A word of warning. There are unmarked spoilers here.
The First Arc initially follows Ariel's point-of-view but as time goes one, the point-of-views of multiple characters from multiple factions are followed, leading to a complex and deep story where Grey and Gray Morality
is a recurring theme.
A baby girl named Ariel is given by Quain'tana to Syphile for Syphile to raise. Syphile spends the next ten years raising
Ariel to attempt to prepare Ariel as a good daughter to Quain'tana.
Kel'noz takes Ariel with him to Orthorbbae, a school, where he is the headmaster of the Davya tower. There, Ariel meets Faen'arae, or Faen for short, who has empathy
Ariel continues to learn at Orthorbbae, until circumstances force Kel'noz's hand and he takes Ariel back to the Sarghress fortress and Quain'tana. During their meeting, Quain'tana orders Ariel to bring Mir'kiin to her so Ariel could prove herself.
Taking Kel'noz's advice, Ariel tries to recruit people to help her capture Mir'kiin. In the process, she meets a drow/dragon male hybrid
named Rikshakar and a human Emberi woman
Ariel successfully brings Mir'kiin to Quain'tana. Quain'tana then orders Ariel to kill Mir'kiin
. When Ariel refused, Quain'tana decided to make Ariel choose between killing Mir'kiin who tormented her and killing Sar'nel who helped her
After learning that Faen left, Ariel is still in shock
. During her bout of depression, she decided to go to the Black Dragon to watch the battles.
Ariel decides to confront Chrys'tel to get answers after getting cheered up by Vaelia, capturing her in the process. She also meets Chirinide, who first explains tainting to her.
Ariel enters into a confrontation with Syphile. Syphile lost and was subsequently disowned by Quain'tana
. Ariel ends up in Mel'arnach's room after that.
After her disgrace, Syphile decides to free Chrys'tel in exchange for becoming a noble of the Vel'Sharen
Chirinide, Shan'naal and Tir'ade have to deal with a nether outbreak in one of the Sarghress districts. Tir'ade gets tainted and decides he doesn't want to die as per Kyorl'solenurn doctrine
and flees from Chirinide and Tir'ade.
- Killed Off for Real:
- Celia Sarghress
- Melindir Sarghress
- Yunir Sarghress
- Karan Sarghress
- Seb'rath Sarghress
Kiel'ndia and Naal'suul prepare to try and save Kyo'nne, not realizing she isn't actually in danger. Ariel and her comrades prepare themselves for the journey to the surface. Ariel meets, acquires and names Melodia
. Chirinide, Shan'nal and Kyo'nne tagalong, without giving Ariel a real choice in the matter.
Ariel and her travelling companions are in the middle of travelling. Kyorl'solenurn and Vloz'ress forces clash. Kiel and Naal confront Ariel and her group, but in the end, Kyo'nne successfully stops the fight.
The gang are in Machike, with the various kid cast preparing for whatever they are doing next. Meanwhile, the Kyorls are negotiating for the Sarghress to handover Senekha whom they are holding prisoner.
Ariel's gang leaves Machike and Ariel sees the surface for the first time.
Rikshakar betrays Ariel and kidnaps her. Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne separate from the rest and arrive at a Kyorl'solenurn outpost where Chirinide and Shan'naal learn several things that change their world view
- Killed Off for Real:
- Wham Episode: It turns out Drowussu are the descendants of Light Elves the way Drowolaths are the descendants of Dark Elves. Also, several Kyorl Judicators are in fact Light Elves.
Zala'ess calls a gathering of the clans minus the Sarghress to gather support against them and assert her authority. Meanwhile, her forces attack the Sarghress fortress and Mel'arnach takes the opportunity to escape.
Yaeminira challenges Sil'lice to a duel. Sil'lice takes the opportunity to reveal a devastating secret about the Sharen clan's connection to the Nidraa'chal as well as Empress Diva'ratrika's true fate, which Yaeminira ignores
Syphile tries to assassinate Quain'tana. Meanwhile, Zala'ess denounces the Sarghress as a rebel clan and tries to convince the rest of the city to destroy them. The Kyrol'solenurn, Sullisin'rune, and Jaal'darya clans are not amused and start threatening rebellions of their own.
Sil'lice gives her youngest children, Kau and Shala
, a bedtime story about her participation in the Nidraa'chal war and how she was forced into exile.
- Breather Episode: After several intense chapters in a row, this chapter, while it does show how poorly the Val'Sharen lost to the Nidraa'chal, nevertheless have a touching moment between Sil'lice and Kau and Shala.
Ariel regroups with Melodia, Vaelia and Liriel and explore the surface while looking for Faen. Melodia starts learning to speak while Liriel show signs she is not what she seems. Meanwhile, Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne arrive at a joint Illhar'dro-Nal'sarkoth outpost. Meanwhile, the Vloz group searching for Discordia are in Haltonreibe.
The Vloz group succeed in catching Discordia. Ariel, Vaelia, Liriel and Melodia reunite with Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne when the former group saved the latter
. Together, they arrive at where Faen is.
Ariel finds Faen, though in not an exactly happy state. Chirinide and Shan'naal put an end to the King's systematic killing of elves and drows to get their blood for an attempt at immortality. Liriel completes her transformation into a new person. Ariel completes her bloodrite.
- Killed Off for Real:
- The Halme King and Queen of Nagyescsed
- Wham Episode: Faen is found, but after she suffers severe Break the Cutie that leaves her mute for nearly the entire remainder of the First Arc. And Liriel transforms fully into Diva.
Chirinide and Shan'naal splits of from the group to guide Light Elves back to their home of Vanaheimr. Vaelia splits of from the group and joins the Highland Raiders. Liriel reveals her true identity as Diva'ratrika to Ariel and Faen. She decides to go by Diva from then on, believing it to be for the best.
Kiel, with Naal's help, attempt to take power within the Vloz'ress before news of Senekha's death reach the majority of the clan. Meanwhile, we see what Vaelia has been up to in the Highland Raiders.
Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune catch up. Snad reveals Kalki is their daughter born through Jaal'darya advances in Drow technology. Meanwhile, Lulianne finds the Ninth Tower and encounters Sha'sana who reveals many things about the taint and the Nidraa'chal. Meanwhile, we are shown a continuation of Vaelia's adventures with the Highland Raiders.
- Wham Episode: Kalki is the daughter of Mel and Snad. The former was previously only known to have had Ariel as her child while the latter was not known to have had any kids whatsoever. And Sha'sana reveals that the taint was thought to be the perfect vaccination to getting possessed by demons, and while it can be that, it is revealed the vast majority of those tainted were given a flawed version where the seed will continue growing and eventually take over the host. The Nidraa'chal have agents in every major clan and several minor ones, and were the ones who truly won the war about 15 years previous, regardless of what everyone else thinks.
Chrys'tel and Shinae meet up with Naal and Kiel. Nau'kheol and Khal'harror join the group. Together they attempt to investigate the door at the bottom of Orthorbbae. Meanwhile, a group of Relic Hunters hired by the Jaal'darya find a ruin, not realizing the Jaal'darya are planning to infect them with a deadly fungus that rots their bodies from within and causes hallucinations.
Mel and Snad learn that Lu had been injured. Chrys'tel's group stage a commotion to get a keystone to open the door at the bottom of Orthorbbae. They managed to get the key, open the door and see what's inside, which horrifies them. Meanwhile, the last part of Vaelia's current mission with the Raiders is shown.
- Wham Episode: There are bodies of Orthorbbae staff members in the room, even though they are still doing their jobs. The ones the kids see are actually summons. Naal'suul turns into a demon when one of the summons attacks them.
Kiel cements her status as the de facto Vloz'ress leader by killing Kes'sen, but not all are happy with the new leadership. Meanwhile Kuso and Baliir are hanging out in Chel. A special story made by a fan for the comic for a contest is featured and several elements of the fan story are made canon.
Chirinide, Shan'naal, Myou and the Light Elves they were escorting reach Vanaheimr. However, during the night, most of the Light Elves saved from Nagyscyed, save Freyja, are killed by assassins
due to them being not considered true Vanir
. Chiri, Shan and Myou are nearly killed too but Freyja's brother, Freyr
, saves them.
Ariel arrives back in Chel and relates her adventures to Quain'tana. Meanwhile, "Diva'ratrika" who is in fact a Body Double
holds a very public parade in the middle of Chel. Sarv'swati also recruits the Black Sun as mercenaries.
Chry'stel agonizes over what she learned from Sil'lice and consults with Yakuise, a Kyorl'solenurn who lives in the Sharen basement. Meanwhile Zala'ess warns Shinae not to let Chrys'tel out of her sight lest she act like a traitor. The two meet up with their friends at a cafe in Chel, and Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol leave for the Sarghress fortress to talk with Sil'lice again.
Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol meet up with Diva and enter Sil'lice's compound, only to be accosted by Kadara, who throws Chrys and Nau into iron maidens until Sil'lice gets back home. Once they're released Sil'lice enlists Chrys'tel to be her spy in the Sharen. Meanwhile, Mel has arrived back at the fortress as Snadhya'rune's prompting and asks to be forgiven by Quain, but Quain does not buy her story and instead breaks Mel's arms and has her thrown into the dungeon, where Kel'noz takes Ariel and reveals her true parentage. Ariel however decides that she's had enough of people claiming to be her real parents and rejects Mel as her real mother, though the end of the chapter gives a Hope Spot
after she asks Quain to give her another chance and has her arms healed.
The Second Arc begins fifteen years after the First Arc ended
. Chel'el'sussoloth is now in a state of warfare as the Val'Sarghress and their allies fight the Vel'Sharen and their allies.
The former jewel of the west, Nuqrah'shareh is torn apart by civil war and an insidious foreign scheme.
Chrys'tel arrives in Nuqrah'shareh with her mother. It is revealed that the Sharen clan has lost most of its territory and is in open war with the Sarghress and Sullisin'rune clans, who want them all dead. Zala'ess seeks the Illhar'dro clan's aid in defeating the rebels and offers to help them deal with their own rebellion in return.
- Bring Help Back: The Sharen clan's entire purpose for travelling to Nuqrah'shareh. The war with the Sarghress is starting to go badly and Zala'ess wants to forge an alliance with the Illhar'dro.
A young Val'Jaal'darya named Wafay navigates through Chel, a city now torn apart by Urban Warfare
in order to warn the Sarghress about a terrible scheme being operated by her own mother and recruit their help to stop her.
Faen'arae returns to the Sullisin'rune dome for the first time in years and meets her mother. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, Chrys'tel and her comrades disrupt the local rebellion. To her delight, her allies reveal that the great clans of Nuqrah'shareh have agreed to help Zala'ess crush the rebel clans of Chel in return for conquest.
Kyo'nne is revealed to have become a pop star over the Timeskip
and is presently promoting peace and a colony sponsored by Snadyha'rune. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, Chrys'tel takes part in an operation to take an ancient airship away from the mysterious foreign schemers.
Ariel's district, the North Cliff, is attacked by a former Sarghress turned Vlozz named Maki, who has a big grudge since Syphile's successor had not
ignored her corruption. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, a Nidraa'chal False Flag Operation
successfully convinces the clans of Nuqrah'shareh that their plans to attack the Sarghress are a priority.
- False Flag Operation: The Nidraa'chal plant a Sarghress sword at the site of one of their raids, leading the Illhar'dro to believe that the Sarghress were responsible for the Civil War and food shortages.
- You Are in Command Now: Ariel's normal commander, Sarnel, is badly wounded, the second in command is dead, and the next ranking officer declines command in favor of letting Ariel have a shot. As we learn next chapter, the higher ups had specifically prevented Ariel from moving up in the ranks and kept her in the Home Guard until the District War is over to protect her.
Ariel reports at the Black Wolf tavern. The Sarghress are working on an operation designed to expose the false empress and manage to kill one her Body Doubles
. Meanwhile, Kiel'ndia runs a recruitment drive and receives a very special invitation.
- Wham Episode: Shinae gives birth, but the baby is stillborn and horribly mutated, confirming what Sha'sana said earlier about the faulty seeds.
The Sarghress push towards conquering a specific district to rescue the Sharen clan's Slave Mooks
from being forced to fight them. The Sharen argue over whether to hold the line or fall back until the great clans of Nuqrah'shareh can help them crush the rebellion. We then see what Vaelia has been up to lately
, which is to liberate a prison colony run by the Vel'Sharen and Val'Beldrobbaen.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Ariel, a strong healthy warrior. Shinae, a pressure sorceress who has been greatly weakened from a failed childbirth. Ariel never stood a chance and would have been killed if Shinae hadn't been forced to retreat by The Cavalry.
- Just in Time: Word of God says that this is specifically subverted when Ariel chops off Nihi'liir's head only just after Nihi'liir orders the death of all the Slave Mooks, causing the deaths of many of those the Sarghress were trying to save.
- Killed Off for Real:
Kiel'ndia launches an attack against the Sharen to expose the false Empress
and end their crumbling charade
- Broken Masquerade: The Sharen clan and their alllies have spent the last several decades pretending that Diva'ratrika is still alive and in charge of the Sharen Empire in order to maintain control and morale. With the help of a Nidraa'chal traitor, Kieln'dia manages to stab the impostor and officially announce the death to all Chel, preventing the Imperial Guard from just replacing her with a Body Double again.
- Killed Off for Real:
- Fake Diva
- Elbinac Vloz'Ress
- Kailodion Xyrrai'zestu Sharen
- Tsuris'Lok Vloz'Ress note
- Wham Episode: The death of Fake Diva will have repercussions.
The Dutan'vir faction within the Sarghress clan launches an attack on the Kyorl to reclaim some of their lost territory on behalf of their current clan without its approval. The Kyorl'solenurn clan have to deal with this as well as internal turmoil as differing views come into conflict. A sinister conspiracy within their own ranks threatens to split the clan in two, forcing all of them to make a choice. A continuation of Vaelia trying to liberate the prison colony is also featured.
- Chekhov's News: In Chapter 40, the war map showed arrows depicting which territory each army was marching into. The Sharen and Beldrobbaen clans were pushing into Sarghress controlled districts, while the Sarghress were mostly pushing into Sharen controlled districts. But a single Sarghress arrow was shown going into Kyorl territory, and was later revealed to have claimed the district on the Sarghress clan's behalf. In this chapter, we learn that it was the Dutan'vir using the distraction of the District War to reconquer their old home without permission.
- The Coup: One of the Judicators, Kyuusei, launches one, and while unconfirmed, it is hinted that he had Shimi'lande assassinated towards this end.
- False Flag Operation: Shimi'lande's murderer disguises herself as Kiel'ndia Val'Vlozress to fool the Kyorl into believing her clan responsible.
- Killed Off for Real:
- Ill'haress Shimi'lande Val'Kyorl'Solenurn
- Kyuusei Kyorl'Solenurn
- Kio'nel Vel'Sharen
- Succession Crisis: Traditionally, the previous Kyorl Ill'haress picks her own successor. But the Judicators discard Shimi'lande's choice with one of their own, bringing tensions to a boil.
- Thanatos Gambit: Being a Seer, Shimi'lande was aware of her impending death, and left behind some final messages to guide the future.
- We Need a Distraction: Vaelia's mission to free the slaves from the Penal Colony turns out to be a distraction, making the Sharen worry about an attack from the wrong direction, when in fact the Sarghress's main attack is against the colony below the Penal Colony, Dariya'ko.
As the rebel clans break through the front lines, Kiel'ndia agrees to attend the Felde conferance and Zala'ess's alliance prepares its entrance.
- The Dog Bites Back: Nishi'kanta's family finally takes their vengeance on Sarv'swati by removing the golem cores powering First Landing's defences, allowing the Sarghress to take Chel's main entrance with ease.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: According to Word of God, Sarv'swati has this problem in the very beginning of the chapter. She starts out stationed in the fortress of First Landing. On the side facing the city, Sarghress troops are launching The Siege. Then, the Sarghress launch a surprise attack from the side facing the outside world. Sarv'swati is forced to gather everyone she can and break through the siege to retreat to the main Sharen fortress. This also cuts off the Sharen clan's last gate to the outside world, preventing reinforcements or a final retreat from the city. Chrys'tel gets around this by negotiating with a Vloz'ress summoner behind Kiel'ndia's back, giving Zala'ess's alliance permission to send reinforcements through the Vloz'ress clan's gate.
- Trial by Friendly Fire: Word of God says that the Sarghress and Nishi'kanta's turncoats failed to properly coordinate the assault on First Landing. As a result, many of Nishi'kanta's children are wiped out by their own Sarghress allies, while the rest of them are taken by the Black Sun.
Ariel and her companions are stationed in the independent colony of Ys as the District War escalates to its conclusion. Meanwhile, the Felde conference begins, where Snadhya'rune declares open war on all the clans.
- Combat Pragmatist: Being on the verge of defeat, the Sharen take advantage of the Sarghress clan's self-perception as "good guys" to use some really dirty tactics, like using an innocent child as bait.
- Cornered Rattlesnake: Upon the conquest of First Landing fortress, the Sarghress are able to conquer most of the rest of Chel with ease. However, three Sharen strongholds hold out. Unable to retreat and too proud to surrender the last symbol of their rule, the Sharen make one of their Last Stands at the council dome. Though the battle is becoming hopeless, they manage to inflict huge losses upon the Sarghress.
- Fate Worse than Death: Ran'diirk tries to assassinate Snadhya'rune after puzzling out her role in Diva'ratrika's murder, but fails and ends up killing himself in the effort. Ironically enough, in what Snadhya'rune portrays as an act of mercy, she grabs his aura and converts it into a summon, making what is left of him her slave.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Kyne Val'Sharen, a Golem pilot of Sil'lice's line, makes one of these to kill Sarv'swati. Mana arts fail to stop her, she sweeps an entire band of the Sharen clan's dragon riders aside, and even Sarv'swati's enormous dragon falls to her golem's claws. She almost succeeds in killing Sarv'swati herself, but is distracted by Vidhiyani crashing her floater into her golem.
- Honor Before Reason: With no means of escape, and horribly overwhelmed, the Sharen clan's only option is to surrender or die. Being too proud to surrender, the Sharen clan tries to fight to the death, though the survivors are ultimately broken into surrendering.
- Kick the Dog: The Sharen carve a nether gate into a child to serve as a lure against Sarghress soldiers and a measure of psychological warfare.
- Killed Off for Real:
- Kyne Val'Sharen
- Ran'diirk Xyrrai'zestu Sharen
- Last Stand: After a thousand years of ruling Chel, the bulk of the Sharen clan is nearing its doom. The empress is officially dead, the Beldrobbaen have ended their alliance, the colony of Dariya'ko has fallen, the Sharen have been cut off from the outside, and the rebels have overrun the Sharen from where they were most vulnerable. The Sharen have lost everything except for three strongholds, and are on the verge of losing the last symbol of their rule. While they manage to kill huge numbers of Sarghress with increasingly desperate tactics, they are being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Zala'ess's line is still safe and is returning with an overwhelming army of reinforcements, but they are likely to arrive too late. By the time the chapter ends, Sarv'swati and her forces have gone over the Despair Event Horizon, and the surviving Sharen inside the Imperial dome give their surrender.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Faced with her doom, Sarv'swati finally expresses remorse for murdering her mother and breaks down in tears.
- New Era Speech: At the Felde conference, Snadhya'rune finally ends all subtlety and presents herself as a savior. She promotes the taint as a way of seeking enlightenment, denounces the clans as warmongers, threatens the clans with annihilation, and displays the stolen Nuqrah'sharian airship as a means of reconquering the old world. She closes her speech by declaring the end of the Moonless Age and the Dawn of an Era.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: With the Sharen clan defeated, their Black Sun mercenaries depart. While her surviving forces surrender, Sarv'swati herself manages to elude capture and disappear.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Instead of accepting Snadhya'rune's offer of mercy, Ran'diirk tries to blow her up with him via an overcharged golem core. Even though such weapons are very easily defended against. Snadhya'rune protects herself from the blast with little effort. Ran'diirk isn't so lucky.
- Shoot the Medic First: Word of God compares the Sharen tactic of focusing their firepower on sealers to this.
- Taking You with Me: After receiving a mortal blow from Sarv'swati, Kyne Val'Sharen tries to take Sarv'swati to the grave with her by crashing her golem's cockpit against the council dome's wall.
- They Do: In Ys, Faen and Ariel finally have their Relationship Upgrade.
- Your Soul Is Mine: After Ran'diirk's failed, suicidal effort to assassinate Snadhya'rune, she proceeds to convert him into a summon under her control.
After centuries of defiance against the Vals, Quain'tana has nearly conquered Chel and reminisces on the hard life that brought her here. Meanwhile, Ariel decides to pursue the stolen Airship and the Minameidians prepare to attack Felde. A sidestory set in the recent past showing Wafay's quest is also featured.
- Break the Haughty: Sarv'swati accepts herself as a failure and acknowledges that murdering her mother was a mistake.
- The Cavalry: The Sharen fortress tries to count on Zala'ess arriving with her Nuqrah'sharian reinforcements in order to completely turn around the war. But for unknown reasons, she is delayed and fails to make any moves.
- Freudian Excuse: This chapter gives Quain'tana's. She was originally a Street Urchin and was nearly killed for sport by a Sharen knight over stealing bread. This made her determined to bring down the Vals and gave her no sympathy for weakness.
- Enemy Mine: During the Sharen fortress's surrender parley, Sabbror agrees to turn over the Sharen clan's holdings in exchange for helping the Sharen get revenge against the traitors that infested the Sharen with faulty seeds.
- Honor Before Reason: By this chapter, the Sharen clan's only remaining holding is the Sharen fortress itself. Quain'tana gives the Sharen terms of surrender, allowing them a chance at diplomacy, but threatening to end their clan if they do not comply. Saphala Vel'Sharen, the Val left in charge, rips the Sarghress document into pieces because she is too proud to give in. Similarly, Nir'naya refuses to acknowledge the Sharen clan's defeat and tries to insist on Sarv'swati doing something about it.
- The Siege: Aside from Zala'ess's reinforcements, the entire Sharen clan is trapped in their fortress. The Sarghress keep them surrounded and threaten to attack the fortress with all of their legions if they do not surrender within their deadline.