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Fanfic / Hail to the Jewels in the Lotus

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Their fingertips brushed. Hers were cold, but not frozen. Not cruel. The underside of her palm was shot through with gold, the gilding of a forgotten age. The word came to him clearly then. Tenno. note 
"The Tenno were awake, they who had journeyed beyond the boundaries of reality and returned from the place the Orokin called Hell. Who can say how many they’ve saved from a life of darkness, and how many they’ve cast into the abyss. Every story is a piece of the puzzle, surah... and the universe is full of stories."
—The story's blurb
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The Origin System has long since been plunged into chaos. After the fall of the decadent Orokin Empire, the Grineer and the Corpus have carved it up for themselves, endlessly warring with each other for dominance. But the balance of power has shifted with the reappearance of the Tenno, virtual demigods clad in biomechanical armor called Warframes, from their centuries-long slumber. A single Tenno who can lay waste to small armies of Grineer or Corpus with frightening efficiency. Many refer to them as betrayers, deadly mercenaries out for the highest bidder. Others call them heroes of legend and the saviors of a system mired in entropy. Whatever they are, there are stories to tell of them, each of them a piece of the puzzle in a universe full of stories.

Hail to the Jewels in the Lotus is an anthology of Warframe short stories written by Amendda_Rysden on Archive of Our Own. They cover moments in the Origin System through the eyes of the Grineer, Corpus, and the Tenno themselves.

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Hail to the Jewels in the Lotus contains examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Cressa Tal hands Nezha the first Vaykor Hek as a gift for working with them to make the system a better place. Its loading ramp is polished and the breechlock was shifted to the back compared to the original Hek, allowing it to tear through Bursas at half of its effective range of ten meters.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • "Son of the Sun" removes the sacred vessels needed to unlock the doors in Inaros' tomb, having the entire story take place over a single visit rather than multiple trips.
    • There are only a handful of Warframes scattered across the Origin System and all of them are their Prime counterparts rather than the bog-standard originals in order to keep up the mystique of the Tenno.
  • Adaptation Expansion: "The Weight of What We Owe" gives story relevance to both Ticker's debt collection and the Index, introducing a down-on-his-luck Solaris named Merrit who is tempted to participate in the latter in hopes of clearing his debts.
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  • Amnesiac Hero: "Son of the Sun" and "Spit and Hope" focus on a single Tenno only known as Nezha. He took the name of his Warframe as centuries of cryosleep deprived him of his memories of his original name. He's also resentful of the fact that Ordis and the Lotus kept his true nature a secret form him for so long.
  • Blood Sport: The Corpus offers massive payouts to those who can survive the Index, a rigged gladiatorial arena that the Corpus watch for their own amusement. The promise of credits to get his family out of debt is enough to get a Solaris named Merrit to buy a kitgun from Rude Zuud in hopes of participating and clearing his debts before he gets brain-shelved despite Ticker's warnings. Luckily, he doesn't have to, as a Tenno buys and clears his debts just as he's about to head off.
  • Body Surf: When Nezha is pinned by rock in "Son of the Sun", he decides to use Transference to take control of the fallen Inaros and lay waste to his Grineer opponents.
  • Book-Ends: In "Son of the Sun", Ordis asks Nezha if he's going to sell the Cephalon for a pile of Ducats. Nezha assures him that no amount of Ducats would ever convince him to sell Ordis. At the end of the story, Ordis asks Nezha again if he can possibly afford Ki'Teer's merchandise without selling him.
  • Breather Episode: "Spit and Hope" is a comparatively leisurely story about Nezha's warm relationship with Steel Meridian and the other denizens of the Larunda Relay compared to the slaughter of a Grineer crew in "Silent Night" and Baro Ki'Teer's emotional breakdown and near-death in "Son of the Sun". "Spit and Hope" is immediately followed by "Fata Morgana", which follows Igan Harr's horror at having his and Alad V's men torn to pieces by Mirage.
  • Deadly Disc: Nezha brandishes his Burning Chakram against the Inaros Effigy.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Nezha chooses to be referred to by the name of his Warframe, having forgotten his original name in his centuries of cryosleep.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The Corpus' loans are designed to place their unwitting patrons into a cycle of neverending debt that ends in the debtor being brain-shelved or being forced to enter the Index in hopes of getting the credits to pay off their interest. Either way, the debtor is likely to die and their loans passed to their relatives. Ticker is an inversion, illegally gathering up debts to sell to the Tenno and other philanthropic entities to wipe their slates clear.
  • God-Emperor: Inaros was revered as the godking and protector of the Martian Sand People prior to being wiped out by the Infested and Grineer.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Later stories assume the reader has played through "The Second Dream" and knows that the Tenno are actually children piloting the Warframes through their dreams in a process known as Transference.
  • Light 'em Up: Mirage uses her Prism ability to blind her Corpus foes and sear them with light.
  • Master of Illusion: Mirage uses her Hall of Mirrors ability to generate five holograms of herself while pelting the Corpus with bolts.
  • Mook Horror Show:
    • The first story in the anthology, "Silent Night" examines just how terrifying the Tenno are through the eyes of a Grineer trader named Tyre, who witnesses Banshee's wanton slaughter of an entire ship's crew after she put them to sleep. He's the sole survivor and was only spared when he demonstrated independence by offering a chunk of azurite as a bribe in hopes of staying alive rather than attacking her as per typical Grineer programming.
    • The fourth story, "Fata Morgana" examines Mirage's handiwork through the eyes of a Corpus board director named Harr Igan, who watches his and Alad V's men get torn to shreds. The experience terrifies Igan so much that he passes out and pukes on the floor.
  • Nail 'Em: Mirage brings a pair of bolt-shooting sidearms, likely Akbolto Prime, with her when she slaughters the Corpus in her path.
  • Neck Snap: Mirage kills one Corpus grunt this way, snapping his neck so hard that only his helmet kept his head from being turned 180 degrees.
  • No Hero Discount: Even while clad in Inaros, the Warframe who was worshipped as the god of the Martian Sand People, Baro Ki'Teer refuses to give Nezha a discount.
  • Novelization: "Son of the Sun" is essentially a written adaptation of the "Sands of Inaros" quest.
  • Now, Let Me Carry You: Steel Meridian constructed the Larunda Relay out of gratitude to the Tenno for allowing them to seek haven in the relays in the first play.
  • Original Character: Tyre and Igan Harr are completely original creations.
  • Pokémon Speak: Clem can only say his name with different intonations to get his point across. Darvo can act as his interpreter, but Nezha can usually grasp the implied message of Clem's greetings on his own.
  • Sand Blaster: Inaros can dissolve rock into sand with a touch and blows away the Grineer with a massive sandstorm.
  • Sexy Jester: Mirage is said to have small hands and delicate-slippered feet along with her harlequin-like twin-horned helmet. She even blows a seductive kiss to the camera right before shooting it out.
  • Super Prototype: Grineer and Corpus technology are pale imitations of that of the Orokin Empire and Alad V wants to get his hands on a Warframe to pick it apart and learn its secrets.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Few people know what the Tenno actually are. Some think they're just vaguely humanoid machines akin to the Sentients. Others think they're beings in Powered Armor. Harr wonders if Mirage is swimming like a Servofish when she dives beneath the waves to steal nitrain from a Corpus mining facility. This is also reflected in people's reactions to a Tenno walking into a relay. Some gawk, others avoid eye contact, while others bow in reverence.
  • We Help the Helpless: The Tenno jump throughout the system, taking down Grineer and Corpus enclaves to shift the balance of power and protect those caught in the crossfire. But they often take payment for their missions to help fund future missions in their crusade to protect the Origin System.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Tenno are seen as dangerous mercenaries-for-hire by the Grineer and Corpus, but they're beacons of hope to those caught under the thumb of both factions.
    For some, the Tenno were a beacon of hope. For others, they were harbingers of destruction. Nobility alone did not pay for the resources necessary for existence, nor could mercenary work fully honor the legacy they’d wrested from the grasping, golden fingers of the Orokin.
    Never again would they stoop to the beck and command of another.
    From now on, the Tenno forged their own path.
    What that meant was up to others to judge.
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