A common tendency in Familiar of Zero fanfic is for Louise to summon someone else. A Green Sun Illuminates the Void by EarthScorpion takes the rather more unusual path of having her comprehensively fail to summon anything. And such a failure, so epic, so catastrophic, which ruins her destiny and the entire path of the narrative...
... is enough to draw the attention of an Infernal Exaltation.
So now Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière is running around with the Exaltation which once belonged to Queen Merela welded onto her soul, rebuilt by the crippled titans who forged reality as a tool of their vengeance against the world that betrayed them. In her right hand she carries the burning hate of Malfeas, the King of the Yozis. In her left, the endless sands of Cecelyne the Lawgiver open up. Weep, Halkeginia, for a newborn titan stands upon your shores, with nothing save her own morality protecting you from her.
Oh, and separate from the potentially apocalyptic terror in the form of a cute pink-haired girl, A Green Sun Illuminates the Void also rebuilds large amounts of the setting using historical research on 1600s Europe, and a cynical viewpoint on the nature of power and its use, recreating the contrast between gritty fantasy and horrific power that Exalted is famous for.
Fanfiction.net link here.
This fanfic contains the following tropes:
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Marisalon's train of thought is easily interrupted, to say the least. Particularly by grapes.
- Badass Adorable: Irukuwu is clearly the queen of this trope, as an enthusiastic, cute girl who just happens to be a giant man-eating dragon who cutely expresses her desire to eat hearts.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Louise is a mess after her escape from the Pale Tower and basically only running on stubborness (and just a hint of hellish magic).
- The Clan: Siesta's family, complete with Dragonblooded, mages, and chains of command for passing secret messages around and calling in strike teams.
- The Corrupter: Marisalon's job. So far, she hasn't been doing that well at it, because Louise is as stubborn and pig-headed as a Conviction 5 person is expected to be.
- Cryptic Background Reference: To readers who know nothing about Exalted (whatever that is), all references to the source of Louise's magic seem cryptic.
- Cultural Posturing: Eleanor's primer on the world, starting with her expressed preference for writing it in a 'better' language (which she doesn't because then nobody could read it) and moving on through her repeated Take Thats aimed at Germainia. Not least is her complaint that they 'wrongfully' hold some treasures they captured from Tristain; the previous sentence explained that those treasures were themselves stolen by Tristain during the Second Crusade.
- Cursed with Awesome: The orukai, according to the Albionese peasantry.[Cromwell] doubted that the Founder would have cursed sinners with the strength of three men and the ability to take a pistol shot to the chest and keep moving. That rather soundly defeated the point of a curse.
- Dishing Out Dirt: The exact list of Louise's Charms isn't spelled out in the fic itself, but she has one of Cecelyne's defensive Charms (namely Sand Through Fingers Defense), possessing the ability to burst into Cecelyne's signature sands. Also she has picked up Sandstrike Blast, which conjure the silver sands with the horse of a sandblaster. At one point, she's mugged by hired thugs and employs this to accidentally shred one of their faces to bloody gibs.
- Early Installment Weirdness: One of the early chapters has Louise invoking a Charm by name, something that was dropped entirely afterwards in favor of describing how Louise's Charms make her feel.
- Femme Fatalons: Louise's fingernails turn to brass from the Exaltation. Lampshaded repeatedly how annoying she finds this she's already gone through several nail files trying to keep them trimmed, and the frequent bloodstains from accidentally stabbing her own palms are a pain to wash out of clothing.
- Flat "What": Marisalon gives this after hearing about the elemental setup of Louise's world, particularly at the element of Void and the lack of correspondence to Wood.
- Heroic BSoD: Louise's Torment. She simply can't handle the fact that her strength failed her (since Cecelyne is all about the strong ruling the weak), and she gives up.
- Horny Devil: As a neomah, this is one of the most immediately notable traits of Marisalon. Unfortunately for her, this is running into Louise's repression, and losing.
- Immune to Fate: It's another of those nifty side-effects of Louise's Exaltation. It also apparently makes Fate unaware of the way others' fates have changed as a result of Louise's Exaltation. For example, when using astrology to locate Fouquet after her successful robbery of the school, the stars indicated that she had been captured.
- Important Haircut: Louise cuts off most of her own hair in order to hide among the rebel horses, primarily because the women there all have short hair, but also because having unusually-colored hair is a sure sign of being a mage and noble.
- She also has to use Derflinger to do it, because of the Made of Iron status she gets from her Exaltation.
- It's Personal: Invoked at the end of chapter 13 by Louise. The whole Albion arc just stopped being about her mission, now it's about killing Sheffield, Cromwell, and the Reclamation.
- Killer Rabbit: Irukuwu is absurdly adorable. Then she goes and demonstrates why Rhyme Dragons scare the shit out of people by doing things like caving in the chest of a guy in power armor with a thrown honey pot and only being bothered that she had mistaken him for a statue.
- Lightning Bruiser: Mages are stuck within human physical limits, although some seem to be able to enhance themselves. Exalts like Louise and Scarron are decidedly not.
- Irukuwu also qualifies. In human form, she's quite fast, and can kill power armored soldiers with thrown food jars, even before she starts partial shapeshifting. In dragon form, well, she's a Rhyme Dragon. Those are scary as all malfeas, even for other dragons.
- Love Hurts: Marisalon is a big believer in this (as such is innate to the psychological make up of a Exalted-style demon); eventually this comes out in a rather telling statement when she and Louise argue briefly on the subject.Marisalon: There is no love without pain.
- Magical Girl Warrior: Through a twisted, hellish lens, this is Louise's status in the story. A teenage girl, empowered by a strange being to work towards "fixing" the world, given special powers to do so even as she confronts the travails of growing up and society's expectations. It's the bit where she's a malfeas-empowered neo-titan, is where things get a bit less normal.
- Magic Dance: Louise, thanks to the charm Beauty Without Malice, has hypnotic, mind-controlling dancing. She can't turn it off.
- Magic Knight: Incredibly common. Wardes and the Griffon Knights are explicitly mage-knights in-setting, and any mage who learns how to fight as well as cast counts as one. Louise is also ending up as an example of this trope; as a Slayer, she naturally picks up skill in use of weaponry inhumanly quickly.
- Mythology Gag:
- An early scene involves the translation of the runes on Louise's chrysalis, and winds up being a full translation of the Scripture of The One-Handed Maiden, which is of course from the Infernal Exalted sourcebook.
- A little Fridge Logic indicates that Louise's Infernal Exaltation was originally that of Solar Queen Merela, as Merela killed Marduk The Beast Upon The Mountain and Louise remembers this during her Infernal Exaltation.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: This happens to Louise, because she has a long list of powers, and the plot demands their first uses.
- It's also a more general side-effect of being an Exalt; if you've got the XP saved up and you need a new ability to succeed at whatever you're doing you can generally buy one that is thematically appropriate on the spot.
- Nobody Poops: Louise has learned that one of the perks of becoming a Green Sun Prince is that one no longer sweats, uses a chamberpot, or has their monthly visitor; the trope otherwise appears to be played straight.
- To be more specific, this is the one of the effects of the Ceceylne Charm Transcendent Desert Creature (which Louise had straight out of Exaltation), not a default part of the Infernal Exaltation package.
- One-Winged Angel: Louise has By Rage Recast, which gives her a variety of mutations whenever her anima flares.
- Our Demons Are Different: Marisalon, as a neomah, plays a role similar to a succubus. However, from hints dropped about her past, she bought her citizenship in malfeas with bribes and profits made from trade with Creation. Louise has also summoned a sesselja, which is basically a smart animal which likes eating poisons and mending flesh.
- Painting the Medium: Chapter 17, written from Merela's perspective, is an alliterative poem in the style of an Old English epic (similar to Beowulf).
- Powered Armour: Siesta's Lookshyian family comes with this; Louise has a terrifying encounter with a Fire Aspect in gunzosha armour.
- Playing with Fire: So far, most of Louise's Charms seem to be taken from Malfeas (appropriate, given that she's a Slayer) and a good number of them relate to Malfeas' signature green fire. Most of it's for show or related to the Green Sun Prince's anima banner, but she's displayed apt use of Green Sun Nimbus Flare several times. It also appears to be dealing some forms of radiation sickness to certain people, as per canon.
- Shout-Out: Several.
- Siesta's letter in Chapter 3 is full of references to Exalted.
- An outbreak of pentapox gets mentioned.
- Foquet makes a proclamation about how the heroes will remember this as the day they almost caught her.
- Osmond mentions someone who juggled geese.
- Giles is said to be a bookish, scholarly name.
- Earth dragons leave wyrmsign.
- In chapter 9, one of the Griffon Knight only has a flesh wound.
- Skewed Priorities: Derflinger. If it's not about slicing or (better yet) stabbing, preferably fatally and even more preferably with him, he's not interested.
- Superpower Lottery: Louise and Tabitha won the jackpot. Louise got a Infernal Exaltation, while Slyphid/Irukuwu is vastly more powerful and intelligent than any other familiar.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Unreliable Narrator: In a manner of speaking; Louise has so far not yet visited the realm of Malfeas in person and so her knowledge of the Yozis is limited solely to what Marisalon tells her (who is certainly an example of this trope, being a neomah), but due to the effects of her Infernal Exaltation, she's developed a schoolgirl crush on Malfeas himself, to possible unfortunate consequences later on.
- Watching Troy Burn: At the end of Chapter 12.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Louise may be empowered by the cosmic horse of the creators of linear time and all fixed reality. She still lives for her mother's approval.
- Wham Episode: The entirety of the Albion arc: Wardes isn't a traitor, Louise and Prince Wales get captured while Wardes winds up MIA, Louise has her first Limit Break, Louise and Wardes get married, and Scarron leads a assassination attempt on Louise. Ladies and gentlemen, Canon has left the building.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: "Already, [Louise] suspected that her moral compass was starting to acquire an opposite-of-Marisalon direction."