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Webcomic / The Sword Interval

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An Urban Fantasy webcomic by Ben Fleuter that started in 2015. It can be read here. The author also wrote this comic's predecessor Parallel Dementia.

The world is on the verge of a supernatural apocalypse. Most people go about their daily lives trying to ignore the threats of magic and monsters, but there are some people who face the danger head-on, who fight the monsters.

Fall Barros is one of those people. When she was 12 years old, her parents were killed by the Hierophant, an extremely dangerous undead sorcerer. Up until recently, she was in the supernatural witness protection program, but she's recently left to hunt the Hierophant down.

She teams up with experienced hunter David Shimizu, and the two of them go hunting, with the ultimate plan to find a way to kill the Hierophant once and for all.


  • Apocalypse Maiden: Fall is the current Harbinger, the latest in a long line of people born with Supernatural Gold Eyes, a Healing Factor, and who turn into natural disasters upon death. They have an unknown connection to the Hierophant. Fall is the oldest Harbinger in a very long time, because Gold, the current chairman of Atlas, decided to keep her alive in an attempt to break the vicious cycle.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Marina Barros lost her lower left leg in the fight against the Hierophant where his body was destroyed.
    • Sheriff Clarke lost her left arm in the war with the Dryads. She has a Golem Prosthetic.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening prologue shows the fight against the Hierophant where his body was originally destroyed, and it looks like Fall's parents were killed then. It's later revealed in a flashback that they survived, and were actually killed later that year, in December, when the Hierophant came back for revenge (or possibly just to shape Fall).
  • Basilisk and Cockatrice: A basilisk can turn anything its eye sees to stone, and can be killed only by the sound of a rooster's first crow at dawn.
  • Batter Up!: Fall is able to kill a dragon with a baseball bat because the bat was owned and signed by famous baseball player Berry Riese, who used it to win the 1923 World Series, thus making the bat qualify as a "legendary weapon", the only thing that can kill a dragon. She keeps the bat afterwards.
  • Blind Seer: Lady Rue. In fact, this is her actual witch title.
  • Blood Magic:
    • All witches use a part of their body to fuel their magic; the more important the sacrifice, the more powerful the magic. Blood is a valid option, and Mah Yun has been teaching Marco how to use it.
    • Another witch, Lady Rue, uses Tears of Blood from beneath her blindfold for her powers, but an FAQ reveals that what she actually sacrificed was her vision.
  • Bullet Catch: Fall pulls this off, complete with Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The three guys at the beginning who, despite knowing David Shimizu's legendary reputation as a hunter, thought they could bully him into hunting a monster. Fall calls them out on their stupidity as she drives them to the hospital.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Early on, when defending himself in a fight in a diner, David uses a barstool as a weapon.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: Atlas. Hunters appear to be a more grassroots phenomena, without any overarching structure, but sharing tips and information, working together when their hunts overlap, and having areas like the bar The Wild Hunt where hunters gather to drink, talk, and plan.
  • Dating Catwoman: Subverted. It initially seems this is the case when we find out that Marco Tousi's girlfriend is the Stygian Medusa, but it turns out he knows who and what she is and doesn't care, firmly cementing him as untrustworthy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Steal from a dragon, and they'll kill not only you, but your entire family. It doesn't matter how much you stole - take a few pennies a year through embezzlement, and it will hunt you down.
  • Dragon Hoard: There are dragons, and they have these, although the only one seen so far has taken to investing in the stock market.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: It's on the horizon, and it has happened at least a hundred times before, in fact. The current world is only the latest incarnation of Earth, and all the previous ones ended the same way: with the Harbinger calling the Celestials to destroy everything. Some cycles at least managed to delay the inevitable for some time by killing the Harbinger's reincarnations whenever their powers begin to manifest.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mah Yun, the Stygian Medusa, is in a happy relationship with hunter Marco Tousi.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The kid from the first arc learns the hard way that summoning a monster is a bad idea, and Fall has to save him from his mistake.
  • The Extremist Was Right: The Visage, aka Karl Banks, became the insane murderous villain we see him as because he believed that his childhood friend Sarah, who'd died in a fire, was being hunted down and murdered every time she reincarnated. It's revealed in strip 84 that he was right.
  • Eye Colour Change: Fall used to have brown eyes, but they turned gold as a result of what the Hierophant did to her. It's actually a subversion. Fall is the current Harbinger, and as David discovers when he visits some of her relatives, she always had golden eyes.
  • Atrocious Alias: The Carnelian Raven suggests that Marco, if he's learning blood magic, should have a witch name, and suggests the Crimson Jackal. Marco responds that he prefers "Red Rover".
  • Fake Memories: It's revealed that Atlas altered Fall's memories so she would forget that her eyes were always orange and believe that her mother owned the necklace she kept as a last token of her parents. The necklace was a surveillance device.
  • Faking the Dead: At the end of the Sugar Fen arc, Lady Rue and her son have gone into hiding to make Atlas believe they're dead, so they won't know Rue spoke to Fall. Reggie also made one last call into Atlas headquarters to make them believe he and Agent Porter are dead, too.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The Famorians did this when it became obvious that their world was beyond saving. Creating a container capable of surviving the end of the world, they filled it with magical candles containing an archive of their collected knowledge about the cycle as well as one Famorian volunteer...the Hierophant. They initially seemed to fail, as their chosen messenger falls to despair and cynicism and abandons his mission in favor of just continuing the cycle, but in the end their archive ends up in exactly the right time and place to allow for the creation of a crazy-enough-to-work plan to end the cycle.
  • Foreshadowing: There were several hints about the true nature of Fall's powers and her status as the Harbinger long before the formal reveal.
    • The whole business with what the Visage was doing, the paintings he'd made of Sarah and Arthur Broughton, and the way he treats Fall.
    • It's mentioned that during the year Fall spent at Atlas headquarters before she formally entered witness protection, most Atlas personnel treated her rather coldly.
    • When the complete story of the Hierophant's attack on the California Institute of Paranatural Studies is shown, when he sees Fall's parents, he takes a good look at them and makes a cryptic remark about "the artifact" working perfectly, and then tells the Barroses that he'll be back for their blood before his body is destroyed.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Hello, Visage.
  • Frustrated Overhead Scribble: When Fall realizes there's no coffee left in the morning her displeasure is shown with a dark scribble in a speech bubble above her head once she's left the room and no one can hear her grumbling.
  • Gambit Pileup: The Reliquary Heist is a four-way example:
    • Fall and David plan to steal the Reliquary to use it against the Hierophant.
    • The Witches' Coven was contracted by the Hierophant to steal the Reliquary for him.
    • The Hierophant himself has his own plan for once the reliquary is safely out of the way.
    • And finally, Atlas has set up the whole thing in part to bait out the Hierophant and/or Harbinger.
  • Ghostly Gape: The Visage sports one, which makes him look even more disturbing. Actually, all of the ghosts in Broughton Hall have one, and Visage's is probably the least horrific... though still potentially the creepiest. Especially since his speech bubbles often extend into and behind his mask, making it look like they are issuing from deep within.
  • Golem: Sword Interval doesn't have high technology, unlike its predecessor Parallel Dementia, and golems are powered by spirits and magic.
    • Reggie is a Hungering Golem, meaning he sustains himself by feeding on magic around him and can do so offensively, draining the magic out of a huge area and destroying magical constructs like those created by Granny Slough. He appears to have been created by the English for World War I, and has since been claimed by Atlas apparently regardless of what he desires.
    • Artificial Limbs are also made of non-sentient golems, responding to the wearer's desires, which can lead to new limbs especially picking up objects the user finds curious or walking to places the owner is thinking of... whether or not the user actually intended to do those things.
    • As the apocalypse draws nearer, Atlas begins constructing new golems using malign spirits instead of elementals to animate them. Unlike the sapient, usually quite personable golems seen before, these are silent and apparently have no function other than killing.
    • Finally, the plan to save the world and end the apocalyptic cycle once and for all involves turning the Earth itself into a massive golem of sorts, with Reggie as its heart and all the hostile remnants of past worlds to animate it.
      Reggie: Ah — I am a golem. Robots are a thing of fiction.
  • Haunted House: Broughton Hall, which brought the Spirit Bomb crew there.
  • Healing Factor: Something else Fall has as a result of the Hierophant's "gift".
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: One of the magical items acquired by the cast is a small flask capable of producing a theoretically infinite amount of whatever liquid is put into it. Useful, but not particularly high on the legendary artifact scale. Until nascent blood mage Marco gets his hands on it and realizes just how much it expands his powers, that is...
  • I Need You Stronger: The Hierophant spared Fall and marked her with "gifts" (and was delighted she became a hunter specifically to kill him) for some as yet unknown purpose. The fact that she's the current Harbinger likely has something to do with it.
  • Lich: The Hierophant.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Atlas agent Alex Ivanova's hair turned white when the Hierophant grabbed her by the head during the battle at the beginning.
  • Loony Fan: The antagonist of the first arc is a teenager who summoned a monster to try and get David out of retirement. He succeeded, just not in the way he'd hoped.
  • Magic Compass: Fall owns a dead man's compass, given to her by Alex Ivanova. It can track down anyone if given part of them, like a hair or blood sample.
  • Magic Hair: Antagonist Mah Yun, the Stygian Medusa, turns her hair into giant snakes when attacking. She can also use other people's hair to control them.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Fall tries to reassure a family whose child was kidnapped with, "Hey don't worry. You got two kickass monster hunters and a giant golem on the case. And also Porter." The third sentence is even in a separate word balloon with smaller text.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • The Hierophant fits under the "Titles" and "Religious Names" categories. World's strongest known magic user. Doesn't stay dead.
    • Mah Yun, the Stygian Medusa, falls in the "Ancient Dead Languages" and "Religious Names" categories. A witch powerful and skilled enough to bodyguard a dragon and go toe to toe (well, hair to knife) with Alex Ivanova.
    • The Visage. 'Nuff said. The most powerful ghost seen or mentioned in the setting, arguably the most threatening antagonist yet seen.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Carnelian Raven suffers a big case of this when he suddenly finds an RPG round headed his way courtesy of Fall Barros and his smug, confident attitude is immediately replaced by, well...this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • All of the witches introduced at the witchmoot are currently known only by their witch titles: the Carnelian Raven, the Plutonian Flame and the Ivory Stalker.
    • Also from the Operation Marathon arc, David and Fall's ally in the convoy is known simply as the Zero Hunter.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Celestials are winged Eldritch Abominations with charcoal blood and glowing golden eyes all over their bodies and flaming swords. Their purpose is to destroy the world once its "animating force" has decayed to the point where it becomes unsustainable so a new world can be created in its place. And Fall is one of them.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They're mostly based on western dragons, with the twist that they can only be killed with a 'legendary weapon' (Fall's baseball bat qualifies due to it being used by hall of famer Betty Riese to win a world series and signed by him).
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Most of the ghosts at Broughton Hall are just ordinary spirits that haven't passed on. Why haven't they passed on? Because of the other ghost, the Visage, a murderous wraith.
  • Private Military Contractors: F.A.M.I.L.I.A.R. is a PMC owned by the witch Plutonian Flame. Their contracts don't expire with their signees.
  • Red Baron:
    • Experienced hunters tend to get nicknames like this. David is the Verdant Hunter, because he likes to use plants. Another hunter is known as the Zero Hunter.
    • All witches get a title like this, some more impressive than others. Mah Yun is the Stygian Medusa. Lady Rue is the Blind Seer. Other witches include the Plutonian Flame, the Carnelian Raven and the Ivory Stalker.
  • Reincarnation: Possible in this universe. The Visage's descent into villainy came about because a childhood friend of his died in a fire, and he came to believe that her reincarnations were being hunted down and killed by a secretive organization. He was right.
  • Retired Badass: At the beginning, David Shimizu has retired from monster hunting. He doesn't stay retired.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The town of Titanfolly, Arizona, is located in a giant skeleton.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The town of Titanfolly has been dealing with a spate of disappearances. Several locals note that they only started after retired hunter David Shimizu moved into town, and conclude he's got something to do with it. It's not actually his doing, but that of a Loony Fan of his who's trying to get him to come out of retirement.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There's one in the cellar of Broughton Hall, leading to the Visage's secret torture chamber.
  • Shovel Strike: Hector Broughton killed Karl Banks by stabbing him in the face with a shovel, resulting in the ghastly grimace he sports as the undead Visage.
  • Skin Walker: Fall and David hunt a few. They look like skinned humans with blank white eyes, and wear the skins of humans and wolves. Their skins are bulletproof (and presumably proof to most other things, too) meaning they typically have to be killed outside of them. Fall pins one under a car and fires a shotgun into its open mouth.
  • Soul Jar: In keeping with being a Lich, the Hierophant has one. It seems it may be in the possession of Atlas.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Parallel Dementia. The setting is very different, but it features some of the old characters like Fall, David, Reggie, Alex Ivanova, a man that appears to be Midas, the organization Atlas, The Visage of Death, and possibly "The Thing in Chains".
  • Stab the Scorpion: In #95, Agent Porter points a gun at her while saying her surname... then shoots the plant monster sneaking up behind her.
  • String Theory: In the vision the ghosts show David of what happened the night Broughton Hall was flooded, there's a map of the world with notes and string on the wall of Karl Banks' lair.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When cornered by Atlas forces in the Artifact Storage room, David spots and breaks the jar the Visage had been sealed into. Presented with an opportunity to inflict some payback on the organization that murdered his childhood friend, the Visage cheerfully starts slaughtering the Atlas troops allowing David's team to make their escape.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Fall has had them ever since the Hierophant changed her. They used to be brown. While she was in witness protection, she wore coloured contacts to hide them. It turns out she was born with them, as the current Harbinger. All the Harbingers have eyes like this, and Atlas altered her memories and last family photo so she would forget that her eyes were always orange.
  • Sympathetic Magic: The Stygian Medusa can do this with people's hair.
  • Taken for Granite: Hunter Marco Tousi is introduced having fallen victim to the gaze of a basilisk. Fortunately, there's a cure.
  • The "The" Title Confusion: The title as displayed in-comic is "The Sword Interval", but Webtoon lists the comic as just "Sword Interval".
  • Time Skip: There's a year in-between strips 230 and 231.
  • Title Drop: The Hierophant gives an epic one, explaining that it means the period of strife when a world is ending and a new one is about to be born. All with the backdrop of the revived Titanfolly skeleton rampaging through a city and eventually being NUKED.
  • Touched by Vorlons: When he killed her parents, the Hierophant did something to Fall that left her with glowing golden eyes and a Healing Factor. It's actually a subversion, though: Fall was born that way, as the latest Harbinger. Atlas altered her memories so she believed the Hierophant did it.
  • Twisted Christmas: The Hierophant killed Fall's parents and altered her just as the family was planning to leave for Christmas.
  • Unequal Rites: There are two kinds of magic user, elemental mages and witches, who draw power from parts of their own bodies. The latter gets a bad rap.
  • Unfinished Business: The ghosts at Broughton Hall are sticking around to try and protect people from the murderous wraith called the Visage.
  • Urban Fantasy: It takes place in a world similar to ours, but where magic has always been publicly known.
  • Weird Historical War: Apparently this universe's version of World War I involved magic and necromancy.
  • White Mask of Doom: The Visage sports one, both in life and undeath.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: The trio of hunters known as Spirit Bomb specialize in ghosts.
  • Wicked Witch: The Witches' Coven is a gathering of powerful magic-using criminals and mercenaries. Among their members Mah Yun is fairly sympathetic and the Carnelian Raven is too much of a Butt-Monkey to get up to much in the way of wickedness. The incredibly creepy Ivory Stalker and literally cold-hearted Plutonian Flame definitely fit the trope, however.
  • Witness Protection: Fall was put in this after her parents died.

Alternative Title(s): Sword Interval