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Webcomic / Rise From Ashes

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For as long as she can remember, a ghost girl has haunted an abandoned manor. As far as she knows, she is only one of her kind.

One day, everything changes, when a ghost criminal named Nox takes refuge in her house. He attempts to eat her, up until both of them are captured by the organization that manages the dead, the Red Crows.

Christened "Winter", she and Nox are taken by Wren as his bondspirits. She finds herself forced to work for the Red Crows as they attempt to put down a world wide rebellion, incited by a ghost connected to Winter's own forgotten past.

It can be read here. The Pilot and an older version can be read here or here.


Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Wren's father wasn't one when he was raising him, but ever since Wren's mother died, their relationship has grown increasingly distant and even unpleasant to the point that his father refuses to listen to him and smacks him for helping civilians instead of helping him win a competition.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Winter has a normal moral alignment right now, but before she lost her memories, she was a very evil person, and she reacts with horror when she starts to recover them. Nox for his part has trouble believing someone that evil would become innocent just because she lost her memories and suspects her of being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The masks created by the First Crow are possessed by pieces of her, of whom the Red Crows are Unwitting Pawns.
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  • An Ice Person: Cryogeists can generate ice that affects both the living and the dead.
  • The Beast Master: Winter does not know how to possess people, but before Nox hurt her by stealing some of her spiritual energy, she was able to control the minds of birds, even in life. In death, she has used them to maintain her house, move books she wants to read, and even use them as an Animal Eye Spy.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble:
    • The Strangler is a major antagonist and is inciting a rebellion among the city's mistreated dead. Strangler seeks not just to improve the rights of the dead, but to turn the tables on the living entirely.
    • Pieces of the First Crow herself form an Ancient Conspiracy within the Red Crows.
  • Blessed with Suck: Mediums have developed their abilities enough for it to no longer be a problem nowadays, but long ago, their power was considered to be a curse.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rook is often late, is always wearing a mask, and has a reputation for most of her student fledglings not lasting long enough to get promoted. She has also won the deepest respect of Wren's notoriously rancorous father.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Strangler's symbol.
  • Cassandra Truth: Officially, Red Crows never form ghosts. Winter speculates that a conspiracy within the Red Crows has been deliberately silencing any Red Crow ghosts that say otherwise. Shrike finds it funny that everyone just believes what they are told without even bothering to question it.
  • Cast From Sanity: Cutting off pieces of one's soul allows for some incredibly powerful techniques, but the user loses a bit of themselves each time, and even if they pull back in what they lost, the damage remains.
  • Child Prodigy: Ludmilla has been referenced as one, a child medium superstar.
  • Continuity Reboot: The comic had a previous incarnation before selling the rights to LINE and rebooting it. Key differences include:
    • Winter does not suffer from Ghost Amnesia. Quite the contrary, her entire motive to stay in her Haunted House is to continuously dream her last happy memory, her 16th birthday party. She also remembers how she died; the manor caught fire, and while her siblings were able to escape, her parents somehow forgot all about her.
    • Winter is also a Fisher Queen, her Haunted House changing its form according to her mood and current preferences. She is far less reliant on birds to maintain it.
    • The previous continuity gives an immediate hint as to why no one ever reported her Haunted House to the Red Crows; They suffer Laser-Guided Amnesia after they leave its borders and forget the house exists.
    • Wren's father isn't merely difficult to please in general. He looks down on his son specifically, and for reasons he refuses to divulge, he does not want his son to work for the Red Crows. He has him assigned to a department full of nutcases in the hopes that he will quit. Failing that, he aims to get the necessary political support to shut down said troublesome department entirely, which among other things will allow him to have his son fired.
  • Demonic Possession: Many ghosts can takeover the bodies of the living.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Wren's father was originally a Cool Teacher, but became this after the death of his wife, seeking to cull "weakness" due to the Evil Mask he wears, which has convinced him that his wife died because she was too weak. Head Crow Marlowe notes that he has taken it so far beyond reason that it's backfiring and setting his students back instead of strengthening them.
  • Enemy Without: In life, Winter was a monster, and while the version of her serving with Wren is suffering Amnesiac Dissonance, fragments of her soul still are.
  • Evil Mask: The first crow made a series of masks, and receiving the right to wear one is viewed as a great honor by the Red Crows. But what most of the rank and file do not realize is that the masks are actually possessed by pieces of her soul, which has become unspeakably cruel. Wren's father became a Sadist Teacher after wearing one, and found himself unable to remove it no matter what he tried. An evil living crow, Shrike, wears one willingly and the spirit within shares its power and knowledge.
  • Familiar: It is common for people to keep one ghost as a personal servant, which is typically called a bondspirit. When a Red Crow fledgeling gets promoted to crow, they get to pick one of their own, which is traditionally the first ghost they captured.
  • Freudian Excuse: The First Crow was an orphan, raised by someone who didn't want to risk getting attached to her due to the danger posed by their work as a medium. Her Only Friend died, causing her to go Necromantic and resort to unpleasant means to anchor his soul to the living world. As she delved further into Black Magic, she grew increasingly ambitious and started to use that power to enslave the dead and even murder the living.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Nox has spent his unlife as a member of a gang of ghost criminals that call themselves the Fingers. But they eventually make it clear that they never really considered him one of them due to his former life as a Red Crow.
  • Ghost Amnesia: Winter remembers little before awakening in her house. She gradually starts recovering her memories when she gets forcibly taken by the Red Crows.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: While the Crows mistreat the dead as slaves, they still work to maintain society and keep the peace by preventing ghosts from abusing their powers. The ghosts fighting against the Red Crows are resorting to unpleasant methods, but are ultimately fighting for their freedom from the Red Crows who are abusing them. The leadership of both sides on the other hand are implied to be malevolent.
  • Haunted House: Winter has long lived in an abandoned manor. It is surprisingly well kept, due in part to the birds Winter is able to command. From time to time, people have discovered her house, but she always scares them away, and mysteriously, her house failed to get noticed by the Red Crows until the events of the comic.
  • Haunted Technology: The Red Crows can have their ghosts possess doll-like devices called husks, allowing said ghost to touch the physical world and focus their power.
  • Heroic BSoD: Winter pretty much shuts down when she remembers just how cruel she was as a Red Crow.
  • High Turn Over Rate: The Crows' work managing ghosts is dangerous, and newcomers tend to have high mortality rates. It is implied that many of them were also murdered by a conspiracy within the Red Crows.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When several Crows determine that Senior Crow Shrike is guilty of some serious crimes, he tries to kill all the witnesses by revealing that the entire room is a Genius Loci, possessed by one of the ghosts he enslaved. The shaking room causes his Evil Mask to come off, giving Nox the opportunity to destroy it..
  • Karmic Transformation: The Red Crows tend to treat the dead with very little respect. But at least a few Red Crows have ended up as ghosts themselves.
    • In life, Winter would mercilessly take the dead as slaves. Now, she herself has ended up as a bondspirit. Winter becomes rather sad when she remembers how cruel she used to be.
    • The Strangler hopes to invoke this himself, by murdering all the Red Crows. Then he hopes to make their own ghosts join their cause.
  • Knight Templar: There are more than a few hints that the First Crow was power-hungry and cruel, all the while fully believing herself a hero.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The First Crow was an orphan and never given a name because her adoptive guardian didn't want to risk getting attached. "First Crow" has pretty much become her name.
  • Ley Line: In the first version, the Red Crows were able to use them as a Portal Network and to summon ghosts from headquarters. In the current continuity, they can use them for direct communication.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ghosts captured by the Red Crows are bound by several rules, including one that forbids them from harming any Red Crows. One Red Crow gets around this by having his ghost freeze Wren's pants to a train.
  • Love at First Sight: Winter develops a crush on Wren the instant she sees his face.
  • Made a Slave: The fate of any ghost the Red Crows catch. The dead have few rights from the living and are widely abused. Wren's father fully realizes how much their ghosts resent them and lambastes his son for trusting Winter.
  • Magical Camera: The modern Weapon of Choice for Red Crows. In the past, they used their medium powers to absorb and control ghosts, but this was very risky and stressful. The invention of the Crow's Eye made it much safer and more convenient, making it possible to capture ghosts in photographs and force them to obey them when released.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: One of the First Crow's creations was a magic mirror that reflected the type of ghost one had the potential to become upon dying. She used it to pick out suitable living people to "harvest" as her undead slaves. In modern times, Senior Crow Shrike has occasionally used it for the same.
  • Mistaken for Own Murderer: Nox was murdered by his own teacher, Shrike, and enslaved via Necromancy. Shrike lost control, but before Nox could get revenge, Crow reinforcements showed up and mistook Nox for his own killer.
  • The Mole: One of the junior crows works for the Strangler.
  • Moral Myopia: Clio is outraged that a former fellow member of the Five Fingers, Nox would become a bondspirit, seeing this as him turning his back on them. All this despite the fact that they had him get captured by the Red Crows on purpose, partially because they didn't trust him as a former Red Crow.
  • Necromancer: There are rare people with a gift for Mediumship. They have the power to banish or control ghosts and are tasked with managing the dead. Long ago, they were only used for forcing spirits to move on or allowing them to linger in the world a little longer. But one family of mediums discovered a technique that allowed them to enslave the dead. The First Crow stole the technique, and realizing its potential, the rulers of the world used them to raise armies. Eventually fearing the consequences, the mediums banded together, called off their armies, and founded the Red Crows.
  • Not Himself: Wren's father has been acting strangely cruel to the point that Wren and Head Crow Marlowe suspect that he isn't who he appears to be.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Since Winter suffers from Name Amnesia, the cast decides to call her "Winter" after the strange Ghostly Chill surrounding her.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Most of the dead are believed to pass on to an afterlife, but some are trapped by Unfinished Business. The circumstances under which they died causes them to arise as different types of ghosts, giving them special powers. It is believed that when a ghost's spiritual energy is consumed, it forces them to move on.
  • Pilot: In the first draft of Rise From Ashes, ghosts are employed via contracts, in which a living person loans their memories to help the ghosts remain in the living world. Winter is a little girl who originally lived on a farm, but has recently moved to the city to be with her father. Her mother has passed on, and her father has given up many of his memories of her to employ ghosts as servants. Winter used to play with her father regularly, but now he has dedicated most of his time to his work, causing Winter to suffer from Parental Neglect. Nevertheless, she manages to befriend a neighborhood child, Wren, as well as a Red Crow that saves her from a Deal with the Devil with some malevolent ghosts. The pilot ends, hinting that Winter possesses an ominous connection to the dead.
  • Playing with Fire: Pyrogeists can manipulate flame.
  • Power at a Price: The Red Sword is a technique to rip off pieces of one's soul and use the fragments as power sources for some extremely potent forms of magic. But using it weakens one's sanity as well as one's personal power. Even the First Crow, the strongest medium to have ever lived, has been reduced to Winter, a mere wisp and the weakest type of ghost, due to splitting off nearly all of it.
  • Power Gives You Wings: When Winter starts occupying a husk and recovers an important memory, she grows feather wings and temporarily becomes tremendously powerful.
  • The Power of Creation: When she's strong enough, Winter has the ability to generate miniature haunted houses and even use them to encase other ghosts.
  • Powers via Possession: An extremely rare medium power is the ability to use the powers of their bondspirits directly.
  • Red Baron: Ludmilla is sometimes known as "The Gravedigger".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The First Crow gradually became more and more evil due to using magic Cast From Sanity, causing damage to her soul. The Strangler's recollections depict this via her eyes turning red.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift:
    • While he now resents them, Nox is a former Red Crow. After the events of Season One, his outfit reverts to what he wore as a Red Crow, much to his own frustration.
    • Winter was the very first of the Red Crows, and when she recovers her lost memories of being one, her blue dress is replaced with an archaic Red Crow cloak.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: In the old days, new Red Crows were locked in a room with a spectre. The ones with passing grades were the ones that survived. Wren's father still believes the Red Crows should be doing things this way.
  • Soul Eating: Some types of ghosts have the power to steal spiritual energy from ghosts or even the living.
  • Soul Jar: The First Crow embedded pieces of her soul into masks.
  • Soul Power: The First Crow's spiritual powers were so strong, that she could even control some living beings, like birds.
  • Soul-Powered Engine:
    • A lot of technology in the setting uses ghosts as the power source, stealing their spiritual energy.
    • The First Crow created several magical artifacts by embedding pieces of her soul inside.
  • Synchronization: Since Winter and Nox were captured by the same photograph, when one feels pain, the other does as well.
  • That Man Is Dead: Winter declares that she isn't the First Crow, a power hungry murderer anymore, but Winter.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: When Wren expresses sympathy over the cruel treatment of ghosts, Ludmilla warns him that nice men tend to die young in their line of work.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Wren's father was once a perfectly friendly man, but in current times, he's a jerk who no longer maintains any sort of bond with his son and doesn't think twice about subjecting fledglings to Sink Or Swim Mentorship.
  • Unfinished Business: One of the possible reasons ghosts get trapped in the world of the living instead of moving on.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The First Crow is renowned as a hero that put an end to using Necromancy for war and founded the Red Crows to manage the dead. But while the First Crow likely even believed in her own hype, there are more than a few signs that she was hungry for power and willing to do terrible things to get it.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Ghosts will naturally shift forms when they are troubled, and a ghost with a strong sense of self can look as they wish.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Wren becomes somewhat obsessive when it comes to trying to impress his near unpleasable father.
  • You Monster!:
    • When Winter was alive, she brought peace to the land by mercilessly enslaving the dead. When she forcibly took the ghost of a woman's son, the mother called her one, much to Winter's indignation.
    • When Winter and Nox witness another recovered memory of herself slaughtering peasants to harvest their souls as her undead slaves, Nox also calls her one.


Example of: