Ch12 - p64&65

June 19, 2017, at 12:00 AM

Two pages today! Mind the snek. I'll be skipping Wednesday, and will see you back here on Friday. Thanks!


  1. Well... At least someone that is not necessarily our protagonist's enemy knows about all the shit that's about to hit the fan?
    Jordan on
  2. And I too had wondered what of Timofey.
    Frogcrossing on
  3. Unexpected plot-twist level: Over nine thousand.

    One wonders.. Perhaps the only reason Ruck brought the lawyer was so he could kill him and frighten Bastion into joining?

    Also, excellent work, Timofey.
    Melarec on
  4. How beautifully you wrap up up a scene in your world. We do not understand, then we do.
    Asthix on
  5. She Who Must Be Admired likes legal professionals NOT.
    I wonder what the legal professionals among the fandom think about it.
    I remember that at least one commenter DID claim to be one.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  6. How did Timofey enter Juste?
    eshoon on
  7. I knew it, the lawyer was just there to be killed.
    Mangor on
  8. That was a beautiful distraction for a get-a-way! Well played!
    Jerry Aethers on
  9. I'm immensely relieved that Bastion has survived this encounter, but I feel like he might now be permanently traumatised. From his expression in these two pages, it looked as though he might have been going into shock.
    Lee on
  10. ...Wow. That snake dude is at least as creepy as Ilganyag, if not moreso. I also trust him less that her, and I don't trust her at all.
    hariman on
  11. eshoon, Timofey is a ghost, and i think he had powers similar to which other ghosty magic stuff have in world of Unsounded, plus personality. So he just could possessed corpse or pimary and scared them to let Bastion run.
    Aisdh on
  12. Triple-M: Hi! Legal professional (for a given value) and a fan. Reaction to lawyer-death: shrug. It wasn't his status as a lawyer that did him in. Bastion identified him correctly: a mob lawyer. A consiglieri, perhaps, only way less clever and thoughtful than Robert Duvall's character from the "Godfather" movies. Too little decent advice or calm persuasion and too much bwahaha. Even if that's not quite his role, he's a crooked schemer as much or more than a lawyer-- and he'd have been way better off playing a lawyer's part and staying the hell out of this scheme. A corrupt asshole meddling in the deadly side of politics in Ms. Cope's world has little reason to act surprised if his bar card doesn't shield him.
    Ink on
  13. Aisdh, he did not possess the corpse, Bastion just grabbed the coat of poor Ballanstern and pulled him into Darkest arms.
    mangor on
  14. Huh. I'd often wondered if Timofey might be given a pymaric to ease his woes regarding not being able to hold a pen in his incorporeal hands, but the corpse possession thing is an interesting development. I kind of wonder if he putters around Bastion's workshop in a custom plod when he's not doing errands.
    CheeseToastofDeath on
  15. "Your soul is wasted on you!" Ha! You tell 'em, Timofey. Good thinking from our resident AI. And good on Bastion, for understanding what was going on and throwing in a little surprise to heighten the show.

    :-/ Really, Maur? That's the biggest objection you can raise to what's going on? Then again, maybe he's just more diplomatic than Bastion. Certainly a good trait to have, when in such company as this.

    Interesting that Ruck is so merciful to Darkest Paul, especially after casually gutting Chorely. Perhaps his money and connections will be useful? And it's wonderful to see Ruck's interest in Duane. Any plot development that promises to brings Duane into greater danger and/or weirdness is always to be applauded.
    Jim Handy on
  16. Ruck is amazing, he punches a man's heart out then steals his glasses. So, here's a question: Why do The Lady, Ruck, and the Two-Toes refer to humans as "Spider-Paws"? What do the three share? A mutual desire for to go back to a time before mankind's domination?
    InTooDeep on
  17. I appear to notice a curious thing! Darkest's face tattoo(?) has vanished into the khert on that second page. Knowing our good Ms. Ashley's normal attention to detail, I'm guessing it was actually some manner of glamour? If so, he must have been sore startled by our dear Timofey to make him drop it.
    DerAmi on
  18. Gentlemen, you can't fight here, this is the War Room!
    G. on
  19. Huh. Civilization = "We don't commit murder until we have voted to do so"? Charming civilization they have there.
    Anthony on
  20. @Ink: "Bastion identified him correctly: a mob lawyer."

    Would you take Bastion Winalils' word for that?
    What we know of Bastion Winalils' is enough to impeach him as a witness.
    It is very obvious that Tomas Chorley was introduced only to show how easily Ruck kills and how pointless it is to be loyal to him, since he will not reciprocate loyalty. Apparently, the efheby implement the Always Chaotic Evil trope.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  21. @Jim Handy: "Ruck is so merciful to Darkest Paul, especially after casually gutting Chorely"

    Chorley was not a Black Tongue, Darkest Paul is. No mercy involved.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  22. I particularly like Timofey going, "Psst. Psst. Psssst. Psst!"

    And, M'M'M, I don't think it's membership in the Black Tongues, per se, that makes the difference. To Ruck, Chorley's offense was not being interesting enough. That's what made him disposable. I'm guessing Ruck has been bored by venal mob-lawyer types for millennia; after you've seen enough of them, they're just too predictable.

    Timofey needs to worry, though. He is TOO interesting. He now has Ruck's admiring attention... which tends towards disassembly as tribute.
    Sessine on
  23. While I agree with Sessine about Ruck's willingness to get rid of Chorley, I think another element was exactly what he said it was: he could tell that Chorley irritated Bastion and was the focal point of his unwillingness to join in with the new Black Tongue order - so he offed him as a gesture of good faith. I suspect that Ruck really doesn't properly understand human psychology in general (or Bastion in particular), and trying to *gain* a proper understanding is one of his major motivations (hence peering through Chorley's glasses). At any rate, I guess we'll see how things go from here.
    Nicosar on
  24. The drama here is thick and exciting, but there's so much awesome humor!
    The Gorram Batguy on
  25. I knew it wasn't Bastion's blood in the update last week! Thought I admit I thought it was Darkest who was getting his heart torn out.
    Navarus on
  26. Timofey scared Darkest Paul's tattoo right off! He truly is a master of the theater.
    Scratch on
  27. Timofey's expression in the third panel reminds me of Mafalda. Now write that crossover!
    Arianwen on
  28. @Triple-M: I don't think we can take this as hard evidence of Ashley's personal feelings towards lawyers in general. Just this one in particular, and the feeling was "man Ruck needs to just put his arm through a guy's chest in this scene, Chorley my dude you've drawn the short straw"
    Mcferocious on
  29. Welp. Shit has officially hit the fan. Chances are the Black Tongues will be divided between traditionalists and a newer patron. Also, yay, Bastion's alive!
    Turtle Lord on
  30. @Triple-M: one of the fun little effects of being an attorney is being able to look at your own actions and those associated with you and watch the various legal lines-not-to-cross whizzing by. A lawyer might stumble into criminality, but is not especially likely to do so blindly. Whether our former friend Chorley is directly associated with Sharteshane organized crime or not, the man's a crook, and knows it. THAT is the aspect of the identification that seemed significant to me, and I don't have to trust Bastion to believe it: we can see it in Chorley's own behavior. He's a conspirator to murder, among other things. He's a crook. Well, ex-crook.
    Ink on
  31. And Bastion even told them theat keeping that particlar monster around was not a good idea. Thanks Ashley, another unexpected turn of events. If I ditch my current Patreon obligation you're fist in line !
    Nebuched on
  32. Darkest is being given the Stockyard treatment here--details of the backstory may be different, but the man's infected sense of inferiority smells of Shartshane. Ruck says somebody is "squeaking" and uh-oh, regardless of past oaths of fidelity, at this moment somebody has become a rat which must be eliminated. Moral: anybody can squeak; don't squeak.

    You know that already if you grew up in Shartshane, but Darkest somehow got the message wrong. He knows he doesn't have what it takes, though at times he's bewildered about just what he lacks . . . the poor nasty is in sooo too deep. I still say that this work rates as one of the finest creative documents to come out of America in our time. Even if it remains a fragment. @Anthony, @InTooDeep: You give one good example why the First Senet Beast Peoples might just want to close down the khert so that it would stop sending humans--whose moral code stipulates that they don't commit murder unless they vote on it first. Good touch that Maur uses the term "murder" rather than a more sanitized synonym. Way back when the Silver Weapon was first introduced I wondered if it was meant to shut down the khert. Now we know it isn't--at least by Cutter/Delicieu . . .
    awhorl on
  33. I think that the natural distrust to senet beasts that Duane shows is justified. Ilganyag was more forgiving, and yet she claimed a lot from these men (half-assed servitude, celibacy and castration) for just a tiny burst of knowledge and a scarce if estimulating sexual intercourse. Yet, some like Rahm & Bastion see it for themselves, and even Rahm was saved by Iori´s selfless love. I think Ruckmearhka and Ilganyag offer little of their knowledge in hope that they will gain so much more, and they have an agenda and problems that these men are unaware of. Senet beasts cannot grow in numbers, they are scarce, and yet we don´t know why they dwindled so much under the past of time. I suppose "reproduction" was kind of the perfection the gods wanted to have in the Second Creation, and perhaps these First Borns want something that alleviates the feeling that the world moves, without them, eternal beasts alone in a world without the gods on sight. Ilganyag survives in the khert, the epheby roams the world, but they´re only two examples of powerful sentient & intelligent beasts we´ve ever seen on the comic, and they don´t really think of humans as equals, only as pawns or (creepy thought) encumbering, ever swarming around creatures to deal with (because they can´t ignore them completely). And by the way, Maur, you´re kind of an hypocrite. Sorry, even if you´re trying to survive between those crazy scientists.
    Luchucholo on
  34. @Sessine: "Timofey needs to worry, though. He is TOO interesting. He now has Ruck's admiring attention... which tends towards disassembly as tribute."

    Tiny Tim is a ghost - no flesh to absorb poison.
    Snaky is out of luck! Nya, nya, nya-nya-nya!
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  35. Hold up, is spiderpaws a common term all non-10-fingered lifeforms call humans, or are eftheby considered a two-toe god and use the same vocabulary as them?
    Spark on
  36. @Ink: "Whether our former friend Chorley is directly associated with Sharteshane organized crime or not, the man's a crook, and knows it."

    That is correct. And independently of him being or not being involved in the murder of Master Ballanstern. The Black Tongues are illegal in every jurisdiction where they have actual or business presence. The only way Tomas Chorley could have legally represented them - is to defend them INDIVIDUALLY as natural persons (not as an an organization, since being illegal, Black Tongues are not a legal person) in an actual or expected proceeding arising from PAST actions or events. We cannot say whether Tomas Chorley is in fact a consigliero for any of Sharteshanian crime families, or if he is even a Sharteshanian at all, but he did make a CONFESSION (statement against interest in U.S.) by admitting his intent of OVERSEEING Black Tongues in their transition between senet beast patronages and between Masters.
    This is admissible!
    ...Not that he can be haled into court now.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  37. The way Ruck talks about stuff falls into sort of an uncanny valley and it terrifies me. He says things that kind of fit into the usual social norms, but the way he says them are offset just enough from the way people usually say them that you go "um, yikes" Like he tells Bastion he wants him to call him Ruck, but he doesn't say "you may call me Ruck" or "please call me Ruck" or whatever. He says "you must call me Ruck." A command.

    The thing that scares me about Ruck is that he says what he says in such a direct and straightforward manner, but also in that scary way that I am describing above, that you get the impression that he is being frank with you. Like he doesn't care if you know what he's up to because he knows you can't really oppose him anyway. The scary thing about it is that this gives you the impression that you might be able to predict what he's going to do because he's being frank. But you really can't.
    Luke on
  38. Finally, a lawyer meets justice.
    Rivfader on
  39. @Luke, mayhaps you´re into something. "Ruck" expresses himself in a way that seems genuine, but yet impossing... until you see that he doesn´t see you as an equal. He disposes of "things" as he sees fit. He doesn´t care if his display of force (killing someone like it´s nothing, furthermore, a henchman at that...)disturbs anyone in the room. He´s like Starfish, regarding his lack of moral bounds, but more determined, powerful and with wits proper to the task. A villain that defines psychopathic nature, with narcissistic traits, mmm? He´s not "humane" by any means, and this page shows it. He ticks all all the tropes, alright!
    Luchucholo on
  40. @Luchucholo, @Luke: Ruck himself is NOT Kasslynite. Moreover, Ruck belongs to a solitary species that has been hunted and killed by Kasslynites. Ruck owes Kasslynites nothing, not a shred of moral consideration. For that matter, he treats Kasslynites better, than they treated his species - he does not kill them just because he can. Until we see how he treats other efheby, we cannot say anything about his morals. And given that efheby do not live in a society made up of efheby, moral considerations may have no application to efheby at all.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  41. *Still crying tears of relief that Winalils isn't dead*
    khonongg on
  42. @awhorl: " I still say that this work rates as one of the finest creative documents to come out of America in our time."

    10,000% amen!
    Yazuki on
  43. @M'M'M Sure. My comment was meant to be focused on how scared I would be of him and why. The way he talks is a big part of it.
    Luke on
  44. Spiderpaws - where did Ruckmearkha pick up that term?

    So does anyone think that Ruck and the Silver Monster will have an interesting encounter? Will one Efheby give the monster exponential growth?
    FrogCrossing on
  45. @Luke you make a good point! The way Ruck talks (boy my phone needs to learn his name right quick in a hurry before I overlook auto-correct's more damning suggestions) is a nice touch that subtly describes his character. I don't think I had put much consideration into it but I definitely see what you mean about uncanny valley. For a split second I was going to argue that he's not necessarily frank, because he says "it is fine" a lot when you get the feeling it's anything but. But then it hit me -- it is fine according to how HE rates these things. He isn't concerned with how anyone else qualifies it.
    Mcferocious on
  46. Nice just finished a really enjoyable book and the next thing I did was read and enjoy two more great pages over here. I did feel a bit dumb for looking for Bastion on the last page for so long though someone should make a trap for him by painting everything white.
    Clint on
  47. @Spiderpaw comments:
    Ilganyag and Ruck have two long fingers and one more that serves as a thumb.
    Humans (Kasslynites) are weird and have a bunch of extra digits.
    Just like spiders have two more limbs than other insects, humans have two more fingers.
    Thus the term: spiderpaw.

    Or, at least, that's how I see it. I could be wrong.
    Melarec on
  48. I can't believe I just now made the connexion between Ruck and and the snake tattoo on Darkest Paul's face.
    Early on
  49. I spent a good portion of my day gushing about how WICKED GOOD this update is to my friends. I am so here for this horrible evil snake man hitting on poor Bastion. Ashley, you never fail to deliver. Keep up the amazing work!
    Jackarais on
  50. Another legal professional here: Chorley's one of those who give the profession a bad name, so, *good.* He's also a boring little nebbish, which appears to have been his capital crime. @several above: Timofy is a construct (for lack of a better word), not a ghost. He was never alive and has no soul, hence his cry against Darkest.
    BigDogLittleCat on
  51. Considering how they are constituted, just how /could/ one hunt the efheby to extinction? Seems like it would work the other way around, if they had the notion. They are arrogant to a fault, and don't understand humans, and have cravings, and are solitary, but . . . Ok, mob them one at a time, dedicate an army with a general like Bell, but his wright's spellwork would have to be indirect. And clever. There would be casualties.
    awhorl on
  52. I'm, with Ink (and BigDogLittleCat) on our colelague, if not as eloquently, but still, lawyers and priests (see Duane) exist in alrge part to tell people "no", and folks opften do not take that well. Luchucholo has great point on the Efheby's nature. Those two observations lead directly to a third, about Cresce's Sonorie, rather like the Efheby, giving the Black Tongues all they desire. Once the conquest of the North is complete (good luck Duane and Lady I), why on earth would the queen's thirst for domination be slaked? The Black tongues, will be her next victims, and Ruck after them. Like Orson Scott Card's Achille, whom he resembles in seeming sympathy coupled with real self-absorption, Ruck shall not end well. I'd hunt Efhebies too, even more than water women. They're like vampires in so many ways.
    Honzinator on
  53. @Honzinator: "lawyers and priests ... exist in large part to tell people "no", and folks often do not take that well."

    Please do not forget the military, who not only TELL people "NO!", but SHOW it as well - and in much MORE uncertain terms at that!
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  54. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
    Scripps on
  55. As far as fictional monster creatures go, efheby are pretty much run of the mill.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  56. Ruck is brilliantly written. In charge when he takes care to keep the apparition of a bystander, yet making clear enough that he is not to be defied. I love the way he words his threats and demands; subtle, yet unmistakeable. He is a master of speech and thus leaves no room for "but he may just mean ..." interpretation.
    Run of the mill? Well. I'm not so sure. If they're based on Naga, then cunningly so. And honestly, there has been nigh no monster that has not been thought of since concept art became a thing, and artists come up with one mind-bending design after the other, not for games, but for fun. What's important to me is the consistency of the design and the creature's mind, and the world. Visuals are not even secondary. Says a concept artist. ;) If only the games biz would ever get that.
    Corbie on
  57. @Corbie: "If they're based on Naga, then cunningly so."

    Efheby are quite obviously a mix of Naga and headspiders.
    Or, rather, a splice - "Bioshock" style!
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  58. My, he sure is hot and bothered for Bastion.
    riffy on
  59. Oops, actually, Naga + headspiders + Cthulhu (tentacles) = efheby!
    Anyone can identify more ingredients of efheby coming from myth, fantasy,, etc.?
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  60. I'm interested as to why Ruck and Master Ballanstern were shown arriving together earlier. Clearly the two have some close history, for Ballanstern to not show any concern or surprise at the senet beast walking beside him in that shot. Then later we find Ballanstern dead. Seems like something more is going on than just a garden variety coup. If Ruck already had Ballanstern's confidence, why the need for new leadership? What am I missing?
    sigmir on
  61. More thoughts on the above: In his establishing shot, Ruck is surrounded by ravens. Yet we have tons of prior evidence that the raven is the tool and deep symbol of his stated enemy. Ruck is not telling us the whole truth regarding his motivations, I think.
    sigmir on
  62. @MMM: Artists use to work from their inspiration, not by jigsawing stuff from somewhere else together. Stuff is fodder for imagination, but that's it. I find it a bit, if not a lot derogative to tear a good character design apart without even seeing what holds it together and makes it good.
    My Naga remark went beyond the visuals, by the way, but since I do not want to feed the tearing and ripping of a good design, I will keep that to myself. It's not hard to research after all.
    Corbie on
  63. @Corbie: "It's not hard to research after all."

    ...And artists do! And then combine the discovered ingredients.
    Known as "references".
    Or "tropes".
    Not to mention "cliches".

    "to tear a good character design apart"

    Analyzing is not "tearing apart".
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  64. Weren't the ravens outside of the Black Tongue hideaway guardians? If so, perhaps they're trying to scare Ruck away, or they knew Master Ballanstern was loyal, and were trying to guard/warn him? If so, the corvid guard failed, but then, Lady I is, like God, big on free will, whereas Ruck is decidedly Satanic in enjoying control over others' wills and also in only exerting the power to destroy, not create things of meaning. MMM has made a long string of constructive and/or amusing observations. For those who react badly to him, please remember this. Also, I suspect he's US military who spent a lot of time working with our Anglo allies. Of course, I am just another lawyer (and kudos to Scripps for finally quoting Shakespeare's most popular line - now someone please quote Saint Thomas Moore's line about the forest of laws being cut down and the Devil turning to face you).
    Honzinator on
  65. @Honzinator: "someone please quote Saint Thomas Moore"

    It is not even necessary to invoke the memory of the "Man For All Seasons". Suffice it is to point out, that the character expressing murderous intentions toward legal professionals was aptly named
    "Dick The Butcher".
    A butcher.
    And a dick at that.
    'Nuff said.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  66. Bastion's offset trails are now bleeding feathers; they weren't before. He offset after being cut across the chest and didn't leave those feathers, but then the khert-line he was following got disrupted, and now he does. I am worried; those two strikes may have had a permanent effect on his abilities. In fairness to Maur, not killing a guy unless the group agrees is more civilized than much of our history. Also, it really looked like Maur tried to pull Bastion aside to give him advice and information before Paulie scared him off.
    Asterai on
  67. @MMM: I am an artist since ages. Please don't tell me how I do my job ... because I certainly never in my career combined visual elements after researching them. If it could be seen as such later, it was coincidence, but not "I'm going to put a quid on a naga!" It does not work like that, it works like: I want a mythical beast, what can it do, what purpose has it in the world, what general shape makes sense of it, what makes that shape even more interesting and fitting to the purpose? Analyzing should include the working process, or it will remain shallow ... hence my remark on the games biz. Outside of the art department, and seeping in there, the regard of character design is as shallow, and that's a shame.
    Corbies on
  68. @Corbies: "Please don't tell me how I do my job"

    I did not. I cannot possibly know that.
    I just call it as I see it. And that is what I keep seeing.
    So a generalisation is not unreasonable on my part.
    Do not forget, that perception of any expression depends at least as much on the one perceiving, as on the one expressing.
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  69. Well, you also assumed that you knew how Ashely does her job on this specific character. Just re-read what you wrote further above. I'll leave it to communication specialists to define where peception ends and interpretation begins ... I said what I wanted to say: if you don't know how a creature came to pass, don't blame the artist for jigsawing.
    Corbie on
  70. @Corbie: "you also assumed that you knew how Ashely does her job on this specific character"

    I assumed nothing. I saw familiar elements and recognized them. Since I saw them together, they were put together by whoever created the character.
    Observation, not assumption.

    "don't blame the artist for jigsawing"

    No blame. Is jigsawing blameworthy anyway?
    Mad'Monster'Maniac on
  71. Please excuse TripleM's most recent comments..
    A few sub-routines have developed quirks.
    Should be resolved soon.
    Melarec on
  72. Just sitting here and observing.

    Any individual audience member may not have been exposed to the entire breadth of cultural experience of a creator. The circuits will light up for the naga or the Great White Whale, or Darth Vader or whatever Bad Dad the reader ran across in their generation, but it's rare indeed for one reader to nail all of them every time, or even the most important ones, especially if she keeps her cards close to her chest.

    Watch out for Ashley is all I'm saying, guys. If this resonates with what experience you've had in your genres, all well and good. That means she's beyond good at what whe does.

    But you don't begin to know what cultural sources she's been drawing on all these years. She may tip you off to some of them, but I'm saying that if you have to be crazy omnivorous in your cultural curiosity--never mind TV tropes OMG--to keep up with her.
    awhorl on
  73. Bad me at editing: whe should be "she"; I'm saying that you have to be crazy omnivorous in your cultural curiosity to keep up with Ashley -- no ifs about it!
    awhorl on