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Visual Novel / The Crown & the Flame

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Left to right: Kenna and Dominic
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The Crown & the Flame is part of a series of Visual Novels by Pixelberry (of High School Story and Hollywood U Rising Stars) for iPhone and Android, released under the app title Choices: Stories You Play (you download the app and have access to multiple distinct visual novels).

The story follows Kenna Rys and Dominic Hunter after the fall of the former's kingdom. Kenna, now exiled, must survive long enough to build an army to take back her kingdom, while Dom helps in any way he can while hiding among the kitchen staff of the new usurpers.


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The Crown & the Flame contains examples of...

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     A-M 
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Golden Mountain Fang. Sharp enough to cut through Prince Marco's guards' reinforced armor.
  • Action Girl: Kenna, of course, as well as Val and a couple of other women.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Whitlock loves the mechanical Minotaur in the Technocrats' labyrinth, even if it is currently attempting to smash you all.
    • It helps that he was the one who created it.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Dominic's hawk is surprisingly affectionate for a solitary bird of prey.
  • All Deaths Final: While there's magic in the setting, there doesn't seem to be any way to bring back a dead person. It isn't even mentioned as a legendary possibility or forbidden technique.
    • The only person who subverts this trope by using her own magic is Azura, but only in your first encounter with her to bring a wolf pup back from the dead.
  • Allegedly Free Game: It's very difficult, or possibly impossible, to get the best endings without spending diamonds. As the amount you're given at the start of the game is paltry, covering one or two choices at best, you're left trying to Earn Your Fun, which is impossible due to a lack of sufficient chapters to earn diamonds by reading (even reading the other titles in Choices won't get you enough to complete a single game). So, yes, you can play for free, but good luck getting that Golden Ending by your own wits.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Hawkie is capable of finding Kenna wherever she is in the world. Never mind the fact that asking a hawk to carry a message is generally a bad idea; they're not pigeons.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Whitlock had his hands cut off as punishment after he rescued a barn full of villagers that the Nevrakis army had intended to slaughter. In the present day, he has mechanical arms and hands.
  • An Axe to Grind: Paying diamonds allows Kenna to pick up a gear axe to use against the mechataur, as well as the final battle. Severin dual wields axes into combat.
  • Anyone Can Die: Kenna and Dominic are safe, since the game is told from their viewpoints, but anyone else is fair game for The Plot Reaper.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The mercenaries have a saying: "The strong lead. The weak bleed." If you want their support, you've got to beat their leader in a fight.
  • Badass Army: Kenna is trying to build one; how successful she is depends on your choices.
  • Badass Normal: Kenna and basically everyone allied with her.
  • Battle Couple: The cover art depicts Kenna and Dom as one, complete with Back-to-Back Badasses. Whether or not they become an actual couple or just Bash Brothers is up to you.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Book 3 Chapter 4 has Dom being brainwashed by Hex to raze Aurelia to the ground in dragon form. How much of it you destroy is based on how much you resist her control by finding the good in the memories you're made to remember, as well as paying diamonds to fight against shadow forms of Rose or Sei.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted: Kenna and her entourage meet a bear in the Aurelia Mines. Paying diamonds allows you to recruit it, whereupon it becomes a loyal ally.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Aurelia is especially built around this, though almost everyone in the story is at least marginally attractive.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Kenna spends two years training in a monastery hidden inside ancient ruins and then begins a rough-and-tumble journey around her kingdom, getting into more than her fair share of fights. You wouldn't know it from looking at her.
  • Beneath Notice: The Nevrakies believe servants to be little more than furniture. Dom encourages this, since it makes life easier for him; nobody expects the simple servant to be capable of doing anything but what they're told.
  • Bi the Way: There is a route for Kenna to seduce Annelyse and Val, making Kenna fall into this trope. The other two are either badass gay or badass bi.
    • There is a route where Dom can seduce Jackson, who canonically had a wife and kid who died making him this as well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Book 2. Kenna and her allies managed to defeat Luther in the final battle and free the Five Kingdoms from tyranny. However, in the process Dom was captured by Hex, who plans to use him against Kenna.
  • Blade on a Stick/Bling of War: The Golden Mountain Fang. High prestige or paying diamonds allows Kenna to suit her entire army with them.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Gabriel is supposed to be Kenna's bodyguard, but she's more capable in a fight than he is due to age. He's undyingly loyal, however, and she thinks of him as a father figure.
  • Boobs of Steel: Kenna has a larger bust than her own mother and is much more skilled in a fight. Val is about her equal in both measurements.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Premium responses cost a certain number of diamonds, usually in the neighborhood of 20-25. These responses often add quite a few points to your army score, which determines how successful your final battle will be. Diamonds can only be gotten by reading new chapters (rereading doesn't count), or by paying for them. Given that a single book contains less than twenty chapters, you'll eat up your diamonds far faster than you could ever earn them, leaving payment as the only viable option.
  • Bullfight Boss: The battle with the mechataur in book 1 chapter 13 is this with Kenna making it charge into a wall and then attacking it.
  • Burning with Anger: Sei tells Dominic that his fire powers are stronger the angrier he becomes, but not to let it get too strong that it burns him up as well.
  • But Thou Must!: A couple of the choices are largely arbitrary in the moment, though the consequences may later affect you.
  • The Casanova: Dominic is a shameless flirt and, if rumors are to be believed, has had no shortage of willing young ladies.
  • Childhood Friend: Kenna and Dominic have been extremely close since childhood, despite their disparate social statuses; Dominic also grew up together with Rose and Trystan, being closer in social standing.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dominic has no shortage of female fans, and makes no bones about being fond of them as well, but is genuinely nice behind it all.
  • Cool Pet: Dom and his hawk later a phoenix. Later on, Kenna and her bear.
  • Decapitated Army: If you are able to get to Marco and choose to kill him, informing his soldiers of this fact will instantly cause them to surrender.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: When you meet Severin, he's eager to sell Kenna to Prince Marco, dead or alive. After beating him in combat and sparing him, he swears his loyalty to her.
  • Double Weapon: The Kor-Kitar is one of these, though you need to pay diamonds to unlock it.
  • Drink Order: When partying in the Gilded City, you have the option of knocking back a stiff drink or two or just sticking to milk. If you're willing to pay diamonds, you can also get into a drinking match with your soldiers.
  • Drop the Hammer: In book 2 chapter 5, you have the option of giving Kenna the Wave Hammer, an intricately carved warhammer Kai makes for the rebellion.
  • Due to the Dead: The castle servants hold a secret funeral for Trystan and Rose's mother. It has to be secret, since the Nevrakies wouldn't take kindly to having a traitor fondly remembered.
    • Book 3 Chapter 3 has Kenna and her party hold a funeral for Leon after his death by Empress Azura.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • The Nevrakies take to referring to Kenna as "the Fool Queen", foolish for thinking she can retake her throne. Kenna herself is not amused.
    • Trystan refers to Dominic's hawk as "Hawkie". Judging by Dom's response of, "I told you, he only answers to Hello, [Insert Name Here]!", he thinks it's embarrassing.
    • Raydan can give one of Azura's soldiers a nickname in Book 3, with the default "Toady". The soldier repeatedly tells Raydan to stop calling him that but dies before he can reveal his real name.
  • Enemy Mine: At the end of Book 2, Kenna and Luther Nevrakis have become allies in order to effectively fight against the Iron Empire who plans on invading the Five Kingdoms.
    • Book 3 episode 5 has Kenna throw a dinner between herself, Luther, Zenobia and Florian to recruit them as her allies.
    • A premium choice also allows the player to recruit Hex after she surrenders.
  • Epic Flail: The Deadman's Flail which you can get for diamonds during Kenna's fight against Severin.
  • Emperor Scientist: The Technocrats are a hidden steampunk society of geniuses, lead by the cleverest. Their leader's home is less a throne room and more a laboratory-blacksmith hybrid.
  • The Empire: The Iron Empire who's considered such a big threat that King Luther staged a coup just to get forces to fight against them.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Nevrakies seem to get a great deal of amusement out of beating their servants for any perceived slight.
  • Eye Scream: Princess Eloise, Kenna's aunt, revealed the secret entrance to the palace after having her eyes gouged out.
  • First Girl Wins: Kenna can be this to Dominic in the series.
  • Forced Marriage: Prince Marco forces Annelyse into marriage to conquer Aurelia.
  • Gay Option: Kenna can pursue a relationship with Annalyse of Aurelia. In Book 2, Val is also promoted to Love Interest.
    • Dom can pursue a relationship with Jackson.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: If Kenna sneaks a dagger into Aurelia, she gives one to Prince Marco in Chapter 9.
  • Got Volunteered: The Nevrakies force able bodied men to join their army or watch their loved ones die. Whitlock was in this situation before escaping.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Kenna and Dominic have their names already decided, but you're free to chose the name of Dom's pet hawk. If you pay diamonds, you also get to name a bear you recruit in the Aurelia Mines.
    • Hope you remembered what you named "Hawkie" in book 2. That allows Dom to call his spirit back as a phoenix.
    • Book 3 allows you to recruit a wolf pup. The default name for him is Sparky.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Kingdom of Aurellia. The Foundry is this as well.
  • Honest Advisor: If you bring in the mercenaries, Val will eventually become this when she's promoted to your captain of them. Yes, she's snarky and hardly as capitulating as one would expect a commoner to be in the presence of a queen, but she's fiercely loyal.
  • Hypno Trinket: Book 2 chapter 4 has Hex using one of these on Anton, a fire wielder like Dom and Sei, to obey her commands.
  • Improbable Age: Whitlock looks to be about 14, but Val says she's seen boys much younger than him who could easily kill you (and is therefore suspicious of him, unlike the rest of the party, who take him as an innocent boy). He turns out to be the leader of the Technocrats.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: After winning the battle in Book 1, Kenna and her allies know full well they have to eventually deal with King Luther.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Adder has Kenna infiltrate a ball being held by Princess Zenobia to steal a sapphire necklace as a test. It turns out Kenna was just a distraction so Adder and her gang could rescue several prisoners from the dungeon, including her mentor.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The are multiple opportunities for Kenna to wear fancy dresses; nearly each and every time, there's an action scene immediately following. It's no wonder she prefers to wear her usual armor.
  • Kill ’Em All: The Nevrakis coup in Chapter 1 has many of the visiting nobles and their children killed by them.
  • King Incognito:
    • Kenna spends at least part of her time trying to keep her identity a secret until she's sure that the person in question is trustworthy; when you've got a bounty on your head, it's not wise to proclaim your identity to the masses.
    • She also slipped away from the castle once as a girl in order to take part in a town festival.
    • In Season 2, she has to infiltrate into Zenobia's party. The options are as a masked guest (which costs diamonds) or as a kitchen maid.
  • Language of Magic: Ancient Irithi, the tongue of Empress Azura is used as both a language and several verbal commands. While the language itself has no known rules and seems to be based primarily off random syllables with glimpses of the Grecian language, Empress Azura has been using it to drain the lifeforces of others to expand her own lifetime and amplify her powers.
    • Strangely enough, Irithi is shown to not have any preference for who uses it, unlike many other magical languages in other media. Because of this, the main characters are able to use it to their advantage.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: In Book 2 if you have Val in your party, she's sent in to spy on Princess Zenobia as a handmaiden. She wants to never think about this mission ever again.
  • Loyal to the Position: The castle staff are kept alive by the Nevrakies, since they're viewed as competent enough to cook and clean but not competent enough to pose a threat. Dominic takes advantage of this by pretending to be a member of the kitchen staff and not letting on that he knows how to wield a sword or has started developing magic powers.
  • Magnetic Hero: Kenna tends to win people over by making Rousing Speeches.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Princess Zenobia is glad one of the nobles came to her party after her husband was killed in a..."hunting accident."
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Dominic's torso is covered in what appear to be burn scars, but are in fact markings which denote his fire-wielding abilities.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The screen at the beginning and end of each chapter even includes a map that greatly resembles Europe.
  • Men of Sherwood: Many small bands roam the land and can be recruited to your cause if you make the right choice. Some are former castle soldiers still loyal to your crown, while others are mercenaries and more loyal to money or power.
  • Multiple Endings: But of course. The endings vary greatly depending on who you recruited, if Kenna and Dominic are in a relationship (with each other or with one of multiple options), and if you were able to retake Stormholt.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Trystan is not happy when he discovers Rose is in love with Dominic, as he's aware of Dom's reputation with women and doesn't want to see her hurt. After their mother is killed, he's afraid Dominic's plans will get Rose killed as well, giving him another reason to stand against their relationship. His fears can turn out to be correct if you make the wrong choices.
  • Nasty Party:
    • At the start of the game, Kenna's mother throws a grand ball in a bid to form an alliance between the Five Kingdoms. Unfortunately, the king of Abanthus (Luther) had the grand idea of sneaking in his army and slaughtering every noble from every kingdom.
    • The party at the Gilded City is in fact a distraction to keep you busy while Marco's army arrives. No one actually dies at the party, however; it would be difficult to publicly execute the Fool Queen and her foolish supporters if she died behind closed doors.
     N-Z 
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: One appears in book 2.
    Stormholt Soldier: Queen Kenna, you'll want to take a look at this.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: In book 1 chapter 14 when Kenna says breaching Castle Stormholt is impossible, he says this.
    Never tell a Technocrat that something is impossible. Then we're obligated to prove you wrong.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Kenna is always polite and civil no matter the other party's social status, unless you threaten her or someone she cares about; at one point, she mentions the Old Laws as part of the reason why she takes offense to Marco punching Tristan, so apparently the law of the land is to be kind to those beneath you.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If you choose to run away after Leon offers you to flee the fight with Severin, Kenna and Gabriel will flee, and Kenna will try to get more allies, but fail, and years later, she and Gabriel live as commoners in a village.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: To go along with the Nevrakies, Dom tells Marco that he thinks the Iron Empire is where they get their iron. Of course anyone who's paid any attention at all knows that the Iron Empire is constantly threatening to invade the Five Kingdoms and is their greatest enemy, but he's supposed to be a simple servant; knowing anything other than how to cook is beyond him. This tricks Marco in to talking about his plans in front of Dominic, so he can send word to Kenna.
  • Official Couple: Kenna and Dominic. He's in love with her at the beginning of the story, but whether she returns his feelings or if he continues to love her are up to you. Note: You can choose to make it so they were only ever friends, but most players don't go that route.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Nevrakies have this reaction not only to your pet bear, but also to the mechataur.
  • Oh My Gods!: People often swear by the gods, plural, and occasionally make references to multiple variations on the two standard afterlife choices.
  • Old Retainer: Gabriel has been with the royal family since before Kenna was little; he practically raised her.
  • Out of Focus: Tevan is this if the player chooses to save him. Out of all the Love Interests, he is the one with the least amount of romantic scenes with Kenna since Book 1, which is glaringly notorious when compared to Diavolos Nevrakis, who debuted in Book 3.
  • Pet the Dog: In many cases, treating well an animal or another person will give an amazing ally for the final battle.
    • If Kenna choses to heal the bear's paw, it will become incredibly loyal and useful, since her claws can cut through armors.
    • Dom's love for his pet hawk will bring it back from the Spirit World as a flaming phoenix.
    • Val finds a baby kraken in Hex's lab destined to be experimented on. If she chooses to save the kraken, she sets it free before the battle to keep it safe. The baby returns in the middle of the battle with its mother.
    • Book 3 has the option for Kenna to take in a wolf pup. It receives modifications from Whitlock to give it a new leg and be able to speak human.
  • Playing with Fire: Dom soon discovers that he has a very unusual ability to make flames do his bidding.
  • Power Perversion Potential: If you have Dominic and Kenna as a couple up to Book 3, they can potentially have an intimate scene where Dom uses his control over fire to heat up his fingers just enough to...get Kenna very excited.
  • Precious Puppy: Book 3 chapter 1 has Kenna and her group witness Empress Azura use magic to heal a wounded, three-legged wolf pup from the brink of death. Paying diamonds allows her to take custody of the pup with Whitlock eager to make a new leg for it, as well as make it speak in human.
  • Present Absence: Any characters who die will be acknowledged repeatedly.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Helene may support Marco, but she still has respect for the Old Laws and detests pointless acts of evil, like beating prisoners. She'll help with him ruling in his father's stead while the king is away, but is far more a fan of Pragmatic Villainy than puppy-kicking.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When confronting Trystan, you can choose to deliver one of these rather than forgive him.
    Dominic: Tough times is when families come together. You were my brother once. Now you're nothing to me.
  • Rebellious Princess: Kenna starts out as a bit of one, being best friends with a commoner and spending her days practicing sparring. You can even have her chose to wear her regular clothes and light armor instead of a fancy dress the queen had tailored for her to the peace talks.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Book 3 chapter 9 has Whitlock fly into a rage at seeing Hex at the Battle of Aurelia.
  • Rightful King Returns: Kenna is the rightful queen and is trying to take back her throne.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Dominic's powers are fueled by his anger; working him into a rage is a good way to unleash a firestorm. Especially after Bartel kills his pet hawk.
  • Rousing Speech: Kenna gives a few; it's a good way to talk people into following you.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kenna is one. A common complaint from soldiers is that royalty always expect someone else to crawl through the mud and risk their life for them; pointing out that you're leading from the front lines instead of sitting on a throne is a good way to sway these types to your side.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Kenna spends some time living and training with monks at a monastery hidden inside the ruins of an ancient temple (that may or may not have originally belonged to the monks' order, but no one seems to mind that they're using it now).
  • Schizo Tech: 99.9% of the world is at your average medieval level, while the Technocrats have steampunk machines and prosthetics on par with modern times.
  • Sequel Hook: The books Finale end like this.
    • In Book 1, Kenna reclaims the throne of Stormholt, Marco Nevrakis is either sentenced to death, spared or executed, Hex is still on the loose and King Luther's arrival is inminent
    • In Book 2, on the other hand, Dom is captured by Hex, who plans to use him as a weapon. Luther is defeated, but he reveals that his return was actually a withdrawal from his war against the Iron Empire, so he and Kenna decide to join forces against them.
  • Shadow Archetype: During Dom's trip to the spirit world, he has to deal with his shadow self to attain enlightenment.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Kenna, of course. Usually quite the tomboy, Dominic is surprised if she chooses to wear a dress to her mother's gala at the start of the game. If she chooses to wear something fancy in Aurelia, she first makes Gabriel promise not to make any comments about her appearance - but forgot to ask the same of guard captain Leon.
    • In Season 2, Val has to disguise as the new maiden under Zenobia. Everybody is impressed by watching her wearing a dress alone.
  • Shoot the Dog: Dominic's hawk is shot and then stepped on by Bartel in book 1 chapter 8. To add further indignity, he's then cooked and eaten.
  • Shout-Out: Kenna Rys is awfully similar to Kynareth.
    • The achievement for killing all the assassins in chapter 3 is Assassins Bleed.
    • If you don't have a romance with Queen Annelyse, the achievement there is called Bad Romance.
  • Show Within a Show: This game serves as one to Choices series set in modern day. Many of the cast in The Freshman watch the show, and Reza in Most Wanted is a moderator on a forum dedicated to the show.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Leon. Kenna even comments when he manages to make it through a speech without swearing.
  • Spirit World: In book 2 chapter 7, Dom and Sei go into the spirit world to learn to control their fire powers.
  • Steam Punk: The Technocrats sit here, or perhaps in Clock Punk or Diesel Punk; what powers their machines is never stated, though the aesthetic is very gear-based.
  • Story Branch Favoritism:
    • Dom Hunter/Kenna Rys is clearly the writers's favored pairing, with both of them being protagonists. However, this is Downplayed as the other love interests have major role in the story with completely free character arcs and interactions, with two of them (Raydan and Val) being playable for several chapters for free.
    • The story clearly favors killing off Marco since it is not only locked behind a Prestige requirement, you have extra scenes with other characters (most notably Luther, Zenobia and Diavolous) discussing his death and the decision to spare him has virtually no impact on the plot.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: For diamonds, you can pay to have Dom and Trystan poison the Nevrakian guard's wine supply, killing many of them to help prepare for the final battle in Book 1.
  • Team Pet: Hawkie, or whatever you chose to name him.
  • They Knew the Risks: Kenna dislikes when even one of her footsoldiers dies. Gabriel or another mentor figure usually responds with this phrase.
  • This Is a Drill: In Book 1, Whitlock brings in a giant drill to tunnel through the walls of Stormholt.
  • Tomboy Princess:
    • Kenna enjoys sparring and playing outdoors far more than traditional princess activities.
    • Princess Zenobia is very feminine, but shows a heavily downplayed instance of this with her love of battles.
  • Truth Serum: In Book 2 Chapter 2, paying diamonds allows you to feed Vassilios Nevrakis a truth potion known as Blueblood to learn when King Luther returns.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: You switch control between Dominic and Kenna at specific plot points, meaning the action never stops. Unless you're out of reading keys, that is.
  • Undying Loyalty: Many characters swear loyalty to Kenna; most of them are actually serious about it, though some may have a case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
  • Unfortunate Names: Severin's name is likely meant to evoke a savage fighter. Unfortunately, it's also the name of a type of cake that's basically a cream-filled donut soaked in rum, evoking a much less threatening image.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In book 1 chapter 8, if you smuggled in a dagger in the previous chapter, Kenna charges through Prince Marco's attacks and gives him quite the cut on his cheek.
  • Unwillingly Girly Tomboy: The masculine Val is made to dress up as a handmaiden for Princess Zenobia, with a new dress and fancy hairstyle. She is not pleased, but She Cleans Up Nicely.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hex is revealed to be this in Book 3.
    • Trystan would betray Dom and get him captured in Chapter 13, as he was worried Dom's plans would lead to his sister getting killed.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Hex and Whitlock were once close, making Hex's betrayal that much harder on Whitlock.
  • What the Hell Are You?: In book 1 chapter 8, Rose asks this after seeing Dominic unleashing fireballs at Bartel.
  • Wretched Hive: Lykos, the Nevrakis capital.
  • You Have Failed Me: In book 1 chapter 12, Prince Marco executes his blacksmith for making what he considers inferior armor by having him blasted to smithereens with Hex's canon!
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Book 2 chapter 12 has Kenna and her group finding out Hex has made zeppelins, allowing her to cross the Five Kingdoms in short time.
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