Pft.... Duane raised a Gruftgrammer... I actually don't think Mikaila is dead. 6 years, the could be about Jivi's age, and may be a Black Tounge... the others are prolly dead though, I don't know simon is prolly about matty's age now that I think of it.
The only thing scarier than your daughter meddling in dangerous (physically and politically) magics and ignoring your orders to stop is your daughter meddling in dangerous magics and getting more powerful in them.
It's amazing what you can get used to. Our neighbor boy had bad knees from football injuries, and tended to fall head-over-heels down our stairs every other time he visited our house. It got to be so normal that I went from freaking out and fetching my mom, to casually calling to ask if he was all right without bothering to get up from whatever I was doing. "Y'okay?" "Yup!" "'Kay."
Note to self: don't ever let a smoke eel touch you or you'll get the more painful version of a micro-derm abrasion facial. Yikes. Also, I wish I had neighbors like that...that'd be so much better than the jerks we live next to right now.
I'd say that's Duane in the last panel, and I don't think it's cruel at all. It's obviously something she has a history of doing. It's something she's NOT ALLOWED to do, and she's not just forbidden by her parents, it's against the law. She's not just endangering herself or the building she lives in. Duane has every right to be worried and angry, and obviously no amount of kindness or discouragement has gotten through to her.
If it is Duane speaking about the elders, I don't think it's cruel. Harsh, yes, but not cruel.
Imagine what can be done with the kind of magic we've seen so far in Unsounded. Pyramy can steal the physical aspects of one form of matter and use it independently to be applied elsewhere.
In that sense, it is far more dangerous than your nine year old (she looks about nine) getting into her fathers at-home science lab. She could get hurt far worse than chemical burns and toxic gas. Using pymary untrained seems about as dangerous as taking the car keys and going for a joyride, or playing with your parents power tools.
I imagine that's about as much trouble as she's in.
Besides that, women are legally prohibited from practicing pyramy, as far as I understand. She's breaking the law, for which her parents are responsible. It could threaten her fathers career, their lively-hood, their social standing, and even criminal penalties.
As said above, guilt is a parents best weapon, and add to that some kind of pre-1950's "girls have their place" mentality.
It leaves me to wonder what happens to these girls... and if we will get a chance to meet them in the future.
I hope they didn't die, but i don't see everyone getting to where we are in the story alive... Especially since Duane isn't worried sick trying to look after or locate them though the entire comic. It suggests that either he thinks them better off without him... or dead.
You know, as a father & aspiring fantasist I feel like I really missed a step when considering the impact of magic in my settings.
"Gifted" children would be a nightmare. Children in an environment where magic is basically available to all would probably be a danger to everyone around them.
I would love to vote for this comic on TopWebComics, but sadly the vote link disappeared a while back and hasn't returned. It's a lot of trouble to go hunting for this specific comic on TWC just to vote it up.
It took me a bit to figure out what this scene reminded me of, but it's nearly identical to the Lion King scene when Mufasa saves Simba from the hyenas. (Only, you know, with fewer lions and more magic).
Simba wanted to grow up to be just like his father. Do they really think that scenes like this are going to keep Mikaila from practicing magic? She might be more careful, and more discrete, but water will flow uphill before she stops altogether.
Kit: At least in Alderode, women are legally forbidden from practicing pymary. There's always the Third Option, of course.
WitUnderPressure: See the above, and one has to be licensed to learn and practice pymary. Most people actually can't do it on their own, so the registration process also creates a port so they can, but there are the rare innates like Mikaila who don't need that. She's still illegally practicing, and she can't register to practice, because, y'know, female.
@Kit: Women *can* learn pymary, but they're generally restricted to womanly things, like making children smell like cookies instead of feet, or turning the dog a bit whiter. It's a cultural thing, though. If a woman wants to, she can become a man in Alderode. And then things are a bit more free and equal. Women can learn all they like, but they won't get anywhere with it, since all the pymary jobs (beyond magicleaning kids) are male-only.