Two main characters from the webcomic: Shan'rekk and Jahrd.Prophecy of the Circle
is a webcomic by Meghan Taylor, set in a world shared by two sapient species, the mammalian tikedi and reptilian/avian tekk. There's no common language between the two, nor is there any will to communicate — the only interaction between them has always been violence. But since neither of them could afford to eradicate another, a set of rules ensuring their relatively peaceful coexistence was formed over the centuries, mostly by trial and error. Those rules, known to tikedi as the Circle, outline the races' territories as well as when and where they are allowed to hunt and kill each other.
The story is split in two concurrent parts.
The main chapters follow a young tikedi named Jahrd who got to experience the Circle first-hand, when a tekk killed his mother before his eyes. Anguished by this and finding the Circle biased in tekk's favour, he sets out to learn the ways of the tekk and understand why his mother had to die.
The shorter interludes in turn focus on tekk leader Shan'rekk
. Concerned with the Tieke (one of tikedi nations) growing more powerful and less respectful of the tekk to the point of overturning the balance, he intends to foster communication and understanding between the two species to allow for more peaceful coexistence — a plan in which Jahrd, with his deep fascination with the tekk, is going to play a role.
The webcomic provides examples of:
- Alien Sky: The planet where the story happens has two moons.
- An Arm and a Leg : Annen Duskeir lost an arm after having been bitten by a tekk during a battle and having been expeled from Oros with no choise but getting back to Tieke City without medical care during his trip in the desert. It made him more likely to lose his balance.
- Ancient Astronauts: Very much hinted with the seradin and Teyka (who was one of them).
- Armed Legs: Tarsin hunters use metal claws strapped to their feet, to help them get a foothold on a tekk's body after jumping onto it, which is a part of their hunting routine.
- Awesome McCoolname: Annen Duskeir.
- The Black Smith: According to Tieke, the village of Oros is well-known for its metal-crafters.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Renn'tekk, who is a seemingly random attacking tekk until she becomes a character in the interludes. Shan'rekk too, although in his case it's plain that he's going to be important.
- Clip Show: Pages 40 and 41 of chapter 2 are mostly made of sepia-toned panels from past pages, with the dialogue explaining political causes of the pictured events.
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Tablet computer, locally named datapad, actually. This, among other Teyka's gifts to the Tieke Priestress.
- Eye Scream: It's hard not to feel sorry for the tekk that's killed with a spear-to-the-eye.
- Fanservice: Played with. When the author posted a study of the stripes on the back side of Jardren Stiggs, she ironized that the first thing the fans will notice will be the character's butt.
- Fans already got to Squee at the beginning of the comic, where Jahrd's buttocks were visible in a few pages. Tarsin clothing got a bit less revealing since then.
- Funny Animal: The whole tikedi people, sorta. Even if they are sort of wolf and lizard mix aliens, they're not humanoids enough for reaching the Petting Zoo Person level on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Definitely evil in Ah'tekk's case. Punk-like crest, mutton chops and a goatee on a reptile? Not very subtle.
- Happily Married: Jacind and Kraelyn until the tragical death of the latter. Eika and Koro, too.
- Hidden Eyes: Played with in Shan'rekk's case. When he's raging in interlude one, his face is only shown from the side obscured completely by his mane. The perspective immediately flips to the other side when he hears the line that gets him to calm down.
- High Priest: Teyka's Priestesses have High Priestress Kaia.
- Hollywood Darkness: The pages depicting events at night give everything a blue hue, but the actual lighting seems very bright.
- Humanoid Aliens: The seradin. Remove tail, fur, sharp teeth and pointy ears, and you'll get very tall humans.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Both races prey on each other, with the Circle outlining rules for the hunts.
- Last Name Basis: Jardren Stiggs, who prefers to be called by his clan name for some reason.
- Little People: The tikedi (about 4 feet tall).
- Mixed Ancestry: Jahrd is Tarsin/Tieke. Interestingly, he avoids most of the drama usually associated with this trope — even Yaren, who believes Jahrd's father was wrong in mating with a Tieke and Jahrd's actions threaten the Circle, seems to actually care for him.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: While the tekk seen to that point in the comic have reacted to tikedi found in the Crater with aggression (even in Crater's Edge, where they are allowed), the tekk with black-striped face that Shanka and Balta met seemed oddly calm and only resorted to telling them to go away. Later he even returned wounded Balta to Shanka, along with the pendant and the plant they were looking for.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Used kind of in-universe by Shanka, when he's narrating his story in chapter 1. When he relates how he confronted his mother for cheating on his father and abandoning his family, the narration says "I called her what she is" (with the panel showing the woman's shocked expression).
- Nested Story: The legend of Eika and Koro, which is also the story of the Circle.
- Non-Mammalian Hair: Tekk can have manes, crests, or other hair-like protrusions.
- Peeka Bangs: Shan'rekk wears his mane in such way.
- Precursors: The seradin. Whether they are benevolent or abusive depends on which of the two species you ask.
- The Prophecy: Two prophecies are mentioned by the story of the origins of the village of Oros: the first is the Prophecy of Joining (fulfilled by the tekk hundred years ago), and the Prophecy of the Circle (yet to be fulfilled by the tikedi at the time of the comic).
- Punctuation Shaker: Tekk full names always contain an apostrophe, separating given name from caste name. The latter part is sometimes dropped in casual conversations.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: For the tikedi, anyway. Some of them refuse to consider tekk as anything more than savage beasts.
- The Resenter: Yaren. He lost to Jacind in a competition for the position of the Kantreska, in spite of the latter's mistakes and failings that should have had him disqualified, but were dismissed by their teacher. Ever since then Yaren's made a point of questioning Jacind's every decision as a ruler.
- Schizo Tech: The Tieke have advanced technology that was granted to them by Teyka. But since they lack scientific knowledge beyond what was given to them, this leads to a situation where the Tieke use handheld computers alongside spears.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The timid Shanka and brash Balta. The difference between them seems to even grow with time.
- Sliding Scale of Animal Cast: Level 1; you won't see any human here. That the world of the story is another planet very far away and the low technology helps.
- Suspiciously Specific Sermon: In chapter 2, Shen's one targets Aurorin's activities.
- Take Me Instead: Yaren demands to receive punishment instead of Shanka, claiming to be responsible for the latter's actions.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The backstory of Jacind, Yaren and Calterra. Yaren won at that time, but it still didn't end happily for him.
- Viewer Gender Confusion: In-universe, tikedi refer to Renn'tekk with male pronouns, but it's revealed she's female later.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Jahrd and his father Jacind may have a genetic mortal disease called "desert drowning".