I'll admit, this is tricky to figure out, given my drawing style throws proportions off madly and makes everyone look like kids. Sorry.
But, as a rough guide, as per the start of the comic, Matt is around 23-24 and Alex is around 22-23. For the curious, Phinn is in her late 60s (but she's an elf, so she's actually fairly young), Jacob's around 21-22, Salthalus's true form is in her 70s, and most other characters can be derived roughly based on this data and how they interact with everyone else.
Note that all this is somewhat variable and subject to change slightly.
Those would be nasal flies. They are the result of a completely botched spell. While it IS possible for the mage to accidentally get an effect that he or she wasn't looking for when casting spells, it's also possible to get nothing but one of these creatures appearing with a characteristic "THUNK" noise.
Nasal flies don't have much in the range of intelligence. They just sorta fly around randomly until their lifespan ends, then they just poof out of existence. Larger nasal flies live longer and come from more powerful botched spells.
Basic story, it means someone's either trying to cast a spell they don't know much about or something stopped them from finishing a spell.
You know that annoying thunk noise on a pinball table when you get a free game? Something like that. But without the satisfaction of getting a free game.
They are Bean Man and Captain Spam, respectively. You may ignore them if you wish.
When I first came up with the comic, it was a tiny village of only a few regular people, set on the edge of a small wooded area. Except I realized that Phinn's library wouldn't really fit well in a tiny village, so that idea went out the window quick.
Regardless, it's still a relatively small town. I don't have exact measurements or population data. Nor a map. Sorry about that.
Laura Taylor made a map of the DoM world thus far, insofar as she could determine from in-comic dialogue. And to be honest, that's pretty accurate to what I had in my mind when I was thinking about it. So that's as official as it'll get for now.
As for distances, however, that's a different story. In the same vein that I never really nailed down an exact size of Alex and Matt's village, I never really got the distances down pat, either. Some of them have been described a bit, such as it being about a week's worth of walking between the village and Lineta Hall, but other than that, distances are (somewhat intentionally) vague.
It works very well, thank you for asking.
Around their house back in the village, they have a small bit of farmable land on which they grow crops, which they then sell to people who don't grow crops. In a largely agriculture-based time and place, it's at least livable. This was a part of their reason for their packing up and going to the Perfect Equinox Festival: They were selling their crops to festivalgoers. It was just Alex's turn to man the sales when Stephanie's plan kicked in.
Truth be told, this doesn't get much attention in the comic, especially when Matt and Alex seem to be away from the village so often. Even when they ARE in the village, that part of their day-to-day lives isn't all that interesting to begin with, so in my opinion, it's best to stick with the interesting stuff more often.
This is one I thought I'd have a chance to explain better in-comic, but as it turns out, I was sort of wrong. Oops.
In both of their cases, the assumption is that each set up the places in which they respectively lived at the time (Marzos's cave and Stephanie's grove and house). That is to say, they could teleport around where they lived because they prepared it ahead of time. That's why Marzos couldn't immediately give chase to Matt, Alex, and Vince when they fled the cave, nor to Cy, Eddie, and Winslow after they destroyed the poison supply, and why he wasn't shown just poofing all over Sunlit Tower at Lineta Hall. That's also why Stephanie was forced to run from Matt when he chased her from Castle Landis back to her grove, and why she was able to simply vanish once she got to the grove itself.
Of course, in Stephanie's case, she isn't that slick of a mage to begin with. Given enough time and drive, she can come up with something (such as Simon's condition and the modified ice rose poison), but for the most part, she just lacks the patience to get good at it. That's what the odd pinkish ball Simon found was supposed to be about; the implication was going to be that the teleporting through her house and grove were set up by or stolen from someone else and she required the magic in the capsules (which, presumably, she could replenish) to pop around as need be, hence why she didn't poof out of the main lab (she dropped the one Simon later found, but was still able to improvise a solution to save face until Matt caught on) and why she was forced to stop and fight Matt at the end.
It's just that the chapter was getting long enough as it was (not to mention the horribly-paced fight scene at the end) and I couldn't find a good way to explain all that in-story, so, well, sorry about that.
This is one of those elements I was going to put into a future storyline. Problem being, as I kept writing past that, the story started going where it wanted to go, whether or not I had any say in the matter, and I realized it'd be harder and harder to get it back to some place where I could put the significance of that back in. So chances are this won't be significant again.
The long and short of it is that Jacob was right, the death of a dragon IS the sort of thing that would affect mages for miles around. Dragons don't tend to die very often, and when they do, there usually aren't any mages nearby to really feel the full brunt of it. However, in spite of Jacob's smartarse response as to why Alex didn't feel anything, she SHOULD have, and being right there when it happened, it should've downright devastated her mind for weeks afterward. She would have recovered, but it wouldn't have been pretty in the meantime.
At any rate, the implication was going to be that the dragon WASN'T killed, just knocked out long enough for Matt and Alex to think it was dead, escape, and for the castle to stop caring about it because it was no longer terrifying the area (and for Vince to panic and run off to Terakol under the assumption that he let both a soldier AND a civilian die on his watch due to his own bad judgment). The dragon would've come back later for some reason, Matt and Alex would have REALLY killed it then, and then they'd have to deal with Alex being largely unconscious and/or incapacitated for a long time.
But, the story started going off in directions that no longer supported an arc like that (or at least didn't support the dragon showing up out of nowhere), things started getting more character-driven and world-building, and I had to abandon it. Rest assured, however, that Jacob was right about dragons, the dragon IS still alive, and that's why Alex didn't feel anything from "killing" it. Maybe I'll do something else with it a lot later.
First off, no, it's not elven script.
That's not intended to be any readable language. Or at least any sort of language the reader really needs to worry about. It's the equivalent of the illegible squiggles on small notes/posters in the background if it's too big to get away with the squiggles. That is to say, it's boldly advertising something, but exactly what isn't really important.
Long story short, they're nothing to worry about, and I'll be using them less as things go along.
Also, they're entirely unrelated to the magic glyphs that show up on the covers of spellbooks or are spoken by enchanterers/enchantresses ("spoken-word" mages, like Howard). Those at least have some consistency in their function.
He could, yes, and Salthalus could've easily broken Stephanie's curse. But, Simon's sort of gotten used to his newfound abilty to perform 30-foot standing high jumps on a whim, for example. Also, he didn't spend four years of his life on a quest to avenge his girlfriend for nothing; he's not exactly in the mood for courting anymore, and, as implied in Chapter Four, his profession appears to be one that neither demands a particularly attractive appearance, nor is particularly any of our business.