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"After losing his memory to a mysterious battle, Trace Legacy, a former leader for an organization of mages called the Templar, finds himself in the company of Flora, a girl of strange, tiger-like qualities. As Trace gradually begins to re-learn what he once knew, he soon discovers that Flora belongs to a race of people who are enemies of his kind. As friendship conflicts with racial differences, Trace and Flora find themselves in a situation more critical than either of them can imagine." —TwoKinds Summary Page.
TwoKinds is a long runningWebcomic with heavy anime and furry influences. It revolves around Trace, a human who has lost his memory, and his anthropomorphic Tiger-girl friend, Flora. It debuted on October 22, 2003.Along their way, they discover that the world is in a state of near open war, with Flora's race, the Keidran, openly targeted for enslavement and slaughter by the humans, led by the murderous Templars. Meanwhile, they discover Keith, a member of the mostly forgotten Basitin race.Quickly caught up in the politics of the world — and its gods — Trace and Flora travel eastward, interested in finding out more about Trace's past, as well as a place a Human with a dark (and forgotten) past, a misfit Keidran, and an outcast Basitin can call home.While they may not show anything, there are still NSFW moments.TwoKinds can be read in its entirety at its home page, here. The author/artist, Tom Fischbach, has a DeviantArt page here. His brother, Mark, is the famous Let's Player Markiplier, and Tom has appeared in several Markiplier videos.
A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 13 starts with the side characters from Trace's old hometown, now on the run from an advancing Keidran raiding force.
All Love Is Unrequited: Kathrin seems to genuinely have feelings for Eric, but though he treats her infinitely better than most humans would treat a slave, he still considers her to be his property. The only thing that indicates his feelings might be different is that he released her from the mind-control spell that forces a slave to follow any order.
It has progressed (somewhat) from "property" to "like a sister," but the problem remains.
Alt Text: Sporadic, and only on the most recent pages. Each new page seems to have alt text, but when the page is thrown into the archive, it loses the text for some reason. For instance: the alt text for page 769 was "Save the bucket helmet."
Always Chaotic Evil: Played rather humorously three different ways... and sometimes not so humorously. Due to separatism and the resulting whirlwind of misconception and propaganda, everyone in TwoKinds thinks everyone else is Always Chaotic Evil. The Keidran rarely meet Humans other than slavers. Humans rarely meet Keidran who aren't criminals. All it took was one Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds for the slavers to be supplemented with death squads. The only third party is a group of Brown Minion expies known as the Basitin, who don't see anyone else sympathetically due to their cultural Asskicking Equals Authority/More Than Mind Control; humans are undisciplined rabble, Keidran are perverse undisciplined rabble. And the few Basitin that don't follow that doctrine are hated above all others.
Amnesiac Dissonance: Trace. Interesting in that the only person not aware of his past is himself; nearly everyone else is well aware of who he is/was and openly terrified of him. It's gotten to the point that Trace has decided that he's better off not knowing who he was.
Trace: The more I learn about my past, the more I've come to realize how better off I am now without it. I used to want to remember. But being told just made me realize the terrible person I'd been. I understand now that losing it all was the best thing to happen to me. So I've decided I'm not going to do anything to put us at risk anymore.
Eric: Templar laws have, in recent years, made it a crime for slave traders, such as me, to free our slaves voluntarily. Trace: What? Why? What kind of evil person would make a law like th... It was me wasn't it? Eric: Yes.
Ancestral Weapon: The armor that Keith initially wears once belonged to his father. In an interesting twist, he wears it as a condition of his banishment.
Animate Dead: Trace does a telekinetic variant of this in strip 514, abusing the corpses of a few soldiers to block attacks.
Trace tried to use this on Saria after she died, which went wrong and drove Trace insane and genocidal or omnicidal.
Anime Hair: Trace's pointy hair... thing, commonly called Idiot Hair in Anime fandom. Notably, it's only present when he's in his nicer persona, but when that hair falls, it's the first sign that Templar!Trace has come out to play with people's entrails.
Templar!Trace has his "pointy hair... thing" here...
Anti-Magic: Dispel and Mana Sinks. Dispel shuts off mana flow or dissipates it, while Mana Sinks steal mana from whom or whatever is placed on its platform.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mike is informed by Evals that not only has his gender changed, but also that the fur pattern on his rump was changed to a heart shape. He says that messing with his gender is one thing, but changing his fur pattern is unforgivable.
At Keith's court hearing, he's been charged with disobeying orders, trespassing on royal grounds, destroying royal property, committing treason, and breaking curfew — which is still a federal crime amongst the Basitins.
Artistic License - Medicine: Because of a double taboo (first against nudity, second against seeking aid), the Basitin doctors blindfold themselves and navigate by ear.
Art Shift: The Towers originally looked much like something you'd see in a far-future science fiction setting; the most recently seen one, however, looks almost exactly like a standard-issue medieval castle turret... with a crystalline superstructure and a big glowing orb floating above the top.
Could be due to refinements in the tech, allowing them to disguise them as ordinary wall turrets.
Notice that this particular Tower is built on the Basitin Islands and not on the Human-controlled mainland, and is built without the knowledge of the Basitin people as to what it really does. The new look might be intentional, as — unlike the others — it doesn't look like a doom fortress.
The Templar logo at the start of the comic is a blue circle with three black lines on it. In later comics, it resembles a stylized sword superimposed on a wheel.
Asskicking Equals Authority: Red and Sythe take mutual roles as the leader of group B simply because they have more combat experience... and because they're being chased by an assassin. Justified as they're the only ones who can take Zen out.
The Atoner: Keith, who, ironically, has done nothing wrong... mostly.
Author Appeal: A surfer viewing the artist's DeviantArt page will find tons of fanart of his own characters... but mostly Flora. If you idle in the IRC chat room long enough and at the right hours, you can sometimes catch the author chattering about why he writes the comic. He admits it was mostly personal appeal at the time.
The author also seems to have a thing for drawing his own characters naked.
Author Avatar: Tom has shown up in the comic twice — one time as a pizza delivery man, the other as a postman. On both occasions, he was struck down by a character as soon as he appeared.
Authority Equals Asskicking: A high-ranked Basitin is quite capable of fighting. Even the Intelligence General was capable of fatally striking an obviously younger soldier with a single attack.
Bee People: Basitins, of a sort. They lack the hive mind aspect, but they do have a really big female "King" leader, a very rigid class system, gender segregation, an alien culture (dialing the nudity taboo up to 11), and a biological compulsion to obey orders.
Although recently, it has been revealed that all of this only applies to Eastern Basitins. The Western Basitins at the very least do not have a biological compulsion to obey orders, and are hinted at having an entirely different culture.
Hurting Trace's love interests is fairly unwise, period.
Beware the Nice Ones: Post mind-wipe Trace is normally your typical Nice Guy; shy but friendly, altruistic, and a little naive. However, he used to be one of the (if not The) most powerful and feared mages in the world. Pressing his Berserk Button is a very, very bad idea.
Bi the Way: Natani, who's bisexual according to the cast page. The truth is significantly more complex than that; see Transsexual below.
Kathrin, maybe, based on the Les Yay she and Flora had on the ship.
Bizarre Alien Biology: Hoo boy, where to begin? Well, how about with the Basitins? They have super dense muscles, no libido (except when in heat or watching combat), gain a pleasurable response to following orders (though, judging by Keith, that probably also has something to do them usually enlisting in their military at the age of five), are immune to most poisons, and they heal very quickly and with a minimum of scarring.
Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Whilst not as strange as some examples... Keidran women have a fairly regular heat period, during which their libido increases markedly. However, they only ovulate in the week after their heat period ends; they use the enhanced sex drive to, basically, find a compatible mate and then make babies with him.
Black Speech: Anytime Templar!Trace wakes up, of the creepy-as-hell scrawling font variety. Bonus points for having elements of Zalgo in there.
Bleached Underpants: Remember when Flora and Kathrin were Innocent Fanservice Girls, with Kathrin having a healthy dose of Innocent Innuendo included on top of that? With the recent switch in hosting to Keenspot, this has been dropped off the main page and all the characters are wearing mostly conservative outfits, with only Eric having something that wouldn't be appropriate at a mall in the US (and even he is dressed as a Shout-Out to Hugh Hefner). Remembering that at least one point◊ the comic title banner had a (non-sexually) nude Flora on it...
The Fanservice content in the comic itself has been dialed back as well, and Flora and Kathrin's Innocent Fanservice Girl tendencies have dialed back immensely, although Flora has a few excuses about it note being pregnant and being around Eric. Kathrin does go around nude still, although in the chapter post-switchover (Chapter 14), she instead wears a Naked Apron designed to minimize her fan-service content outside of a single specific scene.
Blood Knight: The Red-Haired Swordsman, whose war-cry is "In the Name of Meaningless Battle!!!".
Blue and Orange Morality: The Basitins consider nudity heinous and not following orders unthinkable, while the Keidrans literally use sex to get to know people. As one might expect, humans and Basitins think they're promiscuous, but it's supported by their biology: They're only fertile the week after they're in heat.
But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Despite a doctor confirming it, Flora refused to believe that she's pregnant until Chapter 14. The reasons for this were many: the doctor who told her was a Basitin doctor; the doctor was racist (insinuating that Flora must have found some random Keidran stranger to have sex with during their trip) and also wore a blindfold because looking at her patients unclothed would be obscene. And as Flora herself noted, Keidrans and humans had coexisted — yes, she meant that — for centuries and there had never been any hybrid offspring. But she's finally accepted the truth and has now begun debating when and how to tell Trace, though she still can't figure out how they're the one couple who conceived. Unbeknownst to Flora, Euphemural has decided to allow the pregnancy to occur after a long time of actively preventing such reproductions.
Apparently, whatever magic that Euphemural was using wasn't perfect, as one human/keidran half-breed does already exist. Apparently her father's innate magical ability to shape shift into a human form allowed him to "work around" that limitation.
Call Forward: In the Tenth Anniversary "flashback" to Trace and Flora's first night, in which she explains what Keidran and Basitin are.
I can guarantee you'll never have to worry about meeting a Basitin. They live far off on some weird island or something.
Probably their hyper metabolism. It does what it's made for quickly.
Canon Foreigner: One book-exclusive story has the "A" cast (plus Eric and his crew) get punk'd by a fairy. They don't show up in the comic proper.
Can Not Spit It Out: Flora is still trying to work up the nerve to break the news of her pregnancy to Trace. Granted, in the comic's time, it's only been a week or two since she learned about it (in real time, it's been a couple of years). In recent strips, it's less that she can't spit it out; rather, she keeps getting interrupted before she can do so.
As of May 16th, 2013, she's finally told him, and Trace's reaction was... well:
Flora: Trace, you promised not to freak out. I consider falling unconscious to be a form of freaking out.... Trace?
The spell that caused Natani to need Zen to get a part of his soul copied onto hers, as well as mentally-linking them, considering the caster died using it, was most likely something similar.
Catch Phrase: Natani. Sort of. She's constantly reminding people of her occupation by saying "as an assassin" so many times it actually gets annoying. Whether the artist does this on purpose or if he is seriously unaware of how many times he's had her say it is debatable.
The Tigra/Flora Paradox: If you'd hit it you're a furry; if not you're gay.
Caught with Your Pants Down: Keith and Natani repeatedly avoid this trope. The latest instance, Keith and Natani, both naked (remember, Natani is hiding her true gender from the group), with Keith being paralyzed, in a inn room that was just set on fire, looks like it might be harder to get away from. Mike and Evals recently played this trope straighter. Well, sort of straight.
It's made fairly blatant that Eric is only a slave trader because it's the only socially acceptable way available to explore his Keidran (and, once he discovers them, Basitin) fetish. He's far, far more interested in flirting and painting portraits of nude Keidrans and Basitins than anything else. In addition, we haven't seen him buy or sell any of his slaves, so he may actually just be a slave collector.
Crapsack World: When the nicest person in the setting happens to be a slave trader — a sex slave trader, to be more precise — you know it's this.
Potentially a cover for his Keidran fetish, though how one could tell currently is a mystery.
Crazy-Prepared: Alaric. From the time Keith was banished, Alaric had been working nonstop, becoming a general, exploiting every loophole in the law he could, and writing hundreds of documents, all so Keith would have to be acknowledged by society. Keith is now recognized as the Ambassador for Basitin society, representing their entire civilization to the world.
Culture Clash: Quite a few. It's no wonder why the three don't get along most of the time.
The humans are perfectly OK with the concepts of slavery and racism, regardless of who's doing it to who.
The Keidran have a blatantly different biology then the other two races and live a mostly tribal existence; the wolf Keidran like killing civilians.
The Western Basitins live in a very orderly and militaristic republic.
Deal with the Devil: The old High Templar asked Neutral to give her human form back. In exchange, Neutral possessed her for a time. Flora also got the short end of the stick when she accepted Neutral's help.
Death Glare: Eric is not amused when Messenger Lynn also appears on his boat. It lasts up until Lynn reveals he prepared tea and coffee cake.
Defeat by Modesty: An inverted example, the artist has posted a few "lost strips" on his DeviantArt page showing that Flora and Natani almost defeat the Eastern General with nudity. Not his, but Flora's; Natani notices the general reacts poorly to her not wearing socks, so she steals Flora's clothing, leaving the general a blushing, stammering mess.
Defeat Means Friendship: Yeah, remember when Natani (and her brother) tried to kill the group? Now Natani has a crush on Keith and is being very lax about following her orders to kill Trace...
Deus/Diabolus Ex Machina: Divine help rarely doesn't end up breaking rules or getting people injured, but Trace impregnating Flora couldn't have happened otherwise and it's looking like a good thing currently.
Trace, stop killing everyone when your girlfriend/wife gets hurt/killed, not cool dude.
The old Intelligence General murdered Keith's mother, blinded and scarred Alaric in one eye, and got Keith banished for self-defense. Because he didn't like the choices his friend made, and all this before the comic starts.
Draco in Leather Pants: Directly invoked. Remember that Eric is a slave trader who collects Keidrans because he doesn't consider them people, just objects of his own perverted lust? The fan base mostly forgot, so we're forcibly reminded when he accuses Evals of attempting to sabotage the ship and flee and decides to re-enslave them. [invoked]
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Seen here. More like Dull Eyes of Death, though. Keith, and possibly all Basitins, are a strange case; they seem to have "standard eyes" (i.e. pupils and sclera) when young, but change into these as they grow older.
Ear Ache: Cathleen left her mark on General Alabaster.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Templars seem interested in making a large number of these, basically magic batteries. Oh, and they cause brain damage to Basitins, a fact that they are unaware of, but that the Templars are. They also do something to Keidrans' instincts — probably something very bad — but this has not been explored yet.
Expy: The Intelligence General looks a lot like Gnarl.
Fallen Hero: Trace was shown to be a fairly nice guy, before his first wife is killed by a Keidran highwayman, which causes him to... snap. He tried to bring her back to life and failed, warping his mind with dark magic in the process, and then slaughtered the Master Templars, replaced them with his hand-picked acolytes, and became the bane of the Keidran race. The fact that he was also experimenting with dark magic before his wife was killed would likely not have helped.
Raine's tail seems to be rather sensitive as well.
Fantastic Racism: Humans hate Keidrans (it's mutual) and can barely recognize the difference between Keidrans and Basitins. Speaking of Basitins, they're split up between Western and Eastern Basitins; the Eastern ones are the only ones we've seen so far, who tolerate humans but consider Keidrans a slave race which are insanely promiscuous at all times.
Fantasy Writers have no Sense of Scale: The Keidran tribes are stated to be very fast breeders (what with their views on sex being the same as a Centauri and their short life spans), yet the largest city of the Wolf Clan (the largest tribe) is less than six thousand; even for a faux-Medieval setting, that's rather low. Also, there is a timber forest and a rain forest rather close to each other (and on the same latitude line, no less). Possibly justified for the Keidrans in that they're nomadic — so the people living in a city are the minority — and that they've been on the losing end of a war of genocide/slavery with humanity for the past few decades. (The 6,000 population has since been retconned to be 36,000.)
Let's not forget Zen's hint about the race being at risk of dying out.
Faux Action Girl: For a top-class assassin, Natani sure does suck at it; the same goes for the rest of the female cast, up to the last Grand Master. For the leader of an army of magic-using knights, she was profoundly tricked. According to the Author, Natani and her brother have always "Managed to cause their targets to die by proxy" and never actually killed a target themselves. The only time we've seen Natani fight was against someone whose stomach was hard enough to shatter knives.
Fire-Forged Friends: It isn't the most noticeable, but Keith at one point grudgingly says something that represents this trope:
Keith: Huff... If it wasn't for the fact I still need you for my mission... Well... I'd probably still save your ass. But then I wouldn't have an excuse for it.
There's a silhouette with yellow eyes in the background here and here...
In strip 71, Sythe and Maren are shown sharing a pizza; regretting that they'll have to be enemies when it's finished. Several hundred strips and nine years later, they've teamed up.
Freeze Sneeze: The only thing that can get a Bastin sick is being cold and wet. It apparently clears up as their body heat stabilizes.
From Nobody to Nightmare: As a child, Trace's master quickly realized he was Brilliant but Lazy, performing his duties faithfully but never really pushing himself, but she also realized that if he ever had a reason to try, he might be capable of damn near anything. They were right; give Trace someone to love and he'll love unconditionally. Take that person away and you have a holocaust on your hands.
Earlier, you can see Lady Nora shooting flame at seabirds in the second-to-last panel here.
Fun Size: Basitins don't get much bigger than 5 and half feet. They're pretty much anti-hobbits.
Except their King, good lord. She must be closer to seven or eight feet tall. And she's built like a brick house!
Furry Surrogate: Eric. He has a huge Keidran (and Basitin) fetish, and since the only socially acceptable way to explore this in his society is to be a slave trader, well, that's what he does. It's implied that he treats his slaves far better than the average trader, and we never see him buying or selling slaves, so that may be a cover.
Gambit Pileup: We know Ephemural isn't the only god who has plans for Trace, plus Trace/The Templars' plans, plus whatever the Basitins want from Trace note Which turned out to be "hand him over to the Templar for magical goodies"., PLUS the groups chasing Trace and Co., PLUS... it looks like all the people on the Templar Grand Council are playing Xanatos Speed Chess against each other, not just the governments of all the nations and the main party. To what ends is anyone's guess at this point.
Gambit Roulette: Deconstructed by Master General Alaric.Instead of devising a risky plan that involved precise timing, coincidence, and the other hallmarks of a traditional roulette, he planned for 'many things' by crafting hundreds of documents that exploited every loophole in the system.
Gender Bender: During the Basitin Isles arc, Mike is hit with an illusion from Lady Nora that makes him look female, but is still male. The artist does a fair amount of this stuff on his DA account. And a recent incentive has the main characters with swapped genders.
Give Him a Normal Life: Discussed. Trace doesn't consider himself very good father material due to his Amnesia, little world experience because of said amnesia, dark forgotten past, bunch of people wanting him dead, others wanting him back to the way he was, and a Superpowered Evil Side that's becoming more active. All very good reasons, of course, but... uh... well, the reason the subject came up was because Flora was trying to find a way to break the news of her pregnancy to him.
Gorn: In one of the later chapters, one of the characters gets killed off in a manner befitting the bastard love child of a ''Candiru asu'' and a hand grenade. The reaction from some of the fans was mostly positive.
It turns out that Raine is one as well. Her father was a keidran who developed a human transformation spell; she shifts from human to keidran uncontrollably.
Happiness in Slavery: And How! Kathrin seems to be just happy being a type 1 slave. The fact that Eric goes easy on her doesn't hurt, either. And to a certain extent, Flora looks back on her days as a slave "with a... fondness." (No, really.) Though, to be fair, Kathrin and the rest of Eric's crew are treated like human servants/pets, and Flora was treated about the same way until she was disowned by her childhood friend.
Mike is definitely a type 4. He was born into slavery and wouldn't survive in the wild.
Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Deconstructed. The Basitin culture is so sexually repressed that an entire tavern drops everything to watch a disrobed Flora chase Kathrin (also naked) out of her room for calling her fat. It takes Trace shouting them down with a little help from Templar!Trace to smooth things over.
She’s still alive! Oh, no, wait, she's doomed by internal bleeding. Then she had passed away in the end of the chapter.
Honor Before Reason: Eastern Basitins have such a huge Lawful Stupid habit that this is often in play. They consider it more honorable to die in battle than to survive and possibly provide strategic knowledge to others.
Humans Are Cthulhu: Given the rapacious manner in which they take over and enslave Keidran villages, most Keidrans assume that humans are devoid of mercy or compassion and even that they're cannibals (taking the D&D meaning in that they eat sapient prey). That, and they think Humans live "unnaturally long" (humans live about twice as long as Keidrans), and can use magic with surprising ease (see next). So humans, to Keidrans, are nigh-immortal magical beings who swipe the population of entire cities to become brainwashed slaves or snack food (or even clothing; at the start of the strip, the guy Trace gets Flora from states her skin will fetch a good price). Imagine their shock when they meet a pleasant human, and/or when it's explained to them that humans are really just a sort of bald ape-creature that happens to have a slow metabolism and a mean streak. So, Flora and Kathrin are pretty much iae Iae IAE HUMANITAS FHTAGN!!!
Note that the long-lived part mirrors how other civilizations saw the ancient Greeks, who tended to have unusually long life spans for that time period.
Humans Are Special: Humans are the only race that can use magic without special equipment (Mana batteries for Keidrans and brain-rotting mental conditioning for Basitin). Humans can also drain mana from the surrounding area to fuel their own spells note Or at least, Trace can. It's considered a very poor idea. And they live substantially longer than Keidrans. So, humans are pretty much the "elves" of the setting. Remembering what Terry Pratchett said about elves, that is...
Actually, keidran can manipulate mana; they're just not very good at it, as shown when Natani tried to recharge her crystal "batteries" (they didn't last nearly as long the second time).
Hyperactive Metabolism: A minor example; Keidran have a metabolism about two times faster than that of a human. They gain less weight and age twice as fast. This is one of the subtle hints of Flora's pregnancy; she notes in one strip that she's put on a little weight.
Hypocrite: Eric hates how slaves are bound by control spells, claiming it "kills them inside". He may treat his own slaves better than most slavers, but that doesn't stop him from using this exact same spell on them (except Kat). Note, though, that this is the law, and he's risking his own neck keeping Kat free as it is.
Though even in the face of being begged, Eric showed no restraint in re-shackling Evals all because he couldn't be bothered with looking for answers the slowest way. To be fair to him, though, they were in the middle of the ocean on a ship that almost burned down. If it had done so, they would have all been stranded or died. Even if they did survive, who knows how long they would have been stuck out there and how potential rescuers would react to Trace. Still, they were out of danger at that point and they had time to do things the slow way. The whole thing turned into a verbal beatdown to Eric by Kathrin.
I Didn't Mean To Turn You On: Red starts playing with Raine's tail after she swats his face with it. He then begins to touch and rub it, with panels showing her humorous facial reactions and blushing.
Idiot Hair: Trace and Flora, however, they fit the letter of the trope, not the spirit.
Impossible Task: Keith was set an impossible — nay, suicidal — task ("bring back the Grand Templar") as a condition of his banishment. Nobody dreamed that an (amnesiac) Trace would cheerfully accept an invitation.
Improbable Weapon User: While fighting the Ephemural-possessed Flora, Trace magically throws a wooden crate at her, leading her to observe: "You used... a crate... I mean, really... a crate? Come on..." There's also Eric's brother, Roderick, who uses... Wait, what the frak is that? I think that's a pizza cutter of some sort. That can't be useful in a fight.
Innocent Fanservice Girl: Flora, to the point that the author has complained on the forums that he wants to clothe her, but she keeps slipping out of her clothes. Less "Innocent" and more "Not really needed since she has a built-in fur coat", however. Interestingly enough, Flora was Raised by Humans, meaning she should have human modesty, and Natani (indeed, most other Keidran shown, outside of the feral and tribal ones) has no real interest in undressing. Perhaps it is a way of rebelling against her human upbringing. A better example would be Kathrin. She's a well-endowed and passively sexual cat-girl that was the result of breeding for a perfect Keidran sex slave. Eric treats her more like a little sister than anything. Add this to the fact that she's poorly dressed or naked a majority of the time. Theseareafewexamplesofthis.
Instant Fan Club: King Adelaide had men lining up from Lisbon to Vankarem to become her concubines just hours after appearing in her first strip, laws of reality be damned. And not only men either.
Interspecies Romance: Practically every possible pairing introduced in the comic, especially the main one, Trace and Flora.
Kangaroo Court: Keith's trial seems rigged to end up with him getting banished again, what with one count Conflict of Interest (the victim's son is the judge) and two counts of Unclean Hands (Murder and Disobeying a Superior). In fact, Alabaster Jr. would have succeeded if Adelaide and Lynn hadn't shown up at the last second and made it known Keith beat Alaric, making him the Master General.
Klingon Promotion: How Basitins determine the best people to be leaders. You know, the type that the rest of them are genetically programmed to obey?Nothing could go wrong with that, nope... It's not merely custom, either — the law expressly states that "rank can only be earned through succession or combat."
Leads to a bit of Fridge Brilliance in a recent chapter: Keith did defeat Alaric in single combat!
Alt Text:"You can't do that! Only we can use the law to manipulate the system!"
Knight Templar: The Templars, duh. A bit lighter on the initially good goal part than most, though.
Lawful Stupid: The entire Eastern Basitin race is Lawful Stupid; they have a biological imperative to obey their natural pecking order, regardless of their own opinions. Keith is so torn over disobeying his superior's command to kill Natani that he tries to kill himself rather than have to continue feeling the pain of disobeying.
It hasn't been revealed if it's true for Western Basitins, but more than likely is not the case.
Keith: No... Laura, you're fine. You're fine! Everything's okay now... We can finally be happy... please... I'm sorry... I'm sorry I asked for more time. I shouldn't have waited... But we can still go back... to the way things were... When you wake up, we'll be together again...
Alaric knew his defeat would begin a chain reaction of events he planned out that would make Keith acknowledged as part of Basitin society, smiling to himself as he succumbed to his wounds and knowing his efforts wouldn't be in vain.
The Lifestream: Dark Mana works by sucking the life-energy from the earth and using it to cast shadow magic. The catch is that it will never work for anything more than the occasional cantrip, because it kills the caster before they can complete the spell they're using it for.
Longest Pregnancy Ever: Flora: Hints started dropping around 2007-2008, confirmed in 2010, finally started to show a slight baby bump in 2013. That's in real life only, however; in-universe, the events of the strip have only taken a few months.
Love Confession: Unintentionally played with in recent pages. What Tom had intended was for Kathrin to express to Eric a desire to be free, but the way the dialogue is written made fans believe she was confessing her love to him.
Then again, given Kat's reaction when Eric does set her free (and declaring their relationship Like Brother and Sister in the process), perhaps she really did mean it as a Love Confession...
Love Makes You Evil: Not a straight example; 99.99% of the time, Trace is the sweetest guy you've ever met. Introduce him to someone equally as sweet and it's Sickening. Hurt (or worse, kill) that person, and he will do horrible, horrible things. If someone doesn't calm him down fast, he will drive himself to insanity trying to make things "right". Point of fact, all he did when a Keidran brigand grazed his wife with an arrow was track that single thug down and arrest him. It was only when he returned home to find that that arrow had been poisoned that he shoved the whole world into the express elevator to hell; he attempted to resurrect his wife with a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, and succeeded only in driving himself completely, utterly, genocidally insane.
Magic A Is Magic A: Regular magic is video-game style attack magic, such as tossing fireballs and creating Deflector Shields. Fuelled by mana usually stored in a crystalline matrix called a "mana stone". Black Magic is necromancy and Summon Magic fuelled by stealing life-force from the earth itself, and it's got a nasty habit of backfiring and frying your brains.
Mayfly-December Romance: It is highly suggested in the series that Keidran life spans are extremely short. Flora is 11. The oldest Keidran mentioned is 21 and he mentions that he thinks he won't live to see 25. When Trace is informed of this, he is Not Happy. Really Not Happy.
Meatgrinder Surgery: One of the voter bonuses states that Basitin medicine is essentially this due to their medieval technology and lack of magic. In fact, a common job of Basitin doctors is to grant their patients an "honorable" death.
Ms. Fanservice: Flora has some elements of this, but it's more innocent than that, for the most part. Kathrin, however, was specifically bred to be appealing to human males, so she's basically a walking sexpot with a penchant for casually acting sexual and spewing out Innocent Innuendo comments. Amusingly, Flora has flat out questioned if anyone who says the things Kathrin says could possibly not understand the innuendo. All hints as of this time point to yes, meaning that Tom has managed to write a Ms. Fanservice who ALSO is a complete innocent. Amazing. Also, cake...◊
Naked People Are Funny: Both played straight and subverted; for example, when an airborne drug/spell causes the various Keidran nearby to become drunk, the first thing Flora does is replace her clothing with ribbons. Later subverted, when a naked Flora runs out in public in the Basitin inn; it requires a stern, out-of-character threat/lecture by Trace to save her from the enraged bar patrons. Essentially, any time the crew is away from civilization, Flora disrobes.
"Theoretically, it is possible to use Dark Mana to revive a dead person..."
Necromantic: Trace's backstory. He uses Dark Mana to try and resurrect his dead wife. It backfires. No, not Came Back Wrong, it instead flashes back through his brain, nearly killing him and driving him mad.
No Biochemical Barriers: Subverted, not only are there limitations on what they can eat, but the three races in the comic can't interbreed, at least without Deistic Intervention. Though it's implied that the intervention is what stops it from happening, not what allows it.
No Name Given: [Database Error], who can't even get his name on the character page, though careful analysis of the comic does reveal that his name does start with a "P", "R", or "B".
As of this strip, we also know his name isn't "Red", though people have started referring to him as such in lieu of an actual name.
No Pregger Sex: Averted — the first thing Flora does after finally confessing her pregnancy to Trace is tempt him into the bedroom, and Trace eagerly accepts after the weeks of unintended abstinence they've had. Neither is put off by the fact she's visibly pregnant by this point.
Laura... for a while, anyway. In spite of calls for "Don't let her die!", she has since been cremated.
And inevitably, she's back again. Though there's lively debate whether it's her ghost, or just a really smartly crafted illusion. Given that it was magically untrained Natani who made the illusion... smartly crafted seems unlikely.
Sadly, only a magical construct. Closure comes with a double-whammy of CMOH and Tear Jerker.
Not So Different: The Basitins pride themselves on being morally restrained. On closer inspection, their duels seem to be mate-attracting combat displays. Honestly, one almost expected to see female Lt. Madelyn Adelaide, aka Maddie, aka Madness, watching Keith's battle with the harbor guard to head for the washroom with a jar of petrol jelly and Keith's picture. As it was, her report on Keith's duel with Alaric was part official document, part gushing fan-letter, and has a "disturbing number of hearts drawn on it".
Our Orcs Are Different: Okay, they're beast men, but the parallel between the Basitin and Orcs/Orks/Your favorite spelling of the Phonetic rendering Or+hard "K" of other works are undeniable; immune to poison, can't use magic worth a damn, enlist in the military at a very early age, and their equivalent of a Saturday-night paintball match is a long and bloody conflict. Oh, I almost forgot, the bigger ones are in charge and they're slavishly loyal to their superiors. Their honor system pretty much follows that of the Orcs from Warcraft.
But their sense of modesty is on the completely opposite end of the spectrum. Orcs are rapists (or asexual). Basitins think you're indecent if your FEET are uncovered.
Wait... Resistant to poison, isolated society, strict rules for decency, individually bad ass, Lawful to an extreme, militant, significantly shorter than humans, and unable to use magic? Orcs aren't the most apt fantasy comparison.
Adelaide must have caused a hell of a lot of nosebleeds on her way to the court, decency or no...
Out of Focus: Trace's old friends. We also know next to nothing about Nora or the "gods."
The character biography page. Trace has two entries, one for his current persona, the other for his original/real self, openly hostile to the rest of the cast. One of the character's names is replaced with [database error] as well.
Pardon My Klingon: In one of the early chapters, Flora breaks her foot. When Trace checks it out (by squeezing gently), she lets loose with a string of (untranslatable) Keidran phrases.
Person of Mass Destruction: Trace was this, to the extent it took a god to bring him down. And if Flora is in danger, he becomes it again.
Pet the Dog: Templar!Trace had one such moment 5 years ago: Laura had been captured by a group of wolves while she had been trying to find Keith. They had been planning to sell her into slavery, but were attacked by Trace en route. What happened was... not pretty, to say the least, as Trace was well into his "Death to all Keidran" mentality at the time. He spared Laura, however, because she reminded him of his late wife.
Power at a Price: Black magic. The mage that attacked the Magi brothers killed himself using black magic. Also Trace in the Basitin arc. "There's a reason it's forbidden."
Power Perversion Potential: Keidran slaves are required by law to be magically bound to follow their owner's orders. Let that sink in. The artist has also done a small number of pics showing some possibilities for magic mishaps.
Eric is properly paranoid of everyone around him, except for Kat, even if it might be too much regarding certain individuals. More than anything, he just wants to keep the people he cares about safe, and is willing to be ruthless if you give him reason to doubt.
Psychic Link: Natani and Zen. She's uncomfortable with it because he can poke through her memories (particularly her developing feelings for Keith), and annoyed by it because they're separated by thousands of miles and she can't hit him.
In a voting incentive, Natani gets around this problem by making Zen feel thoughts about Keith.
It's recently been confirmed that Zen found himself experiencing Natani's heat the first time she went into estrus after the link was forged, something that immediately makes Kathrin wince in sympathy.
Something of the sort is how Trace beats the Ephemural-controlled Flora.
Public Bath House Scene: Two, one where Trace, Flora, and Keith go to the baths in their second town, and once on the Bastin Isles. In the first instance, the bath house staff make a special announcement, telling the other patrons not to rough Flora up or Trace gets to kill them. In the second, Natani is astonished that the ultra-conservative Bastin even have bath houses. Keith explains that not everyone can afford in-home baths, so they do exist, but they're strictly gender-segregated. Patrons must also keep their foot-wraps on at all times.
Punny Name: Trace Legacy lost his memory; with a name like that, he really should have been expecting something like that.
Quickly Demoted Woman: The last Grand Master was ousted by Trace by using magic to make her look like a Keidran, causing the nearby solders to attack her and drag her into slavery. And for some reason, she doesn't blame Trace for this... (Granted, he was crazy at the time, but still.)
Most likely due to her possibly being aware he wasn't well when he did it. Her daughter is also a half-Keidran hybrid. She had been hiding it for years. How that relates to her attitude (it could be she felt her punishment was justified or used the transformation to get closer to her daughter) about the situation is unknown. She DOES leave in a secreted away town of Keidran and Human refugees...
Raised by Orcs: Flora, who was more-or-less raised by humans, counts as this to her kind.
Redemption Quest: Keith is sent on one by the Basitin leaders as punishment for his father's murder. Except that it wasn't meant to be possible; he was told he could come back when he had Trace in tow. Roughly equal to someone saying: "Hey, you can come home when you bring Osama bin Laden with you for tea."
Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Trace used dark mana, the thing he summoned and he both had red eyes, and when we meet Roderick (Eric's brother), he is first shown with them. Roderick is an active Templar and enemy of the main cast.
Red Right Hand: As of the May 5, 2010 comic, Trace's left hand has turned black due to an overuse of black magic. He keeps it hidden with a glove.
Scenery Censor: When Keith and Natani fight each other while naked, it appears that Natani's tail has a will of its own and is determined to guard Keith's modesty no matter what.
Schizo Tech: As pointed out on a certain forum thread, despite the author saying that this is a pre-Medieval setting, many things in the comic can only be achieved with modern technology. For example, the characters order a pizza without phones or long-term sustainable farming being available. Also: bronze and architecture in a culture that's remembered when it was non-evolved animals by a character who is only 2000 years old.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The very ability to do this at all (even if it's incredibly difficult) is what makes Keith so dangerous in the eyes of the Basitins. In addition, after his supposed Ungrateful Bastard moment, Eric finally decides to sell Mike and Evals to Trace (knowing they were just getting released) and free Kat himself. Note that both acts are explicitly against Templar!Trace's law, and if he was found out, Eric and anyone connected to him would be in serious trouble. He's so concerned with this that the only thing that could convince him to do these acts is Kat's Kirk Summation.
Statuesque Stunner: Natani is 6'3" (an early size chart listed her at 6' even; a later chart listed her taller). She's the tallest member of the core cast by far, and at Size D has the largest breasts of the cast (when she's not binding them to keep up her ruse as a male).
Status Quo Is God: Literally! Neutral's only motivation seems to be to maintain a constant stalemate between the three regional powers. Though it and the rest of the Masks aren't gods by standard definition, considering that they can be destroyed, or at least disabled.
Stay in the Kitchen: Averted with humans and Basitins. Played straight with the Keidran assassin guild; if they catch a female in their ranks, they just off her. Female wolf-Keidrans also seem to stay home and let the men fight.
Their First Time: When Trace and Flora have sex for the first time in strip #203. It's technically not Trace's first time (what with his having been married before), but it still counts since he doesn't remember that. Then in strip #804, Flora states that she had never been with anyone before Trace.
Translation Convention: Keidran speech has "<" and ">" on the ends usually. Basitin has "[" and "]" on the ends. Human speech has no marking indicators thus far.
Transsexual: Natani, having had part of her soul destroyed, was only saved when magi restored her psyche by copying parts of her brother's soul and pasting them into the gaps, leaving her with a mostly male mentality. Her feelings for Keith are, understandably, causing her some mental anguish.
Two Lines, No Waiting: The comic cuts back and forth between the primary protagonists and a simultaneous subplot featuring the secondary characters. The two plots intersect through the assassin siblings, with Natani being a protagonist in the A story while her brother Zen is an antagonist in the B story.
Ungrateful Bastard: As stated below in What the Hell, Hero?, Eric refuses to let his slaves go even though they risked their own lives and sacrificed their chance at freedom to wait for him to return to the ship. And these slaves weren't even under a control spell at the time.
Later strips reveal that the notion of freeing a slave out of gratitude is simply outside of Eric's frame of reference and also carries serious, potentially even fatal, consequences. Eric eventually comes around after he's had some time to think about it and Trace figures out how to provide him with Plausible Deniability.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Possibly Kathrin. Eric likes Keidran women noticeably and Kathrin likes him. Because they're so near each other, Eric has yet to show any reciprocation for her fondness beyond treating her well. Also, maybe Alaric to Keith.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Flora and Trace before they get in bed. Keith and Natani all the time. Mike being turned female temporarily has revealed something similar with him and Evals.
Unwanted Harem: It seems that Keith is quickly getting one of these. He has three girls who like him! Also, maybe Alaric.
Unwitting Pawn: Both Trace and Flora. Ephemerul/Neutral was the one who set the plot in motion; first by wiping Trace's memories and then arranging the circumstances in which he met Flora. Originally, it seemed that the plan was to have Trace act as Flora's protector until... well, it's not really clear what Neutral was trying for (something escorting her to Kiedran lands, then having Trace killed.... Ch. 6 was kind of confusing). Anyways, now Ephemerul's plans seem to revolve around their unborn baby, which is all but stated to be a result of her(?) machinations.
Vague Age: Due to the art, all humans (save Master Mage, but even he looks too young) look like teenagers but are in their mid to late 20's (Trace is 25).
Webcomic Time: The Basitin Isles story arc has gone on for almost four years. It takes place in the space of three days. This is lampshaded by Karen saying "It feels like we haven't done anything for four years..."
Wham Episode: Keith's trial, where we've just found out Gen. Kaiser didn't kill Keith's mother like he'd thought; Gen. Alabaster did. We find this out from Alabaster's son, to boot.
Despite freedom being handed over to them on a silver platter, Eric's slaves (apart from Kat) are convinced by Flora to wait for him and Trace to return, risking going back to being slaves though making Flora promise to convince Eric to release them. He's about as grateful as you'd expect.
The Worf Effect: The Eastern Basitin Islands Arms General does this with Natani, the professional assassin, beating her with little effort. Then he gets ripped to shreds by an unknown foe off-screen (presumably the master spy).
Wrong Context Magic: Originally, the Keidran learned how to use magic by storing Mana in special marbles — no marbles, no source of magical energy, no spells. Then the Humans appeared, learned the magical arts of the Keidran, and proceeded to break the rules by drawing mana directly from the surrounding environment, usually killing nearby plant-life and small animals in the process. This came with its own drawbacks, namely what happens if you kept drawing energy from the land after all the nearby sources ran out. They then compensated for THAT by building huge towers that stored enormous amounts of mana that nearby human spellcasters could draw on. Then main character Trace is shown to be capable of using Black Magic without the usual associated side-effects of 'permanent insanity and/or death', instead getting away with nothing more than a temporary Unstoppable Rage, a Super-Powered Evil Side, and a Red Right Hand. And finally, the Basitin were well-known to have NO magical power whatsoever... until someone figured out how to break THAT rule, too. (Hint: It was the humans. Humans are really not big on rules, as it turns out.)
Xanatos Speed Chess: Ephemural's plan to unite the Keidran tribes (and when this one failed, continuing with his (her?) facilitating Flora's apparent pregnancy). There are several dozen others (Gods are fun!), most of which focus on Trace, Flora, or one of their friends.
You Can't Go Home Again: Keith because he no longer fits in (not that he ever did); the B team because their village was burned.
You Look Familiar: The Templar's Master Spy does this a lot, even going as far to changing his race to a Basitin (or so it seems due to the uncanny resemblance).
If you look carefully at the mysterious killer of the Arms General here, then at the innkeeper mentioned above and consider that the murder was done by strong magic, we can pretty much infer that Master Spy killed the Arms General.
The Master Spy´s "disguise" is so weak, it´s actually very funny nobody has called him out for that. Mid-length brown hair, blue eyes, wears a cross-pendant, and ALWAYS keeps the bandages on his right hand. So far, he´s been the shop-keeper giving Trace the pendant that later decides the fight with Ephemural, an inn-keeper, he´s been a guy organizing a ship for them (although without the cross necklace), he´s been the Basitin inn-keeper, and he's most probably the one who murders the Arms General. He´s has been nothing but helping Trace and the crew, which makes his goals seem kind of blurry.