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Manhwa / Ciel ~The Last Autumn Story~

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The main cast, from left to right: Krohiten, Lariatte, Yvienne, Daughter, and January
Marie said her dream was to own a piece of land, no matter how small.
Lizzy said her dream was to marry the second son of the mill owner.
But I- I never saw any future for myself at all.
Yvienne Magnolia

Yvienne, at 15, has no dreams or ambitions. Even though she's the most beautiful girl in her small village, she envies her friends who all have goals for the future. But she herself can only focus on just getting by from day-to-day, working for the family of aristocrats who lord over the area, and avoiding the affections of their son. Unfortunately, this gets her into trouble with the family, and her only chance at saving herself is enrolling in the magic school she received an invitation to. While there, she'll come to realize that her future would take her higher than she ever imagined.

Ciel~ The Last Autumn Story~ is a beautifully illustrated Manhwa written by Rhim Ju-yeon. Though Yvienne is technically the main character, the series also focuses heavily on three of the friends she makes while attending Lowood: Lariatte Kingdiamond, January Lightsphere, and Daughter. Most of the attention is given to the pairs of Yvienne and Lariatte, and January and Daughter, detailing their adventures at the school and the steady deepening of their friendships (or more). But behind everything, there lurks constant hints that all is not right with the world they live in, nor is all right with Yvienne herself.

There are unmarked spoilers for up to volume 18 below, so read this page with caution. Licensed by Tokyo Pop and, unfortunately, entered their long list of Orphaned Series when they closed shop.

This series contains examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Octavia is in one, despite being in love with Krohiten. January is also mentioned to be engaged to his younger cousin, Socié, but he doesn't treat it with any seriousness. Socié, on the other hand...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Severals cases, one of the first being:
    Daughter: This case is a mystery. There's been one more victim. I can't even ask anything once I get to face January. Moreover, it's porridge again for breakfast tomorrow, which I hate.
  • Art Evolution: Just compare Yvienne and Lariatte in volume 1 to them in volume 10.
  • Ascended Extra: You know the reporter who chats with Yvienne and the bandit who tries to kill January back in the first volume? Yeah, that's not the last you're going to be seeing of them.
  • Asleep for Days: A usual side-effect of a witch using either too much or overly powerful magic. It happens to Yvienne at least three times.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Daughter and January's relationship is remarkably stable and committed, in contrast to the far rockier romance between Yvienne and Krohiten.
    • Countess Lightsphere and Saskia serve as a warning for Yvienne and Lari.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Lightsphere family
  • Birds of a Feather: Yvienne and Khroniten have many similarities and that's what attracts them to each other. However, they are the darker side to this trope as they end up reinforcing each other's flaws - great power, laziness, Death Seeker personalities, a certain selfishness and tendency to ignore ethics - into a Destructive Romance.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: While partially subtextual, Yvienne finding her feelings pulled between Lariatte and Krohiten is a significant part of the story. She all but states that Lariatte being a girl is the only reason she's been able to avoid a making a choice, and her inability to pick or prioritize between the girl who's her reason to live and the man she can have a relatively normal romance with winds up leading to heartbreak on all sides.
  • Blessed with Suck: Snow White has the power to always make the right choice in any given situation... for a definition of 'right' that frequently leads to an Esoteric Happy Ending for everyone involved.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Any witch whose familiar dies. Technically they can use magic, but without a Familiar to close their field, they'll die immediately afterwards if they do.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Yvienne occasionally makes such comments, from how the author put a joke in at an inappropriate moment to scolding a character for wasting three pages with his entrance. Sometimes other characters get in on the fun too.
  • Canon Immigrant: The mage Snow White and her familiar Christian were both characters in Rhim Ju-Yeon's previous series, President Dad.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: There were plenty of darker elements in the story earlier on, but volume 14 is where they all start to come to the forefront.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bet you didn't think the reporter from volume 1 would end up being the Earth Dragon?
  • Clock Tower: There are three in the kingdom; two are in Newton, and one in Sierra. All of them end up being plot relevant.
  • Comforting Comforter: When Yvienne falls asleep after the first opening of her field, Lariatte ends up knitting a blanket for her out of an urgent desire to be helpful for Yvienne.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Helga, the Arc Dragon of Shadows, looks terrifying, but mostly keeps to herself and even scolds the Earth Dragon for tormenting Insanity. And as it turns out, all the demons are this as well.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Lariatte's death could be considered this, if one interprets her feelings for Yvienne as being romantic. Although, rather than bring Yvienne and Krohiten closer together, their grief and guilt over it end up driving them apart.
  • Defeat by Modesty: How else would you defeat the most powerful witch around?
  • Despair Event Horizon: Lariatte's death is this for Yvienne.
  • Destructive Romance:
    • The witch pairing of Augustine Lightsphere and Saskia plays out like this, as their inability to handle Saskia's depression ends up causing both of their deaths.
    • There's also Yvienne's and Krohiten relationship. Yvienne's feelings for Krohiten ring rather hollow, while Krohiten can be rather oblivious to her feelings even when he isn't using her as a tool to avert the end of the world. And that's before Krohiten becomes the Demon Lord.
  • Dissimile: "There are things you have to do even if you'd rather die than do it. For example, watching dishes after eating..." Yvienne gives this example while explaining why she has to draw on Infinity's power for a fight that could potentially destroy the entire world.
  • Eternal Love: This is both subverted and played straight with the immortal couple Marion and Skaa Everett. Marion claims that her love for Skaa has died with time, but Skaa seems to be as in love with her as he ever was. And regardless, they're always together.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Yvienne, with January being an opposite-gender case.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Yvienne, January, and Daughter all get different ones after the time skip.
  • Foreshadowing: Frequently. One of Marion and Skaa's main purposes even seems to be just walking around dropping hints about the fates of the world and the main characters, especially Yvienne. They aren't usually good.
    • A more specific incident is when Lariatte (successfully) uses teleportation to save Yvienne in chapter 6, one of the teachers is extremely harsh with her, grounding her for eight hours and warning her that she likely had only a 1/10 chance of surviving that stunt. Sure enough, she tries to do it again later... and dies.
    • Yvienne's inability to see a future for herself. This is hinted to be her precognition powers showing her the Bad Future. Turn out Yvienne was simply misinterpreting her visions.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: January proposes to Yvienne after knowing her for about two weeks. Needless to say, she turns him down.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble
    • The Apathetic: Yvienne
    • The Realist: Lariatte
    • The Cynic: Daughter
    • The Optimist: January
  • Gender-Blender Name: Daughter, lampshaded by Yvienne when they first meet and revealed in volume ten to have been on purpose.
  • Happily Married: Yvienne's parents, Theresa and Euse Inne.
  • Heel Realization: Lilith has one right after she arranges for child January to die in a housefire.
  • Heroic BSoD: January has one after he's told the nature of his magic power. Fortunately, Daughter and Krohiten manage to snap him out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted in volume 12- Lariatte and Yvienne attempt one to defeat the March Hare, but Krohiten ends up saving them just in time.
    • When Lariatte goes up against Infinity in volume 16, however...
    • And in the final volume, Lariatte stops Yvienne from averting her death in order to save the world.
  • How We Got Here: The first chapter takes place after Yvienne has already arrive at Lowood and partnered with Lariatte, and ends with Krohiten asking Yvienne to tell him about her origins. We don't get caught up to that scene until volume seven.
  • Important Haircut: While not cutting it himself, Daughter gets one in volume 14. He keeps it short for the rest of the series.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Krohiten (an Arc Dragon) and his deceased wife, Carola (a human). And because he didn't learn his lesson the first time, one starts to develop between him and Yvienne later on.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • By the end of volume 8, Lariatte seems to have come to this conclusion about Yvienne.
    • Octavia tries really hard to feel this way about Krohiten, but her bitterness about the situation is hard to hide.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Lariatte and Krohiten end up having to do this for Yvienne after she overexerts her magic abilities and falls into a coma in volume 12.
  • Just Before the End: In volume 15, it is revealed that the sun has already died, and the only reason the planet continues to survive is because the Arc Dragons are keeping it alive with their powers. And they're planning to leave.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Happens between Yvienne and Krohiten, and as a result the former finally realizes her feelings for the latter.
  • Longing Look: Oh Lariatte... Oh Daughter...
  • Love Martyr: Countess Lightsphere to Saskia in a very All Take and No Give relationship. Lightsphere heavily idealized Saskia and wanted to give her everything. Unfortunately, Saskia's depression was too severe to appreciate it, leading her her suicide and Lightsphere's Despair Event Horizon. Their relationship serves as a lesson to Yvienne (who's pointed out as being very similar to Saskia)
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Yvienne and Lariatte, though they have opposite roles than at first glance. Yvienne while social and outgoing is The Tease and is selfish, apathetic and cynical. Lari while stoic and quiet, runs on Chronic Hero Syndrome and Honor Before Reason and is very vulnerable and open (once you read her tells).
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Though it's left a bit vague at times, there are still some very basic laws that apply to every witch and sorcerer. All magic is performed in a 'field' that the magic used creates. Sorcerers generally have weaker magic than witches, but witches cannot leave their field on their own, and so must form a partnership with another witch in order to use magic. Mages are classified as witches with the speed of a sorcerer, or a sorcerer with the strength of a witch.
    • One Person, One Power: Each witch or sorcerer can only use a few specialized spells depending on the nature of their field. This can range from 'controlling time' to 'repairing broken things' to 'making oneself intangible'.
  • Mage Tower: Invoked- when a witch or sorcerer become a mage, they are sent to a tower and isolated from the rest of the world for the remainder of their lives, with only their familiars for company. This is done by the king to keep them from joining forces and plotting against him.
  • Mama Bear: Don't cross Yvienne's mother or threaten her daughter in front of her.
  • Meaningful Rename: Daughter's name is the result of one, as a way to constantly remind himself of his mission in life. After achieving it, he eventually starts going by December instead.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The death of Lariatte is this as a side-effect, as Krohiten helped her death along for reasons other than removing romantic competition.
  • Ninja Maid: Mage Innocent's familiar, Yuhee, works as his maid; she is also ridiculously, stupefyingly powerful; she has an entire wall covered with swords and blades, ranging from knives to swords larger than she is. When Yvienne arrives at their tower as Witch Infinity, Yuhee grabs the largest sword one-handed to confront her... and then calmly announces that since fighting Yvienne may endanger the planet's star, she is going to dissect it into atoms for temporary preservation, then reconstruct it after the fight, noting that the fight could result in the loss of 3% of all of reality in the process. Innocent convinces them that fighting under the circumstances would be a bad idea.
  • Noble Fugitive: As of volume 14, January ends up as one of these.
  • No Name Given:
    • The Earth Dragon- and he plans to keep it that way.
    • The recurring guy that first appeared attempting to rob Yvienne's train also goes completely unnamed.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The demons who invade Newton don't really want to hurt anyone, but everyone assumes otherwise.
  • The Not-Love Interest: In Yvienne's own words: "Master is the man I fell in love with. But you, Lari, are my life!"
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Earth Dragon, around everyone but Krohiten.
  • Opposites Attract: A platonic version between Yvienne and Lariatte. Yvienne, in particular, is attracted to Lari's heroic qualities and desire to protect as it forces her out of her own apathetic indifference.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Some of them. There were normal reptillian dragons that have gone extinct, but also Arc Dragons, which are shapeshifting God-like elemental embodiments rather than monsters.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires originate in people infected by a magical parasite, who sire other vampires to keep from being overloaded by their own growing magic.
  • Power Floats: At least, Yvienne's does. This becomes a plot point later on, when her merger with Infinity and her permanently-open field means that she's physically incapable of touching the ground, ever.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Yvienne again, after the time skip.
  • The Promise: Daughter makes one to kill January should he ever abuse his power and turn into the monster he fears becoming.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Witches need to form these in order to use magic without dying. It's even mentioned that these relationships will almost always fall apart when one of the girls gets married.
  • Put on a Bus: January and Daughter in volume 14. They come back into focus at the end of volume 17, after the time skip.
  • Rescue Romance: The way Yvienne becomes Lariatte's familiar is basically a (sort of) platonic example.
    • Later on in the story, the Earth Dragon tries to play this completely straight as a way of getting Yvienne and Krohiten to fall in love. It fails miserably.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: January ends up being this to Yvienne, but it's just as well since they decide they're Better as Friends anyway.
  • Shipper on Deck: The villagers who work for the Lightsphere family definitely ship Daughter/January.
    • For that matter, Lariatte's family seems to support Yvienne/Lariatte too.
  • Ship Sinking: Yvienne/January was hit hard back in volume 2, and ended up being sunk definitively in volume 5. Not that it stops them from pretending to be a couple for the perks, though.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: January Mycroft Lightsphere and Moriarty ? It cannot be a coincidence.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Played with; Yvienne only ever jokingly complains about her beauty, and has no qualms about using it to her advantage whenever she has to, but others notice that because she's been able to get so much so easily with it, she doesn't know how to value anything. She's also often compared to Saskia- an equally beautiful older woman with similar problems, who ended up killing herself.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Between the three different scanlation groups that have worked on this series, the original Korean, and the official German translation, there's a lot of variation in the spelling of names. Is it Yvienne or Yvien? Lariatte or Larriat? Euse Inne or Euge Eyne?
  • Teacher/Student Romance: One ends up developing between Krohiten and Yvienne.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: January and, as of volume 17, December.
  • Time Skip: At the end of volume 17, there's a five year jump between chapter 16 and chapter 17.
  • Too Much Alike: Yvienne and Krohiten as a couple turn into a terrible, destructive romance ultimately because they're too similar and end up reinforcing the worse of each other's flaws (and they both have many). There's a reason why Yvienne's healthiest relationship is with someone who is her polar opposite - someone who can tame her worst tendencies and compliment her strengths.
  • True Companions: Although it's best developed between January & Yvienne, January & Daughter, and Yvienne & Lariatte, the friendship between the four main characters is pretty clearly meant to be an example.
  • Tragic Bromance: Yvienne and Lariatte It's foreshadowed pretty frequently.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: At almost any given point, there are two main plots going on at the same time: one focusing on Yvienne and Lariatte, and one focusing on Daughter and January. Krohiten is usually involved in one or the other.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Tenial takes one in January very quickly, once he finds out they had similar upbringings. It helps that January doesn't pick up on Tenial being a villain in the first place.
  • Wham Episode: Volume 14: Daughter's finally gets his revenge, and ends up sentenced to death. January saves him by selling himself to the king. After being freed, Daughter finds out that Tenial plans to kidnap January and use his power for his own purposes. He then saves January, and the two run away together, while Tenial vows to hunt them down and make them pay one way or another.
    • Volume 15: It's revealed that the planet is being kept alive solely by the Arc Dragons, and they're planning to leave. Also, the monsters that keep appearing were created by an evil, insane Krohiten in the future, after planet has died.
    • Volume 16: Lariatte pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and ends up getting killed, all because Yvienne left her alone several chapters ago on a spontaneous decision to visit Krohiten and just never got around to coming back.
    • Volume 17. Yvienne slips into a Heroic BSoD after losing the most important person in her life. After fighting and coming into contact with Infinity, she crosses the Despair Event Horizon and ends up killing some soldiers and vanishing into the sky. And cue the time skip.
  • Wham Line: "That is not the sun."
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Marion Everett clearly holds this opinion after living for centuries has caused her to lose any and all interest in the world.
  • Wizarding School: There are two- Royal Blue Union, generally for witches and sorcerers born into aristocracy, and Lowood, generally for commoners. Most of the early plot focuses on Lowood.