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Literature / Bjorn Westlander, Agent Retriever

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WARNING: This is a work still in progress. All concepts not yet published are considered spoilers.

A fantasy series by Not-So-Badass Longcoat. Bjorn Westlander, a failed magic student (but not by his own fault), becomes a retriever agent for the Royal College of Magic, searching for artifacts from a previous era in a world shaken up by a large-scale magical disaster. Jokingly described as a crossover between Indiana Jones and Geralt, Bjorn is a witty, dashing rogue with both fighting abilities and basic magic powers.


More notable tropes involved:
  • Adventurer Archaeologist - Bjorn. "Retriever Agent", because his (low paid and dangerous) job is based on retrieving ancient artifacts from ancient ruins for the Royal College of Magic.
  • Apocalypse How, Class 1 - roughly six centuries earlier, the Duke of Ascaron and his Evil Chancellor used a magical equivalent of a WMD to nuke the Imperial capital of Cair Olanna. Disturbances in the Background Magic Field caused magical feedback of proportional size to tear the whole province apart, destroyed or severely damaged human Magitek devices, caused a deadly illness among the elves and threw the magic-dependent human society into disorder.
  • An Arm and a Leg - Enis loses her right arm and eye to a malfunctioning firelance wand.
  • Background Magic Field - the world's magic runs on this, allowing for less-skilled spellcasters called adepts. The protagonist is an adept himself.
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  • Brainy Brunette - Dianthe Auvert/Annathea Vico. A self-taught adept, who patched up Bjorn when he was injured in an avalanche.
  • Came Back Wrong - Dianthe Auvert/Annathea Vico. Trying to save her from a mortal wound, Bjorn accidentally absorbed part of her soul (thing that often happens to necromancers trying to raise the dead), going mad for some time (he got better, though) and sending her into a state of Faux Death. A real necromancer, Sartorius Vico, brings her to life later, amnesiac and subconsciously seeking Bjorn to get the missing shard of her soul back and with it, her memories.
    • Loss of Identity - Annathea Vico. After Bjorn accidentally absorbs her memories, Dianthe is manipulated by Sartorius Vico's attempt of "restoring" her memories (in fact, feeding her with Fake Memories) and assumes identity of Vico's student and lover.
    • Embarrassing Tattoo - Annathea Vico. She has a necromantic seal (the Sigil of Scoran Daith) tattooed around the spear wound on her back by Sartorius Vico as a failsafe should she ever try to get away from him. Bjorn "disarms" it when he gives the missing part of Dianthe's soul back, but the symbol itself stays.
  • Character Title - in case you were wondering...
  • Conlang - boy howdy. Haernian, used for surnames and some geographical names, sounds like a mixture of Dutch, German and some English. Elven is mostly English made to sound like Gaelic, although with some references thrown in (ie. "saim" means "snake" and "hann" means "home", so Saim-Hann means roughly "home of the snake"). Imperial is based on Latin and Greek - Angelo's name is derived from "an celos", meaning "of the skies", with "c" being pronounced "tch". Also, most of this stuff gets improvised as the writing goes along and then edited for consistency.
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  • Dark and Troubled Past - Enis is afraid of using magic after a malfunctioning wand blew off her whole right arm and damaged her right eye. This doesn't stop her from unleashing a telekinetic storm around when scared. Also, when first introduced, she's a beggar.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight - Dianthe. It gives Bjorn a Heroic BSoD, made worse by his botched attempt to save her. She comes back, though.
  • Discontinuity Nod - at one point, Bjorn finds the katana Sarriss from the Black Harbor acquired halfway through her story.
    "From what I've heard they're pretty damn sharp and pretty damn rare, because no living Sung man is going to give his away. And, what's funnier, this one resonates."
  • Dr. Genericius - Sartorius Vico. An officially-trained mage, which makes him a doctor of magic.
  • Five-Man Band - slightly subverted, as even if they're The Hero's friends, they rarely appear as a band.
  • Knight in Shining Armor - Angelo, being a paladin and a Royal Assessor. Befriends Bjorn during one of his investigations.
  • Lady of Black Magic - Dianthe Auvert/Annathea Vico. After being messed up big time by her two lovers, she decides she'll do best on her own.
  • Magic Knight - Bjorn. In addition to his archaeological knowledge and mechanical skills (mostly based around lockpicking), he can handle a sword and some simple spells (night vision, instant KO punch, braking the fall with a magical salvo directed straight downwards, etc).
    • Full-Contact Magic - whenever Bjorn needs to rip a chunk of magic out of the environment and hurl it somewhere, he does so with a wide swing.
    • Ground-Shattering Landing - in The Black Tower, Bjorn causes this by launching a telekinetic salvo right under his feet just before he lands on the bottom of the magic node.
  • Magitek - mostly broken and decayed after six centuries of not being used. Ruins of old magical network towers litter the countryside (becoming convenient lairs for people who don't fear the anomalies that can do funny things to them) and ancient enchanted items either work properly or they don't - with sometimes disastrous results (see Enis' case above).
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - the Grave Wurm from (yet another) reboot story of the same title. It's a huge demonic zombie construct serpent. As in, made of corpses, bones and graveyard earth, powered by a summoned rampaging demon and looking like a snake the size of a subway train.
  • Our Demons Are Different - first, they're called the Condemned Souls, second, they can't do much on their own unless they possess someone - or are really powerful. And they have no bodies of their own, they're noticeable only as characteristic distortions in the Background Magic Field and communicate with people via telepathy.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same - played with. Dwarven women don't have beards, instead of underground lairs dwarves live in stone-walled forts (although usually with a sizable underground part), but they're still Proud Warrior Race Guys who have An Axe to Grind with goblins.
  • Our Elves Are Different - there are five elven tribes: dark-skinned High Elves who live on a large tropical island south of the Black Harbor, Dark Elves who look identical to High Elves but are way nastier and were exiled east to the fantasy counterpart of Africa, noticeably paler Sea Elves who live near or together with humans and are known as skilled sailors and traders, Wood Elves who live in forests and Snow Elves - living in stone fortresses in the mountains. With Dwarves.
  • Our Goblins Are Different - yeah. They're a fantasy equivalent of your typical barbarian horde - they raid or, if they're not numerous enough, steal.
  • Our Orcs Are Different - close to the Blizzard version, dark-skinned Proud Warrior Race Guys from the South, often falling victim to human and dark elven slavers.
  • Our Zombies Are Different, too - they come in two kinds: demonically possessed Revenants (type R) and mindless, automaton-like Servants (type V). And then, there's Dianthe coming back wrong...
  • Psychic Nosebleed - happens to Bjorn if he overtaxes himself using magic. In "The Black Tower" he gets one casting a haste spell.
  • Retcon - of Sarriss from the Black Harbor. A lot of things is taken from there, then hammered into new things.
  • The Right Hand of Doom - Bjorn's armored gauntlet (actually, the LEFT hand of doom). He uses it to deflect sword strikes and as a filter for magical energy for casting his spells.
  • Shout-Out - one of the scholars responsible for modern theory of magic is named Varsuvius of Boerloo.
  • Take That Me - author's low-paid government job is way more boring and doesn't allow any extra income "on the side".
  • Theme Naming - accidental up to Dianthe.
    • Alphabetical Theme Naming - see above. It came out purely by accident, with the exception of Enis, who was renamed from "Anis" to fit better.
    • Tuckerization - the first four are named after the author and his friends. Angelo and Bjorn are named after Pete The Paladin's and Not-So-Badass Longcoat's old D&D characters (although Angelo's surname is changed from the original). Collech derives from Dan The Barrel's surname. Dianthe Auvert is named after Blue Oni's old blog title (Green Carnation - "carnation" in Latin is "dianthus", and "au vert" is French for "in green").
    • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming - Angelo's surname, "van Logenswaard" means "Lakesword" in the fictional Haernian language and is a reference to the Arthurian myth. His name is actually less symbolic.
  • Thunderbolt Iron - Bjorn's sword is made from starsteel, an alloy of meteoric iron and trace amounts of mithril. Yes, magically crafted. No, not an Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Wizarding School - The Haern Royal College Of Magic.

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