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Webcomic / Daughter of the Lilies

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Daughter of the Lilies is a comic largely about the importance of self-worth, the different forms love can take, how it can redeem and empower us, as well as issues relating to anxiety. (There are also unicorns, manticores, ghouls, goblins, cannibalistic elves, dragons, gods, fairies, ghosts, werewolves, demons, angels, and so on.)
— From the "About" page.

Daughter of the Lilies is a fantasy webcomic drawn by Meg Syverud, author/artist of One Question, and colored by Jessica "Yoko" Weaver.

Thistle is a hooded combat mage on the run from her past. She's hired on by an Orc mercenary named Orrig to work with him and his rather fractious employees. The comic follows her adventures as well as her burgeoning romance with Brent, a part-orc swordsman with his own anger-management and insecurity issues.

The first page can be found here. The comic was first published in November 2013 and currently updates on Tuesdays.

Daughter of the Lilies provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to E 
  • Acid Attack: To his own delighted surprise, the Greater Drath develops acid-filled pustules on the back of its new host. Margot suffers immediate, serious burns when one bursts and splashes her.
  • Adventure Guild: The Mercenary Guild seems to lean in this direction, given that the unconventional assignments it hands out often involve clearing out monster infestations from forests, mines and ruins.
  • After Action Patch Up: Zig-zagged when Thistle treats Brent's bite wound. It's tense at first, since Brent is angry at having taken an injury that can't be immediately Healed and Thistle is badly shaken by the whole encounter, but it leads them to open up to each other more while she's checking his recovery later.
  • After the End: Remnants of modern-day Earth like a flashlight and "D" batteries are sold as historic artifacts and monsters infest the ruins of Wien (a.k.a. Vienna). What sort of apocalypse replaced technology with magic is unknown, aside from cryptic and wholly untrustworthy hints from a Drath.
  • Alt Text: On every page. Often provided by Patrons if they come up with something Meg particularly likes. There are also many alt-text references to The Bible, which the reader is free to look up and interpret at their leisure.
  • Amphibian at Large: In a flashback, the gang is hired to safeguard a class of apprentice mages learning to summon demons into the bodies of small animals. The professor conjures up an ancient, powerful one into the body of a toad, which promptly devours him, grows to giant size, rampages through the city, and attempts to open a portal to hell the size of an entire city block.
  • Anti-Magic: Obsidian is unaffected by magic and nullifies ambient magical energy, while oak trees can conduct magic without being affected by it, like a lightning rod.
  • The Archmage: Wizards are supposed to be the "gold standard" when it comes to magic, capable of feats that no other mage can manage, and what we've see of Wu so far supports this. This is thanks in part to the patronage of the One Who is Three.
  • Asshole Victim: "Brody" the Drath invokes this on Professor Fike by taunting him over his responsibility for rejecting his gay son, who later died, in order to possess his body and drive him to despair to stop him from Fighting from the Inside. However, Drath are utterly evil and have an intuitive sense of their victims' vulnerabilities, so Brody's word on the matter is hardly reliable, and Fike seems to honestly regret what happened.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Not romantically, but after Brent suffers Mind Rape and is almost dragged down to hell by the draths, Lyra is unexpectedly gentle with him, forgoing her usual mocking even after he has to make some personal confessions about his issues that the draths brought up.
  • Badass Bystander: A random fire mage and his friend manage to distract a monstrous demonic frog thingie before it can complete a gigantic Drath summoning circle.
  • Bat People: Cave elves have a distinctively bat-like appearance (upturned noses, large eyes, fin-like ears, sharp teeth), developed from living in the dark underground. Thistle is no exception.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Thistle's first appearance in Chapter 1 is to save Brent's life with a timely fireball.
    • In her first chronological fight in Chapter 4, she saves Orrig from Drath assimilation with a Light 'em Up slam-dunk.
  • Black Bug Room: When a person is possessed by a Drath, their mind is trapped with the Drath's spirit in a black void where it delivers an unending Hannibal Lecture of their deepest insecurities.
  • Body Horror:
    • Drath hosts mutate hideously when initially possessed. When the fusion dance aspect of possession comes into play, it gets even worse, and apparently corpses are really icky when possessed.
    • The Drath themselves have their heads twisted backwards.
    • Professor Margot is badly burned on the face and side from the Greater Drath's Acid Attack, though after she heals, she's happy to show off the scars.
  • Bothering by the Book: Orrig trolls a customer refusing to pay for the team dealing with a glow troll problem, by letting her know that they get paid directly by the guild, and then handing her a complaint form.
  • Bury Your Gays:
    • The first gay character in comic, Jamie, is dead before the comic even starts. His first appearance is as a corpse in his father's memories. To make matters worse, the arc involving him is based around his father's guilt over inadvertently causing his suicide.
    • In contrast, the author makes it very clear when Lyra starts dating Margot that this will not happen to her.
  • The Cavalry: After an argument with the group, Thistle returns to save their lives just in the nick of time.
  • Censor Box: More like a "Censor Scribble", blacking out swearing and obscene gestures. This happens to Lyra more than all of the other characters combined.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Played for Laughs with the characters' response to the "T'Fa'Nii" series of novels (an In-Universe version of Red Sonja). Discussed by Lyra, who doesn't see the point of it, and Brent, who does.
  • Cliché Storm: The in-universe book character T'Fa'Nii the Clanless has a Punctuation Shaker name (pronounced Tiffany), boobs that are barely restrained by a skimpy Chainmail Bikini, and a huge sword stuck to her back, to say nothing of the Purple Prose with which it's all described and the Leg Cling she gets on her book cover.
  • Clothesline Stealing: Thistle hides her face for reasons that once get her run out of town by a Torches and Pitchforks mob; even when fleeing for her life, she snags a shirt off a clothesline to wrap around her head as a replacement for her usual Mysterious Veil.
  • Confused Question Mark: When Master Wu gets told off for berating Thistle, a small flock of these gathers around his head, followed by an Idea Bulb when he realizes that she's not actually one of his students.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The One Who Is Three. There's also mention of a Goddess of unknown provenance. Thistle has tried to research them, but has come up empty so far.
  • Cute Creature, Creepy Mouth: Glow trolls look like smiling froggy lumps until they see food. Then those mouths turn out to take up much of the troll's body and be filled with oversized humanlike teeth.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Master Wu (in his dragon form) intervenes in the Brody fight, Brody is instantly overmatched. He breaks his teeth trying to bite Wu, gets a blast of dragon breath and just gives up.
  • Cypher Language: The cave elf language is a simple substitution cypher, making it fairly easy to translate. For example: "Sorry it's nothing personal" & "You killed my comrade!".
  • Dark Is Evil: Hell is pitch-black with Drath wandering around complaining and begging, and huge centauroid statues/guards off in the distance. In the physical world, Drath without hosts manifest as Living Shadows.
  • Deal with the Devil: Many of the older or more intelligent drath do this in order to possess you. The teacher of the Magical University that holds drath summoning courses notes that the drath are able to sense and latch onto peoples' insecurities, although no one is sure how.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • The drath can invade living and dead bodies with a touch, mutating and taking control of them while the host spirit is trapped in a Black Bug Room. The results can be horrifying.
    • Even without possessing them, Greater Drath can infect a victim with a touch, leaving an Enemy Within "echo" behind that constantly brings up their insecurities. The echo can be removed if discovered quickly enough by someone with the power to do it, but the window of opportunity is brief and the people who are able to remove it are rare.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Drath are divided into lesser and greater variants. The greater ones (like Brody) are the really dangerous ones that can leave pieces of themselves inside you.
  • Dragons Are Divine: Implied by the way a Wizard’s dragon transformation is referred to as a “sacred shape.”
  • Dramatic Drop: In a flashback LouAnne drops a tray when she spots Thistle with her true form revealed, performing magic to heal a premature baby. The Torches and Pitchforks scene from Chapter 2 quickly ensues.
  • Elemental Baggage: Downplayed with elemental magic. Although a mage can conjure up an element out of nothing, it's more energy-efficient to cast on existing material, so one pragmatic mage wears a dress of transmuted water as an emergency aid to Making a Splash.
  • Enemy Within: When Drath latch on to a sapient host, they also dig into the hosts' minds by constantly bringing up their failings and insecurities. This makes it that much harder for the hosts to break free. Even if the host is freed, the Drath will leave an "echo" behind that continues to torment the host. This echo can be removed if discovered quickly enough by someone powerful enough to remove them, but those people are rare and the window of opportunity to remove it is short. Several characters so far have had echoes:
    • Brent is left with an echo after he is nearly dragged into the Drath's realm by a horde of lesser Drath, but Thistle manages to remove it in time. Said echo brings up Brent's insecurities over his own Unstoppable Rage, his intelligence, and the belief that he was unloved by his own family.
    • The professor who was possessed by Brody was left with an echo that told him that nobody would ever trust him again after what happened, but Master Wu immediately removed it.
    • Thistle herself is stuck with an echo and unlike the others there was no one around to remove it in time. So it's likely permanent. Even worse since the host has a lot of insecurities for the echo to use.
  • Eternal Recurrence: What's left of Brody, before disintegrating, claims to Master Wu that the Drath have seen Wizards rise and fall time and time again, and that when they fall again, which will be soon, the Drath will retake the world.

    Tropes F to L 
  • Familiar: "Familiars" are Drath spirits bound into living or dead animal hosts, to generally gruesome effect. They're intelligent and can serve as protectors, aides, or "supplements" to spellcasting, so long as one doesn't mind a shadowy companion that intuitively knows one's deepest insecurities and most painful secrets.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Nobody likes cave elves. Considering that they happily chow down on other sapient species and aren't too picky about said species being dead first, it's not hard to see why.
    • It's mentioned that more old-fashioned elves look down on orcs, not least because the orcs defeated them quite handily in war. Thistle is enraged to realize that the fantasy book she bought is clearly racist towards orcs, presenting them as evil and savage. Orrig dismisses the author as "an angry little man making a fit."
  • Fantastic Slurs: Ko' or Ka'dafekka (male and female, respectively) is a really nasty way of saying "orphan" or "unwanted child".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The city elves are based on monarchic to Napoleonic France, with the associated fashions and snootiness and a capital named St. Trivium sur Bourge.
    • The orcs speak with Russian accents, and Orrig tends to insert Russian phrases into his speech such as "nyet" for "no" and the occasional swear. There was also a notable historic incident where the Napoleonic-styled elves tried to invade them and failed miserably.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Professor Caedhin's terrifying drath-infused bird turns out to be named Carol (after one of the comic's patrons).
  • Flying Seafood Special: One comic depicts a pod of flying whales soaring high in the sky.
  • Food Porn: Not in the comic proper, but an In-Universe Dime Novel describes a village feast with what can only be called "lascivious detail." It makes Lyra hungry and Thistle has to skip that part.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Way back in Chapter One, there's a good reason Thistle gets so upset over the death of the cave elves and doesn't use "It" Is Dehumanizing pronouns for them.
    • Also regarding Thistle, the cover page of Chapter 1 — Our Wild Brethren is likely a reference to Thistle's brethren.
    • And another one in the last frame on this page, with a Hidden in Plain Sight sign.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Featured (with gold cutlery, no less) at a particularly stultifying formal dinner where some social elites have a casual chat about Drath summoning.
  • Fungus Humongous: When Thistle is caught out in the magic storm in Chapter 10, fields of meters-tall mushrooms begin popping out of the ground. When the characters emerge after the storm abates, they see that the magic caused the environment to grow gigantic, including the button mushrooms.
  • Funny Background Event: The evening after defeating the drath, the group sits and waits while Thistle recovers after fainting briefly. While they talk, Lyra pulls out a compact and starts powdering her nose.
  • Fusion Dance: Drath hosts can absorb other creatures into themselves by simple touch. If they do so with a person, they return to full sapience.
  • Gay Aesop: A drath mocks the summoning teacher over his gay son, and his guilt over having rejected him, as part of a Thanatos Gambit. When it gets him angry enough to stomp on it, it merges with him. If the teacher was more tolerant, the whole school arc wouldn't have happened — and getting the teacher's soul out of the resulting demon involves convincing him to let go of his views and admit that he should have let his son grow to be the man he wanted to be.
  • Gender Is No Object: Sexism seems to be non-existent despite it taking place in a more or less medieval-ish fantasy setting. When Thistle is hired as member of a group of mercenaries, there's already a woman in the team, and the objection to hiring Thistle (mentioned only after she's hired) is that she's a mage, most of whom are arrogant and self-centered to the point of being completely useless in battle.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: This is an indicator that Wizards are superior magic-users.
    • Master Wu wears golden robes, and he can transform into a golden dragon.
    • Meanwhile Thistle's eyes glow gold when she's casting powerful magics, the arrow she enchants for Lyra glows gold, and her coat is edged with gold trim.
  • Grotesque Cute: The glow trolls are lumpy dog-sized creatures with smiley faces when at rest. Then they see Thistle and bare their teeth en masse. Cue frantic retreat.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Growing plants doesn't seem to have much in the way of tactical applications — until Thistle needs to plug a breached summoning circle fast.
  • Hold the Line: Margot faces a rampaging Greater Drath singlehandedly in order to buy time for the city's resident Wizard to arrive. She can't quite manage it alone, but Orrig's team rescues her and picks up where she leaves off.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Whatever Thistle's face looks like, it's enough to send a cave elf running away in panic. Even the drath recoil from her. It turns out that the cave elf was simply horrified at the thought that he'd almost tasted the flesh of one of his own, while the drath are repulsed by the divine favor she carries.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This page lead to the fans creating them in the comment section every time a goat is seen.
  • Ignored Expert: Basically any mage with any intelligence refuses to have anything to do with the drath, and the incredibly powerful and wise wizards are the most insistent about it. Everyone else dismisses them as "crazy" and "old-fashioned" for not wanting to deal with demons whose primary shtick revolves around knowing exactly how to exploit people's psychological weak points. Even after the school arc, when a drath tries to summon more drath in what would likely end with the city a festering hellscape, Wu's concerns are brushed off.
  • Innate Night Vision: Cave elves can see in complete darkness, which could prove something of a give-away for Thistle.
  • Internal Reveal: Brent correctly infers that the book Thistle's reading has an unflattering reference to whatever she is, so he grabs it out of her hands and throws it into the fire without looking.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Zig-zagged regarding the cannibalistic cave elves. They're classified as non-sapient by other species and are referred to as "it" by most of Orrig's crew; Thistle, who knows about cave elf culture and secretly is one herself, uses "him" and has many more reservations about the job.
  • Jar of the Bizarre: Inverted. One of the first signs that the fantasy world is connected to reality somehow is a jar containing a D battery as an ancient relic.
  • The Legions of Hell: The drath, a mixture of damned souls and true demons who yearn to enter and overrun the physical world and will take advantage of any breach that allows them through to come boiling out into corporeal existence.
  • Light Equals Hope: Light Is Good, while the demonic Drath spirits manifest as clinging shadows that infect or outright overwhelm their mortal targets through despair. On two occasions, mages who rescue Drath victims get a sudden heavenly backlight while they reach out, physically or metaphorically, to the victim.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: After hearing his new mage introduce herself hesitantly as Thistle, Orrig casts a glance at the thistle-plant at his feet. Confirmed when "Thistle" writes down her new name under a long list of crossed out flower names and noting that she's running out of flowers.

    Tropes M to P 
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Magic is often accompanied by a sparkling effect that showers from the spell or the magus' hands, caused by formless waste magic escaping. The in-universe term for it is "gaspillage" or "cast-off".
  • Many Spirits Inside of One: When Drath possess a herd of animals, they mash the herd together into a very loosely humanoid form with hundreds of Drath voices speaking in sync from its mouths.
  • Matriarchy: It's mentioned off-hand in the first chapter that cave elves have a matriarchy. This is why the male cave elf flees when he rips off Thistle's mask; as a female cave elf, him attacking her is unspeakable.
  • Mister Muffykins: One bug-eyed purse dog is host to a Drath spirit. Usually host bodies undergo a nightmarish Transformation of the Possessed, but perhaps the Drath decided that selective breeding had already done enough to the pooch.
  • More Insulting than Intended: When Lyra needles her teammate Brent with a particular Fantastic Slur while drinking, he's shocked into silence for one panel, then nearly attacks her on the spot. She's left quietly ashamed for using a word meaning "unwanted child" on an orphan.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Orrig and his crew are a typical fantasy RPG party, except they work in a mercenary guild with a printed news circular and employee paperwork to report various specialties and magic proficiencies. Meanwhile, Thistle's magic show in the street is treated like busking, and Drath summoning is taught in an academy.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: After he is defeated, the frog drath taunts Master Wu with the knowledge that the wizards' time is ending, and that the drath will soon return in force to the world to rule over it.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Thistle is obviously not OK with other cave elves eating people and the like.
  • Mysterious Veil: Thistle wears one (and possibly uses magic to deepen the shadows around her face) to conceal an apparently terrifying visage. Horrifying to humans, that is, but only because of the reputation of her people for being cannibals.
  • Necromancy: Drath are damned souls (and, occasionally, actual demons) summoned at random from the netherworld and placed in the body of another creature. It's illegal to use people for it (because that makes them dangerously powerful), and if a corpse is used it's even more disgusting than usual.
  • Ninja Prop: Thistle grabs Brent's speech bubble and smashes it to the ground to rid him of Drath influence. Later, Wu does the same for another speech bubble by cutting though its tail with a hand.
  • Noodle Incident: Brent met Orrig, the Team Dad mercenary who became his current boss, when he punched Orrig in the face under circumstances that they decline to explain.
    Orrig: Vas good punch.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: An uppity mage has the amazingly poor judgement to try this when Lyra warns him of a rampaging Drath in the academy. The monster then crashes through the wall nearby, to which Lyra points in silent, furious exasperation.
  • Once More, with Clarity: In chapter 7, we see the events of chapter 1 again, this time through Thistle's eyes. The cave elf wasn't running away from Thistle because he was horrified by her appearance, but because he was horrified to know he had almost eaten one of his own people, and a woman at that.
  • Our Angels Are Different: When Thistle saves Brent from the drath, he sees a glowing golden being, with six arms, wings of flame, and halo-like horns studded with eyes, who appears behind her, burns away the drach, and tells him to fear not and that the servants of the One-Who-Is-Three watch over him. When he asks Thistle about it later, she says that while she's seen a vision of such a being as well she has no idea what they could be beyond hypothesizing them to be enemies of the drach, as she's been unable to find anything said or written about them.
  • Our Demons Are Different: "Drath" or "Drackthmal" is an umbrella term that comprises both damned souls and more powerful demons that can be summoned from The Underworld, as Thistle explains.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Two distinct elven types are present:
    • City elves are urban, civilized, and arrogant; their society is largely based on that of the French Ancien Régime, down to using Francophone names, and they place great value on protocol, elegance and learning. Physically, they resemble humans with long, pointed ears and slimmer frames. They're also known for looking down on others, and have a long-standing feud with the orcs that started when the city elves tried to conquer the orc homelands and failed disastrously.
    • Cave elves are savages who inhabit caverns and mines, live in a tribal and matriarchal society, and happily prey on and eat other sapient beings. Other races hate and fear them in equal measure and view them as dangerous vermin to be exterminated. However, it's hinted that they may have more going on, as the main character, Thistle, is a civilized cave elf living in disguise.
  • Our Mages Are Different:
    • Mages are individuals who learn to manipulate the magical energy that naturally exists in everything. Everybody has some innate magic and the potential to manipulate it; mages are simply individuals who have taken time to train in and improve this ability. Mage powers draw from a "Core" of magic in the body, which is finite but refills over time; not everybody has equal amounts of stored energy. The mage Thistle compares this form magic use to a martial art, where the amount of raw energy present within you isn't as important as precision, control and skill.
    • Wizards are their own distinct thing. There are only seven wizards alive at any given time, and they significantly outclass mages in power; the wizard Master Wu, for instance, is able to effortlessly solo a demon that two experienced mages nearly died stalling. Wizardry is also implied to be capable of tasks that are impossible using regular magic. Not a great deal of detail is given about how wizards come into being, but it's stated that they're "chosen" by something.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Green, hunky, horned, occasionally axe-wielding and inexplicably Russian-accented, but besides that, they're just another sapient species, and just as capable of reasonable and civilized behavior as everybody else. They do have a history of warfare with elves, but note that the elves started it.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A woman in Thistle's backstory had suffered several miscarriages, followed by a gravely ill premature baby, and said that she couldn't bear to try again if the baby didn't survive.
  • Painting the Medium: Of the Speech Bubble variety. Ordinary characters have standard white bubbles with black lettering, Orrig's heavy accent is represented with a messier font, Drath have white letters on black bubbles, and Thistle's turn grey when the Drath echo is affecting her confidence, and her thought bubbles are white lettering on black when it cranks up her anxieties, implying it's putting the negative thoughts in her head.
  • Parting-from-Consciousness Words: Thistle tries to have the last word with Lyra after casting a major spell.
    Thistle: Now who's the crazy oooouuuunnn... [Drops to the floor]
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Used in the confrontation between Prof. Fike and Master Wu, as Fike clutches an illusion of his late son in the depths of the Drath hell.
  • Pointy Ears: Common in non-humans — elves have extra-long pointed ears that extend past their heads, cave elves in particular have very large batlike ears, and orcs' ears are pointed but only elongated by an inch or two. Brent, an Uneven Hybrid, has only a slight point to his ears from his orc grandparent.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: Drath spirits can possess almost any body after being summoned, generally causing a grotesque Transformation of the Possessed. When a dead body is used as a host, the results are even grosser.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Thistle has a brief Post-Victory Collapse after rushing into a crisis situation with all guns blazing. Then she picks herself up and goes to finish the job. And then collapses again after the danger is over.

    Tropes R to Z 
  • Race Fetish: Orrig isn't thrilled about orcs becoming popular fodder for In-Universe Romance Novels like My Green Chieftain.
  • Relative Button: The Greater Drath is able to compromise Professor Fike by blaming him for his own son's death. Worse, it might be true.
  • The Reveal:
    • Whom Thistle really works for: the One Who Is Three. This might also be an Internal Reveal, since Thistle claims not to have any idea what the One is.
    • When Thistle is seen without her hood, she's revealed to be a cave elf.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: A battery and a flashlight are shown as "ancient relics", and modern-day Vienna makes an appearance as a monster-infested ruin. Given that the setting includes orcs, elves, magic, gods, and demons, quite a lot appears to have happened in the interim.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: Cave elves are resistant to fire. Doesn't stop Thistle from frying one's face off.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Historically, the orcs dealt a large-scale one when the elves thought their lands would be an easy target for invasion. Traditionalist elves are still sore about it.
    Orrig: Tink ve too stupid to beat them. Ve show them the vay of tings real qvick.
  • Seal the Breach: When a botched Summoning Ritual opens a Hellgate in the University, in desperation, Thistle physically plugs it by conjuring a tree over it. One professor's priorities are skewed enough to complain about the damage to the lecture hall, but Master Wu fixes it offscreen.
  • Shout-Out:
    • This page has a 9 3/4 engraved in a bit of rubble, and Margot receiving aid from what's recognizably Pearl.
    • Later Thistle identifies a giant rat as a ROUS.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the first chapter, Orrig and Lyra become very concerned by Thistle losing her mask momentarily. Meanwhile, right beside them, Brent is trapped underneath an enormous boulder and has had a large chunk of his arm bitten off.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: Carol the Drath Familiar usually takes the form of a grotesque, one-eyed, pigeon-sized bird that rests on Lady Gwendolyn's shoulder. A drunken boor who annoys Gwendolyn learns the hard way that Carol can also appear as a human-sized bird monster with an extendable neck, huge claws, and way too many teeth.
  • Stylistic Suck: The T'Fa'Nii the Clanless in-universe novel series — contemptible covers and Purple Prose combined with in-universe Unfortunate Implicationsinvoked as Thistle reads her "kinda racist" adventures out loud.
  • Summon Magic: Drath-summoning overlaps with Necromancy, since it calls damned souls into a host through a ritual circle.
  • Team Power Walk: When Thistle joins Orrig's group in the middle of the Greater Drath crisis, they resolutely walk off to face it together.
    Orrig: Ve have job to do.
  • Theme Naming: When she needs to change names, Thistle always chooses some form of flower.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Pulled by T'Fa'Nii in the terrible book Thistle is reading. Remarkably, it leads to the buxom warrior being run over by her attacker's mount while disarmed.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The last time someone saw Thistle's face, it ended with an armed mob running her out of town. They later try to hire mercenaries to make sure she doesn't come back.
  • To Serve Man: Cave elves eat other humanoid species, even taking bites of flesh off living victims, and can see in pitch darkness.
  • Towering Flower: In Chapter 10, a Wild Magic storm strikes an area that the characters are traveling through. When they emerge after the storm abates, they see that the magic caused the environment to grow gigantic, including wildflowers that are now taller than trees.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: A corpse or living being possessed by the drath is quickly twisted and warped into unnatural shapes. The first example seen is of a white mouse that turns gray and has its head twisted upside down while its mouth grows to cover most of its neck; later examples include cyclopean or many-eyed creatures, a three-headed bird, and a cat with human hands.
  • Unusual Halo: The Angelic Abomination from Brent's vision has an eye-studded, horn-like halo growing out of its head. It definitely opposes the malevolent Drath, but the main characters are still at a loss as to what exactly it is. note 
  • Villainous Breakdown: Brody starts freaking out when the Professor starts breaking free of his manipulations and he's fried by a dragon.
  • Visual Pun: When Thistle tosses seeds into Brody's empty eye socket, it immediately sprouts... Black-Eyed Susans.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 7, Page 742. We finally see part of Thistle uncovered, and she's definitely not human.
  • Wham Line: "FEAR NOT, Brent Donovan, son of Olgar, for the servants of the One Who Is Three watch over you."
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Cave elves are written off as non-sapient monsters even though they have a language and an internal society. On the other hand, they're fine with eating people alive. As a cave elf herself, Thistle has a lot of anxiety over being a "monster".
  • Wild Magic: Storms of natural magic are enough of a hazard that Anti-Magic shelters are built in high-risk areas. At a distance, they only amplify magical phenomena, but reality within the Storm gets warped to potentially deadly effect.
    Orrig: People died. Or disappeared. Or changed.
  • Wingdinglish: Used to represent various forms of Black Speech on a few occasions:
    • The speech of the cannibalistic, atavistic cave elves is written like this.
    • The spell to bind a Drath happens to be a transliteration of Jesus's quotations from Luke 4:18 and Mark 14:62.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Unlike normal mages, wizards gain a lifespan of centuries. Their gifts are strongly implied to be provided by the One Who Is Three.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Thistle manages some feats that are beyond the realm of conventional magic, such as helping a premature baby with underdeveloped lungs get enough oxygen to survive. This is implied to have something to do with the patronage of the One Who Is Three, but might instead just be creative application of different magical disciplines, like air magic instead of healing magic for a child with underdeveloped lungs.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Thistle's reaction when informed she has to help take down a giant demonic frog.