Atros and his courtesans (sans Linneus and Rory)
Who can remember faces when they're buried in pillows the entire time?
was an adult (18+) yaoi
webcomic from Emirain, two professional comic artists. First issue is online at the Teahouse comic website.
(NSFW) A fuller version
is available for purchase.
The story is projected to be 15 to 20 chapters long. So far five chapters have been published, illustrating the life of the owner, courtesans, and clients of a brothel called the Teahouse, located in the fictional country of Ivore. The country itself has a rather rigid class system in place, and the courtesans belong to the brothel's owner, much like slaves. The main source of drama is the three couples of the series, whose wide variety of personalities keeps it all interesting. And, you know, the Fanservice
The art is impressive, especially for a webcomic, and it ran in a weekly format (Just barely though, as the authors dealt with a lot of sickness and family problems, thus putting the comic on constant mini-hiatuses, resulting in a lot of Fan Dumb
and White Knighting
), and occasional double update months.
On November 26th 2014, the series abruptly ended.
Provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: It's implied during the flashback's that Xanthe's father was a cold, strict and ruthless parent who had no patience for normal childishness and once gave Xanthe a black eye. It also seems like his parenting tragically worked very well, because Xanthe grew up into a similar man. (And naturally, this backstory is a major factor as to why fangirls excuse Xanthe's actions.)
- Not to mention Linneus's father, who sold him to the Teahouse at the age of five (on his birthday) to pay for a gambling debt.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Axis certainly fits the bad boy image, and he's the top earning courtesan (not anymore), mostly because he's the lady clients' favorite.
- All There in the Manual: backstory is explained and teasers provided via separate galleries and image descriptions. For a list of Word of God info, see the Trivia tab.
- Alt Text: Starting in chapter 3, with a tendency to get more and more brutally Mood Wiplash-y as the story progresses.
- Anchored Ship: Atros and Linneus... it's clear that Linneus loves Atros very much, but Atros' emotion towards him ranges from cool and polite to downright frigid and uninterested.
- In the latest installments Argent (in one of her only lines in the comic) states that a line was crossed when Atros called Linneus his "whore", resulting in even more tension between the two.
- Almost Kiss: UST spanning tens of pages coming to an end? Of course not.
- Always Identical Twins: Remy and Rory, even though a brother and sister pair should be fraternal as identical twins isn't possible due to basic level genetics. The writers claim this was on purpose◊.
- Anachronism Stew: AND HOW. Even barring the unusual to the downright surreal mixings of victorian and modern clothing (Axis being a major offender) the comic also features cigarettes with filters, crossbows with infrared scopes, and plastic bags.
- Arranged Marriage: Rhys has one with Reed's cousin and he's not happy about it.
- Artifact Title: The Teahouse really was a teahouse once.
- Artistic License – Biology: Remy and Rory are identical twins even though one is a boy and one is a girl, so it's impossible to have the same biological make-up. So they have the same make-up while not.◊
- As You Know: The first line of dialogue starts with: "As I corresponded to you earlier..."
- Bait the Dog: Introduced not drastically different from any others, Gilder was the only person to be unconditionally kind to Linneus. Then in chapter 5 he's seen killing a rich man and robbing his corpse to pay for another session with his favourite courtesan. This bodes not well for the future.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Now and then, due to that explicit content is kept out of the web version and some panels have alternate versions in print. Usually nakedness is simply clothed and explicit sex scenes omitted altogether for the web version, but sometimes nakedness is necessitated by the scene, resulting in hollow groins. For instance, when Reed is naked with Rory.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Axis and Rhys's whole relationship seems to be fuelled by this.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: In the print version, Rory is blessed with this, and his client pretty much calls it his only redeeming quality. You know what they say about what comes in small packages.
- Bishie Sparkle: Rhys gets snark sparkles in the chapter one book.
- Blatant Lies: When Linneus disrobes Gilder and in the process, lots and lots of daggers (plus the sword) hit the floor. The bottom panel shows blood on one of the daggers.
Linneus: "What's... Why do you... so many..."
Gilder: "I, uh, cut trees..."
- Buxom Is Better: Claret's dress especially emphasizes her assets, and Axis does seem to prefer her for this very reason. Rhys also makes a point of stating that his fiancee has a lovely (massive) set.
- Inverted or averted when it comes to the tastes of the customers - although she is the most well-endowed of the female characters, she is the lowest earner in the house.
- Cast Full of Gay: It is a yaoi webcomic, after all. Although Word of God has confirmed most of the major characters to be bi, with only two fully gay characters (both male).
- Once Upon a Time: Everyone was gay◊. (Redubbed/commented parody/MSTK/something.)
- Covered with Scars: Gilder◊, introduced in Chapter 3, has one huge scar across his nose and even more on his body.
- Curse Cut Short:
Axis: *grabs his crotch* Why don't you come here and choke on my—
- Curtains Match the Window: Rhys, Reed and Mercutio are like this.
- Cut Short: The entire webcomic ceased production in November 2014.
- Dear Negative Reader: Two. After people complained about them not uploading often enough (here◊) and when they were accussed of being racist for not having any non-white characters except a background servant (here◊).
- The Ditz: Claret, as labelled in the print version's character list. It isn't that clear from the work itself yet.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Only Linneus is allowed to address Atros by his first name.
- Dysfunction Junction: boy, is this loaded with tangles. Everyone who's involved in the main arch (Linneus, Xanthe, and by extension their other lovers, wives, and customers) is screwed by the simple fact that whatever happens, including nothing happening, most of them will be screwed over. The only characters who don't perform dickmoves are the few who are either detached or high enough on Cloud Cuckoo Land to not notice or not care about other's issues.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Word Of God says it's set in not-Victorian England and not-Earth, but Christianity is present (seen here ◊ on what is presumably a church and that Axis is seen multiple times see here◊ wearing a cross) so...
- Mr. Fanservice: Pick a character, any character. One could imagine this comic is written by women for a female audience or something.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever Axis is particularly angry.
- Happiness in Slavery: Although the exact terms are unclear, the courtesans are slaves with their titles being held by Xanthe, which can be bought or sold at any time. They are branded on the feet, are not allowed to leave the Teahouse without permission, and don't really have the right to refuse a client. Despite that, at least Mercutio seems happy doing his thing. Claret doesn't seem to mind either, but she's not having many clients and those she's shown having are handsome young studs who compliment her. For Axis, Word of God confirms whoring as his dream job. Linneus on the other hand seems to be unhappy, although that may be due to his Unrequited Love for Atros (or Atros treating him like an object via domestic abuse). Lilith takes pride in being a top earner, but whether she actually enjoys or dislikes her job is anyones guess.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Axis keeps loudly mentioning he's straight and is drooling on the girls. He's totally not happy with Rhys' patronage. Especially because he's the bottom part of the equation.
- Holding Hands: Linneus and Atros, as children, in the first backstory bonus pages. So sweet that it hurts.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Claret, and likely Linneus as well. Whether Rory, Axis, and Mercutio qualify remains to be seen. Lilith, on the other hand, is not in any kind of danger to be labeled this. ...or is she?
- Huge Seme Tiny Uke: Reed and Rory. Reed's entire bio on the character page used to be "He's really tall", and Rory is two heads shorter. Illustrated marvelously here.
- Even more with Gilder and Linneus, as a tall, beefy, eh... "treecutter", and a wispy little archetypal uke respectively:
- Idealized Sex: as is standard for not-so-serious erotica.
- No lube, ever. The closest the work's come to using lube for lube-dependant sexual activities (and there have been a number of those) was a dab of spit, once. To set the mood, probably.
- Easiness and enjoyability of anal stimulation with very, very virgin debutant whores.
- Incompatible Orientation: Invoked Trope. The central issue between Atros and Linneus, if Lilith is to be believed, is Linneus's gender.
- Page 61 (chap. 2) would suggest that Linneus' gender is not in fact the main issue keeping the two apart after all.
- In-Series Nickname: Rhys calls Axis "Alice," much to Axis's chagrin.
- Inter-Class Romance:
- Atros is far higher in status than Linneus, who was given to Atros' father in lieu of payment for a gambling debt.
- Rhys is about to become the King of the land, and Reed is a wealthy merchant if not nobility or related to ruch, so their respective relationships with Axis and Rory fall neatly under this.
- Linneus rakes in the chips as a high-charging boytoy, whereas Gilder lives from commission to commission and likely owns little else than his tools-of-trade as he blows his earnings on booze and whores. Cherished pet in gilded cage versus rugged stray anyone?
- Interrupted Intimacy: Rhys kicks the door in when Axis is entertaining a client.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Xanthe. Perhaps.
- Legal Jail Bait: Despite Rory looking to be in his mid-teens, the authors do claim he is "legal," if barely.
- Love Hurts: So very much. Especially for Linneus.
- Love Triangle: Mortal combat between Lilith and Linneus for Atros. And Atros' wife. And Gilder.
- Malicious Misnaming: Axis will have you know his name is NOT Alice. Rhys has a habit of remembering wrong every name that does not belong to a lord or above.
- Moment Killer: Claret, ruining Xanthe and Linneus' Almost Kiss, by bursting into the kitchen to complain about Mercutio's latest shenanigans.
- Meaningful Name:
- Monochrome Casting: Most of the characters are light of skin, or at the most, a bit tan. Two or three very background characters look coloured, and Word of God has stated that Ivore is a non-Earth location and simply doesn't have as many non-white people as Earth. This has been pointed out, of course, and the creators have given their explanation; so far it seems they have no intention to add more skin colour diversity to any layer of characters than perviously intended.
- Mood Whiplash: Alt Texts aside, this does happen in the work proper as well. For instance, one scene ends with Rhys leaving his grieving sister with his dying father, either to escape the anxiety and the depressing athmosphere, or to bang a whore, or perhaps both... Then in the next scene there's a lil' blushing Rory being all naive and silly. And cupcakes.
- Nature Adores a Virgin: Rory's virginity is, quoth, "a huge asset to the house". Indeed, a gentleman ends up reserving him all for himself.
- One Head Taller: All the main couples, though it's most obvious with Reed and Rory. Per the cast page, Rhys is taller than Axis by half a foot.
- Opposites Attract: Rhys and Axis. The former is a tall, blue and snarky bastard, the latter is a short, loudmouthed, easily angered bastard. Not that Axis is interested in some gay-ass prick.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Can be seen on most of the ladies.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: Reed and Rory.
- Poor Communication Kills: In Chapter 5 Atros tries to sell Linneus's contract to Liard, Linneus's longtime client. When Linneus yells at him for treating him like property and not like a person, Atros levels him with an accusation that Linneus chose to become a courtesan eight years prior instead of being with Atros, when Atros's father gave him the ultimatum. Whether or not this accusation is true or not is still unclear, as Linneus ran away from the argument without refuting it, and then is shown in Chapter 6 still entertaining clients and still not have resolved this issue with Atros.
- Pretty Boy: So many. Special mention goes to Linneus, but pretty much every male character who's seen on more than three pages and who's not Axis, Atros' father or Gilder.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rhys and Axis, complete with blue and red hair.
- Remix Comic: All three prints have had short remixes by the authors featuring a few pages, featuring things like switched lines or drawn-on doodles mocking characters' actions or looks.
- A rough-handed parody by Cry Some More can be found here.
- Right-Hand Hottie: Zephyr to Rhys and Vann to Gloria.
- Seme: The comic mostly follows the stereotypical conventions, in contrast to Uke.
- Sex Slave: Or in the comic's terminology, courtesans. Terminology aside, they are all legally owned by Xanthe, they aren't allowed to leave the grounds without specific permission, and own no property apart from any tips or gifts they may be personally given by clients. Xanthe gets all the money they earn, and at least in Linneus' case, he also doesn't shy from taking over gifts for "lost profit".
- Shirtless Scene: Standalone artwork featuring Axis, mainly. Also Xanthe.
- Show, Don't Tell: Occasionally, the scenery speaks for itself. Special points for Atros' dollhouse-like mansion, which feels both too small and too big. It's stuffed full of teddy bears, ribbons, frills and many portraits of his (wife Yvette, displaying both her woeful immaturity, her father's money and Xanthe's placelessness there.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: a number, including Reed's to Rory.
- Slave Brand: All courtesans are branded with a tattoo of their brothel's insignia on their feet. (Apparently repeatedly, as tattoos there last a month or so. Ouch.) Axis has several brands, which seems to indicate he belonged to other brothels before coming to the Teahouse. It's also possible that he ran away and was rebranded as punishment... But seeing how much he loves his job...
- Spit-Trail Kiss: Axis and Rhys. Not Safe for Work.
- Take Our Word for It: The extent of Mercutio's kinky appointments used to be only ever described/alluded to until Chapter 3 was released in print. That said, what is said in the free online content (including the revelation of his extensive sex toy collection) and others' reactions towards him makes one wonder what kinds of appointments he takes.
- Technicolor Eyes: a wide range, as befits a world with naturally blue-, green- and pink-haired people.
- Tempting Fate:
- Axis' early outburst "The day you replace me as top earner is the day I give a shit about what you think!" Axis seems to realise this, as he adamantly insist on bringing Rory down every time they are in the same room.
- The bit with Axis blushing (NSFW) after Rhys pushes his hair aside when he fails to respond to a snarky remark, screams Tempting Fate in regards his eventual relationship with Rhys.
- Uke: Gets played with more than Seme. Linneus follows the archetype faithfully, being very effeminate and a gentle personality, while Axis is a tempestuous ladies' man, very loud about his heterosexual preferences, and not happy at all about submitting to Rhys, only to turns into a stereotypically blushing, if not built, uke in an instant during some sex, or when he's careless enough to think of Rhys with less than fervent contempt.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Atros and Linneus embody it from later second chapter and onto the third chapter.
- Wham Line: As the plot thickens, many wham lines have been delivered.
Atros: "You chose this—you chose this life over me!"
Rhys: "...The King's dead."
- Yaoi Genre
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rhys and Evelyn have blue, Atros and Mercutio, both young men, grey; Claret green, Linneus soft pink, Rory bright flaming red. Axis, another redhead, seems to have naturally dark hair judging from his eyebrows and roots (confirmed by the authors). All in all the cast is very colourful in the hair department.