Clouded Horizons is a series created by Nightfire04, who is also a troper by the name of Nightfire. It currently consists of three stories, two of which are complete and one which is ongoing.
Final Fantasy X: Destiny's CallDestiny's Call is the first story in the Clouded Horizons series. It is a self-insertion story set in the Final Fantasy X universe, and details the adventures of sixteen year-old Benji Powell through the world of Spira. It is also mostly a novelization.
Since the story's completion, the author has begun rewriting the story due to a feeling of sub-par writing and the five or so years of experience they've gained since then, a revision they have titled Chronicles of the Chosen. That, too, is available on Fanfiction.net here.
Tropes present in Destiny's Call and Chronicles of the Chosen:
- Self-Insert Fic: As mentioned above, the author is drawn into the world of Final Fantasy X for adventure!
Final Fantasy X-2: Eternal RequiemThe second story in the Clouded Horizons series, Eternal Requiem is also a combination self-insert/novelization-esque fic that follows the events of Final Fantasy X-2 as Benji returns to Spira after a brief time back on Earth to assist Yuna and her new-found friends once again. The story tries to expand on the world, but the author believes it failed and considers this story to be the weakest link of the three with mediocre writing and poor planning. Currently, a rewrite is planned, but has not been posted at the present time.
It can be read at Fanfiction.net here.
Tropes present in Eternal Requiem:
Final Fantasy VIII: Dimensional LegendThe third story in the Clouded Horizons series begins in Spira six months after the end of Eternal Requiem with the opening of a new annual fighting tournament in Luca, but soon after expands into something much larger than that as the reason behind Ben's travels is revealed and expanded on. Soon after, he finds himself in the world of post-game Final Fantasy VIII and winds up in the middle of situations much larger than he expected. This story is the largest of the three; the author expects it to exceed roughly a thousand pages in Microsoft Word when complete. According to the author, it started its life as a roleplay between himself and two co-creators, who go by Iron Reaver and Daniel Wesley Rydell on Fanfiction.net.
It can be read at Fanfiction.net here. Currently, 77 chapters are posted.
Tropes present in Dimensional Legend:
- A Day in the Limelight - The current story arc is this for Darius and his team, as they track down the person who killed Darius' girlfriend years before the story.
- All There in the Manual - A lot of interesting backstory and information on the other, out-of-focus Realms of reality can be found on the series wiki (see Wiki Rule, below).
- Aloof Big Brother - Katanas DeValle is this to his brothers, sometimes, but Revolver DeValle fits the trope a little bit better despite being the middle child.
- An Ice Person - Ben is this (more so later than early on), as is Yuki Kurabasa.
- Armor-Piercing Question - Asked of Ben as he muses that Sin wouldn't have such an easy time attacking Gaia.Manes: And what if you're wrong?
- Authority Equals Asskicking - Present with the Gilead Order; Arragious Nicholai is the former Captain-Commander of the Order, and he's proven more than capable of taking on a Pillar of Reality in an even fight.
- The Ethereal Plane seems to run on this trope, which makes sense, considering that the plane's ruler is also the Creator of the Mortal Realm. To a lesser extent, almost everyone in the series with an official rank has copious amounts of badassery to unleash.
- Art Evolution - Comparing this story to the older works is telling as to how far Nightfire's craft has improved, and as the chapters go on, he just keeps getting better. It's a gradual shift, but read the first chapter and then the most recent - it's extremely jarring.
- Art Shift - After Book 2, Chapter 2, Hourglass, the author has switched from first-person narration to third-person when describing Ben's scenes.
- Brainwashed and Crazy - Seemingly, Ben, as of chapter 58.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience - Members of the Ethereal Magi wear colored sashes to indicate their ranking within the hierarchy. From lowest to highest, the ranks are: Black - Apprentice, Green - Templar, Red - Vindicator (equal with Judicator), Blue - Judicator (equal with Vindicator), Purple - Prelate, Orange - Praetor, Gold - Executor (only one).
- Dimensional Traveler - Several of the main characters are Planeswalkers, granted the power to cross planes and dimensions of existence along with other secondary powers by various patrons.
- Evasive Fight-Thread Episode - Set up between Angel and Ben in chapter 6, All or Nothing - their fight is interrupted by the appearance of fiends in Luca Stadium during the last round of the SFA Grand Championship. They finally get to finish the match in chapter 59.
- Fantastic Racism - Racial tension between the two races of the Etherial plane - the less numerous, but more powerful, Erudites and the less powerful, but more numerous, Malakh - caused the bloodiest war in the plane's history. Even though it's been centuries since the war ended, the plane still hasn't fully recovered.
- Filler Arc - The first 10 chapters of the story, detailing the SFA Grand Championship, serve as both this and an introduction to the story. Chapters 34 to 39 also detail a filler arc involving a takeover of the Galbadian government's main complex.
- Final Solution - How the Harrowing ended. The intention was to turn half of the Malakh forces into Daiesthai, causing them to destroy enough of their own side that the rest could be easily subjugated (or killed) by the Erudite armies. It worked a little bit too well.
- Flash Step - Kari Inihara, as a former member of the Order of Grim Angels, is capable of doing this. Etchel Beoulve also proves he can do it too by saving Kari's life at the end of chapter 56.
- Gone Horribly Right - The Erudite attempted to exterminate the Malakh by turning some of them into demons. This did essentially destroy the Malakh race.... however, it also caused many of them to go completely insane, attacking both sides indiscriminately, and had the side effect of creating Vizard in the process.
- Jumped at the Call - Ben did this at the start of Destiny's Call, and has been doing it ever since with every call. Thankfully, he's also been careful to not jump off a cliff in the process.
- Mega Crossover - Characters and ideas from many other games, anime, books, and movies - Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Riviera: The Promised Land, and .hack//G.U. are just a few.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours - The entire series, really, given how much inspiration was derived from shonen anime and the like.
- Now It's My Turn - Rubedo Alaberti does this to his opponents once he's finished examining their fighting style during combat. Manes found this out the hard way during his first fight with Rubedo.Rubedo: I've watched you long enough. Now it's my turn.
- Original Character - Plenty. There are many, many OCs in this story, split between the author himself and his co-authors.
- Power Levels - Garden ranks threats in an ascending scale from E to A, along with S-rank for threats big enough to affect the entire world or extremely dangerous individuals.
- Self-Insert Fic - In a sense; while Ben is in the game worlds of both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy VIII, he isn't joining the game's plot or characters; both universes are now post-game (or games, in the case of the former).
- Story Arc - This story will be much longer than the others in the series, and it is divided into a number of different story arcs, or "Parts," each within one of three "Books":
- Book I: Mortal Conflict
- Part I: A Hero's Challenge: Chapters 1 - 14; details the SFA Grand Championship and the journey from Spira to Gaia, as well as some of the acclimation to the new world.
- Part II: The Zodiac Brave Story: Chapters 15 - 33; details the plans of the first Pillar of Reality, Fayt, to kill Freya's newest Planeswalker and use the resulting fallout to usurp her position as Creator of the Ethereal Plane.
- Part III: Element of Treachery: Chapters 34 - 48; details an insurgent event in Galbadia that leads to the takeover of the Presidential Palace, as well as the revenge-driven plans of the second Pillar of Reality, Destine.
- Part IV: Dissension in the Ranks: Chapters 49 - 63; details the return of the Gilead Order's exiled leader, Arragious Nicholai, to the Ethereal Plane and his plans to enact vengeance on those responsible.
- Book II: Outbreak
- Part I: Vector's Gambit: Chapters 64 - present; details the machinations of the Tenth Realm Author, Wilhelm, as he conducts an experiment within the confines of the Eighth Realm.
- Book I: Mortal Conflict
- Talking Is a Free Action - Averted in chapter 55, Overcast, when Tetsuya Kurabasa gets cut off from speaking by Kirce Valtroux, courtesy of an Alchemical lightning bolt that pierces his lung.
- The Rival - Darius DeValle to Ben, at least for most of the story.
- Tournament Arc - The SFA Grand Championship, which was created for the story itself and did not happen in the original roleplay, serves as this trope.
- Training Montage - What Ben is currently doing, as of the start of Book 2, Outbreak. In between Darius' adventures tracking down Fiona, he has been working to transcend his status as a Hume to gain the Blademaster class, allowing him to fight on par with extraplanar beings.
- Villainous Breakdown - Kirce Valtroux went through a short and continually-escalating one in chapter 55, Overcast, culminating when Yuki Kurabasa used a Limit Break on her for attacking her brother, right before Rinoa Heartilly showed up and scared her off with a single word.Kirce: You. Can't. Beat. Me! You're just kids! Weak, arrogant kids that need to learn a lesson!
- What the Hell, Hero? - A minor example, but Yuna takes an opportunity during a conversation between herself and Ben in chapter 57, The Ties That Bind, to call him out on his increasingly distant attitude towards his friends.Yuna: We see you every so often, but you dont stop and talk as much as you used to youve always got something to do, somewhere to be...
Ben: I know, but...it's important-
Yuna: More important than your friends?
- Wiki Rule - The extended series has a rather expansive one. There are lots of spoilers, so read at your own risk, but it can be found here.
- Wrong Genre Savvy - In chapter 76, A Summoner's Burden, Ben takes on Sin after training in the Ethereal Plane, thinking that he would be powerful enough to kill it solo following his Shonen Upgrade since he defeated it as part of a group in the past. He isn't.