Dreams of the Dying, part of a larger series called Every Day Like the Last, is an ongoing fantasy and horror Web Serial Novel set in the Vyn universe, the world of the total conversion mod Enderal. It's penned by Nicolas Lietzau, who also wrote the story of Enderal and explores the past of Jespar Dal'Varek, one of the game's protagonists. Though it's set in the same universe, the book doesn't require knowledge of the game.
Set eight years before the events of Enderal, Dreams of the Dying follows Jespar to Kilé, an ultra-capitalistic island nation. Due to a controversial decree that essentially privatizes every bit of land, it's on the brink of a civil war, spearheaded by a terrorist organization called the Scythe.
Jespar himself, plagued by PTSD-esque nightmares, learns that he has been hired by the island's most powerful merchant king's wife herself and that her husband has fallen into a magical coma of unknown origin, putting the already fractured stability of the archipelago at great risk.
Together with a traveling healer called Lysia Varroy, Jespar is tasked to find Kile's last dreamwalker - a psychic capable of entering another person's dream - in order to enter the merchant king's mind and find the reason for behind his curse.
This series provides examples of:
- Classical Antihero: Jespar doesn't have many traits of a classic hero - though he rarely acts on his views, he appears as rather cynical, doesn't possess superhuman strengths, consumes drugs on a regular basis, and is promiscuous (brothel visit)
- Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Though Jespar isn't a jackass, travelling healer Lysia appears more caring, empathetic, and altruistic
- Invented Linguistic Distinction: "Inâl" is the lingua franca of the Vyn universe, and Jespar often describes the Kiléans as speaking their own version of it, using creole phrases and a distinguished accent
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Jespar describes Lysia's accent as: "There was no discernible accent in her Inâl, but there was a singsong quality in how she pronounced the syllables".
- Everybody Smokes: There's a lot of smoking going on, though not classical tobacco rather than a drug called "nightflower"
- Action Girl: Lysia isn't a fighter, but shows considerable combat skills when fighting back a Scythe terrorist on Yuva..
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Though the novel tries avoiding this by adding female combatants in the action scenes, more men die in the story - at least up until the point of writing this.
- Dirty Business: Jespar shows regret after several fight scenes, [spoiler: particularly the one in Yuva.]] At the same time, he states that it was necessary.
- Action Survivor: Though this could apply to Jespar (he's in over his head in most combat scenes), this description fits Lysia, a healer with mediocre fighting skill, quite well.
- Appeal to Tradition: in a conversation with Jespar, Zagash Enkshi, the First Magnate's counselor, tries to justify Kilé's injustices by stating that it's always been this way.
- The Fatalist: This applies to "the Boy's" father. after he pushes his son's head under water for suggesting a scam to help them out of poverty, he repeatedly says, in an attempt to justify his own perceived failure, that people like themselves aren't made for greatness. Ending with: "Theres a place for people like us, son. Always remember that. Sometimes you just have to accept the hand life dealt you."
- Artificial Limbs: Zagash Enkshi is revealed to have two metallic legs.
- Prosthetic Limb Reveal: In their discussion about the social injustice in Kilé, Lysia asks Zagash Enkshi if he, coming from a rich family, ever had to struggle. In response to this, he dramatically knocks his legs against one another to reveal his prosthetic limbs.
- Lovable Rogue: With his somewhat questionable morals and cynical worldview, Jespar fits this description quite well.
- Parental Issues: Jespar had an extremely conflicted relationship with his father, a judge with stalwart principles. The "Boy" did, too.
- Only in It for the Money: After Ma'saa Oonai reveals the reason for her decision to hire a non-descript sellsword like Jespar, he resolves to take the job for the money.
- Deuteragonist: Early on in the book, the story shifts to a second POV which introduces "the Boy."
- Abusive Parents: Though it's not clear if Jespar's father ever mistreated him directly, the Boy's father's violent outburst is a textbook example of this trope.
- Because I Said So: The entire dialogue between the Boy and his father.
- I Am Not My Father: Jespar clearly rejects all his deceased father stands for. Though the irony of Ma'saa Oonai hiring him for the noble deeds of his father isn't lost on him.
- Industrial Ghetto: The bleak island-city Yuva, constantly covered in a greenish fog caused by ore mining, fits this description.
- Adventures in Comaland: The First Magnate's wife, Nayima Oonai's idea to save her husband is to find a psychic who can help Jespar and Lysia navigate through her husband's comatose dream - in hopes of finding a way to wake him.
- Ominous Fog: When examining the First Magnate, Jespar and Lysia notice an ominous fog covering his eyes that is directly linked to his declining health.
- Curse: According to the First Magnate's wife and his counselor, his coma (and the preceding change in personality) is caused by a curse.
- Body Horror: The book starts with a nightmare where Jespar is being trialed by a corpse, whose skin begins to melt off like "hot wax" in the process.