The Bygones is a novel that exists only partially in actual, written form - the rest of it is inside the head of Shadow Warden. As per his usual themes, it concerns fantasy with a distinct element of realism, and asks (or at least, attempts to) what would happen if typical Dungeons and Dragons adventurers had to fit into a world much like our own - except with magic filling in the technological blanks. The world is no longer isolated and remote, the orcs and dragons are dead, and life is actually pretty peaceful and mundane except for three facts: The adventurers are having trouble adapting to a benevolent monarchy, the fair folk are getting irritated with the ceaseless deforesting of the continent, and someone has it out for the adventurers.
Enter a nameless detective, who's been drawn into this royal mess by way of investigating the murder of a prominent adventurer.
Our Loads and Loads of Characters include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- The Investigator, whose simple murder investigation leads straight into the web of a convoluted conspiracy.
- Krethen Hallorn, the daughter of Kervin Hallorn and now the owner of a prominent adventurers-only bar.
- Douglas, a ranger and warrior who now bounces for Krethen. One of Kervin's pupils.
- Dark Lord Timothy, a talented wizard and actor who once appeared in fake adventuring 'shorts' as the Evil Lord Timothy. Not a competent cook, and a genuinely kind, selfless man under the nostalgia-induced front he wears much of the time.
- Edward Jacobi, a ruthless Knight Templar, Conspiracy Theorist, and fallen paladin who turned from pure righteousness to vicious vigilante work. Hunted by the authorities, and investigating alongside The Investigator.
- Kervin Hallorn, a fabled adventurer and jack-of-all-trades. Murdered at the story's beginning, but appears in flashbacks as a sort of mentor, a community leader and extremely savvy to the conventions of adventuring.
- Alline Hallorn, Kervin's wife, dead for several years at the story's beginning. A famous archer in the adventuring circles.
- Damond and Oliver, a pair of thieving twins who are competent with traps and subterfuge.
- King Seanary Dantamal the First, the king of the nation, a rather ordinary dictator with no particular ambitions or aspirations beyond making things function normally.
- Ruth Annel, the head of the city's Lawkeeper force and an ex-adventurer turned Dark Action Girl and Well-Intentioned Extremist. Hates Jacobi.
- Renoh, an older, extremely competent monk who spends his days wandering the city - he's seldom seen, even by other adventurers. In their circles, he's famous, but outside of them nobody has ever heard of him.
- Father Armis, an ex-adventurer and now the high priest of the Church of Faith. Once Jacobi's best friend, and now something of his sworn enemy.
Trope examples include the following:
- City of Adventure (The entire plot takes place within the limits of an unnamed metropolis.)
- Dungeon Punk
- Fair Play Whodunit (At least, it's trying to be written like this.)
- Film Noir (Except without the film.)
- Government Conspiracy
- Heroes With Bad Publicity (To be fair, some adventurers have embraced antiheroism or outright villainy as a response to their way of life vanishing.)
- No Name Given (The Investigator.)
- Punch-Clock Villain (Many, if not all, of the Lawkeepers, who are just ordinary guys on the royal salary that don't particularly want to mess with the adventurers.)
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism (Not relentlessly depressing, but probably falls on the cynical side even so.)
- Super Registration Act (Hanging over the heads of the adventurers, in the form of a possible law that forces them to work for the government or live under constant supervision. Hasn't passed at the beginning of the story, but you never know...)