Within Ruin starts off as your typical adventure with a motley crew on a journey to save the country from a deadly plague. They spend their time fighting off hordes of assassins and seeking aid from neighbouring kingdoms. Then you find out the truth... Ultimately a very dark and melancholy romance.
Tropes present in this work:
- Always Save the Girl: Virgil towards Descarta and Ankaa. Not to mention the elves... save all the girls?
- Anti-Villain: Virgil turns out to be one.
- Bad Boss: Virgil violently murders two of his subordinates within the first few chapters
- Despair Event Horizon: Happens twice to Virgil first when Ankaa dies and then again when Almi and Merill are murdered.
- Driven to Villainy: The reason Virgil does all the awful things he does is because he lost his first love Ankaa during the battle against Kaen Morr. He's lived for centuries looking for a way to revive her. He is ultimately so scarred and changed that Ankaa herself no longer considers him her Kalthused. He falls in love with the soulless Descarta and continues doing evil to save her life, even though she hates him.
- Fallen Hero: Kalthused especially considering how far he has fallen.
- The Lost Lenore: Ankaa is a type A. Virgil grieved over her for centuries till he could barely remember her and falls in love with Descarta, the vessel he designed for her.
- Mooks: The series of assassins that come after the group.
- Replacement Goldfish: Descarta for Ankaa.
- The Reveal: About halfway through the novel we find out that Descarta has amnesia because sh was never real in the first place, just a vessel created by centuries old Virgil/Kalthused for the soul of Anka. He orchestrated the war, plague and invented the religion of the maiden all in an effort to harvest enough souls to create her and keep her alive. It drastically shifts the mood of the book and how the player views Virgil.
- Twin Telepathy: Almi and Merill not only share a psychic link but a soul!
- Villain with Good Publicity: Subverted by Virgil he intentionally cultivates bad PR so as to increased dissent and the number of deaths in the kingdom.