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It is the 43rd millennium and the Imperium is on the verge of dying. Necron forces are waking in ever growing numbers and scouring entire sectors clean of all life while the Black Crusades of Abbadon the Despoiler come ever closer to breaking thorough the Cadian Gate. Most ominous of all is that the Holy Light of the Astronomican has started to flicker and recede, giving rise to fears that the Golden Throne is failing and the God-Emperor will soon die. The Ecclesiarchy quickly crushes all who claim the Emperor is dying but many among the higher reaches of the Imperium secretly believe it to be true.

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Embers in the Dusk is a Quest started in 2014 by Durin on Sufficient Velocity beginning during the end of the 43rd millennium in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It is played from the prospective of Fredrick Rotbart, an Administratum Adept and unexpected military genius who found himself the first Governor of Avernus, the galaxy's most dangerous Deathworld due to an administrative error.

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Embers In The Dusk contains examples of:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Governor Rotbart has reached this at several points, with even several Chaos Cults having the aim of converting him and then following him having been found.
  • Animal Stampede: Thundabeasts, large herbivorous lizards native to the Elysium region of Avernus, are prone to destructive stampedes. Since they possess psychokinetic shields, these stampedes can destroy almost any obstacles in their way, including the armoured vehicles of the local PDF and the cities they're protecting.
  • Anyone Can Die: Numerous named characters die during the quest. Of the major characters, presently Deacon Markus, Captain Adrienne Volkiss, Magos Biologis Tertius Saren, Lady Freya, General Drago, Henry Volkiss, Fabricator-General Britton, Archmagos Biologis Quintus Saren, Administrator Caroline, Admiral Parnell, Administrator Edvin, Primaris Zhukov, Major Ajax, Assistant Thaddeus, Lord Marshall Sigurd, Assistant Antoni, Administrator Signe, Admiral Freyr, and General Richards are among the deceased.
  • Badass Bookworm: Anyone with a combination of high Learning and high Martial/Combat.
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    • Techpriests, particularly on Avernus, tend to be very capable in personal combat thanks to their augmentations.
    • Saint Lin is a very knowledgeable man on matters of religion. He's also one of the deadliest individuals in the Imperial Trust.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Anyone with high Administration and Martial/Combat.
    • Governor Fredrick Rotbart, a Administratum Adept who turned out not only to be a military genius, but personally killed a Chaos Lord with a Power Knife before he acquired any augmentations or much combat training.
    • Avernites in particular have earned a reputation for making these, helped by the fact that their Governor started off as one. There's even a trait named "Avernite Bureaucrat", which gives bonus to Administration and Combat.
  • Badass Bystander: Avernite civilians are always armed and all of them are members of a militia with a skill level above that of the stormtroopers of most other human forces.
  • Badass Normal: All Avernites are this.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: What the Governor's Own and the Life Guard Regiments are for.
  • Blind Seer: High Grandmaster Munstrum Ridcully, The Oracle Of Avernus. He lost his sight after witnessing the birth of Ynnead and his battle against Slaanesh. He is a diviner on par with Eldar Farseers and probably the most skilled human diviner ever.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Also, despite his blindness, he's a dangerous combatant.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: With skill and dedication, baseline humans can achieve improbably impressive feats.
  • Church Militant: Saint Lin is actually trying to defy this trope in the Imperial Trust. That said, he himself is one of the most dangerous people in the Trust, especially when facing Chaos.
    • The only militant church order that still exist, Avernite Witch Hunters, are used specifically to engage Beta and Alpha psykers and are some of the most elite and deadly combatants in galaxy, with only Khornate forces capable of matching their psyker-killing abilities.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The Well of Urd, a Dark Age Exploration vessel bigger then a modern Battleship with several strange and powerful technologies arrives in orbit of Avernus.
    • The various Dark Age starships in the rings around Cocceio, the largest of which are even larger and more powerful than the Well of Urd.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Space Marines have a mechanic where they are considered to fight as though they are one unit size larger than they actually are. For example, a Space Marine squad fights on the same scale as an Imperial Guard company.
  • Cultured Badass and Cultured Warrior: Practically every Avernite, thanks to their school system, governor, and military tradition. "The stereotypical Avernite [is] cheerful, friendly, well organized and above all, deadly."
  • Death Seeker: The Black Irons are primarily composed of soldiers with death wishes.
    • Their commander, Lieutenant-General Viktor Mineyev stands out in particular. Despite all the crazy shit he has been throwing himself into, he has yet to die. He did have to get large chunks of his body replaced with cybernetics though.
  • Death World:
    • Avernus itself is a Deathworld where over a million soldiers a year are killed by the native flora and fauna. On a good year.
    • Muspelheim is a different kind of Deathworld, where the terrain itself is the danger rather than what lives there.
  • Dumb Muscle: Warboss Headcrusha is extremely bad at commanding, but makes up for it by being an absolute monster in personal combat.
  • Elite Army:
    • Avernite troops are better pound for pound than most of their counterparts, but there generally aren't as many of them.
    • Space Marines are even fewer, but their augmentations make them even better individually.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • For the Imperial Guard, Stormtroopers/Grenadiers and their local equivalents, elite troops a cut above the ordinary Guardsman.
    • The Avernites in general compared to most other Imperial forces (for comparison, their militia have a skill modifier higher than the average Grenadier). Up to Eleven with their Grenadier equivalents, the Helguard, who are capable of matching Space Marines.
  • Epic Fail: Natural 1 is this for actions with varying possible degrees of success. The most Epic, in all senses, Fail (or Win depending on point of view) in the quest was when Slaanesh rolled nat. 1 twice in a row against Ynnead.
  • Everyone Can See It: The relationship between Xavier and Tamia, before they made it official.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Elysium region of Avernus has dinosaurs, including T-rexes with biolascannons in their mouths. Also, psychic pterodactyls are common everywhere on Avernus.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Most of the native species (plant and animal) of Avernus can and will kill you, even the grass you walk through.
  • The Federation: The Imperial Trust, a union of the Nine Worlds of the Asgard subsector created after the fall of the Imperium.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Warboss Headcrusher was finally killed by a vortex grenade going off in his mouth.
  • Festering Fungus: The Life Eater Fungus, the greatest danger in the Everglades region and a weaker analogue of the Life Eater Virus. It can rapidly transform organic matter into an explosive mass before exploding.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The standard weapon of the Imperial Guard. More advanced Neutron Lasers were the standard for elites in the Dark Age.
  • General Failure:
    • Surprisingly, the Necron leader during the Necron Invasion. He seemed to think that slowly marching your troops in the general direction of the enemy is a good tactic. Durin rolled a natural 3 on a 100-faced dice for his skill.
    • Warboss Headcrusha is so impressively stupid that the Trust is actively trying to keep him alive as any replacement would be much smarter.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Jotun of Jotunheim are smarter than their regular Ogryn brethren, but just as strong.
  • Had To Be Sharp:
    • The reason why the Avernites are so dangerous is that they had to survive Avernus.
    • Any Imperial loyalists that are still alive in the centuries after the fall of the Imperium would have to be tough.
  • Hellgate: Avernus has open Warprifts at the poles, but the wildlife there is so dangerous that any Warp entities that get through tend to get eaten. Literally.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: No one noticed Dalv Sepet is Vlad Tepes backwards for years in real life and centuries in-universe.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Many members of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Sufficiently bad injuries can also require mechanical replacements.
  • Home Field Advantage: Avernus is filled with terrifying animals and plants, which have often inflicted major casualties on invading forces.
  • Home Guard: Each individual planet's PDF fills this role, with some also training up civilians to serve as a militia.
  • Hover Tank: The Dark Age's Diamondbacks.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • The Imperial Knights of Asgard are on the small side as mecha go in this universe, but are still nasty superheavy-scale combatants.
    • The Forge World of Atlas supplied Avernus with several Titans.
    • The Ork Overlords neighboring the Asgard subsector after the Warp Storm dissipates have quite a few Gargants on hand.
  • Laser Blade: Dark Age Plasma Foils, which come in infantry and Knight-Titan sizes. Advanced Power Armor also has optional Blade Below the Shoulder variants.
  • Mage Killer:
    • The Psyker Hunters and Witch Hunters are specialized anti-psyker troops.
    • Jane Oakheart and Grandmaster Aria are particularly adept at fighting psykers.
  • Magic Knight: Battle psykers are generally avoiding being Squishy Wizards. Named characters, like Gerald Xavier, a powerful pyromancer and expert swordsman, one of the strongest combatants in Imperial Trust, deserve special mention.
  • Magnetic Weapon: The Dark Age's Impaler series of railguns, which are overall more effective than their bolter counterparts at a fraction of the cost.
  • Master Swordsman: Characters with "Master Of The Blade" trait, like Fredrick Rotbart. Some characters, like General Leopold Schwarz and Arbitrator Jane Oakheart, are Grandmaster Swordsmen. Durin said that ranks above Grandmaster (be it Grandmaster Swordsman, Grandmaster Of Divination and so on) are possible and allow to perform outright physically impossible feats like Tsubame Gaeshi from Fate/stay night.
  • Mini-Mecha:
    • The Imperial Guard has its Sentinels, whilst the Space Marines have Dreadnoughts.
    • The Orks have Deff Dreads and Killa Kans.
    • The Dark Age has the Goliath and Crab walkers.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Not much is known about the circumstances of the Emperor's death, but presumably it was this. Word Of GM is that the players, due to sheer luck, inadvertently avoided both the devouring of the Emperor by the Abomination and it acquiring power over human souls like Slaanesh had over the Eldar's.
  • Old Master: Pretty much anybody who survived on Avernus long enough to count as old, most notable example General Schwarz. Over half a thousand years old, he is a military genius and a Grandmaster Swordsman, one of the three most skilled swordsmen in the Imperial Trust. Also Quartok leader First Councilor Aryz and the Ultramarines, though they don't age and only become more experienced with time.
  • Old Soldier: Many characters are this, some examples are General Aelfric of Midgard and General Schwarz, who both are over 500 years old. Captain Julius and his veteran Ultramarines have survived nine hundred years after the Emperor's death, time spent in near constant battle. Also, First Councilor Aryz who is 1500 years old.
  • One-Man Army: Stronger psykers, and to a lesser degree, other characters with a high Combat skill.
    • Warboss Headcrusha head butted a psychic thermonuclear battle tiger out of existence, killed over 30 Regiments of Black Irons on his own and survived multiple Vortex grenades.
  • Power Armor: Many types.
    • The Ignatus Power Armor is not quite as capable as Space Marine armor, but it doesn't require the wearer to be a Super Soldier.
    • The Power Armor of the Dark Age of Technology comes in 5 variants, which are almost as capable as their (non-Space Marine) Imperial counterparts, but much cheaper and easier to make. Each variant also comes with an Advanced version that are superior to pretty much anything the Imperium had. The Advanced variants are made even better when modified for Space Marine usage.
  • Praetorian Guard: Governor Rotbart has the Governor's Own, who are equivalent to Space Marine Veterans in skill.
  • Primordial Chaos: The Primordial Sea, from which reality was born and is apparently related to the memetic corruption abilities of Chaos.
  • Reconcile the Bitter Foes: What Saint Lin did with the warring lizardmen empires on Avernus, the Saurus and the Skinks, by creating a peace treaty. Their feud has been going on for longer than humanity has existed, and is said to have started shortly after the War in Heaven.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: This is at least in part based on Lord Lucan's The Shape of the Nightmare to Come, a Warhammer 40,000 fanfic. Also, there are hundreds of omakes. Some of them declared canon by Durin.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Operation Hecatoncheir, full stop. A very large Black Imperium task force (six times the size of the Imperial Trust's entire navy) is being sent to the local area to deal with Hive Fleet Grábakr, risking exposure for the already-battered Trust. To make things even worse, due to bad dice rolls, the task force is being sent extra early. So what does Rotbart do in response? Have HWWO assassinate the task force leaders and plant false orders while Ridcully and a Farseer do divination support (a reasonable thing so far), and then have Vlad, who is pretending to be a Khornate while wearing a fake Brass Collar stuffed to the gills with warding runes, hijack the Chaos fleet and lead it against threats to the Eldar, giving the Trust plenty of time to kill off the Tyranids so that Abbadon will stop paying attention to the region while netting a favor from the Eldar. Which basically turns a pressing existential threat into a windfall.
  • Rule of Cool: Being Warhammer 40,000, this regularly overwrites the laws of physics, especially when things like Orbital Bombardment are mentioned. In fact, it's discovered that the Warp has a Law of Narrative, which allows for things that shouldn't actually work to be accomplished if they're thematically appropriate, such as epic last acts before dying.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Commissar Dalv Sepet of the Phase Tigers is actually the famed explorer Vlad Tepes.
  • Sea Monster: The oceans of Avernus are full of them. Notable examples are Krakens, Island Turtles and the Deep Ones.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few of the Dark Age's wargear and vehicles are based on the Terrans from StarCraft, though the integrated dual Plasma Foils on Advanced Power Armor and the "Khalai" fighting style developed to use them are a reference to the Protoss.
  • Stealth Expert: Generally, people with high Intrigue if they're not The Spymaster.
    • The Catachan 813th "Phase Tigers" are the masters of stealth in the Imperial Trust. Gerald Xavier has worked with them so often that he's picked up enough of their tricks to be considered an honorary member.
    • Admiral Sarnow is this with starships, even once pulling off an ambush with a 15km-long Command Battleship.
  • Super Soldier:
    • The Avernites, ordinary humans turned into some of the deadliest soldiers in the galaxy from surviving on Avernus.
    • The Space Marines and their Chaotic counterparts are still the gold standard for superhuman troops.
    • Muspelheim has the Fire Giants, who are second only to the Avernites in pure skill and are equipped with what is effectively Terminator Armor.
    • Svartalheim's Svartalfar Guards aren't the best in the Trust, skill-wise, but they make up for it by having everyone in Power Armor and easy access to relic equipment.
  • Tank Goodness: Countless tanks appear, ranging from the simple Leman Russ to the Adjudicator, which is over a hundred meters long and has enough firepower to crush some cities.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty much everyone after the fall of the Imperium.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Some characters had to get their body parts replaced with augments after injuries. Fredrick Rotbart had his left arm, leg and a big part of his chest replaced with artificial ones. General Schwarz has lost most of his body, and became more machine than man.
  • We Have Reserves: Midgard, being a heavily militarized Hive World, provides the Reserves (colonists and soldiers) for the Imperial Trust.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Tormod Rotbart, Frederick's grandson. He keeps on getting into crazy situations all the time, and has a trait that makes him twice as likely to have an encounter. According to Word of God, he's five times as likely to either die or gain new traits due to this.
  • A World Half Full: The Imperium fell and most of its remnants now are worshipping the Abomination, the fifth god of Chaos, uncorrupted human realms fall like ripe fruits to numerous enemies. But being more progressive and less dogmatic and xenophobic, the Imperial Trust is much more sympathetic than the old Imperium. Also, unlike in The Shape of the Nightmare to Come, the Abomination and the Emperor are different entities.
  • World of Badass: The whole galaxy is this since the quest takes place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. But Avernus is the World Of Badass in a Galaxy Of Badass. Muspelheim too, to a lesser degree.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: When the Emperor died, the Asgard subsector was stuck inside a Warp Storm that caused time to pass more slowly inside. By the time it dissipates, it's been about a century for them, but a millennium for the outside.


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