A year after the events of the musical, Fiyero is invited back to Oz, where- thanks to public opinion moving against Glinda- he is crowned King against his will; not long afterwards, Oz is invaded and conquered by the Nome King and the other villains from Return To Oz.
Elphaba, alerted to the invasion by Madam Morrible, flies back to Oz to rescue Fiyero, only to be shot down by refuges fleeing the invasion. Realising she needs allies to fight the Nomes, she decides to work with the refugees, even though almost all of them distrust and hate her.
Meanwhile, the Nome King has also captured Glinda and is forcing her to work on a translation of a spell contained within the Grimmerie. Due to political squabbles amongst the Nomes, he has assigned her a bodyguard (who Glinda names "Basalt") to protect her from assasination attempts. The bodyguard has a storyline of his own, as he gradually develops his own emotions and ability to take initiative... and discovers the Nome King's plans run deeper and deadlier than anyone could have imagined.
Read it here.
Tropes in this fanfic include:
- Artifact of Doom: The Ruby Slippers. They're not evil per se, but the sheer quantity of purified magic contained within them can drive a human wearer mad from the power being channelled through their body; even the Nome King experienced a few side-effects while still a Nome.
- Ax-Crazy: Mombi.
- Big Bad: The Nome King
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The Nome King does this to some of his prisoners.
- Darkest Hour: Chapter 27. Elphaba has been captured by the Nome King and is being slowly coerced into a Deal with the Devil through a tailor-made Lotus-Eater Machine; most of the refugees are either dead, imprisoned, or running for their lives; Rasp is bleeding to death and trapped underground, unlikely to be rescued; Brollan accidentally mutates himself in a botched attempt to bring Moleburr back to life; Glinda has been sent into an enchanted sleep to ensure nobody disrupts the King's plans for her; finally, Basalt is torn between serving the King and serving his people, and has no idea what to do next.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The Nome War Council.
- Deal with the Devil: The Nome King convinces Glinda to work on translating the Grimmerie for him by promising to send her back in time to her first visit to the Emerald City, where she can join Elphaba's rebellion against the Wizard.
- Chapter 26 sees the King do it again, this time with Elphaba, offering her a chance to restart her life without green skin, even showing her a few memories of her alternate self to help persuade her. Elphaba refuses... because she doesn't think she deserves it.
- Driven to Suicide: The Wizard after finding out that Elphaba is his daughter at the end of the Wicked stage musical. Thanks to the Nome King's intervention, his attempts at suicide all fail.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: After the ritual begins and the Nome King succeeds in unlocking the Ruby Slippers' true power, his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and reckless as the magic starts to twist his mind out of shape. Elphaba refers to this as "Thaumaturgical Psychosis."
- Eye Scream: During the final battle with Elphaba, the Nome King makes the mistake of grabbing Elphaba and trying to bite her head off; Elphaba retaliates by sending a bolt of magic right through the King's eyeball.
- Flat "What": "It wasn't easy to audibly pronounce the absence of a question mark, but somehow, Elphaba had just managed it."
- Forced to Watch: Annoyed at Fiyero's defiance, the Nome King decides to break his spirit by forcing him to watch the magically-accelerated forest growth crushing the cities of Oz.
- Grand Theft Me: It's revealed that Nome Kings learn the ability to transfer their soul into the body of another Nome in order to escape violent death, devouring the soul of the victim to heal their injuries; it's also revealed that the previous Nome King, Roquat the Red, is currently playing the part of his own successor as part of a long-running revenge scheme against the War Council.
- Basalt becomes a recipient of this after Roquat is poisoned during the final battle; it doesn't work- in part because Roquat couldn't bring himself to start all over again- but the process nearly drives Basalt insane.
- This is eventually put to a more benevolent use in the final chapter, when Basalt gives Elphaba a book on the Grand Theft Me technique so she can one day use it to transfer Fiyero's soul into a new body.
- HeelFace Turn: Basalt.
- Heroic BSoD: Elphaba gets one after finally reaching the ruins of the Emerald City and discovering that Chistery and the other flying monkeys have been petrified along with the rest of the population.
- She has another one after telling the refugees about her past and finally admitting her grief over leaving Glinda behind in chapter 19.
- Heroism Equals Job Qualification: The Nome King was originally going to use Glinda as bait for Elphaba; however, after seeing her in action during the Battle of the Emerald City, he decides to enlist her in translating the Grimmerie.
- Crops up in the final chapter, when the newly-crowned Queen Ozma hires Elphaba and Glinda as teachers in the new magical tution program. Justified, given the lack of magical experts in the country following the invasion. Also defied in the penultimate chapter when the citizens of Oz attempt to nominate Dorothy for their new ruler, with Dorothy rejecting the offer and Elphaba reflecting that it would be a stupid decision anyway.
- Humiliation Conga: After Dorothy beats him at his own game, the Nome King is subjected to an entire chapter of these courtesy of Elphaba, Glinda, and the Wizard.
- Hurting Hero: Both Elphaba and Glinda are suffering a year after the events of Wicked came to a close: Elphaba feels tremendous guilt over decieving Glinda and leaving her behind to face the hell of Ozian politics; Glinda blames herself for Elphaba's "death" and believes that everything she does is doomed to failure.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: In a sense; Glinda is confronted in her dream by Elphaba and the Nome King posing as Elphaba, with Elphaba explaining the truth of the situation, including her own survival, and the Nome King claiming to be Elphaba's 'ghost' while telling Glinda that 'the other Elphaba' is just a parasite trying to invade her mind. After asking both Elphabas a series of questions about their shared pasts that could be answered by the real Elphaba or someone who's been spying on them for years, Glinda then asks "What was my nickname at the Across-Oz Summit last month?", which only the Nome King answers, allowing Glinda to identify 'her' as the fake Elphaba, as that was a question that couldn't be answered by the real Elphaba who faked her death.
- In Spite of a Nail: As a demonstration of what the powers of the Ruby Slippers could do if fully tapped, the Nome King temporarily reaches back through time to alter the recipe of the green elixir so that Elphaba is born with scaly skin, based on one of the rumours that circulated Oz during her reign. Despite such minor details as her shedding her skin at least once at university, her life was basically the same as it was originally.
- It's All My Fault: Dorothy basically has a breakdown as the Nome King taunts her with the idea that his attack on Oz was only possible because he acquired the Slippers due to her mistake, requiring Elphaba to discreetly visit Dorothy and assure her that she was just a child in a difficult situation who can't be blamed for the consequences of her mistakes.
- Look, a Distraction!: During the final confrontation with the Nome King, Javelin draws his attention by running out while painted fire-engine red and covered in sleigh bells, stunning the King long enough for the Wizard's new War Machine to move into position.
- Mind Rape: Basalt is subjected to this when the Nome King tries to possess him; though he escapes alive, he still has to endure having Roquat's entire memory forced into his mind- a process that nearly drives him completely mad from the millennia of experience crammed into his head. As of the final chapter, he's still in rehabilitation and hooked up to Magitek devices that nullify the effects of Roquat's memories and emotions.
- Non-Action Guy: Basalt.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Justified- the Nome King wants to become human so he can use the power of the Ruby Slippers.
- Subverted in the case of Basalt, who's interested in human emotions, given that they're promotion perks in the Nome Hierarchy, but not in becoming a human himself.
- Reality Warper: After a year of experimentation and enhancement, the Ruby Slippers have become reality-warping artefacts; however, if you want to access their full power, you have to be fully human, hence the King's Pinocchio Syndrome.
- Redemption Equals Affliction: It's revealed that after he left Oz, the Wizard has spent the last year being tortured by the Nome King for the theft of the Emeralds and gradually coming to regret the crimes he committed while still in power - in particular, ordering his daughter's assassination. When Elphaba finds him, he's crippled, barely able to walk, horribly scarred and badly traumatized from all the torture... but he's also willing to help her.
- Reset Button: Subverted; as with the end of Return to Oz, Dorothy uses the Ruby Slippers to undo the effects of the invasion, but because the slippers are leaking magic, the attempt to hit the reset button is only partly successful.
- Standard Hero Reward / Offered the Crown: Subverted. Glinda jokes that Basalt, having helped Elphaba bring down Roquat, might be made a king by the grateful Nome citizens. After laughing for just a little too long, Basalt replies that the Nome government didn't want to entrust the crown to someone as mentally unstable as him; instead, they're resulting to Elective Monarchy.
- Further subverted as the people of the Emerald City attempt to nominate Dorothy as their new queen, but Dorothy rejects the offer even before Ozma appears, and the watching Elphaba mused that it was a foolish idea anyway.
- Third Line, Some Waiting: The story is somewhere between this and Four Lines, All Waiting. Elphaba and the refugee's storyline and Glinda and Basalt's storyline get the most focus, but every once in a while the story covers the conflict between the Nome King and the Nome War Council, and less often, it checks in on the plotlines other characters such as Dorothy, Princess Mombi, or Ozma.
- Took a Level in Badass: Glinda surprises the invading Nomes by demonstrating an impressive grasp of magic in combat, even using one of the Grimmerie spells she managed to translate so far.
- Villainous Breakdown: Mombi seems to experience these every other minute.
- The Nome King gets in on the temper tantrums in chapter 34.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Refugees; they will argue about politics, about Elphaba, about their leader's sympathy towards Elphaba, what they're going to do next, etc etc etc.
- What an Idiot!: Invoked when Elphaba first makes contact with a group of Ozians and prompts them to consider all the reasons why the idea that she could be melted by water doesn't work, pointing out that her eyes would have dissolved the first time she cried if water was actually fatal to her.
- What You Are in the Dark: A very literal example of this occurs for Dorothy and Elphaba when Elphaba briefly talks to Dorothy before she takes part in the Nome King's 'game'; as they are talking in a darkened corridor and Elphaba doesn't introduce herself, both parties give their honest feelings about the current situation, with Dorothy's genuine grief at her perceived role in the deaths of the Witches and Elphaba offering unnecessary sympathy and condolences for Dorothy's trauma helping both parties accept that they no longer have to be enemies.