Webcomic / Gifts of Wandering Ice


Rikter: How was it? Well... Five little hunters came to the shore. / One found the ice gift and then there were four. / That's what we hunters now teach our kids: / You want to live? Don't touch the ice gifts.
Tanya: And do you know the story behind this verse?
Rikter: Well, each family has a story to match it. We've got the biggest island, so we get most of the "gifts".

Gifts of Wandering Ice is based on the short novel written by Olga Makarova (Mildegard), though the story differs a bit. Both the art and English translation were made by the author of the original novel.

The old world is dead. A catastrophe of forgotten origin had wiped the old civilization out. An ice age followed. And then - a thaw, when water levels risen tremendously and even ancient icebergs began to melt. People of this post-ice age are peaceful and remember very little of their history. They can only guess what it was like by the 'gifts' - objects and creatures wandering icebergs bring to their shore each spring. Sometimes these 'gifts' are dangerous, or even alive.

You can read the comic here:

English version

Russian version

And there's a choose your own adventure game based on the comic:

in English - Ice gift hunt

in Russian - Охота за дарами льдов


Tropes featured in The Gifts of Wandering Ice:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: All tech of forgotten human civilization is marked by alchemical symbol of eternal life. Hunters believe all marked things to be magical.
  • Big Sister Mentor: Rita is a mentor to her younger brothers - Nikt and Rikter.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Old world died along with most of its population, only few people survived the catastrophe and an ice age that followed it. But they didn't become bloodthirsty savages. Quite the opposite: in many ways they are much better people than their ancestors were. There are no wars in their world, also people of the new era are kind and intelligent.
  • Facial Markings: Birth of twins is considered a bad sign in hunters' tribe, and to prevent any mischief that can possibly come from the visual identity of two people one of the twins - usually a younger one - is to be marked with a red tattoo on the face. Being a younger brother Rikter has such tattoo - three red stripes on his right cheek.
  • Forceful Kiss: Rita does this to Tim after shouting at him for calling her "little chief" again.
  • Genetic Memory: Elie carries alien memories in her mind. They reveal themselves from time to time in the form of painful, vivid reminiscences of the past triggered by the sight of ancient things. There is more to this: the conscience of the person to whom these memories belong is still alive in the girl's mind and makes attempts to take control of her body.
  • Ghost Story: Elie and Rikter use scary bedtime story to test their new dreamcatcher (to see whether it really can catch nightmares).
  • Girl in a Box: Elie, found in a little cryo capsule as a baby.
  • House Husband: Tim, Rita's husband
  • Human Popsicle: Elie and the Mute tribe.
  • Iron Lady: Both Lara (chief of the hunters' tribe) and her heir Rita are strong, brave women, and are born leaders.
  • Matriarchy: In this world women are in charge. Men can be become clan leaders too, but only if they prove clearly that they understand the value of human life as well as a woman who raised a child does. There were very few male chiefs.
  • Fictional Holiday: Hunter tribe celebrates "Fire Festival" when chief's daughter comes of age in case she had decided not to marry. She chooses a father for her child there.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Chief Lara fell in love with a Mute (a guy belonging to different human species related to Neanderthals) in her youth and married him against her mother's wishes. She used to be a tomboyish, reckless girl, quite the opposite to the austere, cold woman she became later.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Jan was known to be very cruel to his little sister. Also, at the age of 16 he killed her mentor and, when asked for the reason for this at the trial, said that "it was fun".
  • Lack of Empathy: Jan.
  • Lost Technology: most of the "ice gifts", plus some of machines in cave dwellers' possession.
  • Mind Virus: so-called psi-profiles when "assigned" to a person act as a gateway for very specific mind viruses.
  • Mishmash Museum: Cave dwellers have a museum on their main island where they keep most of the "ice gifts" which vary from airplanes to dinosaur bones. That's what it looks like.
  • Mysterious Past: Elie is a girl who thought to be a living "ice gift". But who she really is she is yet to learn.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Elie was raised by cave dweller couple. Her biological parents died hundreds of yeas ago.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Ash living in Elie's head. He is a copy of a dead boy's memory nobody but Elie can see and talk to.
  • Only Friend: Rikter for Elie (in chapter 1)
  • Photographic Memory: People of the Mute tribe have photographic memories. They also draw very well and reproduce images of ancient objects and places in perfect detail which therefore do not fade in their collective memory over generations.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Rita was wounded by monster at the age of 12. The encounter left her with huge scars on her throat, and she tends to hide them since then. She says she feels helpless and vulnerable when they are not covered at least with a thin cloth. She is yet to master her old fears.
  • Raptor Attack: One of the "ice gifts" turned out to be a living raptor. Rita had to fight this monster at the age of 12 to protect her brothers.
  • Scavenged Punk: Cave dwellers gather ancient things that melting icebergs bring and use them as they see fit. Most of the time they don't know what these things were originally used for.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Nikt and Rikter are twin brothers, and they do not get along well.
  • The Sociopath: Chief Lara and her family.
  • The Speechless: Ren, father of Rita, Nikt and Rikter is a mute shaman who uses magic string to "talk" by the way of signs like that.
  • The Storyteller: Kalare is a scientist who knows that her magical legends are not true but believes them to be important for developing creative type of thinking in her students.
  • Temporary Blindness: Kalare lost her sight to explosion during one of her experiments. She has to rely on her apprentice's - Elie - help until her eyes are healed.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Rita, most of the time
  • Transferable Memory: People of pre ice age era used various methods of memory transfer as a way for chosen individuals to live forever.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: On page 97 Elie wakes up while Tim carries her away from the cliff she nearly fell off. She is not herself and says eerie things.
  • Wonder Child: Elie had been frozen inside an ancient machine for hundreds of years and came to life when found. She experiences painful "reminiscences" about distant past almost every time she sees any other "ice gift". Also, the ancient machine she'd been found into recognizes her "psi profile" (whatever it is) and responds to it. Elie is being raised by adoptive parents who are normal people.
  • Young Love Versus Old Hate: In "Gifts Of Wandering Ice", there are two rival tribes - hunters and cave dwellers - which leaders dislike each other while some of their children and grandchildren do not even understand the reason for this.
  • Youthful Freckles: Elie has freckles and brown hair.