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Literature / Twisted Cogs

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It is the turn of the 16th Century, and the world has entered a golden age of art, invention, and architecture. This veritable renaissance of literature and learning in Europa is suddenly thrown into overdrive when a chosen few “Stormtouched” begin displaying preternatural abilities. Torn between the age’s burgeoning love of science and the dark promises of magic, Europa has become a powder-keg of clockwork and sorcery.

Elena Lucciano doesn’t care about increasing mankind’s knowledge or exploring the mysterious workings of magic. Even though she herself is Stormtouched, Elena doesn’t have high ambitions. All she wants is for her mother to be proud of her, for her teacher to accept her, and to become one of the best artists in all of Italoza, content to ignore all thoughts of science and magic.

Unfortunately for Elena, the tides of invention and magic are sometimes not content to ignore those who ignore them

Twisted Cogs is written by Maddison Rose, and updates on Wenesday and Sundays.

This story provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Joanna is a textbook case of this, combining emotional and physical abuse to make Elena dependant on her approval.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Society as a whole sees Rhetors as this.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Mournin' Elena. You admitted to yourself that your a Rhetor yet?"
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Patchwork. Especially shown by how condescending he is to Elena.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Bea thinks so of Elena. It's why a Fabera like herself is accepted as a provisional garzoni.
  • Ban on Magic: Type A, since only Rhetors are banned from using their storm.
  • Big "NO!": Cross when Elena breaks her arrows made by Slug.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of book 1. Elena loses her position at her dream studio, and has gone through many Break the Cutie moments. However, she still isn't broken, has made new friends, learned more about her storm, and gets accepted at a brand new studio.
  • Bodyguard Crush: "Bodyguard seduced to get out of my rhetor mask" would be a better description, though they do both fall in love with each other later on.
  • Can't Live Without You: For any and all Echoes, though as we see later, it isn't the other way around.
    • Arta implies that a stormtouched so much as ignoring their echo is dangerous.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Arturo seems to have this trait.
    • The Casanova: Niccolo seems to be a real cassanova, but we don't really see it unless he's around Elena.
  • Clock Punk: Set in an era of magic and technology
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Lorenzo is like this, acting dazed and slow unless his Storm acts up.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In-universe example. All the garzona and studio's are determined by their colors.
  • Competence Zone: Despite being focused on mostly teenage/young adult characters, the serial seems to avoid the Improbable Age trope by showing that it is the grown artist in this zone, with the justification that all the young characters are inexperienced and need years of practice.
  • Court Mage: It seems that the country's court use to have them. But the second arc of book two shows that a combination of Batman Gambits and Traitors made the current King very paranoid about keeping Stormtouched at the court.
  • Deal with the Devil: None have been made (yet) but there is a song in the first chapter that seems to warn against this trope if you replace "devil" with "shadow" in the words.
  • Differently Powered Individual: Stormtouched
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first chapter tells you everything, and more, you want to know of Elena's mother.
    • Slug gets one, too. He paralyses Elena and talks about how he plans to torture her over the fact she broke his custom designed arrows, even when she didn't know what they were really for.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: The Prince (ruler) of Urbana is married to another man. Despite the story's pseudo-Renaissance setting not a single person seems to care, unless you count how the husband has the title of "Princess".
  • Familiar: The Echo is this to every stormtouched. Though it is shown that not every relationship is friendly. Some are abusive on one or both sides, some are more condescending, and some just simply indifferent with both sides ignoring each other.
  • Genius Ditz: Lorenzo. He's passive and ditzy until his Storm acts up, then he can explain things in detail.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Latin is used every so often. Justified since this Renaissance Italy, when Latin was the language of high class society.
  • Improbable Age: Despite the above mentioned Competence Zone, it is mentioned that Master Malatesta is closer of age to the 18 year old Elena than the other mostly middle aged studio masters.
  • Lady and Knight: A very twisted variant of this; while a rhetorguard is ordered to protect a rhetor with their life, if the rhetor tries to make any noise, the "knight" is charged with putting down his "lady" immediately.
    • In fact, in-universe the light and dark category are distinguished between those who do their duty and those who abandon their post/break the law respectively.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: No one tells Elena anything. It gets her in a lot of trouble. And it gets other people in trouble when she interferes.
  • Mob War: A neutral example. Every studio competes against the others for supplies and coins. Rules are set up to make sure it doesn't get bitter.
  • Only One Name: Averted and played straight. Played straight especially in regards to the names all the garzoni pick for themselves when going to war. Master De Luca says its for vanity.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Echos appear to be a variation of this.
  • Shining City: Downplayed with Milia, but it is the starting point of many Garzonas' dreams and is so shiny and well built that when Elena first goes there she thinks she is looking at the gates of Heaven.
  • Shout-Out: A not-so-subtle one is made to Norse Mythology in 3.1, when Isadora makes fun of Elena's attachment to her new weapon by calling it Mjolnir.
  • Tempting Fate: Elena before the Wham Episode
  • Wham Episode: Hoo boy. Slug is going to torture Elena for breaking his arrows, and Garnet is free and speaks to Slug.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Elena has this moment when she first sees the city in Urbana. Of course, being a Fabera, she's more concerned with the construction of the gate, but she still appreciates the architecture of the city.
  • Title Drop: Elena's dream.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: This along with being a nice girl is Elena's defining characteristic.