusion, as the local King Etana, famous for flying all the way to the heavens on the back of an eagle to retrieve the Plant of Life so he could create an heir, is now terribly withered and exhausted as if he's paid for his legendary flight with his very life. Unable to govern properly, and with his son Balih still too young to ascend the throne proper, it looks like uncertain times may be upon ancient Sumer.
Yet seemingly on cue, it is then a mysterious yet powerful mage calling him/her/itself, in a strange tongue to the Babylonians, "L'Excuse" arrives in Uruk, demonstrating such great power and managing to capture the awe of the entire city. Quickly gaining everyone's favour and respect, including that of the gods who sided against Gilgamesh and see much more promise in this stranger, his/her/its first request of the public is nevertheless a strange one. Namely, calling for a specific temple to be completely wiped out.
Elisha is the only survivor of the ensuing destruction upon the temple, only managing this however by suddenly discovering she has the strange ability to hide within mirrors. Trapped in this mirror world she comes face to face with the spirit Lilith, the maid of Ishtar, who says she's Elisha's true mother as her mistress in a burst of rage cursed her one night to actually bear a child. Elisha then assumes that Lilith is now seeking her revenge, but Lilith then says that she was just the product and therefore shouldn't be the one to blame. No, she says she's here to warn her, as right now they're worse things afoot...
This Arc provides examples of:
- The Blank - Though s/he can assume up to five different 'faces', L'Excuse's true appearance is this.
- Good Bad Girl - Elisha at times, justifed as she's part-lilim.
- Humanoid Abomination - L'Excuse, as Elisha finds out all too quickly.
- Mesopotamian Mythology
- Mythology Gag - Elisha's name was based on the Enuma Elis.
- Power of the Void - L'Excuse's specialty, whenever it's not mucking around with personality-altering Tarot cards.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery - L'Excuse's main motivation, and a staggering aversion of Villains Blend in Better: L'Excuse is an Anthropomorphic Personification of the void outside creation, completely unable to adjust to the concept of existence, and the Babylonians' world-views only serve to add fuel to his/her fire.
- Sorcerous Overlord - L'Excuse attempts to assume this position.
- Tsundere - Elisha, also Lilith when she's not playing Femme Fatale to the full.
- The Unchosen One - Elisha, the one who started the entire legacy of the Guardian in the first place.
Flash forward over a thousand years now, to The Time of Myths in Ancient Greece. The new Guardian here is Asteria, a minotauress created when a king thought that the infamous half-bull would surely be a great addition to his armies. Enraged when the child born was a girl, Asteria only managed to escape being put to death when she discovered a hidden reserve of magical energy within herself.
Upon coming of age Asteria soon jumps at the call to her supernatural heritage, seeking the thrill and excitement that this adventure against all sorts of weird monsters is sure to bring out, not really knowing of the unfortunate reputation she's picked up as a wandering monstrosity. She soon comes to the island of Skyros where she meets with two new travelling companions, the cute and feisty young Pyrrha and her friend and relative Straight Girl Deidameia. Although, there is something a bit off about Pyrrha...
Again, what Asteria doesn't know is that she's just made off with who was prophecised to be Greece's trump card in the upcoming Trojan War, which also gives her two new enemies in Odysseus trying to reclaim Pyrrha and Thetis trying to 'rescue' Pyrrha.
On top of all that, something very unusual is happening to the Olympian pantheon. The sacred nectar and ambrosia they need to keep themselves young is slowly being stolen away. Seemingly on cue, a faceless, genderless stranger appears before them and proclaims to find whoever is snatching their immortality away. Y'know, eventually.
This Arc provides examples of:
- All Amazons Want Hercules - Averted with Asteria, who says all she really wants is a genuinely nice person, when she can be bothered about romance to begin with anyway.
- Amazonian Beauty - Asteria obviously along with Deidameia after absorbing Hippolyta's spirit essence. Subverted with the actual Amazons themselves, while some of them definitely fit this, others don't, as they're based on a collective fear of women usurping men, which can apply for nearly anything the ancient Greeks' felt was a man's position.
- Anti Climactic Parent - Ares whenever he's around the Amazons is automatically downgraded from "raging Blood Knight" to "embarassing adoptive dad".
- Blessed with Suck - Pyrrha's father Peleus, owner of a divine-forged weapon that guarantess success in the hunt or the battle. Unfortunately, it never specifies at what cost...
- Classical Mythology
- Crapsaccharine World - Well, the ancient Mediterranean was never really a Sugar Bowl in the first place, but it's certainly not the fun world of adventure Asteria seems to think it is.
- Dawn of an Era / End of an Age (depending on how you look at it) - At the end of the Arc, all of the most prominent Greek gods are dead, and it's highly implied the timeline's been completely altered to, leaving the world open for a new age.
- Eldritch Abomination - Apart from the usual monsters from the Earth's Core and more unsettling beings from Greek mythology there's also what the Grrek Gods eventually turn into without nectar and ambrosia.
- Enemy Without - The Amazons are actually formed from Greece's collective fear of women ascending to become superior to men.
- Establishing Character Moment - L'Excuse's disdain of existence itself and dabbling in deicide were made fairly clear in the previous Arc, but it's here s/he really shows her/his affinity for screwing around with the timestream.
- Eviler Than Thou - Actually neither of them are really villains, but Odysseus and Thetis definitely do not get along.
- Hero Secret Service - The Amazons at times, even though they and Asteria don't always get along.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch - Happens to all of the Greek pantheon.
- No One Could Survive That! - L'Excuse's final fate at the hands of Asteria, being thrown off the top of Olympus all the way down into the river Phlegethon. It takes it until the end of Arc 4 to have fully recovered from it.
- Poor Man's Substitute - What Asteria began as for the original Minotaur (down to even her name).
- Surrounded by Idiots - Odysseus insists this is the reason practically none of his plans ever work.
- Wrong Genre Savvy - Asteria, her own Fatal Flaw is believing this is all some fun adventure and not realising the seriousness of her situation.
Set in Imperial China during the Three Kingdoms Era, chronicling the life of a young foxgirl (well, half-foxgirl) named Ruomei and her adventures around her village in southeastern China, whether helping people out or causing trouble for them.
Unfortunately, word of this mischievous half-huli jing soon reaches the ears of the Court of Wu and its famed warlord Sun Ce, known hater of anything supernatural. It isn't log before his armies arrive to attack the small village, but Ruomei is suddenly able to fend them off and avert Doomed Hometown by suddenly discovering a hidden reserve of powerful magic within her. From there, you should be able to guess what happens.
This Arc provides examples of:
- Anti-Magic - Sun Ce is big on this.
- Defeat Means Friendship - With Sun Shangxiang. Sun Quan is a borderline example as he's now too busy ruling Wu (or getting captured) to ever really help out, but at least he's no longer an enemy.
- Disc-One Final Boss - Sun Ce.
- Genki Girl - Ruomei.
- Good Bad Girl - Ruomei, justifed due to being half-huli jing.
- Guile Hero - Ruomei, in a major contrast to her predecessor Asteria.
- Terrible Trio - Either Sun Ce, Sun Quan and Sun Shangxiang with Sun Jian as the higher-up, or Sun Quan, Sun Shang Xiang and Zhou Yu with Sun Ce as the higher-up.
- Villain with Good Publicity - Sun Ce.
Taking place during Arthurian times, or more correctly just before Arthurian times during the reign of Uther Pendragon and later during the leaderless period before Arthur pulled out the Sword in the Stone. A young woman (who unbeknownst to her is half-faerie) has suddenly been developing incredible magic powers yet has hardly any at all how to control them. It is then recommended she head out to receive tutoring from the wizard Merlin, however along the way she meets a mysterious red-haired woman who tells her to seek out the ancient warrior woman Scathach instead.
Unlike the previous parts which were more Heroic Fantasy or even High Fantasy, this Arc instead takes a much more Low Fantasy Survival Horror tone (despite the abundance of magic powers), emphasising the 'Dark' in Dark Age Europe, while avoiding being overly bloody (that comes in Arc 5).
This Arc provides examples of:
- Black Magician Girl - Every Guardian could be called this to an extent, but the fourth one is by far the most embodying of the trope.
- Guile Hero - The Guardian, though without Ruomei's Genki Girl nature.
- Hero Secret Service - Being the first Arc to deal with Christianity, this marks the return of Lilith and the proper introduction of the Lilim into the story, intrigued to see where the Guardian's legacy will go.
- Hijacked by Ganon - L'Excuse seemingly has nothing to do with this Arc, until it's revealed that the post-Time Skip Big Bad was intent on ressurecing him.
- Retired Badass - Scathach, until the Guardian comes along.
- Time Skip - During the Guardian's Training from Hell with Scathach.
During the height of the Viking Era a valkyrie is banished to the mortal world upon conceiving a child with a mortal male. Yet living out in the wilderness with only her exiled mother's support said child grows up angry with the world that has treated her this way, proclaiming to herself to become the strongest warrior of all, something that's hardly an easy feat in such an era, but one she may very well accomplish upon unlocking the true powers she holds. Though at what cost?
This Arc provides examples of:
Each Guardian's journey is typically epic in length, encapsulating an entire era and the mythology surrounding it... if we do say so ourselves.
By contrast, this time the Guardian only has thirteen days to save the world.
Heading forwards now into the Sengoku Jidai, where miles below the ocean's surface the half-dragon princess of the kingdom of Ryujin has been constantly troubled by news of a horrible war on the lands above. Determined to intervene she then ascends to the world above to see if there is any way to quell the horrible fighting. However, the first thing she hears is that warlord Oda Nobunaga is dead, and the hunt is on for his killer Akechi Mitsuhide.
What she isn't told is that a mysterious stranger, claiming to be a French noble, has gotten to Mitsuhide first, and plans to use him as one of the many pawns in a plot that threatens not only the Japanese Gods...
1837, the Dawn of an Era back in jolly ol' England, with "Sailor Bill" (William IV) dead and the young Unexpected Successor Victoria on the throne. But in this time of change dark undercurrents still lie bubbling away...
Myria is the illegitimate child of aristocrat Esther Hallowvale, brought up as a servant girl within her manor to appease her adoptive father Lord Hallowvale, though she still carries the scorn of the rest of the household. But Myria's noticing that there's something definitely not normal about her mother, as she frequently meets with a shadowy organisation, is taking all sorts of unusual medications... oh, and has to be strictly chained to her bed every full moon night.
Myria however gets far too involved when she accidentally messes up an important stage in her mother's monthly rituals, transforming Esther into a horrible werewolf out to attack the rest of the household in her madness. Cornered, Myria attempts to make a stand against her own werewolf mother, and then discovers that she has the incredible strength to do so. Beating her mother to a standstill, everyone then yells for her to finish her off, but ultimately Myria cannot bring herself to kill her own mother, even if she's currently a mindless feral werewolf.
Terrified and panicking that Esther will only resume her attack, one of Myria's half-brothers slashes a hole in a tree on the manor grounds, a rather special tree said should only be opened when the Hallowvale family is in utmost peril. Out of the tree are released a very confused Merlin and Nimue (last seen in Part 4), both trapped in there since Dark Age Europe, but nevertheless manage to use their combined talents to restore Esther to normality, if only temporarily.
Both of them, finding themselves stuck in the Nineteenth Century, come to the conclusion that Myria may very well be the new incarnation of the Guardian that both of them had met previously. Esther then confirms that Myria is in fact partially a werewolf from her heritage, but that her father was also a vampire that she had an affair with only in an attempt to try and remove her lycanthropy (which clearly didn't work), claiming however that Myria's vampire blood was what was holding her werewolfism back. Myria then says that now use her Guardian powers to try and bring her vampire and werewolf sides together as one.
But before long she soon finds herself tangled up with the shadowy organisation that treated her mother. Calling themselves 'The Doctors' they are convinced that not only vampirism and lycanthropy but also things like zombiefication, possession and other forms of inhumanisation are in fact 'diseases' that must either be cured or, if worst comes to worst, killed off with their host.
Myria, Esther, Merlin and Nimue are then joined by Egyptology enthusiast Kate, religious university student Joseph Sheridan and Retired Badass matador Pedro Romero Martinez who has come to England for his own reasons. Of course, being the Guardian your slightly subverted Hammer Horror monsters and their Knight Templar hunters will hardly be the most dangerous foes Myria will face...
This Arc provides examples of:
- Bishōnen - Merlin's regular form.
- Dashing Hispanic - Pedro Romero again.
- Grey-and-Grey Morality - The Doctors vs The Infected (Could also be seen as Order Versus Chaos).
- Hammer Horror
- Hero Antagonist - The Doctors' Association, except maybe a few of the higher-ups, but even they're Well Intentioned Extremists.
- Team Mom - Esther, being Myria's mother herself. Also doubles as The Big Guy.
- Tragic Monster - A lot of the 'infected' tend to fall into this.
The Roaring '20s are fully underway now, yet Yvette's living away from all that as a student at a prestigious boarding school. Problem is, the school can hardly provide a safe haven from what's about to catch up to her. Weird things are definitely happening, at first it was just odd little incidents, but now dead bodies are inexplicably popping up everywhere and there's a shifty, not to mention eerily familiar, detective who has hidden intentions of framing Yvette as the killer.
It's The '60s, and the Cold War and The Space Race are now launching ahead with full power. Seeking to escape from her kooky dad who constantly claims he was abducted by aliens, the Guardian signs up as a secret agent only to find herself in the middle of a very unusual Spy Drama, one where the tension isn't just between East and West but Outer Space and Beneath the Earth as well...
The final Arc recorded in Guardian's Legacy, though will it mean the end of the Guardian herself? Now arriving in Present Day Japan, where an Ordinary High-School Student has returned from her summer vacation (a vacation she strangely can't remember much about) only to find that she's apparently gained Super Strength from being turned into a cyborg. But there's some really weird rumours floating around town, and soon enough a very old enemy has re-emerged, looking to end this all for good. Time, literally, is running out...
Tropes from the series overall:
- All Myths Are True
- The Chosen One - The Guardian, though highly subverted. For one, it's outright stated that pretty much anyone with a high enough power level and knowledge of them should be able to take on the monsters from the Cage (e.g. Scathach), the Guardian just makes it her mission that's all. Plus pretty much every documented Guardian is some form of Anti-Hero.
- Feminist Fantasy - What we're aiming for here.
- Genre Shift
- Human Mom, Non-Human Dad - Played straight for the second and eighth Guardians, subverted with the seventh Guardian, not really applicable for the tenth Guardian, and inverted for all the others.
- Julius Beethoven da Vinci - A favourite trope of Lilith's.
- Reincarnation - Averted with the Guardian, apart from inheriting her predecessor's leftover magic energy and being a Half-Human Hybrid the various girls have nothing in common. However it is never confirmed to not exist on it's own.
- Those Two Bad Guys - White Knight and Black Bishop, two other escapees from the cage who, in great contrast to L'Excuse, are hugely enthusiastic about the possibilities of 'existence', which however only lead them to view humans as their personal playthings or experimental guinea pigs...
- Those Two Guys - Lilith's 'husbands', Asmodeus and Samael. Could be those Those Two Bad Guys if they weren't on the Guardian's side more often than not due to their lady's wishes, and were ever... genuinely evil.
As this is very much a work-in-progress, feel free to post any comments or criticism below (just as long as they aren't obscene, unhelpful and/or irrelevant):