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Comic Book / The Quest For The Time Bird

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La Quête de l'Oiseau du Temps (The Quest for the Time Bird) is an epic fantasy Franco Belgian Comic by Serge Le Tendre and Régis Loisel. It consists of four books in the main series, plus five in the Prequel cycle.

In immemorial times, the evil god Ramor was banished in a conch. However, as the witch-princess Mara finds out, Ramor is about to break free, and there is no time to renew the spell that binds it to the conch. She send her daughter Pelisse (Roxanna in the English translation) to find her old lover, the retired knight Bragon to retrieve both the conch and the egg of the time-bird, the latter allowing her to stop time so she can bind Ramor again.The story revolves around ageing characters dealing with their past, and stepping down to find peace.

These books provide examples of:

  • Above the Gods: The Guardian of the Nest, who is also basically the Guardian of Time, has been around for much, much longer than the gods, and is able to kill one effortlessly. He states that even gods are nothing before time itself.
  • Action Girl: Pélisse is brave, stubborn, and an expert at wielding a whip whose cracks create searing wounds.
  • The Ageless: the Guardian of the Nest looks human, but may very well exist since before the beginning of time itself.
  • Ambition is Evil: Mara, in the main series, has gone over to the dark side and intends to absorb Ramor's power to become godlike.
  • Anti-Climax: In the final book of the main series. Mara sucessfully absorbs Ramor's powers and claims she's become equal to a god… and is immediately offed by an arrow to the chest. An arrow shot by a living myth, though.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Bulrog has his arm chopped off in order to try and survive the mad fever.
  • Ancient Tomb: The Temple of Oblivion in #2 of the main series is an ancient temple left by the gods, where the Jaisir people go to die.
  • Artifact Title: The second cycle is a prequel and thus has no quest for the Time-bird.
  • Badass Adorable: Pelisse's adorable pet saves the day in #2 of the main series.
  • Badass Normal: Bragon, Bulrog, the Rige… Although it is a fantasy setting, magic users are very rare, so heroic characters are mostly fighters.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The main series' ending is more bitter than sweet.
  • The Casanova: Javin in the prequel series was couldn't resist a pretty lady and got his fair share of trouble for it. Bragon himself, during his time as a prize fighter, revelled in sharing his groupies' bed, but he grew out of it.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: In the prequel. Bragon and Javin quarrel over Bragon's infatuation with Mara, and Javin leaves, but comes back just in time to get killed.
  • Cosmic Egg: The eponymous Time Bird appears in the form of a black egg. In Akbar's creation myth, time was set in motion by the breaking of said egg.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: The Stranger, in the main series.
  • Deus ex Machina: In book 4, Mara betrays everyone and absorbs Ramor's powers for her own profit. However, the Guardian of the Nest quickly kills her. He's a god-killing Deus ex Machina !
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the very first pages of the first book, the shape of the Reaper axe is inconsistent.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Ramor will break free on the night of the next turning season.
  • Facial Horror: In book 4, we get to see Bulrog horribly burnt face – basically one giant scar, courtesy of a Borak's tongue.
    • Javin in the prequel was also attacked by a Borak and was disfigured before dying a painful death.
  • Hate Plague: the Mad Fever turns infected people into lunatics who literally thirst for blood. They will spend the first few hours attacking anyone or anything if it can help them satisfy their craving, then die as the disease is incurable. As usual, it's transmitted through biting, though unusually the infected occasionally turn on each other.
  • Have You Seen My God?: There were gods on Akbar, but all of them "returned to the stars" eons ago, leaving cyclopean ruins. Only Ramor is left, sealed in his conch.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The series has no horses whatsoever. Instead, the most common type of mount is a pterosaur-like flying animal called a lopvent. Ostrich-like flightless birds are also quite common.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The Rige makes his entire life revolve around one single thing : hunting. And he's so good at it that he'll frequently take on incredibly dangerous beasts just to have a challenge.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Pelisse... distracts a crowd long enough to allow her, Bragon and the stranger to get away.
  • Interspecies Romance: Javin seems to have a preference for troll women. The first time he and Bragon (who doesn't prefer troll women) meet, Javin seduces a troll farm girl who was trying to get a reluctant Bragon in bed with her.
  • Long-Lived: Whatever the Rige' species is, their longevity is far superior to humans'. He was young Bragon's master, but was already a legendary warrior before Bragon's birth ; and by book 3 where they meet again, Bragon is already an old man, while the Rige doesn't seemed to have aged.
  • Lovable Coward: The "Stranger", before he Takes a Level in Badass and gets Character Development in tome 4.
  • Masking the Deformity: Bulrog was disfigured by a Borak's searing tongue and hides his horribly scarred face under a mask for most of the series.
  • Meaningful Name: Kiskill. By having sex she renounces her immortality and her powers.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Pelisse wears a loose tunic that leaves her thighs bare and shows a lot of cleavage. She doesn't bother with underwear, and occasionally makes use of her charms for distraction or persuasion.
    • Kiskill wears a thin, tight loincloth and nothing else.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Bragon gets one in book two of the prequel. Pélisse' pet in the main series. Bulrog may or may not be a non-human humanoid.
  • Old Master: Bragon was Bulrog's master and is much older. The Rige was Bragon's master and the age gap is even greater.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Book four introduces us to the Jivrains, a mountain-dwelling people that evoke orcs and real-life tibetans equally. Although they initially look like the usual bloodthirsty orcs, they're only violent because of a Hate Plague and are normally a very pacifistic people.
  • Patchwork Map: Although we never actually see a detailed map of it, the Land of Seven Marches (the series' main setting) is composed of seven different lands that each have a single, specific type of biome.
    • The March of Froth Veils is a perpetually foggy swamp, possibly salty.
    • The Lips of Sand are a scorching desert.
    • The Thousand Greens is one giant forest.
    • The Shattered Lands is one immensely long canyon.
    • The White March is a snowy mountain.
    • The Purpure Rocks is another mountainy region.
  • Precursors : the Ancient Gods of Akbar may or may not be aliens from another world. They roamed the world during the Ancient Times, but left the world eons ago. Cyclopean ruins that look nothing like Akbar's modern architecture are all that's left of them.
  • Prefers the Illusion: In the ending, it turns out the Action Girl was a kind of holographic projection. The hero, who had been led to believe she was his daughter, prefers to keep the creature (and therefore his daughter) alive rather than face the fact that her mother manipulated and betrayed him.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Javin in the first book of the prequel is even more reckless than teenage Bragon. It gets him killed.
  • Religion of Evil: The Order of the Sign in the prequel is a cult that aims to precipitate Ramor's return in the hope that the explicitly very evil god will reward the people who brought him back.
  • Retired Badass: The plot actually starts with Bragon, an old knight who spends his days reminiscing about his past exploits, coming out of his retirement to embark on the quest. He is himself very skeptical about his abilities, initially.
    Bragon: I am still Bragon… Bragon the Knight! Well… I was… because now… eh…
  • Revision: In the main series, the Rige is stated to be the one who forged the Reaper axe. In the prequel, we learn that he instead ordered it from an ordinary blacksmith, but he considers that by wielding it, he "forged it in [his] own way" nonetheless.
  • Sand Worm: One of the seven marches is a desert where the "Crawling Death", a giant sandworm, is the undefeated apex predator.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: the Ponges are a very short-lived, incredibly dangerous species of insects that resemble [1] in many aspects, notably the fact that they lay their eggs in killed prey. They spend most of their life as an egg, but as soon as one is broken, the whole swarm hatches. They will then proceed to kill the nearest living animals by forcefully digging through their flesh, lay their eggs in the carcass and die – all in a matter of seconds.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Ramor was sealed by his own divine brethren inside a conch, but the enchantment has faltered over time.
  • Tentacled Terror : Red Podes are giant cephalopods that live in swampy regions. They have numerous, venomous tentacles and are always treated as a very serious threat.
  • Trickster God: Fol is a small imp-like creature who normally rules over the Dol river, but may or may not be much more powerful. He approaches the heroes once a book to ask them a riddle, rewarding them if they find the answer and punishing them otherwise.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • How Bragon and the Rige see each other. The former being the latter's pupil, he's the only one who can rival him.
    • In the prequel, Revel (a fanatic) sees himself as the only warrior worthy of killing the Rige. He looses against Bragon first, and is curb-stomped by the Rige immediately after.

Alternative Title(s): La Quete De L Oiseau Du Temps