The reason why no one seems to question Liriel's appearance makes a lot more sense when you consider that the Jaal'darya are running around and are best known for making themselves tails and wings, so a girl with drow eyes but dark elf coloring isn't all that unusual in comparison.
Later on, when we see the Balvhakara Matriarch with two dark elf children in Nuqrah'shareh it makes even more sense, especially since it's Kyo'nne who points out Liriel's appearance and inquires about buying her. Dark elf servants or children might very well be a status symbol to them.
Oops, turns out they weren't dark elves after all, just Emberi slaves with ear decorations. But this still applies since Kyo'nne would be even more interested in a genuine dark elf.
So you've got Ariel and Faen, and they have some similarities, but there's another that's not so obvious until you get into spoilers. One of their parents is a dark elf, meaning they're both second generation drow on at least one side of their family.
Ariel and Chirinide also have similar backgrounds, both being second generation drow on their fathers' sides, and both having one drow and one surface-born elven parent.
Ariel's reaction to finding out Mel is her motherat first looks like just another case of naivety or refusing to believe it, but considering that she's a shapeshifter it's not that far fetched, especially since she's never actually seen Mel and Quain standing next to each other.
Sillice's decision to ask Liriel / Diva to become the "ice twins" playmate, and Diva's decision to accept. From Sillice's point of view, what better playmate than a palace insider still loyal to her mother, and from Diva's, she's building a network of children with a high probability of becoming important politically one day.
The fact that Balsii stabs Nega'fanea in the throat is actually even more of an insult when you think about it. The sword went through Nega's tongue, so even though it didn't work the plan likely was to take her spellsong away if it didn't kill her, and given that it's the Illhar'dro's signature ability it's even more of a diss to Nega.
Some might see Nega'fanae's pacifist ways as being Lawful Stupid, but the fridge brilliance comes from the fact that you find out she was actually born in Val'Raveran, a multi-ethnic, merchant city of free peoples, as opposed to Chel'el'sussuloth or Nuqrah'shareh which are both drowolath-dominated and freely accepting of slavery. Growing up in Val'Raveran may have exposed her to attitudes more liberal than what is seen in Chel and probably living amongst non-drow cultures peacefully helped to shape her pacifist ideals.
Some fans on the forum noted that Quain'tana is a rather brutal mercenary who may be loved as a hero in-story but that in the human world, Quaint'tana would be seen as an extreme Jerk Ass, particularly in the way she treats her children. Some go as far as to call her a Karma Houdini as in-story she appears to have received no comeuppance for her actions. HOWEVER, the fridge brilliance comes when you note that Quain'tana has already been hit hard by karma. How? See below.
To count it off, the warrior queen who wishes for nothing but to be free of the system of nobles and commoners has found herself a noble, unable to take the field of battle, and has lost her chosen heir to demons, and left barren and thus unable to make a new one. Her remaining heirs are a daughter who hates her guts, another who lacked the killer instinct Quain desires in an heir who betrays her to the Sharen, an overly ambitious advisor's daughter, and Ariel her granddaughter. In Drow Tales motherhood is very important and Quain'tana's barrenness makes her even more of an outsider to other nobles.
Kalki's hair looks like a combination of Snadhya'rune's and Mel'arnach's which makes perfect sense since they're her parents. It might even been an Invoked Trope since she's implied to naturally have white hair given what we see of her as a baby.
While it may seem odd that the Vloz have a human woman like Nainai hanging around, keep in mind that humans don't have auras, so she's probably the only person in the fortress who is completely immune to the demons, especially those around Kharla, and therefore the perfect person to have around her in case her powers get out of control.
The fact that the inside of the Sullisin'rune dome looks like the Surface makes a lot more sense in light of the fact that Ash'waren was born there. Add to that the fact that the naga servants look like Dark Elves and you start to get the sense that there's a lot more to her than we thought, and chapter 36 pretty much confirms this.
Lulianne's wardrobe change after the timeskip from full armor to low riding pants with a Cleavage Windowthanks to Khaless' possession actually makes a lot of sense. She's a demon, she doesn't need armor anymore. The fact that immediately after Khaless initially possesses her Lulianne starts shedding her armor may in fact be symbolic of Khaless taking her over.
Zala'ess' Expository Hairstyle change after the timeskip has her with plain white hair, i.e. she looks more like a drow instead of a dark elf. And Snadhya'rune's goal is to have drow ruled by drow, so it's probably not a coincidence that Zala's styling her hair that way.
Wants to make a new order where people are ruled by their own people
Dislikes Diva'ratrika and enjoys seeing her rage at their unwillingness to follow her plans
Willing to go to extreme lengths to have a child of her own blood, including outright deception and theftnote I'm counting Wiam taking Mel's egg as theft since it was taken under false pretenses, which come to think of it has a disturbing parallel to rape
Willing to use family members and discard them when they're no longer needed
Indoctrinates people into her way of thinking and makes obedient drones, as Mel puts it.
Now did I just describe Snadhya'rune or Quain'tana? The answer is I just described both of them.
Additionally, Mel's reaction here to Snadhya revealing that she tricked Mel into giving one of her eggs to make Kalki suggests that Mel recognizes on some level how similar they are, but is choosing to ignore it, especially the line about how she "doesn't want to hate anymore" indicating that she realizes that she should be upset about it, but is choosing not to be. It also explains why she flipped out as much as she did when Snadhya told her that Kalki's "father" was a Sarghress, when just a few pages before she was thrilled to hear that Snadhya had a daughter of her own. Her complete 180 in mood as soon as she finds out that Snadhya kept it a secret from her suggests that what Snadhya did hit a little too close to home for poor Mel.
And a Fridge Crowning Moment of Funny in this page: Now that we know that Kalki's Mel's daughterthis scene becomes especially hilarious if you notice how big the dress Kalki (barely) has on is on her, so it's very likely that it's actually Mel's old dress, meaning that Mel walked in on Kalki playing dressup with one of mommy's dresses.
Also if you take one Day Dream story as canon, those dresses actually belonged to Snadhya'rune in the first place -before she passed them onto Mel'arnach- making it a double crowning moment of funny. No wonder Mel states that she was surprised that Snadhya'rune had "kept some of her old clothes". It's probably an in-joke between them.
Post chapter 46 it also takes on a somewhat sadder implication, since if that was actually Mel's dress Kalki might've worn it to feel some connection to her. Also notice her hair is down, not unlike how Snadhya'rune usually styles it. She probably was actually playing dressup and the fact it doesn't fit even sadder in light of what happened later.
Quain's slight pause before she tells Ariel that she makes her proud is a bit of Fridge Sadness, since the last time she likely said that was back when Laelle'aell was still alive, in other words, it might've been the better part of a century since she's said that.
The reason the original Vy'chriel refused to get tainted becomes clearer once we see Chapter 37 and are reminded of Yami'ni's Berserk Button, mainly being reminded that she's tainted, and she believes herself to be "infested." So Yakuise was probably telling the truth and she really didn't have anything to do with Vy'chriel's refusal to go through with it, instead Vy'chriel probably saw how her older sister regretted letting herself get tainted and swore that she wouldn't let it happen to her.
In the Sharen alliance group picture you'll note that Shinae is standing with her back to the audience, and despite being on the wallpaper doesn't actually appear in that arc. But now that she's shown up in the story proper we know why: She's pregnant. So it turns out to have been a clever and meta bit of Hide Your Pregnancy.
People who tend to lash out at Ariel for not accepting that Mel is her real mother immediately after being told tend to forget the whole matter with Jer'kol, which set an unfortunate precedent as far as people claiming to be her real parents goes. And even worse, if you compare the language usedit's almost identical, and Ariel's body language is defensive, so she recognizes the similarity. And it's implied that she had begun to buy Jer'kol's story at least a little bit before she realized it was a ploy, so no wonder she has a hard time trusting Mel, and even flat out asks "are you a Jer'kol?" when Mel helps her earlier. The way the entire sequence of events in chapter 32 went down was set up well beforehand.
The entire layout of the Kyorl's leadership makes a lot more sense once you find out that the Judicators are mostly Light Elves so the fact that most of the Judicators are male while the Ill'haress is both elected and (at best) a Puppet Queen is because the Light Elves are patriarchal, and most likely wouldn't change things all that much from when they were on the surface. In fact, a cynic could even look at the public nature of the Ill'haress' position as being a deliberate misdirection, since most people outside the Kyorl probably assume she has as much power as the other Ill'haresses in other clans. Chapter 44 indirectly confirms this, as Snadhya'rune suggests poisoning Vala'drielle to stop the Kyorl persecution of the tainted, not seeming to realise that the Judicators are the ones who choose Kyorl illharesses.
Remember Snadhya'rune's conversation with Sarv'swati here◊ in Chapter 25? Like Sarv'swati, readers assumed that Snadhya'rune was referring all along to Zala'ess squandering her allies and severely reducing her bloodline with Sarv'swati being left to pick up the pieces in the Sharen/Sarghress War but by Chapter 44's end, the situations have been reversed, with Sarv'swati being the one left broken and Zala'ess in the stronger position. How do we know that Snadhya'rune hadn't planned this all along with what has been revealed in-comic about her character? She probably decided to sell out Sarv'swati◊ the minute the latter mentioned that she wanted to "avoid butchering her family"◊. YIKES.
The fact that after the timeskip no one seems to bat an eye at the various colony born Dark Elves, especially when the drow essentially perpetuated a genocide against their Dark Elf parents, makes more sense when you consider that culturally the colony born kids will have a lot more in common with their drow parents than the mostly-dead Dark Elves of the Moons Age. Plus most of their parents are probably later generation to even be on the surfacenote since as fae age it becomes harder and harder for them to be away from a large mana pool and most have probably never even met an original dark elf, so the past war doesn't mean much to them and there's no logical reason they'd hold what a previous generation did against their own kids.
Post chapter 46 when Femi diesthis scene gains some new context, since the trapped commoner slings the insult "motherkiller" at Wafay as she leaves, and she can be seen looking distressed and clinging onto Sata's hand. Whether intended or not, Wafay is now effectively a literal motherkiller, since her The Stool Pigeon actions led directly to her mother's death. And worse, Wafay probably knows this, hence her use of "someone I know" when describing what's going on to Suu'be instead of "my mother", suggesting she's aware on some level exactly what she's asking for and is trying to get some emotional distance.
One of the admins clarified that "merged" tainted like Kiel, Snadhya'rune and Kalki have a normal pain response as opposed to the Feel No Pain effect someone who's heavily tainted and slowly dying like Naal'suul or Rann'dirk experiences. At first this might seem odd since not feeling pain sounds like an advantage in a fight, but if you look at real people who have conditions like CIPA you realize that it's actually a huge disadvantage when it comes to long term survival, since real life people with the condition tend to overtax their bodies since they don't have the the pain response telling them to stop whatever's damaging their bodies and tend to die from complications from this sooner rather than later. Since Snadhya'rune wants those she "chooses" to live as long as possible and make up her new empire she wouldn't intentionally introduce anything that might lessen their life expectancy.
A discussion on the Headscratchers page pointed out that Faen's attack on Nihi'liir was probably done using the same method as her healing powers, only attacking the nerves, and that the teacher probably died from having her brain overloaded. Now think about Ash'waren does to hide that she's a Dark Elf combined with how the Kyorl use Empaths to "cleanse (i.e. brainwash) people and let it sink in that she's basically hacking your brain. No wonder Quain'tana told her to stop doing it as soon as they were alone.
Pretty much confirmed here by the Sharen with blood coming out of her eyes, nose, ears and mouth. It's not hard to imagine that it's possible to upgrade it into Your Head Asplode territory.
Syphile's suicide attack on Quain'tana. Think about what we now know about Snadhya's faulty seeds. Syphile was tainted while she was at Orthorbbae, and Snadhya was there. It's not hard to imagine that Snadhya gave Syphile an intentionally faulty seed, hoping she'd take out some of the Sarghress when it went haywire, and later on Zala just exploited this by loosening it further. So more or less Quain'tana actually gave her a Mercy Kill, since she was doomed anyway.
Additionally, the recipients of Snadhya's faulty seeds are stated to only have twenty five to fifty years, if they're lucky, before their seed overtakes them. Syphile was tainted right before Ariel was born, so about 15-16 years. There's about to be a 15 year time skip in the story. Syphile probably wouldn't have survived past the time skip had she lived. Poor girl was doomed no matter what.
Also, even her name has a level of either Harsher in Hindsight or Hilarious in Hindsight when you think about it, considering that her name originates from Syphilis, an STD, and tainting has several similarities to an STD especially now that we know that most taints are intentionally designed to kill the recipient and hell, even the word tainting has, as Snadhya put it, a "delicious depravity." When you think about it that way Snadhya'rune becomes even worse since she's doing the equivalent of intentionally infecting children with AIDS. The troper who realized this was rocking back and forth in shock for a few minutes after making this connection.
How does Khaless feed as a demon? If she still needed to eat then the question is What or WHO? Maybe students who accidentally stumbled across things that they shouldn't have... like possibly poor Sael
Someone pointed out on the forums that Snadhya's ambitions to be Orthorbbae's headmistress has a level of Fridge Horror when you think about it. She was said to have hid in Orthorbbae during the Nidraa'chal War and invited the children of many of the clans to take shelter with her, and there's a very good chance she did this specifically as a backup plan in case things went south and needed few hundred human shields and/or people to turn into demons. Given what else we know about her, it's a safe bet that she Would Hurt a Child if she had to, and in fact probably has.
Nishi'kanta seems to support the latter statement here◊ and to add more support to this theory, one suspects that Snadhya'runes was the one who summoned Sate'ja to confront Chry'stel and her gang in the freezer. (Granted, she may not have known exactly who was prying in the school basement but she probably just gave Sate'ja orders to kill any trespassers on sight).
Look closely at the last panel of this page. What's Taisei doing? He's funneling off extra nether from Chrys'tel. The last time we saw someone do that was when Snadhya did that to Naal. And what happened later in that chapter? Naal's seed took her over. The Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize that Taisei doing that to Chrys suggests that Chrys' seed was about to go haywire, so we very possibly witnessed her almost dying, and she probably didn't even know! This is especially horrifying after the faulty seeds revelation.
The statement that Nishi'kanta "went to live as a hermit" has Tear Jerker qualities to it when you think about it. According to the worldsetting, despite being independent-minded creatures, all drow HAVE to live in large communities due to mana-(aka their lifeforce), only being generated and maintained when in large groups. This may very well mean that Nishi'kanta committed suicide after the Nidraa'chal War and this is why other characters, such as Chrys'tel never refer to her in the present tense.
Thankfully, this is not the case as this has apparently been retconned, with the line referencing her being a hermit removed in the updated chapter 9, and it's stated she's alive and well after the timeskip... but has gone missing.
The fact that we haven't yet seen Sabbror after the timeskip is pretty worrying, as is the fact that the last time we saw him was the same page where Sha'sana described the faulty seeds and Zala looks very concerned in that page.
More or less confirmed with what happened to Shinae's baby and Word of God is that almost all of the Sharen have those faulty seeds.
Further confirmed by Chrys'tel having what Word of God referred to as an early miscarriage. What's even worse about this case is that in humans miscarriages of this sort are sometimes mistaken for a particularly heavy period and the woman doesn't even know she was pregnant, but since fae don't menstruate Chrys has to know exactly what it means.
Sabbror shows up later, and he's not doing so well. It's clear he doesn't have much time before his taint overwhelms him.
The true horror of Snadhya's faulty seeds really becomes apparent with what happened to Shinae's baby, and even though it has the same net effect of Quain'tana's injury to her womb in that those affected cannot have children it's actually even worse: It's implied that Quain'tana's injury has left her unable to conceive, while those with Snadhya's seeds can conceive and carry the baby to term, only to have the baby be stillborn and mutated at birth. It goes from sad to downright horrifying since the mother has no idea until the birth that anything is wrong and has to mentally cope with the fact that she was carrying something so horribly deformed in her own body. Pure Nightmare Fuel.
Check out what Erin'yasa says here (panel 7). Exactly how many Diva'ratrika Body Doubles have they gone through over the timeskip? And if so, where exactly are they getting so many dark elves (or at least people who can pass for them)? Suddenly the Sharen surface colonies taken on an even more unsettling light...
Wafay is presumably very soon finding out that her mother Femi is dead thanks directly to Wafay's The Stool Pigeon actions. Hard enough for a little girl, but look at the golemthe Sarghress find in Femi's lab and realize it is probably one of the Uterine Replicator types. So in other words Wafay not only had a hand in the death of her mother, but also potentially that of her unborn sibling however unintentionally.
This whole scene where Snadhya'rune twists Mel's arm to go back to the Sarghress was probably because Snadhya realized that there was still a part of Mel who was holding out for Ariel, and the whole "I'll make a bloodline claim on her" frankly reads really false. The scene earlier where Mel seems hesitant to throw her lot in with Snadhya all the way is likely where she made this decision, and I don't believe for a second she didn't know what sending Mel back would mean and what Quain would do to her. It was PLANNED to completely break down what little Mel had keeping her there. And the worst part is that it worked and Snadhya's smug little smile here seems to confirm it. No matter what she's done to Mel she will still run back to her because Snadhya at least treats her well, even if it's as a pet, and even Mel seems to get this on some level. It's not for nothing Snadhya's methods have been compared to a Domestic Abuser.
Snadhya'rune deliberately placing faulty seeds in her own clan becomes even more disturbing when she later reveals a way to supposedly remove the negative aspects of tainting. She's been preparing her Poison-and-Cure Gambit for a very long time, right under her sisters' noses. This means she was already plotting against them even when they first betrayed their mother.
The fact that Quain'tana apparently never considered having another heir through Laelle'aell, who unlike Mel probably could not resist has some pretty disturbing implications. The most benign is that Laelle was already barren prior to her "accident" (supported by Word of God having stated that she had two sons and a stillborn daughter prior) while the more horrifying ones suggest that either Quain didn't want to do that to her, suggesting major Parental Favoritism (which is already canon) or that whatever happened to Laelle and/or what Sil'lice did in her attempt to "cure" her was so awful that it means she now can't. Add to that the theory that Laelle may have been deliberately tainted by someone, possibly in the Sharen, with the specific aim of rendering her barren after what happened to Quain to ensure the bloodline would die out or that the only one capable of producing an heir was Mel and you have some horrifying implications.
In Chapter 5, before kiling Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress with a mace club on orders from Quain'tana, a few pages back Ariel's first weapon of choice was shown to be a sword, as she was intending to grab one from the weapon barracks nearby, and expresses reluctance when she accepts the mace from Quain'tana. Now in Real Life, swords make much cleaner kills, but mace clubs deal LOTS of blunt force trauma and ensures a slower and more painful death. Even though Quain'tana's motives were obvious, her reasons for giving Ariel that mace clearly shows that Quain'tana wanted to show her how brutal the world can be, as well as shape her into a powerful and ruthless warrior...by exposing Ariel to violence firsthand in making her brutally kill Mir'kiin.