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Webcomic / Blindsprings

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"Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was young and kind and innocent, and lived with the faeries in the great forest. She was alone. But she didn't mind. She had her duties to attend to.

"One day, she met a boy."

Blindsprings is a fantasy webcomic by Kadi Fedoruk, involving magic, spirits and a forest otherworld.

We start with a young girl named Tamaura, happy — but alone — in a forest. She doesn't mind being alone: she has her duties caring for the forest and performing services for the spirits who inhabit the forest, and to whom she is contracted.

She meets a young boy, Harris, and they have fun playing together. In time, however, he reveals that he must leave — he is going away to study magic. Years later he returns and frees her from the spirits... against her will and at terrible cost to herself.

Thus, Tamaura is drawn into his city and the conflict between two factions: the Orphics, the spirit-allied former rulers of the city who are now an oppressed minority; and the Academists, "scientific" wizards who have instituted a dystopian police state in their zeal to wipe them out.

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel:
  • Aerith and Bob: The two main characters are named Tamaura Bernice Rhodizia Adelaide Llyn and Harris. The latter calls the former "Tammy." Justified since Tamaura is royalty (and three hundred years older than Harris).
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of Worldbuilding is provided in the Alt Text and the author's notes at the bottom of each page, sometimes being more helpful and informative than the narrative itself.
  • Anachronism Stew: The setting is a mix of technology from different ages, with it being explained by academy magic being responsible.
  • Animal Motifs: Birds are associated with the main characters, according with the official bios' illustrations.
  • Another Dimension: Some Blindsprings have multiple layers; the deeper the layer gets, more likely you'll find yourself in a different dimension, from which you cannot get out without the spirits' help.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Ariel constantly interrupts Ember, does not pay them much respect and sarcastically mocks them. Imogen to a lesser degree, because she is chafing for a larger role than Irelia believes is safe. Tammy appears to have been one as well, though that appears to have been largely her mother's fault for passing Aliana over for high priestess.
  • Art Evolution: The coloring and drawing styles tend to evolve thanks to the artist experimenting, also the talk bubbles are no longer color solid.
  • Author Appeal: Exploited in the prologue of Book 2, which is set 300 years ago. The author commented that she just loves to draw opulence.
  • Bag of Sharing: Imogen's backpack is supposedly connected to an entire trunk sitting in her bedroom. Overlaps with Bag of Holding.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tammy is an incredibly kind person, but pissing her off is not something you want to do.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Both Irelia and Deidre towards their little sister Imogen.
    • Inversely, Tammy is desperate to save her older sister Aliana, despite Aliana's jealousy at being passed over for priestess.
  • Blessed with Suck: Forming a contract with the spirits gives you supernatural powers and aid, but also makes you their tool... a tool they aren't necessarily averse to using until its destruction.
    • Tammy pointedly asks the spirits at one point if a new contract will keep her safe. They reply that's a bargain she cannot afford.
  • Blood Magic: Orphics naturally have magic in their blood, so they can use small amounts of it to cast spells. Orphic books even require a drop of their blood to open. Academists take this in a negative light, of course, claiming that Orphics bathe in people's blood. Orphics can even use it to get around the Great Seal, since once the blood leaves the sealed body, it recovers its magical properties.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: However the Royal Family was disposed of, it certainly was not by poison.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Imogen, Street and Tamaura.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Spirits have a different sense of morality than others.
  • Broken Bird: All three Thorne sisters to different levels. Deidre seems have gotten the worst, having been been caught by the Academists with horrifying results.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The marriage between Mr. and Ms. Thorne. Kadi stated that her family had a lot of money and fans theorize that he married her to try to appeal to the Orphics politically. Didn't stop him from arresting her.
    • His second wife is hinted at being in a similar arrangement, with it being done to stop a scandal.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The spirits only intervene when they're in need of someone to contract with, and only manifest to those who already have one with them. If you refuse a contract, they don't feel obligated to help you anymore and would just leave.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie/Will Not Tell a Lie: The spirits never lie; so even if they use Exact Words with no mercy, you can be sure those are true, despite they not meaning what you would expect.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one was willing to listen to Harris about the lost Orphic Princess in the magical forest... or so it appears. Turns out at least one high level Acadamist was listening and laying his own plans.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Orphic book that contains all the information about Orphic history, and especially about the royal family. Harris recovered it in secret.
    • Imogen's Bag of Sharing. The only way to contact her after she was spirited away by the Cistern spirits.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Deidre Thorne is missing from the Torstenn manor and one annotation implies she's either running from justice or already caught. Page 128 revealed she's in the manor, but she's in a state not suited to get out or have visits.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Harris, though he's spent most of his life in denial. His mother was an Orphic High Priestess from Khala and his father was from Abwerelle, where he grew up. Rajani claims that Harris is "a link between Khalan and Aberwellian magics".
  • The Chosen One: A bit sadder than most. The Spirits let Harris into the forest to meet Tammy, knowing that it was meant that he would betray her trust by siding with the Academists, then force her out of the forest so that she could save Aberwelle's magic.
  • Chocolate Baby: Tammy is the only redhead in her family, the youngest child, and a strong nexus of Orphic power in a dying imperial line. No wonder there's a lot of muttering about "Bastards at Court" behind her back.
  • Chunky Updraft: A minor example here.
  • Cold Iron: The spirits' weakness, even though they aren't apparently aware of this fact.
    Alt Text: The chain was wrought piece by piece, over centuries. The heavy iron forged by man weighed the spirit down, but man's chain could not contain the power of nature-- or so the spirits thought.
  • Cooldown Hug: Harris has to hug Ewan in order to activate the protective spell of his wheelchair and also to cool him down from his triggered state.
    • Tristan does this to his sister in order to calm her down.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Whenever we get to see Academic magic against Orphic magic.
  • Combat Haircomb: So far a lot of the experienced Orphic women carry something that can be used like this. Mrs. Thorne used hers to access her magic.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Imogen and Street to Tammy.
  • Continuity Nod: The Chief Forest Spirit' mask is still cracked from Harris' Destruction spell.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Discused. Imogen's sister, Irelia, is convinced that something's fishy about the coincidence of Tammy's arrival in Kirkhall and the spirits' sudden resurgence because it seems way too convenient. Ember doesn't care as long as the spirits would help the Orphics overthrow the Academists.
    • Discused again in Page 224. Indra reveals that it was meant for Harris to find Tammy and it was meant for him to betray her in order to get her out of the Wickwold forest. Harris still insists he just find her by luck, when nobody else could.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower:
    • Given that he has been working right within some of the innermost Academist circles in Kirkhall for years, even having an apprenticeship to Asher Thorne himself, it would not be a good thing for Harris if he were ousted as having Orphic magic. He tries to hide it by denying it to the point he won't accept he has it, even when bleeding to death.
    • Tammy lets the spirits take control and they raise a ginormous tree that can be seen all over the city, blasting Academists across the street. Suffice to say, she's probably done with the whole incognito thing.
  • Creepy Crows: The spirits first meet Tamaura as these birds. They ask her if she wants to go outside of her family's castle. And ask her. And ask her. And ask her. And ask her. Every time she says no, more birds come the next day. It gets to the point of being reminiscent to The Birds, and it is just as terrifying.
  • Cute Witch: Imogen and Street are Orphic witches but Street lacks the sight and Imogen is sealed and thus limited to academic magic. Tammy counts as well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Tammy's past, though ambiguous, is implied to be very dark. Her family was attacked by someone (Academists being hinted), her mother was forced to enter a contract with the spirits to save her daughters and Tammy and her sister may be the only Llyns left alive (or barely, in Aliana's case).
    • Ewan's past involves a bombing attack, Tammy's accidental earthquake was enough to trigger him so badly he forgot about the protective magic built into his wheelchair.
    • "What happened to Deirdre" is held out as the reason Irelia wants to keep Tammy at arms length and Imogen out of the Wayfarers, implying that something horrible happened to her. Confirmed, judging from Dierdre's condition when Tammy finds her later. Imogen later reveals she's been turned into a Graver.
    • The Thorne sisters in general, seeing as their father either killed or imprisoned their mother before discarding them for a new family while insisting that they remain good examples of "reformed" (e.g. sealed) Orphics.
  • Dem Bones: What's cooler than a Sealed Spirit in a Can? A GIANT SKELETAL DRAGON IN A CAN.
  • Die or Fly:
  • Divine Right of Kings: The Orphics, a Mage Species, claimed that they needed to be in charge to satisfy the spirits and keep both the land and the magic alive. All of this is true. Unfortunately, only Orphics can see spirits, so the common people assumed that they were just lying to justify their rule. It certainly didn't help that the ruling family was caring less and less for their kingdom as time went on, instead amusing themselves with trinkets made by the new academic magic. The first academist eventually used these trinkets to overthrow and execute all of them except one, who escaped with the spirits.
  • Dramatic Unmask: The Chief Spirit's mask finally fell apart. In more than a way. Hi there smiley man.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Minor ones; Tammy's hair was a vermillion red before it was toned down to a more real auburn brown. Irelia's eyes were green before being settle to blue to match her father's.
  • Enchanted Forest: The Wickwold forest's blindsprings. Noted to be the last bastion of abundant flora in Aberwelle, home to Spirits, unicorns and natural magic, and the place in which we — and Harris — first meet Tamaura, a long lost princess.
  • Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity: Harris while in in his own Mental World, started to shrink back into a child thanks to his own self-denial and stuborness. When he starts to accept the truth and not talk back to Indra, he started to grow up again.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Imogen arrives just in time to learn about Ember asking Tammy not to tell her about the Cistern spirits. Later she arrives just in time to overhear Tammy complaining to Street about it.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Contrary to popular belief the spirits were quite literal when they tasked Tammy to free their kin from their chains.
  • Exact Words: Phrasing is critical when one enters a contract with the spirits as the price is paid in life force and correlates directly with the benefit received. Expansive terms like "keep me safe" or "give me the power to protect everyone I love" have been rejected by the spirits because they simply cost more than any human could ever pay. Unfortunately since only the spirits can calculate the true price of any contract the humans are stuck bargaining at a disadvantage though the spirits do seem honor-bound to provide fair warning and one even refuses a contract it thinks would cost the human too much.
  • The Fair Folk: The spirits with whom Tamaura has her contract.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Everything surrounding Tamaura's character. Her life story is literally a dusty old fable outside of her Gilded Cage. Goes full-on Storybook Episode here.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In page 130, Imogen and Street are talking about Tammy. In the same page, Harris passes right aside them and doesn't hear anything while he wonders where the same little girl could be.
    Alt Text: Yet again, Harris is unaware how close he is to finding what he seeks.
    • Happens again after she changed her hair and bumped into him in 192.
    • Once more on page 168, when Harris comments on being able to see Indra, even when it appears all the rest of the Spiritualists are unable to see the giant tiger Spirit. Not a one of them seem to notice.
  • Fallen Princess: Imogen, Irelia, and Dierdre, discarded half-Orphic daughters of the Academist Prime Minister. Tammy, despite being an actual princess, doesn't quite fit the trope because her fate is too exotic.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: Healthy blindsprings are surrounded by green and magic, as seen with the Wickwold forest, the greenhouse atop the Torstenn Estate when Ms. Thorne was there and the giant tree that grew up when Tammy revived its blindsrings. The fact that both magic and flora are dying in Kirkhall just highlights the connection between nature, spirits and magic and how important is the role of the priestess.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Tammy basically uncapped a bottle of magic champagne at the fountain. There was a lot of magic that was built up and the end result was enough that it shook the city.
  • Fantastic Racism: There is a lot of hate towards Orphics. It is somewhat comparable to the treatment Irish immigrants faced during the potato famine, but then add posters proclaiming the danger of even child orphics and people handing out "Mothers Against Orphics" pamphlets, proclaiming them criminals. Then there are the random checks which are comparable to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews, complete with the needed paperwork.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Many readers have notice that the Llyns' history and massacre is very similar to the Romanovs'.
  • Faustian Bargain: Ariel makes one with the spirit of the tree that Tammy released, becoming her priestess in exchange for keeping Ember safe.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Imogen, while making a dramatic scene at Irelia and Ember, says to Tammy that they're not wanted there. Tammy takes it to heart, and Imogen ends remembering her she has no home nor family.
    Imogen: Oops.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The Academists claim the spirits don't exist and, while this probably started out purely as propaganda to discredit the Orphics, it appears nowadays a sizable contingent of them genuinely believe it. Borders on Fridge Brilliance when you remember you can't kill a spirit, but you can weaken them until they're no more than a passing thought. The fewer people who believe, the weaker they become.
    • On top of that they literally can't be seen without True Sight or inside of a Blindspring unless they've take on a form like the Quail. When you consider they've been stamping out the Orphic knowledge and the grand seal blocks innate abilities, people in Kirkhall as a whole don't believe they do.
  • Flowers of Nature: Tamaura has flowers in her hair. When she leaves the forest, they begin to disintegrate to emphasize how far away from nature she is now.
  • Functional Magic: Used by Academic Mages. While specifics have yet to be given, it appears to be some form of Rule Magic, perhaps with elements of Device Magic (as seen in the rune-inscribed cards or pages that Harris uses to cast his spells). Alchemy has also been mentioned.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Tammy is horrified by what has happened to Kirkhall and Aberwelle in her absence.
  • Generational Magic Decline: Implied to have been happening to the Llyn Imperial Family prior to their being overthrown. They were having trouble producing the next generation, and protagonist Tamaura was tellingly both a strong nexus of Orphic power and born out of wedlock. Since Orphic magic is In the Blood most of the noble Orphic families were also somewhat inbred.
  • Gilded Cage: Tamaura lived in two in the span of her lifetime, and quite willingly. Lampshaded to the point of being a Visual Pun here.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The events on Chapter 5 forced Asher to authorized the use of Gravers as a means of security.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Inverted. Tamaura's dress turns into a ragged version of itself after Harris took her out the forest.
  • Great Escape: Tamaura's secondary contract with the spirits.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: None of the factions are purely good guys.
    • The beautiful nature spirits consider humans useful but ultimately expendable tools.
    • The Academists bring order and civilization if you don't mind a side-order of dystopic Police State.
    • The Orphics effectively had a caste system based on whether a person has magic In the Blood, and at least some of them are willing to engage in terrorism to fight the Academics. (Also, they may have had own penchant for oppression, depending on how truthful the Academists' Propaganda Machine is on that subject.)
  • Hand Seals: What did we tell you in the image description? MAGIC FUCKING SEALS. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE STORY.
  • Harmful to Minors: Seeing your own father arrest your mother can do that to you. Poor Thorne sisters.
  • Healing Hands: It's mentioned that Orphic magic can heal others, while Academic magic can't. This is a plot point because once the healers rebelled, the city became laden with plague and illness since they hadn't developed much in the way of medicinal skills. Rajani tried to invoke this on Harris to make him recognize he's an Orphic.
  • The Hero's Journey: Tamaura is following it with one important inversion: she starts out in the fantastic, spiritual world and crosses over to "reality", which is alien to her.
  • Hidden Depths: The Spiritualists seem like a group fooling around with soft magic, but actually they're investigating the reason for the magic dissapearing from the country and invited Harris because of his relationship with a 300 years old lost Orphic princess, who might know the reason why.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Thanks to the alteration on her Seal, Tammy is able to access the magic around her, allowing her to use her Sight and turn Academists' sigils against them. The first thing she does is take over Harris' handcuff spell and use it against him, adding in the paralyzing properties he used on her when she was on the unicorn.
  • Home Field Advantage: Orphics absorb their homeland's magic to cast spells. Foreigns can use Blood Magic to connect other places with their homeland for a short while (basically cheating) but they shouldn't if they wish to be discreet, as the use of it sets an alarm on any native Orphics close by. This explains why Rajani calls Harris "a link between Aberwellian and Khalan magic" and why it's so relevant.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Gravers are this to Tammy. She can feel how their magic have been alterated, commenting that their magic is similar to hers but "it feels off". And that's nothing in comparation on how she sees them.
  • Human Weapon: Gravers.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Gravers, Orphics turned into living weapons by academic magic.
  • Ignorant of the Call: Harris until he learns the Call knows where he lives.
  • Important Haircut: Tammy gets some of hair cut because her huge hairdo was too noticeable. She now has bangs and a long braid.
  • Instant Runes: Academic magic are often pre-prepared spell cards which, upon activation, produce Instant Runes.
  • In the Blood: Word of God is that most people in the city have Orphic blood in them through an attempted assimilation in the past. In most cases it's diluted to the point of never using magic, but some like Ewan become adept at their skills because of it.
  • Invisible to Normals: Some magical things cannot be seen without an ability like True Sight. These include spirits and blindsprings. Curiously enough, Harris can see a spirit even when the rest of the Spiritualists can't until Rajani makes Indra visible.
  • Irony:
    • According to the Academist's texts, one certain princess was the only royal family member to approve the use of Academic magic for non-Orphics. Said princess, in response, is painted as the only good, innocent and kind member of a wicked family in history's pages. Said princess now regrets that stance, since the Academists sealed and killed her family sans one sister.
    • Academic magic is revealed to be a modified, more complicated version of Orphic magic so those who're very talented at it have to thank a little bit of Orphic blood inside them for it. It is also revealed that Academic magic only works as long as there are Orphics using their own magic, and by sealing them the Academists are cutting themselves off from their own magic source.
  • Kick the Dog: The Empress' contract with the spirits modified Tammy's seal and "corrupted" her magic in a last ditch attempt of the Empress to get a hold on magic. Basically, she saw her youngest as a tool and when Tammy tried to protest, the queen reminded her that such thing was "her responsibility and duty".
  • Kids Are Cruel: Imogen is bullied by her classmates because of her Orphic blood. Lampshaded by the Alt Text.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The moment Tristan bursts through a barrier meant to stop Gravers, Tammy and Harris decide to evacuate rather than bother trying to slow him down.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: The length of a girl's hair seems to be proportional to how feminine a girl is. Street is more tomboy than Imogen, Irelia is more feminine than Deidre and all of them have nothing of Tammy, with the longest of hairs and her love for lace and proper manners.
  • Loophole Abuse: The thorns around Tammy's Seal are a loophole added by the spirits that allow her to use the ambient magic around her even though her own magic is sealed. That is why she still has Sight and can turn sigil magic on Academists.
  • Lost Common Knowledge: Tammy, coming from a time where knowledge about the spirits and Orphic magic was common, is very surprised that Imogen and Street don't know something so obvious to her like the fact that the hideout where the Orphics are taking refuge is actually a Blindspring. This is because Academists have actually attempted to stamp that information out.
  • Made a Slave: Gravers, who are assigned masters and seem to lack free will.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Turns out that, unlike what Academists believed, Orphic magic has rules and restrictions, making Orphics Not So Invincible After All. As seen in Wham Line apparently there is only one magic in this world but two approaches: One relies on innate talents and communication with spirits (Orphics), the other on knowledge and practice (Academists). However, you do not need the talent to excel at any of them.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: This is how pacts work. For instance, Tamaura makes one with the spirits of Aberwelle after Harris breaks the one her mother had originally made with them. In exchange for them protecting her sister Aliana, Tamaura will find and free the spirits captured in Kirkwell.
  • The Magic Goes Away: It's eventually revealed that, because of Academic magic's overuse of magic and the lack of priestesses to maintain Blindsprings, all magic is slowly disappearing from Aberwelle.
  • Magic Music: A song that Imogen learned from her mother and Tammy learned from her sister is capable of restoring a tree that had withered and died back to life.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: The introduction of Master Lumens signifies the story turning darker. With Lumens we get the introduction of Gravers, the reveal that Ewan is working with him, and the potential of Lumens plotting a coup against Asher.
  • Marriage to a God: The High Priestess is meant to serve the spirits for life, meaning that she's excluded from marriage and childbirth. This explains why Aliana, who's obviously unappealed at the idea of marriage, was bitter and desperate for a chance to be priestess again; and why Layla abandoned the position in order to get married.
  • Mental World: Indra bumps against Harris's forehead, and the two end up inside of Harris's mind. Harris appears to be wearing his Academist garb and Indra appears as a baby tiger.
  • Mood Whiplash: Harris' visit to Rajani's place goes from her offering him cake to her slicing open his arm in about three pages.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: As of page 208, we know that this can happen. Some children of Orphic mages are known to not be able to use any magic at all. Although, in the current political and social climate of Aberwelle, this is considered a good thing. Harris sincerely hopes that this is the case with him.
  • Mundane Utility: Rajani uses her epic, large and fearsome-looking tiger spirit... as a ladder.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Harris at the end of Chapter One.
    • Tammy after she gets Imogen, Street and herself sucked into a Blindspring.
  • Mystical Plague: After the ascending of the Academists and the overthrowing of the royal family, Aberwelle has been hit by a plague. It's implied to be because of the weak and/or imprisioned Spirits, as they're connected to nature. It's also causing magic to slowly dissapear from Aberwelle, and Rajani implied it's the cause of Layla's illness.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Mistress Margot, despite not being onscreen for her Establishing Character Moment.
    Alt Text: Mistress Margot is a chipper seventy three, thank you very much. She does tend to singe things she despises, like the mailman, her adult children and errant squirrels.
  • No Communities Were Harmed:
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Imogen feels left out of the Wayfarers by Irelia. She at least wants to be informed for what's going on but Irelia feels she could be in danger of getting caught by their father thanks to Imogen's tendency of talking without thinking.
    Alt Text: Poor Imogen, all she wants is to belong.
  • Older Than They Look: Given a Blindsprings can warp time when one is within it, Tammy has spent over 300 years inside of one without ageing: physically, mentally, or emotionally. Granted, this only refers to how old she is in real world time, neither herself nor other people would be able to tell since she's essentially still 12.
    • Harris, to some extent. According to Wordof God, because Harris spent so much time in the Wickwold Forest Blindsprings as a child while playing with Tammy, the time-altering magic began to affect him, to the point where it ended up stunting his growth, so he appeared fairly small for his age for a good portion of his youth. However, once he left for Kirkhall and was away from it for long enough, he began ageing normally again and was able to grow to look like a fairly normal adult.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: The spirits. Thanks to their past influence in society, Blindsprings' universe is more accepting of LGBT people.
  • Our Mages Are Different: The Acadmists are "Athlete" in that they take years of practice and study to learn their craft while the Orphics are "Race" in that they are born with their gifts.
  • Power Incontinence: Rajani mentions that Orphic magic is difficult to keep at bay without proper training, and it's worse on children. She mentions she once called a monsoon because she was upset for something she can't recall now.
  • Power Nullifier: Master Gregoire's Great Seal, which is the only known way to bind an Orphic's powers. All known big Orphic families are sealed, though some managed to avoid it by remaining undercover and others know how to use Blood Magic. In Tammy's case, it only stops her from using her own magic but not others, thanks to the thorny circle in her particular Seal. See Loophole Abuse above.
  • Pretty Butterflies: A type of Academic Magic, if some of the magical card designs are any indication.
  • Really Three Hundred Years Old: Tamaura, but only chronologically thanks to Year Outside, Hour Inside.
  • Refusal of the Call: When Rajani tries to force Harris to accept and awaken to his Orphic magic that she claims he has in order to get him to help her, his response is adamant denial that he has any at all. Probably doesn't help that her attempt involves cutting open his arm with an earring.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Wayfarers are not interested in restoring the old Orphic ruling class, they're just trying to end the Academist-led persecution of their people.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Rain Spirit. The Quail spirit when it's not talking as well.
  • Run or Die: The advice given when encountering a Graver. Orphics who are turned into these have their magic twisted by all the sigils placed on them, making them dangerous and powerful at the same time.
  • Sacred Hospitality: The spirits are bound to be good host to their guests. Street uses it to escape from the Fountain spirit.
  • Secret Legacy: Harris is the son of Layla, the Khalan High Priestess.
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: Tammy knows a spell that allows others holding her hands to see through her eyes.
  • Shrouded in Myth:
    • Tamaura's Back Story. Doesn't exactly help the audience that both sides of conversation in this strip are being as vague as possible.
      Tamaura: That's not what happened at all.
    • There's a children's storybook that's clearly based on Tamaura.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When the chained spirit traps Street and her friends, it tries a combination of implied threats and blatant attempts to manipulate Street's sympathies to get her to form a contract. To say it backfires is an understatement.
    Spirit: You woke me up! Bringing you here drained me of my last reserves of power!
    Street: I didn't ask for that. I don't owe you anything.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Aliana was not happy when Tamaura was chosen to be High Priestess.
    • Ariel constantly needles Ember because she wants the Wayfarers to be more aggressive.
  • Sickly Green Glow: To add more ominousness to the Aberwelle spirits, they're associated with the Lodestones which glow in a green light when activated. The green color also contrast with the warm orange glow that the openly friendly Indra displays.
  • Single Sex Offspring: All of the last Empress' children were female, and it's implied certain Orphic bloodlines produce mostly or only women.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zig Zagged in the weirdest way. First of all, Tamaura got into a Magically-Binding Contract with Nature Spirits because she wants to keep her older sister alive because of something the Academist Mages did. We don't know what exactly happened to any or all of the members of the Llyn family to make Tammy hate Academists so much, but we know it was bad. 300 years later, Tammy meets Harris, who lives in a world where he has the means to become an Academic Mage, but is at first doubtful about it. Then, after knowing Tammy for a few years, he ends up wanting to become an Academist to become enough of a Badass to save Tammy from the spirits. This makes Tammy upset and they leave on bad terms. Ten years later, Harris comes back a full-fledged Academist and “saves” Tammy, who’s pissed off again. She now discusses the current (and confusing) status of their relationship here. Thus, the trope is Zig Zagged and Deconstructed simultaneously, being that Tamaura can’t be in love with Harris not only because he went to her sworn enemy’s side, but also because he did so completely willingly for her sake and she hates him/feels guilty for it. See also the My God, What Have I Done? entry.
  • Succession Crisis: The Llyns' last generation. The last Empress and Emperor had eight daughters: "three dead, three married but childless, two but children, their fate unknown.". And apparently, The Llyn bloodline needed to rule, for reasons regarding the spirits.
  • Tears of Fear: Ewan shed these when an earthquake triggered him to remember a bombing attack from Khala.
  • Title Drop: A "Blindsprings" is an alternative reality, invisible to those lacking the Sight, that it's connected to one or more spirits and are filled with great magic power. The Wayfarers, while unaware of their true nature, use Blindsprings as hideaways and because of the Academists' using Sigils all over the city and lack of "maintenance", Blindsprings all over the city (and possible, the country) are either dead or near-dead.
  • They Called Me Mad!:
  • Toxic Friend Influence: After a very crazy, stressful day that estrangled the already delicate status quo between Imogen and her dad, Street shows up to tell her to ditch her meeting with him. Imogen even lampshades it.
  • Tragically Misguided Favor: Harris just had to "save" Tammy. He should have listened to her first.
  • Tragic Bigot: Ewan hates and fears Orphics with a passion because they caused his paralysis.
  • True Sight: A gift that most Orphics are born with, they lose it when their magic is sealed. Tammy is an exception due to her Loophole.
  • Unequal Rites: Rather thoroughly fleshed out, if not outright deconstructed. Why do Academists hate and disdain and fear Orphics? Firstly, because their Mage Species Blood Magic allowed them to create oppressive kingdoms the world over, where normal people are lowest in the social ladder. Secondly, their magic is In the Blood (literally) and takes no real training to learn, and is based on "nonsense" superstition and talk of spirits. Whereas Academic magic focus on Ritual Magic that takes years to learn and master, and is slower to cast. Orphics, for their part, hate Academists for oppressing them and forcibly applying Power Nullifiers to all of them in the form of seals, essentially rendering them no better than a normal human, except they are treated as a second-class race instead.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: Tamaura rides a white one with golden horn while wearing a Pimped-Out Dress of the same color scheme right before Harris ruins everything.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The alternate text on page 54 mentions that 95% of the people in town don't notice the beam of light in Nawonan District, due to only Orphics or those with True Sight being able to see it. Everyone else just thought it was an earthquake.
  • Utility Magic: Academic Magic is used for a great number of things, including construction, so it's virtually everywhere and unnoticed to the naked eye in most cases. The only field where it isn't prolific is medicine, because it can't directly affect people.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Harris seems convinced that he's working to stave off a rapidly approaching catastrophe caused by the Academists unwittingly upsetting the orphic/spirit balance. There's also a magic crisis of some kind, related to the blackouts and medical issues, and he's hoping that she can help with that as well.
  • Velvet Revolution/The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Academist revolution didn't intend to kill all Orphics, just seal them with Master Gregoire's Great Seal. But after the Llyns were taken prisoner, a failed rescue attempt convinced their guards that keeping them alive was too risky, so they executed the whole royal family exept Tamaura and Aliana. The Academists, seeing they went too far, tried to paint the incident in history's pages as a necessarily evil deed.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Harris. His desire to save his childhood friend and apparent belief that Tammy is the key to staving off some looming disaster leads him to meddle in things he does not understand. He also wants to help Ewan (Orphic magic can heal and Academic magic cannot) but Ewan calls him on his tendency to "help" people against their own desires for essentially selfish reasons.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the flashback to Imogen's family, her mother is reading Orphic history to her children when a horde of Academists burst in.
    Asher: Please show my daughters to their rooms and keep them there until I give word. I'll deal with my wife personally.
    • On Page 168 we get this gem from Harris.
    Harris: ...Does no one else see the huge tiger thing.
    Rajani (To Harris): You're an Orphic, Harris. I can smell it in your blood.
    Rajani (To Harris): The High Priestess. Your mother.
    Harris: Academic magic is the same as Orphic magic.
    Nobleman (talking about Tammy): When did they let bastards in court?
  • Wham Shot: Considering that it's a webcomic and the Show, Don't Tell rule, it's only natural that Plot Twists are demonstrated this way.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tammy snapped at Harris after he attacked the spirits, and again when she escaped his Unwanted Rescue, leading to his My God, What Have I Done? moment.
    • Imogen and Ewan both call him out later on his self-centered way of "helping" people without considering their desires, needs or feelings.
    • Rajani sliced open Harris's arm with an earring without even knowing if he's Orphic and able to heal himself or not without even having a backup plan to heal him in case she was wrong as she can't use magic and was entirely depending on him to have Orphic magic to heal himself with. She basically endangered his life on a whim even though there are other ways that she could have used to prove her point. Even Kadi in the comments says that Rajani made a mistake and is blaming Harris solely because his response wasn't what she had planned.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Book 2's prologue is set 300 years in the past, at the times of Orphic rule in Aberwelle, and it focuses on Tammy's duties as a priestess and Aliana's bachelorette party.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Asher's current wife is this to Imogen, pushing for him to send her to a reform school. It's telling that he comes off as being reasonable when she's on-screen.
  • You Are What You Hate: Indra reveals that just about everyone in Aberwelle has Orphic blood within them due to early attempts at integration. That includes Academic mages and others who discriminate against them. The only difference is that only 5% or so can manifest it as magic, but others are sensitive enough that it strengthens and helps them grasp Academic magic.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time is inconsistent while in a Blindspring; you can spend less than an hour inside the Blindspring but when you got out, it's already nighttime. No wonder Tamaura was able to spend three hundred years in one without really paying attention.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: The reason spirits can't die.
  • You Can See That, Right?: Harris in Page 168 is the only one who notices Indra at first.
    Harris: ...Does no one else see the huge tiger thing.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Aliana was very upset when Tammy was named High Priestess.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Orphics have to organize in small cells to avoid detection, and some of those cells are desperate enough to resort to blowing stuff up. Deidre was turned into a Graver after being caught during a guerrilla operation. Ariel set off some sort of explosive and was caught, but fortunately Tammy intervened.