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Webcomic / Inverloch

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Where it all begins. Sort of.

A finished webcomic created by Sarah Ellerton, also known as Arts Angel. Inverloch follows the adventures of a young da'kor named Acheron. Unlike other young male da'kor, Acheron is not overly violent or aggressive.

The story begins with Acheron running into Shiara, a young elf. He quickly falls for her, but she holds back from him. She explains that when she was young, she was engaged to a silver-haired elf named Kayn'dar who was kidnapped by a dark mage when they were both 6. Kayn'dar was special, being the only elf born with silver hair who could still use magic, and he was believed to be the only hope for the elves, who are losing their magic and immortality more and more in each generation.

In order to give Shiara closure or happiness, Acheron chooses to venture forth and look for Kayn'dar. He takes with him a small pendent, which was purported to belong to Kayn'dar before he vanished.


Along the way, he teams up with Lei'ella, a thief catcher who hides herself under a hooded cloak because she is one of the silver-haired, mortal elves, called the Severed. She was exiled from the elven community for her affliction at the age of 12. They are joined by Varden, a handsome young thief and a foil for Lei'ella. Their final companion is Neirenn, a powerful young mage who is seeking the elven magic of healing.

They will discover that not all is what it seems with the kidnapping 12 years ago, nor with Kayn'dar and Acheron themselves.

See also The Phoenix Requiem, the also-finished comic the author started when Inverloch ended.


This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Achey Scars: The bandage on Varden's right arm isn't for show; he had his arm broken by a guard trying to cut it off, and it didn't set properly.
  • All-Loving Hero: Acheron/Kayn'dar. This guy insists on adding a thief who tried to steal from him to the party to give him a chance of becoming a better person. Seriously. And that is despite being raised as the Proud Warrior Race Guy and experiencing Fantastic Racism ever since having left home.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Severed elves are exiled from their city at about age 12. Although some of them formed their own community, Lei'ella decides to join human society, but she is rejected there too unless she conceals her ears.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Raul surviving long enough to transfer his memory.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Varden is the Disney Type. He's a good guy, and not that deep down, but he's grumpy and cynical and prejudiced when he joins. He warms up considerably after the prizefight, though he continues stealing for practical reasons.
    • Toyed with regarding Neirenn. She's less than noble and is a little too interested in dark magic. Really, she's trying to cure her mother's terminal illness. She's ultimately the Pragmatic type and winds up as Archmage by sitting on the information about Kayn'dar until she's ready and then using it to oust Stonier.
  • The Archmage: Archmage Stonier of Aydensfell. He gives the heroes some apt, though cryptic, advice and runs he magic academy. Neirenn describes him as batty. He's more straightforward when he summons them for a second visit, though, and is considerably political.
  • Arc Villain: Berard stalks the group until halfway through Volume 3 in order to abduct Acheron for the da'kor fighting ring and emotionally injure Lei'ella.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Lei'ella delivers one to Acheron when he lashes out at her after learning an elf killed his father.
  • Art Evolution: The art is much more polished and faces become more consistent as the comic goes on; Acheron's face is drawn more accurately after the author did a 3-D modeling project with him and found his snout was too short. The print versions have the faces redrawn.
  • Artifact Title: In the updated website's retrospective blurb about the comic, Ellerton says that she forgot why she chose the name Inverloch and by the time she got into it, it was too late to change it. (It is the name of the elven city, but that fact alone is not especially important to the plot.)
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Lei'ella warns Acheron about this in regards to finding out what happened to his father and searching for Kayn'dar. And indeed, the truth about Acheron's father gives him a Heroic BSoD.
    "Ignorance is fleeting, but knowledge is eternal."
  • Big Brother Instinct: Subverted, albeit before the story. Varden hated his elven half-sister and didn't protect her from whatever it was the world threw at her before she went to Inverloch, which makes him feel protective of Lei'ella. He does meet his sister again and apologizes.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: At the end. Lei'ella and Varden kiss passionately after she decides not to live in Inverloch and he invites her to be his partner in crime.
  • Black Magic: Comes from "dark spirits" which are said to corrupt the mage using it. Neirenn seems able to resist it.
  • Broken Angel: This is what's going on with the Severed, cut off from immortality and magic. It used to be rare, but now it's almost rare for an elf child not to be born with the condition. It is reversible, however.
  • Broken Aesop:
  • Broken Bird: Lei'ella. She's very cynical, probing Acheron's motives, mistrustful of others, and very angry at Kayn'dar when they confront him in the tower.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Varden falls completely asleep after only two mugs of ale.
  • Characterization Marches On: Neirenn's tendency to make cryptic statements goes away after her introduction.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Shiara first thinks that Acheron is her friend Eron following her. Eron is Kayn'dar's brother and her friend, appearing in Volume 4 to stop her from leaving elven territory.
    • The "unsightly half-elf" Eron mentions is Varden's half-sister Marynn, who shows up in the epilogue chapter.
  • The Chosen One: Kayn'dar was believed to be this, having the appearance of the Severed but still able to use the rare gift of healing magic. It was a blow to the elves when he was abducted. And a coincidence, since neither Raul nor the da'kor knew how important he was. They just wanted any elf kid.
  • Cliffhanger: Chapter 18 ends with Lei'ella dying of a knife wound and Neirenn saying that it's truly impossible for her to cast a healing spell. The cover/title for the next chapter is also a Red Herring. Acheron is able to heal her through the pendant.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Neirenn cannons into Acheron while fleeing Archmage Stonier's office in tears.
  • Creator Cameo: The girl who leads Acheron to the archmage's office is supposed to be Sarah Ellerton.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Shiara and Kayn'dar name their son Acheron.
  • Disappeared Dad: Acheron's father. We find much later that he was murdered by an elf.
  • Dirty Business: Thief catching. It's capture or kill, and Lei'ella usually ends up killing—she's not fond of it, but it's a living.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's implied that this is a result of the person being corrupted by dark magic. Raul wants to Sever all elves, which would cause the slow death of magic in the world, because the elves cheated him out of healing magic and the Academy disgraced him as a result.
  • Driving Question: The question of what happened to Kayn'dar, the only elf with white hair and gold eyes capable of magic, is what propels the story. Acheron vows to find the answer to make Shiara happy, Lei'ella to understand why elves like her are Severed, and Neirenn to uncover the secrets of healing magic.
  • Dual Wielding: Lei'ella uses two knives in combat.
  • Dying Race:
    • The da'kor, mostly thanks to their human neighbors and the apathy of their elven ones. Varden and Lei'ella eventually shuttle them to an uninhabited island to live in peace.
    • The elves, to a lesser degree. They aren't dying, but more and more are being born mortal and without magic, which makes them little more than pointy-eared humans.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Compare the dark mage's appearance in the first pages to when he appears in Volume 4. Also, the initial design of Kayn'dar with an fur-lined evil cape is replaced with a simple white outfit.
    • Neirenn is a little bit more enigmatic during her introduction, speaking with a mysterious insight on certain matters. When she joins the group properly, this goes away, and she behaves more or less like a normal teenager.
  • Elemental Powers: Magic used by human mages is derived from an elemental model, although it includes less obvious uses like invisibility and teleportation.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Silvah doesn't want to kill anyone and says so more than once. Although he's driven by vengeance his plans, while harmful, don't involve slaughter. It doesn't stop him from hurling a knife through Lei'ella on Raul's suggestion, but he's still pleased when he senses her being healed. He refuses to go back and finish her off, too, and is disdainful of the ease with which Raul is ready to commit murder.
  • Fake Defector: Neirenn in the fight at the end, though it's not a straight play. She does intend for Silvah to kill Acheron and it looks as though she's turned traitor, but it's because doing so will put the right soul back in the right body.
  • Fantastic Aesop: More or less boils down to "don't judge on appearances" with a larger "racism is bad."
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • None of the races like each other. Lei'ella has to go around constantly hooded to hide her ears and hair; anyone she revealed them to would reject her. The da'kor have it the worst. Living between elves and humans, they're gradually losing territory and their youth are killed or abducted for gladiator matches.
    • Varden has a particular and personal dislike of elves, which also extends to mages. His mother left his father for an elf when he was a kid and he built up the prejudice over the years.
  • Faux Action Girl: Lei'ella gets hyped up as a "thief-catcher", but most of the time she draws her knives she ends up bested. Varden offers an explanation later when she says that she was better than the thieves she fought—that's still not very good, because most thieves suck at fighting.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: At the end of the story, Kayn'dar remains in Inverloch, Neirenn returns to Aydensfell, and Lei'ella and Varden go traveling as thieving partners. According to Word of God, they never really formed a bond of True Companions due to the brevity of their journey, and drifted apart as the years went by.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The true nature of elven society is foreshadowed when Shiara's thoughts reveal that she doesn't think of Acheron as an equal. We later find out that it was Eron's idea to send Acheron on the quest and he calls Acheron her "pet" da'kor, telling her to quit worrying about if he's dead or not.
    • "There never was or will be any other da'kor like you."
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Lei'ella uses knives and relies on being fast enough to stab; if not, a solid hit is enough to put her out of a fight.
    • Varden has a sword, but his fragility makes Berard reluctant to put him in the ring until Varden assures him that he's quick enough to last more than five seconds.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Kayn'dar's soul was placed into the body of a da'kor named Acheron, and vice-versa, as part of Raul's plan to get revenge on the elves for tricking him and Acheron's plan to get revenge for an elf's murder of his father.
  • Go Through Me: Varden attempts to position himself between Lei'ella and Silvah during the confrontation in the tower, but Raul knocks him aside.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Varden. He dyes it so it won't show up at night. Notably, the blondness comes out after he's genuinely befriended the group and goes out of his way to save Acheron's life, ruining all pretense that he's only out for himself.
  • Hates Baths: Varden only bathes under extreme circumstances—as in, "life-or-death fight followed by sewer trek" extreme. Turns out he has a good reason; it's to keep his hair dye from washing out.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lei'ella goes a little catatonic during the prizefight storyline after seeing Acheron (fake) killed and then Varden for-real killing Berard. Although Berard had become an enemy, he was still the person she'd been closest to before Acheron.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Lei'ella dreams of ordinary things like getting married and raising a family thanks to her isolated and exiled existence.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Elves seem to age normally right up until they reach late teens or early twenties, then stop aging entirely. Except for the Severed, that is.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: At the end of Volume 3, Silvah doesn't just stab Lei'ella. He uses magic to hurl a dagger clean through her abdomen.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: How does Varden's hooded tunic/tabard thing work? He rips it up for bandages after the prizefight and wears a plain black shirt after that because Ellerton got sick of drawing it.
  • Informed Ability: The Da'kor are said to be dangerous fighters, but all of the victorious fights they are in occur off-screen and the little fighting that occurs onscreen generally goes very badly for them. Doesn't help that we only see the ones besides Acheron at the beginning and the end.
  • Is That What He Told You?: It seems that Acheron's family and mentor are in on a secret, but none of them wants to tell him the truth, Acheron is Kayn'dar in a da'kor body, while Kayn'dar's body holds Acheron's soul.
  • It's All About Me: The elves as a society. They care nothing for the outside world, forbid their youth from leaving their territory, and exile those afflicted with mortality. It was this isolationism, arrogance, and callous disdain for other races that caused the spirit realm to withdraw from them, leading to the Severed elves.
  • It's All My Fault: Varden, after initially denying it, blames himself for Acheron's capture by the fighting ring and takes it upon himself to fix it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Acheron has a crush on Shiara, but undertakes a journey to find the boy she was in love with. Lei'ella examines his motives when she joins him, wondering if he subconsciously wants to confirm Kayn'dar's death so that Shiara would seek comfort in his arms. On the upside, he discovers that he technically is the boy she was in love with.
  • Karma Houdini: Dark magic is repeatedly stated to be an evil and corrupting art. Neirenn suffers no repercussions for using it, not even right in front of Stonier.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The dark mage erased Kayn'dar's memories after placing his soul in Acheron's body.
  • Last-Second Chance: It becomes apparent that Kayn'dar was meant to be this for the elves—the spirits who are the source of their magic marked him as a Severed but still gave him magic as a last signal for the elves to reform themselves. They just barely manage it, and only because others' plotting resulted in him being raised outside of their society.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Neirenn drags Acheron off to get water so that Varden and Lei'ella can have a private talk after the stabbing. Doesn't stop her from coming back to eavesdrop, though.
  • Light Is Not Good: Silvah, the white-haired elf living in the old watchtower. He's a dark mage, a telepath, and it's clear that he's not speaking plainly. Not much of surprise that he's actually Kayn'dar corrupted by dark magic. Sort of.
  • Limited Wardrobe: This is lampshaded when Lei'ella replaces the thief-catcher uniform she'd been wearing since her introduction only because it's been ruined, and Acheron complains that he hasn't had a chance to change for weeks himself. Neirenn also remains in her mage uniform until the epilogue chapter.
  • Location Title: Inverloch is the capital city of the elves. The final chapters of the comic take place there.
  • Loveable Rogue: Varden's initial pose as an "honorable" thief is a sham, but he isn't as callous as he tries to convince himself. Though he has no qualms about actually stealing, he soon grows attached to Lei'ella and Acheron (though less so to Neirenn) in spite of himself. He also continues stealing whenever he sees an opportunity because it's fun and he's good at it.
  • Making a Splash: Although Neirenn demonstrates facility with multiple elemental spells, her favored one appears to be water—her "elemental guardian" takes the form of a liquid dragon.
  • Minidress of Power: Lei'ella's uniform is a very short dress and a jacket. Ellerton eventually got tired of it and changed it to a more practical outfit after a good in-universe excuse.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The da'kor are wolf/goat/human hybrids.
  • Murder by Inaction: Near the end, Acheron declares he doesn't care what happens to the elves and Raul can kill them all shortly after a memory of Kayn'dar's in which the boy witnessed an elf murdering Acheron's father. Lei'ella, who has little love for the elves herself, gives him a What the Hell, Hero? for condemning her entire race—including Shiara—because its leaders are bastards, and Acheron relents.
  • My Beloved Smother: Downplayed with Acheron's mum. She's more protective of him than his brother and he's considered wimpy compared to the typical aggressive young male, and she's clearly hiding some secret from him. The Reveal explains why.
  • Mystical White Hair: Inverted with Severed elves. White hair marks them as mortal.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Silvah zig-zags on this. He initially releases Lei'ella, but reluctantly stabs her when Raul convinces him that she could ruin their plan, and apologizes before vanishing. When he senses that she was healed, he outright refuses to go back and do it again and expresses his disgust for Raul's willingness to murder people.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Raul's abduction of Kayn'dar is an ill omen for the elves, , but Raul had no idea that Kayn'dar was more important than any other elf kid with healing magic. As a result of his soul being raised entirely outside of elven society, Kayn'dar was not corrupted by it, gained sympathy and understanding for da'kor and humans, and committed to actually fixing the problems that caused the Severing. Had he been raised by the elves as their savior, it's likely he would have turned out like them and the spirits would have abandoned them completely.
  • Non-Action Guy: Acheron. He does get into a couple of altercations, but comes off the worse in them.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Acheron interrupts Lei'ella's when she starts to call Varden's claim of a "thieves' code"note  a load of bull because Acheron wants to prove that a thief can be redeemed. The thieves' code is bull, having been abandoned years and years ago, and she has a discussion with him later about why he let himself be caught under that obvious fiction.
  • No-Sell: When Neirenn tries attacking Silvah, he effortlessly blasts her back with dark magic.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Neirenn's dad readily agrees to let her go with Acheron's group, knowing that the Academy isn't much use teaching her and the reasons she wants to find Raul.
  • Opposites Attract: Thief-catcher Lei'ella and thief-for-hire Varden, after their initial friction.
  • Our Elves Are Different: A Wood/High Elf hybrid. They may live in the forest, but they act and dress like High Elves.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: In the final chapters, the real Kayn'dar delivers Acheron's body back to his mother in a Pieta-like pose.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Lei'ella's pink-hilted knives. Berard made them for her; she eventually gives them up for a couple of ordinary-looking ones.
  • Please Wake Up: Varden pleads with Lei'ella to keep her eyes open after she is stabbed.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Nearly. Lei'ella attacks Varden for apparently killing Acheron in the prizefight, but he kept his plans secret because he knew she still didn't wholly trust him.
  • Protective Charm: Kayn'dar had an amulet that was supposed to protect him, although it didn't save him from being kidnapped and it ends up with Acheron's uncle. It's still linked to Kayn'dar, and Acheron sometimes gets flashes of his memory through it. Kayn'dar put all of his memories into it when Raul swapped his soul with the real Acheron's.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Da'kor. Kayn'dar. Lei'ella.
  • The Promise: The adventure starts when Acheron promises to find Kayn'dar and bring him back to Shiara.
  • Purple Prose: Shiara's description of Kayn'dar. Acheron's not impressed.
    Shiara: He had the most beautiful snow white hair that flowed like liquid silver. And yellow eyes like the purest drops of gold...
    Acheron: White hair. Yellow eyes. Got it.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Silvah's indifference to the plight of the Severed pushes Lei'ella over the edge after having spent her entire life ostracized by both elves and humans. She unwisely attacks him and nearly dies.
  • Reluctant Monster: Acheron. He doesn't fit in with other young males and thinks humans and elves have good reasons to hate the da'kor. Not so much after he's out in the world and starts being hit with the worst prejudice, though.
  • Royal Inbreeding: A variant. The mages of Aydensfell aren't royal, but they are reputed to be inbred in an effort to ensure that magic remains strong in the population. Lei'ella chooses to believe it's a distasteful rumor, but there are a lot of redheads in the city.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Subverted with the elven ruins. It seems odd that they would be dotted around the forest when the elves' city is still active and populated, but the final chapters reveal that the elves fought a civil war in the not-so-distant past—the ruins, and a dramatically decreased population that can only fill one city, are the legacy of that war.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Lei'ella, for one, does not approve of the elves' methods and decided she didn't want to live even in a community of Severed exiles. The more we learn about them, the more it's apparent that their society is run by a bunch of Jerkasses who only care about themselves.
  • She Knows Too Much: Raul convinces Silvah that they need to kill Lei'ella because she might sense the truth about the soul swap between Kayn'dar and Acheron.
  • Sleep Cute: Varden falls sound asleep on Lei'ella's shoulder at one point.
  • Spider-Sense: Elves can sense people, even Severed elves like Lei'ella. This is how she got her job as a thief-catcher. It's also why Raul and Silvah tried to kill her, fearing that she would detect the "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • Spock Speak: Lei'ella. Also lampshaded here.
  • Squat's in a Name: Acheron is not named after the river of death in Greek mythology, but rather a town in Australia near Ellerton's home.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Berard towards Lei'ella, quite sinister. She first tells it as turning down his marriage proposal and staying a thief-catcher while he turned to crime. The full story is that she changed her mind and agreed, but then he rejected her when she told him she was an elf. He kept following her and goes after Acheron as a way to hurt her, and attacks her when he sees her with Varden.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • Raul was once the Archmage of Aydensfell, but only for his management skills and not his magic ability. When he tried to make a deal with the elves to learn healing magic, they took what he offered and left with him nothing, forcing him to resign in disgrace. He turned to dark magic and revenge, deciding to destroy anyone's ability to do magic by Severing the elves en masse.
    • Silvah claims that he is merely a shell of his former self. He is the real Acheron. As with Raul, the elves reneged on their promises to the da'kor. When Acheron's father confronted them, they murdered him. Acheron agreed to be a guinea pig in Raul's experiment so he could get back at them, although he is much more interested in the long-term karma than short-term brutality.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Kayn'dar and Lei'ella, when they return to Inverloch. Kayn'dar does stay in hopes of reforming the elves, but Lei'ella opts to remain mortal and joins human society with Varden, having spent so much of her life there and not wanting to tacitly support elven prejudice by "fixing" what made her different.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Inverted wit Lei'ella and the other white-haired elves. Rather than indicating mystical qualities, gold eyes and white hair mean that they are mortal due to their lack of connection with the spirits.
  • That Man Is Dead: Silvah says this after the group calls him on his invented story of watching Kayn'dar killed by a dark mage, and says that Kayn'dar is just a broken shell of what he once was. Neirenn takes this to mean that he was corrupted by dark magic. What he really means is that Kayn'dar is in Acheron's body.
  • The Magic Goes Away: This is what would eventually happen if all elves became Severed. Neirenn is horrified by the idea. Ultimately, it's prevented.
  • The Reveal: The truth about Kayn'dar. His soul was placed into a da'kor, which was partly an experiment for Raul to test healing magic, and for Acheron—the da'kor who was put into the elf body—a way to revenge himself on the elves for their broken promises and murder of his father. Neither Raul nor Acheron were aware that Kayn'dar was actually considered The Chosen One by the elves.
  • Teen Genius: Neirenn is not just a strong mage, but a very smart one, who easily picks up advanced magic. Her introduction to the story is her asking the Archmage to skip into the advanced classes, but he turns her down.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Inverted with da'kor. Males are the only one with "hair" on top of their heads, which is probably some kind of mane.
  • Tournament Arc: Subverted: the actual fight lasts only a few pages, despite the build-up.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Human magic comes from elven ancestry. It's been a long time since humans and elves associated that closely, so present-day mages have a small percentage of elven DNA in them. (According to an old character page, Neirenn's prowess is because she's 1/5 elven.)
  • We Need a Distraction: Varden has Lei'ella distract the inkeeper at Aydensfell so he can pay the room fee from the register, since Acheron took the money when he went to visit the archmage. She awkwardly flirts with the man before Varden steps in posing as her exasperated boyfriend.
  • Wham Shot:
    • On the page after Silvah flings the knife, a full half of the page reveals that Lei'ella has been run clean through the abdomen.
    • During the battle with Silvah in the elven ruins, the chapter ends with Silvah looking horrified at delivering a fatal strike to Acheron.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Each character gets a page detailing what they did after the story ended. (This was later removed.)
  • White Magic: Healing magic comes from a strong connection to the spirits that are the source of all magic. It's rare even among elves, and human mages are entirely incapable of it. Both Raul and Neirenn are in search of a method by which humans can do it, although Raul got sidetracked into vengeance.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Varden is completely terrified of magic. Neirenn takes advantage of this.
  • Wretched Hive: Rhyll. The area within the outer wall is basically a de facto prison, as the guards won't let known criminals leave.
  • You Are Not Ready: All the da'kor in Acheron's hometown of Kiadho know something about what happened with the da'kor, the elves, and the disappearance of Kayn'dar, and they universally decide not to tell Acheron what it is. Acheron's brother tells their mother several times that she should tell him, but he doesn't go against her decision.
  • You Killed My Father: Acheron briefly takes this attitude towards all elves when he learns that one killed his father, but he snaps out of it. On the other hand, Silvah—that is, the original Acheron—agrees to Raul's plan to sever all elves for this and never looks back.