Wow, another issue done. The next update will be a recapitulation of what’s happened so far, which will give me time to sketch the stuff that will show up in the next chapter. Or volume. Or issue. I use those terms interchangeably, I’ve noticed. So, what will I be drawing? A yiggish sorcerer, a frozen cave, wyrdish electro-technology, a hammer with unusual properties, a fortress, a magical box, and a bunch of other stuff. Time to get to work.

I’m going to ramble a bit here, since I am writing this having not slept for some time. First, I like this page, though it, like so many others, is a bit crowded. Getting the beat around Mixabokes’ “Do you?” was very tricky and I’m still not quite satisfied. But I like Maresh’s gesture in panel 1; while not exactly anatomically perfect (hands are hard!), it captures a sort of vaguely dismissive, upper-class gesture that I think should come naturally to both Maresh and Anthem, who are after all from the same place and have the same “went to a good school” accent. Any priest with magic powers can talk tough to a prince; it takes breeding to wave one’s hand airily while lying to one. It’s interesting to see the class dynamics of Vasgol (which are often ugly) starting to appear in the story; the plot takes place in a world that is not quite ancient or manorial or nationalist or fully modern–deliberately so, as I wanted to avoid “era-based” fantasy–so I look forward to seeing exactly how my general sketch of Vasgol’s political life will develop.

I’m enjoying how Maresh is developing, since I just realized that the only one who understands what motivates Maresh is…me. Neither Maresh nor Anthem have much self-knowledge (even by their society’s standards, they’re not really “grown-ups”–Anthem is fifteen and Maresh seventeen), and something I wanted to explore in this story is our shaky grasp of our own motivations. I used to read a lot of true crime accounts, and one thing that struck me is that even accounting for deliberate misrepresentation, a lot of people who do horrible things seem not to have “intended” to in the same way I “intend” to finish this blog post. Amidst all the rage, fear, and skewed thinking that goes on when people do dreadful things, there sometimes seems precious little room left for deliberation or intent. Maresh is no Palpatine; he doesn’t have some grand plan to install a new monarch planned out. He sided with Thrale, decided he was too violent, talked with Dosh, betrayed Thrale, realized that plan had its problems, murdered an Ulenite, then ran when things got hairy…He and Anthem are both very smart and very quick-thinking, but in exploring their psyches I want to look at their missteps and their panicked actions as much as their carefully-constructed plans.