The rulers of the Belgarian Empire trace their lineage to L'Empereur Flamme, a warrior famed for both his tremendous strength and his fiery red hair. By the time of Emperor Liam XV, however, the bloodline has started to run thin. No redhead would be born into his family until the fourth child, the tomboyish Princess Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria... who by the age of 14 would run afoul of court politics and be "rewarded" with command of a dangerous border outpost.
Regis Aurick was an inept, timid soldier of common birth, who somehow managed to reach officer rank when a marquis took notice of his sharp mind. Unfortunately, when one of his superior officers got the marquis killed, he would become a scapegoat and be demoted to the front lines. This leads him to be scooped up by the notorious Princess Argentina herself, aka "Altina", as her personal tactician... and her first confidant in her plans to seize the throne herself.
Haken no Kouki Altina (覇剣の皇姫アルティーナ)Translation is a Low Fantasy light novel written by Murasaki Yukiya, describing the struggles of Altina and Regis to bring an end to the pointless Forever War that the nation is constantly locked in with its neighbors. Launched in 2012, the series has 15 books as of September 2018 (1-14 and 7.5). A licensed translation under the title Altina the Sword Princess is available from J-Novel.
A manga adaptation has been produced, running in Famitsu Comic Clear and compiled into four volumes.
This series provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: Volume 7.5 takes the attention off Regis and Altina, and focuses on numerous background characters.
- All Just a Dream: How the Overlord/Altina crossover is resolved.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Even among the named characters, the number of aristocrats who are not either evil or completely compromised by those who are can be counted on one hand.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Belgaria does have a powerful navy, even including ships that can match the firepower of High Britannia's top-of-the-line battleships, the "princess" class. However, in order to do this, their design sacrifices speed, maneuverability, and most importantly range. Regis credits this, more than anything else, as the reason High Britannia utterly curbstomped them on the open seas and hopes that particular line of ships is retired from service. Especially after he deliberately sinks one as part of a gambit to lure the Britannian fleet into a trap.
- Black and Grey Morality: The world of the story is not a kind place. While some of the antagonists do have sympathetic motives and backstories, and even a HeelFace Turn is not unheard of, most of the antagonists are truly atrocious villains, and even the main characters often have to perform morally dubious actions to survive.
- Corrupt Church: Combined with Miles Gloriosus. The country of Hispania is a theocracy that originally held itself as the bastions of righteousness, and led by example, but slowly began to think "since the other countries are not followers of our god, it's okay to steal from them." They then let themselves believe their armies are invincible both at sea and on land. In truth, their navy disguises itself as pirates and only attacks unarmed merchant vessels, in order to rob from them, and hasn't suffered losses in land-based battles because they've never had to fight on land before. The moment they face an actual fight, their upper eschelons run and hide and then turn to despicable means to deal with the enemy, that they themselves provoked.
- Deadly Decadent Court: All the royal courts shown are like this. Siblings attempting to assassinate each other to seize the throne is quite common in the story. The nobles bearing witness secretly take bets to see who would be the victor.
- Enemy Mine: The war with High Britannia in volume 7 has numerous mutually hostile parties in Belgaria working together. Regis is well aware of this and acts accordingly.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The country of Belgeria is eerily similar to France or Belgium and has geography with its neighboring countries, Germania and High Britannia, that is very similar to the European geography relating to France, Germany, and England. Then there's Hispania which is similar to Spain of the Iberian peninsula.
- Fatal Flaw: The empire of Belgaria has a truly glaring one, Suicidal Overconfidence, and it tends to punish any soldiers who don't subscribe to the Leeroy Jenkins school of warfare by branding them "cowards," and treats them accordingly. This thinking leads to Regis being an Ignored Expert several times, all ending in disaster.
- For Justice: Volume 7.5 reveals a group of fanatical High Brittania citizens, the "Loyal Soldiers," who are truly nothing more than a roving gang of thugs, abject failures in life, and resent those who aren't. Thus they spend all their time "looking for someone to swing the hammer of 'justice' at." Peaceful, law abiding Belgarian civilians trapped in high Brittania thanks to the outbreak of war find themselves easy prey since the local law enforcement happily turns a blind eye to their plight, even if other Brittania citizens are harmed in the process.
- Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Invoked, as the world is essentially a fictional analog of 18th-19th Century Europe.
- Opposites Attract: The title character, Altina, is a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins Princess who prefers to talk with her hundred pound sword rather than read a book or study proper royal ettiquette and a Wide-Eyed Idealist. Her top strategist, Regis, is a hopeless Bookworm who if sent to the front-lines literally trips over them, and is both a Misanthrope Supreme and Humble Hero to the point of timid shyness. They fall madly in love with each other.
- Revolving Door Revolution: Belgaria has a history of them, the most recent occurs in Volume 7, chapter 4.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Aside from Princess Altina, there are several other royal characters that take an active role in the story. Her older brother Basitin and the former crown princess of High Britannia, Elizabeth are prime examples.
- Shout Out: A subtle one to the Tales of the Arabian Knights is made in volume 7.Regis: "Well, not to the extent of 'tell me an interesting story every night or I'll kill you' like that person."
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: One of Regis's favorite tactics is to use explosives to make the enemy panic, breach a weak point in enemy defenses, or smash "unsinkable" ships by hiding the explosives within places no sane enemy commander would expect. Oswald does this as well, but by using suicide bombers.
- Storming the Castle: Regis has been on both ends of this. Volume two has Altina's regiment try to conquer an "impenetrable" fortress, and at the start of Volume 5, he has to defend it when the country that originally owned it tries to take it back.
- Unperson: This is the ultimate fate of the people whose country is conquered, as highlighted by Regis in volume 5 and 6. They have no rights, their property is seized, their names are stricken from all records, and if they're lucky, they get to die quickly.
- Uriah Gambit: There are several in the story. The most notable ones are sending Altina to the front lines to get rid of her, and when that fails, sending her to capture the "impregnable" Fort Volk with less than one tenth the forces of the last expedition, which failed miserably. All the nobles, including the Emperor, are shocked when she succeeds, thanks to Regis's vastly superior strategy.
- War for Fun and Profit: Without exception, all the villains in the story have this mindset. Some lean more heavily for the "fun" aspect while others, like Prince Latrielle, lean far more heavily towards the "profit" aspect.
- War Is Glorious: Many of the soldiers shown have this mindset. In fact, numerous factions outright hate pacifistic leaders, no matter how good peace actually is for their nation.
- War Is Hell: A fact that the seventh division learns first hand in volume 5. This is not helped by the "brilliant" strategy put forth by Vincent, and the condescending tone of their commander, who realizes too late that he should have put more faith in the main characters.
- We Have Reserves: Aside from Altina and Regis, and to a lesser extent Latrielle, after some Character Development, military commanders in the world setting think the best answer to any difficulty is to just keep throwing more and more soldiers at a problem until it goes away.