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Webcomic / Snow By Night

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Sherbourg, capital of the colony of Aradie. 1686. The month of Barebranch...The snow came early that year.

Snow By Night: A Tale Of Colonial Fantasy is a webcomic first started up by Eric Menge in 2010.

The tale take place in Sherbourg, capital of the Saronnean colony of Aradie. Of focus is a pair of rooks, high-minded Jassart LeBlanc and laid-back Blaise Dansereau. While carrying out a well-planned burglary on a Barebranch night, the two discover that their intended quarry has already been stolen by a Phantom Thief, with the only clue being some snow in the chest that held the prize. The two later find out that the thief has been stealing from the wards of various rooks — a big no-no according to the rook code — and promptly throwing the treasures aside.

Jassart and Blaise decide that they can't have a rival rook upstaging their own ventures, particularly not one who shows such disdain for and/or ignorance of the art of theft. The two decide that the mystery thief must be caught, with their main lead being the thief's penchant for snatching items with heart motifs.


After getting assistance from a wealthy benefactor, the duo set up a trap for the thief. They end up catching their prey, who is revealed to be Snow By Night, a female manitou (or aetheric being) who has taken on physical form in order to search for a heart and know what it means to have human feelings. With this magical being now acquainted with them, Jassart and Blaise strike a deal with her: help them with their thieving missions, and they'll help her find her heart.

The comic has also featured several vignettes that touch upon the wider world and mythology.

The story is updated every Monday and Wednesday, while the Almanac is updated every Friday. The first strip is here, the latest is here, and the Almanac is here.


Tropes in this work include:

  • Action Girl: The military has quite the amount of females in it, with Vivienne herself being a captain and Jacqueline being her second-in-command. Snow-by-Night herself is also very action oriented.
  • All There in the Manual: The story has an extensive almanac that deals with commerce, people, culture, places, history and science and updates on a weekly basis.
  • An Ice Person: Winter and his daughter Snow By Night, with even her physical body being made of snow.
  • Art Shift: Every short vignette has a different art style.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Snow's weapon, naturally made of ice, in the fight with Laurent and his goons.
  • Bond Creature: Manitous with their spirit dancers. Harm to the spirit affects the dancer as well, as seen in the vignette "A Berry from the Sun".
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Toothy Kit is a little obnoxious, but her heart is in the right place. She and Blaise get along pretty easily.
  • Character Title: Snow By Night is the name of the Phantom Thief.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mask used to "The Trap" is shown again in the vignette "A Berry From The Sun", which reveals is the ceremonial mask used by a spirit dancer whose spirit guide was corrupted. Later, Jassart steals it and becomes Talons-That-Seek's spirit dancer.
  • Downer Ending: Chapter 8, Jassart betrays Snow-By-Night and Blaise's trust, by having Bertrande the Alchemist attempt to drain Snow of her aether. In aftermath of the fight that occurred, kegs of nearby gunpowder were accidentally ignited, destroying the Alchemist guild shop, killing Bertrande, leaving severe burns and injuries on Jassart, while Blaise is on the run and no one's sure if Snow has survived with enough aether left to return.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jassart, often to those who annoy him.
    • Paws-Tread-Lightly enjoys doing this as well. Make note, he's a fox spirit, and his first few appearances had him walking up to Blaise making a Fascinating Eyebrow face.
      Paws-Tread-Lightly: *After Blaise comments that he suspects he's having a fever induced dream* "You talk to a pair of gems and you find this a dream?"
  • Evil Mask: The bird mask from "The Trap". According with "A Berry From The Sun", wearing it can drive the wearer to madness as it channels the corrupted spirit bond to it. It can also absorb other manitou to feed the eagle spirit, making it dangerous for both humans and spirits.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Aradie is a Quebec-like territory on the "New World" continent of Everique. Sherbourg resembles Montreal. It all belongs to the pseudo-French nation of Saronne (across the ocean in Japethe, Europe).
  • Fictionary: Snow By Night has many expressions of faux-French and English slang. Word of God has said that as further regions are explored, that words based on Native American tribes, as well as others, such as Dutch, will begin to appear.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Mathilde's fans.
  • God Is Good: Giavere, the patron spirit of Saronne and Aradie by extension, gave to men art and science. It's also draining cities of their aether, which is considerably less benevolent.
  • Grim Up North: In the Feathers and Frost Vignette, Winter is portrayed as a humanoid who makes an annual journey down from what is presumably Corthis' equivalent of the Arctic Circle.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Blaise, to Mathilde while outside her window.
    Mathilde: Blaise, what are you doing?
    Blaise: I was in the area and thought I'd drop by. May I come in?
    Mathilde: No.
    Blaise: Please, Mathilde, don't leave me hanging.
    Mathilde: One more pun and you're getting the vase.
    Blaise: Awww. Why are you so on edge?
  • Hypocrite: Jassart. Blaise wanting to help and be with a manitou, so that the manitou in question, Snow-By-Night, can learn the meaning of having a heart? That's bad and Blaise must be stopped and punished for his "own good". Jassart himself reawakening and freeing Talons-that-Seek, a corrupted manitou, who along with his mad spirit walker, destroyed at least one town, purely for the sake of Jassart's own ambitions? Perfectly reasonable in Jassart's mind.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Snow introduces herself to the Liranequois' hunters as "Snow-By-Night, daughter of Winter". This is very significant since the Liranequois are more respectful to the manitou and she's daughter of the cruelest of seasons.
  • Indian Maiden: Snow is a somewhat atypical example. While she's not human, she still wears Native American style garb, has an affinity for nature, and has to be taught in the ways of ("civilized") humans.
  • It's All About Me: Jassart is this, wherever he recognizes it or not, as he only thinks in how Blaise's situation with Snow affect his plans. As Blaise tries help out Snow more, and actually keep his word to her, Jassart plots against them to put Blaise back under his foot.
    • Becomes even more apparent in chapters 9 and 10, where Mathilde has dumped him, and he's moved right on to Vivienne, who being the Governor's daughter, could allow him a chance at climbing the social status ladder. Of course, when their search for more information on manitou brings them to Alays, a server at the same saloon as Matilde to find out where the Elakanois elder known as Singing Jay is, he taunts her about wanting to do the same thing when she asks for a letter to go learn and become a Scribe with the Order of the Erudite.
  • Jaw Drop: The three rooks chasing Blaise each have one when Blaise uses his Le Parkour to evade them.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Jassart told to Vivienne about the high potential of aether for medicines. Vivienne, being a member of the military, thinks of the potential of having their own Chimera now that a war with Morante is nigh.
  • Lack of Empathy: Snow by Night, and manitou in general. Snow being called "heartless" by a man she met and died in her lake is what drives her to find a heart for herself and understand what he said when he told her he loved her.
  • Le Parkour: Blaise does this to evade three disgruntled rooks. His pursuers are rather taken aback.
  • Loan Shark: Or in this case, Loan Crow, as in Chugan, the first crow, and an intermediate manitou spirit himself. He offers Snow the amethyst that act as her eyes, and source of her physical manifestation's power. The price? Snow needs to bring him baubles and treasure worth 10 times the value of the amethyst stones within one year, or he claims her. He also tries collecting on it earlier than expected, manifesting in his totem form in the wilderness that Blaise is wandering in his attempt to revive an aether drained Snow-By-Night
  • Love Is a Weakness: Jassart starts to worry that Blaise is losing focus the more time he spends with Snow, as he can tell that his feelings for the manitou are clouding his mind.
  • The Mentor: As a kindred soul living in mysteries, Cienan offers to train Mathilde as a Melaithe priestess, now that he'll be in need to leave Sherbourg soon.
  • Messianic Archetype: The Peacemaker in the vignette "The Peacemaker and the Tree of War". He came to the people with the key for peace but everybody was too afraid, believing he was a spy send to lower their defenses. They said that if he survived a fatal fall they will believe him, but seeing how their hearts were hardened, the Peacemaker decides to cut himself the tree where he's standing over the cliff to mark his point.
  • Mix And Match Creature: The chimerae.
  • Money Fetish: Jassart was born in poverty so his thievery is in order to get as much money as possible in order to live good the rest of his life.
  • Nature Spirit: Manitou They are beings infused with 3 of the 4 Alchemic elements, but are always lacking the element opposite of their most major element. Snow-By-Night is one such Manitou, being the spirit of a northern lake, as is her dad, Father Winter (and is huge given his power, being one of 4 Great Spirits responsible for bringing about the changes of seasons in Everique)
  • Never My Fault: Jassart is accused of being this kind of person by Mathilde. She's right.
  • Older Than He Looks: Cienan Yr Tuathal.
  • Phantom Thief: Snow By Night.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Downplayed. The Nature Spirit wants a heart in order to understand human feelings.
  • Playing with Fire: Talons-That-Seek (the manitou inside the bird mask) and by association, his new spirit dancer Jassart.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The cool-headed Jassart mainly wears blue to match his eyes, whereas the wilder Blaise mainly wears red to hide the stains.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Mathilde gets quite close and touchy with Jacqueline, now that she has dumped Jassart. The author's comments suggest her relationship with Jacqueline would be healthier than that with him.
  • She's Back: Chapter 9 closes with a revived Snow-By-Night, wearing new clothes.
  • Scenery Porn: The opening view of Sherbourg is quite luscious.
  • Secret Identity: Mathilde turns out to be an alias for Anne-Marie Priault, one of the King's Daughters. But instead of marrying she used the money she was worthy of to buy the Harp and Trumpet, and keeps cover by working on her own establishment.
  • Ship Tease: Chapter 10 implies a close relationship between Jassart and Vivienne, but thanks to hidden hints, it's implied that Jassart is not on it out of romantic feelings.
  • Shrouded In Mystery: Cienan Yr Tuathal. Chapter 14: Revelations and a Noctune appropriately reveals many of his secrets. He's from Garthemoor, and is a priest of sorts to his homeland's patron spirit; a job that requires people keeping secrets. And turns out, Mathilde has as many secrets as he does.
  • Soul Jar: The amethysts that act as Snow's eyes contains her spirit.
  • Trolling Translator: Downplayed. Toothy Kit is Blaise's translator while he's with the Liranequois, but she only says to people the essence of the phrases and she adds some sarcasm in her translations.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: Giavere is often portrayed as a graceful white unicorn. Snow, being a spirit herself, sees a different image.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: How Jassart justifies his actions of trying to have Snow's aether drained. According to Bertande, it would've been enough to create medicines to heal a lot of people. Also because he feared that Snow was becoming too dangerous to have around Blaise.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jassart in Chapter 8. Jassart in that one chapter alone managed to betray Mathilde, Blaise, and Snows' trusts. He also tried to have Snow killed and stabbed Blaise. And that's before we factor in the collateral damage of his actions.
  • Why Did You Make Me Cut You?: Jassart's accusation to Blaise when he tries to fend Blaise's rescue attempt of Snow from Bertande with his knife, and cut his arm. Blaise immediately calls out his now former friend on this, and points out how insane such an accusation is.
  • Worldbuilding: The focus of the Almanac; bits of it leak into the main story when the plot demands it.


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