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"You can tell a lot about a man by the way he leaves a town. This is especially true if the manner of his departure involves being thrown through the gates by two considerably larger men."

The Kast Saga (a working title) is a series of humorous fantasy stories created by Strix Obscuro. They tell the story of Jonard Kast, a somewhat self-absorbed rogue and the leader of a group of adventurers who make their living trying to con witless nobles out of their money and are often forced to perform genuinely heroic deeds in the process.

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Current planned stories include:

  • The Treasure of Indeterminate Worth
  • The Bell of Generic Mayhem
  • The Theology of Chains
  • The Thief of Dreams

This work contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Nioba does most of the real fighting in Kast's crew. Later member Jessifer is also handy with a bow.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ronda. She broke Jonard's heart once, and has sworn that she will destroy him, for reasons that Kast has never understood. The truth is that she became aware of her own existence as a character in a story, but found out that she was destined to become Jonard's Satellite Love Interest. Not wanting to be relegated to such a small role, she is attempting to become the Big Bad instead.
  • And I Must Scream: Greybods are an unholy fusion of humans and golems, created by encasing a human in magical clay and then baking them alive. The process does not destroy the person's personality or will, but the clay is forced to obey the commands of whomever sculpted it. The Greybod can protest following their Master's orders all they like, but their body will still obey...
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  • Arranged Marriage: Erlene's travels on the surface are a pretense to avoid having to marry the guy her parents have picked for her.
  • Badass Gay: Nioba is a lesbian. She's also the best fighter in Kast's crew.
  • Bad Future: The Verbati hail from a future where the sun has turned black and everyone is insane.
  • The Barnum: Most of Jonard's scams exploit his marks' greed or gullibility.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Jessifer wished for something that would give her an edge as a rogue. She got a ring that made her aware that she's a character in a story.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Lihiri is normally a sweet girl, but she's also the Avatar of Suffering, which means that if anyone threatens her or makes her mad, she can cause them a truly awful death.
    • Wolmather is a coward, but his accidental transformation into a herjar has given him sufficient power that he could fight a good-sized army all on his own if he actually tried.
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  • BFS: Nioba's obano is a ceremonial weapon that resembles the unholy lovechild of a katana and a cleaver. It's designed to kill slavers and break chains, so naturally, it's pretty large.
  • The Big Guy: Brosk Lyko is Sotto Stimme's massive bodyguard. He also may or may not be a werewolf; when he starts growling at people, they usually run far, far away, and thus don't stick around to see what happens next.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Zinji are biologically genderless.
  • Blood Knight: The Djanvasi love going to war, to the point where they have on occasion instituted a draft. The accident that made Wolmather immortal was the result of his trying to flee conscription.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Verbati hail from a world where insanity is rampant. What mores they have are very different from those possessed by other races.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: After finding out that Ictathu is responsible for many of his woes, Wolmather tries to attack him. At first, it looks like his attacks might actually hurt the Dread Lord, but then Ictathu simply disintegrates him and acts almost amused.
    "I'm sure that seemed like a much better idea in his head..."
  • Butt-Monkey: Wolmather. Hardly an adventure goes by without him suffering some painful or humiliating misfortune.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The series uses exotic names for several otherwise familiar fantasy concepts, like "Zinji" instead of "elf".
  • Came Back Wrong: In the Kast-verse, necromancy is possible, but it's also incredibly easy to bungle, with catastrophic consequences.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Lihiri, the Zinji mage, is a wee bit... off. This is apparently endemic in her race.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Walden, the principle deity of the Alabinher, is a mash-up of Belobog (the Slavic god of light) and Balder (his Norse equivalent), with a dash of Christian mythos thrown in for good measure. The Alabinher believe that He walked among them once before suffering a wound that forced Him to return to the White. They also believe that this wound came at the hands of Noktyr, the principle god of the Djanvasi, thus justifying their seventeen (and counting) wars against Djanvas.
  • Culture Chop Suey: The Alabinher and the Djanvasi are both mash-ups of Norse/Teutonic and Slavic/Balkan cultures.
  • Cutting the Knot: Tasked with preventing a madman from ringing a giant bell that would summon a demon, Kast and his allies struggle to hold the madman's army of mooks back, but there's just too many of them. Lihiri ends up using magic to transmute the bell, rendering it inert.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ronda, Jonard's ex-partner.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: After killing and then resurrecting Kast's entire party, Ictathu offers them a feast for their troubles before booting them out of his dimension.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Wolmather faced one of these before he deserted the army.
  • Dung Fu: In one story, Kast and friends are hired to get rid of a bonnacon, an ox-like beast that attacks its enemies with flaming shit.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Ictathu, Lord of the Black.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jonard won't take jobs that involved hurting the poor or the defenseless, and doesn't work with slavers.
  • Evil Redhead: Ronda.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The stories draw from a mix of different mythologies and folklore.
  • Femme Fatale: Ronda, Kast's former partner, was one of these. Their partnership dissolved after he realized that she was using her feminine wiles to influence him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Wolmather. The others find him cowardly and annoying, but they never actually kick him out.
  • Functional Magic: In the Kast-verse, all magic stems from manipulation of the Spectrum. Mages have the ability to see the Spectrum and can draw out loose parts of it to cast spells.
  • The Fundamentalist:
    • The Double-Sided Ribbon are a bunch of mages who dedicate themselves to focusing only on black and white magic. Their ranks are filled with both hardcore necromancers and people who want to "purify" everything.
    • The Vyzobians hate slavers and slavery. Even Nioba, who's usually pretty level-headed, is prone to this, and in fact, it's how the team ends up with Lihiri.
  • Genre Savvy: The main characters all have some awareness of the fact that they exist in a fantasy universe.
  • God Is Evil: The chief deity of the Djanvasi religion is actually Ictathu in disguise.
  • God of Evil: Ictathu, Lord of the Black.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Because Wolmather is incapable of dying, any injury he suffers will eventually heal, though some injuries might take longer than others.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: There is no "good side" in the war between the Alabinher and the Djanvasi. The Djanvasi might be brutish, destructive loons, but the Alabinher have a nasty habit of using the war as a pretense to expand their territory and forcing people to join the Following of Walden.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • The Man With The White Arm - as his name suggests, his left arm is pure white. It also generates waves of destructive magic. Though he looks human, it's not entirely clear that he actually is human.
    • The Verbati are eyeless humanoids who have somehow travelled back in time from a Bad Future where the sun was turned black and insanity is rampant.
  • Implacable Man: Virfried, Wolmather's nemesis, shares his inability to be killed. Thankfully, he's not terribly bright, so he's stuck looking for bits of himself that Jonard and Nioba hacked off.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: A lot of the indignities that Wolmather suffers would kill a normal human. Since he's a Herjar, they just hurt him.
  • Knight Templar: In the story Theology of Chains, the team must fight against the Surcease, a fanatical Vyzobian group who have taken to killing former slaves in the belief that their mere existence helps perpetuate slavery.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Jonard likes to describe his relationship to Nioba this way.
  • Lovable Coward: Wolmather, for a given value of "lovable".
  • Loveable Rogue: Kast's entire schtick. He cons people out of their money, but he does so with such style, that some of his marks, like (grudgingly) frequent customer/mark Nivert, find it somewhat endearing.
  • Magitek: Some of the wealthier cities have magitek equivalents to modern conveniences.
  • Matriarchy: Vyzobia is one. Nioba insists that it's neither sexier, nor more utopian, nor more tyrannical than any other place, though she concedes that men probably wouldn't want to visit there.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • Nioba's not proud of the way that her people have a tendency to sign up with every "revolutionary" cause that comes their way, even if the side they help makes things worse. One of the reasons she stays with Jonard is because, as self-absorbed as he is, he's not likely to get involved in any political upheavals.
    • Wolmather utterly disdains his fellow Djanvasi and their obsession with earning glory and proving their masculinity.
  • Older Than They Look: Lihiri may look fairly young, but she's at least a few centuries old.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The dragons of the Kast-verse are intelligent enough to use magic and have their own government. Every now and then, a civil war breaks out among them. People living nearby usually flee when that happens.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dwarves on Muttra have many similarities with dwarves in other works, including their work ethic, affinity for the underground, and short statures, but they differ in that they have mouse or rat-like features and tend to be short-lived.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Traditional elves don't exist in Muttra, having disappeared thousands of years ago. There are, however, the Azikath, the supposed "heirs", who have pointed ears and pale skin, but who don't have the traditional elvish affinity for magic - they prefer technology and science.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Kast-verse has a variety of different species of vampires, including empusae, shtriga, and moroi. Each species has different attributes, but all of them derive their vampirism from black magic.
  • Parental Abandonment: Wolmather's dad got killed in some foreign war when he was little. Much to his annoyance, everyone in Djanvas sings his dad's praises, even though his death pretty much screwed the rest of the family over.
  • Persecution Flip: In Vyzobia, men are treated as inferior to women, largely because more men died in the revolution than did women, leaving more women in power.
  • Phallic Weapon: Played with. The Djanvasi, obsessed as they are with proving their masculinity, all seem to prefer two-handed greatswords and axes. Nioba also likes to rag on Jonard for relying solely on his rather unimpressive dagger - which looks even less impressive compared to her longsword.
    Jonard: My weapon may be small, but it functions perfectly well, thank you very much.
  • Professional Killer: There's only so many jobs out there for a man whose left hand destroys almost anything it touches. Naturally, the Man With The White Arm picked a job that would allow him plenty of opportunity to travel, meet interesting people, and vaporize them.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Nioba's people, the Vyzobians, are descended from former slaves who rose up against their masters. Many of them, like Nioba, decided that they rather like fighting, and now hire themselves out as mercenaries.
  • Pure Is Not Good: In this setting, "white magic" is the force of purification. It can undo demonic possessions. It can also kill people if they're subjected to it and not actually possessed.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Everybody hates the Azikath, and with good reason - they're bigots who use technology to bully others.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: In order to stop the Alabinherans and Djanvasi from taking over the Braid, Jonard manages to summon the Grey Beast, a monstrous primordial god of man's baser instincts.
  • Summon Magic: In the Kast-verse, talented mages can summon all manner of creatures, if they know which part of the Spectrum their desired creature comes from. Gods help you if you botch a summoning, though; you might end up with a "Misconception" - a violent, angry beast of skin, muscle, and bone in unequal portions that tends to try and slaughter anything within range.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Of all the races descended from the High Elves, the Azikath ended up being the weakest in terms of physical and magical ability. To compensate, they've used science and technology to brutally oppress the other elfin races.
  • The Team Benefactor: Bethario Nivert often finds himself serving this role for Kast and his gang, much to his annoyance.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Nioba and Jessifer really don't like each other.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: According to Wolmather, Djanvas suffers from a severe case of this. The Djanvasi are so consumed with proving their manliness and bravery through warfare that their homeland is on the verge of economic collapse.
  • Überwald: Vardalgar, a sinister kingdom found to the northeast. Thanks to its extremely friendly attitudes towards black magic, particularly necromancy, it's overrun with vampires, zombies, and other undead abominations.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Bethario Nivert is one of the most beloved aristocrats in the setting, and, when not dealing with Jonard Kast and his crew, tends to be jovial and charitable. Naturally, he's one of Kast's favorite marks.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Wolmather has only the bare minimum of combat training, but his powers as a herjar make him a force to be reckoned with. He'd be a dreaded opponent if he weren't such a coward.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: One reason why Nioba distrusts Jessifer is that she's genre-savvy enough to believe that, given the choice between a brown-skinned lesbian and a straight, pretty white girl, the Universe will favor the latter.
  • Villainous Incest: The evil slaver Split-Faced Annie had her own sister turned into a golem-like Greybod after the former became an abolitionist. She personally applied all the clay that encased her sister and doomed her to slavery, and lovingly sculpted her sister's new, bulkier body so that she'd still be an attractive clay slave...
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Jonard and Nioba insult and deride each other on a regular basis, but when trouble arises, they always have each other's backs.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In order to escape conscription, Wolmather tried to hide out in the tomb of a dead warrior. Much to his horror, that tomb was visited by a Valkyrie who mistook him for the dead warrior and turned him into a "herjar", effectively rendering him immortal. When the Valkyrie figured out that she'd made a mistake, she then resurrected the real dead warrior as a herjar and set him after Wolmather, figuring that Wolmather would be killed and thus her mistake would be undone. Instead, the dead warrior ended up being attacked and cut into pieces by Kast and his crew. For now, Wolmather is free and clear, but eventually, that dead warrior's going to put himself back together and go looking for him again.
  • X Meets Y: Dragon Age meets Archer.
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