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"I'm the best fucking fuck-up in Cyrodiil."

"You have to decide what you are, and what you are not. You have to decide what's possible and what isn't. Others will try to tell you, because that's how they control you. YOU have to decide if they're right."
The Ancestor Ghost

PREQUEL, or Making A Cat Cry: The Adventure is an interactive Elder Scrolls fan comic in the style of MS Paint Adventures, written and illustrated by Kazerad with various artistic collaborators. It is primarily based on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, set in the weeks just before the events of the game's story.

The comic follows a poor young Khajiit from the province of Hammerfell who decides to start her life anew in Cyrodiil. After giving herself a new name — Katia Managan — she becomes determined to leave her old self behind. Unfortunately, Katia is quickly faced with the same problems she had back home: she has no money, no trade skills, no friends, chronic night terrors, a crippling phobia of nobles and royalty, and is still recovering from a severe alcohol addiction.

Although her efforts to do better initially seem doomed to failure, she quickly befriends Quill-Weave, an Argonian writer who takes pity on her and asks her to take a letter to a friend in another town. Katia fares no better than before, but Quill-Weave refuses to give up on Katia, and it begins to look like the Khajiit might leave her problems behind her — but at every step, events conspire to drive her back to her old habits, to the point that her "bad luck" starts to seem like divine intervention...

The story was originally hosted on the MSPA forums, but now has its own website featuring a submission box, discussion, merch, side-stories, an occasionally-NSFW fanart booru, and links to notable fanpages.

Due to the nature of the comic and its story, this page may contain unmarked spoilers for Oblivion.

Prequel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In Dodger: Break The Law, the criminals keep forgetting Imperial Agent Briarbird's codename and referring to him as things like "Butterbard" and "Bearbird".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Khajiit, Argonians and Orcs in Prequel are as drawn as cutely as all the other characters. In Oblivion, they are infamous as the three ugliest races in the game due to their wonky face models.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The story is something of a Gaiden Game (or, one might say, a prequel) to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; the few canon characters that appear are minor characters at best.
  • The Alcoholic: Katia is recovering from being this. Quill is a bit of one herself.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Katia has a habit of wagging her tail when she's happy. While some cats do wag their tails, they're exception rather than the rule. Weedum-Ja actually comments that this is not normal, and along with her Hammerfell accent and Altmer clothing, is a sign she wasn't raised around other Khajiit.
  • Affably Evil: Gharug Gro-Upp is polite to everyone he meets, but he *will* straight up murder you in cold blood if it's the easiest way to rob you.
  • Alliterative Title: Prequel: Precede.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Crustaceans, apparently - mudcrabs specifically. The Encyclopedia of Deadly Creatures makes it very clear - "mudcrabs can feel only hatred."
    • Also, slaughterfishes. They hate everything.
  • Anachronism Stew: The metric system exists in this version of Tamriel, and the sweetrolls Katia buys on the sixth day came in one of those cardboard donut boxes with the window in the lid. And that's without getting into the business with the Soul Cairn being run like a modern corporation complete with loads of red tape and customer service reps of dubious helpfulness.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: While Katia is the main character, there are frequent asides to various other characters, including Katia's friend Quill-Weave, a necromancer, an imp, a completely ordinary human woman, Gro-Upp the professional highwayman, and an amulet of silence.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Probably not, but Katia is absolutely terrified of them.
    • She actually finds the Countess to be quite alright when she gets over her fears.
    • And one of the dinner guests lampshades it by pointing out all the insane nobles in the area.
    • She seems to be able to detect noble blood by instinct, as she is incapable of holding a conversation with Martin while visiting Kvatch. Note that at that point, Martin himself had no idea he was the Emperor's son.
    • And completely averted by the Count of Kvatch, who only shares a couple sentences with Katia, but is very polite, and apparently he encourages adopting orphans.
    • Quill-Weave, on the other hand, has no qualms using morse code (tail-tugging) to privately tell Katia what her thoughts on Countesses are.
  • Ascended Extra: Many of the comic's major characters are incredibly minor NPCs from Oblivion.
    • In the game Quill-Weave is a minor character involved in one quest. Here, she's a fully fledged secondary character, and her errand for Katia is the driving focus of the plot.
    • Sigrid, the mysterious and alluring headmistress of the Kvatch Mages Guild, is one of the Kvatch refugees in-game, notable only for having the highest mercantile skill in the game, making her the worst possible merchant to buy from.
    • Asotil is a loose amalgamation of all the generic guards in the game and the memes surrounding them.
  • Ascended Meme: Having started on its forums, it naturally has a few from MS Paint Adventures.
  • Audience Surrogate: For side-stories (which are written in advance), stand-ins are used as command givers, with nicknames such as adventuregamer, FakelyMcSuggestor, ColorfulHorse6, ItalianArgonian, Horrible_Roleplayer_ or ObviousCommandgiver.
  • Bad Humor Truck: In Oblivion, the ice cream vendor met alongside the road to Kvatch turns out to be a frost mage who repeatedly murders merchants.
  • Bait-and-Switch: This update, featuring Katia looking outside from Kvatch and wondering what the orange glow is supposed to mean. Audience members were quick to assume that it's the oblivion gate that kickstarts Oblivion's main plot, but turns out, it's just the sunrise.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The flame atronach, on account of being a humanoid-shaped mass of fire. Doesn't stop her from trying to act as raunchy as possible.
  • Barefoot Poverty: A common state for Katia. She's only managed to wear shoes for one brief stretch of the comic thus far.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Big Eater: It's initially assumed that Katia will embarrass herself by doing this at a dinner party, but she is saved by the fact that all the nonhumans at the table tear into their food like this.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Sigrid. In public, a charming, generous, and above-all friendly individual famed for her acts of charity. In private, a ruthless opportunist and a potentially murderous Misanthrope Supreme who controls others through mind-affecting pheromone perfumes. However, the latest update shows that this is probably the result of her own charm-enhancing perfume affecting her mind and, essentially, turning her into a sociopath.
  • Body Paint: As an alternative to nudity when you have literally no other option. BEST IDEA. It doubles as an in-joke since the painted-on underwear looks exactly like the irremovable underwear from the game.
  • Break the Cutie: Katia can be absolutely adorable between moments of extreme trauma.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Kazerad bribed other people to propel them to victory in an unrelated contest by unlocking a bonus update word by word with every vote.
  • Brick Joke: Katia rejects the idea of finding a good luck Four-Leaf Clover as silly, since if that worked, anyone who found a single four-leaf clover would experience an exponential increase in good luck, including finding more of them. Garag finds a four-leaf clover, and the next we see of him, he's covered in four-leaf clover and having the luckiest week of his life.
  • Buffy Speak: "True Justice is that lighty beacon of light in a world of prejudice and disorder, where not even the innocent are safe."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A Soldier Of The Imperial Legion (Asotil for short) is clearly an incredible fighter and quite good at running down criminals. He also has an understanding of social norms such as "Don't pee in rich people's houseplants" and "Don't drop a bunch of dead bodies on the carpet in the middle of a dinner party", but technically they are not against the law and therefore are perfectly fine to do. Although this is perhaps closer to The Last Dj as the countess does not tolerate him and was in fact delighted at the slightest chance that he might have been killed.
  • But Thou Must!: Despite being an interactive story in which the main characters accept commands from the audience, when things have gone bad enough for her Katia will dejectedly turn down commands urging her not to drink and drink up in spite of them.
    • There are also at least two instances wherein Kazerad wrests control of the story away from the audience and sets Katia up to make a truly terrible decision only to have, in one instance, a Deus ex Machina literally kick the door down at the last moment and, in another, show that Katia is actually a good deal stronger and more capable than the Audience gives her credit for.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Katia, to an almost ridiculous degree. She's a recovering alcoholic, and a single sip is all it takes to send her off the deep end.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Asotil strikes one. On the Countess' servant's head.
  • The Cat Came Back: Asotil to Countess Millona Umbranox of Anvil. He keeps barging into the room and dumping dead criminals onto the floor. She's hoping that somebody will finally manage to kill him while he's on patrol. Unfortunately (for her), nobody can.
  • Catchphrase: Gharug gro-Upp gets his on, if you know what he's saying. He's saying he has a catch phrase.
    Guardian: It's... it's realizing that sometimes... sometimes you just have to -
    Katia: - go a little crazy.
    Guardian: - and everything will turn to scrib jelly!
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Katia apparently has the standard powers of changing clothes instantly that the games' protagonists do; Sigrid noticed this during their mind-control battle.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Katia is a mild example of this even when she's trying not to be. When we cut back from Quill during the dinner party is a perfect example. This is of course just par for the course in an Interactive Comic.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    Katia: I'm the best fucking fuckup in Cyrodiil.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Sometimes used to help railroad things a tad. Perfect example here, with "Be the kitten full of blood from earlier" being willfully misinterpreted as referring to Katia.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Readers love to submit things that just cause everything to go wrong for her.
  • Creator Cameo: Two of the artists who worked on the walkaround flash appear within it- the vampire and the lady at the well.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Gharug gro-Upp. And he keeps all of it stored between his abs, pecs, and gluts.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Katia tries to use this, but isn't great at it.
  • Dare to Be Badass: A Rousing Speech on this subject is what ultimately pulls Katia out of her self-loathing rump. The ancestral ghost ("Aggy") refuses to believe that anyone born under the Atronach star sign can be destined for anything less than a life of total awesomeness and badassery, and refuses to leave Katia alone until she accepts this as fact.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Katia has this in spades. Among other things, she has been an alcoholic since the age of 13, spent some time living on the streets turning tricks for food, a stint as a cultist, and her family spent much of her childhood stressed out and poor due to her crippling night terrors and other medical problems, something that she blames herself for.
  • Death by Racism: The bandits from Dodger: Break the Law side story are shown to trade in Argonian slaves and talk about them in horribly racist ways, just in time for an Imperial agent, who was investigating them, to show up and cut down the whole gang.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: When the perspective shifts to Quill-Weave, due to the Argonian being colorblind. This is also done with Asotil, either to indicate he's also colorblind or to illustrate his Black-and-White view of the world.
  • Determinator: Katia is practically made of this.
  • Determined Defeatist: Katia could have named the trope.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Katia's regular night terrors bear a striking resemblance to the opening of Oblivion — being trapped in a frightening situation with Emperor Uriel Septim VII. They're ambiguous enough to leave their meaning unclear, but she's apparently been having them since she was four.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In retrospect you probably could’ve picked a less phallic piece [of mushroom] to break off, though.
  • Doomed by Canon: Given its titular status as a prequel to Oblivion, it's safe to assume that most if not all of the comic's original characters are going to either die or leave Cyrodiil before the end of the story. Some notable examples:
    • She's only been mentioned so far by the Guild Master Hannibal Traven, but the Khajiit mage Zahrasha is murdered by necromancers shortly after Hannibal takes office as Archmage.
    • Kvatch is going to be destroyed by Demonic Invaders about a week after the current timeframe of the story, with most of the characters Katia meets there likely to die — Captain Gaius in particular is all but confirmed to be doomed. Foreshadowing is out in force on this one, as Katia and the city's residents frequently make comments about the city that veer into Tempting Fate.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Played for Laughs. Katia's amulet of silence has a special "drama clasp," which allows it to be dramatically yanked off as often as you want. She notes that she's worn clothes with them before, with... predictable results.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Used when a guard is asked whether Katia could apply to the Legion.
    Narration: The guard looks at you with a troubled, uncomfortable glare, like that of a man who must explain to his paraplegic daughter that her dreams of becoming a ballerina will never come true.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor Dmitri.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Quill-Weave in Quill-Weave: Take control of the situation.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Alcohol does terrible things to poor Katia, and mind-altering Telvanni Bug Musk is what drove Sigrid off the deep end.
  • Drugs Are Good: Parodied with Asotil, who casually admits that his success as a soldier is partially due to taking copious amounts of drugs (though he insists that it's mostly down to his intense training regimen).
  • Dynamic Entry: Asotil's introduction.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While the comic is still ongoing, the fact that it continues to alternate between horribly depressing and surprisingly uplifting indicates it's this type of story.
  • Easter Egg: Hidden behind a wall in the Enter interactive segment is a portrait of Hannibal Traven. Katia is unable to access it, due to a pile of crates blocking it off, but it can be seen by the user. The significance of this painting has yet to be fully explained, though it implies some history between Sigrid and Traven.
  • Epic Fail: This webcomic has a field day with this trope.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The slavers in Dodger: Break The Law are pretty quick to call out the racism of others. Well, unless it's aimed towards Argonians.
  • Expy: Asotil is quite similar to AR in Homestuck
  • Eye Scream: When Katia attempts to use Eye of Fear (a Khajiit racial ability that can be used once per day in-game) for the second time in one day, her eyeball fills up with blood and starts dripping it. Seems even worse initially, because the scene we see it for the first time suggests that a slaughterfish bit Katia's eye out
    • Also happens whenever she forgets to turn off her night vision in broad daylight.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Appears this way at first.
  • Fantastic Racism: Given quite a spotlight at times. Although few people intentionally insult Katia for her species, a lot of them reveal through accidental comments that they expect less of her for it only to hastily insist that they aren't actually racist. For Katia's part, she's spent so much of her life surrounded by this kind of prejudice that she's internalized it to a startling degree, having little-to-no understanding of Khajiit culture beyond the racial stereotypes that have been applied to her and others.
  • Fauxshadowing: The orphanage full of explosives is an obvious disaster waiting to happen, especially when the protagonist has fire powers that aren't entirely under her control. So far nothing has come of it, and given what a dark turn that would be, it probably never will.
  • Female Monster Surprise: After Katia manages to kill Greater Impmaster Murderboss, a command prompts her to triumphantly kick the corpse in the nuts, which she almost does, but notices the monster was actually female.
    You’re not gonna kick an udder. That would just be weird.
  • Foreshadowing: There is a fair amount of this.
    • For instance, Katia's fire spell, one of the two spells that every player character in Oblivion starts with, is foreshadowed on the fifth page. ("Cat jokes always cut you deep. That burn was so sick it lit the candle.")
    • Also Katia's ability to get in and out of clothing instantly, a common trait of RPG heroes.
    • When staying at Quill-Weave's home for the night—the third time, when it was on purpose, that is—Katia says that she was worried about sleeping in the chapel, because she could accidentally burn it down if someone stole her amulet. This is exactly what happens to her in Kvatch (though the amulet isn't stolen, but broken).
    • "Party trick involving a yoyo and a pineapple" is mentioned first on third page.
    • "Anyway, tripping on stairs? You’re not that much of a klutz."
    • At one point, Katia complains that Rajirra is, among other things, most likely an escaped convict. Assuming she is the protagonist of Oblivion, that's exactly what she'll be as well once the main storyline starts.
    • Sigrid being able to manipulate people's minds is hinted at a few times before Katia finally encounters her. Not only does everyone act like she's the most amazing person ever, the bookstore owner casually mentions that books on magic only cost one septim (compared to the 40 other books are worth) because "the lady from the Mages Guild" told him that's what they're worth.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Katia can hear the reader suggestions because they're explicitly the voices in her head (causing her to lose faith in her subconscious whenever they suggest something stupid). At one point, she addresses a reader by screen name, though.
    • Interface Screw: Some users have taken to identifying themselves as particular elements of Katia's subconscious, such as self-loathing, common sense, hope...
  • Fourth Wall Psych: "You guess you were speaking to the back of the inn. It just kinda seemed like the right thing to do."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Whenever Sigrid summons a daedric minion, the animation depicting her casting the spell includes a frame of wherever the creature was before being pulled into the mortal world. This includes a clannfear enjoying his time with his family, and a flame atronach attending a lava pool party with other flame atronachs.
  • Friendless Background: Katia has never even been hugged before.note  Quill-Weave is the first friend she's ever had.
  • Funny Background Event: When Quill-Weave accidentally makes a racist cat joke (telling Katia that bandits she might meet on the road aren't balls of yarn), a candle flickers on in the background.
  • Furry Reminder: Katia drinks like a cat.
  • Gaydar: Played for Laughs. Gay people apparently have an actual magic spell called "gaydar" that lets them detect other homosexuals. Quill-Weave uses it in Quill-Weave: Take Control of the Situation to confirm that Katia's not into her, and one of the paths in Katia: Infiltrate has a Kvatch guardswoman use it to detect multiple gay ghosts aimlessly wandering the castle.
  • Guide Dang It!: Easter eggs in the Flash games can be extremely difficult to discover and find. Readers searching for all of them basically have to either do everything possible or look in the comments for answers.
    • The pole-dancing minigame in Kvatch requires the player to speak to the Nord in the arena entrance several times, in a comic where talking to one NPC more than twice rarely yields any results.
    • Seeing the alternate nightmares and encountering the three-eyed lava dragon in Prequel: Precede requires the player to jump through quite a few hoops, and the comic never indicates that these even exist beyond the background of the update page showing the back wall of the hold blown open. All of these things must be done to see everything:
      • In the first nightmare sequence, when Katia is on the top deck, stay out of the ghost's sight (best done by walking around him on the raised portion in the ship's rear) and walking to the ship's bow. There, Katia will briefly glimpse a hooded figure covered in eyes - possibly Hermaeus Mora - before waking up.
      • On the first or second day, you must examine the dumbwaiter in the ship's office, then locate a dwarven pipe, a wand of fireball, and some weights in the hold. Then, during the second nightmare sequence, examine the door in the back, collect the pipe, collect the wand, collect the weights, and examine the door again, in that order, before the water level has risen above Katia's head. Katia will create a bazooka to destroy the door. After this, travel up the dumbwaiter to see Vaermina talking to Hermaeus Mora on a cellphone. She will accidentally reveal that she knows more about Katia's nightmares than she has let on before Katia wakes up.
      • On the third night, if you have seen the first two alternate nightmares and participated in the condiment minigame, the third nightmare will be completely different. Instead of being kidnapped and murdered by the crew, Katia will see a bizarre, three-eyed golden dragon in the hold. Katia will attempt to speak to it and offer it crackers before it roars out "Champion of Nirn" in Dovahzuul, waking her up.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: In "Quill-Weave: Take Control of the Situation" we get to see Katia's first evening in town from Quill's perspective, including her reaction to the pineapple/yo-yo trick.
  • Hope Spot: Several - and the main reason the story isn't too depressing to read. Katia is making progress! Just very, very slowly.
  • Honor Before Reason: Asotil in spades - best exemplified by his having to arrest HIMSELF prior to joining the guard. His Establishing Character Moment featured it strongly as well.
    Astoril: Sometimes, criminals are dogs.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Katia spends a morning with Asotil trying to learn how to shoot fire.
  • Hurricane of Puns: After Katia gives away all of her belongings to Sigrid one person suggests that she also take off her amulet. She does. Cue just about every person ever commenting with enough cat puns to almost fill the page. The building promptly erupts into an inferno like no other.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Narration: Oh come on! She called you a “racial stereotype” for stealing [some rope] off the ground and then pickpocketed it from you?
  • Immune to Fate: Inherited from its Elder Scrolls setting, there is a concept of heroes whose fates are unwritten. Katia may fall under that as the main recipient of reader commands.
  • Infinite Canvas: Aside from the interactivity of the adventure itself, the dream sequences push the bounds of what defines a panel. The first includes Katia hiding from the monster in a spoiler box, which it then breaks into. The second has a young Katia slowly descending a staircase hanging suspended in midair as you scroll down the page, with something nasty slithering around just out of sight in a truly innovative bit of programming. This is lampshaded by Kazerad referring to the panel as "witchcraft" when crediting those who made it.
    • And this Flash literally captures the ripping of the fabric of space-time.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Precede: "There is a chest back there, but you can't reach it because your path is obstructed by a flimsy wooden mop." Apparently the dirt on it had hardened to the point it was stuck.
  • I'll Take That as a Compliment: Quill-Weave, being a novelist that specializes in gritty lower-class struggles, thanks Katia for "introducing her to a whole new level of lower class."
  • Insane Troll Logic: Landorumil. Two words: BLACK. CATS.
    • Later on, Aggy classifies Mysticism as this - Mysticism means taking a step back – accepting that the very laws of reason and logic you abide by are merely one option of many. To him, using insane troll logic is "thinking like a Witchhunter."
  • Invisibility Cloak: Does what it supposted to do, with one side effect. It blinds the user for the same amount of time as they spend invisible when they take it off
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Katia's "BEST IDEAS", which include painting her body to avoid being nude, dismantling and using a giant swinging pendulum as a weapon, jumping out of a window....
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Dmitri has no fewer than 7 cats. Although it might stretch into actually being a fetish, considering he slept with Katia. He even keeps his first cat around as a zombie because he loves him too much to let death have him.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Katia doesn't believe in lucky charms, since if they worked, it would trigger a feedback cascade that results in whoever finds a Four-Leaf Clover having nothing but good luck ever after, finding more good-luck charms and getting ever luckier. Gro-upp gets his hands on some four-leaf clovers, and spends the next week (in real-time, the better part of a year) and counting, enjoying loads of good fortune and finding ever more of the things.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Also a bit of a Hypocritical Humor for the creator and Take That! to the people writing the commands. On the third day of the voyage in Precede the guy who hates all his books complains that the reason they suck is "They make people aspire to imperfection. The writers can make characters do anything, and they make them suck!"
  • Le Parkour: Quill-Weave knows it. This is actually carried over from Oblivion, where she is an acrobatics trainer.
  • Loser Protagonist: Katia is an alcoholic with an array of phobias and almost no skills to speak of. As in, she screws up the first job she's given (out of pity) because she can't spell "merchandise" correctly. She does get a little better over time, but very slowly.
  • Lovable Coward: Katia again.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Gharug has one or two. He's got to get his [verb] on ([verb] being words such as leave, rob, kill, another kill, and leave once again).
    • He keeps using "fine piece of [noun]", too.
  • Magic Feather: Subverted. When Trevaia offers Katia a free Magic Potion of Bravery, Katia declines, having already guessed that she would later reveal that potion was plain water and that the courage was inside her all along. Trevaia admits that the church can't afford to go giving out potions.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Sigrid.
  • Meaningful Rename: Invoked by Katia in hopes that it will work. Brought back up when a suggester tries to motivate her not to drink by suggesting if she does she should go back to her old name. It doesn't work.
  • Mercy Mode: Fail enough times at the jump-all-but-one puzzle in "Extrapolate" to run out of unique failure dialogues and the game starts giving you hints. Fail several more times and it becomes impossible to make any moves but the correct ones.
  • Mood Whiplash: In what may be a clever case of emulating the moods of the character through whose eyes we're viewing the world, the tone of the comic varies between a goofy comedy, Black Comedy, and pure drama — sometimes within the same animation — depending on how Katia is doing.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Nah, even though her Paper-Thin Disguise fools neither the readers nor Katia.
    "What fangs? An ordinary human such as yourself doesn’t have fangs, silly! The very thought of such a thing is preposterous, offensive, and utterly unsubstantiated."
  • Motive Rant: Sigrid gives a big one to a captive Katia when she gets carried away explaining why she's entirely justified in using magic to control what people think. It's a bizarre mix of Then Let Me Be Evil, Opportunistic Bastard, Above Good and Evil, and The Evils of Free Will, and Hobbes Was Right. As of the latest update, it seems to have been the result of her charm enhancements affecting her sanity.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: As Sigrid loses patience with Katia during her interrogation, it becomes increasingly apparent that she's reaching this mindset. This is implied to be due to the sociopathic narcisissim that comes with her excessive use of Telvanni Bug Musk.
    "Let's make this fun, Miss Managan. You'll finally tell me everything I want to know, or I'll make sure you die trying."
  • My Greatest Failure: Katia's guilt at failing Quill-Weave is part of what spurs her onwards.
  • Mythology Gag: All over the place, being a fan prequel to Oblivion:
    • The very nice elf in robes at the entrance to Kvatch who showed up early to the party his friends had planned.
    • The "Lelles' Quality Mercandise" sign is an actual mispelled sign in Anvil.
    • The music which Katia chooses for travelling to Kvatch is the "Nerevar Rising" theme which plays in Morrowind sung with meows.
    • At one point Katia begins to have small talk with a "Stranger" known as "Capital S" AKA Gray Fox who plays an important role in the Thieves Guild quests in Oblivion and has a plot-related reason to both being creepy regarding the countess and only being known as "Capital S".
    • Brother Martin gives Katia the jibblies, which is odd for a mere member of the clergy. In Oblivion, he's actually the illegitimate son of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, so he's triggering Katia's fear of royalty - despite how, at this point, even he doesn't know this is the case, much less Katia.
    • It's later revealed that Sigrid's ridiculous charisma comes from bathing in Fortify Personality potions, taking advantage of the infamously broken alchemy mechanic of Morrowind. Said potions happen to be bought from the necrophiliac alchemist from Skingrad.
    • While Vaermina is pondering the source of Gaius's nightmares, she first asks if Gaius is a vampire, then if they are in the province of Morrowind, before admitting that she's stumped. In the Elder Scrolls universe, attempting to sleep as a vampire causes the player character to have horrible nightmares each time. Also, at various points in the Morrowind main story, the Big Bad Dagoth Ur would attempt to communicate with the player (and several NPC's) through their dreams.
    • While walking through the Kvatch Mage's Guild, Katia can comment on a portrait of Sigrid that shows her hold two fireballs, one in each hand. Katia remarks that "maybe it's a Nord thing". In Oblivion's sequel, Skyrim, players were allowed to duel wield spells for the first time.
    • While Katia is in Kvatch, she pays a few visits to the local arena. In the actual game, the Kvatch refugees would often tell the player of the marvellous things Kvatch had: like the arena. Usually, the refugee who tells you is Boldon.
    • In Katia: Excelsior!, you can approach an old wood elf in the local tavern sporting a familiar yellow ice cream cone hairdo. If you persist on talking to him, he will drunkenly insist that he has no son. Given that he looks like an older version of the Adoring Fan from "Oblivion", one can sympathise if he's not too fond of his likely offspring.
    • In Katia: Infiltrate, someone has left a note on a bed with the words "Jesan's Bed", and inspecting it will provide the message of "You can't sleep in an owned bed!", referencing the oddity of not being able to sleep in beds that aren't yours in most Bethesda games.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Katia, who is completely new to Cyrodiil. She first attempts to get to know the locals.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The whole morning after Katia's first night in Cyrodiil plays this with Katia and Gharug.
    • In Dodger: Break the Law, Quill-Weave panics and rips off her top. Her chest is immediately censored, before someone mentions that she's a reptile, prompting the censorship to go away because she doesn't have nipples.
    • Kazerad's Merchandise Retrospective where he discusses the methods that he used to ship out merch from the Prequel crowdfunding. Nearly every illustration features either Asotil or Quill-Weave naked.
      Kazerad: So, let’s delve right the fuck in. And let’s make all the illustrations nonsensically and gratuitously naked, so you keep reading out of morbid curiosity.
    • After Katia finally defeats Sigrid, the both of them are naked because Katia ditched almost everything but the Cloak of Grey Tomorrow and her painted on underwear, and Sigrid's clothes have been torn off to get rid of the charm magic. Sigrid later summons a Flame Atronach, who pumps her arms up and similarly strips down.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Greater Impmaster Murderboss".
  • NEET: Katia starts off as this, and no longer becoming one is currently her main objective.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: See page quote.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Katia's third night in Cyrodiil, which invokes the main cause of her fear of nobles.
  • No Fourth Wall: Katia has addressed members of the forum themselves and called them out on stupid commands. It is uncertain if this extends to anyone else.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Dream or not, Katia's "fight" against her own nightmare version of Uriel Septim was heartrendingly one-sided, ending with her being disemboweled and pinned to a wall by 10 foot long scythe-limbs.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Argonians, just like in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Dodger: Break the Law side story shows that not all of them have them, probably as a nod to differing designs of Argonians across The Elder Scrolls games.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • What did happen with Katia and that pineapple and yoyo? It's kind of hard to describe, but I can draw a picture if you want...
    • Also one where she apparently lost all her fur. She calls it the "razor incident". It happened recently enough that it's the reason her facial fur hasn't all grown back in yet.
  • Not Me This Time: As it turns out, Vaermina is not responsible for the nightmares of Katia or Gaius. Although she's fairly reluctant to admit to this.
    Vaermina: That is correct! Vaermina was testing you. About the nightmares, she gave you. (Beat)... (Beat)' May Vaermina speak with this mortal alone?
  • No Name Given:
    • A Soldier Of The Imperial Legion.
    • Katia's old name is unknown, and will likely remain that way, barring some dramatic plot twist.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The amulet of silence, which does not actually prevent you from talking. Also the "amulet of silence", which does but is not an amulet.
  • O.C. Stand-in:
    • Quill-Weave and Sigrid, who are minor NPCs in Oblivion with professions matching their portrayal in the comic.
    • Played with though; most of the recurring characters other than Katia like Asotil or Dmitri are characters that would be considered nameless Mooks in Oblivion or live in Kvatch.
    • The entire city of Kvatch fits this trope, in a way; since it's only visited as a smouldering ruin in Oblivion, almost any location, event, or character can fit there.
  • Off the Wagon: Twice around the beginning, but she has managed to stay sober since.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: "Quill-Weave: Take Control of the Situation" shows what Katia was up to during her first bender that was originally depicted as a blackout, and why Quill considers herself parly to blame for it.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Katia loses all her belongings with shocking frequency, and is already in a fair amount of debt to Quill.
  • Pixellation:
    • Used when Katia first wakes up after getting drunk. Once she paints "underwear" on herself, though, it stops.
    • Returns in the aftermath of Katia and Sigrid's mind-control battle, in which Katia had commanded her not to wear her charisma-enhancing clothes.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Katia, due sometimes to the tension between the good ideas the readers suggest to avoid disaster, which she'll acknowledge, and the fact that screwing it all up anyway a few pages later is funnier.
  • Playing with Fire: Katia, although she has trouble controlling it. It's usually set off by people (including the audience) offending her with racist cat puns.
  • Pooled Funds: Discussed when the readers suggest that Katia dive into a large pile of gold. She points out that coins don't actually behave like water, and even if they did, the pile's not big enough and she can't swim.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: You are now the amulet of silence. Or more specifically, you are the imprisoned soul of a puppy that is being used to power the amulet’s enchantment.
  • The Power of Friendship: Rather violently subverted in Katia's nightmare sequence. She wills into existence an image of Quill-Weave, so that they could face the King together... only to watch her friend being eviscerated by the King seconds later. Seems to be played more straight in the real world though.
  • Precision F-Strike: "You're Katia fucking Managan!" — usually said by Katia to herself during a Hope Spot.
  • Product Placement: Asotil delivers some of the crowdfunding rewards to some villagers in a town.
  • Punny Name: Gharag gro-Upp.
    • Katia Managan, itself, is also a pun (Cat Man). Ironically, it's also the only cat-pun she hasn't caught onto yet.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Katia demonstrates.
  • Really Gets Around: Katia tends to end up in one-night stands when she gets drunk. She is really tired of it.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Katia, so much that people don't want Rule 34. That doesn't stop some people, though...
  • Rotoscoping: [S] Katia: Infiltrate uses that for character animations.
  • Running Gag:
    • The audience making cat puns as Katia, who responds with annoyance. Apparently she didn't notice the name... The worst of these puns will also randomly set things alight.
    • "...and you are certain this action will have no negative ramifications at all."
    • Early on, Katia running and cowering behind a guard when scared.
    • Early in the story, a reader logically disproved the existence of luck as demonstrated by the necessarily exponential growth implicit in the collection of four-leaved clovers. When Gro-Upp shows up again, his body plastered with the damn things, it becomes apparent that this reasoning was flawed.
    • Gharug gro-Upp likes to get his joke on, if you know what he means (He means he has a running joke too.)
    • " least, you're pretty sure that's how that works."
    • Characters consulting The Imperial Dictionary whenever they need linguistic help.
  • Sadist Show: It is "Making A Cat Cry: the Adventure".
  • Saved by Canon: Several characters - in particular Quill-Weave, Sigrid, Weedum-Ja, and Uriel Septim VII - exist as minor characters in Oblivion canon and thus cannot be killed within the comic, which occurs before Oblivion's main story.
  • Second-Person Narration
  • Selective Obliviousness: Katia with instances of alcohol whenever she wants to stay sober.
  • Ship Sinking: The author has sunk Katia/Quill. Not only is Quill already in a relationship with someone else, Katia as straight as an arrow, in addition to the fact that she would rather not ruin their friendship, regardless.
    • Katia states in the comic she has no interest in romance, and that she only wants friends. However in one case, Dimitri, the necromancer that Katia slept with if you look past him taking advantage of her, was shown to be a sweet and affable guy (Probably a Punch-Clock Villain since he's a necromancer and all) with a love of cats and a genuine crush on Katia. Thought she is likely to have no interest in him anyways. Then he runs afoul of Gharug gro-Upp.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Some of the more meta elements of Katia receiving commands have since been undergone a Cerebus Retcon to being voices she hears in her head.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: [S] Katia: Infiltrate.
    Narration: It took you two hours of genuinely concerted effort to fall into that trap.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Speak in Unison:
    Katia and Sigrid: Don’t say anything!
  • Square Race, Round Class:
    • Katia is an Atronach, which means she can only absorb magicka and not produce it. In game this is one of the hardest builds possible for a mage, as many enemies don't use magic at all.
    • Dmitri is a Redguard. They are horrible mages as well, due to stats that strongly favor warriors. (That said, Word of God says Dmitri's half redguard, half breton, so it should even out.)
  • Stealth Pun: The orc's name is, indeed, Gro-Upp, or "Grow Up."
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Used multiple times, alternately Played for Laughs and Played for Drama. First, Rajirra scolds Katia as an embarrassment to other Khajiit (who are stereotyped as shifty thieves and drug addicts) for suggesting that they break into a building through a window when in fact they're going to get a key, from the owner, since they have permission to enter. Likewise for picking something up she finds. Rajirra herself pickpockets Katia and flees at the first sign of serious danger, though, and Katia calls her out on it mentally. Later, Katia insists on not being stereotypical by not taking any gold she didn't earn, even though she's allowed to do so as a guild member...but when she gives in, it turns into a gold-shoveling minigame, with score counted in "Khajiitness".
  • Stylistic Suck: Lelles' original sign is basically a bunch of chicken scratch. Even misspelled, Katia's sign is much better than the original.
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: Flash games are an obvious example. In addition, a video game interface sometimes appears, which develops over time.
  • Super-Speed Reading: Katia is able to get through half a bookstore in hours, as she reckons. This references how impossibly fast reading is in Oblivion.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The vampire girl in Kvatch mixes this with Blatant Lies.
  • Tears of Blood: A side effect of either using Eye Of Night during the daytime or overusing Eye Of Fear, which results in a much more serious case.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Katia is mistaken for an exotic prostitute:
    Katia: WHY HELLO there, sir! You look like a fellow who is in need of something! Something perhaps easily attainable, that I could help you with?
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Katia. She meets Quill by breaking into her house, wrecking things, and having sex with a stranger on a drunken bender. It only gets worse from there.
  • Throwing the Distraction: In "Katia: Infiltrate", Katia can throw a rock to distract the castle guards. In a twist on the trope, instead of leaving their posts to investigate, they argue over who gets to investigate long enough for her to sneak past.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Gro-Upp seems to like doing this.
  • Title Drop:
    "When you left home and came to Cyrodiil, it wasn't just the epilogue to a long, sad story. It was the prequel to something undefined. It was a new story, too young for anyone to predict the ending."
    "This is a setback but you can still pull through. All the bad feelings, they're just the prequel to something good. You'll see."
  • Tempting Fate: Katia honey, you really need to not say "Nothing can go wrong". Ever.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Averted, which might be surprising given the way the comic works. While Katia has her moments of stupidity, she will point-blank refuse to do things readers request she do if they're particularly stupid.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Katia when she was fighting the imps. No, seriously, she actually took a level, as referenced by the "You just have to go a little crazy" line that accompanies your first level-up in Oblivion.
    • Rematch. Quite possibly one of the scariest things she's done.
  • Trade Snark: CairnCorp®'s skeletons are able to communicate them telepathically. Along with asterisks and footnotes.
  • T-Word Euphemism: For Katia's questionable trade.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Done by (the MALE) Gharug gro-Upp. See Crazy Prepared above.
  • Visual Pun: Whenever Katia is the victim of a cat-related "burn", a flame appears on something nearby.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Three pieces of cake in ten minutes equals this into offscreen plants.
  • Unsound Effect: Happens from time to time.
  • Water Source Tampering: Threatened Kvatch at one time.
  • Webcomic of the Game: Based in the universe of Oblivion.
  • Wham Line: Several occur later in the comic:
    • Update 181 gives us the following after Katia mentions having recurring monochrome nightmares.
      Gaius: Who told you about my nightmares?
    • Update 245, a whole Wham Episode, gives a few major ones revealing the true nature of Sigrid's madness.
      Katia: [narration] Everything Sigrid wants makes sense, but it also doesn’t feel right that she can bark commands at someone as smart, as pretty, as… infallible as you are. Even the imp gall running down your chin is coming across as badass and rugged-looking rather than disgusting...
      Sigrid: You know, Katia, without all the charm magic… I come across as somewhat douchey, don’t I?
  • Wham Episode: Update 245, on Sept. 20 2018. Not only does Katia finally achieve a major victory, but it's revealed that Sigrid wasn't as evil as she seemed.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: True for multiple interpretations of "do" and a literal interpretation of "what". For example, Katia really wants to know what happened with that necromancer. And the skeleton. Especially if it... you know... participated. Is that even possible? All she knows is that the teeth marks on the ballgag aren't hers.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Katia finally meets another Khajiit in Kvatch, and decides to try out her Ta'agra. Since it's in text, we don't get to hear it, but...
    Katia: <Good hunting, clanmate! My name is Katia Managan!>
    Ra'jira: <This one severely doubts that. What does it want?>
    Katia: <Just wanting to chat? It has been long time since I met another Khajiit. My Ta'agra is maybe rusty.
    Ra'jira: <Every word it speaks rapes the language of its ancestors. Violently rapes it with a thorny, Khajiit cock. My ears beg for death. Death which they are denied.>
    Katia: <I am sorry, I did not understand that. You use simpler words?>
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Katia is deathly afraid of royalty, due to her recurring night-terrors about a monstrous king.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Practically the point of this story. The number of times that Katia's apparent string of good luck doesn't get suddenly turned on its head can be counted on one hand.