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Webcomic / Thistil Mistil Kistil

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A quest in the far north, at sea

Thistil Mistil Kistil is a fantasy webcomic by Sarah Schanze, beginning on October 31, 2009 .

The recently deceased Coal must complete The Quest for the gods in order to gain acceptance into Valhalla, but he needs to track down the trickster Loki and get his help. No easy task when the god is the reason for his troubles in the first place.

Meanwhile a slave girl, Hedda, is threatened with Human Sacrifice after her master dies, and a boy named Ibrahim travels from Spain to Denmark.

Starts here.

Alternate site here.

Tropes included:

  • Afterlife of Service: Hedda was a thrall in a Norse household who barely escaped death when the dying master chose her to accompany him to the afterlife. She's horrified not just because she wants to live (and not be gang-raped), but because she's Christian (ironically, the people who rescue her include the actual Loki).
  • Arrow Catch: Coal does this twice: The first arrow he "catches" by blocking it with his arm. The second one he only uses his fingers a hairs breadth away from its intended target-and he doesnt even bother to look at it.
  • Berserk Button: When Coal realizes that Loki has stolen the boat from his mother's grave, he freaks out. In fact, he has the power of the berserker on his father's side. Loki has to point out that since she was Catholic, that she doesn't need the boat for the afterlife and that he didn't actually disturb the grave beneath the boat.
  • The Berserker: Coal is one, as was his father. Ultimately, it's more trouble than it's worth, which is accurate to how the Norse saw berserkers.
  • Constantly Curious:
    • Loki's twin sons Narvi and Vali, much to Coal's displeasure.
    • Ibrahim's little brothers are much the same. When he gets assigned as Arne's tutor it doesn't feel too different.
  • Cool Boat: Rollo is a giant boat that was buried on top of his mother's grave to ease her journey in the afterlife. Coal treats it reverently.
  • Country Mouse: Neither Coal nor Hedda are familiar even with towns.
  • Crush Blush: Because of the shirtless scene
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Loki takes this form.
  • Damsel in Distress: Hedda is horrified when her master wants her sacrificed after his death so that she can accompany him into the afterlife. Since she is Catholic and doesn't believe in this (and if the historical records are to be believed, the sacrifice would first be gang-raped by the men of the community), she flees from the ritual.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Hedda is hardly a warrior woman, but escapes on her own power.
  • Dead to Begin With: Coal died in battle before the story starts. We never see this happen. However, since he was found carrying a fragment of a god's weapon, he is sent back to find the rest.
  • Death Glare: Odin has a good one.
  • Due to the Dead: Coal minds if you go after his mother's grave goods.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Coal's explanation of why he rescued Hedda is not very coherent.
  • Evil Uncle: Coal's real ones. Not much else has been said about them.
  • Godiva Hair: Loki has this in female form.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Aude hires Coal, knowing full well he's a berserker, with the intention of using him to get rid of some of her hostile neighbors. It works, and Ingolf almost dies for it.
  • Girls Have Cooties: Coal's most strenuous objection to taking Hedda with them.
    Loki: I think he's afraid of girls.
    Sigyn: I think so too.
  • Happily Married: Loki and Sigyn have known each other since they were children and have always gotten along. She doesn't mind that he goes on long journeys and he is always welcome home with great fanfare.
  • Hikkikomori: Ibrahim is something of one: He's described as not having set foot outside of Cordoba ever since a trip to Constantinople a decade ago. As he's the son of Cordoba's Caliph, his father sends him to Denmark to toughen him up.
  • Honorary Uncle: Loki describes himself as Coal's uncle. Plus there is one in his Back Story.
  • Human Sacrifice: Hedda was to be sacrificed after her master died in order for her to travel with him to the afterlife.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: After Coal rescues Hedda, he goes to tell Loki who's a little busy.
  • In the Back: The first thing Loki does when he meets Coal is to stab him in the back. It's not effective because Coal is already dead and, thus, immortal. Loki knew this and was just being a jerk.
  • In the Blood: Coal's father was a berserker. Coal's eyes turn red whenever he berserks out.
  • It Was a Gift: How Coal explains his possessing a piece of Mjolnir to the gods.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Coal seems to be a good person, albeit a short-tempered and quarrelsome one.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Despite it being a well known story in Midgard, Loki has no idea how his life will end. Justified because, for some reason not yet known, he is literally incapable of hearing the story when someone tells it.
  • Long-Runners: The webcomic debuted in 2009 and is still being updated more than a decade later (admittedly with a good deal of Schedule Slip).
  • Made a Slave: Hedda was kidnapped by Vikings from her native Ireland as a child and became a thrall.
  • Meaningful Name: Hedda's true name, Saoirse, means "freedom". Fitting for a former thrall.
  • Meaningful Rename: Hedda goes by her original name Saoirse after visiting (what's left of) her family.
  • Meet Cute: Apparently subverted between Loki and Sigyn.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: The Aesir and Vanir have fantastically colored eyes. The Aesir's eyes are green.
  • Must Be Invited: Loki's valley is supposed to work like this.
  • Ominous Fog: This is used often to set the mood.
  • Ominous Owl: One of Loki's forms. However, we later learn turning into birds requires a magic cloak that he gives to Angrboda, the mother of his monstrous children.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Coal. According to Word of God, his real name is "probably something like Humperdink." It's actually Collier.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Coal walks around and can be inhibited by physical means. However, since he is already dead, he can neither bleed nor die. Lori introduces himself in the story by stabbing Coal in the back through the middle of his chest. Coal is just mildly annoyed by this and the hole heals soon after the sword is removed without a speck of blood.
  • Posthumous Sibling: (Inverted) Coal had a younger brother who died at birth, we first learn of this when Loki remarks that he would've been about Arne's age had he survived.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The party consists of Coal, an undead Viking, Hedda the Irish former slave, Ibrahim the prince of Cordoba, Arne the adopted skraeling, and the Norse god Loki.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Coal's berserker eyes. Don't mess with him when he's like this because he will hurt you and he will enjoy it.
  • Royal Blood: Thor, obviously. It is implied that Coal is of royal or noble lineage as well.
  • Scenery Porn: A beautiful northern landscape and ocean with sunrise.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: It turns out that Hedda/Saoirse knew of Coal's inhuman nature the whole time, but kept quiet about it right up until her love confession.
  • Shapeshifting Trickster: Loki as would be expected in this kind of story. He often changes shape and he introduces himself in the story by literally stabbing Coal in the back as a joke.
  • Shirtless Scene: a natural consequence of Coal's having a weapon stuck entirely through him — and his shirt, tunic, and cloak — and Hedda's mending.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Hedda mends Coal's clothing.
  • Torso with a View: Averted, as Coal's chest and back show no evidence of having a sword thrust through them. His clothes, though...
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Coal's eyes are normally green, but start turning grey in the presence of danger. They turn fully grey (even the whites) jagged with red and Hellish Pupils then fully red when in full berserkergang.
  • The Unfavorite: Hinted at by one of Hedda's captors, when his father chooses Hedda to be sacrificed.
    For once I don't envy you that [my father loved you].
  • Unstoppable Rage: In this verse, berserkers are completely unstoppable, gaining Super-Strength and shrugging off wounds. Unfortunately, they also can't be stopped by their own side.
  • Viking Funeral: Complete with Human Sacrifice (and worse, it's implied they're going with the full-on version where the sacrificial slave is gang-raped by the deceased's friends and neighbors).
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Loki can change shape at will and often appears to people as an eagle. Arne figures out who he is based on this information.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 16, where Coal finally loses control of his berserker rage. He kills five people, injures Ingolf, and horrifies everyone present. Oh, and when Loki snaps him out of it, he regains all his lost memories. The next few chapters deal with the fallout, and result in him deciding never to berserk again.