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Webcomic / Aurora (2019)

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Aurora is an ongoing webcomic started in April 2019 written and illustrated by Red of Overly Sarcastic Productions. It is a High Fantasy webcomic that begins when an entity known as the Collector steals the soul of the god Vash and departs with it. However, Vash’s body is not ready to die and somehow retains an entirely new consciousness who sets out with a mage named Alinua to get back Vash’s soul.

As of May 2022, the webcomic is seventeen chapters into the first arc. It is updated on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The webcomic can be found here; a mirror also exists on Tumblr, here, as a backup in case of site difficulties. The official Twitter account (run by Red) can be found here. If you want to talk about the comic, you can go to the discord or the subreddit. Additionally, a fandub (here) is in the process of recording. Other forms of media with a similar name can be found here.

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Aurora contains examples of

  • Alt Text: Every page has one, usually Red making snarky comments about her own work. A few notable ones...
    • The very first page shows a colorful aurora across the night sky, lampshaded in the Alt Text:
      ohhhh, THAT'S why it's called "aurora"
    • 1.1.24:
      vash: JUST FOLLOW THE SOUND OF MY TORTURED SOUL ABOUT FIVE HUNDRED MILES UNDERGROUND. YOU CAN DO IT! I BELIEVE IN YOUUUUUuuuuu
    • 1.2.7:
      yeah stab wounds are the WORST
    • 1.2.13:
      magical hazmat suits are my favorite fantasyland thing
    • 1.2.17:
      awhaaat? inviting the mysterious stranger to join you on your quest? unprecedented! unheard of! the fantasy genre has never seen anything like it!
    • 1.10.32:
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Humans are for the most part limited to real-life shades, but elementally-adapted populations can possess skin in multiple striking shades. Elves likewise tend to have colorful skin as a baseline trait, most often in sky-like colors such as blues, purples, and pale greys. As a consequence, even background characters have a wide variety of skin tones ranging through the whole color spectrum.
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  • And Then What?: The argument that talks Falst out of his attempted prison break. Freeing these people when the only place for them to go is in to a city that hates them won’t actually help, nor would it fix the problems that created the prison in the first place.
  • Animesque: The art style is somewhat reminiscent of anime and manga styles.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Most gods are these to specific areas or phenomena, such as a valley or city. There were also these for the six elements the world is based on, however they "died to create our world."
  • Anti-Magic
    • Spelleaters are serpentine creatures that feed on ambient magic, hampering nearby mages' ability to cast spells. They're normally small and can't absorb much magic on their own, but ones grown to unnatural sizes with life magic can create sizable areas where magic simply doesn't work.
    • Soul energy actively resists magical manipulation, which is why mages can't manipulate other people's bodies in this setting (ex: a stone mage can't shatter someone's bones). Notably, soulcrystal accumulates soul energy at a very fast rate, making it perfect for constructing protections like magic hazmat suits, mage prisons, and sealing cuffs.
  • Ash Face: On Tahraim's coaching, Dainix releases his pent-up anger in a huge scream and blast of fire. Tahraim, as a smith god, is left with only some ash and cinders on his face.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: The souls of the citizens of Vash-the-city can't be released from their bodies until Vash-the-god formally releases them. As Vash is unvailable, that means they're all currently trapped in should-be-dead bodies screaming for help.
  • Beast Man: Ferin, the descendants of people cursed by an extremely well-traveled wizard a thousand years back, who was seemingly obsessed with turning people he disliked into humanoid/animal hybrids. The earlier people to be cursed, and consequently their descendants, could transform either randomly or at will between fully humanoid and fully animalistic shapes, making them more like were-creatures than anything, but later ferin were permanently turned into forms that hybridize human and animal traits. Ferin are deeply feared and distrusted in society, and while ones based on more docile prey animals can find some form of acceptance in society, "predator ferin" are often forced to live alone deep within the wilderness.
  • Biomanipulation: Life mages can encourage the growth of living things, which can be used for healing. It is also possible to use life magic to create chimeras, but doing so is forbidden.
  • Bluff the Imposter: Invoked. In Windscrest, Kendal asks the magistrate to ask him something only Vash could know to prove their connection.
  • Breath Weapon
    • Dragons are the most common users of this, with different varieties having different effects. For a few examples, a burrower wyrm's breath disintegrates stone, a crystal drake's breath causes rapid crystal growth, and a whispdragon's breath is a sonic attack.
    • Magic can also be used this way by mages, with fire-breathers not being unheard of.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Most of the protagonists have a variation of this, with Kendal as one end of the spectrum and Erin at the other.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The six forms of elemental magic all have specific colors that appear in glow effects associated with active magic, lacrimas, and glowing eyes during magic use. These are green for life, yellow for lightning, orange for fire, purple for wind, blue for water and pale jade green for stone.
  • Cool Sword: Vash's sword Kendal (from which the character Kendal got his name) was forged by the smith god Tahraim after Vash defeated the storm god Tynan. It was forged from an ingot and a jewel that Vash had used to replace his right hand and eye, respectively, in the battle against Tynan. The jewel at the hilt glows the same color as Vash's eyes.
  • Cypher Language: There is an in-universe alphabet that roughly matches up to English, though a few letters like C and Q are absent because other letters stand for their sounds. This page contains a key and some text fans have translated.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Falst embodies this trope to a tee, dishing out sarcastic remarks to nearly everyone he interacts with. Especially Erin.
    Erin: Do NOT rip this.
    Falst: Me? Break your stuff? Never.
  • Death World: The caverns beneath the surface are full of winding paths and tunnels, some of which are flooded, full of magma or molten metal, or saturated with poisonous air. The habitable parts are full of monsters and even if you manage to avoid them then the energy surrounding the place will eventually corrupt you and turn you into one of them.
  • Demonic Possession: Erin has the misfortune of getting possessed by a golden-eyed being upon entering the Storm of Magic. Still, he manages to warn Kendal to run, showing he's Fighting from the Inside.
    Erin: GET AWAY! RUN!!
  • Description Cut: After the magistrate of Windscrest is convinced of our heroes' legitimacy in chapter 4, he alludes to the possible dangers of life magic...
    Luran: I am responsible for hundreds of lives. If I had a reason to suspect you posed a danger to them... And, well. We all know what unscrupulous life mages are capable of.
    [Cut to Kria, whose injuries Alinua had discreetly healed earlier]
    Kria: ...Huh. I feel super healthy for some reason.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: This is very common in Zuurith-the-city, as Zuurith-the-god is a Control Freak who thinks of himself as the embodiment of law and order. You can be arrested and sent to the city's massive prison for little crimes, from trespassing to happening to exist near the city when Godless.
  • Doomed Hometown: The unfortunate fate of the city of Vash, which gets massacred early on.
  • Dragon Variety Pack: Dragons reproduce via parthenogenesis, adapting to the environment they will hatch into by absorbing all available elemental energy. Fire dragons are the "typical" dragons with four legs and two wings, burrower wyrms are entirely ground-based, wyverns have four legs and four wings, crystal drakes have crystalline bodies, whispdragons are tiny and have butterfly wings, stormdrakes are pointy all over, and sea serpents reside exclusively in water. The one trait these varieties share is that they all have a Breath Weapon of some kind.
  • Dream Spying: Happens in Chapter 11, when Kendal sleeps for the first time and Vash, using their Psychic Link, takes advantage of the opportunity to reveal the Collector's motivations.
  • Elemental Powers: The world is made from six elements — wind, water, fire, stone, lightning, and life — and mages can learn to channel any and all of them, although mastering more than a few is a difficult and rare feat.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Upon introduction, Alinua is shrouded in shadow, her eyes visibly glowing green. However, we see her full face after she introduces herself to Kendal.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Word of Red is that the constant for the world is bisexuality
  • Evil Is Petty: The Rant for 1.13.34 claims that the Void Dragon's true plan is to misshelve everything in the Paladins' archive and leave ring stains on their tables.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ferin, people cursed into lycanthropic or Beast Man forms, are deeply feared and distrusted in human and elf societies. They're seen as inherent threats to others' safety and to civilization, and often considered to be essentially animals. When they're tolerated, this is often on the basis of their perceived threat level. "Prey ferin", with the nature of more docile animals, can make a life in urban areas, but "predator ferin" are usually forced out into the wilderness. Acceptance has been growing over time, and in more metropolitan areas ferin can live with a minimum of distrust, but it's slow going.
  • Fairy Dragons: The official Tumblr briefly describes the cat-sized Whispdragons, with beautiful colorations and butterfly wings.
  • Fertile Feet: When Alinua first appears, plants grow wherever she steps.
  • First-Episode Twist: It's impossible to talk about Erin in detail without mentioning that he's possessed by the Void Dragon.
  • Floating Continent: The Flying Islands, an airborne island chain that was magically lifted from the surface several centuries ago and is now home to the cloud elves.
  • Foreshadowing: Chapter 13 has Kendal meeting Dainix, who talks about how emotions can be directed and used as weapons, as well as how fighting your emotions weakens yourself. Come chapter 15, we learn that, as a Crucible, Dainix's fire powers are fueled by his emotions, and his attempts not to hurt anyone with them end up hurting himself.
  • Garden of Evil: The life section of the Storm of Magic is an overgrown swamp full of extremely dangerous, constantly mutating plants and animals.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Tahraim yells at Zuurith to literally pull himself together after the latter was on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle from Tynan.
    Tahraim: Pull yourself together already! Sheesh. Embarrassing.
    Caliban: Just leave him. We got what we needed.
    Tahraim: I know. It just seems like such a waste. He's acting like it's the end of the world.
  • Giant Corpse World: The planet is made of the merged bodies of the six elemental primordials, with Stone's hearts being the core.
  • Gilligan Cut: In Chapter 5, the golden-eyed entity retreats back into Erin, causing him to pass out. Kendal gives Alinua Puppy-Dog Eyes and she begins to insist that they are not staying with him. Cut to Kendal sitting by a fire late at night with Erin sleeping nearby.
  • Glowing Eyes: A common feature of gods, and Alinua's eyes glow green when she uses her powers.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Chimeras have glowing green eyes.
  • Green Thumb: One application of Life magic is speeding plant growth.
  • Horror Hunger: Part of cave corruption is the victim starting to hunger for living matter.
  • Ice Magic Is Water: Water as an element has the ability to mimic properties of others. Ice is formed by it mimicking stone.
  • Instant Runes: Mages use runic circles, which block out outside influences on the elements they're controlling and manifest as glowing letters written in elemental energy.
  • Internal Reveal: Played for Laughs in Chapter 11 after Kendal wakes up from his dream and shares what he learned about the Collector.
    Erin: SHE discovered Life's truename?!
    Alinua: She's WORKING for Life? Life WANTS this?!
    Falst: Your boss is a god? Oh, was that one common knowledge? You guys don't tell me stuff.
  • Joined Your Party:
    • Kendal and Alinua decide to start traveling together at the end of Chapter 3
      Kendal: But you're free to go wherever you want, you don't need to—
      Alinua: Hey. Do you want to go alone?
      Kendal: Not really.
      Alinua: Me neither. Easy choice.
    • Erin joins in Chapter 6.
      Alt Text: whaaaaat a new party member that's craaaaazy and so unpreeeedented
    • Falst joins the party at the end of chapter 10.
      Kendal: Well, we're going to be traveling east for a while. Until you figure out where you want to settle down... Do you want to come with us?
      (Beat)
      Falst: Sure.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The arenamaster makes Kendal and Dainix fight each other for the sake of the prison's reputation. Neither participant is very happy about this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All the main characters have been wearing the same clothes since they were introduced. Kendal has been shown wearing the same clothes for the longest amount of time out of all the party members, since he began existing in a white shirt and brown pants almost two in-universe weeks ago.
  • The Maker: Mortals were created by the Twins, two deities seemingly separate from the Primordials and the mortals' gods. In a twist, it seems that the actual creator deities in this cosmology are the Void Dragon, the Satanic Archetype of the setting, who was trying to free himself from imprisonment by commanding the Twins to create mortals, and his Good Counterpart, the Light Dragon, who gave them consciousness and free will.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Alinua and Kendal both have shades of this.
    Kendal: Why did you do that? You could have died.
    Alinua: I'll die anyway. But I...don't get many opportunities to do anything good. That might make this all worth it.
  • Meaningful Background Event: If you look on the walls of Jolon's clinic, you can see diagrams comparing human and ferin characterstics.
  • Mercy Kill: In Chapter 8, Alinua puts a feral chimera out of its misery by magically draining the life from it.
  • Mundane Utility: Magic is used for all sorts of things, including everyday problems. For instance, here's the junior archivist using paladin magic to open a high-up window.
  • The Nose Knows: Falst is able to smell the sedative powder that Shrike's mercenaries use on Tess, even though they're in a city and some distance away.
  • No Social Skills: Applies to both Alinua and Kendal.
    Kendal: You've talked to people before, right?
    Alinua: Yeah, like, ten years ago. I'm kind of out of practice.
    Kendal: That's better than NO experience. You're literally the only person I've ever actually talked to.
    Alinua: Yeah, but you have centuries of Vash's experience to draw on!
    Kendal: It was easier for Vash! People respect gods! I'm just... some guy.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: When Alinua uses her powers to attack the Sentinel, the panels at the bottom half of the page are divided by what looks like cracks, mirroring Alinua's plants making cracks in the Sentinel.
  • One-Word Title: With a Visual Title Drop from the very first panel showing a colorful aurora across the night sky, but explained All in the Manual in the "Extra Lore" on The Storm:
    The Storm of Magic is known by many regional names, but to avoid confusion, the accepted terminology in scholarly circles is typically simply "The Storm", for there is only one, and all other storms pale in comparison to its scale and deadly ferocity.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Elves are one of the three primary mortal races, alongside humanity and the long-vanished Ancients. They're very closely tied to the elements of wind and lightning, whereas humans are collectively balanced between all six. Physically, they share long, pointed ears and skin in shades of the sky; they also live longer than humans on average. They are often weather mages, and possess literally "airy" dispositions and less cultural or emotional stability than usual in humanity. Multiple populations exist, including the main divide between wind elves (more tied to wind, taller and with lighter skin) and storm elves (more tied to lightning, shorter, stockier, and with darker skin and smaller ears). Smaller groups include the dark elves, who live underground and have skin mottled with star-like spots, and the poorly-known cloud elves, an extremely isolationist folk who live in a chain of floating islands with little contact with other folk. Notably, this isolationism is highly atypical in-universe, and most elves have few issues living and working alongside humans.
  • Our Gods Are Different: In the setting, there are two very distinct classes of divine being.
    • True gods are described in an official lore page as "nothing more than vast, self-sustaining lattices of soul energy", and tend to form as embodiments of a specific concept or of a place such as a city, a mountain or a forest. The bodies they use to interact with the world are temporary constructs that hold a small part of the god's essence, and no matter what happens to them the actual entity will survive. A god's actual consciousness is spread throughout their domain; it's speculated that in this state they have a much more diffuse mental state, as some gods imply that taking corporeal form helps them to think and perceive things in a clearer manner.
    • The six Primordials are immense entities that existed long before the gods or anything else, and each represents one of the six in-setting elements. They died in the distant past, their bodies forming the physical world, but their souls still linger and can be induced to inhabit small portions of their bodies again, forming the basis of elemental magic.
  • Our Humans Are Different: Humans are one of the three primary mortal races, alongside elves and the long-vanished Ancients. They're generally defined by adaptability, by being attuned to all six elements, and through that by possessing a degree of stability that the wind- and lightning-aligned elves lack. They're the most widespread species in the world and have adapted to life in multiple environments, although in the process have split into a considerable number of Human Subspecies that can vary significantly from the human baseline, such as the horned Stonekin with rocky plates in their skin, the metal-skinned Ironhill people, and the bioluminescent, ocean-dwelling Sekrai.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The in-universe explanation for souls is that people are concentrated amounts of soul-energy, with gods having extremely high amounts of soul energy. How Kendal factors into all of this has yet to be explained.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Although vampires as a species don't truly exist within the setting, the lore page on the "seventh element" mentions "Upyre", a victim of cave corruption who gained a thirst for blood.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The first ferin to be created were people cursed by a wizard to alternate between human and animal shapes. The very first did so uncontrollably, shifting between forms either randomly or based on their emotional states, while later ones could do so at will. Their humanoid forms typically still sported tells of their true nature, typically in the form of odd eye or hair colors. Later ferin were instead cursed into permanent, hybrid Beast Man forms, but as ferin breed true the earlier strains still exist alongside them.
  • Painting the Medium: Most people speak in regular white speech bubbles, but otherworldly beings like gods or the Collector, have speech bubbles in their color scheme. (Even though Vash speaks with a blue bubble, Kendal's speech bubble is an ordinary white.) Several exceptionally powerful entities, including the Void Dragon and Primordial Life, don't use bubbles at all, but rather large block letters.
  • Pieces of God: Soul Energy is formed from the mingled essence of all the Primordials, which makes elementally manipulating a living body difficult. The Collector's endgoal is unravel every soul in the world to completely free Life from what she believes is constant torture.
  • Power Crystal: Lacrimas, crystals inscribed with magic runes and used to store large amounts of elemental energy. They're typically used to produce a specific magic effect on demand, with their runes restricting the ways in which their stored energy can manifest — for example, a fire lacrima can be "programmed" to only release light without heat and serve as a light source or a life lacrima meant for medical use to only regrow lost tissue — but ones without these limitations are essentially limitless spell batteries and potentially very dangerous things.
  • Power Floats: Alinua actually rises into the air when unleashing her full powers.
  • Power Incontinence: Alinua has extreme difficulty controlling her life powers. One boy born with powers like hers accidentally incited the last chimera plague that killed countless people, including himself. In Chapter 3, after undergoing a strange transformation, she has a much better control over her powers.
  • Precursors: The Ancients, the first people to emerge on the surface and who built the world's first great civilization. The humans and elves already existed in their days, but were forced to remain underground due to the dangerous elemental winds still blowing in ancient times — the Ancients, being wholly magically inert, faced no danger from these. They were extremely technically skilled, and without the ability to control magic themselves still created great cities, spread their civilization across three continents, and constructed artificial means of storing magic to power vast automatons. The destroyed themselves in civil war when the humans and elves were only just beginning to emerge from the underworld, and nowadays their legacy only endures through ruins in the desert, wrecked but sometimes still operational hulks of ancient machinery, and traces of their blood among modern human and elven peoples.
  • Punch Catch: After his attempt to talk to Falst goes wrong thanks to Alinua and Erin, Kendal grabs Falst's hand snaps his wrist.
  • The Rant: Red blogs in the space below, usually to make witty comments like those in the Alt Text.
  • Runic Magic: Runes are complex patterns of dots and looping lines (except for stone and lightning runes, which consist of angular patterns and dashes) used to shape and direct the flow of elemental magic in objects. They're thought to have been the language of the Primordials. Runes allow magic to be reliably channeled in specific manners, without the risk of accident inherent in manually redoing a single ritual again and again, by providing strict limitations for what magic is called upon and how and to what degree when the runes are activated — for example, a set of fire runes may be used to create a Flaming Sword by specifying for flame to be created around the blade, burn continuously and spread no further. Each element also has a unique master rune that simply gathers ambient magic and stores it within its object until deactivated. Master runes are often inscribed on lacrimas, magic-storing crystals marked with other runic patterns to be used as directed spell batteries, or tattooed by mages upon themselves to provide them with a constant source of magic for their spells. Active runes glow in their associated element's color.
  • Shaming the Mob: Paranoid after the destruction of Vash, the citizens of Windscrest attack Kendal and Alinua. Fortunately, Kria shows up to de-escalate the situation and loudly admonishes the townsfolk for attacking when she had already given them a clear description of the Collector.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Alinua and the Collector both have immense powers that elicit an ominous green glow.
  • Speech-Bubbles Interruption: In the tree, Kendal talks about leaving soon, only to be interrupted by Alinua saying "You can't leave."
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Falst and Alinua have a bitter argument about what to do about how Zuurith treats Kendal before both look over the cityscape together. In the first panel of the next page, Tess appears behind them, much to their shock.
  • A Storm Is Coming: While the party is in Zuurith and meet with several setbacks, Tess notices a storm on the horizon, which turns out to be Tynan.
  • Super Mode: Alinua enters this whenever she uses her powers beyond small tasks. Unfortunately, she has extreme difficulty controlling them when this powerful. After gaining better control over her powers, Alinua's Super Mode upgrades to Life herself using her body to interact with the world.
  • Talk to the Fist: Tynan tries to monologue about Kendal about how doomed he his, only for Kendal to slice him in half, taking Tynan by surprise for a brief moment.
  • Tears of Joy: Alinua sheds these after her magical transformation which gave her better control over her power and allowed her to no longer view herself as a monster.
  • Technically Living Zombie: Victims of Cave Corruption, caused by too much Void energy, develop cravings for living matter, mutate, and degenerate into monsters.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Erin is an Insufferable Genius from an academic background, while Alinua is a naturally-gifted self-taught life mage who may be tied to some sort of supernatural entity. When they're discussing technique, things get a little heated.
    Erin: And I'm telling you that safety is by definition not "overcomplicated"! A haywire healing cantrip can do terrible things to a person! What if you were trying to mend a broken bone but you filled the fracture with stomach lining instead?
    Alinua: How could you possibly screw up a broken bone that badly? Bone already wants to grow more bone! Just feel it out and help it along a little!
    Erin: What do you mean, "feel it out"?!
  • Telepathy: Lady Niluca mentally communicates with the Junior Archivist from a distance.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Erin worries his academic colleagues would rather study the Void Dragon than imprison him, so he has the group visit some monks with expertise in the field to do it instead.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: When Kendal and Alinua arrive in Windscrest, they are immediately greeted by an angry pitchfork-wielding crowd who assume they caused the destruction of Vash.
  • Trauma Button: Erin inadvertently pushes this for Alinua when he casually mentions how uncommon cloud elves are outside of the Flying Islands. It turns out the reason she lives on the surface is because when she was born her birth parents threw her off the edge.
  • Visual Title Drop: The very first panel shows a colorful aurora across the night sky, lampshaded in the Alt Text:
    ohhhh, THAT'S why it's called "aurora"
  • Waking Up Elsewhere
    • Chapter 2 opens with Kendal waking up in Alinua's cave after passing out from blood loss.
    • Chapter 5 ends with Erin waking up by Kendal after having passed out from fighting the Void Dragon.
  • Winged Humanoid: Cloudchildren, a humanoid species that was artificially created a few centuries before the comic's time, resemble small elves or humans (they're never over four feet fall) with either avian, chiropteran or insect wings, and are fully capable of flight.
  • Year Zero: The prologue is set in "Year Zero".
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Per this post on the official Tumblr, Lightning has two physical aspects that repel themselves and attract the other and are yellow or blue. Most of the lightning magic seen uses the yellow aspect, but blue is used occasionally, like here.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: The duly-named Collector steals souls. She notes that she has stolen hundreds of human souls, and has since lost interest in them, but the idea of stealing the soul of a god (namely Vash) excites her.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Aurora

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Kendal

For the first three chapters, Kendal didn't see the point in giving himself a name. He only named himself because Alinua insisted.

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