Sherbourg, capital of the colony of Aradie. 1686. The month of Barebranch...The snow came early that year.Snow By Night : A Tale Of Colonial Fantasy
is a Web Comic
first started up by Eric Menge in 2010.
The tale take place in Sherbourg, capital of the Saronnean colony of Aradie. Of focus is a pair of rooks, high-minded Jassart LeBlanc and laid-back Blaise Dansereau. While carrying out a well-planned burglary on a Barebranch night, the two discover that their intended quarry has already been stolen by a Phantom Thief
, with the only clue being some snow in the chest that held the prize. The two later find out that the thief has been stealing from the wards of various rooks — a big no-no according to the rook code — and promptly throwing the treasures aside.
Jassart and Blaise decide that they can't have a rival rook upstaging their own ventures, particularly not one who shows such disdain for and/or ignorance of the art of theft. The two decide that the mystery thief must be caught, with their main lead being the thief's penchant for snatching items with heart motifs.
After getting assistance from a wealthy benefactor, the duo set up a trap for the thief. They end up catching their prey, who is revealed to be Snow By Night, a female manitou (or etheric being) who has taken on physical form in order to search for a heart and know what it means to have human feelings. With this magical being now acquainted with them, Jassart and Blaise strike a deal with her: help them with their thieving missions, and they'll help her find her heart.
The comic has also featured several vignettes that touch upon the wider world and mythology.
The story is updated every Monday and Wednesday, while the Almanac is updated every Friday. The first strip is here
, the latest is here
, and the Almanac is here
Tropes in this work include:
- All There in the Manual: The story has an extensive almanac that deals with commerce, people, culture, places, history and science and updates on a weekly basis.
- An Ice Person: Winter and his daughter Snow By Night.
- Art Shift: The art changes to a warmer, less distinctly outlined style for "Feathers and Frost".
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Snow's preferred weapon, naturally made of ice.
- Character Title: Snow By Night is the name of the Phantom Thief.
- Darker and Edgier / Downer Ending: Chapter 8, Jassart betrays Snow-By-Night and Blaise trusts, by having Bertrande the Alchemist attempt to drain Snow of her Aether. In aftermath of the fight that occurred, kegs of nearby gunpowder were accidentally ignited, destroying the Alchemist guild shop, killing Bertrande, leaving severe burns and injuries on Jassart, while Blaise is on the run and no one's sure if Snow has survived with enough aether left to return.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Aradie is a Quebec-like territory on the "New World" continent of Everique. Sherbourg resembles Montreal. It all belongs to the pseudo-French nation of Saronne (across the ocean in Japethe, Europe).
- Fictionary: Snow By Night has a good number of unique words that have a vague resemblance to French, as well as normal English words that have been redefined to correspond to a different concept.
- Five-Man Band:
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Mathilde's fans
- Grim Up North: In the Feathers and Frost Vignette, Winter is potrayed as a humanoid who makes an annual journey down from what is presumably Corthis' equivalent of the Arctic Circle.
- Hurricane of Puns: Blaise, to Mathilde while outside her window.
Mathilde: Blaise, what are you doing?
Blaise: I was in the area and thought I'd drop by. May I come in?
Blaise: Please, Mathilde, don't leave me hanging
Mathilde: One more pun and you're getting the vase.
Blaise: Awww. Why are you so on edge?
- Indian Maiden: Snow is a somewhat atypical example. While she's not human, she still wears moccasins, has an affinity for nature, and has to be taught in the ways of (civilized) humans.
- Jaw Drop: The three rooks chasing Blaise each have one when Blaise uses his Le Parkour to evade them.
- Le Parkour: Blaise does this to evade three disgruntled rooks. His pursuers are rather taken aback.
- Nature Spirit: Manitou They are beings infused with 3 of the 4 Alchemic elements, but are always lacking the element opposite of their most major element. Snow-By-Night is one such Manitou, being the spirit of a northern lake, as is her dad, Father Winter (and is huge given his power, being one of 4 Great Spirits responsible for bringing about the changes of seasons in Everique)
- Never My Fault: Jassart is accused of being this kind of person by Mathilde. She's right
- Phantom Thief: Snow By Night.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The cool-headed Jassart mainly wears blue, whereas the wilder Blaise mainly wears red.
- Scenery Porn: The opening view of Sherbourg is quite luscious.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: How Jassart justifies his actions of trying to have Snow's Aether drained. According to Bertande, it would've been enough to create medicines to heal a lot of people. Also because he feared that Snow was becoming too dangerous to have around Blaise.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jassart in Chapter 8. Jassart has managed in that one chapter alone, managed to betray Mathilde, Blaise, and Snows' trusts. He also tried to have Snow killed and stabbed Blaise. And that's before we factor in the collateral damage of his actions.
- World Building: The focus of the Almanac; bits of it leak into the main story when the plot demands it.