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Fanfic / Trade Winds

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Trade Winds is a crossover fanfiction between Temeraire and Assassin's Creed hosted on Archive of Our Own and written by esama. The fic currently sits at ten chapters and was last updated in late March of 2019.

It is narrated and led by Desmond Miles, protagonist of the Assassin's Creed series, and picks up shortly after the events of Assassin's Creed III with Desmond finding himself in the alternate universe version of Boston from the Temeraire series. He winds up becoming a sailor who makes his way across the Atlantic to Britain, and eventually aboard the Allegiance where he crosses paths with Captain William Laurence, his dragon, and the Chinese delegation seeking to separate the two. As he takes to exploring and studying this new world he finds himself in, trying to piece together the roles of the Assassins and Templars in this new world with dragons, various parties begin taking an interest in his Eagle Vision, and Desmond quickly finds himself embroiled in more than he bargained for.


This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Asleep for Days: After Desmond kills the sea serpent with a too-high Leap of Faith and breaks his legs, the ship surgeon doses him with laudanum and he spends three full days drifting in and out of consciousness in a drugged haze.
  • Aura Vision: Eagle Vision, originating from Assassin's Creed, becomes a major plot point in this story. The Chinese call the ability the Dragon's Eye, and they believe it limited to the Imperial family and dragons, which gets Desmond into hot water when they notice him using it during the Fleur-de-Nuit attack. And then Laurence develops it!
  • Blessed with Suck: Thanks to his two Assassin ancestors, Laurence develops Eagle Vision that manifests to show him his dragon is gravely ill, and which helps him locate the cure. Hooray! However, his manifestation of the ability also makes him The Empath, which causes him to immediately pick up on the pain, sickness, and suffering of those around him whenever he turns it on... which he also feels. Oh...
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  • Blood Knight: Desmond kills a lot of people in this story, and without remorse when they're slavers or attacking the ship he's on. The gossipers among his comrades even acknowledge this when he says he's a little bored with all the lack of fighting on the Allegiance, and they respond, only somewhat joking, that the devil craves blood.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When Desmond's fighting skills become known on any of the ships where he's seen close action, his shipmates immediately start distrusting him and making remarks that compare him to a demon or the devil, which leave him isolated and with no friends or anybody to talk to- his narration makes it clear that he's not too happy about it. After he has his grog cut for his first fistfight with his shipmates aboard the Allegiance, he threatens the other parties in the fight that he'll kill them and throw them overboard if they jump him again. They have no trouble believing him.
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  • The Comically Serious: Laurence's grave seriousness in the face of all of the ridiculousness Desmond brings with him, seen through Desmond's flippant narration, takes on quite an amusing bend.
  • Cunning Linguist: Thanks to his Assassin ancestors, Desmond can understand around ten languages, and well enough to speak most of them. Initially, when he picks up Chinese from Shao Jun, he pretends not to understand it when he's around the Chinese delegation, a ploy which lasts until Desmond blurts something out in perfect courtly Chinese. Whoops. Later on, when they're with the Tswana, Desmond uses his newfound skill with Setswana to give one of the Tswanan dragons the information about the slave trade that Laurence refused to offer in canon, and even spills to the dragon that he was going to attack the town himself, taking advantage of the language barrier so none of the Englishmen would know what he was planning. Desmond's skills with Chinese are such that Chapter 10 ends with Laurence extending an offer to Desmond for him to become his personal translator through China.
  • Dragon Hoard: This fic's version of Eagle Vision, held by all dragons naturally and by a select few humans, comes with an x-ray sense for treasure, an evolution of Eagle Vision that would nonetheless aid a dragon in building a hoard. Temeraire plaintively explains that all the treasure is in houses, though, an admission that further implies that he doesn't steal the treasure because it would displease his captain, and that he doesn't fully realize the treasure is in houses because it belongs to someone.
  • The Empath: Laurence's Eagle Vision comes with the ability to see others' pain and sickness, likely because it first manifests when Temeraire falls ill.
  • Eye Colour Change: A subtle one- in the universe of this fic, using Eagle Vision causes the user's irises to gain a glowing golden ring around the outside, which is how the Chinese realized, in the dark, that Desmond has the prized, allegedly-for-royalty-only Dragon's Eye. Nobody else who isn't in the know seems to notice this- but it's possible only those with the Eagle Vision ability can see it -and when dragons use their Eagle Vision, this doesn't happen to their eyes.
  • Fantastic Drug: The mushroom cure used in canon to cure the dragon plague in Temeraire doubles in this fic as a drug akin to peyote when stewed into a serum, and is given to Laurence and Desmond to enhance their Eagle Vision and place them in contact with their Assassin ancestors.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Desmond's modern speech patterns and the breadth of his (typical) modern education net him several odd looks. But in a minor, interesting subversion, the name 'Desmond' was actually far more common in Laurence's time (1806 or so) than it is now.
  • Glad He's on Our Side: After Desmond risks his life killing the sea serpent and breaks his legs, his comrades express that they're uneasily glad he's on their side, for how bloodthirsty and insane he comes across as.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: As in the Assassin's Creed canon, Desmond (and later Laurence) is able to use Eagle Vision to perceive the relationships of others to him, with enemies showing as red, allies as blue, and neutrals as grey. Laurence, notably, constantly shows as gold both to Temeraire and Desmond, and the golden aura is why Temeraire chose him. And after Laurence and Desmond take the mushroom cure on the insistence of the Tswana, they find that their Eagle Vision has been enhanced, and now they see more colors than just blue and red. Granby finds Desmond suspicious, and under Desmond's Eagle Vision shows as a reddish purple.
  • Heroic Lineage: In addition to Desmond's many and sundry Assassin ancestors, Laurence finds that he has two Assassin ancestors as well (although Desmond doesn't identify them as such to him), who gave him his proclivity for Eagle Vision and originate from AC's canon- Thomas de Carneillon, and Robert Fitzwalter. Fitzwalter in particular is known for being the real-world inspiration of Robin Hood, despite Laurence's parents' insistence that Fitzwalter had done nothing of the sort.
  • Instant Expert
    • Courtesy of genetic memory, Edward Kenway's memories endow Desmond with the skills and an eye for ships only gained after years at sea. After Laurence is made to see his Assassin ancestors, he immediately becomes fluent in French. Desmond also sees a new ancestor, Aveline de Grandpré (who is not Desmond's ancestor in canon), and immediately learns Setswana from her mother and starts speaking it with the Tswana, much to Laurence's confusion.
  • I See Dead People: The Bleeding Effect in this fic manifests in the form of Desmond (and eventually Laurence) seeing spectral images of their Assassin ancestors. Desmond sees Arno Dorian, Shao Jun, and, most frequently since he spends most of the story at sea, Edward Kenway. Laurence is quite distressed by the Bleeding Effect and keeps trying to ignore the visions brought to him by his ancestors, Robert Fitzwalter and Thomas de Carneillon, thinking he's gone mad and is seeing ghosts.
  • Leap of Faith: Desmond executes a leap of faith from the tallest mast on the Allegiance, Captain Riley's sword in hand, to kill the sea serpent. It works and severs the serpent's spinal cord, killing it immediately, and he gets an honor for it, but he breaks his legs in the process.
  • Nervous Wreck: Laurence's narration in Temeraire's canon tends to be overdramatic, centered around what people will think of him, and heavy on the catastrophizing, which is visible to Desmond in his stiff manners, and his near-constant harried look, not helped by the fact that Laurence is also dealing with the Chinese trying to separate him from his dragon. Desmond makes it his mission to get Laurence to calm down a bit, and starts by having him try meditation... which awakens his Eagle Vision and only gets him into more hot water than he's already in. Laurence, on the other hand, believes himself to be Properly Paranoid. Although, with all the crap that goes down in Laurence's home series as it is, can you really blame him?
    Desmond: "Honestly, has all the fretting you do constantly ever made anything better?"
    Laurence: "It makes me watchful and wary and best prepared for most eventualities."
  • One-Man Army: Desmond, as befitting most Assassins. As a sailor, he repels most boarding attempts by himself with nothing more than his fists, his hidden blade, and a pilfered French sword, and can clear a deck on his own. Most of his comrades become afraid of him and avoid him, saying that he "fights like a demon" and insisting that he must have made a pact with the devil, or is himself the devil.
  • Omniglot: Thanks to genetic memories from his ancestors, Desmond can understand (and in most cases speak) several languages, including Arabic, Italian, French, Spanish, Kanien'kéha, and later Chinese, Welsh (although it's implied he can only understand it and can't speak it), and Setswana, courtesy of Shao Jun, Edward Kenway, and Aveline de Grandpré.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After the Allegiance leaves Capetown, Laurence calls Desmond to his cabin in the middle of the night drunk and disheveled, unable to sleep because of the Bleeding Effect, and terrified that he's losing his mind. Desmond's first thought upon entering the cabin is that the poor guy's dying.
  • Samus Is a Girl: When Desmond meets Emily Roland, he's surprised to notice she's a girl under her little jacket and trousers. He tries asking her for her name, and she just says, "Roland."
  • The Stations of the Canon: The Temeraire side of the story proceeds mostly as it does in canon until the start of Throne of Jade, when Desmond joins the crew of the Allegiance. From there, the Chinese begin dividing their attention between Desmond and Laurence. One major station of the canon is apparently skipped once Temeraire falls ill- by that point, Desmond has been tutoring Laurence in developing Eagle Vision, and Laurence realizes the gravity of Temeraire's illness with his budding Eagle Vision enough to go searching for the cure, have it gathered en masse, and sent back to England two books early. In the process, they make good relations with the Tswana (as opposed to the somewhat poor relations in Temeraire's canon) and Desmond gives a Tswanan dragon information about the slave trade that convinces her to attack Capetown, suggesting that the broad events of Empire of Ivory (and subsequently the introduction of Demane and Sipho, and Laurence's treason) might not occur in this story, or might at least happen under different circumstances.
  • Superstitious Sailors: Desmond runs afoul of his superstitious shipmates when he winds up becoming a sailor, who call him a demon or devil after watching him fight, and always seem to be one incident away from calling to have him thrown overboard.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: When Desmond is working at Boston Harbor as a laborer, he starts talking with one of the dragon employees, who asks him where he's from and remarks that she can't place Desmond's jumbled accent accumulated from his ancestors bleeding into him. Desmond replies, "Bunch of places."
  • You Didn't Ask: In this fic, it turns out that Temeraire, at least, has had Eagle Vision this whole time. He had no notion that humans didn't also see the same as he did, and muses that that must be why humans can be so easily deceived.
  • You're Cute When You're Angry: It's only expressed in Desmond's narration, likely because Laurence would probably go purple at the impropriety of it, but Desmond finds Laurence's seriousness and strict adherence to duty and protocol amusing and adorable.
    Laurence is nice and he's cute with all of his bluster and flailing and propriety, but Desmond doesn't like him anywhere near enough to take any colonial shit from him.


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