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“The eyes of the True King stand in judgement of the people of this world.”

The Reality Saga is a literary series written by Clint Morrow set in a universe that asks the question 'why do we exist?' We follow the life of Atolibus Sandrin, a man of many names – the man in white, the man in gold, and the man in black. Stratos Lumina. Champion, savior and destroyer.

The story of the first volume begins in the world of Syreal, amidst a set of nations known colloquially as the Ten Realms, with one in particular – Lothanis – sitting at the heart of all of it as both a governmental seat and the place where the oldest sorcerer known to man calls home. What first appears to be a mild annoyance soon balloons into a genuine threat, eventually leading to the burning of two worlds. An old lover named Elvina Elise, once one of the good guys, has decided to throw in with the dark side in a big way, leading the vicious Society of the Magus, once kindly scholars, on a world burning rampage that nearly succeeds.

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The story is complete and available at https://www.fictionpress.com/u/1065353/HeliosLumina entirely free to read. The rights to the story are copyrighted 2013 by Clint K Morrow II.


This series provides examples of:
  • Aerith and Bob – names like Sarcodus and Atolibus, Benton and Richter, etc etc.
  • Bigger Is Better – for the greater portion of the story our hero carries around a four foot long, seven inch wide white blade known as 'Elysdeon' (Shout-Out/Homage to Phantasy Star IV in name and Final Fantasy VII in depiction), usually referred to by others as 'that meat cleaver of a sword you carry'
  • The Chains of Commanding – one of the central themes of the story as a whole, just about everyone in a position of power is only there reluctantly at best
  • Darker and Edgier – as the series progresses, the main character and the setting continually grow darker and darker, with the final volume entitled 'Midnight' being set in a timelocked perpetual night. (Atolibus in particular, going from white to gold and finally to black)
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  • Earn Your Happy Ending – and how. Atolibus goes through hell from minute one, only to earn a little bit of happiness (and bittersweet happiness at that). The only thing saving it from a full on Downer Ending is the knowledge that at least the greater part of mankind will benefit from the sacrifices made by our protagonists, even if most of them never know who was responsible.
  • Eternal Recurrence – the entire series is the final version of a cycle that has been repeating over and again since the dawn of time, each time adjusting in minor ways, existence itself becoming more and more unstable until God himself has spent all of himself trying to get it right. It's implied that this is the last cycle, and either the universe will get to continue existing forever or suffer eternal oblivion.
  • Heel–Face Turn – a hallmark of the series. Most villains were either A) not under their own control or B) tragically misguided.
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  • High Concept – the entire series is essentially the creation myth told anew.
  • Gambit Pileup – with so many plates spinning in the air and so many schemes in the works it can become difficult to realize who is getting the best of who right up until the very end.
  • Dark Is Not Evil – Played With, Subverted, Averted and everything in between.
  • Named Weapons – Elysdeon, so named for being 'the Answer to the Question'.
  • Poor Communication Kills – another hallmark of the series, Justified in universe as anyone with secrets usually has a laundry list of reasonable causes to ensure said secrets remain just that.
  • Reality Ensues – every action no matter how great or small has consequences, some of them deadly. The whole thrust of everything past Volume I is essentially 'if I did this, what would follow?'
  • Recursive Reality – the entire premise of the universe in story.
  • Stable Time Loop – several are created in several ways, each leading back to itself.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist – nearly everyone falls into this category one way or another, chief among them our main character.
  • What the Hell, Hero? – Atolibus/Stratos is constantly getting called out for his mistakes and/or reminded of prior ones on a damn near daily basis.


Tropes listed by alphabetical order:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade – averted; Elysdeon is unbreakable, enormous and weighs about as much as a feather in Atolibus' hands but it isn't ever described or used as any sharper than any reasonably well-sharpened blade.
  • Action Dad – the True King; catches his infant son with a flying leap after Serena pretends he's a football instead of a baby.
  • Action Girl – that's Action Woman to you, and Elvina will have words with you should you forget. Schala and Kaetilia both qualify to varying degrees, as does Reia from time to time. In point of fact the list of females that aren't this trope is shorter.
  • After the End – the entire story could be considered this – it's the final cycle of a universe dying and being reborn over and over again. The glass-like city referenced in the distant north of Syreal counts as this, as it's an echo of a San Diego from 2025 where the universe died (unlike how Act IV played out)
  • All Lesbians Want Kids – averted; do Reia and Cecilia appear to give a single damn about childbearing? In a word, um, no. Not really, no.
  • Always Chaotic Evil – the Magus in all of their appearances, Corrin Malak in Act IV, the man is nothing but a psychopath with a lot of power and scary friends.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield – the Heart's abode, where everywhere there is darkness save where your footsteps fall, each step glowing with wispy magenta light.
  • Ancient Artifact – the Soul Egg, a legend only barely whispered, rumored to have immense power. (It does) The Walking Stone in Act II (Forgotten Phlebotinum)
  • And Here He Comes Now – Atolibus when Kaetilia and Serena return from the realm of the dead, again when he comes across Reia's murdered lover.
  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better – Altherion certainly has shades of this once he reveals himself to both Atolibus and the reader.
  • Apocalypse Maiden – yaaaay, our main character's love interest is back from the dead... oh wait, did she damage the walls of reality in doing so? What's that you say, everything is going to burn now? Fantastic.
  • Apocalypse Wow – Act II ends with Syreal burning along with its entire parent universe, the living and the dead alike.
  • Applied Phlebotinum – the strange white metal that shows up in Atolibus' weapon and the Soul Egg (both are fragments of the Heart of the Universe itself)
  • Apron Matron – how Richter's passionate, somewhat frumpy wife is always described; in a literal sense Maude in Act II.
  • Arc Words – either “The Great Question must be answered” or “What was, will be, and what will be cannot be changed.”
  • Artifact of Doom – the aforementioned Applied Phlebotinum items also handily qualify as this in the wrong hands. (Being formed of the essence of reality itself certainly does have a tendency to raise the dial on danger levels)
  • The Atoner – Elvina after her resurrection in Act II. All she can see when she thinks of her former days among the Magus is red pain, and she looks for any avenue she can take to make amends.
  • Audience Surrogate – early on Kaetilia, to a degree. When she's first introduced she's a bit more of the wide-eyed innocent than the woman she becomes later as the story darkens.
  • Background Magic Field – said to permeate the fabric of existence itself, the source of power that those possessing the Gift of Magic tap, divided into six Elemental powers – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light and Shadow.
  • Badass Abnormal – sort of the whole point of the series, really. Any main character that wields the Gift, the Magus, the Elemental Lords of Power, etc etc.
  • Badass Army – the army that the Remnants bring to Earth in Act III does nothing but stomp some serious ass.
  • Badass Cape – in full force in Acts I and II. (though technically cloaks) Eschewed for practical and aesthetic reasons afterwards.
  • Badass Grandpa – Fantus in Act I, arguably Richter, Sarcodus and lastly Ragnar in Act IV. Atolibus could be considered as such by virtue of his own bloodline sitting the throne in the capitol of the realm.
  • Badass Longcoat – Richter as described in Act II, Atolibus from Act III on, when he sheds the gold armor for black silk and an ankle length black leather coat that becomes his attire for the rest of the series.
  • Badass Normal – Richter until Act III, possessed of no magic to speak of but a fair hand with a sword and a quick set of wits. Benton is a borderline case – Gifted but very weakly so, he generally relies on his skills with the sword to keep his head atop his shoulders.
  • Barbarian Tribe – appears to be in effect with the men and women of Winterhaven late in Act II, but we very quickly find out that their apparent 'barbarism' is in fact merely the manner in which they've adjusted to a world that has gone from being inhospitable to downright murderous. (early on they consider the folk from Lothanis to be savages, strange people with weak steel but frightening magic)
  • Basso Profundo – Sarcodus in Act II. He really, really doesn't like it when people even suggest treason. An errant soldier observes that, at least with the King one usually knows which way he'll go at any given time. Sarcodus on the other hand was at least as dangerous and far less predictable.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames – how the story proper begins, Stratos rides in to save Brehnel in the very first chapter of Act I. The town is damn near a firestorm by the time he arrives.
  • Battle Aura – if you ever see Atolibus glowing gold or Elvina glowing black, run.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis – the Keeper over the course of the saga.
  • Because Destiny Says So – played straight with the greater bulk of Act I and parts of Act II, averted entirely in Acts III and IV, twisted, subverted and used to hell in Act V.
  • Berserk Button – Atolibus isn't always the most even tempered fellow on the best of days but he can generally be reasoned with. Infer that his wife might be in danger however...
  • Beware the Nice Ones – Lady Kaetilia Terwynn. Short, cute, good sense of humor until all hell breaks loose. Find the nearest hole and hide if you value your skin. Tsawehd or Brennan from Act V (though more of a Break the Cutie in their cases)
  • Beware the Superman – be-fucking-ware indeed, as Sarcodus explained to Benton in Act II with an impromptu demonstration consisting of crackers, cheeses, summer sausages and shoes.
  • Big Bad – Anestos (ie God himself)
  • Bigger Bad – Serena, an element of chance that cropped up due to Atolibus' strange nature. A bait and switch is pulled with Act V, we're supposed to believe that the Keeper's return is the danger when in fact it was his companion, our erstwhile traitor.
  • Big Damn Heroes – used multiple times, most notably when Kaetilia and Schala are being pulled out of the fire in Act I.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths – Altherion in spades. He walks around with a swagger bigger than John Wayne's and yet he spent fifteen hundred years sacrificing everything just so life itself might have a shot at going on for everyone save him. Passionate, determined to a fault and at times capable of tenderness and mercy.
  • Bittersweet Ending – Acts II through IV are absolutely built on this concept. Nothing ends terribly well for anyone and just about everyone is dead save a few that wish they were as well. The world and eventually the universe is saved but the cost was absolutely ferocious. Barely a hair shy of a fully Downer Ending.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy – absolute textbook example with Elvina and Gregor in Act I, both of them acting under Altherion's power and direction. Averted with Serena and Jael – their actions and goals are their own, for their own reasons.
  • Break the Cutie – Brennan in Act V, he begins the story as a young prince just learning his power, by the end of it he's had a lifetime of terrible things happen to him in short order. Averted with Kaetilia and Schala in Act I – both of them are subjected to torture and sexual assault only to come out stronger on the other side. Arguably Elvina as well, over the course of several hundred years.
  • Broken Bird – Lia in Act I due to what the Magus have done to force her complicity in duping Stratos.
  • Brought Down to Badass – Altherion after Act III. May not be a god anymore, may not have a tenth the power he did but the man is still capable of ruining just about anyone's day.
  • Busman's Holiday – how the story starts; Lothane had asked Atolibus to retrieve something for him in a small town a day's ride north from Castle Lothanis, specifically asking him to ride instead of simply opening a gateway. What does he find when he gets to Brehnel?
  • But Thou Must! – the whole story is one large defiance of this trope
  • Came Back Wrong – while we might think this is the case with Serena, Averted as it turns out all of her actions were completely of her own volition, working towards her own goals.
  • Cannot Spit It Out – Lia when she attempts to reveal the truth about who she is and who she works for to Stratos; magic binds her tongue from breaking her oaths to the Magus. Ends up costing her her life.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor – played with; Sarcodus claims that he has no head for ale but when we actually see him drink he manages just fine. Elvina muses that he either doesn't realize it or is fully aware and uses it to his advantage when necessary.
  • Cat Fight – averted. Any battles involving woman on woman typically involve either swordplay or magic being hurled between the two, no different than men.
  • Celibate Hero – averted. While Atolibus' bedroom exploits are never mentioned directly they do pop up from time to time offhand. Averted with Elvina and Richter.
  • Character Development – our hero starts off a bit pretentious and arrogant in his assumed mastery of his world and surroundings. Bit by bit that hubris is stripped away until in the end we are left with The Determinator. Also goes for Altherion, slowly revealed over the majority of the saga.
  • Chewing the Scenery – Elvina in Act I, her master in Act II.
  • Chivalrous Pervert – Sarcodus above all else. Is quite fond of the cleft and rather vocal about it, but won't hesitate to defend a woman's honor if need be.
  • The Chosen One – Atolibus rather Egregiously.
  • Collapsing Lair – what is hinted to happen after Elvina is struck down and the Shadow is cowed. Also an example of No Ontological Inertia.
  • Combat Pragmatist – Jael on his first meeting with Altherion, shown in Act III. He uses everything and anything he can get his hands on to keep distance between them.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror – to a degree Atolibus and even more so Sarcodus, but Altherion takes the cake here. Fifteen hundred years of nothing but loneliness, sorrow and regret and what does he do? Shrugs and keeps walking. Universes burn and he just keeps going. Rape, torture and mutilation are run of the mill in his day.
  • Cool Old Guy – in a strictly literal sense both Atolibus and Sarcodus, but in terms of someone who looks physically old one need only look to Master Ragnar Anderos. The Secretary of Magic in Act V also counts.
  • Cool Sword – Elysdeon. Four feet long, seven inches wide, crafted of an unknown white metal that weighs practically nothing in the heroes hands? Did I also mention that it's unbreakable and never needs sharpened?
  • Cosmic Plaything – Atolibus, full stop. His entire existence, from birth to present, has all been based around God getting bored with his Creation. And even that is meaningless, ultimately.
  • Court Mage – though his official titles are Regent to the Throne and Supreme Lord Commander of the Armies, Atolibus also fits this role in Act I. Played straight with Elvina as Grand Mage of Lothanis in Acts II and III.
  • Crapsack World – Syreal has remained perpetually stuck in the dark ages because a god has been watching over them and slapping their hands if they so much as breathe funny. There is a definite afterlife, but even that place consists of generous heaps of Nightmare Fuel and Eldritch Abomination. Nothing ends well for anyone, damn near everyone dies and those that do manage to make it to the other side are now carrying generous amounts of PTSD to keep them shivering at night. (YMMV – one could also argue that Syreal's relative stasis has less to do with a lack of innovation and more to do with the presence of functional magic. There's also a great deal of the world that we never see on screen, so this could be more of an assumption on the main characters' parts rather than literal fact)
  • Create Your Own Villain – zigzagged a bit, Altherion in the earliest drafts was a case of this but the modern incarnation of the story plays it differently – while the hero did hand him a chunk of power he was not in fact responsible for his creation, the two were created essentially as twins at the same moment, as a result of balance in magic. Played dead straight with Serena to devastating effect. Her entry into the realm of the dead was all part of Altherion's grand plan – a part she played willingly, no less. Her return to the world was allowed by the Heart of the Universe for... reasons?... bringing her to a time and place that she would not otherwise have likely lived to see... and putting her in position to get her hands on the Egg. Everything goes downhill from there.
  • Cultured Badass – practically an entire world of them before Act III, not quite so much after Syreal burns.
  • Damsel in Distress – played straight a time or two; Schala's rescue from Elvina certainly counts, while Stratos attempting to respond to this plays right into the Magus' hands and releases his psychotic other half.
  • The Dandy – Perwin in Act II before he sets aside his carousing to give his services to the Magery and the realm. Likes his fancy clothes and likes men to call him 'sweetums'. Also responsible for the 'Ducklings' moniker that he and his fellow raw recruits take for themselves.
  • Dark Action Girl – Elvina, Elvina, Elvina fucking Elvina. Her very first scene in story essentially has her flipping the bird to a thousand-year-old super wizard in his own damned castle. Even fighting with the good guys she's a scary motherfucker who takes absolutely no shit from anyone, not kings, not gods and not even Atolibus. Responsible for most of the showier bits of magic in Act III.
  • Dark Is Evil – the Keeper in Act IV.
  • Dark Is Not Evil – Atolibus from Act III on.
  • Death Equals Redemption – the Keeper in Act V. Averted by Serena – each time she dies she just comes back worse than before.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse – Lia at the end of Act I, she's apparently been spying for the Magus for some time and only escapes them when she forces Stratos to kill her before they can. Benton and Richter's wives and families in Act II
  • Deconstructor Fleet – the title of the series could just as well be Reality Ensues – The Saga. The first Act sets the stage using a general fantasy setting, but the second one... yeah.
  • Defecting for Love – Jael falling for Altherion and eventually being willing to do anything the man asks simply because he asked. Does not end well for anyone.
  • Defiant to the End – Kaetilia facing execution in Act I, subverted in her death in Act II, she doesn't know what's happening until she's dead.
  • Deflector Shields – of the magic variety but otherwise played dead straight.
  • Despair Event Horizon – when Lothane is killed for good in Act II, Stratos loses his shit and has to teleport far enough away from humanity that he can blow off some literal steam without accidentally killing anyone.
  • The Determinator – Atolibus consistently but Altherion even more so when we finally understand his goals.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - or, in this case, did you just cut the head off of the creator of the universe?
  • Die for Our Ship – subjective, but the argument could be made that the author kiboshed any chance of different/more interesting romances for the Hero out of sheer stubbornness.
  • Dirty Business – essentially everyone, though Altherion carries the lion's share for most of the story. Commits numerous atrocities that would have destroyed any likability he had were it not for the fact that it simply had to be done, regardless of cost or personal suffering.
  • Dirty Old Man – Sarcodus wouldn't have it any other way. Atolibus manages to have a handful himself in his later, darker years.
  • Disability Superpower / Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome – the True King in his modern form. Powerful? Without question. Mad? As a hatter and possessing just about as much self control.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin – the Soul Egg in Act I
  • Disposable Woman – partial subversion – Cecilia isn't shown doing a great deal before her grisly death but we learn shortly after that she was in fact quietly more important than most of the others knew.
  • Distressed Damsel – Kaetilia and Schala in Act I, rescued by Stratos after he gets his shit together.
  • Distressed Dude – played with in Act II when the attempted coup in Lothanis fails and Richter is pulled out to safety by his retainers.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That – said almost word for word by Sarcodus to Stratos in Act III
  • Doom Magnet – those who stick around our hero for longer than a moment have a tendency to end up dead or worse.
  • Doomsday Device – once again the Soul Egg in the wrong hands, Elysdeon in Act IV, a copy of the Time Egg in Act V.
  • Doppelganger – Atolibus has one in Altherion, Kaetilia has two in Reia and Serena, Benton had one that got himself killed during the Joining.
  • Double Entendre – Richter and Sarcodus are both fond of these.
  • Drama Queen – Elvina for most of Act I.
  • Drowning My Sorrows – Sarcodus and Benton in Act II, Benton for months on end until he gets his shit together.
  • Drugs Are Bad – avoided altogether – our hero is entirely immune to the effects of any kind of mind altering chemical or poison.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward? / What You Are in the Dark – our heroes save the world countless times, save millions of lives and ultimately end up saving the freaking Universe itself, and what do they get for their trouble? Usually just more work. Do any of them quit or step aside? Not on your life.
  • Dulcinea Effect – appears to be in full force in the beginning, but as the story develops and the characters flesh out we find that it isn't entirely the case after all.
  • Egg MacGuffin – the Soul Egg, natch
  • Eldritch Location – the Outer Dark, where there is no light but there are shadows that move. The realm of the dead and the Heart's abode also qualify.
  • Elemental Absorption – the driving force behind shields woven of power opposite what is heading its way.
  • Elemental Embodiment – The six Elemental Lords of Power are each the master of and represent their said Elemental in physical form.
  • Emergency Impersonation – Elvina having to impersonate Stratos in Act V while the Keeper has the younger version's body.
  • The End... Or Is It? - Act III appears to end normally enough, until the very last few paragraphs anyways.
  • Enter Stage Window – or rather Enter Stage Gateway, as often as they are used after the moratorium lifts post Act I.
  • Epic Fail – all through Acts I and II we've seen Stratos ultimately manage to either fight or think his way through every last thing he's come up against, surely he'll pull some solution to deal with Altherion out of his ass, right? Um, no. Not so much, really.
  • Establishing Series Moment – the first chapter of Act I, our hero riding in Big Damn Heroes style to save the day. Because despite everything that happens he is the hero, and this is what he does.
  • Et Tu, Brute? - Atolibus with both Serena and Jael; the latter having started hiding something and working for the other side partway through their relationship while the former had plotted betrayal before their relationship ever began. Prompts a bit of an Heroic BSoD.
  • The Eternal Churchill – Atolibus more than once, humorously enough not Churchill himself, however. The man is old, tired and generally reserved for a change.
  • Even the Girls Want Her – used playfully with Reia and Elvina in Act III, though not perhaps entirely relevant considering Reia is gay.
  • Everyone Is Related – not completely explored until further down the line but definitely at work. The family trees are... confusing, at the very least.
  • Evil Costume Switch – though more 'insane' as opposed to straight up evil, Stratos' change into the True King most certainly qualifies.
  • Evil Me Scares Me – Atolibus doesn't like thinking about his time as the True King.
  • Experienced Protagonist – a thousand years of experience, no less.
  • Exposition of Immortality – comes up a few times with Atolibus and some of the others, they occasionally mention events and people that happened hundreds of years ago.
  • Eye Color Change – eyes have a tendency to glow when the Gift is involved. Literal color change with Atolibus – they were silver as the True King, gold as Stratos Lumina.
  • Faceless Goons – a goodly portion of the Magus in Act I serve as this.
  • Failure Is the Only Option – the general thrust of Act II from the midpoint on.
  • False Innocence Trick – Jael, though we don't learn why and how until late in Act III. Serena in Act II and III also counts.
  • Famous Ancestor – William Lothanis the Fourteenth of his name is directly descended from the True King of old.
  • Fantasy Metals – aside from Elysdeon (not technically metal at all) completely averted. Average materials consist of iron, steel, bronze and brass with the occasional bit of gold and silver tossed in the mix, all possessing largely the same properties as their real world counterparts.
  • Fantasy Pantheon – of a sorts, you have the Heart of the Universe, the Keeper of Souls and the Elemental Lords of Power.
  • Fatal Flaw – Atolibus, and hubris of all things – after over a thousand years of uncontested mastery in Syreal his general attitude is to charge in headfirst and ask questions afterward. Altherion spends most of Act II and III demonstrating just how bad of an idea this is.
  • Faux Action Girl – Schala has shades of this. We know she's a Lord General, we heard a lot about her prowess and yet she's constantly needing saving... by men.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended – definite shades of this in Act III, everyone essentially goes their separate ways and remains so until nearly another hundred years have passed and half of those that survived the prior Act are now gone.
  • Females Are More Innocent – averted entirely; women in Syreal are no more prone to innocence or guilt than men. Serena serves a prime example – her duplicity existed before she even met Stratos.
  • The Fighting Narcissist – Altherion, you handsome devil you, can you stop looking at your own reflection and get back to hacking soldiers apart please?
  • Foregone Conclusion – the fate of the True King in Act IV, as well as Kaetilia.
  • Four-Star Badass – is Atolibus essentially a general? Aye. Can he slaughter entire armies in a single go or take down any swordsman that puts him to a challenge? Aye.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare – Elvina, once a young mage and lover of the Regent to the throne of Lothanis, an offshoot of a relatively powerless part of a fairly benign House that eventually damn near managed to conquer the known world. Serena also qualifies – not only does she end up hoodwinking everyone and plays a big part in Syreal burning, we find out eventually that she is the one trying to end existence.
  • Functional Magic – though not entirely center stage, magic in the world of Syreal is reasonably well defined and has very specific rules for both use and inheritance. The only rule breaking we really see is from Atolibus, and his is justified by the fact that his magic simply does not function the way a garden variety mortal's does.
  • Geographic Flexibility – avoided for the most part. Though the bulk of the story takes place inside Castle Lothanis, the surrounding area and general biome remain largely consistent until the whole thing comes crashing down.
  • Get Out! – Stratos after Sarcodus reveals the truth of his birth in Act II, there's a Sarcodus-shaped hole in the wall right afterwards.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom – the True King, of the quicksilver variety. Averted with Stratos – he has an eye color that no human could possibly possess but they are otherwise normal, possessing a sclera, an iris and a pupil.
  • A God Am I – played with, Altherion essentially behaves like one even though he never quite made it all the way. Anestos on the other hand...
  • God Is Flawed – hooooo boy is he ever, by Act IV the being that created reality wants to reset it and empty it of all humanity just so he doesn't have to deal with them anymore.
  • Godzilla Threshold – the only thing that keeps the ending of Act III a Bittersweet Ending instead of a full on Downer Ending is the fact that the consequences of failure were such that the price of victory was worth it, no matter how costly.
  • Good Is Not Nice – our hero in later years, especially after the fall of Syreal and his forced regeneration back into the persona of Atolibus Sandrin.
  • The Good King – shades of this with William even though we never precisely see what he does, but Stratos of a certainty in Act II and beyond.
  • Graceful in Their Element – Elvina is commented on regarding this, as well as the Hero.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple – played straight with Schala after her resurrection in Act II; the armor seems to have disappeared altogether. (this is also an Homage to Chrono Trigger and the character of Schala Zeal)
  • Grail in the Garbage – the broken Soul Egg in Act IV, the shards of the original in Act I.
  • Guardian of the Multiverse – played with throughout the series, particularly Act V
  • Guns Are Useless – played straight with Atolibus, subverted in Act III with Jael when he tries to stop a bar fight and is almost killed by three slugs to the chest.
  • Gut Punch – a few, notably: Kaetilia being murdered before her husband and mother's eyes in Act II, Syreal burning in Act III, Atolibus learning that one of the people he loved was in fact a traitor from the beginning in Act III.
  • Hanging A Lampshade – it is acknowledged time and again that the white blade Atolibus carries for most of the story is patently absurd.
  • Happily Married – Stratos and Kaetilia through half of Act II, before her untimely demise.
  • She Knows Too Much – averted – Serena actually lets Kaetilia live in Act III when her duplicity is discovered, despite the fact that at the moment Kaetilia was the only one who knew and, if killed, would have taken the secret with her.
  • He Who Fights Monsters – shades of this with Atolibus, played straight with Altherion and Sarcodus.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather – Atolibus very much adores his black trench coat, he's visibly chagrined when the first one is ruined in Act III.
  • The Hero – Atolibus Sandrin, full stop.
  • Heroic BSoD – Atolibus for a few months after Kaetilia's death, arguably in force in varying degrees for most of the rest of the series.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain – Altherion until the very end of Act III when we finally hear his side of the story.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard – Anestos and Malak in Act IV after their elaborate plot to seed the Gift in humanity not only does so but does it in a manner that renders that nasty tendency magic typically has to fry technology absolutely useless.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman – many of the Winterhaven lot, as well as the form Altherion prefers when going incognito. (with a healthy bust-line, as well)
  • House Husband – what Richter would prefer to be doing at any given time, no matter where he might be.
  • Housewife – Richter's wife Owena prior to her death. Mundane, untrained in any weapons or martial skills but devoted to her husband and the raising of their children. (generally directly together, for the most part)
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl – Atolibus and pretty much anyone he would ever potentially be with due to his particularly large physical frame (the man is 6'4" after all)
  • Humans Are White – averted, Richter's family originated in the west of the realm and are black as is Tsawehd.
  • Humiliation Conga – Stratos/Atolibus from mid Act II through damn near the end altogether. One thing after another just keeps coming up; the guy can never seem to catch a break.
  • I Have Many Names – in a bit of an inversion, a rare example of The Hero carrying around more than a few.
  • I Just Want to Be Free – Altherion, though as a mark in his favor he soldiers on regardless of the personal cost.
  • I Will Find You – Atolibus in every last Act at some point or another.
  • Iconic Item – Atolibus with Elysdeon and the gold armor in Acts I through III, the black trench coat from III through VI.
  • If It's You, It's Okay – Jael with Altherion. Though Altherion had always possessed an entirely libertine view of sexuality Jael had never been attracted to or aroused by men before the right one came along.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm... - Elvina and Schala to each other in mid Act II during their mutual Journey to the Center of the Mind.
  • Immortality Begins at 20 – played somewhat straight with Atolibus and his brother – both are described as looking perhaps 30 physically despite their actual age. Subverted with Sarcodus – it's been a slow process but he has physically aged since the Heart granted him limited immortality.
  • Immune to Fate – Atolibus by definition of the very essence of his being. The man is a walking random number generator just about everywhere he goes.
  • Impersonating the Evil Twin – though not so much evil at this point, Atolibus pulls this on the Keeper in the beginning of the final battle of Act IV to lure him into reach.
  • Info Dump – for the most part averted, though a few speeches and conversations do stand out somewhat.
  • Instant Expert – Atolibus at birth, Justified by the fact that he is the sum of the seven souls of seven masters alongside his own.
  • Iron Lady – Schala Winn: former Lord General of the Armies and general Stoic Badass Abnormal.
  • It Has Been an Honor – said almost word for word by Richter at the end of Act III, just before his death.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier – it absofuckinglutely never does.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold – an argument could be made for Atolibus, but it fits Altherion like a shiny metal glove.
  • Knight in Shining Armor – played absolutely straight in Act I, down to the shiny golden plate and massive black mare.
  • Knight Templar – shades of the twins but played completely straight with the Keeper in Act IV. The man went from a being that created light and life on a whim to a creature with a desire to condemn every single life form that had ever existed just to escape the madness.
  • Lady of Black Magic – partially played; though Elvina undoubtedly packs more firepower than just about anyone else she also happens to be more than fair with a sword. Case in point – going toe to toe with Stratos Lumina in Act I for longer than a few seconds without getting overwhelmed by sheer physical force.
  • Light 'em Up – Atolibus regularly wields the Light as a weapon of pure destruction, sometimes killing a single person, other times a hundred thousand.
  • Light Is Good / Light Is Not Good – Atolibus' primary strength is in Light and he's unquestionably the hero. The True King of Act I, however...
  • Lineage Comes Fromthe Father – not entirely straight, though present – while it is true that the line of Lothanis has always been kings from son to son, that has less to do with women in roles of power and more to do with the fact that the True King was their progenitor. Perhaps the one man in the world that has no mother or father.
  • Living Legend – Stratos as well as his true persona of Atolibus Sandrin, the man most folk knew as the True King.
  • Living MacGuffin – Elvina and Schala as the final fragments of the Soul Egg in Act I.
  • Living on Borrowed Time – Altherion in mid Act IV before finding his vessel and recovering.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine – played straight with Elvina and Kaetilia, subverted with Lia and Schala.
  • The Lost Lenore – how Atolibus regards Serena in Act I and II before finding out she was in fact betraying them from minute one.
  • Love Epiphany – Stratos in Act I when Lia tries to confess her betrayal, talking about Kaetilia.
  • Love Makes You Evil – Jael is willing to commit any number of atrocities simply because he loves Altherion and would do anything the man asked, even killing his own little brother.
  • Love Ruins the Realm – hoooooooley shit, does it ever. Act II – as a direct result of our Hero's actions the entire universe that contains the joined worlds of Syreal and Altaris is destroyed in screaming and fire.
  • Made of Indestructium – Elysdeon and whatever the hell our Hero's golden plate is crafted of.
  • Made of Iron – justified in that men and women with the Gift possess uncanny physical and mental healing abilities, up to and including trauma what would annihilate a vanilla mortal.
  • Magic A Is Magic A – largely played straight in general.
  • Magical Girl – hello, Kaetilia. Have we met any time recently? No? You've been too busy frying regiments and liquifying soldiers' eyeballs in their sockets? Ah. Sorry to bother you, keep right at it. And Elvina – what's that you say? You drew all of the water from an entire storm to crush an army under a single massive drop?
  • Magnificent Bastard – all over the place with at least a dozen characters having shades of it (including our Hero), but Altherion definitely takes the cake there. Fifteen hundred years of constant plotting and planning and scheming, with everything up to and including rape and torture/murder, all to put every piece into place just so... ultimately for the good of all mankind.
  • Mama Bear – Kaetilia in Act IV when Serena makes off with her first and only child. Papa Bear also counts for the True King as he arrives on the scene and makes a go at ending Serena for the same reason.
  • Man in White – Atolibus as the True King, Altherion from the middle of Act IV on after shedding the black.
  • Manly Gay – Jael. The man doesn't show any signs of camp, he's simply a man who is in love with another man. Same could be said of Tsawehd in Act V, though his is more of a case of Straight Gay.
  • Manly Tears / Men Don't Cry – averted on both counts, Atolibus' weeping is generally heartfelt and properly messy, and he does it more than once.
  • Mayfly–December Romance – arguably Elvina and Richter (she's over two hundred years old and he's about sixty), unquestionably with anyone Atolibus/Altherion/Sarcodus manage to come together with.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender – yeah, no. The numbers are roughly equal and for various reasons unrelated to their gender.
  • Might Makes Right – the True King's arrival on Syreal was punctuated by the man slaughtering a massive army all by his lonesome. Anyone who might have disagreed with that qualifying him for leadership would have likely kept their mouths shut for fear of the madness in his glowing quicksilver gaze.
  • Mind Screw – Atolibus and Altherion are created to fight an unknown rising darkness, which turns out to exist because... they were created.
  • Mind Rape – Altherion on more than one occasion (as well as the occasional literal rape), the very essence of the Heart of the Universe.
  • Missing Mom – holy shit does anybody here have at least one parent?
  • The Mole – Serena and Jael, the former having never been truly allied with the good guys in the first place while the latter was slowly corrupted by a charismatic god.
  • More Than Mind Control – it starts off looking like this might be the case with Jael, only to find in Act III that there wasn't even a shred of it to begin with – every action the man took was entirely of his own volition, and he's perfectly aware of the depth of his betrayal.
  • Most Common Super Power – averted; Kaetilia and most of the others are described as having 'apple-sized' breasts or thereabouts (if and when bust size is mentioned, which is exceedingly rare), while Elvina is almost completely flat. (though she's a bit more of an Amazon – she may be flat but she's also tall, lanky and very very fucking strong)
  • Mrs. Robinson – Schala is described this way in Act II; visible lines, tightness and permanent tanning but still in peak physical condition as well as being strong enough to twist a man's head around his shoulders a few times. Sexy.
  • Muggles Do It Better – played with, at first the people of Earth are damn near defenseless but as time goes by and technology grows they manage to hold their own using relatively mundane weapons – bullets and high explosives can eventually punch through a shield just like they can punch through metal.
  • Mundane Solution – how do you deal with the being that created the very universe you call home? Cut off his fucking head with a sword.
  • The Mutiny – briefly in Act II as Richter becomes Regent, part of one of Altherion's many, many arcane schemes. (also a metatextual example of What Might Have Been – it was a plot thread the author had originally planned on expanding upon before deciding to go in another direction)
  • Mysterious Note – left by the man in silver early in Act I Part I.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin – averted entirely; none of our female characters are virgins, none of them are particularly prudish and yet none of them are obliquely slutty.
  • Near-Rape Experience – horribly, horribly averted. Kaetilia, Schala and Ellaria all go through it at some point or another in a story 'verse where the Discretion Shot was never invented.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman – another patent aversion; Kaetilia has her reputation and skills through her deeds and the events in her life that she survived, while her mother was a Lord General of the Lothanis Army. Lord Generals aren't just made – they're born in fire and blood on the field of battle.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands – justified with Kaetilia in Act I, she's undergoing the battle trance and unlocking her magic the quicker and far more dangerous way. Also justified with Elvina and her time traveling in Act IV, it's foreshadowed in Act III before the Heart is destroyed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! – what's that you say? We fixed the Soul Egg and the world is saved, hi-diddley-hey? Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that you just unchained a mad god and set his power loose to rampage. Hope you didn't like living on that planet you all came from. Oops.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability – played straight with Atolibus and a few of the others occasionally. There does in fact exist an object that is insanely dangerous to him though, and he spends most days with it in a scabbard on his back or the aether surrounding him.
  • No Body Left Behind – Gregor in the end of Act I when Altherion murders him via pillar of black fire, there isn't anything left but scorched ground underneath. Also happens in Act I when Stratos first loses his shit and vaporizes an army of twenty thousand.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon – averted to hell and back again with just about every relationship in story, but Richter in particular would argue that point with you.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased – again, Richter subverts this. Elvina initiates their relationship and generally directs where things go.
  • Nobody Poops – briefly flirted with. There are the occasional mentions of 'calls of nature' but in general it's played straight.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore – Elvina to Altherion late in Act II, having been free of his mind control for some time.
  • Not So Different – a bit of a meta example, it isn't stated directly but Atolibus and Altherion are far more alike by the end of the saga than before – both have had to resort to extreme measures and have had to commit atrocity on a wide scale in defense of the whole of existence. Both are not averse to vaporizing large groups of men and women if it's necessary.
  • The Nth Doctor – the hero as Atolibus Sandrin/ the True King in white and Stratos Lumina in gold – they're the same person but they look different and have different personalities.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity – Anestos in Act IV. Does it seem a bit daft that he'd trust Altherion in the first place, let alone simply ignore the man and leave him to run around doing whatever the hell he wants? Newsflash – was well aware from minute one.
  • Off the Chart – hooooo boy. Our hero, our first primary villain, and the Hero's Superpowered Alter Ego. (considering how strong the man is just in his own right that's saying something)
  • Offered the Crown – Stratos a few times in Acts I and II, Richter once in Act II. (on a side note one of the man in gold's biggest pet peeves, to boot)
  • Offing the Offspring – what Serena tried to do in Act IV, foiled barely in time by the arrival of the True King and the others.
  • Official Couple – Stratos and Kaetilia
  • Oh My Gods! - minor example with the common Syreal euphemism 'God's eyes'.
  • Older Than They Look / Really 700 Years Old – at the beginning of the story the Hero is a little over a thousand years old and yet looks to be in his thirties.
  • Omnicidal Maniac – Serena after the events of the entire series leading into Act V, she desires a complete Cessation of Existence for herself and the rest of the universe along with her. (She nearly succeeds, and her own desire for un-being is granted after a fashion)
  • One Head Taller – just about everyone Atolibus is with by virtue of the man being 6'4” in nothing but his birthday suit.
  • The Only One – Stratos (until Act II)
  • Only One Name – Altherion, though it is revealed in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line in Act V that he does in fact carry the same last name as his brother.
  • Order Versus Chaos – a bit indirectly but true, one need only look at the Magus and the Ten Realms, or the difference between reality and the Outer Dark
  • Outliving One's Offspring – Atolibus, a fate he is doomed to no matter what he does by virtue of his immortality.
  • Parental Abandonment – Elvina by her mother, Atolibus and Altherion by the man that created them both.
  • Pet the Dog – regardless of all of the horrible things he has the other man do, Altherion's relationship with Jael is completely genuine.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements – in anyone else's hands Elysdeon weighs at least fifty pounds, less than a feather when Atolibus carries it.
  • Physical God – the Elemental Lords of Power have shades of this, as does the Keeper and Altherion. The Heart is a bit of a subversion – while it exists physically after a fashion, it only does so in one single place across the verse that isn't causally connected to the rest. Played straight with Atolibus.
  • Pillar of Light – used during sequences of vast power being consumed and occasionally when Atolibus loses his cool altogether. Largest example is when the True King's true abdication is shown at the very end of Act IV.
  • Playing Both Sides – is practically Altherion's middle name. (bonus points for being a good name for a band as well)
  • Plot Coupon – played straight in Act I but subverted later on when the proper nature of the Egg is revealed.
  • Posthumous Character – Richter's wife. Never once shown alive during the main plot era.
  • Power Glows – the citizens of Lothanis know that if the man in gold is glowing visibly it's best to get the hell out of dodge, out of the castle, the city, the nation even if possible.
  • The Power of Friendship – one of Atolibus' chief motivations for damn near anything, not the least of which pressing on even after watching his wife and his home world burn in a flash.
  • Psychopathic Manchild – Atolibus just after his first awakening. He's got the power of a god and the skills of seven masters of their trade but has absolutely no idea what constitutes acceptable social behavior. His first act is to try rummaging through Sarcodus' mind with no concept that what he's doing is essentially Mind Rape.
  • Punch a Wall – Atolibus has been known to shatter stone and mortar on occasion. Being able to repair said damage with magic makes life a little more tolerable to those around.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil – Elvina in the backstory, around two hundred years before Act I begins.
  • Precision F-Strike – played straight for most of the early story, fully on the other end of the scale from Act II on.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar – Richter would tell you that's utter nonsense while sipping something cold, deliciously fruity and reasonably alcoholic.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy – rammed home hard when Atolibus accidentally merges two worlds in a careless moment of power, also played with regarding gateways and timegates.
  • Really Gets Around – Richter in his backstory, in the days before the birth of his first son.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure – William in Act I. Calm, rational, thoughtful and always considerate of the little folk.
  • Redemption Equals Death – Lia in Act I, Altherion in Act III.
  • Regent for Life – Stratos from the day his first son began his reign until nearly a thousand years later when the last of his line is finally extinguished.
  • Reincarnation – in a manner of speaking covering Sarcodus, Kaetilia, Elvina, Schala, Gregor and depending on how you look at it even Atolibus himself.
  • Reluctant Ruler – Stratos in mid Act I and again in Act II when the crown is finally forced back into his hands.
  • Remembered Too Late – thanks to the Heart damn near everyone but Sarcodus stands out as particularly Egregious even by that group's standards.
  • Required Secondary Powers – stated directly in regards to the Gift and how it affects the mind and body.
  • Resurrective Immortality – the means by which Sarcodus is immortal – he can be killed but he always revives in a healthy, intact body. Sometimes centuries later...
  • The Reveal – Act II when we first meet Altherion directly and learn who and what he is. Also when Sarcodus and Reia discuss Atolibus' origins.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge – a few examples come to mind. Atolibus in Act I as the True King, slaughtering thousands upon thousands when his wife is taken from him. Altherion in Act III after Jael's demise also stands out, though his attempt leads directly to his death. (though in keeping with a proper Xanatos Gambit, everything was according to plan, even his death – especially his death)
  • Royal Blood – the Lothanis line, direct descendants of the True King and possessed of magic much like his for hundreds of years.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something – arguably William, unquestionably Atolibus and Kaetilia.
  • Saved by the Phlebotinum – Kaetilia at the end of Act I after Elvina dies and her mother gives her own life to complete the Soul Egg. (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! / Xanatos Gambit, good going guys)
  • Sealed Evil in a Can – Altherion and the Egg in Act I, his power having been sealed over 800 years ago by a desperate man trying to save his world regardless of the cost.
  • Secret Identity – Lady Therese in Act IV, a mask for....... both Atolibus and his brother.
  • Sequel Escalation – from the Ten Realms, to Syreal, to the entire reality, to all realities and finally to everything and every time, all that was, is and will be.
  • Shown Their Work – subtle but present; the watch Atolibus wears in Act III, one that is purely mechanical and therefore immune to magical fuckery. A reference to Rome in Act III also lines up with a specific performance of Turandot in real life 1955.
  • Slasher Smile – oh fuck does Altherion ever have a good one for Acts II and III.
  • Snark Knight – Sarcodus and Richter are both quick with a barb or a quip whenever possible.
  • Statuesque Stunner – the best description for Elvina. Tall, lanky, gorgeous.
  • The Sociopath – this is what Altherion appears to be without question until the end of Act III, when we finally learn what drives him. Everything the man has done or said thus far has been done without the slightest thought for how it might affect anyone else. Simply does not care.
  • Spanner in the Works – constantly, but first and foremost Atolibus in Act IV. What's that you say? Humanity has amazing technological wizardry and they can now throw fireballs without having to worry about frying any electronics for miles? Huh. Whoops.
  • Stable Time Loop – the entire series, after all is said and done.
  • Stopped Caring – Atolibus in Act III/IV until the very end.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge – Cecilia's death is a particularly vile example of this one. Jael's death also takes place in a similar fashion, with him being left alive in only the most literal sense, having had his mind scooped out of his head by Atolibus shortly beforehand. (Cecilia also falls into the territory of Xanatos Gambit because, in actuality, her death was unseen and painless – Altherion staged the rest of the scene in order to provoke the necessary response from Atolibus)
  • Summoning Ritual – what Serena is doing at the center of the realm of the dead in Act II. (She succeeds)
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes – or rather Supernatural Silver Eyes with Atolibus
  • Surprise Incest – Elvina and Gregor, who in a previous life was Androsaren Elise, her father.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy – gateways as they are described in-universe, holes in the air that allow instant travel anywhere the mage is familiar enough with. (Shout-Out to the Wheel of Time)
  • Take a Third Option – Atolibus lives on this concept, as he embodies the essence of Free Will itself. There's always another way.
  • Teacher/Student Romance – of the positive variety, neither Atolibus nor Elvina force themselves on one another in her youth. They come to a mutual affection for one another having gotten to know each other for some time and having been comfortable in their presence.
  • Temporal Paradox – by nature not even normally possible, almost happens when time itself is broken and bleeding.
  • Temporary Love Interest – poor, poor Lia. Never stood a chance; prophecy is a bitch.
  • The Three Faces of Eve – used in a rather twisted fashion between Kaetilia, Reia and Serena. (especially considering that they all look damn near identical to one another)
  • There Are No Therapists – none whatsoever. The Gifted get away with it because the nature of magic itself protects their mind from long term damage, but being a mundane plain sucks.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself – patently averted; Sarcodus explicitly tells Atolibus that under no circumstances is he to fight alone in Act I, even going so far as to tell Schala and Kaetilia to make sure that doesn't happen in the first place.
  • Time Marches On – relentlessly, with definite shades of Who Wants to Live Forever? regarding the Hero.
  • Token Lesbian – averted. Though there aren't very many homosexual relationships each of them is portrayed in no different light than any other, even considering Altherion's proclivities.
  • Took a Level in Badass – Kaetilia from the very beginning all the way through to the very end.
  • Tranquil Fury – Atolibus' modus operandi
  • Transformation Sequence – occasionally, most notably when Stratos finally fails to contain the greater part of his strength and erupts with light as the True King in Act I.
  • Unable to Cry – Stratos for a fair length of time after his wife is killed by his own twin in front of his eyes, helpless to do anything but watch the horror unfold.
  • The Unfair Sex – Lia attempts to invoke this just after Kaetilia comes onto the scene; unfortunately for her Stratos makes no attempt to claim any more responsibility than what rightfully belongs to him.
  • Undignified Death – the assassin that takes out William also ends up getting a knife blade from said king shoved through his throat just before William expires. His death is less quick and far messier.
  • The Unfettered – what Atolibus has become after Act III. Lying to every last person around you? No problem. Assassinating a few individuals and mind raping others simply to maintain your cover? Meh. Murdering children to further your goals? All in a day's work if it gets the point across.
  • Unflinching Walk – when Stratos steps out of the castle gates with sword in hand just before losing his mind and becoming the man in white once more in Act I.
  • Up to Eleven – what happens when a laundry list of suffering finally pushes the man in gold past his breaking point.
  • Unspoken Plan – just how were they planning on stopping Anestos in Act IV? Let me show you... after it's all ready triggered.
  • Unwitting Pawn – Elvina and Gregor to Altherion in Act I, Atolibus to Altherion in Acts I through III, everyone everywhere to the Heart of old.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means – depending on one's perspective Anestos makes a good example for us, considering that in his own mind he is planning to make the universe a more perfect place... without humans or pesky half-gods to get in his way, of course.
  • We Are as Mayflies – humanity compared to Atolibus or the Keeper/Elemental Lords/Heart, the latter three existing for a minimum of a few quintillion years or so.
  • We Used to Be Friends – Elvina, two hundred years before the beginning and her Start of Darkness.
  • Wham Episode – the True King in Act I, the Joining and Altherion in Act II, at least two in each Act.
  • Wham Line – 'Your brother, old man, and so much more'. 'Oh, I can think of one person who would...' 'Did you really think I trusted you?' 'How do you open a door that isn't there?' 'Oh dear gods. It's him. The boy. He's Atolibus reborn'
  • What the Hell, Hero? – said almost verbatim in Act IV when we learn that our dashing Hero just murdered the President's child right before his eyes.
  • Where It All Began – the denouement of Act III is set where Atolibus was created in the first place.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever? – shades of this with Atolibus and the Keeper, played straight with Altherion.
  • The Woobie / Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds – Altherion of all people. After everything the man has been put through and his done he still comes off as one of the most tragic characters of the lot of walking messes, desiring nothing so much as a single day of happiness in a sea of absolute suck.
  • Working with the Ex – Atolibus and Elvina from early Act II on, after her death and subsequent return.
  • World-Healing Wave – the general effects of piecing the Soul Egg back together at the end of Act I.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl – averted, ask Atolibus and Altherion about that and watch both of them stare at you blankly before laughing their asses off.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit – Serena in Act IV when she first shows herself to Kaetilia, begging for help before trying to kill Altherion with his own sword.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside – inverted in Act V with the timegate Elvina uses to arrive and send her past self a signal. She's in for minutes and pops out four years earlier.
  • You Already Changed the Past – any form of mucking about with time prior to the end of Act IV; in the words of Elvina 'I hate time travel'.
  • You Can't Go Home Again – especially when 'home' doesn't even exist as a crater anymore.
  • You Can't Fight Fate – defied, averted, played straight and beyond, it's the central theme of the story
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness – Altherion when he rams his sword through Serena's chest not sixty seconds after she manages to free him from the Egg and allow his plans to progress.
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