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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, and unrelated webcomic Derelict.


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.

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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.


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Tropes:

  • 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).
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  • 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:
    • Mah Yun knows it, and she's been teaching Marco.
    • Another witch, Lady Rue, specializes in it.
  • Bullet Catch: Fall pulls this off, complete with Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Hoard: There are dragons, and they have these, although the only one seen so far has taken to investing in the stock market.
  • 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.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Stygian Medusa is one.
  • Witness Protection: Fall was put in this after her parents died.


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