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A novel trilogy that Bickazer is working on.

It's basically a Homage to and Deconstruction of the stereotypical shounen tournament-centered series. There's a World of Ham and Badass Boasts, there are Mons who get Next Tier Power Ups, the tournament is Serious Business, there's a plucky hero who's determined to be the very best.

Except, not really. The hamminess and badass boasts are shows the players put on to attract fans, the mons are really a race of non human Noble Savages who were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands and made to serve humans. They call themselves Icim, but humans call them "macor" (after the Icim's name for their warriors, "makhorre"). Macor have various powers, most of them elemental , but their true powers are unlocked when they form contracts with the shamans of their tribes. In subjugating the macor, humans killed all of the shamans and took on the shaman-role for themselves. Therefore, humans and macor fight in pairs, with the humanreceiving damage when their macor is injured. They fight in tournaments called "Munera," around which the governments of most cities revolve. Mostly because Munera keeps the lower classes nicely distracted from the social stratification, poverty, and generally crappy conditions in the cities.

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And the plucky hero is Ren, a poor sixteen-year-old girl living in the lowest level of the city of Arxia. Her brothers are obsessed with Munera, but she hates it. She thinks that it's barbaric and distracts people from finding honest work, because they'd rather try becoming Munera players. Everything changes, though, when one day Ren comes across as a boy lying in a ditch. Being a magnanimous soul, she takes him in—only to discover that he's a macor. And worse, Ren has accidentally formed a contract with him!

After that, a bunch of stuff happens. Obviously.

It is due for a major rehaul, so currently everything on this page is outdated. Just to warn you.


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Setting Tropes:

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Not humans, but Icim come in all sorts of skin colors.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The people in Arxia are all some nonwhite ethnicity, ranging from bronze to very dark.
  • Animal Motifs: Each individual Icim is associated with a different animal. Animal aspects tend to run in families, and tribes consist of people whose animal aspects are similar to one another (for instance, Kutho's tribe contains lions, panthers, tigers, jaguars, etc.) Macor are not furries; they only show the animal aspect in breach forms.
  • Anime Hair: Many macor have hair in absolutely insane styles.
  • Author Appeal: I like cheesy tournament series, master/servant relationships, magitek, and the colonial and antebellum periods of American history. That should be obvious.
  • Bishōnen Line: The first breach is human with animalistic elements, the second is animalistic and feral, and the third—and most powerful—is coldly beautiful, and almost always reminiscent of a class of angel.
    • A less literal example is the distinction between the monstrous, but weaker havelzyn makhorre and the more human, but stronger watara makhorre. Of course humans have to simplify everything, so they give all Icim the blanket name "macor."
      • Serious Munera players (like Rahto), will use the terms "havelzyn" (or rather, "havel") and "watara," however, to distinguish between the cheaper, low-level macor available to the Bowl and the tournament-level macor with which they fight. These terms don't correspond directly with the Icim's distinctions, because they base it purely on strength, not physiology.
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  • Bread and Circuses
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Cars = chuggers, units are measured in "spans," etc.
  • Dystopia
  • Empathic Weapon: The macor are supposed to be this to humans, but they're sentient.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Icim are supposed to be counterparts to Native Americans, kind of. I'll have to work hard to steer clear of Unfortunate Implications.
  • Functional Magic: A kind of Wild Magic accessible only to Icim and to a select few lucky humans. Humans can, with great effort and strife, become magicians, but they can never manipulate magic as fluidly as macor. Might be a factor in why macor were enslaved.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Only females can become shamans in Icim society, an interesting Double Standard because aside from shamans females are not valued at all.
  • Hair Colors: Macor have a much wider range of hair (and for that matter, skin) colors than humans.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Human propaganda states that macor are happy fighting for humans. Some are—mostly the ones who were born and raised in Arxia—but most hate it. They're just powerless to end it.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Not all humans, but yeesh...collectively they did pretty much commit genocide against the Icim, and enslave the ones who weren't killed.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: The macor masters are this, though not all of them are kids. Depending on the strength of their contract, they can control the macor by causing their contract marks to burn whenever the macor does something the human disapproves of. Ren's contract with Kutho is so strong that he burns whenever he touches her for more than a few seconds.
  • Land of One City: All the action (in the first book at least) takes place in Arxia, and the cities see themselves as this, since they're pretty much like independent city states.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Forged between macor and master; and in the wild, between makhorre and shaman.
  • Meaningful Name: Arxia derives from the Latin word for "citadel." Fitting, since Arxia views itself as the archetypal "city on a hill.
  • Mons: The macor are a deconstruction of them.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Called "breaches," they allow macor to attain up to three different, more advanced forms.
  • Noble Savage: Human sympathizers view macor as this, but they're much more complicated than that.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Yes, there is one. "ARK-sha," "Moo-NEHR"-uh," "May-CORE", "EE-sim," "Row" (rhymes with "cow"),"RAW-to," "TAWN," "Toh-kai-EEM," "Zer-hai-YELL," "CELL-ay-en," "SAZZ-ick," "JEZ-dum."
  • One-Gender Race: Icim actually have a normal sex balance, but macor are overwhelmingly prejudiced towards male, because in Icim culture males are mostly warriors. Naturally, macor are drawn from the ranks of warriors, aka "makhorre." Of course, there are exceptions, like Azith.
  • Only One Name: Only the wealthiest and most powerful have surnames.
  • Petting Zoo People: The macor, to an extent.
  • Power Tattoo: A macor's contract appears as a band of tattoos around his neck and wrists, similar to the placement of a collar and handcuffs. With every breach, one of the tattoos temporarily vanishes and he attains a stronger form. Hence the name—a ''breach'' of ''contract''!
  • Schizo Tech: Magic mixed with technology.
    • Magitek: Most of the technology counts as this.
  • Serious Business: The cities are intentionally set up to revolve around Munera, Arxia especially.
  • Shining City: The rich and powerful in Arxia see their city as this. Nobody else does.
  • Stripperiffic: All macor, whether male or female, don't wear much—most males will just wear pants, most females short skirts and something covering their chest. It's yet another rule meant to set macor apart from humans.
  • Super Mode: A macor's breach.
  • Synchronization: Masters feel the macor's pain, and in turn lend the macor their strength.
  • Transformation Name Announcement: Sort of how macor announce their breaches—they'll announce the level of the breach and the form: for instance, "First breach, Goldenheart."
  • Transformation Sequence: Kind of—the macor glows and floats while the transformation happens.
  • Urban Segregation: The city is divided into the polluted "Bowl" (the part inside a former volcanic crater) and the towering "Spire" rising from the center of the Bowl. Furthermore, there's segregation between levels of the Spire.
    • The Urban Segregation is mirrored in the segregation between levels of Munera. In the Bowl is "Low Munera," an underfunded activity little more than glorified dogfighting, meant to keep the poor entertained on weekends; on the middle levels of the Spire are the Midtowns, which hold hundreds of Mid Munera players who are promoted by agents and fight in professional tournaments; and the highest level of the Spire is High Munera, which consists of a dozen rival Households. The city Munera champion is the Head of whichever Household won the last annual High Munera Championship. Yeah, it's complicated.)


Plot Tropes:

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Tann and Azith get such a moment right before their Bolivian Army Ending. Tann, is the first human in the story to fight alongside his macor.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Will most likely have one.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Some human/macor relationships.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Not the series as a whole, but Tann and Azith get a little one when they're surrounded by Rahto's men. Rather than come quietly, they go down fighting.
  • The Conspiracy
  • Darker and Edgier: No need to explain.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Not as often as in a typical shonen series, but in Raktha's case, this applies.
  • Deconstruction: Of shonen tournament and Mons series.
  • Five Man Mand: In the first book, Ren and her team form one.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Always present, but ramps up significantly as the story continues. Especially since you're asked to support one Aruni brother over the other, but that's hard to do because one's a selfish Manipulative Bastard who would nonetheless be doing the city a favor by getting rid of the mayor, and the other a Dogged Nice Guy Anti-Villain whose slavish support of the mayor is doing the city more harm than good. Perhaps Ren ought to Take a Third Option. We'll see.
  • Interspecies Romance: All human/macor romances.
  • I Will Protect You: Kutho towards Ren, Azith towards Tann. Kutho actually pretty much says the line.
  • La Résistance: One may get involved in later books.
  • Last of His Kind: A major plot point might be that Ren has to find the last macor shaman...who was originally going to be Komi, but since I'm not sure if I should keep her character, that may change.
    • Or maybe Ren becomes a shaman herself...we'll see.
  • Love Hurts
  • May–December Romance: Tann/Azith, Rahto/Zurhayel, the hinted ships of Rahto/Ren and Jesdam/Ren.
  • Mood Whiplash: Yay, let's all celebrate! Ren and Kutho have defeated Celaen! Oops, what's this...? Shit, Kutho just got lethally shot!
    • Also happens, on a smaller scale, after Ren and Tann team up in an epic tag-team battle and score an overwhelming victory. Ren then discovers that Tann has been spying on her for the Mayor, and reacts quite strongly to that.
  • Official Couple: Tann/Azith, Rahto/Zurhayel.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The city council.
  • The Plan: Somehow I ended up planning a story that's chock full of them. In the first book alone, there are three, though one is more like a sub-planner to another.
    • Gambit Pileup: Naturally, seems to be heading in this direction.
  • Ship Sinking: One by one every single ship involving Ren gets torpedoed. First Kutho dies, then Rahto is revealed as a villainous bastard who probably feels nothing for Ren in the first place, Jesdam is so old his feelings come across as Squicky and finally Ren admits that she views Zurhayel as more of a best friend than love interest. Possibly a Take That! to the shipping-centered nature of so many YA novels, even those in which the shipping plays a secondary role (The Hunger Games, I am looking at you.)
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: A consequence of Ren rising higher in each book: her enemies grow much more powerful.
  • Strictly Formula: To an extent; each book starts in a similar way, with Ren being boosted to a higher level of Munera.
  • To Be a Master: Subverted. Ren may rise higher in each book, to the point of becoming Head of Tokaim Household in the third book, but that's less because of her own improving skill than Rahto's manipulations. Granted, she does become stronger, but not nearly strong enough to justify her meteoric rise.
  • Tournament Arc: There are two major tournaments in the first book—a short introductory one, and the multi-stage Retera. Of course, each subsequent book has more.
  • Trope Overdosed: Naturally.
  • True Companions: Played with, played straight, and deconstructed.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Ren's fight against Tann, and Kutho's against Sazuk, are treated like this.
  • Values Dissonance: The differences between human and macor society—especially gender roles—get explored within the story, and hopefully with no strawmen.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Played with—the issue of what happened to Tann and Azith at the end of the first book doesn't come up for a while, but when it does...it does in spectacular fashion.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Celaen spends the whole book trying to defeat Ren and Kutho in a tournament. Then Sazuk comes up with the brilliant idea of just putting a bolt through Kutho's neck.
  • You Have Failed Me: probably ends up happening to Sazuk, for killing Kutho

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