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Page Descriptions - Chapter 45

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This article contains all the Moonless Age page announcements made by the comic's author for Chapter 45 - A Giant's Shadow. These often elaborate on or clarify details not explicitly stated in the comic itself, but regardless provide a sort of commentary for each page. These announcements are made in the Moonless Age channel of the Official Discord and can also be read on the comic's Official Facebook Page.

Page announcements for the chapter's sidestory, Jaal'darya Investigation, can be found here.

Chapter Announcement

Chapter Cover

Kern: A new chapter to Moonless Age begins with Quain'tana in the spotlight. The last of nobility resistance has fallen before the multitude of her followers. What's going to happen to the conquered city?

For a simple single character upper body, that one took me a while to do. Also miscalculated the available space at the right of the archive. Failed at maths. Now it's too late to try to get the hair and flags reaching to the end of the web design.

Page Announcements

Pages 1-10

Page 1

Kern: Ariel really enjoys getting her hair combed. She does not hide it, which leads to Die'tra's misunderstanding that they might have been doing something else.

Page 2

No official announcement.

Page 3

Kern: To continue the series on mundane tasks gone horribly wrong, we now have a meal of burnt bird. With its feathers still on, and guts still in. If Chiri had tried to boil water, she might have burned it, too. Burning down the house would be a bonus. The proud warden can take demons trying to eat her face off, but failing at cooking so badly is enough to bring her to the verge of tears.

Page 4

Kern: Faen rides Ariel piggyback down to the dinning room, attracted by the good/bad smell. Where she and Tur'geis quickly butt heads on the airship hunt once again. Meanwhile, Chirinide flees in her shame, barefoot, to the outside.

Now it'd be interesting if Ariel were to chase the airship with Faen on her back. All the way. Forget armor, forget boots. Just jump into the mist sea and trust in Faen as flotation device. Pretty sure Faen is good for that.

Page 5

Kern: Meanwhile Riz and Kai'to are busy in their room.

Page 6

Kern: We've determined that Shan is trying to end Kai'to & Riz love session by attempting to shoot at them through the window. He's a very bad shot, or perhaps it's simply that he is facing the wrong direction. Regardless of his poor murder attempt, he spots Chiri making her way in the street below to a stable.

Catriana took that one seriously: He isn't truly shooting at them. It's a joke; Shan is practice shooting at a wall of stone. It's been a while since he had that chance. XD

Page 7

No official announcement.

Page 8

Kern: Shan mans up enough to express an opening that gives some hope to Chiri. She hugs him, promptly lies about the shudder - as any good warden would. Kyorls can't admit to being snuggly, it would just destroy their image. No one would fear them burninating Chel's countryside anymore. - and more damn Sarghress dare interrupt the snuggles. Lost Sarghress, at that.

Page 9

Kern: An envoy and an ex-raider wanting to join back her old squad gather up with the others in the Sarghress house. In all the excitement, however, something important is brought up that apparently none of the resident Sarghress were aware of. Troubles for the Sarghress tomorrow.

The pink-haired girl is part of a Relic Hunters squad with Tur'geis and Die'tra. Part of that scene is meant to link back to the adventures that took place there.

Also Zan'nah's quick dismissal of Kau seems to be put aside for now, as she is curious as to what he is cooking. Will Kau gain Zan'nah's favor through her belly?

Page 10

Kern: The Sarghress are forced to stand down or leave. Either way, their presence is no longer welcome in the colony. A quick turnabout of which the reason would be easy to guess to the reader, not so much for the characters.

Pages 11-20

Page 11

No official announcement.

Page 12

Kern: While the parley breaks, Ariel is still running downhill with Faen on her back. The raiders will need to make a choice; whether to take the offer of retirement in the colony, be banished back to Chel, or hunt down the mysterious ship. Ariel made her choice but so did Tur'geis, for reasons that only Faen could uncover through her empathy. The conversation ends with a realization that Ariel and Faen are very much like their mothers, Quain'tana and Ash'waren. Sarghress and Sul. Smaller, younger, and a lot more innocent versions of their heroic parents.
Note, the cameo owners all had to make a choice for their characters. This will be reflected in the story on Wednesday and Thursday.

Page 13

Kern: Ariel muses of chapters 13-23, where she searched for Faen beyond her world. Crossing the mist for the first time to see the infinity above. Faen gets extra-kissy at the musing. Meanwhile, Sar'nel was determining the ship's location with observation and simple knowledge of the map of the region. There are very few underworld settlements and PTP players know that sailing under the mist is a very dangerous endeavor. Down there, they cannot see where they fly; it's all too easy to crash against some rocky outcrop. If the ship went down in the mist, it either meant to land straight below, or meant for Felde, which is the nearest city to them. Either way, they now have hope to find it.

Page 14

Kern: Sar'nel and Nuru'lara push the hypothesis that the airship's passage may have had something to do with their banishment. While Tur'geis pushes that they should go back. In the end, the Sarghress are too divided. Some will go back, some will go forward. And a few will stay because, in the end, these are people who sought to end or outlast the war. This offer to stay in the colony is an out to all the problems.
As for little details hidden in the pages... Well, Ariel's expression is because of Die'tra leaving, as she thought Die'tra was the only one supporting the idea at first. Made her worry that few would want to go. Thus Faen giving her support. Second is Riz's cloak being made of Kaito's fur; a parting gift made off-screen.

Page 15

Kern: The last page in the colony, perhaps the last page set in Ys. Say goodbye to the good food and the chance to escape the war. Half the Sarghress go back, the other half go forward. With one changing his mind at the last minute: Syrak.

Page 16

Kern: Back to just me doing the pages for a while. Until we leave Chel again, or until it grows too heavy for one person to handle. So that means the colors are gone again; or at least mostly. Quain'tana keeps her dashing red.
Speaking of her, yes Quain'tana is the central viewpoint for this chapter. She's back in her turf, finishing a dragon in a battlefield that is very close to the Sharen's home. At a stone's throw away, you could say.

Page 17

Kern: A young Quain'tana that has yet to reach adulthood, yet tall for her age. So alike to Ariel, with one great exception: Poor and homeless. Willing to go as far as to dare to steal food that led to the death of one of her companions, while the other flees in fear. Leaving her to face alone the circling predator baring its teeth at her. Her would-be killer's halberd still dripping with blood.
This is as close as it would be, were I working alone to make the pages. No time to color, but red streaks of red to bring contrast. In Moonless Age, red is very important; for it symbolizes demons, tainting, and also Quain'tana colors. All other colors can go.

Page 18

Kern: Quain'tana died. Time paradox! Du du du du du du du du duuuum.
Seriously though, she could only remember two words from that terrible day. "Should've ran." Something she took deep to heart. She neither ran nor fought, instead she was cornered by impossible odds, taken down by a single blow. The rider missed her neck, but the tip of the halberd slammed into her shoulder. Not only breaking the arm but cutting deep. The intense pain is so great she lose consciousness. And worst of all: She lost her bread. Come on, who wastes bread like that? Damn Sharens.

Page 19

Kern: Young Quain'tana reaches the bottom of the barrel or, in this case, the bottom of the pit. Cold, hungry, bleeding, and her arm broken. A mirror of the treatment she would one day grant to her own disobeying daughter. What's done to the mother, done to the daughter. What Quain went through made her a hard woman who could not abide weakness from those around her. But worst of all, have you seen this: Someone stole her bread! Bread thieves are the worst. I mean, Quain'tana herself excluded. *mutter mutter* waste of bread *mutter mutter*
Now to see if Quain'tana can climb her way to the light, both as a metaphor and fact.

Page 20

Kern: Quain'tana strives to survive regardless of the cost. Killing a small Tik'tikki in the sewer, she feeds upon its blood to regain some strength. An action that'd make Syphile proud, were she born yet. During the days that followed, she met many other homeless street urchins, all with advice for her. That what she hungers for is impossible. To give up. Stay low. Words she remembers clearly, though her tightening, healing fist tells another story: Determination to go through with a certain revenge.

Pages 21-30

Page 21

Kern: Young Quain tracks down her would-be murderer to a tea house after finding his dragon "parked" outside. She sneaks in, takes a tray to pass for a servant, and finds him. Her own eyes shake as she stands there before him, doing nothing. While he seems to not recognize her. Even if she did not have the veil, he probably wouldn't recognize what might have been random street urchin target #13. Plus everyone seems small from atop a dragon's back. One thing he catch quickly though: Quain's mighty stink.

Page 22

Kern: Now that's got to hurt. Young Quain finally snaps out of her reverie to spill the hot tea and cookware into his face before smashing her foot into his head. Before he can snap back from this, she is at his throat, doing what Quain'tana is going to become best at someday: murder. Possibly not the first murder she attempted in her life (Chel's streets are cruel), but the first Val.
Again no dialogue in this page because, let's face it, Quain'tana did not recall anything he said at this point. I could have wrote a lot of "What?" "Ow" "HEY!" "HELP!" or "I'm going to kill you bitch!" and other things. But in the end, it just didn't feel right. If this was animated, the sound would likely have gone out as well or be dimmed out until she phase out of her rage.

Page 23

Kern: Things don't go that easy for Quain as she quickly learns that her opponent is better trained and more experienced than her. Though she has one advantage he (and even she) does not know, as the energy that would burn her just dissipates before striking her.
This refers to Quain's ability to dissipate mana. It's not something she can control and would lead her one day to favor good old steel over any fancy mana arts. Also, that cloak flop is a valid tactic. Now... if this was a traditional manga, she'd shout "CLOAK FLOP!"

Page 24

Kern: Quain'tana improvised, using the cloak hanger outside the room to charge in and stab the Val in the gut. He means to strike her with a small hidden blade, only to be surprised by her strength. She twists the knife and stabs him right back. I struggled quite a bit drawing this page so the action may look, well, less than ideal.

Page 25

Kern: Quain's memories end upon the death of the Val, his chest bearing the Sarghress emblem to come. Her hair red from the blood of her kill. Both of which would become tradition. From street urchin to leader that stands before the fortress of the mightiest clan, now a prison under siege by tens of thousands of Quain's followers.

Page 26

Kern: "I love her." Words that Quain remembers to this day, burned in her memory. If she could burn the receiver of those words, she would be so happy she might even smile.

Page 27

Kern: She muse a lot out loud. Quick, someone start a fight before Quain'tana gets philosophical!

Page 28

Kern: A courier arrives on the most shaggy dawmere on this side of the underworld to summon Quain to a meeting. She doesn't respond well to the courier's words.

Page 29

Kern: Quain returns home for the meeting. Each scene showing a different facet of the situation. Military control over the district with people lining up against walls or on their knees, one being murdered out of sight. Emblems being burned in the street. The troops chant. Hints at new recruits going out of control with looting. The sense of victory for the home defense far from the frontline. The supply issues to overcome to feed everyone, forcing Quain to spare some of her most elite troops to ensure food can found. It all holds up, for now...

Page 30

Kern: The colors are returning with Ash's arrival. The 3 flashback panels are memories that come to Quain's mind as she approaches her. That page didn't come out as I was hoping due to time pressure.

Pages 31-40

Page 31

Kern: Colors are back! The cloak doesn't truly float, but it's how Quain feels as Ash reaches within her.

Page 32

Kern: Quain has little patience for the manipulation of her emotions, even if is done with good intentions. Hard on the inside, she has a goal that drives her strongly enough to break the control of the most powerful of empaths. She'll defeat everything; even fear, at least in her mind. But she can't feign a little surprise to hear of Shimi's death. Being away on campaign, she had yet to be informed on the events that transpired during her absence.
All this doesn't matter though, there's a cute cat to be petted.

Page 33

Kern: Action hero Quain'tana. Explosion! Helicopter! And lens flares. Or whenever she pump herself up, a sun explodes.
To sum this up, Ash attempts to convince her to seek peace now that the Sharens are on their knees. Bring the whole happy ending before the situation grows so bad that even Ash would fear for her own life.

Page 34

Kern: The biggest page of the chapter yet, with the entry of a Sarghress within the Sharen's home. Koil casting a giant shadow over the awaiting warriors. There she make her parley, Sarghress style: Surrender within 6 hours or they'll assault regardless of the losses. Remember the talk that the bottom of the barrel hadn't been hit for the Sharen, yet? That barrel goes deep.

Page 35

Kern: Terms of surrender. With a nod this war could be over in a matter of hours, but Sharen pride does not let Saph'ala, the one left behind to handle the affairs at home, to agree to them. That, and the fact that she knows her mother's army is so near they can communicate with flares. Yet they do not move. Something is holding them up...

Page 36

No official announcement.

Page 37

Kern: In this page, Sabrror marches out alone into the Sarghress mass and is brought to a nearby building that used to hold festivity for the nobility. Now it's just one more hollow, conquered husk to be given back to the workers that helped the Sarghress take over the place. Sabrror is put to his knees before the conqueror.

Page 38

Kern: In this page, Quain'tana muses about the time back in Chapter 8 when Zala and Sabbror stormed her home, to then later send war machinea and demons to break her wall. Now the situation is reversed; Sabbror is on his knees, powerless. Or is he? Grabbing her sword she thinks he may be challenging her.

Page 39

Kern: In this page, Sabbror is taking quite the punishment, almost daring his keeper to hurt him. In the end, he stand there as if he felt nothing, the left side of his face visible. Just like Naal a long time ago, he too is just about at the breaking point. One rest could end him.

[Page 40]

Kern: In this page, Sabbror makes his offer, which Quain'tana is quick to reject. Let go of her enemy? Be offered the city? No, she'll have both and she'll take both. She doesn't want to deal with the next generation of Sharen to rise against her some day. She'll kill them all or see them all knocked down from everything they own. Pride included. So Sabbror pulls the card he was planning to pull to begin with: Offer to lead her to Zala'ess. Which she must have accepted, for Sarv'swati and Nir'naya are watching the convoy crossing the Vloz'ress district.
So yes, I confirm: Nir'naya on her floater was the one to save Sarv'swati in the previous chapter.

Pages 41-44

Page 41

Kern: The last two forces to make claim over Chel are about to meet, with Sarv left to brood over her defeat on the side. However, Nir'naya at her side believes it's not over and offera her a blade. Cut the head, and the body will fall. Kill Quain. A last gambit while the only force that could still pose a threat to the Sarghress is still standing. Albeit standing behind a rock, hiding.

Page 42

Kern: As the duo of failures brood over what if and should've been, the Sarghress are breaking into the empress' tower. 30 years after the terrible incident that began this whole story. Readers of Longest Wait will recognize the locations featured there. Doing this scene was a closure of sort, of a story arc long in the making. One war led to another. Will there be a third war, one to end all wars for the underworld?
The blue-haired character is Tebryn. Thalar's character. She proofread the script and said that one of the talking Sarghress was Teb. So it is!

Page 43

Kern: The door sealed for 30 years finally opena. The corpse of the empress, bloodless upon her throne. Poor Diva, took 45 chapters for her body to be recovered. And now she has all those wrinkles.

Page 44

Kern: Final page of the chapter. Diva watches the owls launching themselves off the world tree towards the mist sea, where their destination lay hidden underneath. For a people able to shape the wind to their will, the use of a glider makes them virtually able to fly continuously in calm weather. In mere hours, they'll be in Felde to strike. But this is for the next chapter.

Special Pages

Page 4 WIP Parody

Kern: Page coloring isn't done yet, so here is the page and its parody version, Hmm croissant, which will be replaced later tonight by the final version.

Page 24, Parody Dialogue

Kern: Improved version. Or you could say the version with dialogues.

Page 37 Parody Dialogue

Kern: Quain: "Time change Sharen. Now all you command is your sexy butt. Now shake it."
Or so she should have said.

Page 38 Parody Dialogue

Kern: Oh yeah, Quain'tana. You know how to speak to men. Parody over, but beware: More is to come, for Lunareth is drawing a very special page for daydream about this trend in parody.

Page 40 Parody Dialogue

Kern: Sabbror is partly responsible for Nau'kheol's genes. Quain does not approve of small men: -50. Thus Lunareth's daydream fantasy is not meant to be!

Chibi 1: How Does It Feel to Be Tainted?

Kern: Page drawn by Kite. This deleted scene is a follow-up to the group's departure from the colony. As the twins get curious about how Nuru feels to be tainted. After all, it's their first chance to talk to one so openly. Chiri reacts to this, preaching her gospel. Shala sides with her mom's method. And finally Ariel gets an idea in her head: Was Syphile mean to cats because she was Tainted? Nuru doesn't seem to think so.
Now whether Faen is shocked at Ariel asking such rude questions or gasping at the suddenly realization that tainted may hate kittens is entirely up to your interpretation.

Chibi 2: Mist Whale

Kern: In the opposite direction, the second group departing the colony spots what they think is a mist whale in the sky. The 3 veteran raiders give enthusiastic chase, leaving Zan'nah to protest that it is only a cloud. She's the only one with glasses after all.

Chibi 3: What If?

No official announcement.

Chibi 4: Happy Feelings

Kern: Happy feelings must die. Drawn by Lunareth during the scene when Ash tried to induce some brightness back within Quain.
Also the scene can take a different turn if you view Ash's blue tendril as loving tentacles. Quain is wise to fight them off.

Chibi 5: Feral Thief

Kern: Melodia catches a feral stealing something from Faen's room. She fails to recover what was stolen as the feral make its way to a caravan leaving the Chel. What's the item? Who's the feral? What terrible plot has Kite conjured? That, you will know tomorrow.
People had been asking what Melodia is doing. There it is. Fending off her own kind from stealing everything not nailed to the walls of the Sarghress fortress. Let those ferals do their things and every single Sarghress would be sockless in no time.

Chibi 6: Feral Thief 2

Kern: Turns out the stolen item is Faen's mighty purple sex toy. Becoming a great poking stick for the ferals during negotiations with the other races. They'll either get great deals or bring war upon themselves, eventually.