"Cold Obsidian" is an illustrated webnovel, the first book of Obsidian Trilogy (Cold Obsidian - Hot Obsidian - Smoky Obsidian. Written in Russian in 2003, translated into English by the author in 2020. The author, Olga Makarova (aka Olga Mc Arrow or Mildegard), is mostly known for her sci-fi webcomic Gifts of Wandering Ice.
"Cold Obsidian" follows a story of a young man who becomes an apprentice of the creators of his world, Omnis.
Omnis is a world of unstable magic where all creatures are born with the natural ability to stabilize and use it. All creatures, besides humans. They were the only species that inherited the flaw of their creators - the immortal worldholders responsible for the very existence of Omnis.
To make things right, the worldholders created the system of three Horas with Hora Tenebris as the magic disperser and two other Horas - Solaris and Lunaris - as the stabilizers existing in equilibrium with each other. Inside the stabilized areas humans are free from their natural flaw and have full access to stable magic. But in a broad area where the stabilizers zones of influence intersect the magic is wild, anomalous. That area, known as No Mans Land, divides Omnis in two.
Horas are the foundation of human civilization in Omnis. They look like precious gems encased in gold and silver. They are protected by magic that would destroy anyone who dared to touch them unless its a worldholder as well. They are impossible to steal. Even more: stealing them is useless, because they have no secret powers at all. Yet someone has stolen them nonetheless.
Who is the thief? What does he or she want? How did they overcome the protective spell? The worldholders themselves are puzzled. One thing is certain here: something big is going on.
The story was illustrated by the author. There are 5 to 10 illustrations per chapter.
Main site: Cold Obsidian on ComicFury
Tapas mirror: Cold Obsidian on Tapas
Cold Obsidian contains examples of:
- The Apprentice: Kangassk to Vlada and Sereg.
- Boarding Party: Chapter 17 in "Cold Obsidian" involves a boarding party that uses a small catamaran to sneak-attacks ships in the fog.
- Crossing the Desert: The very first adventure in this story.
- Desert Bandits: In Kuldagan, a multiracial group of desert bandits ambushes caravans on the runestone road.
- Dream Weaver: Worldholders in "Cold Obsidian" are not gods, they are actually dreamers, so their control on the world they created is very limited.
- Pirate Song: There is a bunch of pirate songs in "Cold Obsidian", some even have actual music.
- Power-Strain Blackout: battle mages work in groups of seven where one mage concentrates on attacking spells, another - on protecting spells, and the rest of the group - donors - provide magical energy for them. It's not uncommon for a donor to blackout after a battle or even in the middle of it.
- Shoulder-Sized Dragon: Kuldaganians (desert dwellers) use pocket dragons instead of tinderboxes when they want to light a fire. One of those creatures is featured on the story's cover.
- Solar and Lunar: In the world of Omnis, two magic stabilizers - Hora Solaris and Hora Lunaris - make it possible for humans to use magic. The area where their influences cancel each other, though, is full of dangerous magical anomalies.