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Comic Book / Les Compagnons du crépuscule

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Les Compagnons du crépuscule (The Companions of Twilight) is a Medieval Fantasy written and drawn by French cartoonist Francois Bourgeon. The story is set in The Middle Ages, more precisely in the years of The Hundred Years War. The story is told from the point of view of Mariotte, a Fiery Redhead who is also an outcast of her village. She joins up with a Knight Errant on a mission, alongside the Dirty Coward Anicet. The two youngsters follow the knight through his dreams, and arrive in the castle of the Malaterre family, where a plot is set to snare the knight, for the sake of dame Neyrelle, oldest of the Malaterre sisters. The three of them all love the knight, and the story ends in a Cataclysm Climax when an unnamed force intervenes to stop Neyrelle from gaining too much power. Mariotte survives, joins a group of travelling actors, and tells the story.

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Les Compagnons du crépuscule provides examples of:

  • Alternate Timeline: Volume two has two timelines. One follows the regular story, set in 1350, the other follows a druid and his apprentice, set in ca 50 bc. The two timelines intertwine, when the druid in the Roman setting effectively saves the knight in the medieval setting from assault. The characters also seem to be at the same spot at the same time in the two timelines. It gets a bit Timey-wimey when the apprentice is able to actually hear Mariotte cry for help 1400 years in the future. At one point, the apprentice drops a necklace in the water, only for Mariotte to pick it up again at the same spot. At this point, it seems that the apprentice serves as Mariotte´s Alternate Self (although male), while the druid has a similiar function for Yuna, getting shot by a Roman archer at the same monent some underworldly force shoots her. The Ar Rannou song serves as The Constant, being sung by both the old druid and Yuna.
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  • Apocalypse How: An entire city is burnt to cinder with all its people, set on by the fire that burnt the knight and Carmine. The Black Death takes all the rest.
  • Babies Ever After: A girl (no name given) is seen to carry Anicet´s offspring on the last page.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Mariotte. Also the little girl at the inn. Subverted when the knight buys solid shoes for Mariotte to use during wintertime.
  • Batman Gambit: Neyrelle and Carmine´s husband sets up one to get rid of her sisters, and to gain power over the three wells connected to the sister`s inheritance. Full control will give Neyrelle access to power over the three forces. The knight is crucial, and is lured into a trap.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Yuna has a knack of getting her wishes come through. Mariotte has this experience at the beginning of the story, when she fumes with rage against her fellow villagers after being bullied one time too many. Cue a band of mercenaries, which Mariotte sets straight on the path to the village. The morning after, she has to accept guilt because she is the main reason all of them got killed.
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  • Birds of a Feather: Carmine and Mariotte resemble eachother to a point that it scares Mariotte into burning off her hair, because Carmine teases her with the thought of eloping with her Love Interest to get away. Carmine lampshades it, because she thinks the knight picked up Mariotte because of their resemblance.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blanche, the youngest sister, is a blonde. Neyrelle, the oldest, is dark, and Carmine, the middle one, is a redhead. Mirrored by Mariotte (redhead), Anaïs (dark) and a nameless blond girl who also joins the troup of actors.
  • Burn the Witch!: Carmine and the knight are accused of witchcraft - a sentence which also applies to Mariotte and the actors (which go into hiding). The two former are burnt at the stake. At the beginning of the story, the villagers invoke it against Mariotte, effectively dooming themselves in the process.
    • Mariotte is also captured by a mob in volume two, invoking the same trope.
  • Butt-Monkey: Anicet. While he tries to survive by the means of a Dirty Coward, he is sure to get it hard from the knight when he has acted cowardly. When he eventually stands up to the knight, he is promoted to squire, and ends up a head shorter when the knight is burnt at the stake.
  • Kangaroo Court: Used prominently in volume three. An innocent chimney sweep and a girl of the town get theirs, later the knight, Carmine, Mariotte and Anicet.
  • Casual Kink: Carmine implies the monks in the nearby convent are. Mariotte sets her hair on fire to stop the Uncanny resemblance between her and Carmine, and Carmine wryly points out that the young novice Mariotte has fallen in love with might like it because her short hair makes her look more like a boy. "It may serve as a transition for him".
  • Cataclysm Climax: The pyre set to burn the knight and Carmine, sets fire to the forest, then to the city, and in the end to the castle. Almost everyone perish.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The knight.
  • The Dark Side: The "dark force", of course. The knight swears he will fight it.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Twice. The captain who worked for Neyrelle while being the knight`s second, is presented to the knight this way during a diner with Neyrelle. Later, Anicet suffers the same fate.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The knight. From the onset, we are led to believe the stage belongs to Mariotte.
  • Destructive Romance: The knight and his relation to all of the sisters. All of them returned his feelings in different ways, and all of them (including the knight) died for it.
  • Deus ex Machina: A mysterious man, dressed as a bishop, intervenes at the end of volume three, to set things straight. He stops Neyrelle by creating the wind and calling on a herd of cattle that tramples her to the ground. He is implied to be Merlin himself.
  • Dirty Coward: Anicet.
    • A young nobleman in volume two also counts here. He is close to executing Mariotte because he is afraid of his own peasants.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?? Yuna, a girl connected to "the white lady" in volume two, sacrifices herself in a cave, drawn to resemble the female genitalia.
  • The Dung Ages: The story does nothing to hide the more murky sides of feudal France.
  • Enthralling Siren: The sisters are compared to sirens all the way. But the old abbot in the monastery clearly states that the compelling voice, which even makes the monks listen in wonder, belongs to Carmine. Crossed with the Captivity Harmonica trope in her case, as she sings from her tower, where her husband keeps her locked up.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mariotte. Also Carmine, who ends up being burnt at the stake. The trope is played literally on both of them when Mariotte sets her hair on fire, and later lampshaded by Anaïs:
    of course, when seeing Carmine, the thought of fire is unavoidable.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Melaine Favennec is a Real Life minstrel from Britanny, drawn into the story as a medieval trouvere of the time.
  • Intrinsic Vow: "I swear to fight you, by this shield I carry!" - said to the "dark force".
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Played to a tragic conclusion for all three of them. Neyrelle has both her sisters executed, and is finished herself (trampled down by a cattle herd).
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Neyrelle and Carmine respectively, being nobility and all.
  • Knight Errant: The "faceless" knight, who travels France for his own reasons. First, to avenge his brutal mishandling by his superiors, later to fight all evil.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: The knight, of course. He is a Straw Nihilist from the start, and when he eventually finds some returned affection, he is sentenced to death.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Neyrelle has feelings for the knight, and has no qualms about finishing him and Carmine when he chooses Carmine over her. I doesn´t help much that she put them in the same cell to begin with (giving them the opportunity to have sex there).
  • Mental World: The knight has recurring dreams, and both Mariotte and Anicet are sucked into them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mariotte at times. Also Neyrelle.
  • No Name Given: The knight`s name is never revealed.
  • Off with His Head!: Three times. First, the captain who pretended to be the knight`s second. Later, an unlucky chimney sweep, beheaded when he had done his part, and in the end, Anicet.
  • Rapunzel Hair: All the girls involved have waist-length hair.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Heavily implied on the color side. The three colours in the original Malaterre shield reflects the three different hues of the sisters. The colours (red, black and white) also represent the "three forces" set to rule the world.
  • Rule of Three: Three sisters, three forces, three castles, three wells, three colours. The story itself is set in three volumes.
  • Shout-Out: The end of the story owes a lot to The Seventh Seal, almost quoting the end of the movie verbatim. An innkeeper in volume three has a barefoot ten year old girl serving him. To top it all, this girl is dressed in dirtyish white, red and blue, the colours of the French flag.
    • Volume two owes a lot to the Breton folk song cycle Barzaz breiz, making "The series" (Ar Rannou) a recurring theme - stating that this song has been handed down from druidical/roman times, eventually passing into medieval minstrel tradition - by showing Yuna (who learned the song from her grandmother), singing it to the Wandering Minstrel, Melaine Favennec - who happens to be a Real Life singer from the area.
  • Waif Prophet: Yuna, a ten year old girl taken in by the core gang in volume two
  • War Is Hell: The knight is pretty clear about this. He has inflicted hell on the French nobility himself, and has few qualms about it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The knight´s second-in-command, who acted on Neyrelle´s orders to execute Blanche, is summarily decapitated by Neyrelle when she has no more use of him. She makes a point of presenting his head to the knight.
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