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Webcomic / Dragon Sanctuary

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Dean: How can you tell if someone's The Kiata and not just a Kiata?
Merno: Like it said. Born beneath a full moon with a silver light and golden hair.
Dean: So you seriously leave the safety of the world up to a nursery rhyme?
Merno: Kid, I get how this sounds, but some respect. You're here because someone died. Because they all died.

Dragon Sanctuary is a fantasy webcomic created by artist, Archer character designer, and podcaster Shannon Manor in 2018.

In the world of the Pearl, it is well known that the Kiata family are the only chance life has against the demons. Blessed by the Moon and charged with convincing the Dragons that they mean no harm, they fight back against the shadow Ghalena, her monsters, and the cultists who worship her...or at least they did until tragedy struck and those same zealots decided the best way to stop The Kiata was to simply kill them all.

Fortunately, The Chosen One had been hidden away as a child and was never found. Instead, young Dean grew up in a secluded village away from all violence, darkness, or anything remotely interesting. His half-fae heritage leads him to yearn for adventure and be shunned by the rest of the village. One day he convinces his bold sister Meale to join him in sneaking off to the capital city to celebrate the coming eclipse—a choice that leads him to learn of his family and destiny, and become embroiled in the growing forces of Ghalena. Fortunately he's backed by his uncle Merno, the unchosen Kiata and alcoholic lieutenant of the Slayers, and elven Princess Nima, who herself is seen as a burden on her family for her half-human heritage.

The comic takes a close look at the realistic ramifications of being part of a chosen bloodline, from political to familial. The series is mostly fun and violence is not often or constant, but it is intense when it happens. The website also has extensive information on the setting, the various races inhabiting it, and their nobility (though information on them may contain spoilers, and as such any major events or implications drawn from them will be in spoiler tags).

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Generally justified with more common folk having realistic or realistic-sounding names like Dean, Ellen, and Meale. Meanwhile, the nobility have more fancy names like Merno, Utero, and Rhul. Of course this only applies to humans—all other races have much different names from humanity and all sound equally fantastic.
  • The Alcoholic: Merno is one of the Drowning Their Sorrows variety. He's seen so much tragedy and trauma across his life that it's easier for him to be drunk than deal with it sober and head-on. Not that it stops him from joking about how much he intakes.
  • Allergic to Routine: Dean is going stir crazy in his village from always doing the same thing, which leads him to shirk his duties and get into trouble. Meale points out to him that everyone is bored of their lives there, but they work in order to eat and he's the only one who causes so many problems complaining.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Dean's fae blood makes him incredibly restless, and evidently the trait is common amongst most human-fae-hybrids—Merno comments that he's never known one to sit still. Unfortunately for Dean this manifests in him abandoning his duties and wandering into places he shouldn't.
  • Badass Boast: Dean tells Zukito about Akan's's racist remarks towards Queen Jul during their first meeting, leading Zukito to call Akan out and remove him from Dean and company's escort. Akan isn't pleased, but Dean's just happy he put him in place.
    Akan: You shouldn't start this by making an enemy, Lord Kiata.
    Dean: Neither should you, Ambassador.
  • Big Bad: Based on how Merno describes her, High Priestess Enera seems to be this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Enera is about to gut Dean like a fish, Ené the Huskanian wanders into the stronghold...followed by Saphine the dragon.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: There is always a set number of Draconians in the world. When one dies and their corpse is burned, a new one is created and grows to maturity within one to five years. At no point do they ever mate, and their families are based more on bonds rather than any blood relations.
  • Born-Again Immortality: When a Draconian is killed, their body is cremated and an egg appears in the ashes. It hatches almost immediately, and though it doesn't retain anything of the previous Draconian other than their element, the newborn will often be integrated into the previous one's clan to give it a sense of family and stability.
  • The Chosen One: The comic began as a deconstruction of the trope. Dean is the chosen one from a family of (mostly) chosen ones, and since the name and the legend were well known across the Pearl it was only a matter of time before shadow worshippers slaughtered the whole family, sometimes entire cities, in order to wipe them out.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Draconian speech is colored green in text bubbles. It starts out being in a different script as well, but when it switches to green English it demonstrates Dean inherently understanding it and being able to speak it.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: When Dean finds the remains of his father, they're chained to a wall with arms outstretched.
  • Death Glare: Meale doles them out in equal measure to Dean, Merno, and the nobility in general.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Merno would rather people adress him by his Slayer rank (Lieutenant) than any reference to being a Lord or Duke, namely because after he renounced his lands and titles he isn't one anymore. Dean picks up on it as well after he learns of his family, preferring people just call him by name.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Merno's body is covered in scars, the most prominent being the one across his left eye (the eye itself is glass) and a nasty black and red veiny one on his left wrist. There's also a scar on his spine; that combined with him mentioning that he's sterile implies that at some point he was successfully attacked by a succubus.
  • The Evil Prince: Kano kills Irehl in a coup to seize the throne.
  • Eye Scream: Zukito gets his eye torn out while defending Dean from Kano.
  • Fairyland: The Mist, home of the fairies and source of all magic on the Pearl. Humans who wander into it can be stuck there anywhere from a few hours to several weeks as time does not work there and the fairies (and any demons who happen to be there as well) love playing tricks on people. Some still go in willingly as it acts as another way to forget your problems.
  • Family Extermination: The Kiatas were all attacked and killed by Ghalena's followers to prevent another chosen Kiata from being born. Only Merno and Utero (unchosen) were spared.
    Merno: The zealots got fearless. They wiped out whole cities in Su'un. Massacred Slayers by the hundreds. Then...they—I used to have so many cousins, aunts and uncles. My grandparents, my mother. My father was they’d have someone to give Kie's head.
  • Fantastic Racism: Though there can be some tension between the races, the only true animosity is between Huskanians and everyone else, especially Draconians. Huskanians are descended from Pikoya, wolf-zombies were created by Ghalena to fight the Draconians. Even though any semblence of her influence is gone from them, many people are still wary of them and their supposed inherent wildness. Many Draconians have a low opinion of them, and the Huskanian Queen Jul has responded in kind by banning them from Su'un's shores.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • After Merno worries about Dean getting into trouble while lost in the city, the next page shows Dean meeting a corgi.
    • Merno tries to get Dean to come below deck during the boat trip to Draconia, but Dean insists on watching the land leave. Next panel, he’s already seasick.
  • Glass Eye: Merno has one after he lost his own in battle. It's apparently a good omen, as the world's creation myth says that the Moon lost her left eye as well.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see Enera executing Kie and disembowelling him in the flashback—although we (and Dean) do see the corpse that was left behind.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: While there are plenty of hybrids that are accepted easily, some aren't as well received in one culture or another.
    • Dean is shunned in his village because his fae blood leads him to wander off and get into more trouble than he's worth.
    • Nima is shamed for being half-human in elven society, as her existence lost her father his wife and she must constantly wear a veil in order to hide who she is. It didn't help that she gew up five times faster than elven children and there was never a chance to hide her parentage.
  • Happily Adopted: Dean's not a Conin, but he considers Ellen and Meale his mother and sister all the same. Even after he’s brought into the royal court, he reaffirms to Meale that they’re not his real family, just more family.
  • Heroic Bastard: Nima Neigentall is the bastard daughter of the elven King Neyano and a human baroness from Caara. Though she's shamed for this parentage, she's very kind and friendly and quickly bonds with Dean over how their mixed-heritage causes them problems.
  • Horse of a Different Colour: Elves use deer to ride and pull their carriages. Draconians use Kylin, since beings of their stature need something hardier to support their weight than your average horse.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty:
    • For half-elves, at least. For full blooded ones spend 100 years aging before looking like a human twenty year old.
    • Draconians age rapidly (1-5 years depending on their environment) until they hit a twenty-something appearance, but after that they are static until they are killed.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Dean finds this out of the course of the comic, mainly thanks to the various forces of Darkness trying to kill him (and already successfully killing his family before he had the chance to meet them).
  • Living Mood Ring: Dean's eyes are normally blue, but change colour with his emotions thanks to his fae blood.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: A more subdued and non-dramatic version, as when Dean is told of his bloodline he's able to put together that Merno is his uncle.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Merno spends a good chunk of time not worrying about the gaping wound he receives during the eclipse attack, instead comforting Dean and ordering a few drinks.
  • Moses in the Bullrushes: Dean, one of the last Kiatas, was found by Ellen Conin and raised by her, though Lieutenant Merno always kept an eye on him and formed a friendship with the boy. Later on Dean's told that he was never truly abandoned, as Ellen raised him at Merno's request and she and Meale always knew the truth.
  • Mysterious Veil: Nima is referred to as "The Lace Princess" because of the veil she wears over her face in order to obscure her identity and to ensure she does not remind others of her father's infidelity. She hates the title, though, and often removes it when in private company or when travelling incognito. Not that it's a very good disguise to begin with.
    Zukito: Princess. It's good to actually see you.
    Nima: You recognize me?
    Zukito: Yes. I'm afraid to inform your father that [Draconians] can see through lace.
  • Off with His Head!: Enera executes Kie Kanata by decapitating him with a flaming sword.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Dean and Meale see the cows he was supposed to be watching wandering into town.
  • Oh, My Gods!: "Where in the Dark of Her Eye have you been?!" It refers to the Moon's missing eye.
  • One-Gender Race: The Draconians, but it's not so cut and dry. Technically they're created male, but since they do not reproduce and their gender serves no biological purpose they do not relate to the concept and their language is entirely gender neutral. When interacting with other races, some of them adopt he/him pronouns to make things easier while others exclusively use they/them.
  • Perma-Shave: Dean has this genetically. Thanks to his fairy side he never grows facial hair, or any body hair for that matter.
  • The Prophecy: As outlined in the page quote, an old fairy tale lays out who the chosen Kiata is. Though it's yet to be stated in full, it's well known that a Kiata born under a full moon with golden hair and silver light within is the one who can command the dragons and defeat the shadows.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Elves often live for hundred upon hundreds of years, though they age incredibly slowly and aren’t fully grown until they’re a century old. Even half elves usually reach two centuries, sometimes even a third, though they age at the same rate as humans in adolescence and slow down upon maturity. Half-fae are believed to function similarly, considering Elves themselves are descended from them.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dean's eyes turn red when he's angry.
  • The Remnant: After the Kiata's were all murdered the only ones left are Utero, Merno, and Dean.
  • Running Gag: Dean introducing himself to nobility in a very casual manner, much to everyone's either consternation or amusement.
  • Prince Charmless: Prince Yuo of Mein is immediately hostile towards Dean on account of him being a commoner who essentially stumbled into the nobility that the other Kiata's inherited, and also holds his fairy blood against him. He's also Nima's betrothed, though it's implied that neither of them had many options due to her mixed parentage and his personality.
  • Small Town Boredom: Dean's main motivation for getting away from his village and becoming a Slayer or Bannerman or anything, really.
  • Spanner in the Works: Crisoul was this for Kano while they were trying to kill King Irehl in a coup. The latter complains that they could have finished their job weeks ago if Crisoul hadn't been such a busybody.
  • Standard Fantasy Races: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Draconians, and Huskanians.
    • Humans, as usual, are not as long lived as the others, but flexible in their ways and easy to get along with.
    • Dwarves are stereotyped by outsiders as isolationist and greedy, but the reality is that their home country of Un'kaskh is a harsh desert forcing them to live underground, and conditions are too rough for anyone else to stay there for an extended period of time.
    • Elves fall into the expectations of the stereotypical fantasy elf without much difference.
    • Draconians are the most different culturally and biologically from the other races due to their origins as creations of the Sun and essentially being demigods.
    • Huskanians are the descendants of the Pikayo servants of Ghalena and their bestial properties that have set them apart from the others.
  • Succubi and Incubi: Succubi and Incubi are some of the most common demons. They create a glamour that causes their victims to see them as loved ones or people they're attracted to, then impale them at their spine and drain their life force. According to the world notes, they enjoy leaving their victims alive so that they may attack and torment them multiple times.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The Eclipse is a major festival due to the Sun and Moon being the creator deities of the Pearl, and it providing an opportunity for the shadows to thrive without being burned by the Sun. Dean manages to get to the capital city in order to see it, and gets caught up in the plot when he finds himself in the middle of a cultist-led slaughter.
  • Wham Shot: Page 39: Dean closes his eyes to pray during the eclipse, then opens them up to see the plaza in flames and people being slaughtered by cultists.
    • Page 217: Running top deck to see what's rocked the boat, Dean sees the first dragon of the comic.
  • You Can See Me?: Dean uses the Mist to flash back in a temple of Ghalena and witness his father's death. While there, Enera uses them to peer forward and is able to see him spying on her. She warns him that she'll see him soon before pushing him back to the present.
  • Younger Than They Look: Nima is twenty years old, half elf and half human. She looks at least a hundred by elven standards, since they age so slowly, but by human standards she looks her age.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Dean tries to pull this with Kano after the latter implies he's going to frame Dean for the murder of King Irehl.
    Kano: Child, it's time you stop your noise.
    Dean: Or what? You can't kill me.
    Kano: *smug smile*
    Dean: You shouldn't kill me.