Thirteen years have passed since the events of Final Fantasy IX, and Eiko Carol Fabool has grown into an intelligent, self-possessed young woman and the heir to the regency of Lindblum. She is beloved by her parents, keeps in touch with her old adventuring buddies, and is well on her way to becoming a talented airship engineer.
There are only two disappointments in her perfect world: her fading connection to her eidolons, and the lingering pain of losing her childhood friend, Vivi Ornitier, when she was ten. Otherwise, everything about her life seems almost too good to last.
And then Lindblum is attacked without warning by a violent unknown aggressor, and in trying to stop him, Eiko finds herself whisked away to the ruins of the Desert Palace. Trapped at the mercy of a madman, and armed with only her own wits and some half-forgotten white magic, Eiko struggles to find a way to escape and return home...while at the same time piecing together clues about her mysterious captor. What exactly is Black Tango? What is his connection to Kuja, to the black mages, and to the dead world of Terra? And what part did he play in Vivi's death?
Go Not Gently is quite possibly the best-known FFIX fanfiction on the internet, and certainly among the best. It tackles the darker side of many of the same questions about life, death, and survival that were raised by the original game, and provides some very interesting explorations of the inner workings of magic and summoning on Gaia. In the process, it paints vivid, well-painted portraits of all the familiar FFIX heroes thirteen years down the line, and adds a small but judicious handful of original characters to the mix.
Oh, and there are Black Mages. Lots and lots of Black Mages.
If all this sounds good to you, go and read the story before scrolling down. There are some extremely powerful plot twists that are really best experienced fresh, and only the most major are spoiler tagged below. You have been warned.
This story provides examples of:
- Babies Ever After: Zidane and Garnet have two children, with a third on the way at the time of the story.
- Battle Butler: Black Mages are capable of turning the destructive forces of nature itself to their will. Rain prefers making sandwiches and keeping Eiko's rooms in order.
- Berserk Button: Don't tell Tango what to do. Also, don't hurt his "children". That goes for Eiko, too."You do not blow up Eiko Carol's people in Eiko Carol's city!"
- Damsel in Distress: Subverted. Nobody is coming to save Eiko, but that hardly stops her.
- Death Fic: The loss of poor Vivi still drives the plotline, even thirteen years later.
- Dynamic Entry: Freya and Amarant have no time for doorknobs, man! There's a battle on!
- Even Evil Has Standards"Oh, Gods, Vivi, Vivi wouldn't kill Steiner, would he?"
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Eiko's hair grows out along with her despair.
- The Faceless: Tango and the black mages, although they are far from being Faceless Goons.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: Played with. Nobody forgot Vivi, but over the years of loneliness and self-exile, he's rewritten his own history a little in his head...
- Go-Go Enslavement: Eiko just cannot seem to find proper clothes in the Desert Palace. She makes do with Kuja's leftovers.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It's amazing how easy it is to set Tango off.
- Important Haircut: Tango begins to soften towards Eiko after this, despite it verging on a Traumatic Haircut at the time.
- Jabba Table Manners: Don't eat lunch with Black Tango. Seriously.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Eiko ends up giving these to a lot of the Black Mages. Rain, in particular, comes to mind.
- Mad Scientist: Tango will never stop looking for a way to save his "children".
- Modest Royalty: Zidane and Garnet have more important things to do.
- Momma's Boy: Rain loves his "mother" very, very much.
- Morality Pet: All the Black Mages, to Tango.
- Overprotective Dad: Tango, in a nasty mash-up with Abusive Parents.
- Papa Wolf: Don't ever mess with Tango's "children". Only he's allowed to do that.
- Pet the Dog / Kick the Dog: Tango vacillates wildly between these, with regards to the Black Mages. Sometimes in the same scene.
- Psycho Prototype: There's a reason why Tango's name sounds so reminiscent of the Black Waltzes.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Tango's occasional lapses into childish tantrums and pouting only make him that much creepier. And more tragic, when his backstory is revealed.
- Race Against the Clock: Black Mages have a limited lifespan, and Tango and Eiko won't let them stop without a fight.
- The Reveal: Black Tango is in fact Vivi Ornitier himself, driven mad by the grief of watching his own people die.
- Sacred Hospitality: Rain and the other Black Mages do their best to uphold this ideal, with varying results.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Invoked/given the nod by Tango, early on.
- Take a Third Option: Eiko attempts this in her Deal with the Devil.
- Take That!: Directed at Eiko's original costume design, by none other than Tango himself."Yellow, Carol? Yellow scoop-neck coveralls with the front cut out?"
- Terms of Endangerment: "Linden-bloom" is the most common one that Tango throws at Eiko, as a pun on her adopted hometown, but he generally showers her with these, to her unease and disgust.
- There Was a Door: There are dozens of doors in Alexandria Castle, but Tango just has to waste a perfectly good window.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The black mages, according to Tango. Not to mention Vivi himself. ...supposedly.
- Torches and Pitchforks: Zidane half-jokes about this at one point:(Dagger)'s called in the cavalry and all the fine horses and all the fine men, and last time I heard even Quina was sharpening all the forks in the kitchen and asking if this guy was good to eat.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Arguably, this all could have been avoided if Eiko had let the Lindblum air force take on Tango...although, then again, he might have just slaughtered them all and moved on to Alexandria.
- Tragic Villain: All Tango wants is a world where his children can live. It's not his fault that according to his calculations, everyone else has to die to facilitate this.
- The Unfettered: Tango will save the black mages. Period.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The Eidolons to Eiko, upon realizing she intends to summon Necron. They all mutiny and refuse to help her.
- Winged Humanoid: Black Tango, same as all the other Waltzes. Also, Eiko in her Trance form.
- Wrench Wench: Eiko, although it's more of an informed ability.