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Recap / Drowtales

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A word of warning. There are unmarked spoilers here.

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    Prologue 
The Prologue establishes the setting of the story, explaining that drows are what elves become when they are born underground.

Chapter 0: Prologue

The Nidraa'chal attack Chel'el'sussoloth with nether summoning. They violated several unwritten rules of warfare in Chel in the process.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Ill'haress Sannindi'ligr Val'Dutan'vir, killed within her own throne room by her own Stag guardian that had been tainted (implied to have been let loose by a Nidraa'chal agent).
    • Kau'shala Val'Sharen, killed by a tainted dragon that bit and almost tore him in half.
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First arc

The First Arc initially follows Ariel's point-of-view but as time goes one, the point-of-views of multiple characters from multiple factions are followed, leading to a complex and deep story where Grey and Gray Morality is a recurring theme.

    Chapter 1: The Daughters of Sarghress 

Chapter 1: The Daughters Of Sarghress

A baby girl named Ariel is given by Quain'tana to Syphile for Syphile to raise. Syphile spends the next ten years raising Ariel to attempt to prepare Ariel as a good daughter to Quain'tana.—-

    Chapter 2: World of Mana 

Chapter 2: World Of Mana

Kel'noz takes Ariel with him to Orthorbbae, a school, where he is the headmaster of the Davya tower. There, Ariel meets Faen'arae, or Faen for short, who has empathy.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: After the other boys discover there's a girl in their school, they begin bullying and tormenting Ariel. This causes her schoolwork to suffer as she focuses more on hiding herself away from the boys.
  • Broken Masquerade: Ariel was enrolled into Orthorbbae so she would be protected from Sharen influence. Mir'kiin discovered that his "male" classmate is actually a girl when he attempts a Groin Attack during a class demonstration.
  • Groin Attack: Sandaur demonstrates this technique on an orc captive. Later, Mir'kiin attempts this on Ariel, which is how he finds out she's a girl.
  • Internal Reveal: Mir'kiin finds out Ariel is a girl, and promptly tells Nau'kheol and Khal'harror.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Ariel's fellow students have no qualms tormenting her once they learn she's a girl masquerading as a boy.
  • Reality Ensues: Being the target of vicious bullying because of sexism among the male students causes Ariel to fall behind in her studies, as she's focused on just surviving.

    Chapter 3: Torn 

Chapter 3: Torn

Ariel continues to learn at Orthorbbae, until circumstances force Kel'noz's hand and he takes Ariel back to the Sarghress fortress and Quain'tana. During their meeting, Quain'tana orders Ariel to bring Mir'kiin to her so Ariel could prove herself.

    Chapter 4: Fight for Me 

Chapter 4: Fight for Me

Taking Kel'noz's advice, Ariel tries to recruit people to help her capture Mir'kiin. In the process, she meets a drow/dragon male hybrid named Rikshakar and a human Emberi woman named Vaelia.
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    Chapter 5: Heir to the Clan 

Chapter 5: Heir to the Clan

Ariel successfully brings Mir'kiin to Quain'tana. Quain'tana then orders Ariel to kill Mir'kiin. When Ariel refused, Quain'tana decided to make Ariel choose between killing Mir'kiin who tormented her and killing Sar'nel who helped her.
  • Break the Cutie: After making her first kill (as a child no less), Ariel is understandably traumatized.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Ariel uses a studded mace to bludgeon Mir'kiin to death. She initially wanted to use a sword, but Quain'tana gave the mace to her instead.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Ariel is forced to kill Mir'kiin to prove herself because not doing so would result in Sar'nel's death. She does so, and she's declared Quain'tana's official heir.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Invoked. Ariel initially wanted to give Mir'kiin a cleaner death by going for the sword, but Quain'tana instead gives her a studded mace. The results were not pretty; even Sar'nel was unsettled and wanted Mir'kiin to die quickly.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress.
  • Sadistic Choice: Quain'tana forces Ariel to choose between killing Mir'kiin or fighting her cousin Sar'nel to the death. Ariel chooses the former.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Ariel starts sporting this after giving Mir'kiin a grisly death.

    Chapter 6: The Bloody Path 

Chapter 6: The Bloody Path

After learning that Faen left, Ariel is still in shock. During her bout of depression, she decided to go to the Black Dragon to watch the battles.
  • Bad Boss: Irena has no problem throwing away the lives of her subordinates just to protect herself, or rigging her slaves to lose fights for profits and her own amusement. This bites her in the ass when Minka, who has a deep grudge against her, disobeys her commands and takes over the Black Dragon instead.
  • Dirty Coward: After being abandoned by Yafein again and again in previous chapters, Ariel starts seeing her old classmate as this and bears nothing but hatred for him. During their confrontation, Yafein uses Earth sorcery to bind Ariel's feet to the floor, despite the latter only sitting on her bed, and when Ariel manages to free herself, Yafein asks if she's a monster. This enrages Ariel to the point where she tries to seriously hurt him with a mana blast. Yafein doesn't hesitate try get out of Ariel's room, not caring when Maya dies shielding him from Ariel's attack.
  • Driven to Suicide: Minka mentions a former slave of the Dutan'vir clan killed herself because she couldn't handle living as a gladiator of the Black Dragon. Minka himself thought of doing the same thing many times, but it's narrowly averted as his grudge towards Irena forced him to live.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Irena taunted Minka about his fallen Dutan'vir clan and kept him as a gladiator slave for fifteen years. And yet when Laele arrives and massacres her forces, Irena frees Minka from his cell fully expecting him to protect her. It was no surprise that Minka punches her face and takes her position instead.
  • Karmic Death: Irena had no qualms with throwing people's lives away, including her own subordinates, and rigs the fights in the Black Dragon for massive profit and her own amusement. When Minka overpowers her and takes her position, Irena is last seen in the gladiator's pit, trying to escape the rampaging dragon she's supposed to fight.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Maya, Yafein's Light Elf slave, killed by taking Ariel's mana blast to the chest that was meant for Yafein.
    • Irena, the owner of the Black Dragon, who is ousted from power by Minka Dutan'vir and shortly killed in the pits by the dragon she's supposed to fight.
  • It's Personal: Implied; Minka mentions that his grudge against Irena started when she goaded him for being the Sole Survivor of the fallen Dutan'vir clan. He later acted on it and ousted her from power.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Yafein starts buckling as soon as Ariel proves she has the means to fight back and comes close to seriously injuring him or worse.
    • The nether summoner working in the bowels of the Black Dragon becomes completely terrified at seeing Laele.
    • Irena, who is completely unused to fighting, is seen trembling when she's forced to fight a dragon in the gladiator's pit once Minka takes over the Black Dragon.
  • The Power of Hate: Minka's grudge against Irena is what kept him from folding into despair and committing suicide.
  • Rags to Riches: Minka Dutan'vir, supposedly the last survivor of his clan, goes from a gladiator slave to the owner of the Black Dragon after he gets revenge on Irena and ousts her.
  • Riches to Rags: Irena goes from owner of the Black Dragon to the lowest of gladiators once Minka is freed and ousts her from power.
  • Sole Survivor: Minka believed himself to be the last Dutan'vir because no one came for him during his fifteen years' imprisonment at the Black Dragon. Irene used this to taunt him in an attempt to break his resolve, causing Minka to nurse a deep grudge against her. Fortunately, he is overjoyed when he is found by a fellow Dutan'vir survivor, Sker.
  • Taking the Bullet: Maya takes Ariel's mana blast directly to the chest when she shields Yafein, and the result is fatal.
  • Trauma Button: After Ariel uses High Sorcery to free herself from Yafein's Earth sorcery, a shocked Yafein asks, "What are you, a monster?" This causes Ariel to remember Syphile's emotional abuse and she attempts to kill him with a mana blast.

    Chapter 7: Stand on your Own 

Chapter 7: Stand on Your Own

Ariel decides to confront Chrys'tel to get answers after getting cheered up by Vaelia, capturing her in the process. She also meets Chirinide, who first explains tainting to her.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Chirinide debuts by directing her Templars to purge the tainted (Kiel'ndia, Naal'suul, and Chrys'tel) and capture the "corrupted" (Kyo'nne).
  • Foreshadowing: Chirinide refers to Ariel as the daughter of the "Holy Eye". Kyorl society worships Awares, sentient spiders that used to exist in the era of Dark Elves. Later, Ariel is revealed to be the daughter of one such Aware: Zhor.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Chrinide's debut consisted of her being flanked by two adult Templars who are way taller than her. Justified as Chirinide is a child at this time.

    Chapter 8: Behind the Masks 

Chapter 8: Behind the Masks

Ariel enters into a confrontation with Syphile. Syphile lost and was subsequently disowned by Quain'tana. Ariel ends up in Mel'arnach's room after that.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Mel'arnach is dealt a harsh blow by Quain'tana for trying to attack while her mother's back was turned, leaving her with a reddened spot on her face and a bloody nose.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Quain'tana orders Zala'ess to recognize the Sarghress traitor she bribed, Zala'ess responds, "Should I recognize every dog you've tortured?"
  • Compensating for Something: Gender-inverted; Zala'ess interpreted Chrys'tel willingly giving intel to the Sarghress as Quain'tana trying to make up for her biological inability to have children.
  • Groin Attack: One of the things Quain'tana does to the Sarghress traitor who was bribed by the Sharen. Phani'lath comments that Quain'tana's "truly barbaric" for it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Syphile may have been a monstrous abuser to Ariel, but her hatred of Quain'tana isn't unwarranted in light of the things she's done to her own family. It's deconstructed in that Ariel still hates Syphile for her abuse, and gives a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech that ends with Syphile being labeled "a whiny spoiled bitch".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Everything Syphile has done in raising Ariel comes back to bite her in the ass when Ariel proved herself strong enough to fight back. Special mention goes to Ariel using claws on her, echoing how her dead cat Fuzzy tried to attack Syphile the same way.
  • Mama Bear: The reason why Zala'ess went to confront Quain'tana is to get the latter to release her daughter Chrys'tel from Sarghress captivity. When Quain'tana told her Chrys'tel had willingly come to them, Zala'ess took it as yet another attempt to claim a child and adopt it as her own.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Ariel's speech to Syphile is so prominent that it ended up being a quote for the trope's main page.
    Ariel Val'Sarghress: (shouting) I'm not afraid of you anymore!
  • Oh, Crap!: Syphile has this reaction when Quain'tana sees that she tried sneaking out of the room with Zala'ess's entourage, humiliating Quain'tana in front of her own soldiers and provoking her wrath. She has one again when she re-encounters Ariel, and fearfully notices how much she's become like Quain'tana.

    Chapter 9: Second Chances 

Chapter 9: Second Chances

After her disgrace, Syphile decides to free Chrys'tel in exchange for becoming a noble of the Vel'Sharen.
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    Chapter 10: Gateway to the Abyss 

Chapter 10: Gateway to the Abyss

Chirinide, Shan'naal and Tir'ade have to deal with a nether outbreak in one of the Sarghress districts. Tir'ade gets tainted and decides he doesn't want to die as per Kyorl'solenurn doctrine, and flees from Chirinide and Shan'naal.
  • False Flag Operation: Yaeminira Vel’Sharen opens a nether gate where she knows the Kyorl will see it, knowing they’ll assume it was the Vloz’ress, and convinces the Vloz to turn a captured Kyorl into a living doll and send her back to her clan, hoping to draw the two clans to war.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Celia Sarghress.
    • Melindir Sarghress.
    • Yunir Sarghress.
    • Karan Sarghress.
    • Seb'rath Sarghress.
  • The Reveal: Ariel is Mel’s biological daughter, conceived on Quain’s demands in order to have a heir after Laele was possessed and Quain made barren by an injury from Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen.

    Chapter 11: Choir of Souls 

Chapter 11: Choir of Souls

Kiel'ndia and Naal'suul prepare to try and save Kyo'nne, not realizing she isn't actually in danger. Ariel and her comrades prepare themselves for the journey to the surface. Ariel meets, acquires and names Melodia. Chirinide, Shan'nal and Kyo'nne tag along, without giving Ariel a real choice in the matter.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • It's implied that after she was dollified and turned into a door golem, Ven'ndia still retains enough awareness from her old self.
    • The "dolls" Kharla'ggen made from living drow have been stated by Kiel'ndia to be a "true hell" as they are basically helpless yet still aware of their surroundings.
  • Art Evolution: This was the cover for Chapter 11 from 2004. The remake was made in 2016.
  • Disappeared Dad: It's unknown what happened to Kiel'ndia's father, as her mother is seen doing most of the raising. It's implied that he along with most of her siblings were lost to violence.
  • Evil Redhead:
    • Kharla'ggen is a subversion; her hair used to be white, but it was dyed red-orange after she was adopted by Ven'ndia. Her "evil" behavior is actually the result of untreated mental disorders, and she's relatively harmless until she's provoked.
    • Sene'kha plays it straight, due to having Kiel'ndia's mother killed for opposing her plans, and turned the originally weird but normal Vloz'ress into the clan of dysfunction it is today.
    • Ven'ndia is another subversion via being one of the most sane members of the original Vloz'ress, and a good mother to both Kiel'ndia and Kharla'ggen in life.
  • Fan Disservice: Kharla'ggen's outfit as Ill'haress is rather revealing as per the norm, but the sex appeal is lessened by the fact that she's insane, and has a penchant for dollifying people.
  • Fingore: Before her adoption into the Vloz'ress, Kharla'ggen wouldn't stop chewing at her own fingers. Ven'ndia averted this by making her wear a steel mask (except when eating) so she wouldn't continue harming herself.
  • Flashback: One at the beginning of the chapter, where Kiel’ndia reminisces on how her mom’s group of nether summoners came to be, picked up Kharla’ggen, and became the Vel’Vloz’ress.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Thanks to Sene'kha's manipulations, the Vel'Vloz'ress turned from a relatively normal group devoted to understanding demons, to one of the most dysfunctional and insane clans of Chel.
  • Good Parents: Ven'ndia was this to both her biological Kiel'ndia and her adoptive daughter Kharla'ggen when she was alive. It was because of her influence that Kharla'ggen's creepy behavior decreased until she became a normal, if somewhat unstable girl.
  • Happily Adopted: After Kharla'ggen was put in Ven'ndia's care, her behavior began to normalize until she was a sweet if somewhat unstable girl, until Sene'kha had Kharla'ggen kill Ven'ndia to remove an obstacle in her plans. Despite knowing what she did, Kiel'ndia doesn't blame her and still acts like her sister figure long after they've grown up.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Subverted. Despite her insanity, her massive, terrifying power, and her habit of dollifying people, Kharla'ggen has to be provoked into taking action.
  • Kubrick Stare: Kharla'ggen is seen doing a creepy one in Chapter 11's original cover from 2004.
  • Matricide: Kharla'ggen dollifies Ven'ndia, who had been like a second parent to her. Kiel'ndia initially blamed her for her mother's death, but she later got over it as she correctly believes Sene'kha was responsible.
  • Missing Mom: Ven'ndia, Kiel'ndia's mother, who was killed when Sene'kha had Kharla'ggen dollify her.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Kiel's mother adopted Kharla'ggen out of goodwill and treated her like a second daughter. Kharla'ggen later ends up killing and dollifying her, though it's because Sene'kha ordered her to.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Kharla'ggen can singlehandedly take on entire squads of Sharen and Kyorl soldiers and dollify them all by herself. Such is her power.
  • Puppet King: Gender-inverted due to Chel's matriarchal system. Sene'kha wanted to use Kharla'ggen as a figurehead for the Vloz'ress and a warning to the others what would happen if they crossed them. Ven'ndia opposed this plan, and for that Sene'kha had Kharla'ggen dollify her.
  • Rage At The Reflection: Kharla'ggen freaks out whenever she looks at mirrors. Kiel'ndia implies it's because she could see things that no one else could.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: After having a Freak Out! over her own reflection, Kharla'ggen is found in this position, chewing away at her fingers like mad. This is when Ven'ndia decides that the girl should wear a mask at all times to keep her from harming herself.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In-universe; demons were believed by most of Chel to be mana-eating, corrupting demons that must be killed on sight. The Vloz'ress (before Sene'kha came) saw demons as infinitely varied beings with sentient awareness like everyone else, and treated them as such.

    Chapter 12: To The Light 

Chapter 12: To The Light

Ariel and her travelling companions are in the middle of travelling. Kyorl'solenurn and Vloz'ress forces clash. Kiel and Naal confront Ariel and her group, but in the end, Kyo'nne successfully stops the fight.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Shan'naal fires a mana-infused arrow that makes part of Jer'kol's armor crumble on impact.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Possibly why Desmonde develops a crush on Sang'oro, who stands up for her when the other Wardens start badmouthing her.
  • Blindfolded Vision: As an Inquisitor, Ae'theriss covers her eyes constantly so her empathic sight may increase. She even provides an image for the trope.
  • Blind Seer: Subverted with Ae'theriss; as a Kyorl Inquisitor, she has to keep her vision covered at all times in order to augment her empathy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It gets lampshaded that Ariel gets attacked by different enemies two times in a row despite being far away from the city in which she met them.
  • Dual Wielding: Ron'nae fights with a real sword and a light-based duplicate of his weapon made by his Light sorcery.
  • The Empath: Ae'theriss has this power, which is why she's an Inquisitor, sensing anyone associated with the Vloz'ress working for Sene'kha.
  • Girls Love Cute Animals: An'toti calms Ae'theriss down from a period of empathic shock by giving her a tikk'tikki.
  • Hypocrite: Sene'kha points out how Kyo'varde's use of nether arts makes her a "traitor" to Kyorl society and beliefs. Kyo'varde justifies this action by fighting fire with fire.
  • In-Series Nickname: An'toti is called "Toti" by his peers.
  • Karmic Death: Jer'kol tried to kill Ariel by suffocating her with a hug in a previous chapter. Ariel kills him here by first blasting mana into his face, then finishing him off with his own sword.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Jer'kol Sarghress, who is delivered a final blow by Ariel.
    • Ron'nae Kyorl'solenurn, who's killed off-screen by Baliir.
    • Afae Vloz'ress, who's killed by an empathically empowered An'toti.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Ron'nae styles himself as this for the female Wardens of his Order.
  • Light 'em Up: Ron'nae has Light sorcery, which is appropriate for a Kyorl.
  • Motive Rant: Jer'kol gives one that reveals what he wants to do to Ariel, Vaelia, and Syphille for ruining his life. Ariel's group isn't impressed in the slightest.
  • Reassigned To Antartica: After Jer'kol's crime of trying to kill Ariel was exposed, he was publicly shamed, demoted, and sent to the farthest outpost so he wouldn't endanger the Sarghress heir again. It apparently backfired, since Ariel ends up reencountering him anyway.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Part of Ron'nae's outfit is a sleeveless, high-necked shirt.
  • Squishy Wizard: Ae'theriss is a powerful empath, but she's delicate physically and emotionally. She can, however, use her empathy to empower her fellow able-bodied Kyorl so they can protect and fight for her.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Ron'nae is killed by Baliir Vel'Vloz'ress several pages after his introduction.
  • Who Are You?: Inverted; after Jer'kol unmasks himself and gives a Motive Rant, Ariel asks this trope verbatim. It's after Jer'kol tells her his name that Ariel recognizes him as her would-be killer chapters before.
  • Woman in White: Ae'theriss's clothes are almost completely white, and she has empathic powers as an Inquisitor.

    Chapter 13: Crossroads 

Chapter 13: Crossroads

The gang are in Machike, with the various kid cast preparing for whatever they are doing next. Meanwhile, the Kyorls are negotiating for the Sarghress to hand over Senekha whom they are holding prisoner.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sene'kha is finally captured, imprisoned, and executed, and Kiel'ndia finds closure in avenging her mother's death, but in refusing Sene'kha's offer, she may have doomed Naal'suul (which Naal'suul's fine with). She also notes that the Vloz'ress might become politically unstable in the wake of Sene'kha's death.
  • Broken Pedestal: Chrinide starts feeling this of Ariel for not being the "pure" heir to the Empress's throne as she thought she was, for Ariel doesn't believe in Sharess or racial purity. This gets Kyo'nne on the warpath when Chirinide openly insults Ariel and Shan'naal lets her.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • While imprisoned, Sene'kha offers to teach Kiel'ndia many things, including how to contain the demon seed in her friend Naal'suul, in exchange for freeing her. It takes a bit to decide, as she clearly cares about Naal'suul. But after a talk with Naal'suul, Kiel'ndia ultimately says, "No."
    • As she's carted out to her execution, Sene'kha attempts a last bid to free herself by offering Kyo'varde knowledge on nether arts. Unfortunately for her, she's asking the Kyorls, who are Knight Templars incarnate. They turn her down and execute her as planned.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Kousei Val'Kyorl'solenurn of the Order of the Twin Eyes makes his debut here, but wouldn't have a major role until several chapters later.
  • Hypocrite: Chirinide calls Ariel a "heretic" who doesn't adhere to Sharess's teachings and associates with "impure" races. This leads to an enraged Kyo'nne calling out both her and Shan'naal for claiming to be righteous protectors of all drow only to shun those who don't fit their standards. At least Shan'naal regrets it and apologizes for his mistake.
  • Karmic Death: Sene'kha was responsible for killing Kiel'ndia's mother, using Kharla'ggen as a tool for her political ambitions, and twisted the original Vloz'ress group into an impoverished clan of desperation and dysfunction. When Sene'kha is finally captured and imprisoned, Kiel'ndia decides to leave her to the mercies of the Kyorl, who publicly execute her.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Kyorls publicly execute Senekha by setting her on fire and sealing her demon seed, though it's subverted as she was beheaded beforehand.
  • Killed Off for Real: Sene'kha Vloz'ress, who's killed in a public execution by the Kyorl.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kiel guesses that in leaving Sene'kha to be executed by the Kyorl, she has avenged her mother, but the price would be the Vloz'ress clan's political instability.
  • That Man Is Dead: Naal'suul calls herself a "walking corpse", a shell of her former self ever since she became tainted in Orthorbbae. When asked by Kiel'ndia about choosing self-preservation or her family's survival, Naal'suul answers that she would have her family survive as she's already dead.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: As she watches Sene'kha's corpse burn, Kiel'ndia bitterly notes to herself that although she has avenged her mother's death and dollification, she may have doomed the Vloz'ress with letting their leader be executed in the long-run.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Kiel'ndia refuses to help her, Sene'kha starts screaming about Ven'ndia being "a weakling bitch void of any imagination", how she killed the rest of Kiel'ndia's family, and how she should've given Kiel'ndia to Kharla'ggen to be turned into a doll. Then a Sarghress shuts her up and tells her Kiel'ndia's already left.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Chirinide insults Ariel for not being the "pure" heir to the throne she thought she was, Kyo'nne finally gets tired of the bullshit and calls out her and Shan'naal for being self-righteous hypocrites. Chirinide is unrepentant, while Shan'naal is downright ashamed and even apologizes to Kyo'nne for it.

    Chapter 14: Under the Moonlight 

Chapter 14: Under the Moonlight

Ariel's gang leaves Machike and Ariel sees the surface for the first time.

    Chapter 15: Wasteland 

Chapter 15: Wasteland

Rikshakar betrays Ariel and kidnaps her. Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne separate from the rest and arrive at a Kyorl'solenurn outpost where Chirinide and Shan'naal learn several things that change their world view.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lioshi, a very elderly-looking Light Elf who's very patient and kind.
  • Elderly Immortal: Lioshi is a very ancient Light Elf and actually looks his age as a result of mana deprivation.
  • He Knows Too Much: Why the Order of Serenity and their Judicator is stationed on the surface; they were deemed too dangerous to be let loose into the public because of the knowledge they possessed.
  • Hypocrite: The reveal that they're Light Elves makes all of the Kyorl Judicators this; they call for the purging of all "tainted" Drow and whoever associated with them, but their heritage also makes them "tainted" according to Kyorl culture.
  • Killed Off for Real: Rikshakar, who's killed by Discordia after being weakened by a previous scuffle with Ariel.
  • Motive Decay: The Kyorls were originally supposed to protect and guide the Dark Elves until a new Empress inherited the throne. But eventually their goal devolved into purifying the Drowlaths and getting rid of all tainted people.
  • Wham Episode: It turns out all Drowussu are the descendants of Light Elves the way Drowolaths are the descendants of Dark Elves. Also, several Kyorl Judicators are in fact Light Elves, and the Kyorls' original purpose was to protect and guide the Dark Elves until a new Empress ascended to the throne, but they suffered Motive Decay over time.
  • Secret Test of Character: The balcony of the outpost building turns out to be this. Hearing of the truth of the clan caused many Kyorls to try jump off out of honor, but since the height isn't too big, they're only sent home with minor injuries. Chrinide is the first to not attempt this, symbolizing her decision to understand the knowledge she was given.

    Chapter 16: Shattering Empire 

Chapter 16: Shattering Empire

Zala'ess calls a gathering of the clans minus the Sarghress to gather support against them and assert her authority. Meanwhile, her forces attack the Sarghress fortress and Mel'arnach takes the opportunity to escape.
  • Hypocrite: An attendee sees all of the clan Ill'haresses as hypocrites, always talking of peace but looking down on anyone who doesn't have an army with them.

    Chapter 17: Enemy at the Gate 

Chapter 17: Enemy at the Gate

Yaeminira challenges Sil'lice to a duel. Sil'lice takes the opportunity to reveal a devastating secret about the Sharen clan's connection to the Nidraa'chal as well as Empress Diva'ratrika's true fate, which Yaeminira ignores.
  • And I Must Scream: When Sil'lice's soldiers open the cockpit to the gigantic golem they took down, they find, to their horror, an agonized golem pilot who is heavily tainted to the point where he looks like a horrific monstrosity. He had been rampaging in Chel because he wants someone to kill him, as he's rooted to his seat with no way out.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Yaeminira is quickly reduced to a frozen corpse, her fingers snapping. One soldier lampshades it, commenting on how nasty her death was.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The fight between Yaeminira and Sil'lice ends in the former's quick defeat and death.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted with Yaeminira, whose death by magical freezing is depicted realistically. Her fingers even snap and twist as Sil'lice deals the final blow.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The tainted, heavily corrupted pilot of the giant golem Sil'lice's forces encounter wants someone to end his miserable suffering.
  • Killed Off for Real: Yaeminira Vel'Sharen, killed by Sil'lice by being frozen to death.
  • Mercy Kill: Kadara attempts to off the golemized body of her cousin Vy'chriel, as she's dead to her at this point. Sil'lice stops her daughter, reasoning that they can still use Vy'chriel somehow.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The gigantic war golem Sil'lice's forces encounter has a "core" that turns out to be several captive drow, whose life forces were drained to power the entire thing and are left emaciated and weak because of it.
  • Wham Episode: Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika is dead, which means her own clan was serving an empress that no longer exists. The Nidraa'chal was founded by traitorous members of the Vel'Sharen, and manipulated their people into becoming nether summoners to spread their will.
  • Wham Line: Combined with a Wham Shot:
    Sil'lice Vel'Sharen: Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika... [Cut to Chrys'tel opening the door and seeing the ruins of Diva'ratrika's palace] is dead.
  • Wham Shot: While Sil'lice delivers her Wham Line above, Chrys'tel enters the ruins of Diva'ratrika's palace and sees the carnage that happened within years ago.

    Chapter 18: Shifting Allegiances 

Chapter 18: Shifting Allegiances

Syphile tries to assassinate Quain'tana. Meanwhile, Zala'ess denounces the Sarghress as a rebel clan and tries to convince the rest of the city to destroy them. The Kyrol'solenurn, Sullisin'rune, and Jaal'darya clans are not amused and start threatening rebellions of their own.

    Chapter 19: Val of Sharen 

Chapter 19: Val of Sharen

Sil'lice gives her youngest children, Kau and Shala, a bedtime story about her participation in the Nidraa'chal war and how she was forced into exile.
  • Breather Episode: After several intense chapters in a row, this chapter, while it does show how poorly the Val'Sharen lost to the Nidraa'chal, nevertheless has a touching moment between Sil'lice and her twin children, Kau and Shala.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Sil'lice's son Kau'shala was bitten in half by a tainted dragon, his eyes still open. His armor was the only thing that kept him together at all.
  • Dead Guy Junior: It's revealed that the twins Kau and Shala are named after their deceased older brother, Kau'shala, to honor his memory.
  • Flashback: Sil'lice account of what happened during the Nidraa'chal War is told in a black and white, manga-style flashback.
  • Hidden Depths: Deep down, Sil'lice is a broken woman who lost most of her family to traitorous relatives who engineered a horrific war.

    Chapter 20: Boundless World 

Chapter 20: Boundless World

Ariel regroups with Melodia, Vaelia and Liriel and explore the surface while looking for Faen. Melodia starts learning to speak while Liriel show signs she is not what she seems. Meanwhile, Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne arrive at a joint Illhar'dro-Nal'sarkoth outpost. Meanwhile, the Vloz group searching for Discordia are in Haltonreibe.

    Chapter 21: Through Foreign Lands 

Chapter 21: Through Foreign Lands

The Vloz group succeed in catching Discordia. Ariel, Vaelia, Liriel and Melodia reunite with Chirinide, Shan'naal and Kyo'nne when the former group saved the latter. Together, they arrive at where Faen is.

    Chapter 22: Reunion 

Chapter 22: Reunion

Ariel finds Faen, though in not an exactly happy state. Chirinide and Shan'naal put an end to the King's systematic killing of elves and drow to get their blood for an attempt at immortality. Liriel completes her transformation into a new person. Ariel completes her bloodrite.
  • Break the Cutie: A severe case with Faen, whose empathy constantly forced her to feel the deaths of every elf and drow killed by the Halme King and Queen in a bid for immortality.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ariel has found Faen at last, but Faen is catatonic and mute from her surroundings because of the trauma of feeling the pain of both elves and drow being killed by the Halme royalty in an attempt to become immortal.
  • Hallucinations: As Diva'ratrika's aura starts to fully take over, Liriel walks through the remains of the old Dark Elf palace and sees one of Diva'ratrika's memories, where she hallucinates Ariel and Faen as Diva'ratrika's childhood friends Blossom and Ash'waren, respectively.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Halme King and Queen of Nagyescsed, by Chirinide.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Halme King and Queen had been killing elves and drow, and draining them of their blood in a failed bid to gain immortality. They meet their ends at the blade of Chirinide, a drowussu elf.
  • Off with His Head!: The Halme Queen is killed this way after she tries to heal her facial burns with the drained elven blood, allowing Chirinide to get her while she's vulnerable.
  • Wham Episode: Faen is found, but Ariel and her companions are too late, as Faen suffers severe Break the Cutie that leaves her mute for nearly the entire remainder of the First Arc. Liriel transforms fully into Diva, with no more alcohol staving off the former Empress's influence.

    Chapter 23: Farewells 

Chapter 23: Farewells

Chirinide and Shan'naal splits of from the group to guide Light Elves back to their home of Vanaheimr. Vaelia splits of from the group and joins the Highland Raiders. Liriel reveals her true identity as Diva'ratrika to Ariel and Faen. She decides to go by Diva from then on, believing it to be for the best.

    Chapter 24: Strings 

Chapter 24: Strings

Kiel, with Naal's help, attempt to take power within the Vloz'ress before news of Senekha's death reach the majority of the clan. Meanwhile, we see what Vaelia has been up to in the Highland Raiders.

    Chapter 25: The Ninth Tower 

Chapter 25: The Ninth Tower

Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune catch up. Snad reveals Kalki is their daughter born through Jaal'darya advances in Drow technology. Meanwhile, Lulianne finds the Ninth Tower and encounters Sha'sana who reveals many things about the taint and the Nidraa'chal. Meanwhile, we are shown a continuation of Vaelia's adventures with the Highland Raiders.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Kalki is the daughter of Mel and Snad. The former was previously only known to have had Ariel as her child while the latter was not known to have had any kids whatsoever. And Sha'sana reveals that the taint was thought to be the perfect vaccination to getting possessed by demons, and while it can be that, it is revealed the vast majority of those tainted were given a flawed version where the seed will continue growing and eventually take over the host. The Nidraa'chal have agents in every major clan and several minor ones, and were the ones who truly won the war about 15 years previous, regardless of what everyone else thinks.
    • The body of Sharess, who sacrificed herself to protect the Dark Elfs from demons during the Surface Wars, is contained in Sha'sana's home. Sha'sana hopes to revive her someday and reunite the clans.

    Chapter 26: Of Trust and Friendship 

Chapter 26: Of Trust And Friendship

Chrys'tel and Shinae meet up with Naal and Kiel. Nau'kheol and Khal'harror join the group. Together they attempt to investigate the door at the bottom of Orthorbbae. Meanwhile, a group of Relic Hunters hired by the Jaal'darya find a ruin, not realizing the Jaal'darya are planning to infect them with a deadly fungus that rots their bodies from within and causes hallucinations.

    Chapter 27: A Thin Existence 

Chapter 27: A Thin Existence

Mel and Snad learn that Lu had been injured. Chrys'tel's group stage a commotion to get a keystone to open the door at the bottom of Orthorbbae. They managed to get the key, open the door and see what's inside, which horrifies them. Meanwhile, the last part of Vaelia's current mission with the Raiders is shown.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Naal'suul finally lets her seed loose and turns into a demon to save her friends from being attacked by a summon. Kiel doesn't take it well.
  • Wham Episode:
    • There are bodies of Orthorbbae staff members in the room, even though they are still doing their jobs. The ones the kids see are actually summons.
    • Naal'suul willingly gives in to her taint and turns into a demon when one of the summons attacks them. There's no hope for her.

    Chapter 28: Holehearted 

Chapter 28: Holehearted

Kiel cements her status as the de facto Vloz'ress leader by killing Kes'sen, but not all are happy with the new leadership. Meanwhile Kuso and Baliir are hanging out in Chel. A special story made by a fan for the comic for a contest is featured and several elements of the fan story are made canon.
  • Character Development: Kiel becomes more ruthless and cunning once she fully realizes the implications of Naal's death, and is nearly killed when two Scourges make her eat poisoned cake.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Kiel recognizes her poisoners as Nyo'ka's Scourges, and assumes that Nyo'ka had betrayed her for political power. It turns out though, that the scourges were acting on their own and Nyo'ka didn't know of their plan.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kiel goes through one when Naal's death finally sinks in.
  • Karmic Death: Invoked; Kiel sets Ven'ndia's golem upon Kes'sen, knowing that he and Senekha had Ven'ndia killed and golemified to remove an obstacle in their plans.
  • Killed Off for Real: Kes'sen Vloz'ress, killed by Kiel'ndia.
  • Not So Different: Kiel, assuming that Nyo'ka sent assassins to poison her, personally tries to have her killed, but sees her two children and realizes that she's no better than Senekha and Kes'sen, and calls off the attack.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kar'liir's assistants have this reaction once they realize they had to risk their lives and float below the Vloz'ress fortress to investigate a mana blockage.
  • Shrouded in Myth: In the bonus story at the end, we find out the Val main characters are this for the common folk.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Two of Nyo'ka's Scourges attempt to kill Kiel'ndia by tricking her into eating poisoned cake so Nyo'ka can rise to power. The only thing that saves her is Larvova's intervention, and she's not happy about it.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Chrys'tel comments that the other summoners in the Vloz'ress clan either see Kiel as a stepping stone or an obstacle in their own political agendas, and they could crush her if they could.
  • Wham Episode: Kiel officially seizes leadership of her clan by killing Kes'sen, and nearly dies due to eating cake that was poisoned by two Scourges.

    Chapter 29: Vanaheimr 

Chapter 29: Vanaheimr

Chirinide, Shan'naal, Myou and the Light Elves they were escorting reach Vanaheimr. However, during the night, most of the Light Elves saved from Nagyscyed, save Freyja, are killed by assassins due to them being not considered true Vanir. Chiri, Shan and Myou are nearly killed too but Freyja's brother, Freyr, saves them.
  • Blind Obedience: A common theme among Light Elves. The assassins sent to purge the "non-Vanir" in particular immediately stopped their attack once Freyr called them off.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Freyr explains to to the survivors that the Vanir Queen intentionally ignored the attempted purge on the Light Elf slaves so she wouldn't feel guilty about it.
  • Children Are Innocent: Thanks to Freyr telling her his own version of events, Freyja has no idea that her own people attempted to purge the "impure" Vanir her friends rescued from slavery.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Light Elves, even moreso than the fanatical Kyorl. Their kingdom is closed off to non-Vanir and they were even willing to kill some of their own people who came from Nagyesced because they weren't "real" Vanir. According to Freyr, their former enslavement by the Halmes makes them a "stain" and a "shame" to their people.
  • Noble Bigot: Freyr is working with his father to abolish Vanaheimr's strict caste system, but he still has elements of his people's Pride and Fantastic Racism towards lesser races.
  • Puppet King: A gender-inverted example in Vala Hudr, the Queen of Vanaheimr. Because the Light Elves are patriarchal, she has no real political power after her husband, the Van or "King", died. It's implied that this reason is why several noble Light Elves, including the father of Freyr and Freyja, are seeking her hand in marriage.
  • Seers: Turns out the Queen of the Light Elves, Vala Hudr, also has foresight. The presence of Chirinide, a fellow Seer, interferes with her powers. Apparently foresight is common among the Light Elves, and their descendants, the drowussu, have inherited this ability.

    Chapter 30: Back to the Refuge 

Chapter 30: Back to the Refuge

Ariel arrives back in Chel and relates her adventures to Quain'tana. Meanwhile, "Diva'ratrika" who is in fact a Body Double, holds a very public parade in the middle of Chel. Sarv'swati also recruits the Black Sun as mercenaries.

    Chapter 31: Beloved Enemies 

Chapter 31: Beloved Enemies

Chry'stel agonizes over what she learned from Sil'lice and consults with Yakuise, a Kyorl'solenurn Seer who lives in the Sharen basement. Meanwhile Zala'ess warns Shinae not to let Chrys'tel out of her sight, lest she act like a traitor. The two meet up with their friends at a cafe in Chel, and Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol leave for the Sarghress fortress to talk with Sil'lice again.

    Chapter 32: The End of the Line 

Chapter 32: The End of the Line

Chrys'tel and Nau'kheol meet up with Diva and enter Sil'lice's compound, only to be accosted by Kadara, who throws Chrys and Nau into iron maidens until Sil'lice gets back home. Once they're released, Sil'lice enlists Chrys'tel to be her spy in the Sharen. Meanwhile, Mel has arrived back at the fortress as Snadhya'rune's prompting and asks to be forgiven by Quain, but Quain does not buy her story and instead breaks Mel's arms and has her thrown into the dungeon, where Kel'noz takes Ariel and reveals her true parentage. Ariel, however, decides that she's had enough of people claiming to be her real parents and rejects Mel as her real mother, though the end of the chapter gives a Hope Spot after she asks Quain to give her another chance and has her arms healed.

Second Arc

The Second Arc begins fifteen years after the First Arc ended. Chel'el'sussoloth is now in a state of warfare as the Val'Sarghress and their allies fight the Vel'Sharen and their allies.

    Chapter 33: Refuge of the West 

Chapter 33: Refuge Of The West

The former jewel of the west, Nuqrah'shareh is torn apart by civil war and an insidious foreign scheme.
  • Be Careful What You Say: Nega'fanea constantly touted her city's virtues back in Chapter 16, so much that Kharla'ggen makes her shut up by telling her to "stay there". It later bites her in the ass as refugees start pouring into Nuqrah'shareh, looking for a safe place from the clan warfare.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Sandaur'recherrai Val'Illhar'dro, killed when Shodun blasts him outside with spellsong and sends him into a fall that proves fatal.
  • Staged Populist Uprising: At first glance, Nuqrah's riots look to be the result of anger over food shortages. But in actuality, the food shortages and the riots were engineered by the Nidraa'chal to provoke a conflict and Divide and Conquer.

    Chapter 34: The Claims of Queens 

Chapter 34: The Claims of Queens

Chrys'tel arrives in Nuqrah'shareh with her mother. It is revealed that the Sharen clan has lost most of its territory and is in open war with the Sarghress and Sullisin'rune clans, who want them all dead. Zala'ess seeks the Illhar'dro clan's aid in defeating the rebels and offers to help them deal with their own rebellion in return.
  • Bring Help Back: The Sharen clan's entire purpose for travelling to Nuqrah'shareh. The war with the Sarghress is starting to go badly and Zala'ess wants to forge an alliance with the Illhar'dro.

    Chapter 35: Civil Unrest 

Chapter 35: Civil Unrest

A young Val'Jaal'darya named Wafay navigates through Chel, a city now torn apart by Urban Warfare in order to warn the Sarghress about a terrible scheme being operated by her own mother and recruit their help to stop her.

    Chapter 36: Mother's Legacies 

Chapter 36: Mother's Legacies

Faen'arae returns to the Sullisin'rune dome for the first time in years and meets her mother. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, Chrys'tel and her comrades disrupt the local rebellion. To her delight, her allies reveal that the great clans of Nuqrah'shareh have agreed to help Zala'ess crush the rebel clans of Chel in return for conquest.
  • Broken Bird: Ash'waren is revealed to be a psychologically traumatized woman, the last survivor of an old Dark Elf royal family after her mother, siblings, and relatives were all killed by what would become the Vel'Sharen. She constantly hid her trauma with parties and revelries, but that caused her children and grandchildren to see her as an irresponsible, careless ruler. It's implied that she had lots of children to make up for losing her entire family.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Faen finds her mother, Ash'waren became reclusive, keeping her Feral servants as company, and refusing to eat the food given to her for fear they had been poisoned.
  • Scars Are Forever: Ash'waren has a really nasty gash on her chest where her heart is. It's implied that one of her children or grandchildren is responsible.
  • Secret Test of Character: Ash'waren uses her empathy to look into Faen's heart to see if she had deceitful intentions, and for a moment it appears she's Mind Rapeing her own daughter. Once Faen is revealed to be innocent, though, she apologizes for terrorizing her like that.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Ash'waren fears that whatever she's given has poison in them, so she refuses to eat. When Faen visits her mother, she finds discarded, rotting food all over her bedchamber.

    Chapter 37: A Song of Hope 

Chapter 37: A Song of Hope

Kyo'nne is revealed to have become a pop star over the Timeskip and is presently promoting peace and a colony sponsored by Snadyha'rune. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, Chrys'tel takes part in an operation to take an ancient airship away from the mysterious foreign schemers.

    Chapter 38: Battle for North Cliff 

Chapter 38: Battle for North Cliff

Ariel's district, the North Cliff, is attacked by a former Sarghress-turned-Vloz named Maki, who has a big grudge since Syphile's successor had not ignored her corruption. Meanwhile in Nuqrah'shareh, a Nidraa'chal False Flag Operation successfully convinces the clans of Nuqrah'shareh that their plans to attack the Sarghress are a priority.
  • Badass Bystander: A drow woman of mixed heritage scores a hit on Maki with her crossbow, and delivers this one-liner:
    Drow woman: Get out of my street. Punks.
  • Fallen Hero: Maki and her squad once helped defend the North Cliff district during the Nidraa'chal Wars, before Ariel was born. But under Syphile's management, they grew corrupt and took too many bribes, causing their fall from grace in the eyes of their Sarghress peers and the people they were supposed to protect.
  • False Flag Operation: The Nidraa'chal plant a Sarghress sword at the site of one of their raids, leading the Illhar'dro to believe that the Sarghress were responsible for the Civil War and food shortages.
  • Female Misogynist: Implied; the reason why Ariel's Vloz disguise was blown is because Maki's squad recruitment doesn't include females.
  • Playing with Fire: Maki has a fire affinity and makes copious use of it with her gourd she carries with her.
  • Shadow Archetype: Maki is one for Ariel. Maki was what Ariel could've become had she let herself become corrupt like she did. In addition, Maki is former Sarghress and a celebrated war hero during the Nidraa'chal Wars.
  • You Are in Command Now: Ariel's normal commander, Sarnel, is badly wounded from Maki's attacks and fire sorcery, the second in command is dead, and the next ranking officer declines command in favor of letting Ariel have a shot. As we learn next chapter, the higher ups had specifically prevented Ariel from moving up in the ranks and kept her in the Home Guard until the District War is over to protect her.
  • Zerg Rush: The occupants of North Cliff, inspired by Ariel, start taking up arms and confronting Maki and her squad.

    Chapter 39: Remember the Reason You Fight 

Chapter 39: Remember the Reason You Fight

Ariel reports at the Black Wolf tavern. The Sarghress are working on an operation designed to expose the false empress and manage to kill one her Body Doubles. Meanwhile, Kiel'ndia runs a recruitment drive and receives a very special invitation.
  • Adult Fear: Shinae gives birth to a stillborn, horribly mutated baby because her faulty demon taint corrupted it. Both she and Galen are devastated; Shinae goes outside after hearing the news and does a pressure sorcery-fueled Skyward Scream. Not to mention, the entire experience leaves her severely weakened for several chapters.
  • Wham Episode: Shinae gives birth, but the baby is stillborn and horribly mutated, confirming what Sha'sana said earlier about the faulty seeds.

    Chapter 40: Hold the Line 

Chapter 40: Hold the Line

The Sarghress push towards conquering a specific district to rescue the Sharen clan's Slave Mooks from being forced to fight them. The Sharen argue over whether to hold the line or fall back until the great clans of Nuqrah'shareh can help them crush the rebellion. We then see what Vaelia has been up to lately, which is to liberate a prison colony run by the Vel'Sharen and Val'Beldrobbaen.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ariel, a strong and healthy warrior. Shinae, a pressure sorceress who has been greatly weakened from a failed childbirth. Ariel never stood a chance and would have been killed if Shinae hadn't been forced to retreat by The Cavalry.
  • Handicapped Badass: Shinae, barely able to walk with a cane and having to take special medications to help deal with her failed childbirth from the previous chapter, was able to take down the stronger and healthier Ariel with Cane Fu and pressure sorcery.
  • Just in Time: Word of God says that this is specifically subverted when Ariel chops off Nihi'liir's head only just after Nihi'liir orders the death of all the Slave Mooks, causing the deaths of many of those the Sarghress were trying to save.
  • Killed Off for Real: Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen, beheaded by Ariel in the nick of time.

    Chapter 41: End of Charades 

Chapter 41: End of Charades

Kiel'ndia launches an attack against the Sharen to expose the false Empress and end their crumbling charade.
  • Broken Masquerade: The Sharen clan and their alllies have spent the last several decades pretending that Diva'ratrika is still alive and in charge of the Sharen Empire in order to maintain control and morale. With the help of a Nidraa'chal traitor, Kieln'dia manages to stab the impostor and officially announce the death to all of Chel, preventing the Imperial Guard from just replacing her with a Body Double again. Indeed, the chapter title, "End of Charades", refers to this trope.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The armor worn by the real Diva'ratrika was revealed to be only for show and not for practical uses, because it exposes too much skin to be protective. Kiel was able to get in an easy kill because of it.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Fake Diva, assassinated by Kiel'ndia.
    • Elbinac Vloz'Ress
    • Kailodion Xyrrai'zestu Sharen
    • Tsuris'Lok Vloz'Ress note 
  • Reality Ensues: Wearing an outfit that has little armor or practicality to begin with is not going to protect the wearer from potential attacks, or assassinations. The fake Diva'ratrika died this way when Kiel'ndia exploits this.
  • Wham Episode: The death of Fake Diva will have repercussions.

    Chapter 42: Schism 

Chapter 42: Schism

The Dutan'vir faction within the Sarghress clan launches an attack on the Kyorl to reclaim some of their lost territory on behalf of their current clan without its approval. The Kyorl'solenurn clan have to deal with this as well as internal turmoil as differing views come into conflict. A sinister conspiracy within their own ranks threatens to split the clan in two, forcing all of them to make a choice. A continuation of Vaelia trying to liberate the prison colony is also featured.
  • Broken Base: In-universe example; the clan is slowly breaking apart over racial purity and how to treat their drowlath cousins. Appropriately, the chapter where their brokenness comes to a head is titled "Schism".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kousei, first seen overlooking the public execution of Senekha Vel'Vloz'ress, reappears in this chapter conducting an investigation into Shimi'lande's murder while also being manipulated by Kyuusei as his Unwitting Pawn.
  • Chekhov's News: In Chapter 40, the war map showed arrows depicting which territory each army was marching into. The Sharen and Beldrobbaen clans were pushing into Sarghress controlled districts, while the Sarghress were mostly pushing into Sharen controlled districts. But a single Sarghress arrow was shown going into Kyorl territory, and was later revealed to have claimed the district on the Sarghress clan's behalf. In this chapter, we learn that it was the Dutan'vir using the distraction of the District War to reconquer their old home without permission.
  • The Coup: One of the Judicators, Kyuusei, launches one, and it is later confirmed by a summary that he had Shimi'lande assassinated towards this end.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The chapter intermission ends with Kio'nel being killed by his mother Sarv'swati for failing to defend Dariya'ko, first by having his face stomped deep into the floor, then having an axe slammed onto his chest so hard the floor cracks.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Chirinide foresees herself getting beheaded by a Vloz'ress assassin. She learns later on that it was Shini'lande who was murdered.
  • Due to the Dead: Kousei gives Kyuusei a "finger to the forehead" farewell salute after having him executed for his crimes.
  • False Flag Operation: Shimi'lande's murderer disguises herself as Kiel'ndia Val'Vlozress to fool the Kyorl into believing her clan responsible.
  • Irony: The Judicators attempt to purge the clan of Dutan'vir-descended Kyorl believing they're less loyal than native Kyorl. One of said native Kyorl goes against orders out of disgust towards the Judicators' actions and frees the intended targets of their racial purge.
  • Karmic Death: Kyuusei is killed when he is stabbed by a member of the Order of the Twin Eyes (which he intended to use as Unwitting Pawns) and thrown out a window, where he happens to land on a statue depicting the fires of a purge.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Ill'haress Shimi'lande Val'Kyorl'Solenurn, killed by an unknown assassin (later heavily implied to be Khaless's doing).
    • Kyuusei Kyorl'Solenurn, stabbed and tossed out the window where he lands on a statue depicting the fires of a purge.
    • Kio'nel Vel'Sharen, brutally killed by her own mother.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Judicators all wear white, but they were responsible for having Shimi'lande assassinated to further their own goals, and coming up with the idea of murdering Dutan'vir-descended Kyorl on the assumption their ancestry would make them less loyal than native Kyorl.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: It's implied that, since the Kyorl are matriarchal, the Templars were barred from learning of the nature of Shimi'lande's death because it was supposed to involve the clan's female Seers and the Judicators, not the "lesser sex".
  • Modest Royalty: Compared to the other Judicators who wear fancy white and gold robes, Kousei's outfit is rather plain, with a simple black cape and hood. This later outs him and his Order as the good guys as they invest themselves into uncovering the culprit behind Shimi'lande's murder.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Belph'aegor is touted as the perfect example of an ideal male Kyorl warrior. Yet he goes against orders and frees the imprisoned Dutan'vir-descended Kyorl from the Judicators' racial genocide plan.
  • The Purge: The Judicators attempt to pull one off by imprisoning anyone suspected to be of Dutan'vir descent and then purging them with fire. It fails when a disgusted Kyorl frees the prisoners and helps them escape.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Belph'aegor, the ideal male Kyorl warrior bucks the rules out of disgust towards the Judicators' actions
  • Spanner in the Works: Belph'aegor foils Kyuusei's plans by freeing the imprisoned Dutan'vir-descended Kyorl and helping them escape from being purged for being racially impure.
  • Succession Crisis: Traditionally, the previous Kyorl Ill'haress picks her own successor. But the Judicators discard Shimi'lande's choice with one of their own for ulterior reasons, bringing tensions to a boil.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Being a Seer, Shimi'lande was aware of her impending death, and left behind some final messages to guide the future.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kyuusei planned to send the Order of the Twin Eyes after the Vloz'ress (since Shimi'lande's killer was a member of that clan) so the other Judicators can wipe out the Dutan'vir-descended Kyorl without distractions. Kousei catches on and sends his Order after Kyuusei, whom they kill for his actions.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Judicators want to preserve the Kyorls' racial purity and clan unity because their people have often been enslaved by the drowlaths, killed, or assimilated into drowlath culture. Their actions in pulling this off are inexcusable and eventually bite them in the ass by the chapter's end.
  • We Need a Distraction: Vaelia's mission to free the slaves from the Penal Colony turns out to be a distraction, making the Sharen worry about an attack from the wrong direction, when in fact the Sarghress's main attack is against the colony below the Penal Colony, Dariya'ko.
  • You Have Failed Me: Sarv'swati brutally kills her son Kio'nel for failing to defend Dariya'ko.
  • You Killed My Father: Implied to be Chime's motivation for exposing Kyuusei as the mastermind behind Shimi'lande's assassination, as the ending shot reveals Kousei thanking her for her help.

    Chapter 43: Breaking Frontline 

Chapter 43: Breaking Frontline

As the rebel clans break through the front lines, Kiel'ndia agrees to attend the Felde conferance and Zala'ess's alliance prepares its entrance.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Nishi'kanta's family finally takes their vengeance on Sarv'swati by removing the golem cores powering First Landing's defenses, allowing the Sarghress to take Chel's main entrance with ease.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Kiel'ndia brings Kharla'ggen to the turtle summon, Fame'nidia notes Kiel'ndia's serious demeanor to be rather strange, because she usually goes crazy over turtles. Once Kharla'ggen unleashes the turtle summon with ease, however, Kiel'ndia's immediately back to her old self and gushing about how "awesome" it is.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Implied; Kharla'ggen reacts with delight when a servant brings her tea and boiled eggs for breakfast, with the yolks shaped like ducklings.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: According to Word of God, Sarv'swati has this problem in the very beginning of the chapter. She starts out stationed in the fortress of First Landing. On the side facing the city, Sarghress troops are launching The Siege. Then, the Sarghress launch a surprise attack from the side facing the outside world. Sarv'swati is forced to gather everyone she can and break through the siege to retreat to the main Sharen fortress. This also cuts off the Sharen clan's last gate to the outside world, preventing reinforcements or a final retreat from the city. Chrys'tel gets around this by negotiating with a Vloz'ress summoner behind Kiel'ndia's back, giving Zala'ess's alliance permission to send reinforcements through the Vloz'ress clan's gate.
  • Trial by Friendly Fire: Word of God says that the Sarghress and Nishi'kanta's turncoats failed to properly coordinate the assault on First Landing. As a result, many of Nishi'kanta's children are wiped out by their own Sarghress allies, while the rest of them are taken by the Black Sun.

    Chapter 44: Invitation 

Chapter 44: Invitation

Ariel and her companions are stationed in the independent colony of Ys as the District War escalates to its conclusion. Meanwhile, the Felde conference begins, where Snadhya'rune declares open war on all the clans.
  • Berserk Button: Empaths have become this for Jia'an, due to being mind-raped and tortured by a trio of them for what was implied to be weeks. When Dycle tries attacking him with empathy, Jia'an flies into a rage and quickly kills him.
  • Color Motif: The pages depicting the Sarghress-Sharen wars, as well as Sarv'swati's Villainous Breakdown, are depicted in black and white. It shows how the District Wars have gotten stark and bleak for both sides involved.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Being on the verge of defeat, the Sharen take advantage of the Sarghress clan's self-perception as "good guys" to use some really dirty tactics, like using an innocent child as bait.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Upon the conquest of First Landing fortress, the Sarghress are able to conquer most of the rest of Chel with ease. However, three Sharen strongholds hold out. Unable to retreat and too proud to surrender the last symbol of their rule, the Sharen make one of their Last Stands at the council dome. Though the battle is becoming hopeless, they manage to inflict huge losses upon the Sarghress.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ran'diirk tries to assassinate Snadhya'rune after puzzling out her role in Diva'ratrika's murder, but fails and ends up killing himself in the effort. Ironically enough, in what Snadhya'rune portrays as an act of mercy, she grabs his aura and converts it into a summon, making what is left of him her slave.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Kyne Val'Sharen, a Golem pilot of Sil'lice's line, makes one of these to kill Sarv'swati. Mana arts fail to stop her, she sweeps an entire band of the Sharen clan's dragon riders aside, and even Sarv'swati's enormous dragon falls to her golem's claws. She almost succeeds in killing Sarv'swati herself, but is distracted by Vidhiyani crashing her floater into her golem.
  • Honor Before Reason: With no means of escape, and horribly overwhelmed, the Sharen clan's only option is to surrender or die. Being too proud to surrender, the Sharen clan tries to fight to the death, though the survivors are ultimately broken into surrendering.
  • Kick the Dog: The Sharen carve a nether gate into a child to serve as a lure against Sarghress soldiers and a measure of psychological warfare.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Kyne Val'Sharen
    • Ran'diirk Xyrrai'zestu Sharen, killed by Snadhya'rune and converted into a summon.
    • Dycle, killed by Jia'an in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Last Stand: After a thousand years of ruling Chel, the bulk of the Sharen clan is nearing its doom. The empress is officially dead, the Beldrobbaen have ended their alliance, the colony of Dariya'ko has fallen, the Sharen have been cut off from the outside, and the rebels have overrun the Sharen from where they were most vulnerable. The Sharen have lost everything except for three strongholds, and are on the verge of losing the last symbol of their rule. While they manage to kill huge numbers of Sarghress with increasingly desperate tactics, they are being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Zala'ess's line is still safe and is returning with an overwhelming army of reinforcements, but they are likely to arrive too late. By the time the chapter ends, Sarv'swati and her forces have gone over the Despair Event Horizon, and the surviving Sharen inside the Imperial dome give their surrender.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Faced with her doom, Sarv'swati finally expresses remorse for murdering her mother and breaks down in tears.
  • New Era Speech: At the Felde conference, Snadhya'rune finally ends all subtlety and presents herself as a savior. She promotes the taint as a way of seeking enlightenment, denounces the clans as warmongers, threatens the clans with annihilation, and displays the stolen Nuqrah'sharian airship as a means of reconquering the old world. She closes her speech by declaring the end of the Moonless Age and the Dawn of an Era.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Sarv'swati finally realizes that killing her own mother, the Empress, wasn't such a good idea after all.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: With the Sharen clan defeated, their Black Sun mercenaries depart, seeing no point in aiding the losing side anymore. While her surviving forces surrender, Sarv'swati herself manages to elude capture and disappear.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Instead of accepting Snadhya'rune's offer of mercy, Ran'diirk tries to blow her up with him via an overcharged golem core. Even though such weapons are very easily defended against. Snadhya'rune protects herself from the blast with little effort. Ran'diirk isn't so lucky.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Kern compares the Sharen tactic of focusing their firepower on sealers to this.
  • Taking You with Me: After receiving a mortal blow from Sarv'swati, Kyne Val'Sharen tries to take Sarv'swati to the grave with her by crashing her golem's cockpit against the council dome's wall.
  • They Do: In Ys, Faen and Ariel finally have their Relationship Upgrade, as they're shown passionately kissing in bed while preparing to make love.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Defeated and with most of her forces decimated by the Sarghress, Sarv'swati is at the end of her nerves. Tlu'rath criticizes her for squandering her soldiers, and she nearly kills him in a rage, only to realize she had dropped her axe on the way up the stairs. She then leaves for Diva'ratrika's old throne room and tries to remove the debris blocking the entrance with Earth foci, before having an emotional breakdown as she apologizes to her mother for killing her, begging her to come back.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: After Ran'diirk's failed, suicidal effort to assassinate Snadhya'rune, she proceeds to convert him into a summon under her control.

    Chapter 45: A Giant's Shadow 

Chapter 45: A Giant's Shadow

After centuries of defiance against the Vals, Quain'tana has nearly conquered Chel and reminisces on the hard life that brought her here. Meanwhile, Ariel decides to pursue the stolen Airship and the Minameidians prepare to attack Felde. A sidestory set in the recent past showing Wafay's quest is also featured.
  • Break the Haughty: Sarv'swati accepts herself as a failure and acknowledges that murdering her mother was a mistake.
  • The Cavalry: The Sharen fortress tries to count on Zala'ess arriving with her Nuqrah'sharian reinforcements in order to completely turn around the war. But for unknown reasons, she is delayed and fails to make any moves.
  • Freudian Excuse: This chapter gives Quain'tana's. She was originally a Street Urchin and was nearly killed for sport by a Sharen knight over stealing bread. This made her determined to bring down the Vals and gave her no sympathy for weakness.
  • Enemy Mine: During the Sharen fortress's surrender parley, Sabbror agrees to turn over the Sharen clan's holdings in exchange for helping the Sharen get revenge against the traitors that infested the Sharen with faulty seeds.
  • Honor Before Reason: By this chapter, the Sharen clan's only remaining holding is the Sharen fortress itself. Quain'tana gives the Sharen terms of surrender, allowing them a chance at diplomacy, but threatening to end their clan if they do not comply. Saphala Vel'Sharen, the Val left in charge, rips the Sarghress document into pieces because she is too proud to give in. Similarly, Nir'naya refuses to acknowledge the Sharen clan's defeat and tries to insist on Sarv'swati doing something about it.
  • Persona Non Grata: The council of Ys kicks the Sarghress out of the colony simply because they didn't know who Snadhya'rune is. The kicked out Sarghress personnel are suspicious of the motives behind it.
  • The Siege: Aside from Zala'ess's reinforcements, the entire Sharen clan is trapped in their fortress. The Sarghress keep them surrounded and threaten to attack the fortress with all of their legions if they do not surrender within their deadline.

    Chapter 46: Convergence 

Chapter 46: Convergence

The Mimians attack Felde before Snadhya'rune can become unstoppable while the Sarghress try to sabotage the Nidraa'chal's new biological weapon.
  • Abusive Parents: Snadhya'rune sure as hell isn't winning any "Parent of the Year" awards. While she wasn't physically abusive to Kalki, she was definitely a "hands-off" parent, which resulted in Kalki becoming a screwed-up Spoiled Brat who desperately wants her mother's love and approval. Oh, Snadhya'rune also sees Kalki as a tool, so when Kalki's antics threatens her plans, Snadhya'rune murders her without an inch of remorse.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • When the Nidraa'chal prepare to execute a Sarghress squad, the first shot "misses". When Filf'rae notices she is still alive for the moment, she watches her right hand disintegrate halfway off.
    • Kalki slashes off Ariel's left arm with her sword. Soon after, Ariel retaliates by using her flesh-shifting powers to steal Kalki's.
  • Bed Mate Reveal: Khaless's "surprise" for Kharla'ggen involves the two having sex.
  • Blood Upgrade: Snadhya'rune stops toying with her opponents and unleashes her rage when she is stabbed and sees her own blood.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Mel'arnach suggests to Snadhya'rune that Ere'lice be "cut up", but Snadhya'rune, feeling a little creative, decides to psychologically torment Ere'lice instead by publicly executing her squad.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The three Sullisin'rune Nidraa'chal empaths, Sae'rali, Mae'rali, and Bae'rali, are able to rout an entire army of Mimians all on their own by nuking them with fear.
    • Snadhya'rune effortlessly defeats Mikilu with her summons. Erelice manages to sneak up on Snadhya'rune and stab her In the Back, but that just makes her mad. She leaves Erelice as a smoking crater with a single mana blast and sends her guards and surviving attackers fleeing for their lives.
  • Emotion Bomb: Mae, Sae, and Bae use their empathy to unleash a massive wave of fear to drive off the Kavahini forces that were about to steal away the airship.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Averted with Ere'lice's squad, who are rounded up to be publicly executed by the Nidraa'chal's airship cannons; one of them expresses regret for signing up for the mission to infiltrate Felde, while another was shown breaking down in tears.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • Brizdra: "Sharess. I shouldn't have volunteered for this mission."
    • Lulianne: "I am... Dutan'vir!"
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Femi Jaal'darya, killed by Ere'lice's squad.
    • Brizdra Sarghress
    • Filf'rae Sarghress
    • Sabryne Sarghress
    • Lulianne Dutan'vir, who in her last moments regains control of her body and commits suicide rather than continue being a pawn of Khaless and the Nidraa'chal.
    • Myridil Kavahini, crushed by a summon when Snadhya'rune snaps and goes on a rampage.
    • Shala Val'Sharen, dies of blood loss from the injuries she got from Kalki.
    • Kalki Nidraa'chal, ripped apart by a summon conjured by her mother Snadhya'rune to get rid of her.
    • Ere'lice Sarghress, who performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Riz'riia from getting devoured by Khaless at great cost of herself.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Snadhya'rune's so-called safe taint is revealed to be akin to this, as poor Chrys'tel discovers after Shinae takes the procedure. It's also revealed to be a form of brainwashing that makes people who undertake it loyal to Snadhya.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Kalki starts to beat Zhor with his own daughter's arm to escape him after he has pinned her down until Snadhya'rune intervenes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Filf'rae's bondages are blasted off by the airship's first shot. But instead of running for it, she covers and shields Vayas'arn from the second blast. Her corpse is charred, but she succeeds in saving Vayas'arn's life.
    • Ere'lice distracts Khaless long enough to allow Riz'riia, her fellow Sarghress squadmate, enough time to make a getaway and be devoured in her place.
  • Honey Trap: Khaless luring the mentally unstable Kharla'ggen to have sex has shades of this. The fact that Kharla'ggen is a grown woman with a childlike mindset doesn't help with the implications.
  • In the Blood: Zhor told Sara'hilana in the previous chapter that Snadhya'rune is "insane". After her mask finally cracks, we see that this is true. What's more Kalki seems to have inherited the insanity, which comes to bite Kalki in the epilogue.
  • Kick the Dog: After Zhor calls Mel'arnach out on her Selective Obliviousness towards Snadhya'rune's controlling, psychologically abusive behavior, Mel'arnach snaps that she wishes Zhor had remained a "beast" in response, and leaves.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kalki lops off Ariel's arm in a fit of spite. Later, Ariel traps Kalki and steals her arm with High Sorcery, a painful process.
  • Living Lie Detector: After the cure to Snadhya's flower poison is stolen by Ere'lice's squad and makes its way to Sara'hilana, Snadhya gives her empaths Sae, Mae, and Bae permission to search "in depth". However, while they suspect Sara'hilana, the latter has already covertly given the cure to Chrys'tel. It's implied that this was how An'jin was outed by the same empaths, despite him being undercover the whole time.
  • Long-Runners: As of November 2014, this is the longest chapter of the comic - reaching a total of 146 pages.
  • Mama Bear: Subverted with Mel'arnach. Because she has been psychologically conditioned into believing that Snadhya'rune would take care of everything, she could only stand back and watch as Kalki cuts off Ariel's arm, thinking Snadhya'rune would fix the issue. Zhor calls her out on this.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Snad grabbing a Sarghress soldier so Ariel can absorb and take her arm as a replacement after her original arm was cut off by Kalki, not only teaches Ariel how to do it, but also inflict Laser-Guided Karma on Kalki by stealing one of her arms instead.
  • Offing the Offspring: In a foul mood already due to the Kavahini attack and Ere'lice managing to injure her, Snadhya'rune reaches her breaking point when she sees Kalki trying to take off after the Sarghress with a broken airship, and has her summon casually tear Kalki apart.
  • Off with His Head!: Brizdra's death is particularly gruesome, the upper half of her head being blasted off by the mana cannons on the Nidraa'chal's stolen airship, while leaving her jaw intact with her teeth and tongue exposed.
  • Papa Wolf: Zhor overcomes his inability to walk by lunging from his wheelchair and tackling Kalki to the ground after she lops off Ariel's arm. When Mel'arnach scolds him for risking his life like that, Zhor calls her out for not helping to protect Ariel, stating that he'd rather die saving his daughter than doing nothing like Mel'arnach did.
  • Public Execution: Sara'hilana injures a couple of Kalki's "pets". Additionally, Snadhya'rune takes a big blow to her ego when a Sarghress squad assassinates Femi. When all of them are captured, she expresses a desire for "something spectacular". As a result, an elaborate execution is prepared with the entire thing being made into a public show. The Sarghress are tied to pillars and Sara'hilana only narrowly avoids joining them. The entire Sarghress squad minus their leader is then executed by the mana cannons on Snadhya'rune's stolen airship, to the cheers of all spectators.
  • Revenge Before Reason: An injured, one-armed Kalki tries to go after the fleeing Sarghress on the severely damaged airship before it has finished repairs. Snad nips that in the bud by using a summon to tear her apart in cold blood.
  • Revenge by Proxy: When interrogating the leader of a Sarghress squad that angered her, Snadhya'rune asks Mel'arnach for suggestions on how to deal with her. Mel'arnach urges Snadhya'rune to "cut her up". Snadhya'rune says she is too civilized for such a thing and enacts an execution of her squad instead, with a highly dramatic execution. The first blast "misses", which is confirmed by Word of God to be part of a sadistic mind game. After hearing the squad leader try to give a weak concession, Snadhya'rune and Mel'arnach give her sadistic smiles and finish the squad off.
  • Sadist:
    • Snadhya'rune rigged the public execution of Ere'lice's squad by having the airship cannons miss, just so she could have perverse joy in her enemies dying as agonizingly as possible and seeing Ere'lice squirm.
    • Mel'arnach likewise acts on her deep grudge against the Sarghress by suggesting that Ere'lice should be cut up, then smiling sadistically as she and Snadhya'rune watch the public execution of a Sarghress squad.
  • Secret Keeper: Implied; Zhor's knowledge of Snadhya'rune's insanity likely wasn't something that wasn't given freely, and being an Empress, Diva'ratrika wouldn't want her subjects knowing that she gave birth to a mentally-impaired heir to the throne.
  • Spanner in the Works: Kalki, in her desire to earn her mother's love and approval, goes against Snadhya's plans by cutting off Ariel's arm (which later bites her in the ass as Ariel steals her arm), confronts Ariel's Sarghress squad with two of her "pets" (leading to the death of Ariel's friend Shala), and even gives out hints of Snadhya's sinister plans to Ariel. Snadhya later grows tired of Kalki's antics and kills her without an inch of remorse.
  • Sole Survivor: Vayas'arn is the last remaining member of Ere'lice's squad, after Snadhya's execution wipes most of them out and Ere'lice allows herself to be devoured by Khaless to save Riz'riia.
  • So Proud of You: Zhor smiles approvingly after seeing Ariel refuse Snadhya'rune's offer to take the arm of a fellow Sarghress as her own.
  • Sucking-In Lines: The Nidraa'chal's stolen airship is revealed to possess extremely powerful mana cannons. When the cannon is prepared for firing, they gather in a stream of mists, due to being powered by the Mana the mists are charged with.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Snadhya'rune is enraged and loses her cool for the first time when the Sarghress manage to assassinate Femi. She is deeply satisfied when they are all captured.
    • When Erelice manages to stab her, Snadhya'rune screams in fury at how ungrateful her "filthy low born" enemies are and starts ripping the place apart. It's only when she sees Mel does she (barely) try to resume on her normal facade.
  • Wham Episode: The entire chapter becomes this, from the bioweapon plot being halted in its tracks by the assassination of Femi, Kalki cutting off Ariel's left arm, Lulianne's self-sacrifice up to Snadhya'rune murdering her own daughter in the epilogue.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Snadhya'rune threatens Kalki with this after she acts out by attacking Ariel and cutting off her arm, ruining her mother's plans to corrupt Ariel into joining the Nidraa'chal. She later makes good on her word by having a summon viciously tear Kalki apart

    Chapter 47: Puppeteer 

Chapter 47: Puppeteer

Quain'tana and Zala'ess negotiate an end to the District War, while Ni'bai Val'Sharen finally puts her vengeance plot into motion.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: When Quain'tana and Zala'ess meet to parley, Zala'ess pulls out a golem and has it point its cannon at her to make threats. After Zala'ess tries to sow doubt about Quain'tana's allies, Quain'tana returns the favor, grabbing her face and threatening to end her with two fingers.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Word of God describes Nyo'ka's actions as having a cascading effect. With Kiel'ndia and Larvova occupied with the Felde meeting, Chrys'tel brought Nyo'ka's children back from Nuqra'shareh and asked her to lend them the Vloz'ress gate as a favor. Nyo'ka agreed, bringing the Sharen Nuqrah'sharian alliance into Vloz'ress territory and effectively ending their neutrality. The presence of the Sarghress and Sharen armies keeps all of the saner, more organized Vloz'ress occupied with the distraction. In the end, it all goes so perfectly that Ni'bai is able to take control of Kharla'ggen from right under their noses.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Kiel'ndia is outraged when she learns that Chryst'el negotiated with Nyo'ka behind her back to let the Sharen alliance in through the Vlozz'ress gate, thereby dragging the District War onto Vloz'ress territory. Fame'ndea distracts her by throwing Nau'kheol at her.
  • Enemy Mine: The Sarghress and Sharen clans work together to deal with Kharla'ggen's threat ultimately agree to an alliance against their mutual foes.
  • Foreboding Fleeing Flock: Just opening the gate to the demon god's realm causes a massive, overwhelming swarm of demons to flood Chel. So desperate are the demons to escape the demon god, that they do not feed or consume as they normally do.
  • Hope Spot: Snadhya'rune continues to look increasingly unstoppable, even as her enemies continue to exhaust themselves against one another. And yet, against all odds, the Sarghress and Sharen clans manage to negotiate a peace treaty. Then Ni'bai gains the power to bring about The End of the World as We Know It and uses it.
  • Mass Hypnosis: After being empowered into a Physical God by absorbing the power of a demon god, Kharla'ggen uses empathy on a massive scale to force the entire city to kill the clan leaders.
  • Mercy Kill: Kharla's death is seen as this, given that she was so insane that to let her live as a demon god's vessel would already be more suffering on her.
  • Morton's Fork: Summed up as the Sharen clan's dilemma. Even though Snadhya'rune has moved out of the shadows and become a very visible threat, it remains impossible to unite the clans against her. Either the Sharen give up all claim to Chel and surrender to the Sarghress, or they fight the Sarghress until both sides are weak enough for Snadhya to conquer them without so much as a standing army. Due to Pride being very important to their people, the main cast concedes that the latter is inevitable.
  • Revenge: Ni'bai is a member of Nishi'kanta's line. Most of her family was wiped out through treachery during The Purge of Diva'ratrika's loyalists, and she therefore wants revenge on the traitors responsible for it. In this chapter, she finally gets the chance to act on it.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Kharla'ggen collapses out of exhaustion, a member from each of 4 clans work together, hand in hand, to save her. But no one accepts Shinae's hand. Word of God describes this as symbolism, and it gets Lampshaded a page later.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Kiel'ndia actually manages to intimidate the demon god with her lack of fear.
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: The various characters travelling on Kiel's giant turtle all have to do this despite their clashing attitudes and agendas.

    Chapter 48: Old Blood 
Chapter 48: Old Blood]]The Beldrobbaen clan deals with the aftermath of Kharla's Mass Hypnosis, and the madness-inducing plague they have been infected with by a traitor in their own ranks.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The Beldrobbaen are already in the throes of grief after losing so many to the Puppeteer Incident. Then they discover that one of their own has secretly infected them with a madness-inducing plague, with many of them too sick to be cured by the Jaal'darya at the chapter's end.
    • Waes'soloth herself is also more affected by the loss than she publicly lets on, which causes several people to speculate that she is unfit to rule. The cover of this chapter shows her trying to save some of her people who fell out of the clan fortress alone, likely symbolizing her attempts to keep the Beldrobbaen alive by herself, without help.
  • Character Development: Waes'soloth goes through this. She goes from being arrogant, melancholic, and dismissive, to being willing to listen to (and protect) one of her clan's slaves.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This chapter serves as one the Beldrobbaens, as well as Waes, who goes through a Character Development here.
  • Deal with the Devil: Several Belds are infected beyond the Jaal's ability to save, and as such choose to submit themselves to Snadhya'rune.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Kharla briefly controls the entire city with Mass Hypnosis, the Belds take it particularly badly, falling ill and making excuses to remain in their rooms. It gets worse when they learn most of the clan have been infected with poison.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Waes does this to Snadhya'rune, though no literal bird-flipping was involved. Snadhya'rune had been trying to get the Beldorobbaen clan to ally with the Nidraa'chal, so rather than directly telling her, "No," and risking her people's destruction, Waes decides to send a group of Belds who are too infected to be cured to Felde, knowing that Snadhya'rune currently doesn't have a cure to her own poison (or a means to produce one so quickly).
  • Enemy Mine: The Beldrobbaen are highly conservative and naturally do not get along with the Jaal'darya clan. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the Jaal would normally charge everything the Belds own to save "Old Blood" such as them from the plague, they agree to do so free of charge due to mutual resentment towards Snadhya'rune's manipulations.
  • Fantastic Racism: Waes'soloth hopes that the "goddess-forsaken Jaals" fell during the Puppeteer Incident. To her disappointment, she learns that the Ill'haress of the Nal'sarkoth clan fell instead.
  • Freudian Excuse: Laan's sixth-born daughter has been loathing the conservative and restrictive culture of her mother's clan for quite some time, and wishes that she was born a Sharen like her father. So to free herself from the Belds, she secretly attempts a Genocide from the Inside using Snadhya'rune's madness-inducing poison. When she's outed by Waes, she suffers a Villainous Breakdown, Broken Smile and all.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Laan's sixth-born daughter attempted to kill her mother's clan with a madness-inducing poison. Waes proceeded to take her and break her mind with her darkness sorcery.
  • Mind Rape: Whatever Waes did to Laan's sixth-born daughter who spread Snadhya'rune's madness-inducing poison, causing the poisoner to become an empty shell.
  • Pride: Even after being dealt another huge blow to their numbers by the Puppeteer Incident, the Beldrobbaens are still confident they can outlast the other clans that think of them as a dying clan way past its prime.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Laan's sixth-born daughter secretly infects the clan with Snadhya'rune's madness-inducing plague by poisoning their food.

    Chapter 49: Holy Mother 

Chapter 49: Holy Mother

The rightful Holy Mother of the Kyorl'solenurn attempts to reclaim the clan from Valla'drielle and the Nidraa'chal coup.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Valla'drielle was aware of the Nidraa'chal's purge of the Judicators, but let it happen so she can rule the clan without becoming a figurehead. Kousei calls her out on this towards the end of the chapter.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Anahid's outfit pre-ascension is reminiscent of a nun's, symbolizing her holiness and purity.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of the chapter, Anahid earns her right to succeed Shimi'lande by practicing compassion and forgiveness, and leading a peaceful protest to stop the public executions of Minka Dutan'vir and Kyo'varde.
  • Bad Samaritan: Snadhya'rune sends her empaths to help Anahid with her peaceful protest, but she did so in hopes that the Kyorl would ally themselves with the Nidraa'chal out of gratitude, allowing Snadhya'rune to use the clan Seers for her own leisure. Anahid later discovers her intentions with her own Seer powers and exposes her crimes.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Anahid earned the loyalty of one Warden who was tainted by Ky'ovarde's nether assault by forgiving her instead of forcing the Warden to commit suicide as per the norm.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Anahid is idealistic, forgiving, and compassionate, but cross her and she will publicly reveal your sins.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Anahid helps delay a public execution by staging a peaceful protest (though not without the help of a few Nidraa'chal Sullisin'rune empaths).
  • Broken Base: In-universe; the civil war that started in Chapter 42 came to a breaking point with Vala'drielle's actions towards the Dutan'vir. Eventually, when things get too much, many of the Kyorl decide to ally themselves with the more peaceful and compassionate Anahid.
  • But Now I Must Go: Ky'ovarde puts herself into self-exile, seeing herself to be irredeemable and out of place in a more tolerant clan. Anahid tries to convince her to stay by offering her a way to restore her eye and lost Seer powers, which seems to make her reconsider, but she ultimately refuses.
  • Character Development:
    • Anahid goes from being a Wide-Eyed Idealist at the beginning of the chapter, to a wise and experienced clan Ill'haress by its end. It's even reflected with her white outfit gaining bits of black upon ascending to the throne.
    • Kousei, the most fanatical of the Judicators, comes to realize that Anahid would bring good changes to the clan as Ill'haress, and persuades Valla'drielle to abdicate so the violence could end. Being nearly killed by Yuh'le probably helped.
  • Color Motif: Goes both ways with Valla'drielle and Anahid. With her black/white outfit, Valla'drielle represents the clan's traditional "black and white" beliefs, with no room in-between. Anahid initially wore all white to denote her Wide-Eyed Idealist outlook, but later her outfit gains bits of black after becoming Ill'haress, showing her newfound wisdom and confidence.
  • Cruel Mercy: When Valla'drielle is spotted by Minka, the Dutan'vir she attempted to publicly execute, she has an Oh, Crap! moment and tries to flee. The enraged Minka easily catches her and attempts to kill her... but he repeats Anahid's teachings of forgiveness and lets Vala'drielle go instead, leaving her to go crawl away and fade in ignominy. Valla'drielle digs herself deeper by calling Minka "Dutan'vir filth"shortly after.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Yuh'le easily defeats Chirinide and the other Seers with her powerful empathy, but when Merril'lin smashes the window overseeing the public execution, Chirinide turns the tides by using the fire to blast Yuh'le with it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ky'ovarde was once a Seer whose Ill'haress was betrayed and killed in a coup, during which she lost her powers and one of her eyes. Her psychological trauma, combined with Kousei's influence, warped her into the murderous and fanatical Warden she is today.
  • Death by Falling Over: Combined with Kill It with Fire; after being set alight by Chirinide, Yuh'le in her panic runs off a bannister and falls a couple stories down, weakening her enough for her to be burned alive.
  • Death Glare:
    • Anahid gives one to Tab'irrie as she publicly reveals his sins of betraying Shimi'lande's wishes on a Judicator's orders and subjecting Petri'cho to a wrongful punishment.
    • Kyo'varde gives a more intense one to the squad of Kyorl sent to apprehend her and her group, just before she attacks them with nether-fueled attacks.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Snadhya'rune was expecting Anahid to become an ally in return for helping her with her protest, allowing the Nidraa'chal to gain access to the clan Seers. She didn't expect Anahid to use her Seer powers and expose her crimes.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: At the end of the chapter, Anahid discovers Snadhya'rune's sins by using her empathy during negotiations with the Nidraa'chal. Snad asks for forgiveness, to which Anahid metaphorically tells her to fuck off by advising her to seek forgiveness from her actual victims.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Yakuise tried using Earth sorcery to stop Yuh'le, but alas, Yuh'le's empathy easily incapacitates her.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Eclavdiira'olin may be a hardcore Knight Templar like most of her clan, but she disapproves of Tab'irrie's crimes towards Petri'cho, giving the terrified stable boy a critical eye as Anahid publicly exposes him.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Kousei survives Yuh'le's massacre of his Order through sheer force of will, but loses an eye in the process.
    • Kyo'varde lost an eye during a bloody coup that killed the Ill'haress who came before Shimi'lande, which resulted in losing her foresight. Anahid offers a way to restore her eye and foresight to get her to stay with the clan, and Kyo'varde is tempted by the offer, but she ultimately refuses.
  • Foil: Vala'drielle is older and experienced, but rigidly set in the clan's traditions. Anahid is idealistic, but compassionate and forgiving towards anyone the clan hates and targets, such as the tainted. It's even played in their outfits, as mentioned in Color Motif above.
  • Forgiveness:
    • Anahid forgives a Warden for being tainted, despite Kyorl tradition demanding that she kill herself to preserve her honor. When people start criticizing her for her action, Anahid immediately quiets them by outing Tab'irrie as a hypocrite and exposing his crimes. The Warden she forgives ends up being one of her supporters as she launches a peaceful coup to take her throne.
    • After Anahid becomes Ill'haress, Chirinide and Shan'naal watch from afar as Anahid forgives the Dutan'vir and allows them to reclaim their ancestral homeland as per Shimi'lande's wishes.
    • Part of Minka's Cruel Mercy is heeding Anahid's advice and forgiving Valla'drielle for trying to have him executed, before leaving her to fade in ignominy.
    • Snadhya'rune asks for forgiveness after Anahid exposes her crimes and intentions to recruit the Kyorl Seers into the Nidraa'chal, but Anahid turns her down by advising her to seek forgiveness from her actual victims.
  • Frame-Up: Yuh'le kills many from the Order of Twin Eyes for refusing to toe the line, and Valla'drielle portrays the survivors as the ones responsible for murdering their own comrades.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: The adorable Anahid eventually earns a massive following and her right to rule her clan by teaching compassion and forgiveness, and practicing what she preaches.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Tab'irrie the Kyorl stable boy criticizes Anahid's decision to forgive a tainted Warden, but when Anahid publicly reveals his sins of betraying Shimi'lande at the request of the Judicators and causing Petricho's Fate Worse than Death in Chapter 42, he promptly changes his tune.
    • Kousei reveals that all Kyorl are required to learn the basics of nether summoning in order to understand how to properly fight them. This is despite the Kyorl's anti-demon/tainting rhetoric.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Snadhya'rune presents her actions of killing her own mother and engineering the Nidraa'chal War. She asks for forgiveness, but Anahid doesn't buy it and tells her to seek it from her actual victims.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Yuh'le dies after the Seers she tried to kill team up and help Chirinide gain access to a fire source, causing her to be burned by fire sorcery and fall down from a great height while running in panic.
    • The Judicators' actions in trying to control the clan continue to bite them even further, resulting in them being double-crossed by their secret Nidraa'chal allies and killed. Only Kousei, the most reasonable of them, survives at the end thanks to the intervention of Chirinide and Shan'naal.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Vala'drielle rejects the alternatives and orders an entire district collapsed just to deal with a small group of renegade Dutan'vir, killing thousands of innocents in the process. Even many of the Knight Templar Kyorl are left in shock.
    • Ky'ovarde ends up tainting many Kyorl with a nether attack while covering for Kousei's escape, driving them to suicide. One Warden who became tainted during the confrontation crashes Anahid's gathering with the intention of being granted salvation.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Yuh'le, killed when she is set on fire by Chirinide and falls off a high banister while running in panic.
    • Raveena Val'Kyorl'solenurn, killed by Yuh'le's empathy.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The Kyorl loyal to Vala'drielle try to publicly execute Ky'ovarde and Minka Val'Dutanvir using fire. It fails due to Anahid's (peaceful) protest that was aided by Nidraa'chal empaths, and Chirinide stealing the flames to use against Yuh'le.
    • This is how the Seers manage to kill Yuh'le after she attacks them with empathy for refusing Snadhya's offer to come to Felde. Merril'lin foresaw Chirinide needing the fire from the public execution that was going on outside, so she broke the window closest to it so Chirinide can use the flames. The other Seers hold down Yuh'le so she is blasted by the incoming fire, but although she manages to escape, the panic from being burned caused her to slip from a banister a couple of stories high, weakening her enough to allow the flames to burn her alive.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Anahid's compassionate and forgiving nature earns her a lot of supporters, who are now convinced she's the rightful Ill'haress for the clan. One of them includes a tainted Warden she saved from committing suicide as per tradition.
    • Valla'drielle's hard-lined views and ruthlessness, on the other hand, drives all of her supporters away when they realize what they had done just to purge the "impure" Dutan'vir. At the end, Minka, one of the Dutan'vir who was nearly executed, chooses to give her Cruel Mercy by heeding Anahid's advice and forgiving Valla'drielle, letting her crawl away in disgrace as she spouts racist insults at him.
    • Eclavdiira'olin has been The Resenter towards Chrinide and, according to Anahid, has been feeding Valla'drielle lies about her. When Eclavdiira'olin tries to kill Anahid, Chirinide immediately sets her on fire.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Many who initially sided with Valla'drielle saw the cruelty of collapsing an entire district onto the innocent people below just to deal with some Dutan'vir. So they ended up siding with the much kinder and forgiving Anahid instead.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kousei survives Yuh'le's assassination of his Order through sheer force of will, and comes out only missing an eye and sporting some bandages.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Yuh'le is shocked when the Seers manage to retaliate and allow Chirinide to blast her with fire from the public execution occurring outside. And while running in a panic, she ends up slipping off a bannister and falls to her death.
    • Valla'drielle is terrified when she encounters Minka again after trying to have him executed, and proceeds to run for her life, but is hampered by her injuries.
  • Playing Both Sides: Snadhya'rune has been manipulating the civil war behind the scenes, first by sending Yuh'le to purge the Judicators as per Vala'drielle's request, then by sending three of her empaths to help Anahid pull off a peaceful protest and make her appear more popular with the people. This was all so Anahid can ally herself with the Nidraa'chal out of gratitude, allowing Snad access to the clan's Seers. This backfired when Anahid, a Seer herself, discovers Snadhya'rune's sins and tells her off.
  • Puppet King: Gender-inverted. Valla'drielle had the Nidraa'chal assassinate the Judicators so they wouldn't hold sway over her like they did with the previous Ill'haresses. Unfortunately, she wasn't counting on Snadhya'rune double-crossing her and supporting Anahid's cause.
  • The Purge: The Order of the Twin Eyes is wiped out for resisting The Coup. Later, the Nidraa'chal eliminate the Judicators to solidify the Holy Mother's position.
  • Rain of Blood: How he was found by Ky'ovarde's group after a surprise attack on the Order of the Twin Eyes' headquarters, after Shan'naal feels his blood dripping on his head. Fortunately, he turned out to be Not Quite Dead.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • As the last surviving Judicator, Kousei persuades Valla'drielle to peacefully abdicate and let Anahid take her rightful place as Ill'haress, as he believes the clan will be better off under a kinder and more tolerant ruler. Valla'drielle eventually agrees.
    • After she ascends to the position of clan Ill'haress, Anahid starts guiding the clan to a more tolerant and forgiving stance.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Valla'drielle was revealed to be one of many affected by the Puppeteer incident in Chapter 47, having taken multiple stab wounds to her stomach. She keeps them hidden, but the stress she experiences from dealing with Anahid's protest and people convincing her to abdicate reopens them again.
  • Shipper on Deck: Anahid really wants Chirinide and Shan'naal to become a couple, much to Chirinide's annoyance. By the chapter's end, she gets her wish and smiles as she watches them kiss from afar.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Once Anahid adapts to the cutthroat life of Chel, she develops a more ruthless side without losing her compassion and ideals. She calls out the stable boy Tab'irrie for being a hypocrite and exposes his crimes towards Petri'cho. And when she learns of Snadhya'runes deeds and intentions for the clan Seers, she exposes her as well, and turns down her attempt to attain forgiveness from her by advising her to seek forgiveness from her actual victims.
  • Simple Staff: When Valla'drielle appears again here, she's seen carrying a white walking stick with her at all times. It serves as an aid to compensate the severe stabbing injuries she got from the Puppeteer incident in Chapter 47.
  • Sole Survivor: Kousei is now the last of the Judicators, after Snadhya'rune sent Yuh'le to kill them all via empathy as per Vala'drielle's request. He only survived the massacre through sheer force of will, long enough for Ky'ovarde's group to find and give him medical aid.
  • Telepathy: Anahid's empathy allows her to "see" people's sins, which makes her power appear as this trope. Snadhya's comments imply that Anahid's empathy is not the run-of-the-mill kind, either, further suggesting this.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Already simmering since Chapter 42, it comes to a very heated boil when many Kyorl experience regret over killing thousands of innocent civilians just to get to a couple of rogue Dutan'vir. Eventually, the clan chooses to be "good" and sides with the forgiving Anahid over the Knight Templar Valla'drielle.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Twice.
    • Valla'drielle requested that the Nidraa'chal kill off the Judicators so she can rule the clan unhindered, unaware that Snadhya'rune sent her own empaths to sway the people into favoring Anahid so it'll make Valla'drielle appear unpopular. Kousei calls her out on this, pointing out she's much too old and experienced to let herself be used like that.
      Kousei Val'Kyorl'solenurn: My brothers [the Judicators] wanted you as their new puppet, and their machinations worked up to a point. You became their figurehead, but you knew their designs - you were too smart, too quick, too old to be fooled like the other Holy Mothers before you. Their plans backfired. You did not kill them. No, you just closed that eye of yours and let them die.
    • At the same time, Snadhya'rune treated Anahid as one, as she counted on the latter to ally with the Nidraa'chal out of gratitude for helping her gain power, so she can exert her influence on the Kyorls and assimilate their powerful Seers into the Nidraa'chal. This backfires when Anahid "sees" Snad's sins and rejects her.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: One condemns Anahid as an anarchist and another brands Chiri'nide as a heretic. Both depict them as cartoonishly evil.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Raveena, one of Anahid's attendants, is shortly killed by Yuh'le after being introduced.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Valla'drielle believes that her actions are necessary to keep the Kyorls strong, as the clan is the last surviving bastion for the drowussu people to live in, in a world that wants to kill, enslave, or assimilate them. Ironically, Kousei realizes how harmful this attitude is to the clan, and urges her to step down for Anahid before things escalate.
    • Snadhya'rune tries to paint herself as this after Anahid exposes her crimes, even claiming that everything she did was necessary. Anahid shoots her down when she asks for forgiveness and tells her to seek forgiveness from her actual victims.
  • Wham Episode:
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Anahid starts off as this, oblivious to the political infighting that Chel faces. She quickly learns and matures, but she never loses her compassion in the process.

    Chapter 50: Unravel 

Chapter 50: Unravel

With Snadhya'rune's arrival in Chel, her enemies wither and collapse before her all at once. Meanwhile, Suu'be finally unleashes her long foreshadowed coup, bringing her at odds with Quain'tana.
  • Adult Fear: When Ariel learns that the Sarghress clan is on the brink of a coup and a purge of Quain'tana's blood, she is horrified to realize that her younger siblings are currently unprotected. Her fears are ultimately realized when Quain'tana's loyalists (and Faen) are too late to save Vene.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • A Sarghress traitor named Da'xia hits Ariel with a poisoned dart, stating that she really respected Quain'tana and feels sick killing a big kid, but has been dragged into this nevertheless.
    • When Suu'be is about to kill Quain'tana, she states that she had really hoped it would not come to this.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Suube getting herself on the end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from a severely stressed, raging, and hurting Quain for openly expressing treason didn't raise objections from bystanders, and only Koil and Ariel tried to stop Quain. When she was later killed by Quain snapping her neck, only Koil was seen attending to her mother's body, as she grits her teeth.
    • Sae and Bae, two of the three Sullisin'rune empaths responsible for psychologically breaking and conditioning Jiaan into being Snadhya'runes boytoy end up being killed by the people they tried to kill (Chrys'tel) or mistreated (Shinae).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Using large summons as a means of attack and protection is good, but not so if there's a way to get inside.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Snad's dragon summon clamps its mouth down on Nishi'kanta, everyone assumed the latter was killed. But the next page reveals she managed to get inside (albeit with some injuries).
  • Big Brother Instinct: Vene dies trying to protect Pup and their infant sister from Sargrhess traitors looking to purge the clan of Quain's bloodline. Pup joins in by raising quite a fuss, screaming loudly as he's about to be killed, too. Luckily, Faen saves them, but too late to save Vene.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Demon!Naal emerges from Kiel's body (by Sha'sana's will) to help her save Nau from falling from a several-hundred-feet-or-so drop in the Ninth Tower.
    • Quain'tana saves Faen as well as her two surviving grandchildren from Sarghress traitors.
    • Ariel and her squad do this for Quain'tana, with Ariel shielding the latter from Suu'be with her own body and pulling a Shaming the Mob on the other Sarghress for not preventing the attempted coup on Quain's bloodline, while Ariel's squad help Faen and Quain's surviving grandchildren get to safety.
  • Big "NO!": Though inaudible to drow ears, Khaless gives one as Laele'aell Val'Sarghress consumes her.
  • Body Horror: The empathic illusion Chrys'tel is subjected to by Sae'rali and Mae'rali to make her jump off the balcony and kill herself first involves Chrys'tel's left arm crumbling apart and breaking like rock. Then the rest of her body is subsequently torn apart, bit by bit, including her face.
  • Broken Pedestal: Diva saw her daughter Sil'lice as her only hope to defeating Snadhya'rune and a worthy heir to her old throne. Then Sil'lice had to go and kill Shasana, one of Diva's last surviving friends from the Surface World, without reason and get herself tainted. The way Diva slams a book closed once Sil'lice's taint is revealed further implies her displeasure and disappointment with the situation.
  • Bystander Syndrome:
    • Even though Iliva'fay is stabbed in a very public location, not one person besides Naal is willing to help, not even for a reward.
    • When Suu'be and her followers launch The Coup against Quain and her bloodline, no one save for Jiv'kyn steps in to prevent it, resulting in Vene dead and Pup, his baby sister, and Faen nearly dying. Ariel later calls out the clan for this when the coup reaches its head, asking them why they decided to sit on their collective asses and watch their own fellow soldiers betray Quain and murder her grandchildren.
  • Cain and Abel: Sisters Nishi'kanta and Snadhya'rune duke it out in the Nal'sarkoth fortress gardens, using a war golem and fire, and mana arts and summons, respectively.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Snadhya'rune and Nishi'kanta fight a duel. Snadhya'rune sets up an ambush, but Nishi'kanta prepares an ambush as well, causing Snadhya'rune to commend her on finally learning how to fight dirty. When Snadhya'rune gets hit in the back of the head, she assumes this to be more cheating on Nishi's part, and decides to reveal that there is a reason every single one of Nishi'kanta's attacks gets mysteriously No Selled.
  • The Coup: Influenced by Khaless's words, Suu'be launches a coup to remove Quain'tana and her bloodline, so she and her House can gain power amongst the Sarghress. She wanted Quain's grandchildren to be captured alive, but some of her more bloodthirsty and violent subordinates thought it'd be a better idea of they killed the grandchildren and gave their corpses to Suu'be as trophies. This ends up exploding in Suu'be's faces spectacularly when Quain'tana finds out through Faen, who only manages to save Pup and his baby sister but not Vene, and she goes on a one-woman rampage to find and kill her, which she eventually does.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Word of God reveals that Snadhya has put all her training into controlling mana and nether arts, in all their forms, but most specifically summoning of all kinds. In exchange, she completely neglected any form of martial arts. As such, if anyone can get into melee with her, she's basically helpless. When Nishi'kanta manages to get inside her dragon summon and repeatedly hits her upside the head with a random rock, Snadhya tries to strangle her, only to quickly go down from a boot to the stomach.
  • Death by Irony: Sae'rali and Mae'rali die this way via Shinae; the former is thrown off the balcony for empathically forcing Chrys'tel to jump and kill herself, while the latter is subjected to a fatal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for telling Shine to "just smile and obey", while being ordered to look at Shinae as she smiles.
  • Demonic Possession: With Iliva'fay on the brink of death, Naal being unable to help her, and no one else willing, Naal salvages Iliva'fay's body for herself.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Snadhya totally didn't anticipate Nishi'kanta managing to get inside her gigantic dragon summon and scoring a hit on her head, with a random rock she grabbed before the dragon summon "ate" her.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After being ordered around and being used as a source of amusement by the Sullisin'rune empaths, Shinae decides to kill them when two of them go after Chrys'tel, throwing one of them off a balcony for trying to empathically force Chrys'tel to jump and kill herself, while killing another with a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for telling her to "just smile and obey".
  • Do Not Go Gentle:
    • Vene died trying to protect his brother and sister from being murdered by Sarghress traitors. There's blood on his toy sword, but whether it's his own or someone else's is unknown.
    • Quain died going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Suu'be, whom she killed by Neck Snap, but ends up mortally wounded herself.
  • Entitled Bastard: Riviel sees Ariel as this by sole virtue of being a Val.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mae'rali is furious when Shinae kills her sister Sae'rali by throwing her over the balcony, and calls Shinae a "traitor" while trying to kill her with empathy.
  • Eye Scream: Quain inflicts this on one unlucky Sarghress who tried to restrain her so she could be given sedatives for the operation.
  • Feed It with Fire: Snadhya No Sells Nishi'kanta's fire attacks by converting them into mana to power her summons.
  • Foreshadowing: The cover centers around Ariel and Faen protecting two of Ariel's younger siblings from Sarghress traitors. Vene is conspicuously missing.
  • General Failure: When Suu'be launches The Coup against Quain, she explicitly ordered her soldiers to bring Quain's bloodline alive to her, not realizing that said soldiers are extremely bloodthirsty/anti-Val and think they're doing her more of a favor by just killing the Vals.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Even after getting poisoned, scarred, and losing one of her eyes, Quain still proves to be quite implacable, as the soldiers sent to apprehend her find out the hard way.
    • Zhor repeats his leg-grabbing trick from Chapter 47 by "accidentally" wheeling in front of Jiaan so he'll trip, and holds onto his leg to prevent him from chasing after Chrys'tel.
  • Harmful to Minors: Pup and his infant sister watch with horror from behind their makeshift play fortress as their brother Vene is killed by Sarghress traitors.
  • Heel Realization: Riviel realizes, after receiving a little Kirk Summation speech, that her grudge against Ariel is largely without merit and she has been basing it on rumors, slander, and hearsay. When an assassin comes to kill Ariel, Riviel moves to protect her and fend off said assassin offscreen.
    • Downplayed in that Riviel still does not like Ariel and makes it clear in no uncertain terms that she should leave while she can.
  • Hostage Situation: Shinae takes Nona'brail hostage to ensure her escape.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Word of God references the trope when Khaless feeds on the sealers trying to imprison her, and is herself hunted by Laele'aell Val'Sarghress, who consumes her.
  • Identity Amnesia: Naal's demonic spirit recovers sapience with the destruction of her original body, but has difficulty remembering who she was.
  • I Have No Son!: Sil'lice cruelly rejects Kau as her son once she discovers he had been tainted, even though it happened against his will.
  • Improvised Weapon: Nishi'kanta uses a rock to bash Snadhya with after she manages to get inside her massive dragon summon.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with Vene, who dies at the hands of bloodthirsty members of the Nori'fu House as part of Suu'be's plot to eliminate Quain's bloodline. His brother Pup and their infant sister survive only by the intervention of Faen and Jiv'kyn.
  • Irony: When Chrystel, not knowing of Jiaan's Mind Rape and brainwashing by Snad's empaths, tries to persuade him to rejoin the Sharen by telling him they are his family, Jiaan angrily rebukes that he is his own person. Odd for someone whom Snad only sees as a servant and boy toy to pleasure herself with...
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Silice's massacre of the innocent students taking refuge at Orthobbae was uncalled for, but the school has been known to be Snadhya's base of operations and, therefore, a death trap.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Suu'be is killed by Quain, her superior, for leading The Coup within the clan and being responsible for the death of Vene (though the last one was not on her orders).
    • Khaless dies in the same way she killed so many others, being consumed by Laele'aell Val'Sarghress. Her demise is actively cheered by the many souls of her victims who have been trapped in her Mind Hive.
    • Sullisin'rune empaths Sae'rali and Mae'rali end up killed by Shinae, whom they ordered around and provoked for their own amusement, in an ironic fashion - the former is tossed over the balcony to her death after nearly succeeding in forcing Chrys'tel to jump and commit suicide, while the latter is given a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Shinae for telling her to "smile and obey".
  • Karma Houdini: Sae'rali, Bae'rali, and Mae'rali initially play it straight when Silice's attack on them was interrupted by the arrival of Mel'arnach and Shodun, and Nishi'kanta's inaction, allowing them to get away. Then it's subverted when Sae'rali and Mae'rali meet their end at the hands of Shinae, whom they ordered around and provoked for their amusement, when they try to kill Chrys'tel.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • When the Sarghress arrive at the Orthobbae school to drive out Snadhya'rune's presence underneath Sil'lice's command, they do not limit themselves to her servants. They slaughter everyone they come across, including the students taking refuge there.
    • When Sil'lice discovers that her son Kau had become tainted, the first thing she does is ask for his sister Shala as if he doesn't exist. When Diva tries to make her acknowledge Kau, Sil'lice all but disowns him as her child, seeing him as already dead. This is despite Kau having been tainted by Kalki against his will.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Shasana was (indirectly) responsible for starting the Nidraa'chal War when one of her students (Snadhya'rune) decided to weaponize tainting, but instead of having the typical reaction and becoming The Atoner, she decided to sit on her ass and focus entirely on restoring Sharess, causing a lot of casualties and untold collateral damage. So while Sil'lice suddenly killing her was debated by some to be rather uncalled for due to her death leaving a lot of questions unanswered, it does serve as some sort of Laser-Guided Karma on Sha'sana's part.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Iliva'fay Val'Sullisin'rune, killed by a stab wound from Erusa'kel.
    • Khaless, absorbed by Laele.
    • Shasana, killed by Sil'lice via a fatal stab wound.
    • Suu'be Nori'fu Sarghress, killed via Neck Snap by Quain'tana.
    • Vene Val'Sarghress, killed by bloodthirsty Sarghress traitors working for Suu'be.
    • Sae'rali Val'Sullisin'rune, killed after Shinae throws her off a high balcony for trying to make Chrys'tel jump.
    • Mae'rali Val'Sullisin'rune, killed when Shinae subjects her to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and a powerful burst of Pressure Sorcery.
    • Quain'tana Val'Sarghress, succumbed to Sarv'swati's poison, her injuries from Suu'be and the Sarghress soldiers who wounded her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sil'lice rejected her own son over being tainted, despite it being forced against his will. She is subject to the same fate after she kills Shasana and gets some of Kiel's demon princes shoved into her body. Kiel even lampshades it.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Though they are not her own children, Kern invokes the trope when Faen exerts severe strain on her empathic powers to protect Ariel's siblings from traitors. And even after Vene's killer dies, Faen continues bashing his skull in with a shield until Jiv'kyn stops her.
    • Quain gets on it as well when she learns of the attempted assassination of her grandchildren, which pushes her past the breaking point and into Unstoppable Rage.
    • Subverted with Mel'arnach, who at first is enraged when Snadhya'rune informs her of her children's murder by the Sarghress, and swears vengeance on her former clan... until Snadhya'rune calms her down by persuading her to leave everything to her.
  • Mercy Kill: One of the traitors hunting down Quain'tana's bloodline describes killing Laele'aell Val'Sarghress in this way, since she is already an Empty Shell who has been so thoroughly corrupted by her demonic infestation. But the death of her physical body only makes a very bad situation even worse.
  • Mugging the Monster: Iliva'fay gets stabbed by Erusa'kel and is left to die. Two men proceed to loot her body, only for Naal to possess her and attack.
  • Mutual Kill: Suu'be and her forces inflict mortal wounds on Quain'tana, while Quain'tana manages to give Suu'be a Neck Snap.
  • Neck Snap: How Quain'tana kills Suu'be, since the former was dying and too much in a hurry to drag things out.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Nishi'kanta's passivity prevents Sil'lice and her squad from delivering well-deserved justice to the Nidraa'chal, particularly their three Sullisin'rune empaths and Mel'anarch Sarghress. Whoops.
    • Nice job killing Sha'sana before looking to see if she actually posed a threat, Sil'lice! Now all the questions everyone has been holding (both in-universe and out) will never be answered.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Suube gets a brutal one from Quain after openly expressing treason and ordering her daughter Koil to usurp Ariel as heir, right outside the healer's operating room. Ariel and Koil do try to separate them, but to be fair, no one objected to the beating, either. It results in Suube wearing a protective face plate to cover her injuries while they heal.
  • No-Sell:
    • Using Anti-Magic, Quain easily shrugs off every magical attack that is thrown at her, including an attempt to restrain/bury her with Earth foci.
    • Snadhya'rune does this to all of Nishi's attacks, converting her fire into mana that allows her to summon a gigantic rock dragon.
  • Not Quite Dead: Nishi'kanta manages to inflict what really should have been mortal wounds on Snadhya'rune and assumes her dead. Snadhya'rune survives anyway.
  • Oh, Crap!: A Sarghress sealer goes "Oh... No. No!" upon seeing a massive demon vacate Laele'aell's corpse.
  • Percussive Therapy: At one point, Ariel finds Quain aggressively venting her stress out on a punching bag.
  • Properly Paranoid: Quain didn't trust the Sul healers in charge of operating on her, which became legit after Khaless absorbs one of said healers and masquerades as her to get close to Quain.
  • Pummeling the Corpse: Faen continues beating Vene's murderer with a shield even after he's dead.
  • The Purge: Suube launches a coup against Quain'tana and her bloodline. While she technically orders all Vals within the clan captured alive, a good number of her supporters are bloodthirsty or radically anti-Val and attempt to kill them instead. They successfully kill one of Mel'arnach's young sons, Vene.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Badass or not, Quain'tana going on a rampage against Sarghress traitors without armor ends up giving her mortal injuries that she later dies from.
    • Snadhya'rune is the most powerful summoner in the Drowtales 'verse, but her combat skills are abysmal, allowing her to be taken down by Nishi'kanta in a few seconds flat.
  • The Scapegoat: Sarghress traitors use Jiv'kyn, the babysitter and bodyguard for Ariel's siblings as the scapegoat for their murder of Quain's grandchildren. It didn't work, as Quain'tana correctly assumes who's truly responsible from information given by Faen, and goes after Suu'be.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Quain (correctly) assumes Suube to be behind the assassination attempt on her grandchildren and goes after her, rather than confront her directly (and still fresh from her earlier No-Holds-Barred Beatdown), Suube chooses to flee while other soldiers and Mandroga keep Quain occupied. It doesn't work, as Quain finds her again shortly.
  • Shaming the Mob: Ariel does this to the crowd of Sarghress gathered around Quain and Suube, shaming them for betraying Quain and doing nothing when traitors tried to murder Quain's grandchildren. It works, to Suu'be's anger.
  • Shield Bash:
    • Faen smashes the skull of one Sarghress traitor with a shield.
    • While on her rampage looking for Suube, Quain'tana uses a shield to smash her way through her own soldiers.
  • Slasher Smile:
  • Squishy Wizard: Snadhya is a powerful summoner and mana arts user bar none, but get past her defenses and she quickly goes down when faced with physical combat.
  • Tears of Blood: When Faen attempts to kill a pair of Sarghress traitors with her empathic powers, one of them starts experiencing this.
  • The Unsmile: Snad's empaths Sae'rali, Bae'rali, and Mae'rali use their empathy on Shinae to provoke her into smiling for their own amusement. This results in Shinae giving off a very creepy grin, which Mae'rali notes as "beautiful".
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Suu'be thought it was a good idea to express treason right outside the healer's room in earshot of Quain. It says something when only Koil objects to Quain violently beating her up for insubordination.
    • Later, when a sniper tries and fails to get Ariel, Suu'be uses the distraction to try kill Quain. Ariel had been trying to prevent Suu'be from killing Quain, while also preventing Quain from killing Suu'be. This results in Suu'be getting her neck snapped.
    • Koil's squad decided it was a good idea to kill Laele'aell after she just consumed Khaless, resulting in an entirely new demon made from thousands of drow souls fused together into a gigantic mass rising from her corpse. Said demon then decides to feast on their souls first.
  • Unknown Rival: Riviel has a large chip on her shoulder for Ariel, who has absolutely no idea who she is.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Quain lets loose a terrifying one when a Sullisin'rune healer injects her with sedative that makes her attack anyone closest to her and putting everyone else on guard. When she learns from Faen of an assassination attempt on her grandchildren, she immediately assumes Suube was responsible, which breaks her rage button and sends her on a one-woman pursuit of Suube, taking out anyone who gets in her way.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Sarghress traitors go after Quain's grandchildren as part of The Purge of all Vals in the clan, and successfully murder the young Vene.
    • During the Sarghress raid of Orthobbae, Silice and her troops slaughter every student taking refuge in the school that they could find, including the non-tainted ones.
  • You Are in Command Now: When Ariel arrives at Machike and meets up with Kel'noz, he informs her that Quain'tana has succumbed to her injuries and died, and that she is now the leader of the Val'Sarghress.
    Kel'noz: Quain'tana died from her wounds. They tried to revive her again, but this time her condition had grown too far. Ariel, you are now the leader of the clan.
  • You Remind Me of X: Immediately after the spar with Ariel was over, Quain'tana saw an after-image of Laelle when she was still alive and well, in the exact same pose of honest supplication. Quain did not say it aloud, but she was clearly moved.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Invoked twice.
    • Bae'rali subjects Nishi'kanta to an empathic illusion where she warps her senses to make her think she is falling. Fortunately, Sil'lice was there to stop it.
    • Sae'rali and Mae'rali subject Chrys'tel to an illusion where her body is slowly, painfully falling apart in a bid to make her jump off the balcony and kill herself. Shinae instead tosses Sae'rali to her death, and brutally beats up Mae'rali to the point of killing her.

    Chapter 51: Interlude 

Chapter 51: Interlude


    Chapter 52: The Last Thread 

Chapter 52: The Last Thread

The Sarghress colony of Machike is attacked by a goblin horde and the Nidraa'chal's airship.
  • Adult Fear: When the Nidraa'chal ship fires at the Sarghress colony for refusing their offer of help against the goblin armies, Pelan and his sister Octarya try to escape as the building falls apart only to nearly fall to their deaths when the floor starts collapsing underneath them. They are saved by Ischa Val'Beldrobbaen, who would've been crushed by a falling boulder, killing them all, if someone else had not come.
  • The Chains of Commanding: After becoming Ill'haress, Ariel wants to fight and protect her troops, but often found herself cloistered away from the battlefield by Kel'noz, who is deeply concerned for her safety - a problem that the deceased Quain'tana once faced. She eventually disobeys orders and participates in the fight against the goblin assault.
  • The Chase: After the Nidraa'chal unleash a Colony Drop, Ariel and the surviving colonists are forced to abandon the colony entirely and get chased and hunted throughout the underworld like fugitives.
  • Colony Drop: The Nidraa'chal open up their 3rd battle against the Sarghress by bringing a floating island over Machike and causing it to collapse on top of them.
  • The Coup: At the end of the chapter, Bae reveals that the majority of the Sarghress clan has turned against Ariel, it's nominal Ill'haress, and seeks to eliminate her.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: During the first battle between the Nidraa'chal and the Sarghress, the Nidraa'chal airship destroys the Sarghress colony's fortress in seconds and the Sarghress are completely powerless to retaliate.
  • Engineered Heroics: Ariel and the rest of her squad accuse Kyo'nne and her Nidraa'chal backers of supporting the recent goblin assault against their colony to coerce them into accepting their aid and the strings attached to it. In response, Kyo'nne has the Nidraa'chal fire upon the Sarghress colony and calls them stupid for refusing her offer to go to Felde.
  • Go Through Me: Just before Ariel can fight the Nidraa'chal captain, an unarmed Kyo'nne gets in Ariel's way, blocking her weapon and demanding that she leave.
  • Heel Realization: Kyo'nne has one after the battle is over, noting that she just stood by and watched while her Nidraa'chal allies tried to kill her friends.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Right as the Nidraa'chal are about to wipe out the Sarghress ground forces with their airship's cannons, the cannons get empowered by the massive amount of ambient mana and the resulting shots get flung right back at them by the nearby whirlwind of a mana vortex.
  • It's Personal: Sar'nel has a grudge against Kyo'nne for her deception in Chapter 47, which led to his girlfriend and squadmate Shala getting killed by Kalki. When she arrives just after the goblins had been defeated to offer aid, Sar'nel immediately suspects it's a trap and tells her to back off.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The colonists, while fleeing from the Airship, stumble upon an Alliance convoy, who are political rivals at best. However, not only is the convoy simply passing through the area and unaware of the colonists' conflict, they are themselves attacked by yet another unrelated faction.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Nidraa'chal offer the Sarghress support in return for kneeling to Snadhya'rune. When they reject the offer, Kyo'nne subtly hints that the Nidraa'chal will not take no for an answer. Sure enough, when Ariel confirms her clan's refusal, the Nidraa'chal airship attacks the colony and completely obliterates their defenses.
  • Timeskip: The chapter starts after a three-year timeskip since Interlude.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Joining the Nidraa'chal made Kyo'nne take several levels. When the Sarghress refuse her offer of aid against the goblin armies thinking it was a trap by Snadhya'rune, Kyo'nne has the airship fire upon the colony (which has children living there, by the way) and coldly calls the Sarghress "stupid" for saying no.
  • Save the Villain: Villain might be overstating it, but despite Kyo'nne's betrayal and even direct attacks on her former friends, Ariel comes to her rescue anyways when Kyo'nne nearly falls to her death, resulting in Kyo'nne saying she should have just let her die and thanking her.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Nidraa'chal airship crash lands, Sal'bara continues fighting the Sarghress, believing her own forces to be stronger. But then she discovers that her own forces are also far more ready to desert at the first sign of trouble, leaving her on her own.

    Chapter 53: Fading Winter 

Chapter 53: Fading Winter


  • Surprise Pregnancy: Chirinide's sudden sickness and fever at the beginning of the chapter turn out to be due to her and Shan'naal having conceived — although she herself knew nothing about this until the medic offered her congratulations.
  • Wham Episode: Chirinide is revealed to be pregnant.

    Chapter 54: Unity 

Chapter 54: Unity

Ariel and her brother, Kel'noz, attempt to gather allies to retaliate against both Snadhya'rune and her Nidraa'chal forces, and the traitorous Chelian branch of the Sarghress clan.
  • Adult Fear: A heavily pregnant Kane'ohe fears losing her baby after Kyo'nne becomes a turncoat and stabs her in the stomach. The Sarghress also react appropriately to Kyo'nne's action.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • Invoked in the Sarghress takeover of Ys; Ash'waren, Faen, and Bae (who was coerced into helping) use their empathy to convince the local civilians that nothing's out of the ordinary.
    • According to Word of God, while they may be ruled by the Nidraa'chal, the people of Felde are fairly disinterested in the war between Ariel's faction and the Nidraa'chal-controlled alliance, and do not want to get involved.
  • Badass Boast: Sang boasts to Ariel's forces that she is going to cross the lake, find them, and execute them for "treason".
  • Bound and Gagged: After crushing all of Ariel's loyalists, the traitors bind Ariel and Kel'noz in chains. They then put bags over their heads to make sure no one jumps the gun and kills them before they decide what to do.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Frustrated that Faen doesn't share her desire to kill their clan's matriarch, Ash'waren, Bae attempts to strangle Faen, only for Faen to use her empathy to share her feelings of what it's like to care for children. It doesn't work, as Bae only gets mad and tries strangling Faen to death instead.
  • Combat Pragmatism: Kel'noz, who is dying and knows he couldn't defeat Sang one-on-one, instead lures her into an isolated area, cutting Sang off from her soldiers, and takes advantage of a nether gate's destruction by using mana foci to lure the demons into possessing Sang.
  • The Coup: The main threat consists of the Sarghress Legion, headed by Sang, who has already taken over most of the clan in a coup. She spends the chapter seeking to eliminate Ariel and Kel'noz, the former nominal heads of the Sarghress clan, as well as their remaining loyalists. While Sang ends up dying, the traitors are ultimately victorious and escort Ariel and Kel'noz in chains.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ariel's forces manage to hold out against and inflict some damage on the Nidraa'chal, but as soon as the Sarghress traitors show up, her loyalists are utterly crushed, and it doesn't take long until she is forced to surrender.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The Nidraa'chal's parley violation in chapter 52 is shown to have been this for Ariel. She ends up using the same methods against Ys when they refuse to change sides against the Nidraa'chal, or at least cooperate with them against the goblin invaders.
  • Demonic Possession: One of Sang's golem prosthetic arms is possessed by a demon after Kel'noz lures it over, rendering that arm useless. And after Kel'noz intentionally throws away his last foci, Sang finds herself surrounded by hundreds of demons...
  • Disaster Dominoes: Ariel sends out Snadhya'rune's demon nurses to protect her forces, getting most of them incapacitated. The few remaining to guard Snadhya'rune's massive nether gate get taken out by the crossfire of the battle before they can shut it down for everyone's safety. Ariel's plans utterly backfire, making it clear that the traitors' victory is inevitable and forcing Xann'dor to blow up the airship in a final act of spite. The airship's explosion releases a massive wave of mana, expanding the nether gate and luring the demons on the other side, resulting in a cataclysmic disaster.
  • Duels Decide Everything: Ky'onne challenges Sang to fight Kel'noz in a duel. On the verge of absolute victory, Sang has no interest in accepting and would rather just wipe out Ariel's loyalists with her superior forces. But her own soldiers, who are duty-bound to honor the tradition, pressure her into accepting the proposal. Even so, Sang makes it clear that all they are getting out of the bargain is a feeble chance to kill her, and even if Kel'noz wins, the traitors still have every intention of dealing with them. Sure enough, Kel'noz wins, getting rid of the leader that hates Quain'tana's bloodline the most, but the traitors still kill or capture all of Ariel's loyalists.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Ariel gets a big shock when she realizes that the wolf that had once been intended as her mount does not remember her and has been trained and set by the traitors to kill her. However, it's later subverted at the end when said wolf recognizes her by smell, and allows Ariel to affectionately scratch its muzzle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Kel'noz tries it twice. The first time, when he tries to hold back the traitors long enough for the airship to escape, though Ariel ends up saving him at the last minute. The second time, while challenging Sang to a duel, Kel'noz, already expecting to die from his injuries, makes a resolve at Taking You with Me.
    • With the traitors on the verge of absolute victory, Xann'dor Sullisin'rune stays behind in the airship to ensure the enemy doesn't recapture it by blowing it up.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: The reason for the Sarghress coup and The Purge of Ariel's loyalists remains an unexplained mystery for the entire chapter. It is vaguely implied that the Sarghress clan's new leadership wants to use Quain'tana's bloodline as scapegoats for a bunch of problems that happened back at home and potentially sell them to Snadhya'rune's alliance as a peace offering. Sarghress Anti-Val sentiment has also become polarized to the extent that they aren't fussy about whether they kill or capture them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Snadhya'rune's demon nurses may be of Blue and Orange Morality, but they really are a very hospitable class of demon that she has been using to guard her giant demon gate. Since Snadhya'rune was originally planning to invite Ariel to her peace conference and forgot to revoke Ariel's invitation after the latter defied her, the demon nurses obey Ariel's orders to protect her soldiers from a Nidraa'chal summoner's demons. The Nidraa'chal's own demons also end up eating their shields, leaving them vulnerable to the airship's cannons.
    • Kel'noz and Ariel's entire plan to ensnare the traitors barely had any chance of working in the first place, and gets them trapped behind enemy lines for the traitors to wipe out.
    • Steadily losing against Shodun and unable to reinforce Ariel against the Nidraa'chal and the traitors, Quill'yate lures Shodun onto a boat. When Shodun then tries to use her Make Me Wanna Shout powers to finish off Quill'yate, she ends up wrecking her own surroundings and killing her own troops. Not that Shodun particularly cares. Then, when she then gets pulled underwater and tries to fire spellsong again, she ends up using her remaining oxygen and drowns even faster than she would have otherwise. Shodun's surviving soldiers also decide not to help after she makes it clear she doesn't give a damn about them.
    • The Sarghress traitors successfully wipe out most of the Mimians and dump them in the lake. But their half-dead bodies end up getting possessed by the Nidraa'chal allies's own demons. The resulting Split Personality Merges retain enough of their Mimian identities to promptly become a threat to the demons' own summoners.
    • Snadhya'rune's massive nether gate, used for her Summon Magic, blows up, dooming her city.
    • Sang's faction deem Ariel's faction traitors to the clan's ideals, essentially removing Ariel from the line of succession for clan Ill'haress. When Sang dies, her subordinates are left completely leaderless, with her son not knowing what to do.
  • Hostage Situation: Sang attempts to capture and use the Kyorl colonists as bait. Ash'waren nips that in the bud by having the Sarghress fire their airship cannons on the Kyorl colony, killing many innocent people in the process and causing the survivors to rip into Ariel's faction.
  • Hypocrite:
    • After Sang shoots down Kyo'nne's speeches and says that Might Makes Right for the Sarghress, Kyo'nne sneers at the fact that Sang touts the value of strength, but sits back and sends her subordinates after Ariel and her Loyalist faction rather than deal with them herself. Even while she's trying to fight Kel'noz in demon-infested grounds, she's still calling on her soldiers to help her, digging herself deeper in the process.
    • Bae gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Ash'waren, listing all the flaws (egotistical, paranoid, sadistic) that make her unfit to rule... except Bae isn't much better, and said flaws could easily describe herself.
    • One of the big motives behind the traitors is their sheer hatred for Vals. And they are conducting a purge of their own Vals, who have already voluntarily left into exile, on behalf of other Vals.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Bae tries to convince Faen to kill Ash'waren and that the previous generation needs to be purged. Faen's reply is to agree that she is a horrible mother, but that killing her would send a bad message to their own children. Bae ignores Faen, and tries to kill her instead.
  • Innocent Bystander: The Kyorl colony Ariel visits has nothing to do with the Sarghress coup, but end up being attacked and used as hostages by the traitors anyways for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Sarghress traitors led by Sang believe that since Ariel's faction ignored their calls for help, they must be purged from the clan. A lot of fans drew ire from how stupid it was.
  • Ironic Echo: Sang gloats to Kel'noz that if he had cooperated with her, it might have saved his life. Then a demon enters her Artificial Limbs, feeding off of and shutting them down. While Kel'noz doesn't echo her exact words, he repeats the same sentiment, telling her it didn't have to end like this. Sang's response is a vehement, "Fuck... you."
  • Karmic Death:
    • Shodun uses spellsong on one of her boats just to get at Quill'yate, killing many of her soldiers and not caring about the collateral damage. When Quill'yate pulls her underwater to drown, the same soldiers decide to make no effort to help.
    • After spending an entire chapter hunting down Ariel's Loyalist faction for being Vals and "weak", Sang is defeated by Kel'noz, a male Val, in a duel and subsequently tricked into becoming possessed by nether demons. It's implied she was killed by her own soldiers afterwards.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Chakri Kavahini, killed by the Sarghress traitors, dumped into the seas, and then demonically possessed.
    • Shodun Illhar'dro, killed by Quill'yate when she pulls her underwater to drown.
    • Sang Niz'zre Sarghress, victim to Demonic Possession. Kern implies she was Mercy Killed.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • Koil'dorath Nori'fu Sarghress, revealed to have been slain under unknown circumstances relating to the Sarghress clan's internal conflicts.
    • Rosof Tions Sarghress
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Bae is enraged by Faen's refusal to kill Ash'waren and her attempts to talk her down, so she tries to strangle her with her own bare hands. Faen uses her empathy to make Bae feel the same pain of strangulation as her.
    • Sang constantly taunts Kel'noz that if he and Ariel had decided to side with her, a lot of trouble would've been avoided. Likewise, Kel'noz throws her own words back at her after tricking her into having her prosthetic arm infested by demons.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Ariel's faction attempts to lure Sang and the rest of the traitors to Felde and trick them and their own Nidraa'chal allies into attacking one another. It briefly works, with a Nidraa'chal commander mistaking Sang's forces for part of Ariel's, but Sang's soldiers are quickly able to assure them that they are their allies.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Shodun blows up one of her own boats, killing many of her own soldiers, and makes it very clear that she couldn't care less about their lives. When Quill'yate then drowns her, they make no effort to help and tell Quill'yate that they have no interest in fighting her.
  • New Era Speech: After Sang has Kel'noz incapacitated in preparation for an execution, she declares the end of the Val'Sarghress Blue Bloods and that it has set the Sarghress free to choose a new path as a united people.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Kel'noz attempts a Heroic Sacrifice and urges everyone else to escape while he holds back the traitors. But Ariel declares this and rescues him at the last moment, much to Kel'noz's chagrin, since Ariel is willing to risk everyone to attempt saving everyone.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Kel'noz sees the airship suddenly firing on the Kyorl colony, he screams for the engineers to stop the cannons despite his injuries.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: The demon nurses devour so many enemy demons that they grow too big and their host bodies collapse under the strain.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Kel'noz has spent the past three years attempting to contact Koil'doroth, but has mysteriously received no response and has been unable to learn anything about what has been happening in Chel. The traitors likewise claim that they despise Ariel and want her dead because they sent her pleas for help that were ignored, despite the other side's attempts mentioned before, and use it as an excuse to wipe out the Loyalists. The traitors make no effort to negotiate and go Straight for the Commander, which results in Ariel's faction resisting and adds to the loses of both sides.
  • The Purge: Sang attempts to finish off Quain'tana's bloodline and its loyalists, allegedly to free the Sarghress clan of its own Vals.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: The traitors are ultimately victorious, but they also lose their last senior leader while killing their own former fellow clan members and are already implied to have been in bad condition to begin with.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The traitors vent quite a bit of hatred for Quain'tana's bloodline, describing them as blind violent fools. The points they use to describe the Vals can also be applied to themselves.
  • The Remnant: This chapter reveals that the Sarghress as a unified force has been effectively destroyed, with the remainders having split into separate factions.
  • Revenge Before Reason: One of Sang's motives for her betrayal is sheer hatred towards Vals, especially the Vals within the Sarghress clan's own ranks, regardless of the fact that they haven't done much and she herself is doing this partially on behalf of Vals from other clans.
  • Running Gag: The B-Side Comics chibis in this chapter repeatedly Lampshade the many death flags revolving around Kel'noz, constantly having him humorously killed or almost killed.
  • The Scapegoat:
    • One Kyorl colonist decides to murder all of the colony's tainted while the Sarghress are present, in the hopes it will be blamed on them. She doesn't get the chance, since the colony really does end up getting attacked by Sarghress traitors.
    • Sang herself is using Quain'tana's bloodline as one for things that happened while they weren't even with the rest of the clan, even going so far as to accuse those problems of being their fault because they weren't there.
  • Secretly Dying: Kel'noz is revealed to have severe internal injuries he has been hiding and is expecting to kill him.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Unintentional example. While Ariel's faction is trying to escape the Sarghress traitors, Ash'waren orders the airship engineers to fire upon Shikomei before Sang's forces catch up with them. This leads to many Kyorl colonists dying in the crossfire, which angers the survivors.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Kyo'nne tries to persuade the traitors to stand down by asking why they are wiping out their own kin. Sang tells her that Might Makes Right and no one cares about her ridiculous speech. Kyo'nne then gets everyone to listen by propositioning a duel between Kel'noz and Sang.
  • Straight for the Commander: The Sarghress Fallen Legion sends assassins to eliminate Ariel and Kel'noz straight from the beginning.
  • Succession Crisis: With most of the old guard dead, and Sang having designated Ariel's faction as "traitors", the Chelian Sarghress are left leaderless when Sang dies, with her son not knowing what to do.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • When Chakri and her fellow Mimians get Curb Stomped by the Sarghress traitors, Chakri resolves to at least take an enemy commander out with her. The traitors prevent her from even doing that.
    • While fighting Sang in a duel, Kel'noz, already Secretly Dying, makes this his aim.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Merril'lin tries to comfort a nervous Shan'naal on the night of his wedding that everything will be fine, because she had a vision. Then Ariel's Sarghress faction shows up, and so do the Sarghress traitors that are hunting them down.
    • Shodun tries to finish off Quill'yate with spellsong. All that seems to be left of Quill'yate is her sword, and Shodun gloats about how winning was as easy as always and that another problem has been solved. Then a hand reaches out from the water and pulls her in, revealing Quill'yate to still be alive.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Ariel's faction describes in advance their plan to lure Sang and the rest of the traitors to Felde, trick them into fighting their own Nidraa'chal allies, and escape. Naturally, every single element of the plan completely backfires.
  • Wedding Smashers: Both Ariel and her faction arrive in the Shikomei colony with the intention of gaining allies against the Nidraa'chal and the Sarghress traitors, unaware that a wedding between Chirinide and Shan'naal was taking place. Chirinide is understandably upset, though Shan'naal reasons that without a Seer, they couldn't have known about it.
  • We Have Reserves: Shodun tries to finish off Quill'yate and kills off dozens of her own troops in the process. One of the survivors complains, but Shodun just tells her to shut up and gloats over an easy victory, very clearly not caring. It bites her in the ass when her troops decide not to help her fight Quill'yate and leave her to drown once she's dragged underwater.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Felyn'mice, the administrator of the Shikomei, yells at Ariel's faction for firing on their colony, and calls them "monsters" when Kel'noz, who tried to stop the cannon fire, feebly tries to justify the action. Likewise, Chirinide threatens Ash'waren, who ordered the attack, that she'll kill her if she attacks Shikomei again.
  • What You Are in the Dark: While trying to convince Faen to kill Ash'waren, Bae says that no one will ever need to know. Faen accepts the knife... then throws it away and tries to make her peacefully stand down, reasoning that killing Ash'waren would send a bad message to their children and their descendants.
  • You Have Failed Me: Kyo'nne uses this as an excuse to kill Kane'ohe, the leader of the Ys colony, so that she can claim to have killed her as a loyal Nidraa'chal agent, not caring that she's heavily pregnant. It's not received well among the Sarghress, and Kel'noz threatens to do the same to Kyo'nne should she act out of line again.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Kyo'nne stabs a heavily pregnant Kane'ohe without permission from the higher-ups, Kel'noz threatens to get rid of her if Kyo'nne does anything rash again.
  • You Monster!: Felyn Val'Kyorl'solenurn calls Ariel's Loyalist faction "monsters" after Kel'noz feebly tries to justify the airship firing on the colony with the fact that Sang will take hostages and use them as bait.

    Chapter 55: Home 

Chapter 55: Home


  • From Bad to Worse: It was bad that Pen'ri got demonified after the events of Chapter 47. But then it's revealed that she has a shard of the demon god inside her...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Nau'kheol complains about how many times Naal has died already, but Kern says that he isn't actually breaking the fourth wall and is more expressing sarcasm over his experience with Kiel's misadventures.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Pen'ri starts going after Kuso and Bae'dyn, they scream and run away.
    • Pen'ri starts sweating a lot when Naal manages to escape through her mouth and easily trounce her, causing Pen'ri to realize she might actually be defeated and attempts to leave. Kiel'ndia has other ideas and blasts a hole in her body with her demon friends.
  • Tempting Fate: When Sil'lice kills one of Snadhya'rune's living summons, the other gloats that she will be reborn. Sil'lice then shows that she already knows what Snadhya'rune's living summons are as well as how to kill them permanently.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Pen'ri resists Nau'kheol's fire, she reveals that she has a shard of the demon god from Chapter 47. Kiel'ndia's facial reaction is essentially, "Welp, we're doomed." Fortunately, things eventually slide in the heroes' favor.

    Chapter 56: Empire Weaver 

Chapter 56: Empire Weaver

Kiel'ndia and Nau'kheol venture out of their hideout in the Orthobbae school to check on the status of Chel, only to discover a city that is almost dead due to the consequences of Snadhya'rune's machinations.
  • Body Backup Drive: One of Snadhya'rune's Jaal'darya friends informs her that she has prepared a new body for the crippled Snadhya'rune's use, though Snadhya'rune considers transferring into it a last resort due to the consequences.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Chrys'tel suspects that the ritual Snadhya'rune has been using to force a Split-Personality Merge with one's demon seed also allows her to rewrite the subject's mind into one loyal to her. Preferring death, she has as such refused to go through with it, even though her demon seed has rendered her sterile and has been damaging her health more and more. When Snadhya'rune figures out that she is the one who has been assassinating her overseers, one of her servants and Chrys'tel's own older sister, who has been through the ritual, attempt to put her through it by force.
  • Decapitated Army: Most of the Sarghress Clan's leadership is dead, and its Vals have been overthrown. The clan has effectively been reduced to a mob, and the closest they have left to leaders are Mandroga and Kor'maril, who are ironically enough, males in a Matriarchy. Mel'arnach tries to finish the clan off by killing its Vals, her brother and her daughter.
  • Duels Decide Everything: Ariel challenges Mandroga and anyone else who disputes her authority to a duel. Mandroga laughs that she is no Quain'tana and expresses certainty that she would eventually wear down from fighting enough duels, but allows his supporters to line up. But while Ariel does in fact get left in very bad shape after only a couple duels, Mandroga tries to go in for the kill just a little bit too early. When Ariel turns out to still be capable of moving, he gets pressured into dueling her himself, when he would have rather continued letting other people wear her out.
  • Groin Attack: While Mandroga is busy gloating, Ariel takes advantage of his distraction to punch his groin.
  • High Turn Over Rate: Snadhya'rune's overseers keep "vanishing" due to Chrys'tel assassinating them. Snadhya'rune catches on, but is stuck in a situation of Can't Kill You, Still Need You and Shinae speculates that she was chosen as the latest replacement in hopes Chryst'el will be more reluctant to kill her.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: The conclusion more and more people are coming to on Chel. Snadhya'rune's demons and her flower plague have infested the city so deeply that they can no longer be suppressed or removed, only contained at an increasingly high price. The city streets are pretty much empty. Zala'ess's Nuqran allies decide to end their alliance with Zala'ess and return home, having given up on gaining anything out of it.
  • Just Toying with Them: With Ariel already exhausted from fighting 2 previous duels, Mandroga has no trouble beating her and takes his time to show off to his supporters. This is ultimately his undoing, as his overconfidence results in him not paying her enough attention.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Kel'noz gets killed by a crossbow in the middle of trying to convince the clan that they need to be unified.
  • New Era Speech: Mandroga gives one, denouncing the Sarghress Vals, asserting that they must be executed, and announcing a new era for the Sarghress clan.
  • Offing the Offspring: Mel'arnach gives it a half-hearted effort, firing a crossbow at Ariel's head. She misses by inches and quickly gives up, deciding to wish Ariel luck.
  • Public Execution: Ariel and Kel'noz are sentenced to death by hanging as part of a public spectacle.
  • The Purge: The Sarghress Clan's anti-Val faction, led by Mandroga, wants Quain'tana's blood dead even more badly than the Vals of other clans. According to Kor'maril, they have radicalized so badly that they are even willing to kill their own to get at them.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Snadhya'rune's machinations have successfully reduced Chel to a rotting husk, but even she is concerned at how little there is left to rule.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Snadhya'rune has a fit over how much her plans are falling apart and believes herself Surrounded by Idiots since her agents cannot seem to salvage them.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Sarghress Clan had already split into multiple factions. With its surviving leadership overthrown in a coup, and the rest of its leadership dead, the clan has effectively been reduced to an angry and divided mob. Kor'maril, the closest thing to a leader they have left, has to struggle to make sure that the rest of the clan doesn't kill Ariel and Kel'noz too early.
  • You Have Failed Me: Snadhya'rune threatens Adira with a Fate Worse than Death if she doesn't cleanup the mess she failed to prevent the Sarghress from making in Felde.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Snadhya'rune is revealed to have taken Koil'dorath as a summon, and threatens Adira with the same fate if she fails her again.
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