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Mysteries of the Heart is a series of Runescape stories written by deathnoteuser07 aka nerd-artist23. Split into four parts: Reflections of the Heart, Secrets of the Heart, Revelations from the Heart, Chains Around the Heart, and set after the quest Heart of Stone, it explores the problems of being a closet Zarosian who cannot tell anyone about the god he follows, no matter the situation.

Case it point, it deals with Xenia’s death by Ariane and her plan to siphon the world’s Anima away into the Abyssal Plane, so the Elder gods would never wake up to destroy the world, though this also has the nasty side effect of removing all magic from Gielinor. Knowing that Xenia would’ve never gone to such extremes if she’d known about Zaros’ plan to become an Elder, force them awake and convince them through words and actions that Gielinor should not be destroyed, Bryce, the World Guardian understands that the Zarosian policy of secrecy is getting people killed. To make matters worse, Ariane, his friend and comrade and Love Interest figures out he’s hiding the plan from her, though she doesn’t know the specifics or why he's doing so, and she’s upset that a close friend would keep something that big a secret. Bryce is stuck between a rock and a hard place, if he tells her everything, he’d betray the Zarosians and if he keeps mum, he risks losing her. He decides on Taking A Third Option and asking Zaros if he could bend the secrecy rule for one special person, luckily for him, Zaros says yes, Ariane could be the exception.

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Reflections of the Heart goes over the Heart of Stone boss fight with the Prehistoric Abyssal beast, Ariane’s angst over having to kill off her own mentor, Xenia and Bryce’s angst over failing to protect Ariane from being knocked unconscious by the Prehistoric Abyssal. Adaptation Expansion ensues—Ariane remembers everything Xenia did for her, especially getting her back on her feet after her expulsion from the Wizards’ Tower and how she repaid Xenia by killing her, along with Adaptational Angst Upgrade, when Bryce silently angsts over failing to protect the one he loves from the beast.

Secrets of the Heart continues where Reflections left off. Ariane wakes up in Bryce’s place after passing out from her injuries. She confronts him about the alternate, better plan to stop the Elder gods, that he’s keeping from her, but he refuses to cave in, and only apologizes for keeping her Locked Out of the Loop. While she gets her bed rest, he goes to Freneskae to get permission from Zaros to tell her about him and his plans.

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Revelations from the Heart picks up after Secrets. Zaros says yes, but only if she takes a blood oath of secrecy, and Bryce goes home to tell Ariane everything. However Bryce turns out to be an Unreliable Narrator and his take on Zaros is heavy biased.

Chains Around the Heart finishes the story. Bryce brings Ariane to Freneskae for the blood oath and for an even deeper Q&A session. But he requests that the World Guardian leave them alone, which Bryce obliges. After answering her questions, Zaros makes her swear the oath of secrecy, in which he makes use of his power to force people to be loyal to him, and he applies it to her, so that she’d never even think of spilling his secrets due to said forced loyalty. Upon finding this out, Bryce is not happy…

All four installments can be read on Archive of Our Own, (keep in mind Reflections and Secrets are combined into one story there), Deviantart (Reflections Secrets Revelations and Chains which is split into two parts), and Fanfiction.net.

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Mysteries of the Heart contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the game itself, Ariane shrugs off the murder of Xenia after the quest. In Reflections and Secrets she mourns over her former mentor’s death and feels guilt over having to kill someone who did so much for her during her darkest days to preserve magic.
    • Plus her depression period after being expelled from the Wizards’ Tower, knowing she’d never achieve her dream of mastering every branch of magic and that her grandma, who spent all her money to send her to school will die from her Soap Opera Disease as a result of not being able to afford a doctor.
    • Before that, she wasn’t well liked by the other students due to her being a seer.
    • Bryce gets upset over the fact he couldn’t protect her from the Prehistoric Abyssal or Zaros.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Reflections and Secrets explain using flashbacks why magic is so important to Ariane, to the point she couldn’t live without it, and why she had to kill Xenia out of desperation, and the former gave us a flashback of how Xenia convinced her to become an adventurer.
    • In Reflections,the boss fight with Heart of Stone's Prehistoric Abyssal is elaborated on via a flashback, and ingame mechanics, such as the Abyssal's immunity to all attacks until you destroy the abyssal anchors he leaves behind are handwaved as bleeding energy from the Abyssal's armor which renders him impervious to all attacks, unless said armor is destroyed by attacking its weak points.
  • Aerith and Bob: People with more unusual, fantasy names like Zaros, Azzanadra, Zamorak etc. live in the same universe as people with regular names like Bryce and Ariane, though humans are usually the ones with normal names and non-humans, gods and Mahjarrat have weirder names.
    • There are exceptions, Xenia's a human with an unusual name.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Bryce loves Ariane, but she doesn't show any signs of loving him back. But she doesn't show any signs of hating him either, she does consider him a friend, she just doesn't think that much of him romantically. A downplayed example.
  • Anachronism Stew: Bryce has a French Maid in his home. This is supposed to be a medieval fantasy story.
  • An Ice Person: Zaros can control all four of the ancient elements, including ice. He tells Ariane in Chains, he can make it spawn anywhere, provided there's moisture in the air.
  • Anti-Hero: Bryce wanted the entire goblin race dead as revenge because his parents were killed by goblins, killed an infant out of spite, started a Miscellania/Etceteria war. Zaros even calls him out on all of that, pointing out how he hides all of his unsavory deeds, while maintaining a heroic façade for Ariane.
    • But he does ultimately want to stop the Elder gods from destroying Gielinor, and he sides with Zaros, believing he’s the only god with a plan to stop them.
  • Badass Bookworm: Ariane.
  • Badass Longcoat: Bryce wears a leather one when he's not fighting.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Ariane, a beautiful redhead mage is also the kindest character in the series, to the point she doesn't understand the concept of the end justifying the means as seen in Revelations. In the same installment, Bryce also gets a flashback of her telling him she doesn't want anyone to die if her vision turns out to be true and the Wizards' Tower catches on fire, even if almost everyone there gave her the All of the Other Reindeer treatment.
  • Bishounen: Bryce is definitely so, with him being described as pretty every now and then. He's stated to be bishounen in his profile.
  • BFS: Bryce’s weapon of choice.
  • Big Fancy House: Bryce's house. Ariane wakes up in one of its bedrooms in Secrets after fainting in Reflections, and notices that the furniture is made of gilded mahogany, the rug's woven with gold thread, and the fireplace is made of marble.
  • Black and Gray Morality
  • Blatant Lies: When Zaros says the blood oath won’t hurt Ariane.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Whenever anyone gets injured in battle and when they're exposed to the poisonous air in Freneskae.
  • Blood Magic: How the blood oath of secrecy works, combined with Tongue Trauma.
  • Blow You Away: The Air Surge spells Ariane used to kill Xenia.
  • Blue Blood: Bryce has noble blood surging through his veins. But his his profile noted that his family doesn't hold as much power as they used to, making them Impoverished Patricians.
    • But he's also made enough money off of the Grand Exchange and to afford his Big Fancy House, complete with servants, including but not limited to a French Maid, a zookeeper for his private menagerie, a cook etc. making this a Downplayed Example.
  • Broken Pedestal: In addition to Wizard Ellaron, Xenia can be counted as one, after demonstrating that she was willing to remove all magic from Gielinor.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Bryce’s feelings for Ariane.
  • Casting a Shadow: In Chains,Zaros shows Ariane his ability to control shadow and morph it into anything he wants.
  • Chosen One: Guthix chose Bryce to be the one to protect the world from the meddling Jerkass Gods, and gave him the power to resist god magic, along with the title World Guardian. Bryce however, is extremely loyal to Zaros, and would do anything for his cause.
  • Combat Stilettos: Ariane wears them, even when she’s running around Freneskae to meet Zaros. Because Rule of Sexy.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Elder gods create "perfect worlds" like Gielinor and Freneskae using Elder Artifacts, said world generate the Anima energy they feed off to live. After creating Gielinor, they fell into a deep sleep, in the Elder Halls of Gielinor, and they'll only wake up in time for the Great Revision, when they suck all the energy out and leave the world an empty husk. Freneskae is the result of the last Great Revision, to show what could happen to Gielinor. No wonder Xenia would do anything to prevent this.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the original RuneScape game.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Ariane's killing of Xenia.
  • Declaration of Protection: Not out loud though, Bryce silently vows to protect his Love Interest in Chains.
  • Deity of Mortal Origin: Averted with Zaros, he was never mortal.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In a flashback in Reflections.. After getting expelled from school, and finding her grandmother is dying from her Incurable Cough of Death, and thinking she’d never make anything out of her life, Ariane refuses to get out of bed, eat or bathe. She gets better when Xenia shows her the Lunar spells that aren’t event taught at the Wizards’ Tower, and urges her to become an adventurer.
  • Dramatic Wind: Constantly, to the point where it's hard to be taken seriously. In a flashback in Reflections when Xenia advises Ariane to become an adventurer, and in the present when Bryce is asked about the alternate, better plan to stop Gielinor from becoming Freneskae, the previous world the Elder gods destroyed and when Bryce asks Zaros if he can tell Ariane everything.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Bryce kisses a knocked out Ariane.
  • Eye Scream: In Reflections, Bryce stabs the Prehistoric Abyssal in its eyes. Sure those eyes look like visors, but they're still eyes.
  • Failure Hero: In-universe example. Bryce thinks he’s this after he failed once again to protect her, this time from Zaros no less.
  • Fainting: Ariane collapses twice as a result of the injuries she received during the fight with the Prehistoric Abyssal.
  • Fiery Redhead: Averted. Ariane has firetruck red hair, but is very calm and mild tempered.
  • Flashback: Almost as much as Naruto. In Reflections alone there were two. Also one in Secrets though they get shorter and less frequent as the series progresses, there was a very short one in Revelations that only lasted a few paragraphs.
    • In Reflections, the boss battle with the Prehistoric Abyssal is visited via a flashback, same with Ariane’s past.
    • In Secrets, Ariane guiltily remembers killing Xenia.
    • In Revelations, Bryce remembers why he lies to Ariane about his “heroism.”
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Emphasized every time in the author’s note.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Bryce kills things up close with his Bandos godsword, Ariane attacks from a distance with magic.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Bryce is very much in love with Ariane, the mage with bright red hair.
    • Doubles as Author Appeal since the writer has said that red is his favorite hair color on girls.
  • Heroic BSoD: Chains after Bryce hears of how the Blood Oath of secrecy went. He gets the Dull Eyes of Unhappiness too.
  • Holding Hands: In Chains, Bryce and Ariane traverse through Freneskae like this.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Zaros’ reasoning for why he lied to Bryce about the blood ritual not hurting. He even quotes this trope and outright says that had he told the truth, Bryce would’ve never brought her to him, and would’ve violated the Zarosian code of secrecy as a result.
    • Bryce’s excuse for all the horrible things he’s done, including torturing an old widow in Branches of Darkmeyer.
  • In the Back: How Ariane remembers killing Xenia in Secrets. It was the only way, she knew she couldn't kill her in a fair fight, so she attacked from behind using three Air Surges.
  • Jerkass Gods: Every god in RuneScape and in this story qualifies.
    • Saradomin and Zamorak are said to have fought in the middle of a crowded town, without a thought for how many people they’d kill, injure and displace and how much property they’d destroy. They’ve also committed genocide against Zarosians in the past.
    • Zaros is said to have brought peace and prosperity to his empire, but the Runescape canon says his empire oppressed people, humans specifically, he wants mortals to inherit the world, he doesn't wish to be worshiped, and he will stop at nothing to become an Elder god himself to beat the Elder gods, but he tricked Bryce into bringing Ariane to Freneskae for a blood oath, where he had her tongue ripped out and replaced with one made from a shard from his body, so he can always be in her, thereby exposing her to his loyalty aura, and making sure she'd never even consider turning against him.
    • Armadyl isn’t, neither is Guthix who is dead.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Prehistoric Abyssal’s power of shooting fireballs at our heroes, and Ariane's Fire Wave spells at him.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Zaros calls Bryce out on this in Revelations, pointing out that Ariane may be doing the same thing he does with her, namely playing the good guy in front of her and dropping the act when she’s not around, and he calls Bryce a fool for not considering it.
    • In Chains he tells Bryce his love for Ariane left him blind to reason.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Ariane, until the very end, when she learns all about Zaros, his plans, past and philosophy.
  • Making a Splash: The Water Wave and Surge spells Ariane uses on Bryce so he wouldn't be harmed if the Abyssal's fireballs hit him.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Ariane doesn't have a surname in canon. It's revealed to be Selwyn in Chains.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Ariane remains stoic upon beholding a shirtless, damp Bryce fresh out of a bath.
  • Not So Different: Xenia in Secrets tells Ariane that as adventurers both of them get to decide who to kill and who to spare, so she has no right to judge her, despite their differing opinions on stopping the Elder gods.
    • Zaros in Chains tells Bryce that both of them do the things they don't want to do for the greater good, and he has no right to judge him for what he'd done to Ariane during the blood oath.
  • O.C. Stand-in: In RuneScape, the player character is deliberately left blank, so he/she can be what you imagine him/her to be, as opposed to a character with a pre-existing backstory/personality. Bryce is merely what this writer envisions the Player Character to be.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Played for extra drama. Bryce can't tell anyone of Zaros or his plans, leading Xenia to believe the only way to stop the Elder gods from destroying Gielinor is to stop them from waking up by siphoning the Anima energy they live on to the Abyss, even though this will siphon away magic too, leading Ariane to kill her, because she believes losing magic isn't worth it. Then she finds out Bryce was hiding another plan from her, but Bryce wouldn't let her in on the details. This puts a strain on their relationship, until Bryce gets special permission from Zaros to tell.
  • Purple Eyes: Zaros has them. So does Bryce. See Rule of Symbolism.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The desert bandits and Bryce both want Zaros to take revenge against everyone who wronged them in the past, without considering for one second that Zaros doesn't believe in revenge or forgiveness. Bryce even thinks a true Zarosian would want revenge,even though it goes against the beliefs of his god.
    Bryce: No true Zarosian would simply let these things slide; a true believer of the Empty Lord would decimate the Saradominists and Zamorakians of Gielinor.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Bryce’s purple eyes symbolize his devotion to Zaros’ whose color scheme is purple.
  • Ship Tease: Lots for Bryce and Ariane. In Revelations, he kisses her while she's knocked out, and she gets a glimpse of him shirtless. In Chains, they run through Freneskae holding hands, and he gives her a handkerchief afterwards. It was to wipe away the Blood from the Mouth and he told her to keep it, and after she tells him Zaros ripped out her tongue during the blood oath, he immediately pulls her into a hug.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Ariane entirely.
  • The Spock: Zaros
  • Squishy Wizard: Ariane.
  • The Stoic: Ariane in Chains thinks Bryce has the emotional range of a statue.
    Looking at him was like examining a statue and decoding his thoughts was next to impossible.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The Prehistoric Abyssal from Reflections waits until Bryce and Ariane are done talking about how to defeat him before he attacks them.
  • To Be a Master: Ariane’s dream.
  • Tongue Trauma: Ariane gets her tongue ripped out. Downplayed example, as he gives her a metallic replacement made from a shard of his own body.
  • Undying Loyalty: Bryce and Ariane for Zaros. The former’s loyalty comes from his own free will, the latter from mind control as of Chains.
    • Zaros’s ability to compel loyalty only works on others when they’re within his presence. Ariane’s new tongue will stay inside her forever, unless that tongue gets ripped out too, she’ll be loyal forever and will never even think of spilling his secrets.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Bryce in Revelations, as he makes Zaros out to be the ideal king and god. Justified, as this was the version of Zarosian history given to him by Azzanadra.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Bryce for Zaros, as of Chains.
  • Voice of the Legion: How Zaros sounds when he talks.
    He spoke in a deep monotone, of several different tempos, as if different voices were speaking at once. Some of his words echoed.
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