Tales of the Questor 2001-2004
- Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The comic strip begins with a series of strips relating the adventures of Quentyn, Questor of Ridgedale. The style of the telling is comical and stuffed with adventure-story clichés, giving a hint that it is not the real story. After a few strips, we find Quentyn, the hero of the strip, is reading a Questor novel.
Quentyn's friends are introduced: Kestrel and Fennel. Fennel makes fun of Quentyn for reading the Questor novels. Quentyn is told that the wizard Rillcreek has his 'evaluation' ready. Quentyn quickly discovers that he has failed to show talent in Luxcraft, the "magic" of the Rac Conan, and cannot be an apprentice. In shame, he wanders home. Quentyn's family is upset about the news, and his parents are very concerned about his future, as he has yet to display talent or real desire for any career as the time for him to choose a living draws near.
Quentyn's father takes him on a fishing trip to try to figure out what Quentyn really does want. Quentyn breaks down and tells him that he does not believe he will be able to be anything. His father reassures him and supports him. In the night, Quentyn has an encounter with a White Stag, a mythical creature associated with their religion. The Stag tells him to pursue his dream, though afterward Quentyn isn't entirely sure that the encounter was real.
When the choosing day ceremony arrives, Quentyn's social nemesis is introduced, Rahan, the son of a wealthy father. Choosing day almost passes entirely before Quentyn finally summons the courage to name his choice - Questor - in the face of certain public mockery. The tables turn, however, when the magical artifact known as the soothstone shows that Quentyn's desire is the most fervent seen in centuries, stunning everyone into silence.
The entire village of Freeman Downs (Quentyn's hometown) is suddenly thrust into an uproar as the rules governing succession of a Questor, not used in a century or more, now are brought forward again. Quentyn must face any other challengers in a test of the village council's choosing. (The same council has Master Rillcreek as a member, which plays to Quentyn's favor.) After weeks of exhaustive crash-course training, Quentyn finds that there were no challengers and he is the official Questor of Freeman Downs.
That night, Quentyn's father takes him to the Gilded Flagon, a local tavern. Quentyn's friends take leave from their respective professions (which they have by this point begun) and come to celebrate. After a few rounds of blackberry sherry, however, all three of them wander off and end up drunk in Master Rillcreek's workshop. Quentyn spends the next few weeks (and eventually months or years) piecing together what happened that night. It is during this night that his sword is created with Kestrel's help, though neither of them remember doing it.
Master Rillcreek quickly reviews the sword and pronounces it to be a generic practice-artifact for apprenticing artificers, and largely worthless. To keep from hurting Quentyn's feelings, however, Rillcreek and Quentyn's father decide to withhold that information. Meanwhile, Quentyn finds out that he spent most of his life's savings on 'equipment' at the local junk store. As he fumes at the humiliation and takes inventory, he finds that his equipment really isn't that bad a start, and he has most of what he needs to set up business.
Quentyn finds an unclaimed lot of just the right size and sets up shop, only to quickly learns that the world is still laughing at his expense. After two months without any sign of employment, he finally decides to go do something else... just as his first customer arrives. A rain-drenched child from the swamps offers Quentyn a solid gold coin (apparently quite a substantial amount of money) to help him find his missing sister. Quentyn tries to investigate among the "swamp folk" for clues. However, the swamp folk are xenophobes who don't appreciate his attempts and outright refuse to help.
Finding a clue in her "bevy nest", Quentyn starts off into the swamp to track the missing child. A short way into the swamp, he bumps into the official search party, which is none too thrilled to find him. They are slightly more receptive, however, when he explains his idea to find the missing girl...
The party is confronted by a Gragum Shaman, the first Gragum mage ever, who has used his abilities to convince his fellow Gragum that he is a Messiah, a God. He kidnapped the kit in order to lure other Rac Conans into the swamp so that he can divest them of their magical weapons and tools, as he does to the search party.
His apparent aim was to win prestige among his fellow Gragum and become their leader. From there he would have used his magical abilities and the items stolen from the Rac Conans to attack the Seven Villages. Using the little kit as a shield, he forces the search party to hand over their weapons.
The kit's crying angers Quentyn so much that he uses his Lux-infused Journey Boots to run across the water and grab the cage she's kept in, getting her away from the Shaman, though he trips and the cage falls into the swamp and sinks. Quentyn is forced to follow it down before the kit drowns.
With the Shaman's bargaining chip gone, the rest of the search party is now free to attack their captors, retrieving their weapons in the resultant confusion. The Shaman pursues Quentyn underwater in an attempt to get the kit back. Quentyn's sword inexplicably breaks loose and hovers toward its owner. Quentyn uses the sword to break the kit out of the cage.
The Shaman Gragum corners the kits underwater as Quentyn suddenly remembers his Fish Poppers, fishing explosives that activate when wet; he had put them in his pocket when he planned to go fishing at the beginning of this arc. He removes his coat and tosses it into the Gragum's mouth, where the Poppers detonate.
The Shaman is killed and Quentyn and the kit return to the surface. Seeing their 'Messiah' the Shaman killed, three Gragum set upon Quentyn with intent to kill him. Acting on instinct, Quentyn draws his sword and in one power slice, slays all three Gragum, leaving stunned all who see it.
The search party brings the kits aboard and tows the Gragum bodies as well, per the treaty between the Rac Conan and the Gragum that requires all Gragum killed by the Rac Conan to be registered and confirm that they were killed in self-defense.
The party returns the kit to her family and village who begin a celebration. Quentyn sneaks out, believing himself unworthy of being there. The Captain of the Guards, an earlier critic Quentyn’s role as Questor, approaches Quentyn and praises him for his courage and wit and assures him that he did good as the story arc draws to a close.
When we next see Quentyn he has just completed telling the story to Master Rillcreek, who is forced to reevaluate his previous assessment of Quentyn's sword and arranges for a trip to the College of Thaumaturgy in Sanctuary City, the capitol of the Seven Villages, in order to analyze the sword and its abilities.
As Rillcreek makes his preparations, Quentyn falls victim to Night Terrors (nightmares complete with luxcrafted visual effects) over his killing of the Gragum. Meanwhile his father, Quinn, gets to do some bragging as the Council breaks into fervor over Quentyn's actions; the young Questor is unaware of this.
Rillcreek and Quentyn then take a luft-ship, a Lux-powered airship, from Freeman Downs to Sanctuary City. Onboard he runs into a barmaid from the Gilded Flagon whom he had been cheeky toward while he was drunk. He apologizes and attempts to compliment her in a more genteel manner, with dismal and embarrassing results.
After the ship lands in Sanctuary City, Quentyn's bad luck continues when he runs into Rahan, who is no less a bully now than before, and is unimpressed with Quentyn's feat in saving the Swamp Chief's daughter from the Gragum. Quentyn is still unable to deal with Rahan, much to his frustration.
From there, Rillcreek and Quentyn visit the College of Thaumaturgy to meet Headmaster Irons, an old friend of Rillcreek's, and run into an old friend of Quentyn's, Kestrel, who is a student there.
Quentyn relates his story to her and tells us via a flashback what happened when he sought Merchant Max (the Merchant who sold Quentyn the sword and swindled him out of all his money when he was drunk) about the nature of the sword. Max claimed that the sword was broken when Quentyn bought it and that he did nothing to it, save slap a "Sales Pitch" Spell on it.
Returning to the present, the four of them go to Headmaster Irons' workshop, where he attempts to figure out the sword. Hours pass with no success. Unable to work out how a jumble of incomplete spells could exhibit the power it did in the Swamp, Irons takes it out to a Henge (a stone circle used as a safe testing area for strange or potentially dangerous artifacts), where he instructs Quentyn to draw his sword and use its power against one of the stones.
The sword acts in a phenomenally bizarre manner, embarrassing Quentyn, who in a fit of anger commands the sword to do something. The sword releases its energies in a fantastic manner that impresses and excites Quentyn, but scares everyone else. Irons and the others convince Quentyn to give up his sword so that it can be examined further. The sword is kept under lock and key as Quentyn, Rillcreek, and Kestrel go down to the Dining Hall for dinner.
While there Quentyn reveals that he overheard Irons say that Quentyn was "bonded" to his sword, prompting an excited conversation with the Artifactor students who attempt to determine what kind of bonding it is and how it occurred. Kestrel speaks up and reveals that she remembered doing something with the sword, a tuft of Quentyn's fur, and a crystal, bonding Quentyn to his sword.
As an apology, Kestrel offers to show Quentyn around Sanctuary City while he's there. Quentyn accepts, and he and Rillcreek take their leave of the College to go check into the Green Bough Inn, where they'll stay so long as they're in the City.
The year begins with a final strip in this arc with a letter written by Quentyn to his parents explaining his situation and wishing them well.
The first tangent of Tales of the Questor, called Meanwhile: Part One then begins, the only strips in the series that are not colored. This entire segment seems only sketched, yet is not lacking in any manner. In this arc a Luxcraft History Professor named Inkling begins a discussion with his class denying the existence of magic, prompting disbelief among his students. One of the students in the class is Quentyn's friend Kestrel, who features prominently in this side story.
This then begins an explanation of what Lux is and how it exists in regards to the Rac Conan. It is an entirely natural aspect of Rac Conan biology, not unlike the ability of electric eels to manipulate electricity. There is nothing otherworldly about it, hence classifying Lux usage as magic is incorrect.
Background information on the history of the Rac'Conan is also included, especially regarding their interactions with humans. Humans could not comprehend Lux and viewed the Rac Conan as sorcerers and witches and treated them as such. This led to some Rac Conan using their abilities in an attempt to frighten and control humans, with disastrous results for themselves and their people.
But these Rac Conan, the Fakirs, nevertheless left their mark, since words like magician and wizard are still used in regard to Lux use. Professor Inkling also expresses hope for bridging the gap with Humans and the other races so that the Rac Conan will no longer need to hide. As class concludes, so does Part I of Meanwhile.
Next is Meanwhile: Part II. This arc is colored, though the artistic style is different than that of the main story. This one features Brother Linnaeus, who is waiting with the Guardsmen from the Gragum story arc at the edge of the Dire Swamp. His mission is to save souls. He tells us in a flashback of his encounter with Quentyn, who visited the Sacred Heart Tabernacle, a Sojourner Church in Sanctuary where Linnaeus was an Assistant Minister.
Quentyn went in to pray, and to unburden himself about the Gragum he killed and about a strange encounter he had with the Gragum leader when Quentyn and the guards returned the bodies of the Gragum slain by them. Quentyn told Linnaeus in another flashback that the Gragum leader was amazed that Quentyn had killed the Gragum, and had asked him if he was God.
When Quentyn explained that he wasn't God, the Gragum leader told him that many frauds, like the Shaman, had come to the Gragum claiming to be God. He wondered why God never came to the Gragum and gave Quentyn a necklace asking him to give it to God and ask Him why He hadn't come.
Quentyn's flashback ends; he leaves the necklace on a Cross and departs the Tabernacle. Brother Linnaeus' own flashback ends right afterward. It's taken him twelve months to put together what he's planning, and when the Gragum leader arrives, he announces that he will go among the Gragum and teach them about God.
While initially skeptical, Linneaus wins the Gragum Leader's support when he admits to being Lux-blind (Having no Lux ability whatsoever) and agrees to put himself in the Gragum's hands. Brother Linneaus is then carried into the Dire Swamp on the Gragum leader. The success of his Missionary work, and his own fate, are as of yet unknown.
Meanwhile: Part III then begins, with yet another different artistic style. This one revolves around Nessie, the swamp kit Quentyn saved from the Gragum. Ever since her rescue, her mother has been concerned about the way she's acting. Nessie has developed a powerful crush on her savior but is afraid that her tail, which was damaged when the Gragum constantly plucked fur from it, will mar her forever.
She developed the ability to "Ken" upon her rescue, and had been using small animals in the swamp to fetch the tufts of her fur, in the hope that she can be healed.
But her hopes of going to the city and seeing a sorcerer are dashed when she realizes that they can't afford it. Nessie then uses her Kenning to find gold, which she does in the form of a large treasure chest at the bottom of the swamp. She uses her ability to command a large creature into fetching it for her. Unaware of all of this, her parents have brought the Frog Mage (the wizard who accompanied Quentyn and the Guards on the search party for Nessie when she was abducted) to her to test her.
His discovery is interrupted as a local calls to her father, the Chief, that a large creature called a mudgullet is wrecking the fishery. The Chief runs off and Nessie, concerned for his safety follows. The creature nearly devours the Chief; he is saved when Nessie commands the creature to back down. She then orders it to spit up the treasure chest it brought and with her last ounce of strength orders it to leave.
When she recovers, Nessie finds that her family retrieved the treasure from where the Mud Gullet spat it up and are grateful that no one was killed during the attack. Nessie then breaks down and confesses to summoning the beast. The Frog Mage explains that Nessie is a Kenning prodigy and that he would like to take her to Sanctuary City for further testing. Nessie's fears about her tail's condition are unfounded as her parents explain that it'll grow back in time.
Using the money, Nessie, her older brother Jacobin, Oggy (a bog-dragon Nessie enlisted when collecting her fur tufts and kept as a pet), and her mother accompany the Frog Mage back to Sanctuary City. This side story eventually intersects with the main storyline around Quentyn.
After six months of side stories, we return to the main story. As promised, Kestrel is showing Quentyn around the city. Some of their stops include the Luxfont and the Archivist Guild's Central Library, where Quentyn picks up books on Questors and Questoring; they also view a display about (among other things) artifacts pertaining to those who tried and failed to take over the Seven Villages and, of most interest to Quentyn, a replica of Snakefang: the sword used by Questor Quentyn of Ridgedale, Quentyn's namesake, founder of his hometown Freeman Downs, and the hero of the tale which originally started this entire comic.
While admiring it, he lets his identity slip to a Rac Conan kit next to him who then begs him for an interview for his newspaper, Fact and Opinion. His name is Emmet and he's a Soothscribe. He's fascinated by Quentyn and the paper he works on already ran a story on Quentyn's rescue of Nessie, though the artist's rendition of Quentyn was a bit off.
Emmet invites Quentyn and Kestrel to the office of Fact and Opinion so that they can update the picture of Quentyn and get his interview. Quentyn is pleasantly surprised by the unusually positive reception he gets there.
As the artist, Aislynn, is redoing the portrait of Quentyn, Emmet begins the interview. When he inquires whether or not Quentyn dyed his forelock white to match to look more like his namesake, Quentyn of Ridgedale, who had also had a white forelock, Quentyn reacts with surprise at this revelation. He hasn't dyed it and muses that he thought it was getting paler since the White Stag licked him there just before his Choosing Day.
The others are stunned at the news. Kestrel relates that the White Stag is a rare and mysterious creature as well as an important symbol of the Sojourner Church. Before settling down in what is today the Seven Villages, the Rac Conan lived in what were called the Wandering Times. During this period a White Stag led a Rac Conan to a Human Minister who was also following a White Stag. The Minister taught the Rac Conan about God and his faith and that Rac Conan became the founder of the Sojourner Church.
Emmet adds that Questor Quentyn of Ridgedale also had a white forelock and used to say that: "It must be where the White Stag licked me...."
Quentyn tries to dismiss it all as a dream, but Kestrel inquires how a dream could cause his forelock to turn white.
When the next Fact and Opinion comes out, it appears that they did not write just one article on Quentyn, but devoted the entire issue to him.
Rillcreek encourages Quentyn to use this publicity to his advantage and invites him to go to a party being held at the Hall of Flour and Grain Merchants by the Millfolk family, a very rich and powerful family of grain merchants.
As the guests draw Quentyn out into talking about himself, Lord Millfolk asks Rillcreek if he can find out why the Brownies (Gnomes) have gone. Because of this, the rats the Brownies kept in check have returned and multiplied. Rillcreek is unable to offer an explanation.
Meanwhile a young kit approaches Quentyn and after finding out that he is a Questor, falls asleep in his lap. His mother asks Quentyn not to disturb the kit as this is the first he's slept in over two days.
Quentyn tells Rillcreek that he will not be returning with him to Freeman Downs and has taken a job with the Millfolks. He explains that the Millfolks' son, Colin, suffers from Night Terrors. Usually the kit's father would stay with Colin at night to dispel the Night Terrors, which manifest themselves with Lux. However, Lord Millfolk already tried staying with Colin, to no avail. Because Colin is a Questor fan, the Millfolks hope Quentyn will have more luck.
Colin is at first dejected because he doesn't think Quentyn will believe him when he says that he isn't being haunted by Night Terrors but by real monster rats. Quentyn promises that he will help Colin, no matter what it is, and wins his trust.
Quentyn spends several days at the Millfolks' Estate and several nights with Colin, but no Night Terrors appear. During that time though, he does find out several troubling things about the Millfolk family.
Lady Millfolk is often too busy for Colin. She's a working girl who married into a rich family by marrying Cole Millfolk. As such she's constantly criticized by other rich women, including her mother in law for not acting enough like a "proper" lady. She feels so pressured that she consented to listen to a doctor hired by her mother-in-law who said that she shouldn't "mother" Colin too much or go to him when he's going through the Terrors.
Lord Millfolk is an easygoing man, fair and friendly to his workers as they repair faulty Lux lines and sewer lines, and is a hero to his son. However he is going through feelings of inadequacy for not being able to help Colin with his Night Terrors.
Quentyn meanwhile goes investigating, trying to find the root of Colin's Terrors. It turns out that not only is he not afraid of rats, as Quentyn originally thought, but is in fact a fearless boy who hunted rats with the Brownies. Quentyn is unable to discover a source for Colin's Terrors.
Then one night a monster appears out of a crack in the floor, which turns out only to be a Bogey-man named Squidge: a small shapeshifting creature that's essentially harmless. Squidge tells them of scary shadow rats that live down below in the sewers.
Out of the crack come a horde of black shadow rats. These are not Night Terrors, as they manage to inflict harm on Quentyn. Using Lux causes them to multiply uncontrollably. Colin figures out that they were Wights, from one of the Questor stories he read and thus vulnerable to fire.
The first two compilations of Questor comics are available to buyers on Lulu. Volume 1 is 223 pages long, and costs $41.99. Volume 2 is 170 pages long, priced at $39.99.
- Tales of the Questor website
- old Tales of the Questor forums
- new Tales of the Questor forums
- Tales of the Questor, print editions
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