The plot is narrated through multiple viewpoints, but its protagonists are Rayan, Hatari, and their father, co-king Reen. As the two cubs grow up, they learn about politics, belief, and responsibility, all of which prepares them for the difficult and complex decisions a ruler must make. But their world is darker than they know, and conflicts between species are tearing the kingdom apart. Can they unite Sanctuary against its enemies and overcome the approaching chaos?
In short, no. But to say anything else would be a massive spoiler.
Sanctuary is not, by any means, a happy story. No one character is truly good (except possibly Unir, whose Death by Childbirth opens the fic) and nearly all members of the cast have experienced (if not perpetrated) some abuse or discrimination that cripples their ability to do the right thing. All their failures and Fatal Flaws- though minor when viewed in a wider context- build up over the plot's course, eventually causing Sanctuary's terrible fate. It is the story of how a seemingly idyllic, benevolent kingdom can collapse through hatred and greed, and become a living hell.
Warning, spoilers ahead. It is highly advised that you read the story before progressing, as many of its twists and turns would be ruined otherwise.
This story provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Kaata, like her mother before her.
- Beneath the Mask: While watching Reen grieve for Unir, Nyota thinks about this trope in regards to him.She loved Reen like a brother. Almost all the subjects liked the king. Gymara was a slightly different story, but everyone loved Reen.But he never allowed the kingdom to see this side, the side that showed so much sorrow. If one of the lionesses had told Nyota about Reens sleep, how he would mutter Unir softly while he slept, and would sometimes wake up with a jerk, and go outside to be alone to cry, Nyota wouldnt have any trouble believing them. It was well known how much the king loved his mate. But now he showed himself nakedly to her, how he felt, dropping the thin façade he had carried around her ever since Unirs death.(...)It flickered across her mind what an odd scene it would have made if an animal were to come, seeing the king clutching his advisor close to him, weeping. Just a flicker. She didnt care how she was seen with Reen. Shed feel no guilt if found. They were just two animals, suffering together. Just because he was king, it didnt mean Reen had no feeling, despite how much Reen tried to hide his sorrow from the kingdom.
- Being Good Sucks: This fic is not shy about telling you just how much work and self-doubt goes into being a king. Or an advisor. Or council representative. Or really anyone who tries to rise above their flaws and do the right thing. (It's a very cynical fic.)
- Bittersweet Ending: Rayan and Kria are alive, although outcast and traumatized. Pretty much every other character is either dead, evil, or the victim of evil. And Sanctuary is now ruled by the tyrannical Hatari, who is fighting a war with the hyenas and has completely destroyed Sanctuary's tenuous grasp on democracy.
- Black-and-Grey Morality:
- Carnivore Confusion: The level of anthropomorphization varies wildly between chapters; it's not helped that, by human standards, Sanctuary's culture is quite primitive. For the most part, however, the animals are human in every way other than the physical; they have a council composed of multiple different species (even prey), they have religion, drugs, alcohol and at least a few structures, and sex carries all the emotional connotations it does for us.
- Cain and Abel: Hatari and Rayan respectively.
- Evil Vizier: Sudi."I told you not to think, sire."
- Finger-Twitching Revival:
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Played With. Early in the fic, Rayan gains terrible scars from an acid flare. This happens because he was pushing Sarana away from the acid, knowing that it would flare up soon and wanting to protect her. So, though the scars themselves make him look monstrous, they're actually a sign of his bravery and compassion.
- Love Makes You Stupid: Sarana makes Hatari her mate. Now, by this point in the fic, Hatari has used Sarana's sister for sex (abandoning her when she had a cub), become an utterly heartless tyrant, and murdered two innocent people simply because they wouldn't let him have total power.
- Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Averted. After Unir's Death by Childbirth, Reen briefly feels angry at Rayan. However, he quickly comes to the conclusion that Unir would have wanted him to love their son, tries to be a good father to Rayan. Given the close relationship the two have in future chapters, it seems that he succeeded. He and Nyota discuss this trope.Nyota: She gave you a son. Rayan is here, at least. Her legacy.Reen: The cause of her death.Nyota: SireReen: I love him, Nyota. I really do. With all my heart. But every time I look at him, I cant help but remember that. II tell myself I dont love him any less for it. I really think I dont. But I just cant get out of my mind what a price his life came at. I just wonder what Unir would think of him, if she were here.
- Murphy's Law: The author makes judicious use of this- even quoting it in one chapter- alongside Diabolus ex Machina.
- Oh, My Gods!:
- Happy Ending Override: The sequel. For one thing, Kria is raped in the first chapter.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Reen and Rayan try to be this. So does Gymara, but his efforts are hindered by his greed and stupidity.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Nearly everyone, but Gymara especially. His unwillingness to discipline Hatari or train him to be a good king leads to Hatari becoming a spoiled, greedy tyrant, who murders multiple people (including Gymara) on his way to ultimate power and plunges Sanctuary into war.
- Ungrateful Bitch: In the ending, Sarana reveals herself to be this.
The Last of Us
- Demoted to Extra: Kria and Rayan.
- Crapsack World / Wretched Hive: Dalma is even worse than Sanctuary.
- Forgot About His Powers: Kria, despite being a lioness, is apparently unable to fight back when Jabari rapes her. The narration actually describes her as 'defenseless''. Whether you consider this an Ass Pull or not depends on your viewpoint.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Rayan has drastically changed since the original story.