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"It's okay. You tried your best. Your 'best' just happened to be slightly worse than everyone else's 'average'".
—Lelles, summing up basically the entire first thread of the adventure.
Prequel -or- Making A Cat Cry: The Adventure: The Adventures Of Katia Managan or just Prequel is the story of a poor young Khajiit from Hammerfell who decides to start her life anew in Cyrodiil, done in the style of MS Paint Adventures. The story starts as she steps off the boat into this new land; after giving herself a new name — Katia Managan — she becomes determined to leave her old self behind. Katia is quickly faced with the same problems she left behind, though: she has no money, no marketable skills, no friends, and is still recovering from a terrible alcohol addiction which has left her with so little tolerance that just one sip will find her waking up in a strange place with a hangover (and likely someone in the bed next to her).Although her efforts to do better initially seem doomed to failure, she eventually befriends Quill-Weave, an Argonian writer who takes pity on her and asks her to take a letter to a friend in another town. Katia fares no better than before, but Quill-Weave refuses to give up on Katia, and it begins to look like the Khajiit might leave her problems behind her — but at every step, she struggles not to succumb to her old problems again.The story is available here, and commands, fanart, and discussion thereof can be found here. This page may also contain some light Oblivion spoilers, so caution is advised.
Prequel provides examples of the following tropes:
The Alcoholic: Katia is recovering from being this. Quill is a bit of one herself.
All Animals Are Dogs: Katia has a habit of wagging her tail when she's happy. While some cats do wag their tails, they're exception rather than the rule.
Lampshaded: The Argonian sitting on the temple steps in Kvatch actually comments that this is not normal, and along with her Hammerfell accent and Altmer clothing, is a sign she wasn't raised around other Khajiit.
Brick Joke: Katia rejects the idea of finding a good luck four leaf clover as silly, since if that worked, anyone who found a single four-leaf clover would experience an exponential increase in good luck, including finding more of them. Garag finds a four-leaf clover, and the next we see of him, he's covered in four-leaf clover and having the luckiest week of his life.
Buffy Speak: "True Justice is that lighty beacon of light in a world of prejudice and disorder, where not even the innocent are safe."
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A Soldier Of The Imperial Legion (Asotil for short) is quite clearly an incredible fighter and quite good at running down criminals. He also has an understanding of social norms such as "Don't pee in rich people's houseplants" and "Don't drop a bunch of dead bodies on the carpet in the middle of a dinner party", but technically they are not against the law and therefore are perfectly fine to do.
But Thou Must: Despite being an interactive story in which the main characters accept commands from the audience, when things have gone bad enough for her Katia will dejectedly turn down commands urging her not to drink and drink up in spite of them.
There are also at least two instances wherein Kazerad wrests control of the story away from the audience and sets Katia up to make a truly terrible decision only to have, in one instance, a Deus ex Machina literally kick the door down at the last moment and, in another, show that Katia is actually a good deal stronger and more capable than the Audience gives her credit for.
Can't Hold Her Liquor: Katia, to an almost ridiculous degree. She's a recovering alcoholic, and a single sip is all it takes to send her off the deep end.
The Cat Came Back: Asotil to Countess Millona Umbranox of Anvil. He keeps barging into the room and dumping dead criminals onto the floor. She's hoping that somebody will finally manage to kill him while he's on patrol.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Katia is a mild example of this even when she's trying not to be. When we cut back from Quill during the dinner party is a perfect example. This is of course just par for the course in an Interactive Comic.
Dare to Be Badass: The ancestral ghost ("Aggy") refuses to believe that any fellow Atronach can be destined for anything less than a life of total awesomeness and badassery. Having nobody else to "guardian", he insists on pushing Katia out of her self-loathing slump.
Dark and Troubled Past: Among other things, Katia has spent the past 7 years drunk (and she's only 20), spent some time living on the streets turning tricks for food, a stint as a cultist, her family spent much of her childhood blaming her for having night terrors of royalty, and tried to awaken her magic potential via forcing her to drink a lot of medicine.
Earn Your Happy Ending: While the comic is still ongoing, the fact that it continues to alternate between horribly depressing and surprisingly uplifting indicates it's this type of story.
Easter Egg: Hidden behind a wall in the Enter interactive segment is a portrait of Hannibal Traven. Katia is unable to access it, due to a pile of crates blocking it off, but it can be seen by the user. The significance of this painting has yet to be fully explained, though it implies some history between Sigrid and Traven.
Epic Fail: This webcomic has a field day with this trope.
Eye Scream: When Katia attempts to use Eye of Fear (a Khajiit racial ability that can be used once per day in-game) for the second time in one day, her eyeball fills up with blood and starts dripping it. Seems even worse initially, because the scene we see it for the first time suggests that a slaughterfish bit Katia's eye out
Also happens whenever she forgets to turn off her night vision in broad daylight.
Fantastic Racism: Given quite a spotlight at times. Although few people intentionally insult Katia for her species, a lot of them reveal through accidental comments that they expect less of her for it or have to hastily insist that they do not think all Khajiit look the same.
Katia herself manages to offend the Khajiit bartender in Kvatch, trying poorly to socialize with another Khajiit, by asking him if he can tell other Khajiit apart and revealing that even she can't besides clothes and gender.
There's also a running gag of the audience angering her by making "racist" cat puns.
Foreshadowing: There is a fair amount of this. For instance, Katia's fire spell, one of the two spells that every player character in Oblivion starts with. Also Katia's ability to get in and out of clothing instantly, a common trait of RPG heroes.
When staying at Quill-Weave's home for the night, Katia says that she was worried about sleeping in the chapel, because she could accidentally burn it down if someone stole her amulet. This is exactly what happens to her in Kvatch (though the amulet isn't stolen, but broken).
"Party trick involving a yoyo and a pineapple" is mentioned first on third page.
On fifth page - "Cat jokes always cut you deep. That burn was so sick it lit the candle"
"Anyway, tripping on stairs? Youíre not that much of a klutz."
Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Katia can hear the reader suggestions because they're explicitly the voices in her head (causing her to lose faith in her subconscious whenever they suggest something stupid). At one point, she addresses a reader by screen name, though.
Interface Screw: Some users have taken to identifying themselves as particular elements of Katia's subconscious, such as self-loathing, common sense, hope...
Friendless Background: Katia has never even been hugged before.note Apparently, including by her own parents or any of the many, many people she has taken to bed while drunk. Quill-Weave is the first friend she's ever had.
Hurricane of Puns: After Katia gives away all of her belongings to Sigrid one person suggests that she also take of her amulet. She does. Que just about every person ever commenting with enough cat puns to almost fill the page. The building promptly erupts into an inferno like no other.
Infinite Canvas: Aside from the interactivity of the adventure itself, the dream sequences push the bounds of what defines a panel. The first includes Katia hiding from the monster in a spoiler box, which it then breaks into. The second has a young Katia slowly descending a staircase hanging suspended in midair as you scroll down the page, with something nasty slithering around just out of sight in a truly innovative bit of programming. This is lampshaded by Kazerad referring to the panel as "witchcraft" when crediting those who made it.
And this Flash literally captures the ripping of the fabric of space-time.
I'll Take That as a Compliment: Quill-Weave, being a novelist that specializes in gritty lower-class struggles, thanks Katia for "introducing her to a whole new level of lower class."
Later on, Aggy classifies Mysticism as this - Mysticism means taking a step back Ė accepting that the very laws of reason and logic you abide by are merelyone optionof many.
Irony: Katia is an Atronach, which means she can only absorb magicka and not produce it. In game this is one of the hardest builds possible for a mage, as many enemies don't use magic at all.
She's also a khajiit. Enjoy your -10 Willpower racial starting penalty, Katia.
Dmitri is a Redguard. They are horrible mages as well, due to stats that strongly favor warriors. (That said, Word of God says Dmitri's half redguard, half breton, so it should even out.)
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Katia's "BEST IDEAS", which include painting her body to avoid being nude, dismantling and using a giant swinging pendulum as a weapon, jumping out of a window....
Kindhearted Cat Lover: Dmitri has no fewer than 7 cats. Although it might stretch into actually being a fetish, considering he slept with Katia. He even keeps his first cat around as a zombie because he loves him too much to let death have him.
Lampshade Hanging: Katia doesn't believe in lucky charms, since if they worked, it would trigger a feedback cascade that results in whoever finds a four-leaf clover having nothing but good luck ever after, finding more good-luck charms and getting ever luckier. Gro-upp gets his hands on some four-leaf clovers, and spends the next week (in real-time, the better part of a year) and counting, enjoying loads of good fortune and finding ever more of the things.
Le Parkour: Quill-Weave knows it. This is actually carried over from Oblivion, where she is an acrobatics trainer.
Loser Protagonist: Katia is an alcoholic with an array of phobias and almost no skills to speak of. As in, she screws up the first job she's given (out of pity) because she can't spell "merchandise" correctly. She does get a little better over time, but very slowly.
Magic Feather: Subverted. When Trevaia offers Katia a free Magic Potion of Bravery, Katia declines, having already guessed that she would later reveal that potion was plain water and that the courage was inside her all along. Trevaia admits that the church can't afford to go giving out potions.
Meaningful Rename: Invoked by Katia in hopes that it will work. Brought back up when a suggester tries to motivate her not to drink by suggesting if she does she should go back to her old name. It doesn't work.
The music which Katia chooses for travelling to Kvatch is the "Nerevar Rising" theme which plays in Morrowind sung with meows.
At one point Katia begins to have small talk with a "Stranger" known as "Capital S" AKA Gray Fox who plays an important role in the Thieves Guild quests in Oblivion and has a plot-related reason to both being creepy regarding the countess and only being known as "Capital S".
Brother Martin gives Katia the jibblies, which is odd for a mere member of the clergy. In Oblivion, he's actually the illegitimate son of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, so he's triggering Katia's fear of royalty - despite how, at this point, even he doesn't know this is the case, much less Katia.
It's later revealed that Sigrid's ridiculous charisma comes from bathing in Fortify Personality potions, taking advantage of the infamously broken alchemy mechanic of Morrowind. Said potions happen to be bought from the necrophiliac alchemist from Skingrad.
While Vaermina is pondering the source of Gaius's nightmares, she first asks if Gaius is a vampire, then if they are in the province of Morrowind, before admitting that she's stumped. In the Elder Scrolls universe, attempting to sleep as a vampire causes the player character to have horrible nightmares each time. Also, at various points in the Morrowind main story, the Big Bad Dagoth Ur would attempt to communicate with the player (and several NPC's) through their dreams.
While walking through the Kvatch Mage's Guild, Katia can comment on a portrait of Sigrid that shows her hold two fireballs, one in each hand. Katia remarks that "maybe it's a Nord thing". In Oblivion's sequel, Skyrim, players were allowed to duel wield spells for the first time.
While Katia is in Kvatch, she pays a few visits to the local arena. In the actual game, the Kvatch refugees would often tell the player of the marvellous things Kvatch had: like the arena. Usually, the refugee who tells you is Boldon.
NaÔve Newcomer: Katia, who is completely new to Cyrodiil. She first attempts to get to know the locals.
Naked People Are Funny: The whole morning after Katia's first night in Cyrodiil plays this with Katia and Gharug.
NEET: Katia starts off as this, and no longer becoming one is currently her main objective.
Nightmare Sequence: Katia's third night in Cyrodiil, which invokes the main cause of her fear of nobles.
No Fourth Wall: Katia has addressed members of the forum themselves and called them out on stupid commands. It is uncertain if this extends to anyone else.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Dream or not, Katia's "fight" against her own nightmare version of Uriel Septim was heartrendingly one-sided, ending with her being disemboweled and pinned to a wall by 10 foot long scythe-limbs.
Perpetual Poverty: Katia loses all her belongings with shocking frequency, and is already in a fair amount of debt to Quill.
Pixellation: Used when Katia first wakes up after getting drunk. Once she paints "underwear" on herself, though, it stops.
Also counts as an in-joke since the painted-on underwear looks exactly like the irremovable underwear from the game (if you haven't installed one of the dozens of nudity mods).
Ping Pong NaÔvetť: Katia, due sometimes to the tension between the good ideas the readers suggest to avoid disaster, which she'll acknowledge, and the fact that screwing it all up anyway a few pages later is funnier.
Playing with Fire: Katia, although she has trouble controlling it. It's usually set off by people (including the audience) offending her with racist cat puns.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: You are now the amulet of silence. Or more specifically, you are the imprisoned soul of a puppy that is being used to power the amuletís enchantment.
The Power of Friendship: Rather violently subverted in Katia's nightmare sequence. She wills into existence an image of Quill-Weave, so that they could face the King together... only to watch her friend being eviscerated by the King seconds later. Seems to be played more straight in the real world though.
Running Gag: The audience making cat puns as Katia, who responds with annoyance. Apparently she didn't notice the name...
The worst of these puns will also randomly set things alight.
"...and you are certain this action will have no negative ramifications at all."
Early on, Katia running and cowering behind a guard when scared.
Early in the story, a reader logically disproved the existence of luck as demonstrated by the necessarily exponential growth implicit in the collection of four-leaved clovers. When Gro-Upp shows up again, his body plastered with the damn things, it becomes apparent that this reasoning was flawed.
Gharug gro-Upp likes to get his joke on, if you know what he means
(He means he has a running joke too.)
"...at least, you're pretty sure that's how that works."
Ship Sinking: The author has sunk Katia/Quill for the time being, as Quill is already in a relationship with someone else. Katia would rather not ruin their friendship, and is as straight as an arrow regardless.
Dimitri, the necromancer that Katia slept with, was shown to be a sweet and affable guy (Probably a Punch Clock Villain since he's a necromancer and all) with a love of cats and a genuine crush on Katia. Then he runs afoul of Gharug gro-Upp.
"When you left home and came to Cyrodiil, it wasn't just the epilogue to a long, sad story. It was the prequel to something undefined. It was a new story, too young for anyone to predict the ending."
"This is a setback but you can still pull through. All the bad feelings, they're just the prequel to something good. You'll see."
Tempting Fate: Katia honey, you really need to not say "Nothing can go wrong". Ever.
Too Dumb to Live: Averted, which might be surprising given the way the comic works. While Katia has her moments of stupidity, she will point-blank refuse to do things readers request she do if they're particularly stupid.
Took a Level in Badass: Katia when she was fighting the imps. No, seriously, she actually took a level, as referenced by the "You just have to go a little crazy" line that accompanies your first level-up in Oblivion.