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Literature / Rasa

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Family, free will, individuality: here, these are not rights, but commodities.

Rasa is an ongoing epic fantasy Web Serial Novel, set in an original world where the soul manifests outside of the body and where every living thing can be controlled with the resulting object, called a tabula. It follows a boy as he finds the tabula of a girl and sets out on an adventure to give it back to her, while both of them try to survive the Crapsack World that is Albumere. Things rapidly get worse.

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Things also rapidly get pretty weird. Albumere is host to nothing but Mix-and-Match Critters and the occasional elemental animal, and due to the nature of the tabula, families (and trust) are virtually nonexistent. Characters run into walking trees, mysterious gods, and mysterious walking tree gods on their travels, all against a backdrop of a revolution and civil war rocking the political landscape. Can be read here.


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This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jova, after her training, becomes proficient with staffs despite her blindness.
  • Agony Beam: Tabula have one built in.
  • Automaton Horses: Averted, for the most part. Mounts, which in Albumere extend far beyond just horses, requires a lot of feeding and a lot of care. (One of the main characters even serves for some time as a stablehand.)
  • The Bus Came Back: Gopal and Sri, after disappearing in Reap & Sow, come back in Beck & Call.
  • Bus Crash: Rituu, once it is revealed that Anjan killed him at the end of Reap & Sow.
  • Cliffhanger: Like most web serials, chapters tend to end with these.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Loom drops them frequently. Other characters, too, to a lesser extent.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Everyone, but especially the wild children.
  • Coming of Age: One for both of the main characters, Chaff and Jova.
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  • Crapsack World: Of the immutable variety, since tabula can be used to easily abuse anyone and rip them away from their families.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Roan’s challenge to Ya Gol Gi is the quickest an 80 year-old man has seen in his lifetime.
  • Disability Superpower: Downplayed. Jova’s use of human echolocation after she is blinded certainly does not make up for her lack of vision, but it keeps her functional and has proved to be very useful.
  • Elemental Embodiment: All the spring/summer/winter/fall animals display this to some degree.
  • Eye Scream: Jova’s accident in Ch. 1 Part 9.
  • Fearless Fool: Chaff has tendencies towards this whenever something he cares about is in danger.
    "Yike. That was stupid."
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Not strictly speaking first episode, but first arc/chapter- Jova is blinded. Also, a much less dramatic example, Chaff is named Chaff.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: The wild children that live are those who are willing to do anything to survive. Jova, too, as the series progresses.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Royya states that it happens to many wild children, those in the endless plains of Shira Hay especially.
  • Knife Nut: Ell, who used a broken shiv to escape from the Marble Stronghold and is always seen with an old hunting knife on his belt.
  • Le Parkour: The races of Shira Hay and the fighting style called Kennya Noni bear resemblances to this.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Every chapter cycles out a significant portion of the old cast for a set of new characters.
  • Mama Bear: Anjan, to the point that she is willing to kill when there is a hint that Jova is in danger.
  • Mercy Kill: Chaff asks Loom why she doesn’t do that for Vhajja.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Weaseldogs, molebisons, and bathawks abound. And when they aren’t these, they’re mixed and matched with Elemental Powers. Lampshaded by Roan.
    “Do you never think it strange that the wild beasts of Albumere are made of the pieces of each other? That the only ones who seem whole are those touched with the might of the Ladies? Does it not seem strange to you that we remember what those pieces are, but not why they have been melded together?”
  • Mon: Comparisons have been made between commanding the beasts of Albumere through tabula, and Pokémon.
  • No Social Skills: Many people, but Chaff especially, who has difficulty reading basic body language and facial expressions.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The people of Albumere almost all worship the Ladies Four, each named after one of the four seasons. Others worship the hollow trees, from which new tabula are made. As of The Uncrowned King, one of the Ladies has been seen in the flesh: a winged woman who seems to appear and disappear as she pleases.
  • Our Souls Are Different: And how. On Albumere, souls manifest as amber disks of sap called tabula, which in turn form inside of trees called hollows entirely separate from where said person was born. Tabula:
    • can be used to enslave the person linked to it, controlling not only their actions but their thoughts and feelings.
    • can summon that person to its location. If someone else doesn’t do it in the first four years of someone’s life, it happens on its own, which is why there basically aren’t families in Albumere.
    • can temporarily increase the strength of the being linked to it, although the specifics of this process have not yet been explained.
    • can be found for both animals and humans. But not plants.
    • break when the being linked to it dies. Likewise, the being dies when it breaks.
  • Papa Wolf: Ell, who pulls a knife the moment he thinks Jova is in danger.
  • Parental Abandonment: Due to the way tabula work, EVERYONE (except Jova).
  • Put on a Bus: Happens frequently with almost every chapter, from Loom, to Gopal and Sri, to most of Tattle's crew, to Latius and Zain, and many, many others.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jova’s “Just a horse? That’s weird.” conversation has suspicious similarities to another conversation in another world of Mix-and-Match Critters.
    • Tattle, the leader of a thieving crew a main character gets recruited into, is inspired by and partially shares her name with a character from Worm.
  • Street Urchin: The default state of living for wild children in the cities.
  • Theme Naming: Some nations and cultures have these, ranging from obvious to subtle:
    • Hak Mat Do names are made of three short mono- or disyllabic words. (ex: Rho Hat Pan, Dal Ak Gan, La Ah Abi)
    • Moscoleon names are four letters long, in accordance with their worship of the Ladies Four (ex: Zain, Copo, Arim, Roan)
    • Shira Hay names have double letters in them, following the duality theme of the duarchs and the Twin Libraries (ex: Deppash, Vhajja, Kharr Ta, Teyya Lay)
    • Wild names are actual words or compounds of actual words (ex: Chaff, Loom, Dock)
  • Xeno Fiction: So far, a giraffe and a frog have been POV characters for a chapter.

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