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Webcomic / Gaia

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Gaia is a fantasy webcomic by Novil and Powree, better known as the creators of Sandra and Woo. The story revolves around a fantasy world called Gaia, where a magical conflict that started at the beginning of the world has lasting repercussions in the present day. In a country called Cania, currently locked in a cold war with one of their neighbors, Midgard, a group of friends are unexpectedly thrust into the middle of a situation that could result in war, or even a threat to life itself.


Gaia contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Eldor.
    • We have a scene here where Eldor walks through a small unit of warriors and wizards, complimenting them on their skill (and taste) to "pick something up" from inside San, even asking permission before grabbing inside her.
    • Eldor is quite ruthless and stops at nothing to further his own plans, but his manners are generally polite and courteous, and he doesn't seem to derive any pleasure from making people suffer; it's just an unfortunate but necessary consequence of his plans.
  • Alien Lunch: Ars makes one out of a variety of potion ingredients. Which ends with a small explosion.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Eldor, who often seems more cold and ruthless than actively evil.
    • Although he apparently does have an evil plan (which has something to do with immortality, we think), he appears to have virtually zero tension with the heroes, at least at the beginning seeming not even remotely threatened by them.
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    • His plans are so odd and convoluted that he often winds up indirectly helping the group, for example, he got Lilith arrested and trapped in a tower, but was going to rescue them (only Lilith rescued herself, and they bumped up the time of execution).
    • He also is antagonizing the party specifically so their powers will be strong enough for his plans.
    • He also claims that he saved Vivi's life.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Viviana's biggest fear is losing a hand (reasonable for a thief, and probably inspired by this horrific incident from her childhood). A 10% probability that she might lose one of her hands nearly causes her to funk out on the most important heist of her career, and the loss of one of her hands figures prominently in her later nightmare.
    • Later she actually loses both her legs killing the Bahamut. She gets prosthetics, to which she seems to adapt remarkably quickly (probably because there's magic healing involved).
  • All There in the Manual: While the characters are introduced normally in the webcomic, the webcomic is accompanied by extra sections explaining the setting.
  • The Alleged Steed: Viviana's horse Casper. Vivi, who is not a bold or skilled rider, values him for his gentleness.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: a Discussed Trope In-Universe regarding Lillith; while all agree that she's a dangerous Tyke Bomb, whether she actually has supernatural abilities (as Ryn suspects) or a MacGuffin Girl (King Savos calls her a "magical machine") depends upon her degree of free will.
  • Arc Words: "Will you come along?"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: King Savos has one for Gaia's chosen, San de Vertis:
    King Savos: "Has it crossed your mind that you may also be one of Eldor’s magic machines instead of Gaia’s chosen one?"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ars becomes one when he saves two girls from an assassin during the Red Hall attack.
  • Break the Haughty: Eldor applies classic brainwashing techniques to Lilli, challenging her with a seemingly intractable problem then threatening her friends when she's exhausted and vulnerable.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Bluestream magic is generally blue, and Redstream red.
  • Converse with the Unconscious:
    • Unknown: "Will you come along?"
    • Various People: "hathitw/ lmost anyone. I’m af/ s nothing we can do for him/ sorry. Ilias, can you hear me?/ ase wake up, Ilias. Have you hea/ d? They caught one of these murder/ ers! How’s he doing? No signs of re/ covery. I brought you flowers, I h/ ope you like them. Look who came f/ visit! Give him half a liter o/ vlar dilution. Yesterday/ owing minor reaction/ Wake up!"
    • Ilias: "...Yes, I will. wherever you go..."
  • Driven to Suicide: Several of Eldor's prototype MacGuffin Girls over the years most recently Lilith.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: All of the signs and portents point to Lilith being the key to either saving the world or ending it, though as the story progresses it becomes less clear if the powers that be are worried about an actual apocalypse ("the end of the world") so much as the destruction of the relatively stable and peaceful status quo ("as we know it").
  • Expy: Viviana bears more than a passing resemblance to Larissa.
  • Exact Words: Viviana assures Alissa and Ryn that she is not a member of the Shadowdancers... which is true if not entirely accurate: she's not just "a" member because she's their leader.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Lili does appear to have gone over to the dark side under the baleful influence of an ancient magical tome.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Unsurprisingly, Viviana and Ilias end up doing one while Undercover as Lovers.
  • Faking the Dead: Viviana stabs herself in the chest (probably using a fake blood bag) in order to throw an opponent off guard and let her escape.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There's Lili's full name (Lilith), an explicit prophecy that she will end the world, and her entire character arc has her confronting an ever-escalating series of barriers that she must penetrate to reach her goals.
    • There are a lot of references to various hand and arm tropes, mostly involving Vivi. There's her personal interests (gadgets) and chosen career (thief), a nightmare in which losing a hand figures prominently, a childhood incident when she did witness someone losing a hand, an encounter with a villager who has severely injured her forearm with a hedge cutter, and even a These Hands Have (almost) Killed moment after her attempted assassination of Eldor (she actually did managed to kill Sylas, though she doesn't know it.) There's also the prison official who loses a hand to a Portal Cut in Lili's escape attempt. Not to mention the mysterious symbol on Vivi's hand at the end of The Tower in the Sky, and later in her next vision in Breaking All Barriers. All of this implies that her hand or hands may be a key to the climax.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Gaia's chosen San de Vertis acts like a Well-Intentioned Extremist in public and talks like a power hungry schemer in private.
  • Gut Punch: That panel. See Wham Episode entry below.
  • Handicapped Badass: Viviana might have lost both legs (replaced with prosthetics), but that won't stop her from personally leading a mission to stop Eldor.
  • Heroic BSoD: Viviana is so shocked after her My God, What Have I Done? moment Illias has to carry her from the scene.
  • Heroes With Bad Publicity: The Shadowdancers are an intentional case: They cultivate the image of a gang of sneak thieves and cat burglars when they're actually the Illeasar national liberation movement in disguise.
  • Hidden Elf Village: It's only accessible through Magitek portals and they appear to be up to no good.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "Sent back to Gaia" for death, "jump in the void" for "go to hell."
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Ilias and Sandril (who at the beginning of the story are both in love with Lili) have a bit of this. When they finally fight a duel, Sandril (the loser) has to kneel down on one knee and kiss Ilias's hand. Since Ilias doesn't really think this is necessary, Sandril actually has to ask if he can have Ilias's hand. It's pretty much exactly as homoerotic as it sounds, and the onlooker thinks so as well:
    Vernon: Oh-ho! Have you two finally confessed your love for each other? If Lili only knew!!
  • Horsing Around: Casper may be gentle but he has his limits, as demonstrated when he spooks and bolts in the forest, dumping Viviana.
  • I Have Your Little Brother: Eldor lures Lili and crew to Oakdale and tricks her into fooling with dangerous barrier magic by hiding her younger brother behind a magical barrier.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: Viviana intimidates Silas Audin by slashing a painting with an Absurdly Sharp Blade — which also serves to demonstrate how ridiculously sharp the rainbow knife is before Ilias threatens him with it directly.
    Viviana: Oops.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him with an Accidental Murder thrown in: Vivi accidentally kills two guards and a innocent bystander with an ancient magical weapon. She can't claim to be innocent because she wielded the weapon with intent, but she had no idea it had powers she couldn't control, which just makes things worse from a certain perspective.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sandril is a dick to most people, but he really does love Lili.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Eldor dispatches of Delvor in a gruesome way. He was an Asshole Victim, though. Later turns into a Pet the Dog moment for Eldor when he spares the guards.
  • Lingerie Scene: Viviana gets a few of these:
    • Viviana is shown shirtless (but wearing a bra) while having some blood washed out of her hair in the last panel of this page. There was some debate whether this was a Justified Trope or not until Novil stated that not showing skin at that point would be as stupid as showing skin without reason.
    • Viviana is shown in lingerie in a sex scene starting here.
    • In this scene, Viviana takes her top off to make out with Ilias, only to be interrupted by Lili (who seems to have walked into the bedroom straight through the wall). Wearing just her bra and shorts, Viviana berates Lili for walking in on them, but then gets dressed again.
  • Love Triangle: A semi-platonic Type 7 between Lili, Ilias and Sandril, later broken when Ilias falls for Vivi.
  • Magic Knight: Ryn is a traditional example with two thirds training as a Fighter and one third as a Wizard. Others like Ilias and Sandril may qualify.
  • Magitek: There are cameras, robots, sophisticated security systems, etc, all of which run on magic, plus a lot of mundane items like lightbulbs, notepads and paper bags that modern people take for granted that a preindustrial society would not be able to manufacture and wouldn't be practical to craft by hand.
  • Meaningful Name: The Red Hall arc.
  • Mind Screw: Viviana is subjected to a nightmarish and increasingly surreal experience when she tries to leave Oakdale, which involves being unhorsed, deafened, lost in the woods, and eventually mutilated after chasing herself through the fog, only to discover when she wakes up the next day that it was All Just a Dream except for the part when she fainted and hit her head on a rock.
    • Viviana is later subjected to another horrific nightmare where her lover is killed and she dreams again of being mutilated, leading the crew to suspect someone is trying to Gaslight her.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Viviana after she parries a sword blow with the rainbow knife and the resulting magical backlash dismembers everyone in the room not protected by a magical shield.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Bhaal, a Demon God. Seemingly subverted with Lili—her full name is Lilith, but to all appearances she's the nicest person in the comic. At least until we learn she's destined to destroy the world.
  • Narm: Used In-Universe when Viviana propositions Ilias with a very cheesy Double Entendre. It is obviously intended to sound just as corny to Ilias as it does to the readership.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Viviana swears by Bhaal.
  • Outgambitted: Eldor's scheming hits quite a snag when Lili reveals that his mind-control spell was caught in a labyrinth within her own mind, enabling the latter to lie without detection to him. Oh, and Lili managed to tricked him by reading his notes and finding a way to stop his designs for her within them.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Introduces a chapter by a butterfly flight acting as a pan.
  • Primal Scene: Played with. Vivi deploys a sound cancelling device before sex with Ilias—only to find out later it wasn't in working order and everyone in the house heard what they were doing, leading to her coming down to breakfast the next morning with a paper bag over her head.
  • Queen Incognito: Viviana is the presumptive Queen of Illeasar, assuming that province regains its independence from Cania. Double Subverted as she actually bears no royal blood; she's just the leader of the resistance and the daughter of two prominent citizens who were also leaders of the resistance, and she has the professed support of the legitimate heir.
  • Relationship Upgrade: How the Ship Tease between Ilias and Viviana finally culminates in "Breaking All Barriers."
  • Remember the New Guy?: After the Red Hall attack Ilias asks his mother about his "other friends" (besides Lili, Sandril, Alissa, and Ryn), and she responds that one is dead and the other moved away—in the lead-up to the attack, however, neither was anywhere to be seen.
  • Schizo Tech: A swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting that somehow manages to have most of the trappings of a modern industrial society, like paper bags, spiral-bound notebooks, light bulbs and modern clothing. There's also hidden Elves who display a science-fiction level of MagiTek Surely a society that can manufacture modern underwire brassieres could also manage firearms or internal combustion engines?
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Viviana is quite the Girly Girl when not on a mission, it appears to be as much misdirection as inclination—Alissa and Ryn certainly never suspected the cute young woman with a yen for pretty dresses and sun hats was the badass leader of the notorious Shadowdancers.
  • Ship Tease: Ilias and Viviana, who have gone Undercover as Lovers and kissed, as well as other moments.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ryn suspects Vivi has the potential to be a spanner in the works for Eldor's plans because she was also conceived in the shadow of the great tree during Greendew's spring festival.
    • Some of Lilith's actions imply that she may be trying to set up a spanner in the works scenario despite her apparent Face–Heel Turn though it could also be part of a deeper Xanatos Gambit on her or Eldor's part.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: For a while Viviana was getting more face time than the supposed main characters, and polls as by far the most popular character among readers.
    • Subverted when Vivi becomes a main character—as she was always intended to be, per Word of God—when she gets trapped with the Five-Man Band in Oakdale.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: A masked man pulls the Hi version on Lilith.
  • Stepford Smiler: The citizens of Oakdale are suffering the effects of years of Eldor's meddling. They seem nice enough, and happy enough until you start asking questions that trigger their conditioning.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Ars will always speak in third-person, future tense. Most other imps will also talk this way.
  • Third-Person Person: Imps speak this way.
  • Uncanny Village: Oakdale seems idyllic... until you try to leave. Or start asking questions about the unusual number of girls and young women who have died, gone insane, or gone missing over the years. Then it flips from an Uncanny Village full of StepfordSmilers to a Town with a Dark Secret full of hostile villagers.
  • The Unfettered: Eldor, if what Ryn suspects of him is true: decades (possibly centuries) spent empowering and then murdering girls just to act as prototypes for his ultimate weapon.
  • Wham Episode: The first chapter. The world and the cast are just been introduced to the audience, the plot revolves around the main characters trying to get their fighter and wizard degrees at the local academy. There are no threats nor good reasons to put them on adventure. And then, during the academy's prom night, some masked men teleport themselves right into the prom and start a killing spree among the students and the teachers.
  • Wham Line:
    San de Vertis: In a few weeks’ time, a spell will be cast. A spell that will destroy the world. And Lilith Caillean will cast it!
  • White Magic / Black Magic: The Bluestream is Gaia's magic, while the Redstream is Bhaal's. Purplestream magic (the obvious combination of the two) has been mentioned but not demonstrated.
  • World Tree: The Great Tree of Greendew is described in the glossary as a massive, divine tree as old as life itself.
  • Wrench Wench: Viviana enjoys building Magitek devices.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Eldor appears to be running a centuries-long gambit intended to trigger The End of the World as We Know It. His primary tool Lillith may be running a gambit of her own if the way she scattered her friends to the places where they'd most likely function as Spanners in the works was her idea and not his. Finally, Gaia's chosen San de Vertis appears to be running her own gambit with King Savos to take over the world after "beating the evil out of Lillith". By the midpoint of "Monster" a Gambit Pileup seems inevitable.